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CNEE Virtual Panel Keynote

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time)

Event Details

The Centre for Networks and Enterprise Excellence (CNEE), Heriot-Watt University, is hosting a virtual panel keynote. All are welcome, so please circulate to anyone who may be interested.

The panel keynote will be delivered by  Professor Mark Mizruchi (University of Michigan) on “Big Business and Political Power : The Benefits of Fragmentation”, and the panel will consist of Professor Bruce Cronin (University of Greenwich), Dr E.M. Heemskerk (University of Amsterdam) and Dr Catherine Comet (Université de Lille). This event will be held on Wednesday 12th May at 14:00 (BST). Please see below for more information.

To sign up, please go to our Eventbrite page: 

Virtual Panel - 12 May 2021 at 14:00 (BST)

The event will be held on Zoom and a link will be sent out to those who have signed up on Eventbrite.


Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or require any further information.



Keynote speaker:

Prof. Mark Mizruchi (University of Michigan)



Professor Bruce Cronin (University of Greenwich)

Dr E.M. Heemskerk (University of Amsterdam)

Dr Catherine Comet (Université de Lille)


Big Business and Political Power : The Benefits of Fragmentation


It is broadly accepted among political scientists, political sociologists, and social movement theorists that a unified group will have a higher probability of success than a group that experiences internal divisions or fragmentation. Similarly, it has been assumed that in a society with a relatively unified elite, the elite will experience disproportionately high benefits relative to the larger population. I take issue with this claim. In the mid-twentieth century, large American corporations exhibited a relatively high level of unity but the relative economic benefits accruing to the elite were at historic lows. In more recent years, American big business has become increasingly fragmented, yet the economic benefits that these elites have received have reached historic highs, and the average American’s standard of living has stagnated. Drawing on Padgett and Ansell, I introduce the concept of inadvertent robust action to explain how a relatively fragmented, disorganized elite can reap benefits that exceed those that its more unified counterparts experienced in an earlier era.