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Coordination Neglect: How Lay Theories of Organizing Complicate Coordination in Organizations

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Abstract

We argue that organizations often fail to organize effectively because individuals have lay theories about organizing that lead to coordination neglect. We unpack the notion of coordination neglect and describe specific cognitive phenomena that underlie it. To solve the coordination problem, organizations must divide a task and then integrate the components. Individuals display shortcomings that may create problems at both stages. First, lay theories often focus more on division of labor than on integration. We discuss evidence that individuals display partition focus (i.e. they focus on partitioning the task more than on integration) and component focus (i.e. they tend to focus on single components of a tightly interrelated set of capabilities, particularly by investing to create highly specialized components). Second, when individuals attempt to integrate components of a task, they often fail to use a key mechanism for integration: ongoing communication. Individuals exhibit inadequate communication because the ‘curse of knowledge’ makes it difficult to take the perspective of another and communicate effectively. More importantly, because specialists find it especially difficult to communicate with specialists in other areas, the general problem of communication will often be compounded by insufficient translation.

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... To examine the dynamics of team coordination, we embed this game in a repeated framework with recurring interactions between team members. Following the literature on coordination in organizations (e.g., Aggarwal et al., 2011;Cyert and March, 1963;Heath and Staudenmeyer, 2000;March and Simon, 1958), we only require team members to be boundedly rational. They may have limited foresight and capability to process information, and may occasionally experiment or make mistakes. ...
... Following a long line of organizational and strategy literature (e.g., Aggarwal et al., 2011;Cyert and March, 1963;Heath and Staudenmeyer, 2000;March and Simon, 1958;Williamson, 1985), we allow for agents that are boundedly rational. However, the number of ways agents' rationality may be bounded is very large (e.g., Stango and Zinman, 2020), and there is no agreed upon model of belief formation in coordination games (Faillo et al., 2017). ...
... Examining models that do not take the team and the communication routines as given, but instead examine team formation and choice of routines would also be interesting. The importance of communication routines for efficient team coordination may be one explanation of why interorganizational collaborations -an example of team formation which is often characterized by both high task interdependence and lack of communication routines -are often fraught with coordination failures (e.g., Heath and Staudenmeyer, 2000;Hoopes and Postrel, 1999;Zollo et al., 2002). ...
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Team collaborations in which each member’s output is critical to the overall success present organizations with difficult coordination problems. Despite the need for communication in such situations, team members often fail to share essential information. To examine why team communication and coordination fail, we develop a formal model with boundedly rational team members that links team size with the incentives to coordinate and the costs of communication. We show that even very small communication costs are enough to offset the expected individual benefit of sharing information with the team. Absent effective routines, the least efficient outcome is the most likely in the short and long run. Further, simulations lend support to a number of organizational routines and responses: mandating communication improves coordination and more so if the mandate recurs periodically. Increasing the incentives to coordinate is more important than subsidizing communication costs, which often adds little value unless the subsidies cover the costs completely. The results match a broad range of findings from the experimental and organizational literature, help to explain and provide a theoretical foundation for why team collaborations involving several organizational units often fail, and suggest new tests for promising communication routines.
... Coordination can be viewed as the resolution of intraorganizational goal conflict (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967a) and an organization can achieve this by managing dependencies between activities (Malone and Crowston, 1994). Typically, organizations create specialist functions to carry out these activities when the organizational task is complex (Galbraith, 1974;Grant, 1996;Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). This increases the productivity or effectiveness of these individual functions but the specialists may focus more on partitioning the task than they do on integrating it, or they neglect the interrelationships and interactions among components (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). ...
... Typically, organizations create specialist functions to carry out these activities when the organizational task is complex (Galbraith, 1974;Grant, 1996;Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). This increases the productivity or effectiveness of these individual functions but the specialists may focus more on partitioning the task than they do on integrating it, or they neglect the interrelationships and interactions among components (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). Hence, the importance of coordination increases as organizations become reliant on interdisciplinary teams of specialists (Grant, 1996;Faraj and Xiao, 2006). ...
... To aid coordination, interactions between members in organizations can help provide clear signals about tasks, behaviors, and expectations of their roles as well as the roles of others and the relationships between them (Bechky, 2006). Some organizations may use "human integrators" (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967b), "liaisons" (Galbraith, 1974) or "boundary spanners" (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000) to act as intermediaries between interdependent adjacent functions in the value chain. Hierarchy can also be an efficient mechanism for coordinating a system comprising multiple specialized units but it is restricted by the size of the team and is less feasible in knowledge-based firms (Grant, 1996). ...
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... As it pertains to our framework, and drawing from competencebased theories of the firm (e.g., Hamel, 1990;Sanchez & Heene, 1997), the condition of competence refers to the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to execute tasks that support strategic objectives. These competencies are akin to "operational capabilities" described by Helfat and Winter (2011) in that they are not dynamic in nature. ...
... As a central purpose in organizations, coordination is at the core of organizational design theory and is a key source of organizational productivity and efficiency (Andres & Zmud, 2002;Sirmon, Hitt, & Ireland, 2007). While commitment addresses the problem of motivational alignment to reach common strategic goals (an agency problem), coordination is focused on the alignment of actions (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Coordination theory is critical to the effective design of SI processes and the management of dependencies, tasks, and resources involved in the process (Crowston, 1997). ...
... For example, it has been reported that political behavior reduces comprehensiveness of implementation efforts (Elbanna & Fadol, 2016) and limits SI success (Lampaki & Papadakis, 2018). Finally, research on organizational design theory (e.g., Galbraith, 1977;Thompson, 1967), which some believe has naively fallen out of favor (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000), could provide further insights regarding structural managerial actions and their impact on organizational coordination. ...
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Effective strategy implementation is a critical component of organizational success and a potential source of competitive advantage. However, despite many calls for increased attention, research on the subject remains a disparate constellation of recommendations, case studies, and empirical work that provides insight but lacks a cohesive framework. As a result, strategy research most often treats implementation as a black box and overlooks sources of performance heterogeneity derived from differences in strategy implementation effectiveness. To improve our understanding of the strategy implementation process, and to promote its inclusion in strategy research, the authors systematically review and synthesize findings in the extant strategy implementation literature to abductively derive an integrative framework comprised of three components: (1) actions through which managers influence the implementation process, (2) conditions necessary for strategy implementation effectiveness, and (3) the underlying dynamic managerial capabilities to create the best possible combination of conditions by enacting the most appropriate managerial actions. By explaining the relationships among these three components, we provide an introductory foundational framework on which to build future knowledge about this important field of inquiry.
... IS and organizational researchers are increasingly observing that emerging digital phenomena "question the explanatory power and usefulness of extant theory… [and that theoretical] assumptions are increasingly being challenged" (Nambisan, Lyytinen, Majchrzak, & Song, 2017, p. 223-225). In particular, it appears that the process of coordination, which concerns the alignment of action in the face of interdependence (Bechky, 2003(Bechky, , 2006Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000;Mintzberg, 1979;Okhuysen & Bechky, 2009;Srikanth & Puranam, 2014), is being radically transformed. New digital phenomena, such as digital platforms that "invert the firm" (Parker, Van Alstyne, & Choudary, 2016) render organizational coordination mechanisms obsolete, while machine learning algorithms and autonomous agents that automate and augment tasks (Rai, Constantinides, & Sarker, 2019) trigger changes in the ways organizational activities are aligned. ...
... The prevailing metaphor in the literature is that coordination problems reflect how an overarching task or problem is broken down; we call it, the "flipside metaphor". An excerpt from Heath and Staudenmayer (2000), succinctly illustrates this metaphor: ...
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Identifying and revising outdated theoretical assumptions and metaphors is crucial to build new theory about emerging digitally-enabled coordination phenomena. Based on an extensive review of the extant coordination literature, however, we find that the majority of published manuscripts in top IS and management journals has adopted the well-known and understood (by authors, editors and reviewers alike) strategies of "gap-spotting", i.e., pointing at gaps in knowledge, and/or "theory-borrowing", i.e., borrowing unfamiliar theories from a different discipline, to construct and legitimize contributions. Hardly any manuscript has systematically used a problematization strategy, i.e. a theory-building strategy that focuses on explicating and revising underlying theoretical assumptions. To improve the explicit and systematic use of problematization, we do two things. First, we distinguish between phenomenon-driven and theory-driven problematization and hence outline options for how researchers could adopt the former. Second, we explicitly problematize the extant coordination literature. We show that, in contrast to its alternatives, problematization helps coordination researchers identify and address the limits of existing theoretical metaphors, which are dominant in the literature.
... Distributing tasks across teams offers the promise of specialized expertise or focused effort to solve distinct elements of a larger and more complex problem, but the overall benefit to the system can only be realized if members effectively coordinate both within and across team boundaries. Doing so is especially difficult for MTSs because structural and psychological barriers emerging from a division of labor, specialization of expertise, and unique priorities stymie the flow of information between teams (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). As a function of these barriers, scholars have highlighted interteam coordination, in particular, as a primary contributor to the success or failure of MTSs (e.g., DeChurch & Marks, 2006;Firth, Hollenbeck, Miles, Ilgen, & Barnes, 2015). ...
... The dearth of research on informal mechanisms in the MTS literature and the relatively pessimistic view of their system-level effects is perplexing given broader theory and research on coordination in knowledge-based work (e.g., Faraj & Xiao, 2006;Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000;Van de Ven et al., 1976). Outside the MTS literature, informal mechanisms have been viewed as essential for enabling coordination for information-intensive collective tasks-tasks for which "coordination is less dependent on structural arrangements and more contingent on knowledge integration" (Faraj & Xiao, 2006: 1155. ...
Article
Due to their distinctive features, multiteam systems (MTSs) face significant coordination challenges—both within component teams and across the larger system. Despite the benefits of informal mechanisms of coordination for knowledge-based work, there is considerable ambiguity regarding their effects in MTSs. To resolve this ambiguity, we build and test theory about how interpersonal interactions among MTS members serve as an informal coordination mechanism that facilitates team and system functioning. Integrating MTS research with insights from the team boundary spanning literature, we argue that the degree to which MTS members balance their interactions with members of their own component team (i.e., intrateam interactions) and with the members of other teams in the system (i.e., inter-team interactions) shapes team- and system-level performance. The findings of a multimethod study of 44 MTSs composed of 295 teams and 930 people show that as inter-team interactions exceed intrateam interactions, team conflict rises and detracts from component team performance. At the system level, balance between intra- and inter-team interactions enhances system success. Our findings advance understanding of MTSs by highlighting how informal coordination mechanisms enable MTSs to overcome their coordination challenges and address the unique performance tension between component teams and the larger system.
... Thus, collaboration implies the alignment of actor actions to achieve goals jointly (coordination), as well as the alignment of interests between the agents involved, that is, relational aspects of collaboration (cooperation) Knez, 1996, 1997;Foss, 2001;Gulati et al., 2012;Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). According to domain membership theory (Ting, 2011), the social alignment component is intangible and subjective, since it is based on perceptions. ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to test hypothesized relationships within and between the domains of action and social alignment based on a sales perspective in business relationships. Design/methodology/approach This study is based on a cross-industrial sample of Norwegian companies consisting of 213 key informants corresponding to a valid response rate of 40.7 percent. Findings The findings validate that coordination relates positively to economic satisfaction (ES); coordination does not relate to non-economic satisfaction (NES); coordination relates positively to cooperation; cooperation relates positively NES; and cooperation mediates between ES and NES. Research limitations/implications This study tests and successfully validates an action and social alignment model based on a sales perspective in seller business relationships, providing additional insights into the field of relationship quality and the sales literature. Suggestions for further research are provided. Practical implications According to sales practitioners, the research model makes sense in relation to managerial implications for seller business relationships. Originality/value This study contributes to incorporating a seller perspective in relation to existing theory and previous studies on a buyer perspective to quality constructs in business relationships.
... Coordination is hampered by departmental and occupational silos (Powell & Davies, 2012;Garman et al., 2006;Mintzberg & Glouberman, 2001), team temporality (Andreatta, 2010), intergroup conflict (Hewett et al., 2009), role (mis)perceptions (Fried & Leatt, 1986), professional identity threat (Mitchell et al., 2011), and conflicting professional logics (Scott et al., 2000;Batista et al., 2016). These factors in turn incentivize personnel in organizationscontrary to the growing need for coordination -to focus on partitioning work tasks rather than on how to coordinate work across boundaries, and drive a focus on single components than on all the tightly interrelated set of capabilities required to solve a particular task (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Furthermore, contemporary hospitals implement IT-based solutions (e.g., electronic patient records) to support the coordination needs, but typically with little consideration of the possible 'side-effect' that IT simultaneously changes the enactment of frontline proximity and interactions (Broome & Adams, 2005). ...
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate frontline meetings in hospitals and how they are used for coordination of daily operations across organizational and occupational boundaries. Design/methodology/approach An in-depth multiple-case study of four purposefully selected departments from four different hospitals is conducted. The selected cases had actively developed and embedded scheduled meetings as structural means to achieve coordination of daily operations. Findings Health care professionals and managers, next to their traditional mono-professional meetings (e.g. doctors or nurses), develop additional operational, daily meetings such as work-shift meetings, huddles and hand-off meetings to solve concrete care tasks. These new types of meetings are typically short, task focussed, led by a chair and often inter-disciplinary. The meetings secure a personal proximity which the increased dependency on hospital-wide IT solutions cannot. During meetings, objects and representations (e.g. monitors, whiteboards or paper cards) create a needed gathering point to span across boundaries. As regards embedding meetings, local engagement helps contextualizing meetings and solving concrete care tasks, thereby making health care professionals more likely to value these daily meeting spaces. Practical implications Health care professionals and managers can use formal meeting spaces aided by objects and representations to support solving daily and interdependent health care tasks in ways that IT solutions in hospitals do not offer today. Implementation requires local engagement and contextualization. Originality/value This research paper shows the importance of daily, operational hospital meetings for frontline coordination. Organizational meetings are a prevalent collaborative activity, yet scarcely researched organizational phenomenon.
... In particular, Schelling informally 1 The theory of the firm considers coordination problems one of two main organizational hurdles (the other being the much more studied "agency problem": Milgrom and Roberts, 1992;Camerer and Knez, 1997). It has been suggested that the coordination problem of organizations is inherently due to people's cognitive limitations, in the sense that individuals often lack a common understanding of the tasks they need to integrate and coordinate upon (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). This line of research implies that agents come to develop a different understanding of their tasks as a result of a different focus or experience; different viewpoints may in turn imply different solutions to an identical or similar task (von Hippel, 1990;Weber and Camerer, 2003;Okhuysen and Bechky, 2009). ...
Article
We investigate how a player’s strategic behavior is affected by the set of notions she uses in thinking about the game, i.e., the “frame”. To do so, we consider matching games where two players are presented with a set of objects, from which each player must privately choose one (with the goal of matching the counterpart’s choice). We propose a novel theory positing that different player types are aware of different attributes of the strategy options, hence different frames; we then rationalize why differences in players’ frames may lead to differences in choice behavior. Unlike previous theories of framing, our model features an epistemic structure allowing for the case in which an individual learns new frames, given some initial unawareness (of the fact that her perception of attributes may be incomplete). To test our model, we introduce an experimental design in which we bring about different frames by manipulating subjects’ awareness of various attributes. The experimental results provide strong support for our theory.
... Second, collaboration can also be impeded by knowledge and its associated coordination problems. Differences in what people know and believe, or, knowledge gaps, can lead to breakdowns in collaboration even when everybody is highly motivated to contribute to a good collective outcome (Schelling, 1980;Camemer and Knez, 1996;Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). Both sets of challenges may co-exist, with one magnifying the other (Kogut and Metiu, 2001). ...
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To appear in Snow & Fjeldstad (Eds.) Designing Modern Organizations.
... Comme le soulignent Wolbers, Deux grandes approches dans la littérature sur la coordination semblent avoir émergé pour analyser la manière dont différentes trajectoires d'action interdépendantes peuvent être synchronisées. La première met l'accent sur les logiques d'intégration et la structure centralisée de la coordination(Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000) pour assurer la cohésion et l'efficacité d'un ensemble d'actions et d'activités. La deuxième montre que la coordination peut aussi être d'une nature fragmentée(Faraj & Xiao, 2006;Schakel, Van Fenema, & Faraj, 2016 ;Wolbers et al., 2018), où chaque partie devient responsable de sa propre contribution et une pluralité d'interprétations coexistent, s'opposant ainsi à la perspective dominante et intégrative de la première approche. ...
Thesis
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L’accélération et l’intensification du rythme de l’innovation sont des traits majeurs des mutations contemporaines. Cette évolution de fond oblige les organisations à faire évoluer leurs modèles et dispositifs de gestion pour être résilientes dans le temps, en développant une capacité à renouveler fréquemment tout à la fois leurs compétences, produits, services et même modèles d’affaires. Or, tant d’un point de vue théorique que pratique, la manière dont se développe une telle capacité reste relativement peu comprise et étudiée, de même que les enjeux que sa mise en œuvre soulève. Pour commencer à apporter des éléments de réponse à ces questions, cette thèse interroge les modalités d’émergence et d’organisation d’une forme d’organisation adaptée à un régime d’innovation intensive pour des populations de concepteurs expérimentés. C’est-à-dire pour des collectifs d’employés qui ont la particularité d’être à la fois très autonomes, très qualifiés et d’avoir le métier de concevoir et de créer des connaissances, des produits, des méthodes et des procédés nouveaux. Notre travail s’appuie pour cela sur une ethnographie de près de trois ans au sein de l’Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ), qui a voulu développer des capacités d’innovation qui pourraient convenir à la nouvelle réalité de l’industrie de l’énergie en réponse à une multitude d’avancées technologiques et de l’apparition de nouveaux joueurs dans une industrie autrefois très centralisée. Travaillant sur un certain nombre d’enjeux et de limites qui n’avaient pas ou peu été vraiment abordé par les auteurs en management de l’innovation à partir d’anomalies détectées sur le terrain, notre recherche nous a amenés à conceptualiser et à caractériser un nouveau modèle d’organisation pour l’innovation adapté à ces collectifs de concepteurs expérimentés que nous avons appelés la fonction d’innovation disséminée. Une forme d’organisation a la particularité de laisser beaucoup d’autonomie pour renouveler les voies d’explorations et les territoires d’actions aux individus et aux collectifs qui la compose. Au-delà de ce travail de caractérisation, cette démarche nous a permis de dégager deux grands résultats principaux pour répondre aux deux grandes questions adressées par cette thèse : Comment faire émerger une fonction d’innovation disséminée ? Quels dispositifs pour coordonner et organiser de manière pérenne une fonction d’innovation disséminée ? 1) Notre étude permet premièrement de mieux saisir les enjeux de la dissémination d’une fonction d’innovation et de travailler sur les conditions initiales permettant son émergence, notamment en montrant les effets que des dispositifs comme la formation à des méthodes d’innovation peuvent induire. De plus, elle permet de préciser les tensions et les limites que peut rencontrer un tel modèle pouvant créer de l’anxiété et de l’ambigüité, demandant de repenser les leviers de coordination de l’organisation. 2) Dans un contexte de plus en plus fréquent où l’action collective nécessite une coordination du travail entre des domaines, très différents et sujets à évoluer dans le temps, avec des concepteurs expérimentés très autonomes au sein de leur champ d’expertise, la thèse permet de discuter des dispositifs et des rôles de gestion aux frontières permettant de dépasser le dilemme coordination-autonomie. Elle met notamment en évidence qu’une telle gestion aux frontières nécessite le déploiement de trois grandes fonctions - une fonction instrumentale, une fonction symbolique, une fonction politique.
... If the knowledge is tacit, as in the case of biodiversity, relational collaboration may facilitate knowledge sharing. Heath and Staudenmayer (2000) have highlighted that successful collaboration requires both the ability to collaborate (coordination) and the willingness to collaborate (cooperation). Tee, Davies and White (2019) observe that modular collaboration enhances collaboration but harms cooperation because it emphasizes specialization between modules. ...
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Private sector collaboration for sustainable development remains a “black box” in terms of collaborative governance mechanisms: the specific arrangements or types of collaboration used by multiple actors to come together and implement and oversee rules to align their efforts towards shared goals. Therefore, a theoretical framework is needed to guide the design of collaborative efforts towards the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) . We address such a need, using a systematic literature review to conceptualize the main dimensions of collaborative governance (hierarchy, formalization, centralization), and the factors influencing the impact of collaborative governance choice on sustainable development outcomes. Our results highlight that there are different types of collaboration as a governance mechanism for progress towards Sustainable Development Goals and that alternative governance arrangements should be combined. We also found that the success of collaboration is contingent not only on governance-specific dimensions but also on the type of SDG and the type of partners involved.
... In his work on attention in dynamic work settings, Dane (2013) conceptualized another quality, attentional breadth; this is similar to the concept of distributing attention because attentional breadth refers to casting attentional focus across a broad range of stimuli. 1 The current findings suggest that theorizing about attention as a spotlight is insufficient for explaining how groups can adapt from heedless to heedful interrelating. We can better explain how individuals attend to their holistic or ''joint'' situation (Weick and Roberts, 1993;Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000) by understanding that attention can be distributed across coordination mechanisms that reflect the local and global qualities of collective performance. At first blush, it may seem that this describes scattered rather than stable attention; rather, it calls for uniting the concepts of attentional stability and breadth. ...
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Coordinating in action groups consists of continuously adapting behaviors in response to fluctuating conditions, ideally with limited disruption to a group’s collective performance. Through an 18-month ethnography of how members of a community choir maintained beautiful, ongoing performance, I explored how they continuously adapted their coordinating, starting when they felt that their collective performance was fragmented or falling apart. The process model I developed shows that this aesthetic experience—the sense of fragmentation based on inputs from the bodily senses—leads to emotional triggering, meaning group members’ emotions prompt changes in their attention and behavior. They then distribute their attention in new ways, increasing their focus on both global qualities of their ongoing performance (in this context, the musical score and conductor) and local qualities (singers’ contributions). My findings suggest that by changing what aspects of a situation compose their immediate experience, action group members can adapt their coordinating behaviors by changing their heed: the behavior that demonstrates their attentiveness and awareness. The intertwining of attention and emotions helps explain how groups move between heedless and heedful interrelating over time, leading to an aesthetic experience of collective performance as being whole or coherent. My research shows that embodied forms of cognition (what we know from direct experience of an environment) complement accounts of how representational forms of knowledge (what we know from symbols, concepts, or ideas) facilitate real-time adaptation in groups. These insights have implications for a range of organizations engaged in complex action group work.
... Very few healthcare processes are carried out by just one worker. Neglecting the requisite need for and costs of coordination that accompany interdependence places additional demands on care providers (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). Indeed, from the earliest days of patient-centered care research, patients have complained about problems with communication and coordination (Gerteis et al., 1993). ...
Article
Purpose – Healthcare delivery faces increasing pressure to move from a provider-centered approach to become more consumer-driven and patient-centered. However, many of the actions taken by clinicians, patients and organizations fail to achieve that aim. This paper aims to take a paradox-based perspective to explore five specific tensions that emerge from this shift and provides implications for patient experience research and practice. Design/methodology/approach – This paper uses a conceptual approach that synthesizes literature in health services and administration, organizational behavior, services marketing and management and service operations to illuminate five patient experience tensions and explore mitigation strategies. Findings – The paper makes three key contributions. First, it identifies five tensions that result from the shift to more patient-centered care: patient focus vs employee focus, provider incentives vs provider motivations, care customization vs standardization, patient workload vs organizational workload and service recovery vs organizational risk. Second, it highlights multiple theories that provide insight into the existence of the tensions and how they may be navigated. Third, specific organizational practices that engage the tensions and associated examples of leading organizations are identified. Relevant measures for research and practice are also suggested. Originality/value – The authors develop a novel analysis of five persistent tensions facing healthcare organizations as a result of a shift to a more consumer-driven, patient-centered approach to care. The authors detail each tension, discuss an existing theory from organizational behavior or services marketing that helps make sense of the tension, suggest potential solutions for managing or resolving the tension and provide representative case illustrations and useful measures. Keywords Patient-centered, Patient experience, Paradox, Tension, Health care
... For instance, as the scale and scope of a product or service grows, there is a natural tendency for the tasks to be subdivided into smaller tasks, and for the workers who execute them to become increasingly specialized. From the earliest days of organization theory, it has been observed that this division of labor, with the resultant specialization, produces three kinds of outcomes: The expertise to perform particular subtasks becomes isolated to the local experts who perform them; each set of specialized workers develops its own terminology; and the specialized workers tend to develop local subcultures with their own parochial subgoals (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000;Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967). This creates a need for either centralized or distributed coordination to achieve an integrated system-level outcome. ...
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This article contributes to engineering project research by studying how projects relate to their surrounding context. The article presents a framework for the analysis of workflow interdependencies in a project that is situated in a business ecosystem. The analysis is used to reduce costly conflicts in the business ecosystem, and the framework shows how the project is positively impacted by the resolution of those conflicts. The framework elaborates James Thompson’s notion of pooled, sequential and reciprocal interdependence and distinguishes between compatible-reciprocal and contentious-reciprocal interdependencies. The relationship between interdependence types and their corresponding coordination and governance mechanisms, originally posited for interdependence between tasks and groups within a single organization, applies equally well to interdependence types and governance mechanisms across firm boundaries within a business ecosystem. We analyze a cargo vessel development project within the short sea logistics business ecosystem to illustrate how the proposed framework can remove unproductive workflow conflicts and enhance value creation.
... Dokko and colleagues (2009) found that prior related work experience in another firm could also impede a new hire's performance because such prior experience, and the associated learning of the norms, schemas, and scripts underlying appropriate work flows and behaviors, can make it difficult for an individual to adapt to how work is performed in the new organization. Consistent with the KBV, these studies suggest that understanding an organization's social system helps individuals to coordinate their work, with more effective coordination leading to improved job performance (Grant & Parker, 2009;Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Other evidence highlights how the tacit, difficult to learn nature of this knowledge means that it takes considerable time to acquire; for example, Bidwell (2011) found that new hires took two to three years to achieve levels of performance similar to those of promoted workers, and Groysberg et al. (2008) found that analysts who switch firms reflect lower performance for several years. ...
... Thus, albeit no one doubts the need for innovation to survive in the contemporary context, how knowledge is now shared and transformed into new products, processes and services are not supposed to be neither smooth nor natural for established automotive companies. Yet, it is noteworthy in these companies that the organizational structure in product development related areas mirrors the current product architecture (i.e., systems, subsystems, components [41]). Consequently, technological forecasting efforts, when present, are highly vulnerable to functional narrowing, i.e., oriented toward the evolution of the current-architecture systems [23]. ...
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Strategic roadmapping commonly zooms in from a landscape to a landmark phase, following a top-down logic and delivering results oriented to top management levels. Based on a six-month action research project in an automotive manufacturer, we present an integrated multilevel roadmapping approach that develops a single architecture and single scope roadmap, but that organizes its information according to three levels of analysis: macro, meso, and micro. These interconnected levels are designed to deliver the specific information granularity requested by top, middle, and low-level managers. A new bottom-up approach is followed for the interconnected roadmap development, zooming out from detailed (micro) layers to a strategic (macro) landscape. Results indicate superior internal consistency, sense of ownership, communication, and integration among all levels and functions involved, as well as rich strategic insights. We discuss how the specificities of this article contribute to the current knowledge and why it is especially valuable for established firms of traditional sectors, such as the automotive industry.
... We assume the knowledge integration is the necessary antecedent for strategic fit, since integration implies that "the quality of the state of collaboration exists among departments that are required to achieve unity of effort by the demands of the environment" (Lawrence and Lorsch 1967). Indeed, innovator firms are challenged by the integration need which is the natural outcome of differentiation in specialist tasks (Dougherty 2001;Heath and Staudenmayer 2000). Integration becomes more difficult as the number of specialist tasks and potential interdependencies increases. ...
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This paper looks at the different strategies that two of the tire industry’s most prominent players, Pirelli and Michelin, deployed to exploit a radical process innovation: robotized, modular manufacturing. This paper argues that Pirelli, originally the technological follower, could develop a more nuanced, complex and ultimately successful strategy thanks to its superior knowledge integration capabilities. Empirically, we examine the structural characteristics and evolution of inventors’ networks in the two companies to reveal their knowledge integration capabilities. We apply the cohesive blocking method developed by White and Harary (Sociol Methodol 31(1):305–359, 2001) to argue that Pirelli, while relying on comparable skills in terms of technical fields, leveraged a more connected, cohesive and structured skills than Michelin. On this basis, it could develop and deploy a more complex strategy that better fit the characteristics of the new process technology. Pirelli’s knowledge network structure enhanced its knowledge integration capabilities and allowed for a more efficient fit between technology and strategy.
... This study also reveals that though cohesion improves the level of employee satisfaction with appraisal, the conflict has no impact on employee satisfaction with performance appraisal. The findings of this research are in line with the study of Heath and Staudenmayer (2000), which states that the organizations often fail to address the interdependencies through effective coordination and reconfirms the observation that organizational justice can resolve the issues arising out of lack of coordination among the members of various departments in real estate companies. Ilgen et al. (1979) put forth that "if employees are not satisfied or perceive a system as being unfair, they will be less likely to use performance evaluations as feedback to improve their performance". ...
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Unbiased performance appraisal tends to bolster the performance of employees. The studies indicate several inadequacies with the current performance appraisal systems. Functional interdependence is one such factor that has been ignored. The study aims to find the factors that can improve the satisfaction with performance appraisal of employees whose deliverables are highly interdependent on other functions. Organizational justice, rater competence, inter-functional conflict, and cohesion are considered the mediating variables. To test the model, the data are collected through a survey using a questionnaire from the executives of Indian real estate companies who have undergone the appraisal process at least once. Firms with more than 500 employees are randomly selected for the list of members of the real estate developers’ associations. The results show that functional interdependency has a negative impact on satisfaction with performance appraisal. Although conflict and cohesion are found to influence satisfaction with performance appraisal, they did not mediate the effect of functional interdependency on satisfaction with performance appraisal. However, the study found that rater competence and organizational justice have a mediating effect. The study provides practical implications to HR managers of real estate companies to train the raters and include the complexities of functional interdependencies in the appraisal system. A grievance mechanism should be created to address the employees’ concerns, ultimately improving satisfaction with performance appraisal.
... Good modelers choose the model architecture, level of aggregation and simulation method that best meet the purpose of the study, taking account of computational requirements, data availability, the time and resources available, the audience for the work, and the ability to carry out sensitivity analysis, understand the behavior of the model, and communicate the results and the reasons for them to the people they seek to influence. (Sterman, 2018, p. 23) Each approach to modeling has its particular strengths (Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000;Tebbens et al., 2010;. For example, aggregate SF models are excellent for capturing the system dynamics when heterogeneity among members of a stock or class does not significantly affect the dynamics or policy recommendations. ...
... That requires cross-functional experts to draw on and contribute their unique knowledge to a collective problem, and to overcome differences with other experts whose knowledge is deeply rooted in the norms, language, and beliefs of a different domain (Dougherty, 1992). This is challenging because, while groups tend to be effective at breaking tasks down into subparts and completing those components, they are less effective at considering how their work relates to others and coordinating (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Thus, experts may not see their knowledge as relevant to other collaborators. ...
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To manage knowledge differences, existing research has documented two sets of practices: traversing and transcending knowledge boundaries. What research has yet to explore, however, is the dynamics through which traversing or transcending practices emerge in response to a particular problem situation. Using a qualitative, inductive study of the problem episodes encountered by groups of experts working on a large-scale project to build the safety system for a nuclear power plant, we observed that the emergence of traversing or transcending depended on how experts interpreted problems and initiated dialogues around specific problems. Our work provides insight into the condition through which knowledge integration trajectories may emerge.
... HPHR practices shape individuals' perceptions of what the organization is like in terms of its goals and the appropriate means of goal attainment (i.e., psychological climate, Reichers & Schneider, 1990) and the nature of the relationship between employer and employee (i.e., psychological contract, Ostroff & Bowen, 2000). The effects of HPHR practices on employee perceptions result in organizational performance to the extent that they solve what Heath and Staudenmayer (2000) refer to as the "agency problem." That is, HPHR practices enable performance when they align individual and organizational goals and motivate individuals to behave in a manner consistent with organizational goals. ...
Thesis
Prior research in strategic human resource management has consistently shown a positive relationship between high performance human resource (HPHR) practices and organizational performance. However, this research has left the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms underlying this relationship both largely unexplored. I argue that the mechanisms previously proposed (employee skills, commitment, and effort) are necessary and sufficient only when one makes overly restrictive assumptions about employees (effort averse), work (routine and decomposable), and organizational performance (equal to the sum of individual performances). When these assumptions are relaxed, collective sensemaking and coordination become equally critical sources of high performance. In theorizing the HPHR practice---organizational performance relationship I assert that HPHR practices are sensegiving structures by which managers attempt to influence employee sensemaking and behavior. HPHR practices specifically define both the employment relationship and work practice. In defining the employment relationship, HPHR practices signal a strong and long-term investment in employees that engenders employee commitment and discretionary effort. HPHR practices also define expectations for how employees are to carry out their work and to the extent these practice signal an interpersonally safe work climate, they increases the richness of interactions, the system-awareness of action, and the mindfulness of ongoing processes. I empirically test my hypotheses by surveying registered nurses and nurse managers in 99 acute-care hospital nursing units. In analyzing these data I found that HPHR practices are positively associated with respectful interaction, but not with commitment. The cognitive mechanisms were also positively associated with their corresponding behavioral mechanisms and the behavioral mechanisms influenced performance, but not entirely as predicted. Discretionary effort was positively associated with quality of care while mindful organizing was not. Mindful organizing, however, was associated with significantly lower levels of errors and falls, while discretionary effort actually increased medication errors and patient falls. This suggests that in dynamic and interdependent knowledge work, discretionary effort may actually compromise performance when it distracts employees from their core tasks. In sum, my study demonstrates a much more nuanced relationship between HPHR practices and performance than anticipated by the prior literature that depends on the work setting studied and the performance measure examined.
... Only a handful of systematic studies consider this issue, most focusing on integration rather than separation. Heath and Staudenmayer (2000) describe a study where they asked MBA students to assemble a Lego man to match a model. Students could choose how to divide up the work, for example, having one person assemble the torso, and another person the arms. ...
... The dynamic nature of coordination becomes even more evident in creative group coordination because creativity seems to require a sense of independence from rules, restrictions, and even close relationships (Perry- Smith & Shalley, 2003) as creative work seems to happen outside the "ordinary grooves of thought and action" (Jevons, 1877; cited by Becker, 1995). On the one hand coordination of creative groups requires that group members enable the "fitting together" of activities (Argote, 1982) and the "organizing of individuals so that their actions are aligned" (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000) within an agreed upon "problem domain" (Bailetti, Caooahan, & DiPietro, 1994), the sum of these activities being labelled by Okhuysen and Bechky (2009) as "integration". On the other hand coordination also requires allowing for independent work, which potentially enables "mis-fitting" interactions that can "mis-align actions" or push the group into unfamiliar "problem domains", Harrison & Rouse (2014) labelling these countervailing interactions "de-integration". ...
... Theoretically, a project involves a specific division of labor, namely 1) a mapping of organization-level goals into tasks, and 2) an allocation of tasks to individual agents (March and Simon 1958;Puranam and Raveendran 2013 (Malone et al. 1999), but it also introduces biases. One of them is a "component focus" (Heath and Staudenmayer 2000), namely a tendency by project members to focus on individual tasks to the detriment of the boundaries between them (von Hippel 1988). In practice, this creates a coordination problem which will compromise performance unless "the collective set of interdependent tasks … is integrated" (Okhuysen and Bechky 2009, p. 463). 1 The magnitude of a given project's coordination problem depends on its particular characteristics. ...
Article
Many new products and processes originate from projects. In two studies, the authors consider how a project’s organizational design, as captured by its particular task configuration, impacts its ability to promote product and process innovation. Study 1 involves an analysis of panel data spanning 2001 through 2015 and involving 429 business-to-business (B2B) projects in the construction industry. The authors test hypotheses regarding the role of project size, subcontractor diversity, and task configuration on product and process innovation. Their empirical tests show a pattern of nuanced effects on the two innovation types. A project’s task configuration, as reflected in the general contractor’s participation in project tasks, plays a coordination role that helps unlock a positive effect of project size on product innovation. At the same time, such participation impedes process innovation due to subcontractor concerns about information leakage. Study 2 bolsters the first study through a survey of 230 subcontractors in the U.S. construction industry to show how leakage concerns arise, their outcomes, and how they are mitigated. The authors also bolster their central study through 1) interviews with professional construction managers and 2) survey evidence across five different industries. They draw on their findings to develop implications for innovation management, B2B marketing, and marketing organization.
... In the words of Payan (2007, p. 228) "coordinative behavior is not prima facie evidence that there is also a cooperative orientation between organizations". Clearly, in managing interorganizational relationships, firms need to both agree to cooperate and align their interests as well to effectively align and coordinate their actions to achieve mutual goals (Camerer & Knez, 1996, 1997Foss, 2001;Gulati et al., 2012;Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000;Høgevold et al., 2019). If coordination (i.e. ...
Article
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Purpose To test a research model consisting of hypothesized relationships within and between the domains of action and social alignment based on buyer and seller perspectives in B2B relationships. Design/Methodology/Approach Based on two cross-industrial samples of 218 buyer B2B relationships and 208 seller B2B relationships in Taiwan. Findings Findings relate to the dual facets of the domain of membership theory. Cooperation represents more likely intangible and subjective interests of alignment, and coordination represents more likely tangible and objective actions of alignment, in buyer and seller B2B relationships. Research limitations/Implications Validates a research model of action and social alignment in the context of buyer and seller B2B relationships. Contributes to comparing buyer and seller perspectives in relation to existing theory and previous studies on quality constructs in B2B relationships. Offers suggestions for further research. Managerial Implications Practitioners in B2B settings need to focus on joint actions as well as joint interests, and vice versa, as the economic and non-economic satisfaction of a business relationship complement each other. Originality/Value Validates the research model of action and social alignment in the context of buyer and seller B2B relationships. Provides multiple contributions to existing theory and previous studies of relationship quality based on buyer and seller perspectives in B2B settings.
... The teamwork and communication challenges in health care manifest the problem of coordination neglect in organizational systems. 13 Interventions and reforms vary, but frequently include efforts to improve the coordination of care delivery. 14 Consequently, research on how to improve team-work and streamline the siloed approach to produce a more coordinated system is needed in the perioperative environment. ...
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Without the appropriate administrative structure, even well-thought-out strategic plans or detailed process improvement initiatives will fail. Developing a strong foundation for governance and leadership is a critical element of any high-functioning organization, and applies just as well in the perioperative setting. Yet perioperative patient care teams and operating room management structures can be very complex, due to relationships both within the operating room (OR) and between the OR and other departments. Frequently, reliable management of the perioperative process is lacking. We aim to provide an overview of the structural and elemental components and roles of perioperative management teams and the administrative structure that guides them, since effective perioperative care teams and OR leaders are of paramount importance for any successful hospital.
... In open-source software development, a user experience (UX) engineer who contributes to customer database design likely understands how proposed modifications affect the quality of UX features but may have only a partial understanding of how they affect the database's processing speed. More generally, our conceptualization builds on the well-established idea that the decision makers base their choices upon reduced representations of reality and often overlook the impact of their decisions on areas in which they are not experts (Dearborn et al. 1958, Heath and Staudenmayer 2000, Martignoni et al. 2016. ...
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Innovation often involves processes of collaborative search among individuals who are experts in some domains of a problem but not others. We develop an agent-based simulation to show when and why organizations can improve the outcomes of collaborative search by allowing experts and non-experts to share control over the different domains of a search problem. Shared control can improve search by allowing individuals to foster decisions in domains outside of their expertise which produce positive ramifications in their own domain of expertise. This allows experts to generate improvements in domains which they understand, but also helps experts of other domains explore alternatives which they otherwise would not. We show that the benefits of shared control materialize differently in the presence or absence of organizational hierarchy.
... Miscommunication of critical information about the patient status can lead to wrong treatments. In health care, coordination and teamwork have been ignored as central mechanisms to address complex work tasks (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Therefore, teamwork is fundamental, as no individual can guarantee the best standard of care, or protection from potential errors, derived from challenging and sophisticated therapies (Rosen et al., 2019). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has tested health care professionals to the extreme. This study investigated the re-enchanting effect of shared leadership and passion at work in the context of public health care. This study advances on the Self-Determination Theory to suggest that shared leadership has a positive effect on resilience and performance through passion at work at different levels of analysis. A sample of 518 physicians working in Spanish public hospitals was used. The results showed that shared leadership was associated with team and individual outcomes via passion at work at team level, while no significant mediating effect was found for passion at work at the individual level. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed, limitations are considered, and future research directions are suggested. JEL CLASSIFICATION: M12, M54
... Relatedly, 1 In the economics literature, the theory of the firm views coordination problems as one of two key organization hurdles (the other being the much more studied "agency problem"; Milgrom and Roberts, 1992). It has been suggested that the coordination problem of organizations is inherently due to people's cognitive limitations, in that individuals often lack a common understanding of the tasks they must integrate and coordinate upon (e.g., Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000). This line of research implies that individuals come to develop a different understanding of their tasks as a result of a different focus or background; different viewpoints may in turn entail different solutions to an identical or similar task (Arrow, 1974;Kreps, 1990;Okhuysen and Bechky, 2009;Kets and Sandroni, 2021). 2 The class of coordination problems contains any situation in which there exist multiple ways players may "match" their behavior for mutual benefit. ...
Article
We investigate how strategic behavior is affected by the set of notions (frames) used when thinking about the game. In our games, the action set consists of visual objects: each player must privately choose one, trying to match the counterpart’s choice. We propose a model where different player-types are aware of different attributes of the action set (hence, different frames). One of the novelties is an epistemic structure that allows players to think about new frames, after initial unawareness of some attributes. To test the model, our experimental design brings about multiple frames by varying subjects’ awareness of several attributes.
... réunions, plénières, courriels, feuilles d'information). Les réunions de travail sont nécessaires à un partage d'informations institutionnelles ou professionnelles, mais suscitent parfois des interruptions du travail, des contraintes temporelles, un caractère formel, un cadre « rigide » à suivre qui limite les « écarts de conversations » pouvant véhiculer des éléments-clés d'information (Heath & Staudenmayer, 2000). Les interactions informelles permettent des transmissions d'informations libres, souples, ajustables, brèves, au travers d'une communication non régulée ou contrôlée. ...
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We investigate the search processes that dyads engage in when each human agent is responsible for one module of a complex task. Our laboratory experiment manipulates global vs. local incentives and low vs. high cross-modular interdependence. We find that dyads endogenously learn to coordinate their joint search efforts by engaging in parallel and sequential searches that, over time, give rise to coordinated repeated actions. Such collaborative search emerges despite complexity and misaligned incentives, and without a coordinating hierarchy.
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Sustainable development within a sharing economy requires close cooperation between participating organisations, while a more complicated management problem involves how to improve the cooperation performance between such organisations. This paper researches multi-organisational cooperation under a shared economy model to analyse the impact of the organisation’s revenue distribution plan, the organisational members’ characteristic abilities and other factors on the cooperation performance among organisations and core enterprises’ profit performance. It aims to provide a theoretical basis for core enterprises to rationally formulate revenue distribution strategy and the promotion of sustainable development of the shared economy. The research results reveal that under the shared economy model, the core enterprise’s revenue-distribution method based on fixed revenue and revenue-sharing can improve cooperation performance among organisational members to some extent. Moreover, the barriers and obstacles in organisations’ cooperation process are small, which will positively increase system profits, core enterprise profit and the proportion of core enterprise profits, but does not necessarily improve system profit margins. The core enterprise should control the cooperation costs between organisations through different incentive strategies to achieve better system profits and system profit margins.
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Drawing upon positive psychology and organizational learning literature, this study examines the relationship between well-being-oriented management (WOM) and unit-level ambidexterity. Building on the social exchange theory, our multilevel model sheds light on the relationship between individual perceptions of WOM, organizational learning, and unit-level ambidexterity in public hospitals. Based on the two-wave data obtained from 507 medical specialists, from 151 medical units, our multilevel analysis provides support for our two hypotheses. First, a positive relationship between WOM and unit-level ambidexterity was found. Second, organizational learning capability (OLC) moderated the relationship between WOM and unit-level ambidexterity. This study is one of the first to clarify the learning mechanisms through which WOM increases the development of unit-level ambidexterity in complex public organizations.
Chapter
Social media which is characterized by easily accessible information technology applications has become ubiquitous in a range of organizations. It simultaneously presents both opportunities and challenges for organizations. Social media has influenced many aspects of organizing and has generated new ways of connecting with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Despite the pervasiveness of social media, there is limited understanding on the impact of social media on family firms. In this chapter, we attempt to remedy the absence of theory on the organizational effects of social media use in a family business context. We utilize an affordance lens to explain how social media can offer four types of affordances to family firms that pursue socioemotional objectives – visibility, persistence, editability, and association. Overall, this chapter yields several theoretical contributions to the family business literature and to our understanding of social media affordances in family firms.
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Platform economy organizations often resolve fundamental organizing problems with novel solutions, thereby transforming their relationship with core stakeholders including regulators and workers. Despite the integral role played by platform workers, research on the interplay between platforms and regulatory conditions has yet to take workers into consideration. We investigate how Uber drivers engage with novel forms of organizing across different regulatory structures. Drawing on insights from resource dependence theory, we conduct a topic modeling analysis of drivers’ online forum posts and a complementary qualitative analysis of triangulated data sources. Our findings reveal that workers do not always succumb to organizing solutions imposed upon them; they also actively oppose or supplement them. Importantly, platform workers’ responses vary with the local regulatory structure, which affects the mutual dependency and balance of power between platforms and workers. We discuss implications for the literature on new forms of organizing and the platform economy.
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The goal of the current manuscript is to embed the theory of mindsets about malleability in workplace contexts. We first define fixed-growth mindsets and the methods that have to date been used to study them. We then briefly review the domains in which mindsets have been documented to shape outcomes meaningfully, linking each to exciting research questions that we hope will soon be studied in workplace contexts. We also highlight some of the fascinating, new questions scholars can study by considering how mindsets might shape outcomes across a diversity of workplaces (e.g., the workforce of low wage and vulnerable populations). We further propose that studying mindsets in workplace contexts can develop mindset theory. We first ask whether workplace contexts provide opportunities to test for moderation on mindset expression. Second, we see opportunity for studying moderation of mindset processes – evaluating whether the psychological processes through which mindsets shape outcomes may differ based on contextual factors that vary across workplaces. We argue that investigating these possibilities will advance both the theory of mindsets about malleability and the study of human flourishing in the workplace. We invite scholars to join us in this endeavour.
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Prior research on collaboration and creativity often assumes that individuals choose to collaborate to improve the quality of their output. Given the growing role of collaboration and autonomous teams in creative work, the validity of this assumption has important implications for organizations. We argue that in the presence of a collaboration credit premium—when the sum of fractional credit allocated to each collaborator exceeds 100%—individuals may choose to work together even when the project output is of low quality or when its prospects are diminished by collaborating. We test our argument on a sample of economists in academia using the norm of alphabetical ordering of authors’ surnames on academic articles as an instrument for selection into collaboration. This norm means that economists whose family name begins with a letter from the beginning of the alphabet receive systematically more credit for collaborative work than economists whose family name begins with a letter from the end of the alphabet. We show that, in the presence of a credit premium, individuals may choose to collaborate, even if this choice decreases output quality. Thus, collaboration can create a misalignment between the incentives of creative workers and the prospects of the project.
Chapter
Structural secrecy refers to a systematic undermining of attempts to know and interpret situations in organisations, which significantly challenges their abilities to perform resiliently. In this chapter, we briefly share some insights drawn from a collaboration with the municipality of Malmö, Sweden, for a period of more than three years that has provided knowledge about the needs and constraints to better addressing challenges related to structural secrecy. To deal with this problem, it is essential to find ways of sharing insights about the criticality and interconnections between organisational units. The chapter outlines a method implemented in the departments in Malmö municipality used for compiling and spreading such information within the organisation as a means to become better equipped for managing both daily tasks and surprises. By contributing to an alignment of diverging views on “work as done” versus “work as imagined” this type of effort lays the groundwork for nurturing an ability to perform resiliently in suddenly emerging situations that are outside the organisation’s normal operations.
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We use fine-grained federal personnel data to examine how work group diversity is related to the distribution of monetary rewards among employees who are working collectively on a team project. We focus on two types of diversity—demographic and functional—and hypothesize that the former will be positively associated with egalitarianism in reward distributions while the latter will be negatively associated with egalitarianism. Our theory is that managers’ distributional decisions will account for the likelihood of meeting with disagreement, and that this likelihood covaries in different ways with demographic and functional diversity. We argue that managers of demographically heterogeneous groups will deploy egalitarian rewards to avoid exacerbating intra-group conflict along demographic fault-lines. By contrast, managers of functionally heterogeneous groups will be able to justify non-egalitarian rewards because group members accept that functional heterogeneity is associated with intra-group status differences. Additionally, we argue that functional heterogeneity can, by legitimizing intra-group status differences that are correlated with race and gender, activate the negative potential for demographic diversity to be a driver of inequality. Our results suggest that functional heterogeneity and demographic heterogeneity are negatively associated with egalitarianism in group rewards, and that functional heterogeneity interacts with demographic heterogeneity to further reduce egalitarianism.
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This paper offers insights on how digital artefacts foster coordination of individuals in distributed innovation projects by limiting the divergence of team members’ representations of the project. This role is particularly important when coordination mechanisms such as leadership and modularity show some limits. Using distributed innovation in open-source software as a setting, we develop and test the hypotheses that (1) the release of initial code in open-source software projects limits the divergence of team members’ representations and (2) limiting divergence of team members’ representations triggered by initial code release implies a higher probability of project survival, a non-trivial goal in such a setting. To test our hypotheses, we draw on a dataset of 5,703 open-source software projects registered on SourceForge.net. Both our hypotheses are supported, pointing towards fruitful directions for expanding research on the way distributed innovation processes are carried out when digital artefacts are involved.
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There is growing interest in management and organizational research to study the relocation of knowledge workers, defined as a move by the knowledge worker to a different place of work. Relocation has been well studied as a potential source of losses or gains in human and social capital. However, our understanding of whether and how it disrupts a scientist’s innovation activities is limited. Relocation could disrupt innovation activities in the new workplace by making it difficult for a scientist to coordinate work with prior collaborators with whom the scientist has relational experience and forcing the scientist to work with new collaborators. In this study, we develop a conceptual framework assessing the effectiveness of the scientists’ research and development (R&D) experience to counter these disruptions arising from relocation and develop valuable patented innovations. We hypothesize that both the scientist’s relational experience and working with new collaborators decrease the value of innovations the scientist creates after relocation. Scientist R&D experience, however, is double-edged in nature: It leads to less valuable innovations prior to relocation but facilitates the creation of more valuable innovations after it. Our theory suggests that this is because R&D experience facilitates the scientist’s adaptation to the new context and helps coordinate her or his activities in new collaborations. Nevertheless, R&D experience is less effective in sustaining the efficacy of relational experience with prior collaborators after relocation. Using a longitudinal dataset from the knowledge-intensive genomics industry, we find support for our hypotheses. This study yields important managerial and policy implications.
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A research gap exists in the understanding of multi-level governance for watersheds in Kenya under the current devolved framework. This paper uses Migori River watershed as a case study to elaborate on the institutional arrangement in the management of the watershed and how it influences the nature and level of coordination among the actors involved. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and content analysis of secondary data. The target institutions were selected based on existing policy and legal frameworks, press releases, and published administrative reports. Respondents for the semi-structured interviews were identified through purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The qualitative data was then analyzed through content analysis. After analysis on the nature of coordination, a panel of experts rated each coordination dimension based on a comparison between the findings and the baseline indicators The results on the structure and roles of institutions revealed adequate representation of the river basin management actors, but the associations among actors are weak due to overlapping mandates, and gaps in the administration processes of river basin management programs. Coordination exists, but it is not all-encompassing; whereas efforts to collaborate were noted, they were inconsistent and tended to be on a per-need basis due to lack of a common forum for stakeholder interactions and a common management plan for a clear vision and direction of actors’ activities. There is unclear delineation of roles in the institutional structure and thus causing institutional complexity which further undermined coordination. To address the coordination gaps, the paper recommends the creation of a management council for the watershed to provide a central forum for the stakeholders’ interaction, with a designated lead agency that organizes and facilitates meetings, oversees communications, and manages any emerging challenges, gaps and opportunities in collective actions.
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Engineering sketches and drawings are the building blocks of technological design and production. These visual representations act as the means for organizing the design to production process, hence serving as a "social glue" both between individuals and between groups. The author discusses two main capacities such visual representations serve in facilitating distributed cognition in team design work As conscription devices, they enlist and organize group participation. As boundary objects, they facilitate the reading of alternative meanings by various groups involved in the design process. The introduction of computer-aided design into this visual culture of engineering restructures relationships between workers in ways that can hamper the flexibility necessary for these crucial capacities to take place. The data are drawn from a study of the daily practices of engineers engaged in redesigning a turbine engine package. The method is participant observation.
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Recent popular and theoretical literature emphasizes the significance of communication technology for collaboration and information sharing across organizational boundaries. We hypothesize that due to the collaborative nature of their work and the way they are organized in work groups, technical employees, as compared with administrative employees, will communicate laterally, and will use the telephone and email for this purpose. We studied technical and administrative employees in seven departments of a large telecommunications firm. From logs of communication over two days, we examined vertical and lateral communication inside and outside the chain of command and department, and the use of telephone, email, and voice mail for this communication. Technical employees did have more lateral communication than administrators did, but all lateral communication (not just that of technical employees) tended to be by telephone. Over 50% of employees' communication was extradepartmental; extradepartmental communication, like lateral communication, tended to be by telephone. When employees used asynchronous technology, technical employees used email whereas administrators, especially those at high levels, used voice. Differential boundary-crossing by technical and administrative employees could be explained in part by the flatter structure of the technical work groups. Our results are consistent with Powell (1990), Barley (1994) and others who have argued that the rise of technical work and the horizontal organization of technical workers increases collaboration and nonhierarchical communication. Organizations can encourage communication flows across organizational boundaries by strengthening horizontal structures (for technical workers, especially) and supporting old and new technology use by all employees.
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This paper explores the case for a general threat-rigidity effect in individual, group, and organizational behavior. Evidence from multiple levels of analysis is summarized, showing a restriction in information processing and constriction of control under threat conditions. Possible mechanisms underlying such a multiple-level effect are explored, as are its possible functional and dysfunctional consequences.
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This chapter presents the description of research on social influence that moves rather freely between laboratory settings and organizational contexts. The laboratory studies follow several well-developed research paradigms, with variations in conditions and resultant findings occurring in a cumulative fashion. The organizational studies of social influence have tended to draw on a wide variety of psychological and sociological theories, resulting in a more disparate set of findings that have rarely been drawn together. Whereas the social psychological work has typically been experimental, the organizational research ranges from quantitative experiments and surveys to more qualitative case studies. Thus, the integration of work on social control and innovation will necessitate mixing results with varying levels of internal and external validity. The chapter explains the discussion of social control and innovation that moves freely between the microscopic and the macroscopic. The chapter explores the way the studies of organizational behavior can profit from knowledge of more basic social influence processes and the way experimental group research can be enriched by an understanding of more complex organizational processes.
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A comparative model of organizations as interpretation systems is proposed. The model describes four interpretation modes: enacting, discovering, undirected viewing, and conditioned viewing. Each mode is determined by (1) management's beliefs about the environment and (2) organizational intrusiveness. Interpretation modes are hypothesized to be associated with organizational differences in environmental scanning, equivocality reduction, strategy, and decision making.
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Power is an inescapable feature of human existence. It plays a role in all social contexts and is particularly important in the functioning of organizations and work groups. Organizational researchers have certainly recognized the importance of power but have traditionally focused on its negative aspects. Yet power can also have very positive effects. Power and Interdependence in Organizations capitalizes on significant developments in social science over the past twenty years to show how managers and employees can manage power in order to make it a constructive force in organizations. Written by a team of international academics, the book explores both the positive and negative aspects of power, identifying opportunities and threats. It shows that harnessing the positive aspects of power, as well as controlling its more destructive effects, has the potential to revolutionize the way that organizations function, making them both more humane and productive.
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Many decisions are based on beliefs concerning the likelihood of uncertain events such as the outcome of an election, the guilt of a defendant, or the future value of the dollar. Occasionally, beliefs concerning uncertain events are expressed in numerical form as odds or subjective probabilities. In general, the heuristics are quite useful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic errors. The subjective assessment of probability resembles the subjective assessment of physical quantities such as distance or size. These judgments are all based on data of limited validity, which are processed according to heuristic rules. However, the reliance on this rule leads to systematic errors in the estimation of distance. This chapter describes three heuristics that are employed in making judgments under uncertainty. The first is representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event belongs to a class or event. The second is the availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development, and the third is adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available.
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I present argument and evidence for a structural ecology of social capital that describes how the value of social capital to an individual is contingent on the number of people doing the same work. The information and control benefits of bridging the structural holes-or, disconnections between nonredundant contacts in a network-that constitute social capital are especially valuable to managers with few peers. Such managers do not have the guiding frame of reference for behavior provided by numerous competitors, and the work they do does not have the legitimacy provided by numerous people doing the same kind of work. I use network and performance data on a probability sample of senior managers to show how the value of social capital, high on average for the managers, varies as a power function of the number of people doing the same work.
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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A number of proposals have been advanced in recent years for the development of “general systems theory” which, abstracting from properties peculiar to physical, biological, or social systems, would be applicable to all of them. We might well feel that, while the goal is laudable, systems of such diverse kinds could hardly be expected to have any nontrivial properties in common. Metaphor and analogy can be helpful, or they can be misleading. All depends on whether the similarities the metaphor captures are significant or superficial.
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This study investigated the differential effects of task design and reward system design on group functioning; the effectiveness of ''hybrid'' groups, in which groups' tasks and/or rewards have both individual and group elements; and how individuals' preferences for autonomy moderate their responses to interdependence at work. An intervention in the reward system at a large U.S. corporation created group, individual, and hybrid rewards for 150 existing teams of technicians that had group, hybrid, or individual tasks. Groups performed best when their tasks and outcomes were either pure group or pure individual. Hybrid groups performed quite poorly, had low-quality interaction processes, and low member satisfaction. Task and outcome interdependence affected different aspects of group functioning: Tasks influenced variables related to cooperation, while outcomes influenced variables related to effort. Individuals' autonomy preferences did not moderate the effects of task and reward interdependence but, instead, were themselves influenced by the amount of interdependence in the work. These findings have implications for the design of work and reward systems for work groups.
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We investigate the impact of two kinds of integration-internal and external-on dynamic capability. We use product development activities as a lens with which to focus on the capability-building process in a firm. We first develop a conceptual model of the capability-building process that relates specific problem-solving activities to the generation of organizational capabilities. We derive a measure, 'ynamic performance', that estimates the level of dynamic capability in an organization based on the consistency of its performance. Furthermore, we use the model to motivate a series of hypotheses which link specific processes to the achievement of high dynamic performance. We conjecture that the capacity to integrate diverse knowledge bases through problem solving is the basic foundation of knowledge building in an organization, and is therefore a critical driver of dynamic performance. The hypotheses are tested by drawing on extensive cross-sectional empirical studies of product development in the automobile and mainframe computer industries. The work follows by providing detailed longitudinal cases describing the impact of integration on competence-building processes at Nissan and NEC.
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Design of new organizational forms can begin with an analysis of existing organizational processes and identification of ways to change these process arrangements. Kevin Crowston applies coordination theory to show how task processes can be decomposed, documented, and altered to create new forms of organizing work. Crowston's research demonstrates the potential of coordination theory in the study of new organizational forms and process redesign.
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This paper contributes to the research on the relationship of subunit work characteristics to subunit structure and performance. Information-processing ideas are used to develop a set of hypotheses to test a contingency approach to subunit structure directly; whether high-performing subunits with different information-processing requirements have systematically different degrees of communication structure. Results indicate that task characteristics, environment, and interdependence each have an important impact on subunit communication structure, and that these effects are accentuated for high-performing subunits. This research supports the idea that there is no one best way of structuring subunit communication. Rather, for high-performing subunits, communication structure is contingent on the subunit's work.
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