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Member Spotlight: Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro, recipients of the 2022 George R. Terry Book Award

28 Nov 2022
"This book was an opportunity to help people see power differently, not just as a blunt tool reserved for the privileged few, or as a dirty business that one should stay away from, but also as energy for everyone to harness to make our life, work, and society better."
Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro

The winner of the 2022 George R. Terry Book Award is Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business, authored by Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro. Power, for All is a democratizing vision of power that the authors hope will enable people of all kinds to harness their power to make life, work, and society better.

Over the past twenty years, Julie and Tiziana have been studying and teaching power dynamics at Harvard University and the University of Toronto, researching the politics of change in organizations and society, and advising leaders, organizations, and change makers across sectors around the world. Julie and Tiziana interviewed over 100 people for their take on power to write this book.

“While we continue to be inspired by all these change makers who aspire to make a positive difference, we came to realize that one of the reasons why people fail to have impact is because they misunderstand power. And over time, a disturbing pattern became evident to us: Across the board, we found that power was still largely misunderstood.”

Power, for All works to dispel common misconceptions around power and who has it. The book brings the topic of power back into the field of organization studies, where the authors felt it had slowly moved away from in the past few years.

“We must join the vibrant and vital discussion on building organizations and societies that are fairer and more democratic at a time when power concentration and authoritarianism are on the rise. Our hope is that Power, for All can play a role in bringing this change about.”

While scholarship on power often focuses solely on power in one realm—at work, or within specific organizations and industries—Julie and Tiziana instead took a broader approach. They linked power dynamics within an organization to both the macro dynamics in society and the micro dynamics of person’s psychological experience. They describe the ambition of their account of power as equal parts exhilarating and frightening as it demanded that they represent faithfully and comprehensively the work of social scientists far and wide.

Tiziana Casciaro is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Marcel Desautels in Integrative Thinking at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto. Originally from Italy, Tiziana received her BA in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, and her MS and PhD in Organization Science and Sociology from Carnegie Mellon University. Before joining the University of Toronto, she served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School.

Tiziana is what she calls “allergic to both directions of dependence”: Not wanting to be too reliant on others, and not wanting to wield power over others either.

“Studying power has taught me that most people thrive in being mutually dependent on others. That interdependence, when we embrace it, is where the best things that humanity does come from.”

Tiziana traces her interest in studying power to one unforgettable moment in her scholarly training: the late Jerry Salancik explaining to his PhD class the basics of resource dependence theory. Since then, she has wanted to share his insight with others who need emancipation from a condition of dependence and power disadvantage. Her research has since been featured in The Economist, the Financial Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, CBC, Fortune and TIME magazine.

She has won the 2015 Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior Award from the Organizational Behavior Division, the Academy of Management Proceedings Best Paper Award for the Organization and Management Theory Division in 2013, 2010, and 2007, and the 2003 Glueck Best Paper Award from the Strategic Management Division (formerly the Business, Policy, and Strategy Division). Julie Battilana is a professor of Organizational Behavior and Social Innovation at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, where she is also the founder and faculty chair of the Social Innovation and Change Initiative. Originally from France, she received a joint PhD from INSEAD and École Normale Supérieure de Paris-Saclay and now resides in Belmont, Massachusetts. She became inspired to study economics, sociology, and management during her time in Marseille, France upon observing the power differences within that society.

Julie first joined AOM as a doctoral student, at the suggestion of her colleague Metin Sengul.

“AOM was invaluable in that it helped focus and clarify my thinking through a variety of workshops and panels that I was able to participate in. In the later stages of my career, I find that AOM serves as a great opportunity to remain in touch with a vibrant community of scholars, and to be connected to the newest generation of management scholars, who represent the future of our field.”

In 2022, Julie was named an Academy of Management Fellow. She was the winner of the 2019 Academy of Management Annals Decade Award alongside Bernard Leca and Eva Boxenbaum for the 2009 paper with the most citations, "How Actors Change Institutions: Towards a Theory of Institutional Entrepreneurship."

Upon winning the award, the two had to say:

“Winning the 2022 Terry Book Award meant so much to us. It told us that our peers valued the breadth of our approach and appreciated its depth, too. It reassured us that the stories we told succeeded in bringing to life the academic research we drew from. And it validated the democratizing view of power at the heart of this book. It is a joy to know that we hit the mark in the eyes of colleagues we hold in the highest esteem. We are so thankful to have had the book recognized by our peers, and we hope that this will help spread the ideas within it to more people who are trying to better understand how power works and how to leverage it for positive impact at home, in the workplace, and in the world more broadly.”

The George R. Terry Book Award is granted annually to the book judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the global advancement of management knowledge during the last two years. Books that contribute to the advancement of management theory, conceptualization, research, or practice are eligible for this prestigious award. To be considered for this award, submissions must be authored books (not edited books or textbooks) published within the preceding two years.

Watch the award presentation here.