Professorin für Soziologie mit Schwerpunkt Vergleichende Soziologie
Sigrid Quack, a sociologist with an interdisciplinary orientation, is broadly interested in the preconditions, actors and effects of the development of transnational institutions. Her research focuses on the constitution of epistemic and governance authority in cases of institution building characterized by the participation of private and civil society actors. She also studies the interplay of intended and emergent processes of institutionalization. Recent projects investigate the social and organizational practices that actors use to cope with regulatory uncertainties arising from the polycentric nature of transnational governance. Examples are projects on the organization of creative processes in the music and pharmaceutical industries in relation to intellectual property regulation; patterns of occupational mobility between NGOs in transnational labor markets; and recursive processes between rule-setting and the implementation of transnational standards and legal norms.
General research interests & fields
Globalization, transnational institution building, and institutional change
Epistemic and governance authority
Recursivity of transnational and international legal norms
Professions, expertise and transnational regulation
International standard setting (labour, environment, culture, finance)
Social and organizational practices of coping with regulatory uncertainty
Comparative economic and organizational sociology
Find more detailed insights via the following profiles:
Konstantin Hondros: "Composing for..." - The encryption of intellectual property regulations in musical artefacts (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
Laurens Lauer: Political Fact Checking around the world. (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
Markus Lang: Patent Professionalism: Transnational Governance and the Crisis of Abundance (IMPRS-SPCE)
Jan-Christoph Janssen: Success and Failure of Transnational Certification Schemes (CGS, Universität zu Köln)
Jiska Gogwczyk: Umweltschutzziele in katholischen Orden (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln)
Nicholas Otieno Awjang: Factors that Influence Citizens’ Participation in Devolved Funds in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya (DAAD, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 2017)
Ana Carolina Alfinito Vieira: Social Movements and Institutional Change: The Pro-Indigenous Struggle for Land Tenure and Citizenship in Brazil (1968-2016) (IMPRS SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2016)
Isabelle Reichert: Of Novels and Novelty – Status and Exploration im Literaturmarkt (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2015, second examiner). Published as „Der Status-Effekt“, Springer, 2017.
Anette Hübschle: A Game of Horns: Transnational Flows of Rhino Horn (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, second examiner)
Solomon Zori: International Financial Reporting Standards in Africa (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln)
Andreea Constantin: Attitudes Towards Gender Roles: Institutions, Culture or/and Individual Factors Shaping the Attitudes Towards Gender Roles? (Research Training Group „Social Order and Life Chances in Cross-National Comparison, Universität zu Köln, 2015, second examiner)
Philip Mader: Microfinance for Water and Sanitation: Social Dynamics in the Transnational Governance of Common Resources (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2012), Winner of the Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max Planck Society und first prize in the category of social sciences of the dissertation award 2013 of the Körber Foundation (Deutschen Studienpreises 2013 der Körber-Stiftung)
Liviu Mantescu: When Transnational Governance Hits the Ground: Conflicts between the European Natura 2000 Regulation and Community-based Institutions for Managing Natural Resources (IMPRS- SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2012)
Annette Reuter: Die Pfadabhängigkeit professioneller ärztlicher Routinen – Eine Verlaufsstudie zur Versorgung von Patienten mit Diabetes mellitus Typ II [Path dependency of professional routines of doctors – A case study of medical care for patients with Diabetes mellitus Type II] (DFG-Graduate School „Paths of organizational processes“, Freie Universität Berlin, 2012), Published as: „Ärztliche Verordnungspraktiken. Perspektiven am Beispiel der Diabetikerbehandlung.“ Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. 2014.
Sabrina Zajak: In the Shadow of the Dragon: Transnational Labor Activism between State and Private Politics (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2012), Published as “Transnational Activism, GlobalLlabor Governance, and China”. Palgrave 2017.
Elena Bogdanova: Valuing the Past: The Constitution of the Antiques Market in Russia. (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2011, second examiner)
Philipp Gerlach: Der Wert der Arbeitskraft. Bewertungsinstrumente und Auswahlpraktiken im Arbeitsmarkt für Ingenieure in Frankreich und Deutschland (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2011, second examiner). Published as: “Der Wert der Arbeitskraft. Bewertungsinstrumente und Auswahlpraktiken im Arbeitsmarkt für Ingenieure”. Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag, 2014.
Martin Schröder: Wie werden Interessen von moralischen Argumenten beeinflusst? Eine empirische Untersuchung, wie moralische Argumente die Formulierung und Durchsetzung wirtschaftlicher Interessen in Diskussionen um Produktionsverlagerungen beeinflussen (IMPRS-SPCE, Universität zu Köln, 2009, second examiner). Published as: „Die Macht moralischer Argumente. Produktionsverlagerungen zwischen wirtschaftlichen Interessen und gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung“. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2011; winner of the dissertation award of the publication series "Bürgergesellschaft und Demokratie" of VS publisher
Leonhard Dobusch: Weg vom Windows-Pfad: Vier Stadtverwaltungen zwischen Markt, Technologie und Organisation. (DFG-Graduate School „Paths of organizational processes“, Freie Universität Berlin, 2008, second examiner). Published as: „Windows versus Linux: Markt – Organisation – Pfad". Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2008; winner of the dissertation award of the Alcatel-Lucent-Stiftung für Kommunikationsforschung 2009
Jan Jacobs: Pfadkonkurrenz und Pfadinterferenz im organisationalen Wandel. Studienstruktur- und IT-Reformen in einer Universität (second examiner)
Elke Schüßler: Strategische Prozesse und Persistenzen: Pfadabhängige Organisation der Wertschöpfung in der Bekleidungsindustrie (DFG-Graduate School „Paths of organizational processes“, Freie Universität Berlin, 2008, second examiner). Published as: „Strategische Prozesse und Persistenzen: Pfadabhängige Organisation der Wertschöpfung in der Bekleidungsindustrie“. Stuttgart: Kolhammer, 2009; winner of the dissertation awards of the Wilhelm-Lorch-Stiftung and Society of Business History (Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte) 2009
External member of PhD dissertation committees
Lisa Kastner: “Restraining Regulatory Capture: An Empirical Examination of the Power of Weak Interests in Financial Reform”, Doctoral Thesis under the Cotutelle Program of Sciences Po and IMPRS-SPCE, Sciences Po and Universität zu Köln, defended 2016 (member of the jury and rapporteur)
Lasse Folke Hendriksen: “Knowing Networks Translating Expertise in Transnational Governance“, Doctoral School of Organisation, Management and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School, defended 2014 (member of the jury)
Carlos Ramirez: “Mondalisation et Profession Comptable“, Unversité Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, defended 2013 (member of the jury)
Eleni Tsingou: “Club Model Politics and Global Financial Governance – The Case of the Group of Thirty“, University of Amsterdam, defended 2013 (member of the jury)
Afshin Mehrpouya: “The Making of Meanings - the Role of Institutions and Actors in the co-construction of Field Level Interpretations and Meaning Systems“, Ecole Supérieur de Sciences Economique et Commerciale (ESSEC), Paris, defended 2011 (member of the jury)
Paul Lagneau-Ymonet: « Entre le maché et l’Etat, les agents de change. Une socio-histoire économique de l’intermeditaion officielle à la bourse de Paris”, Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Sciences Social (EHESS) Paris, defended 2009 (member of the jury)
Tamara Markova: “Institutional Change Processes under the Joined Impact of Government, Multinationals and Local Practices”, Unversity of Groningen, defended 2009 (member of the jury)
Karolina Windell: ”Corporate Social Responsibility under Construction: Ideas, Translations, and Institutional Change”, Upsalla University, defended 2006 (opponent)
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Organizing Creativity under Regulatory Uncertainty
Regulatory uncertainty related to intellectual property (IP) rights has become ubiquitous in creative and innovative processes. IP rights, which originally sought to promote creativity by granting copyrights and patents to creators, and thereby allowing them to form reliable expectations about future returns, are increasingly portrayed as a source of uncertainty. In this study, we examine how actors cope in practice with IP-related uncertainty throughout the creative process, thereby providing an empirical and conceptual micro-foundation of these countervailing forces.
Three phases constitute the research program: Firstly, mapping actor perceptions of and responses to IP-related uncertainty at field level. Research will focus on the strategies, practices, and interactions of key actors, both individual and corporate. Secondly, analyzing practices for dealing with IP-related regulatory uncertainty in creative projects through artefact biographies in terms of creation, distribution, and reception. Thirdly, identifying multi-level and intertemporal processes of reducing and inducing IP-related uncertainty by comparing and integrating the field- and project level data.
This study is part of the interdisciplinary DFG-funded research group “Organized Creativity” coordinated by Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow (Free University of Berlin) with a duration of three years. Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Sigrid Quack, University of Duisburg-Essen; Prof. Dr. Leonhard Dobusch, University of Innsbruck. Docs: Konstantin Hondros; Katharina Zangerle.
Contested Authority in Transnational Governance
Drawing on pragmatist traditions in the sociology of knowledge and organizations, the project will develop a theoretical framework for the study of the epistemic, organizational and institutional dimensions of authority in transnational governance. This framework will then serve to empirically analyze processes of contestation and learning between different organizations within a set of governance fields. In a further step, the project will develop a research design to study the role of international NGOs as brokers and intermediaries in processes of contestation and learning across different governance fields. The overall aim is to contribute to a better understanding of why certain organizations and/or fields develop along more inclusive or exclusive trajectories in terms of participation and to what effect cross-border contestation and learning by NGOs leads to more or less similarity between governance fields.
Social Services for Unaccompanied Minor Refugees: The Role of Interagency Cooperation
The integration of unaccompanied minor refugees in North Rhine-Westphalian educational system – a pilot study on the role of communal social services
As a result of wars and violent conflicts in some parts of the world, e.g. in Syria and Afghanistan, in 2015 large numbers of people fled from their country of origin to Europe, including Germany as a destination. Among these refugees there were also children who were looking for a way to Europa without their parents and relatives. These unaccompanied minor refugees have, like every other child or adolescent person in North Rhine-Westphalia, the right to get an education and got to fulfil their school obligations.
In this pilot study, which aims to prepare a research proposal for a larger research project, the objective is to examine how the cooperation between the federal state, public authorities and advanced youth assistance projects is organized in various municipalities of North Rhine-Westfalia. The integration of the unaccompanied minor refugees into the educational system will be considered through the perspective of preventive social policies as a cross-sectional task, which include different policy areas (e.g. the right of residence, education policy and youth welfare) and which play a major role regarding the cross-linking of various institutions. With the help of guideline-based interviews with experts in several institutions in selected municipalities it will be examined which processes stand behind the integration of unaccompanied minor refugees into the educational system in North Rhine-Westphalia and which chances and challenges will be faced in this important topic.
In the context of this project, BA Saskia Hollmann is conducting research for her master thesis in sociology.
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Trajectories of Transnational Governance
This project starts from the assumption that the transnational sphere is fertile ground for studying how institutions emerge and evolve in the face of strategic uncertainty, polyarchy, and a multiplicity of actors with different goals. Given such common conditions, why do transnational governance fields display highly differentiated trajectories in terms of their organizational forms and relational actor configurations? Why are there such varying degrees of democratic participation, public accountability, and institutional effectiveness? The project aims to develop a theoretical framework that focuses on the initial design, contestation, and responsiveness of governance organizations as well as on their relation to other actors within a specific field of rule-making. This conceptual work builds on a comparison of longitudinal studies on four fields, chosen to provide maximum variance in political salience and technical complexity: accounting standards, copyright rules, forest certification, and labor standards. The aim is to develop a theoretical typology of trajectories which are located on a continuum from monopolistic to pluralistic participation in governance.
Sigrid Quack; Project duration: April 2012 to December 2015.
Elites on Trial? The Design of Institutions, Industries, and Organizations
The international financial and European sovereign debts crises have resulted in a challenge to the power of economic and political elites. Against this background, this project critically engages with C. Wright Mills’ work on the power elite. Mills saw US society in the 1950s as being ruled by elitist circles who occupied power positions in large organizational bureaucracies located inside the power triangle of the economy, military, and politics. But over the past two decades, globalization, liberalization politics, and financialization have weakened elite networks spanning large corporations. This raises a number of questions about the relationships between elites and institutional design. What is the effect on power elites when national bureaucracies are being replaced by global networks and market relations? To what extent are elites still forming and reproducing within national contexts, and to what extent is a global elite emerging? In what ways do elites shape the design and development of national and international institutions and organizations, and to what degree are these being used to strategically influence industry? Finally, what organizational resources do elites use to maintain and defend their power in the face of crisis, challenges, and resistance from other groups in society, and what resources are their opponents able to mobilize? These questions were discussed by a group of 20 scholars from the US, Europe, Israel, and Asia at the EGOS Colloquium in Helsinki in July 2012. An edited volume of selected papers is currently being prepared and will be published as part of the “Sociology of Organizations” series.
Sigrid Quack, with Glenn Morgan (Cardiff Business School) and Paul Hirsch (Northwestern University); Project duration: July 2012 to February 2015.
Global-Local Interaction in Cross-Border Governance
Transnational institutional development, by definition, involves interaction between a diverse range of actors who are situated in local as well as global fields of action. This project addresses how different types of global–local interaction, such as trickle-down and trickle-up effects or recursive feedback, shape governance trajectories. The aim is to develop a theoretical framework to synthesize results from the research groups’ longitudinal and multi-level analyses in different governance fields. These fields include: accounting standards, copyright and patent regulation, forest certification, conservation rules, labor standards, and microfinance. Empirical studies of these fields are to be published in an edited volume.
Sigrid Quack and Olga Malets (Technische Universität München); Project duration: April 2012 to July 2014.
Transnational Politics of Professional Expertise: Convergence in International Accounting Standard Setting?
The criteria for performance evaluation, especially economic performance, have gained social and scholarly prominence in recent years. At the same time, valuation expertise has become highly political, particularly in transnational governance and policy making, an area often based on expert knowledge. This project explores the politics of professional expertise in the realm of international accounting standard setting. These standards are crucial for evaluating companies that operate in global markets; they also provide important indicators for monitoring and regulating financial markets. The financial crisis has sparked debate about the convergence of international accounting standards: the US GAAP and its transnational counterpart, the IFRS. Over the last ten years, convergence has been slow due to negotiations being wrought by power struggles between the US, the EU, and the BRICs, and complicated by conflicting expert views held by accountants, market operators, and regulators. How can accounting standards be reformed to balance market transparency and regulatory effectiveness? How can cooperation between standard setters and regulators be optimized? How should accounting standard setters be made accountable to the broader public? The project addresses these issues by analyzing expert interviews with key actors and publicly available documents on accounting standards in the banking sectors of the US and Europe, as well as reform proposals at the national, European, and international levels. The project explores how discussions and struggles between various expert groups with differing views of accounting, influence international reform.
Sigrid Quack and Paul Lagneau-Ymonet (IRISSO, Université Paris-Dauphine); Project duration: October 2012 to December 2013.
The Copyright Dispute: How New Transnational Actors and Standards Challenge Established International Control Regimes
n light of the growing economic importance of knowledge and of the technological change brought about by the Internet, regulating property and usage rights to intangible goods has become an increasingly contentious transnational issue. Recently, transnational counter-movements by non-governmental actors (such as NGOs) have emerged that propagate private standards of licensing with more generous rights of use. They criticize the asymmetrically restrictive copyright provisions that neglect the character of intellectual property as collective property and deplore the unused potential of current information and communication technologies to produce and distribute digitized goods. From the perspective of transnational institution-building, questions arise as to whether and how private forms of regulation can prevail, either in addition to or in place of established regulation, and what types of transnational organization can be involved. These questions will be addressed using the "Creative Commons" project as a case study. "Creative Commons" seeks to offer a multifaceted, internationally standardized array of alternative copyright licenses. A further goal of the project is to explore whether social movement and civil society actors’ demands for a modernisation of protection and usage rights spill over into European and international negotiations regarding copyright regulation.
Sigrid Quack and Leonhard Dobusch (Freie Universität Berlin); Project duration: March 2007 to December 2013.
In addition to international organizations and global networks, the literature refers increasingly to transnational communities as actors setting transboundary rules and standards. This project aims to publish a critical, empirical, and conceptual examination of the concept of "transnational communities" and to develop it further. Transnational communities are social groups with a minimum of subjective and objective communitarization transcending the borders of national societies. The essays in the forthcoming edited volume examine the extent to which transnational communities have actually developed in the current phase of globalization, what distinguishes them from other communities, and their impact on structures of coordination and governance. The editors analyze these questions in cooperation with an international team of authors that includes members of professional, special interest and discourse communities that are transnational.
Sigrid Quack and Marie-Laure Djelic (ESSEC Business School Paris); Project duration: July 2007 to June 2010.
Law and Legitimacy
While the legitimacy of law in the nation-state context has been closely linked to state authority, the recognition of and compliance to legal norms in the transnational realm are based on much more complex interactions between private and public actors. As a rule, transnational law consists of fragmented and often overlapping control systems in which various actors lay claim to the power to define and implement. How and under what conditions do legal standards and norms achieve legitimacy in a context characterized by both institutional and decision-making ambiguity? Is legal legitimacy based on principles of democratic representativity or the expertise of private actors? Or is the compliance and implementation of transnational legal norms more a question of exerting power? This theory-oriented project treats these and related questions in a discussion of concepts from political science, sociology, and law. The project is divided into two parts. For the first part, labeled "Commercial Law as an Institution to Coordinate Action," a systematic analysis of the literature was conducted. The results were published in a contribution to the "Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis." In the second part, scholars from several disciplines compared various concepts of legitimacy at an international meeting on the topic "Law and Legitimacy in the Governance of Transnational Economic Relations" in June 2008. The special issue of the Socio-Economic Review that emerged from this meeting systematizes this comparison and suggests a typology for the legitimacy of law in the transnational context.
Sigrid Quack; Project duration: October 2007 to September 2010.
Organizational reforms and gender regimes in Finnish and German banks
Women in Decision-Making in Finance in the European Union
This study on "Women in Decision-Making in Finance" was undertaken by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforchung and focuses on the position of women in decision-making of political institutions in the financial sector of the European Union. It covers finance ministries, central banks, banking supervisory institutions and sectoral interest associations at the level of the 15 Member States as well as the European Central Bank, European investment banks and interest associations which have emerged over recent years at European level.
Sigrid Quack, Bob Hancké; Laufzeit: 1995-1997.
Bankdienstleistungen für Klein- und Mittelbetriebe in Großbritannien, Frankreich und Deutschland
Eurobanking. Betriebliche Reorganisation von Banken in Großbritannien, Frankreich und Deutschland
Globalisierung und verschärfter internationaler Wettbewerb sind nicht mehr länger auf den Produktionssektor beschränkt, sondern betreffen zunehmend auch den Dienstleistungsbereich. Im Mittelpunkt des Projektfeldes stand deshalb die Frage, wie Finanzdienstleistungsunternehmen in verschiedenen europäischen Staaten ihre Unternehmensstrategien an veränderten Wettbewerbsbedingungen ausrichten und welche Implikationen dies für Organisation und Beschäftigung in diesem Wirtschaftssektor hat. Im Rahmen von intensiven Fallstudien in französischen, britischen und deutschen Banken wurden betriebliche Reorganisationsprozesse und Veränderungen der Beschäftigungsstruktur untersucht. Darüber hinaus wurde die institutionelle Dimension von Finanzmärkten am Beispiel der Bankdienstleistungen für Klein- und Mittelbetriebe im Drei-Länder-Vergleich herausgearbeitet. Auswirkungen veränderter Kontextbedingungen auf betriebliche Reaktionsformen und organisationsinterne Lernprozesse wurden in zwei intensiven Fallstudien deutscher Versicherungsunternehmen analysiert. Anhand einer europaweiten Befragung von Banken sowie vertiefender Fallstudien in deutschen und finnischen Banken konnten die Implikationen betrieblicher Reorganisationsprozesse für das Geschlechterverhältnis, und insbesondere für die unterschiedlichen Karriereverläufe und Beschäftigungsentwicklung von Frauen und Männern, aufgezeigt werden.
Sigrid Quack, Swen Hildebrandt; KooperationspartnerInnen: Dr. Jacqueline O'Reilly, WZB; Dr. Glenn Morgan, Warwick University, Großbritannien; Laufzeit: 1993-1998.
Internationalisierung von Dienstleistungsintermediären
Das Projekt fokussiert die Internationalisierung von wissensintensiven Dienstleistungsintermediären am Beispiel von Rechtsanwaltskanzleien und Wirtschaftsprüfungsfirmen. Das Erkenntnisinteresse richtet sich dabei auf ein besseres Verständnis von Prozessen der Ko-Evolution, die durch die wechselseitige Beeinflussung von institutionellen Bedingungen und Akteurshandeln gekennzeichnet sind. Insbesondere geht es um die Analyse internationaler und transnationaler Norm- und Regelsetzung durch öffentliche und/oder private Akteure (z.B. Entwicklung des europäischen Wettbewerbsrechts, Entwicklung internationaler Wirtschaftsprüfungsstandards (IAS)) sowie der Internationalisierung wissensbasierter Dienstleistungsintermediäre (organisiert als Unternehmen, Unternehmens- und Expertennetzwerke). Das Projekt zielt darauf ab, einen problemorientierten Beitrag zu den Diskursen über die zunehmende Bedeutung von - auch ökonomisch motivierter - Selbstregulierung jenseits der Nationalstaaten und die dadurch entstehenden Herausforderungen an die Handlungsfähigkeit nationaler Politik zu leisten.
Sigrid Quack, Sebastian Botzern; Kooperationspartner: Marie-Laure Djelic (Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, ESSEC) und Glenn Morgan (Warwick University).