IN BRIEF

MM headshot

I study and teach about institutional governance, at the University of Pittsburgh.

Institutional governance means how (and why, and when) the communicative practices of a diverse world are embodied in durable institutional and organizational forms. When and how and why are those institutions beneficial? When are they costly, or harmful?

Stripped of academic jargon, that adds up to learning how social systems form and survive over time, given inevitable differences among individuals and groups. Academic disciplines. Scientific communities. Genres and styles in the arts. Open source collectives. Urban agglomerations, neighborhoods, and small towns. Fandom in the arts and in sports. Community volunteerism.

How do we get more of the good systems and get rid of the bad ones? And how do we tell the one from the other? How do law and governance glue us together, shaping the institutions of social life?

I got my start in law, decades ago, as a corporate and commercial lawyer. Eventually I worked my way into a practice area that focused on problems facing technology clients in Silicon Valley. When I left law practice and became a law professor, I set myself up as an intellectual property and technology law researcher and teacher.

Intellectual property (IP) law is about the social dimensions of knowledge; it’s part of “governance” of cultural and social life.

Researching institutional governance means that I look at lots of different things, to understand their similarities and differences. The organization of global football (soccer, to many) has something important in common with the rise of “Big Data”; with the history of research science; with post-industrial urbanism; with fair use in copyright law, the arts, and computer networks; and with modern leadership and management practices.

Welcome! Have a look around.

For a detailed biography and CV, click here.