Weekly Memos

Weekly memos are 40% of the grade. Students must submit a 3-5 page memo for each class. In the memo, the students should discuss at least three of the readings for a given week. The topic and organization of the memos are given below. Students should also prepare 4-5 transparencies and be prepared to lead a portion of the class discussion based on their memo. Ten memos will be required during the course (which leaves one free week).

In approaching the required readings and in writing memos on the starred readings, I recommend that you organize your thoughts in terms of the following questions (some of which will be more or less relevant depending on the readings):

  1. Motivation: Why do the authors think that their topic or question is important? What does the author (implicitly or explicitly) regard as incomplete in existing research such that his or her research constitutes a significant contribution? How is the motivation provided by the various others similar or different to each other?
  2. Theory: What distinguishes the theoretical viewpoint of the authors under consideration? What causal mechanism or mechanisms do the authors focus on and why? What are the potential advantages of a given focus and what are the drawbacks?
  3. Evidence: What types of evidence do the authors bring to bear to support their argument? Which sorts of analyses do you find most compelling and why?
  4. Big Picture: To what extent do you regard this reading as making a significant contribution to the larger questions that animate research in the "sociology of strategy?" How could the work have made a bigger contribution?