WTO colloquia bring in outside speakers to present recent research of interest to the greater Stanford community engaged in organizational research. Talks are held on Mondays from 12:00-1:15pm and lunch is served. Further details about each colloquium, including the title of the talk, an abstract and the colloquium’s location are distributed via email prior to each event.

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We are honored to host these speakers during the 2016-2017 academic year:

Spring 2017

May 8, 2017

Julia DiBenigno, Yale School of Management in Organizational Behavior

Title: Rapid Relationality: Staff Influence Over Line Members for Soldier Mental Healthcare
Time & Location: 12-1:30 in Y2E2 300 
Abstract: Organizations often hire professionals for their expertise and legitimacy to accomplish important organizational goals. Yet these professionals are typically part of the “staff” function of the organization and lack formal authority over “line” members associated with the organization’s core. Given this power imbalance, line members may resist staff efforts to elicit cooperation from them with relative impunity. This can prevent organizations from benefiting from staff expertise and lead to failed organizational goals and change efforts. When and how can lower-power staff members elicit cooperation from higher-power line members? In this paper, I analyze data from a 30-month qualitative field study of staff members, in this case U.S. Army mental health professionals, and the line members over whom they lacked authority, in this case the direct commanders of the soldiers they treated. Even though the U.S. Army invested significant resources in improving mental health services for soldiers, I found that soldiers could not fully benefit from these extensive services when their commanders overrode the recommendations made by their mental health providers. Despite these barriers, many providers were able to achieve high levels of influence in which commanders regularly complied with their recommendations. I identify a three-stage process—what I call “rapid relationality”—that describes how these mental health professionals elicited regular cooperation from these commanders despite lacking formal authority over them. My analysis suggests it is not only what staff do to elicit compliance from line members, but also when and how quickly they do it that matters. These findings contribute to our understanding of managing staff-line relations, influence tactics, and temporal dynamics in organizations.

Past Speakers

Fall 2016

October 24, 2016

Andrew Knight, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis
Title: Whose idea is it anyway? How lead entrepreneurs foster collective ownership in provisional founding teams
Time & Location: 12-1:15 in Spilker 232

Abstract: We develop and test a model of how the behaviors of a lead entrepreneur influence the dynamics and initial viability of provisional founding teams—teams that precede the formal founding of new ventures and that are often critical for new venture development. We propose that two interpersonal behaviors—territorial marking and help-seeking—flow from a lead entrepreneur’s initial psychological attachment to a venture idea. These behaviors shape the emergence of collective ownership among new team members by inhibiting or enabling conflict over control of the venture idea. Collective ownership, we suggest, is positively related to early provisional team success and viability. We quantitatively tested our model in a survey-based study of 79 provisional founding teams participating in an entrepreneurship competition and found general support for our predictions. We further elaborated upon our model, exploring intervening mechanisms and dynamic feedback loops, through observations of and interviews with the members of 27 provisional founding teams involved in a university startup launch course. This qualitative investigation validated central tenets of our model and offered extensions and refinements. Our research sheds new light on the dynamics of provisional founding teams and offers insights into how lead entrepreneurs can successfully build early stage founding teams.

November 7, 2016

Jennifer Petriglieri, INSEAD
Secure Base Relationships as Drivers of Professional Identity Co-construction in Dual Career Couples
Time & Location: 12-1:15 in Spilker 232

Abstract: Through a qualitative study of 50 dual-career couples, we examine whether and how partners in such couples shape each other’s professional identities and how they experience and interpret the interactions between those identities, their relationship, and their careers. We found that the extent to and way in which partners shaped each other’s professional identities depended on the nature of a couple’s attachment, in particular whether one partner—or both—experienced the other as a secure base. At the individual level, people who experienced their partner as a secure base engaged in professional identity exploration, endeavoring to actualize desired professional identities, even when doing so was risky, and expanded their professional identity to incorporate attributes of their partner’s identity. At the dyadic level, couples who had a unidirectional secure-base structure experienced their professional identities as being in conflict, whereas couples who had a bidirectional secure-base structure experienced their professional identities as enhancing each other. Building on these findings, we develop a model of professional identity co-construction within secure base relationships that breaks new theoretical ground by exploring interpersonal identity relationships and the nature of the secure-base structure between two people as underpinning these dynamics.

For information on colloquia from prior academic years, click here.

 Winter 2017

February 13, 2017

Noshir Contractor, Northwestern University

Title: Bridging the Boundary, while Minding the Seams: Boundary Propensities in Multiteam Systems
Time & Location: 12-1:30 in Y2E2 300 
Abstract: Teams often need to span their boundaries in order to transcend the limits of their own specialization and work effectively within multiteam systems (MTSs). Separately, research on teams and multiteam systems advocates the critical role of team boundary spanning. A meso perspective that considers the functional needs of both team and multiteam systems suggests competing prescriptions regarding the consequences of boundary spanning. We introduce the notion of team boundary propensities, and explore the consequences of four basic tendencies characterizing how teams interact vis a vis their borders: inward propensity, outward propensity, absorptive propensity, and disseminative propensity. We investigated these four propensities within 37, 20-person MTSs (740 individuals) performing a computer-based humanitarian aid task. Findings underscore the criticality of team boundary propensities to both team and multiteam performance, but reveal key differences in those that benefit the team versus the system. Whereas team outward and disseminative propensities improve both team and multiteam system performance, team inward and absorptive propensities serve the team at the expense of the multiteam system. These findings have important implications for how teams manage their boundary while minding the seams underpinning multiteam performance.