Paul M. Leonardi's research while affiliated with University of California, Santa Barbara and other places

Publications (128)

Article
Technologies are changing at a rapid pace and in unpredictable ways. The scale of their impact is also far-reaching. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, robotics, digital platforms, social media, blockchain, and 3-D printing affect many parts of the organization simultaneously, enabling new interdependencies within and bet...
Chapter
Studying technical work at digital interfaces, especially the work of engineers, poses challenges for ethnographers. In addition to the difficulties of understanding and documenting what engineers do at their computers, engineers use concepts and vocabularies that are foreign to social scientists without technical training. The authors describe the...
Article
Full-text available
Digital models that simulate the dynamics of a system are increasingly used to make predictions about the future. Although modeling has been central to decision-making under conditions of uncertainty across many industries for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the role that models play in prediction and policymaking real for millions of pe...
Article
Full-text available
Digital simulation models have become increasingly important to innovation processes. When used within organisations intent on innovating products, processes or services, the affordances of these technologies can enable the possibility to explain, experiment, and predict complex systems. As complex tools, however, models must become integrated into...
Article
The digitization, digitalization, and datafication of work and communication, coupled with social and technical infrastructures that enable connectivity, are making it increasingly easy for the behaviors of people, collectives, and technological devices to see and be seen. Such digital connectivity gives rise to the important phenomenon of behavior...
Article
This article investigates how the targets with which brokers identify shape the orientation with which they approach their network position. Brokers are often thought of as exhibiting a tertius gaudens orientation toward their network position through their efforts to keep disconnected groups apart, thereby maintaining their ability to control the...
Article
Problem definition: Trustworthy partners in procurement and service relationships are an asset. How can organizations discern trustworthy from untrustworthy partners, especially early on, so as to not waste time or resources on bad relationships? Academic/practical relevance: Like prior studies, we take the perspective that organizations rarely kno...
Article
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For several decades, scholars have studied the role of cooperation and its outcomes in educational contexts. Yet we lack a complete understanding of how different instructional strategies impact the relationship between cooperation and learning. In this paper we present results from a field experiment with 82 first-year students in an introductory...
Article
This research draws on a resourcing perspective to challenge the assumption that expertise should be conceptualized as an asset with consistent value for organizations, and offers an alternative view that expertise is enacted through communicative processes that create resources-in-use. Analysis of the introduction of an offshoring center offering...
Article
This article argues that a distinctive aspect of computer-mediated communication (CMC) is the way it can make communication visible to others in ways that were previously impractical. We propose a theory of communication visibility that recognizes its multidimensional nature: resulting from activities that make communication visible, efforts by act...
Preprint
Full-text available
For several decades, scholars have studied cooperation and its outcomes in the educational context. Yet, we lack a complete understanding of how different instructional strategies impact the relationship between cooperation and learning. Here we studied how different instructional strategies led to different social configurations and their differen...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that coordination among domain experts can be viewed as a distinct form of knowledge in itself, and an area in which an individual may become an expert. We discuss why domain experts may be ill-equipped to coordinate their knowledge with the knowledge of others, and why individuals with process expertise may be better equipped to...
Preprint
Full-text available
For several years, scholars have studied cooperative learning and its outcomes in the educational context. Yet, little is known on how different instructional strategies impact the relationship between cooperation and learning. Here we studied how different instructional strategies lead to different social configurations and their differences in ac...
Article
We analyze information and communication technology in education initiatives in two South American countries: Bolivia and Uruguay. Utilizing qualitative data collection and analysis methods, we construct a comparative case study to trace the path of how national discourses—in response to the idea of globalization and initiatives promoting computers...
Article
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A common observation in the digital age is that new technologies are making people’s behaviors, decisions, and preferences more visible. For scholars who study organizations and their effects upon society, increased information visibility raises the hope that organizations might become more transparent. Typically, we assume that increased informati...
Article
Cambridge Core - Organisation Studies - The Cambridge Handbook of Technology and Employee Behavior - edited by Richard N. Landers
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The Cambridge Handbook of Technology and Employee Behavior - edited by Richard N. Landers February 2019
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Full-text available
Inter-organizational collaborations (IOCs) offer opportunities for organizations to share resources and address complex social problems. Although researchers have cast IOCs as a broadly-inclusive process in which organizations decide to join forces through mutual agreements, many IOCs are not equal partnerships, but are led by a single organization...
Article
This study explores whether employees who have access to social media are more likely than employees who do not to develop shared cognition-similar perceptions of what and whom coworkers know. It also uncovers the behaviors associated with social media that allow employees to develop such shared cognition about their coworkers' knowledge and social...
Article
Research Summary: This study introduces the notion of attention allocation in networks to argue that individuals with different types of network structure produce good ideas via different pathways. Using survey data on communication networks at a software company, we find that people with highly constrained networks generate good ideas by following...
Article
Research Summary: Despite the recognition that knowledge sharing among employees is necessary to enact knowledge strategy, little is known about how to enable such sharing. Recent research suggests that social media may promote knowledge sharing because they allow social lubrication and the formation of trust. Our longitudinal and comparative analy...
Article
This special issue is dedicated to the work and contributions of David R. Seibold. Throughout his 50 years in the communication discipline, Seibold’s work on teams, time, decisions, and change has had tremendous impact on scholarly thinking. His commitment to engaged scholarship and interdisciplinary work has provided a strong model for how to deal...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Social media are increasingly being implemented in work organizations as tools facilitating communication and collaboration among employees, enabling individuals to team up in new ways. This paper provides a theoretical framework, based on the concept of affordances, to explain how social media technologies can potentially enhance team processes an...
Chapter
Marshall Scott Poole’s research on processes of organizational change has been influential across multiple fields. Few scholars have drawn inspiration from such interdisciplinary sources and had such impact across various disciplines. For four decades, he has developed metatheoretical approaches, specific theories, and novel over a career of nearly...
Chapter
Theory building is central to the academic enterprise. So it should come as no surprise that members of a discipline periodically question the purpose of their theory building. For the past few decades, organizational communication researchers have asked this question, and some have been brave enough to provide some suggestions. This chapter argues...
Article
This paper suggests that social media may be useful for knowledge sharing because they are leaky pipes for communication - the directionality and content of a particular message is visible to people not involved in it. However, social media are only useful for knowledge sharing if some people contribute knowledge that can leak from them and others...
Chapter
Innovation is a communicative process involving the movement of information in communication networks. Networks that facilitate the acquisition and recombination of information from diverse sources help individuals to generate ideas. If those ideas can be sold to particular innovators and early adopters through persuasive appeals in dense networks,...
Chapter
Marshall Scott Poole’s research on processes of organizational change has been influential across multiple fields. Few scholars have drawn inspiration from such interdisciplinary sources and had such impact across various disciplines. For four decades, he has developed metatheoretical approaches, specific theories, and novel over a career of nearly...
Article
Social media—computer-mediated tools of the Web 2.0 generation that make it possible for anyone to create, circulate, share, and exchange information in a variety of formats and with multiple communities—have become increasingly widespread in today’s organizations. Social media have started to affect multiple organizational phenomena and processes....
Article
An increasing diversity of work is becoming digitized such that it is becoming relatively easy to send high value knowledge-intensive work abroad. Second, companies fearing the loss of intellectual property and uneven talent are establishing captive offshore centers that often place offshore workers at structural holes in a company's global network...
Conference Paper
We take an institutional logics perspective to explain why design-reality gaps persist in ICT4D projects. From case study interviews at development agencies at work on two national education projects, one in Argentina and one in Uruguay, we show how two main institutional logics strongly shaped thought and action among development staff. The presen...
Article
When user needs do not align with system designers' visions, new technology implementation becomes a complex process as users appropriate the new technology to meet their needs. Prior studies recognize this complexity, but focus on the complex implementation of simple systems in which user groups are well defined and the IT artifact is the primary...
Article
Full-text available
What we see, what we show, and how we look are fundamental organizational concerns made ever more salient by the affordances, dynamics, and discourses of the digital age. Contemporary organizing practices are awash with material, mediated, and managed visibilities: Companies erect glass buildings with open and networked office spaces to efficiently...
Article
Organizational transparency is in vogue. When technologies make it possible for information, decision processes, and behaviors to be visible to others, actors and organizations will presumably be forced to behave more responsibly because they can be held accountable for their actions. In this article, we question the theoretical assumption that hig...
Article
The argument proffered in this paper is that use of enterprise social networking technologies can increase the accuracy of people's metaknowledge (knowledge of "who knows what" and "who knows whom") at work. The results of a quasi-natural field experiment in which only one of two matched-sample groups within a large financial services firm was give...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction What we see, what we show and how we look are fundamental organizational concerns made ever more salient by the affordances, dynamics, and discourses of the digital age. Contemporary organizing practices are awash with material, mediated and managed visibilities: companies erect glass buildings with open and networked office spaces to...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated the critical role communication plays in a group’s ability to recognize its expert members. This study looks broadly at the different forms of communication that might influence expertise recognition and considers how structural, relational, and communicative factors are related to individuals’ success in having t...
Article
When scholars and practitioners consider the implications of off shoring work, their primary concern is often the impact off shoring has on communication between people at different sites. When time zones and geographic boundaries separate employees, communication is limited, making it difficult for remote colleagues to form trusting and familiar r...
Article
This study examines the expectations that workers have regarding enterprise social media (ESM). Using interviews with 58 employees at an organization implementing an ESM platform, we compare workers' views of the technology with those of existing workplace communication technologies and publicly available social media. We find individuals' frames r...
Article
Knowledge stickiness often impedes knowledge transfer. When knowledge is complex and the knowledge seeker lacks intimacy with the knowledge source, knowledge sticks in its point of origin because the knowledge seeker faces ambiguity about the best way to acquire the needed knowledge. We theorize that, given the extent of that ambiguity, knowledge s...
Article
Technology implementations offer valuable contexts for examining the recursive relationships among institutional forces, organizational structures, and individual practices. Institutional theory provides a useful lens for examining these relationships, but critics note how its most popular concepts underplay the role of agency and portray actors as...
Article
In order to materialize strategy - to bring it into existence both theoretically and practically - strategy makers must have an appreciation for the material through which their strategy will be implemented. In this paper, I argue that a lens that focuses on the materiality of strategy making helps scholars to understand that strategy formulation a...
Article
Full-text available
Extensive research in three literatures—organizational socialization, communities of practice, and sociology of work—has shown how people learn at work to do their job, to act in their role, and to become a member of their organization, community of practice, or profession. Scholars across these literatures assume that learning occurs among co-loca...
Article
A recent practice turn in the communication and organizational sciences has led many researchers to study work in practice. In this chapter I suggest that studies of work practices in organizations would benefit from conceptual clarification. To do so, I organize this review around three central questions: (a) what are work practices? (b) what role...
Article
This paper offers a theory of communication visibility based on a field study of the implementation of a new enterprise social networking site in a large financial services organization. The emerging theory suggests that once invisible communication occurring between others in the organization becomes visible for third parties, those third parties...
Article
This study examines how people’s attention allocation in social networks affects their ability to come up with good ideas. Using survey data on communication networks among 107 R&D employees in a software company, we find that R&D employees who bridge across structural holes in a sparse network are more likely to create good ideas by balancing thei...
Article
This study explores whether individuals can develop accurate meta-knowledge – knowledge about “who knows what” and “who knows whom” within the organization – through awareness of ambient communications. It also examines whether individuals can improve their ambient awareness, and, consequently, the accuracy of their meta-knowledge, through use of a...
Article
To mediate the transfer of knowledge, brokers must recognize good ideas from sources and sell good ideas to targets. Although skill at recognizing and selling good ideas is critical to brokers’ success, the literature leaves largely unexplored the details of how brokers carry out these processes. In a multi- method study that spans eight countries...
Article
Social media are increasingly implemented in work organizations as tools for communication among employees. As these technologies begin to proliferate across the enterprise, it is important that we develop an understanding of how they enable and constrain the communicative activities through which work is accomplished because it is these very dynam...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Innovation is largely a product of teams. By sharing ideas with other team members, teams can leverage good ideas for innovative outputs to a greater degree than creating alone. However, team processes can ignite or stymie the creative process by influencing idea sharing among team members. Thus, we propose investigating how sociopolitical team dyn...
Article
This paper compares two alternative theoretical foundations upon which the study of sociomateriality can be built: Agential Realism and Critical Realism. It begins by providing a brief overview of the sociomaterial perspective on organizational practices and considers why this perspective holds great appeal at this point in time. I then engage with...
Article
The notion of 'entanglement' has been central to the development of the emerging perspective on sociomateriality in organizations. But employing a metaphor of entanglement implies an ontological commitment to treat social and material agencies as empirically inseparable. This commitment to inseparability makes it very difficult to think about redes...
Article
Full-text available
Innovation is largely a product of teams. By sharing ideas with other group members, teams can leverage good ideas for innovative outputs to a greater degree than creating alone. However, group processes can stymie or ignite the creative process by influencing idea sharing among group members. Thus, we propose investigating how sociopolitical group...
Article
The use of social media technologies—such as blogs, wikis, social networking sites, social tagging, and microblogging—is proliferating at an incredible pace. One area of increasing adoption is organizational settings where managers hope that these new technologies will help improve important organizational processes. However, scholarship has largel...
Article
Our review of recent studies on ICT use in organizations seeks to answer three interrelated questions about ICTs and organizations: (1) What are the influences on ICT adoption, use, and outcomes? (2) Through what contexts and processes do ICTs occasion change, at different levels of analysis? And (3) What outcomes are associated with ICT adoption a...
Chapter
Full-text available
Despite appearing to be straightforward, the concept of materiality turns out to be rather evasive and difficult to pin down. Similar to the horizon, the understanding of materiality seems to recede as we approach it. This chapter reviews the major divides in social thought and reprises the inherent tension that is, among other things, associated w...
Article
This chapter reviews the history of three terms increasingly used by researchers in the fields of organization studies and information systems: “materiality,” “sociomateriality” and “socio-technical systems.” After this review, I explore ways in which these terms overlap and depart in meaning from one another in scholars’ writings. I suggest that m...
Book
The book is a collective meditation on the role of materiality in social affairs. The recent and growing interest in the concept of "materiality" certainly has diverse origins. Yet, it is closely associated with the diffusion of technological objects and artifacts through society and many have questioned how human choice and social practice are con...
Article
Although organizational scholars have begun to study virtual work, they have yet to fully grapple with its diversity. We draw on semiotics to distinguish among three types of virtual work (virtual teams, remote control, and simulations) based on what it is that a technology makes virtual and whether work is done with or on, through, or within repre...
Article
The goal of this study is to augment explanations of how newly implemented technologies enable network change within organizations with an understanding of when such change is likely to happen. Drawing on the emerging literature on technology affordances, I suggest that informal network change within interdependent organizational groups is unlikely...
Article
Prior research suggests that boundary objects gain meaning through group interaction. Drawing from the literature on strategic ambiguity, we explore the possibility that individuals strategically create potential boundary objects in an attempt to shape the meanings that groups develop. From ethnographic observations of automotive engineers, we iden...
Article
This article explores why it is often difficult for organizations to capture, store, and share employees’ individually held expertise. Drawing on studies of the social construction of expertise and theories of transactive memory systems and self-presentation in computer-mediated environments, we argue that knowledge management technologies should b...
Article
The use of social media technologies - such as blogs, wikis, social networking sites, social tagging, and microblogging - is proliferating at an incredible pace. One area of increasing adoption is organizational settings where managers hope that these new technologies will help improve important organizational processes. However, scholarship has la...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we unravel the complex ontological relationship between the empirical hyperlink networks enacted by strategic organizational actors and the epistemic issue networks enacted by decision makers who navigate hyperlinks to construct the boundaries of an issue. To conceptualize this relationship, we present a dual structurational model of...
Article
A novel theory of organizational and technological change, illustrated by an account of the development and implementation of a computer-based simulation technology. © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
Article
Employees in many contemporary organizations work with flexible routines and flexible technologies. When those employees find that they are unable to achieve their goals in the current environment, how do they decide whether they should change the composition of their routines or the materiality of the technologies with which they work? The perspec...
Article
This paper has three goals. The first is to understand why members of one organizational department are blind to the reasons why members of another department do not share their ideas for a new technology, what I call a “technology concept.” The second is to understand what consequences this “innovation blindness” has for the development of technol...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the theoretical implications of developing multidimensional social networks that include nonhuman technological elements. Using ideas from actor-network theory and sociomateriality, we develop a typology for multidimensional networks that includes multiple kinds of nodes and multiple kinds of relations. This typology includes...