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 2017-2018 academic year:

2017-2018 Academic Year Colloquia

March 12, 2018

Gerardo Okhuysen, Paul Merage School of Business, University of California Irvine
Title: What Group Members Want: Investigating Individuals’ Subjective Evaluations of Group Effectiveness
Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm March 12th, 2018 in Y2E2 300
In this manuscript we show the importance of understanding how group members evaluate success, in their own experiences, as necessary to advance the science of groups. Arguing that the field may have reached premature consensus on the applicability of the IPO model to groups, we use qualitative data from three studies to explore the criteria members use to evaluate groups and the sources of the subjective cues they rely on to make sense of whether or not a group is successful. Using a frame of abductive discovery, we incrementally build our inquiry and find that group members anchor their evaluations of groups on four sources of cues: Outcomes, Motivation, Affect, and Common Understanding. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of teams and call for a more robust approach to incorporating the complex understanding of individual members into our theorizing regarding groups.
Keywords: Group performance; groups and teams; abductive analysis; conceptual mapping; subjective evaluations


October 16, 2017

Michel Anteby, Questrom School of Business, Boston University

Title: The Rise and Challenges of Stand-in Labor: Ghostwriters and the New Economy of the Outsourced Self

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm October 16th, 2017 in Y2E2 300

Abstract: The notion of meeting our most personal needs with the help of paid strangers—or what Arlie Hochschild (2012) labels the “outsourcing of self”—has become ubiquitous in today’s economy. This development has afforded new opportunities for workers to help others create public selves. We define the production of someone else’s selfhood as “stand-in labor” and examine this form of labor by analyzing the work of ghostwriters of other people’s memoirs. Relying on 72 interviews with ghostwriters and publishing industry insiders, we find that stand-in labor rests on a dual estrangement. Ghostwriters are estranged from their work because they are asked to stay out of public view. They learn to navigate this estrangement by increasing their fees in exchange for staying invisible and by highlighting the virtue of disappearing to better capture subjects’ voices. Importantly, however, ghostwriters emphasize their role in the crafting of their subjects’ public selves and how these alternate crafted selves differ from the subjects’ actual selves. Put otherwise, ghostwriters also estrange the subjects they are meant to impersonate. Our findings therefore embed the outsourcing of self in a distinctive labor process, and explain why stand-in workers might feel a particular need to estrange their subjects.

November 6, 2017

Klaus Weber, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm November 6th, 2017 in Spilker 232

Title/Abstract: We advance an interactionist perspective on how organizations respond to environmental change. Our study is grounded in field data collected over 18 months at “Alpha” (pseudonym), a large biomedical company that responded to demands to become more sustainable. Over that period, some sustainability-related issues grew in prominence and became firmly embedded in organizational structures and procedures. Others faltered. We analyze this pattern using a structuration framework that helps us distinguish situational from provisional, informal and formal levels of structure. We identify the micro-dynamics of interactions among organizational members as the engine behind structuration. Interactions generate traces of attention, motivation, knowledge, relationships and resources that link fleeting interactions to emergent organizational structures. By mapping interactions and their transsituational traces across time and issues, we develop a process model that informs how interpersonal interactions structure organizational adaptation. Our findings advance structuration perspectives on organizational adaptation by showing how social interaction dynamics drive structuration processes, and by connecting those dynamics to organizational mobilization and change. Our model also explains why organizations develop varying responses to sustainability pressures.


December 11, 2017

Siobhan O’Mahony, Questrom School of Business, Boston University

Title/Abstract: TBD

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm December 11th, 2017 in Spilker 232

January 22, 2018

Matt Beane, Technology Management Program, UCSB

Title/Abstract: TBD

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm November 6th, 2017 in Spilker 232

March 12, 2018

Gerardo Okhuysen, Paul Merage School of Business, UCI

Title/Abstract: TBD

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm November 6th, 2017 in Y2E2 300

May 7, 2018

Trevor Young-Hyman, Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

Title/Abstract: TBD

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm November 6th, 2017 in Y2E2 300

June 4, 2018

Casey Pierce, School of Information, University of Michigan

Title/Abstract: TBD

Time, Date & Location: 12-1:30pm November 6th, 2017 in Y2E2 300

2016-2017 Academic Year Colloquia

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.

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.