About The Center for Organizational Research


COR facilitates research on new organizational forms and processes now taking shape in a variety of contexts. As the 21st century unfolds, we increasingly find organizing that diverges from traditional bureaucratic structures. Such possibilities can be found in global teams, web-based collaboration, network structures, collective threats to security and privacy, micro enterprises, international non-governmental organizations, and alliances across private, public, and non-profit fields. These developments raise opportunities for alternative modes of decision-making, just as they present challenges for accountability and efficacy. They also raise questions about how existing distributions of power both constrain and enable organizational experimentation. COR contributes to the development of organization theory by connecting scholars from many disciplines who bring their knowledge and methods to a common understanding of these issues.

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Sarah Otner – Perceptions of Status – March 18, 2015 3:30pm – 5:00pm

A talk of interest to the Center for Organizational Research community…

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
3:30pm-5:00pm (reception to follow)
SB1 5400
(Lyman Porter Colloquia Room)

Sarah Otner
University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, Post-Doc
Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
“The Perception of Status: How third party observers infer status from network position”

We explore whether, how, and when TPOs’ perceptions of the social relationships of other individuals influence their (TPOs’) identification of other’s social status. We contend that an attributional process informs these inferences. In this context, the TPO attributes an event – the social relationship between two persons – either to its cause, or to the respect and admiration that one member of a dyad has for another. We propose that a TPO may attempt to construct a causal explanation for the presence and direction of an observed tie between ego and alter. By conceptualizing the information-processing mechanism underlying the TPO’s inference of status as an attributional process, our theoretical framework can account for differences in the accuracy of a TPO’s perception of ego’s ties, which may help to explain variance in how a TPO determines the status of Ego. We explore these questions in a series of laboratory experiments.

COR/Informatics – Talk with Prof. Cecilia Aragon, Friday 2/27, 3pm

A talk of interest to Center for Organizational Research community…

Cecilia Aragon
Associate Professor
Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering
University of Washington, Seattle

Date: Friday, February 27, 2015
Talk: 3:00 PM
Location: 6011 Donald Bren Hall

Refreshments: 4:15 PM, to be served in the 5th floor lobby.

The Hearts and Minds of Data Science

Abstract: Thanks in part to the recent popularity of the buzzword “big data,” it is now generally understood that many important scientific breakthroughs are made by interdisciplinary collaborations of scientists working in geographically distributed locations, producing and analyzing vast and complex data sets. The extraordinary advances in our ability to acquire and generate data in physical, biological, and social sciences are transforming the fundamental nature of science discovery across domains. Much of the research in this area, which has become known as data science, has focused on automated methods of analyzing data such as machine learning and new database techniques. Less attention has been directed to the human aspects of data science, including how to build interactive tools that maximize scientific creativity and human insight, and how to train, support, motivate, and retain the individuals with the necessary skills to produce the next generation of scientific discoveries. In this talk, I will argue for the importance of a human-centered approach to data science as necessary for the success of 21st century scientific discovery. Further, I attest that we need to go beyond well-designed user interfaces for data science software tools to consider the entire ecosystem of software development and use: we need to study scientific collaborations interacting with technology as socio-technical systems, where both computer science and social science approaches are interwoven. I will discuss promising research in this area, describe the current status of the Moore/Sloan Data Science Environment at UW, and speculate upon future directions for data science.

BIO: Cecilia Aragon is an associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, where she directs the Human-Centered Data Science Lab. She is a Senior Data Science Fellow with the UW eScience Institute and holds courtesy appointments in Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and the Information School, and leads UW’s Ethnography and Evaluation Working Group as one of the PIs of the $38M Moore/Sloan Data Science Environment. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley in 2004 and her B.S. in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology.

Her interdisciplinary research focuses on human centered data science, including computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), visual analytics of very large data sets, and the analysis of emotion in social media. She has authored or co-authored over 70 refereed and 100 non-refereed publications in HCI, CSCW, visual analytics, machine learning, and astrophysics. Her research has been recognized with six Best Paper awards since 2004, and she has been awarded over $24M in research funding from NSF, DOE, NIST, and other public, private, and industry sponsors. She won the Distinguished Alumni Award in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2013, the student-nominated Faculty Innovator in Teaching Award from her department at UW that same year, and was named one of the Top 25 Women of 2009 by Hispanic Business Magazine. In 2008, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her work in data-intensive science. Aragon has an interdisciplinary background, including over 15 years of software development experience in industry and NASA, and a three-year stint as the founder and CEO of a small company.

COR Faculty Workshop: The Practicality Of Practice Theory, March 13th, 2015

Center for Organizational Research faculty workshop

Martha S. Feldman and Monica Worline

Discussants: Melissa Mazmanian and Gerardo Okhuysen

Friday, March 13 12:00-1:30pm
Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway SBSG 1321

Please RSVP to cor@uci.edu by March 8. A light lunch will be provided.



The world of work is increasingly fast-paced and complex requiring flexibility in organizational action and management. In this context theories of practice have gained momentum and popularity as ways of studying emerging organizational and management practices. We explore the potential for these theories to be of practical use not only to scholars but also to people, including managers, working in organizations. We first introduce the scholarly foundations important to understanding how practice theorists explain the world and then illustrate the practicality of practice theory by providing managerial and organizational examples of three basic features of practice theory in use. We conclude by focusing on “active resourcing,” an idea based in practice theory. We show in two different contexts how active resourcing influences organizational outcomes and how managers can encourage active resourcing.

MARTHA S. FELDMAN (Stanford University PhD, 1983) is the Johnson Chair for Civic Governance and Public Management and Professor of Social Ecology, Business, Political Science and Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her current research on organizational routines explores the role of performance and agency in creating, maintaining and altering these fundamental organizational phenomena. She is a Senior Editor for Organization Science and serves on editorial boards of several management and public management journals. She received the Administrative Science Quarterly’s 2009 award for Scholarly Contribution and the 2011 Academy of Management Practice Scholarship Award. In 2014, she received an honorary doctorate in economics from St. Gallen University Business School and was listed by Thompson Reuters as a highly cited author.

MONICA WORLINE, (University of Michigan Ph.D, 2004) is an organizational psychologist and President of Vervago, Inc., a company dedicated to research and teaching that supports organizations to make the most of their intellectual capital through effective development of courageous thinking, compassionate leadership, and creating an environment that brings people alive. Monica is an award-winning teacher and interdisciplinary scholar who has served on the faculties of Goizueta Business School at Emory University, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California Irvine, and the UC Irvine School of Social Ecology. Her writing has been featured in publications such as the Harvard Business Review, the Chicago Tribune, and BizEd Magazine and her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly and Organization Science.

Qualitative Research Workshop with Prof. Torsten Schmid Friday, Feb 20th 2015

“Practice Research: An Alternative Methodology for Qualitative Research”

Torsten Schmid
Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research
University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Friday, February 20
**SSPA 2112** (note location other than for previous COR events)

Light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to cor@uci.edu by February 15.

This workshop offers an interactive introduction into practice research as an alternative methodology for qualitative research. A practice perspective has become increasingly influential and applied to the study of phenomena as different as knowledge, culture, technology, routines or policy-making. The practice turn not just offers a conceptual alternative to existing social and cultural theories (“practice theory”). It has also developed into an innovative and inspiring re-search strategy (“practice methodology”) that differs from and complements more established approaches, such as grounded theory, case study or discourse analysis. The workshop provides a user’s perspective on common principles and practices of a practice methodology. A major focus will be on how a practice lens opens up a unique way to study and re-conceptualize axiomatic categories of social life, taking the weathered concept of “power” as exemplar. The workshop reports on a late-stage empirical project that attempts to do just that and engages participants in a practice-based analysis of data from this study.

Short bio: Torsten Schmid is an Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research and Strategic Man-agement at University of St. Gallen (a leading European business school, located in Switzerland). In my research, I aim at understanding and informing the fundamental transformation and re-structuring of large, complex corporations. My current research interests center around the ques-tion of how these organizations enact and cope with related power dynamics. For this, I combine various practice theories with extended, ethnographically informed, longitudinal and collaborative, field studies of strategic change programs at leading European firms. My work is motivated by the potential of practice theory to develop alternative relational conceptualizations of power that integrate the functionalist concern for effective strategic leadership with the critical agenda of human emancipation. Following a pragmatist tradition, I aim for research that has a human orientation and is practically useful. My interest in power dynamics in the context of large-scale strategic change is, therefore, also motivated by a concern for learning from and educating employees and executives on how to maintain a collective capacity to act in current conflictual set-tings.

This practice orientation also informs my teaching that comprises innovative practice-based formats in strategic management and qualitative methods, including graduate and PhD courses at various universities. I am also in charge of consulting qualitative research projects at my university. A collaborative research project with Prof. Martha S. Feldman brings me to UCI where I look very much forward to writing, teaching and engaging with fellow scholars.