Call for Papers

Economic Organizations, Uncertainty, and Risk: Sociological Analyses of Economic Organizations in Times of Crises

Deadline: October 31st, 2022

The past 15 years represent an era of capitalism in crises. Phenomena like the global financial crisis (2007-2009), followed by the European sovereign debt crisis in 2010, major political occurrences such as the Brexit referendum (2016), or Covid-19 have challenged economic and political reality that likewise engendered critics towards it. Furthermore, the danger of an ecological collapse is omnipresent. And with respect to the ongoing war in Ukraine it is currently impossible to foresee what humanitarian and social catastrophe is looming.

As inherent characteristic of (post)modern societies (Beck, 1992; Luhmann, 1993), new uncertainties and risks have emerged that require action. Economic organizations as central protagonists of current capitalistic dynamics are twofold involved: First, they have to deal with these risks in order to secure own goals and legitimation. The way they cope with them has major impacts on the socio-economic consequences of these crises. Second, economic organizations may be involved in the emergence of crises or even intensify them, if, for example, market-based institutional logics and management processes manifest crises rather than reducing them (Tooze, 2018).

Research analyzing corporate action under conditions of uncertainty is mostly conducted in the realm of organizational and economic sociology (e.g., Apelt & Senge, 2015; Wenzel & Krämer, 2018; Power, 2016). Both research fields observe a diversity to cope with risk and uncertainty concentrating, for example, on inter- and supraorganizational processes, structures, and networks or abstract and general intraorganizational phenomena (Beckert, 2016; Schreyögg & Sydow, 2010). Although scholars in these fields have traditionally focused on economic organizations, broadly understood as organizations primarily targeting monetary profit like insurance companies, manufacturers of medical products or airlines (e.g. Luhmann, 1982), we observe an absence of the specific role of these actors as a specific type of organization handling multiple uncertainties in the current crisis era.

Therefore, with this Special Issue, we aim to bring economic organizations back into analytical focus – as drivers and likewise as managers of uncertainty and risk in times of crises. In order to do so, we want to connect scholars in organizational and economic sociology dealing with this topic empirically and/or theoretically. The Special Issue seeks to address the following topics and questions.

1. Uncertain futures and changing corporate organizations

  • How do new uncertainties influence established risk practices?
  • To what extent are crisis-related organizational anticipations of uncertain futures institutionalized or rejected?
  • Do economic organizations internalize and/or develop alternative concepts through the assessment of risk? Or are organizations less agile, but laggard institutions?

2. Inter- and intra-organizational relationality and translations

  • How do corporate adjustments to perceived risk and uncertainty affect their environments and vice versa? And how do economic organizations reflect und organize these (perceived) impacts?
  • Which multiple, incomplementary or polycontextural environments do economic organizations observe to adapt alternative organization practices? Analog to the ›economization‹ of not primarily economically oriented organizations, are there equivalent processes in companies through adaption, for example, ›ecolozation‹ or ›securitization‹?
  • To what extent do (economic) organizations mutually construct each other as risk?

3. Performative consequences of coping with uncertainty: the company on trial?

  • How do risk practices in economic organizations affect and produce societal and crisis-related transformation processes?
  • Particularly with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic: To what extent does the increasing focus on uncertainty, for example, in science, security policies, or mass media fuel expectations in organizational competences of ›strong‹ economic actors (Brunsson & Sahlin-Andersson, 2000) in dealing with these problems? And how do economic organizations react?
  • How does the public problematization of uncertainties and related capabilities of corporate coping affect the future valorization of companies as potent actors? What do scientific, non-scientific and corporate diagnoses of crises and futures mean for the future of the organizational type of the company?

Extended abstracts (800 characters including spaces) should be submitted to konstanze.senge(at)soziologie.uni-halle.dealberto.cevolini(at)unimore.itbernadette.hof(at)soziologie.uni-halle.demarkus.lange(at) and audrey.terracher-lipinski(at) Please note that an acceptance of the abstract does not imply an automatic acceptance of the manuscript as this will still be subject to a double blind peer review. The abstract should be submitted in English and contain the contact details of all authors.

Planned timeline:

Submission of abstracts: 31 October 2022

Decision on abstract (i.e., invitation to submit full manuscript): 30 November 2022

Manuscript submission deadline: 30 April 2023

Review notification: 31 July 2023

Submission of revised manuscript: 15 December 2023

Manuscript submission information:

Pleased submit your manuscript before the submission deadline of 30 April 2023.

Manuscripts are submitted through the submission system:

Please select the article type "VSI: Economic Organizations, Uncertainty, and Risk" from the dropdown list when submitting your manuscript. Once your paper is submitted, it will be assigned to guest editors for peer-review process.

Guide for authors could be found on the Journal Homepage here: