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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Faculty Workshop with Gloria Mark, April 18, 2014

Faculty Workshop with Gloria Mark
Friday, April 18, 2014
BS 116 (Paul Merage School of Business)

Bored Mondays and Focused Afternoons: The Rhythm of Attention and Online Activity in the Workplace

While distractions using digital media have received attention in HCI, understanding engagement in workplace activities has been little explored. We logged digital activity and continually probed perspectives of 32 information workers for five days in situ to understand how attentional states change with context. We present a framework of how engagement and challenge in work relate to focus, boredom, and rote work. Overall, we find more focused attention than boredom in the workplace. Focus peaks mid-afternoon while boredom is highest in early afternoon. People are happiest doing rote work and most stressed doing focused work. On Mondays people are most bored but also most focused. Online activities are associated with different attentional states, showing different patterns at beginning and end of day, and before and after a mid-day break. Our study shows how rhythms of attentional states are associated with context and time, even in a dynamic workplace environment.

Discussants: Dan Stokols (Social Ecology) and Judy Olson (Informatics)

Gloria Mark “Bored Mondays and Focused Afternoons”

Vibha Gaba, Wednesday, February 26, 2014

OM Faculty Recruitment Colloquium:

Vibha Gaba
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD

“Learning to let go: Social influence, learning and the abandonment of corporate venture capital practices”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
12:00 – 1:30 pm at SB 112.

This study examines the abandonment of organizational practices. We argue that firm choices in implementing practices affect how firms experience a practice and their subsequent likelihood of abandonment. We focus on utilization of the practice and staffing, i.e. career backgrounds of managers, as two important implementations choices that firms make. The findings demonstrate that practice utilization and staffing choices not only affect abandonment likelihood directly but also condition firms’ susceptibility to contagion pressures to abandon when social referents do. Our study contributes to diffusion research by examining practice abandonment – a relatively unexplored area in diffusion research- and by incorporating specific aspects of firms’ post-adoption choice into diffusion theory.

If you would like to attend, please contact Vanessa Ly at vanessml@exchange.uci.edu

COR Seminar: Paula Jarzabkowski, Friday, March 14, 2014

Routines for Generating Financial Deals: Performing interdependence between Artifacts, Actions and Outcomes

Dr. Paula Jarzabkowski

Friday, March 14, 2014
12:00 – 1:30 PM
SBSG 1321

Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management at City University and, from 2012-2014, holds an EU Marie Curie Fellowship at Cornell University. Paula’s research focuses on strategy-as-practice in complex and pluralistic contexts, such as regulated infrastructure firms, third sector organizations and financial services, particularly insurance and reinsurance. She focuses primarily on qualitative and ethnographic research methods as a means of studying business problems. In this endeavor, she has been fortunate in winning a series of prestigious fellowships that have enabled her to conduct detailed ethnographic studies in different industries. For example, from 2009-2012, she held the inaugural Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative (IICI) fellowship, under which she conducted a 3-year audio and video ethnography of the global reinsurance market, which extended her skills from organisational to industry-level ethnography. She ‘enjoys’ the challenge of publishing such work in leading journals. Her work has appeared in a number of such journals including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies and in 2005, she published the first book on strategy-as-practice, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage).

This study is based on the routine of appraising financial deals in the reinsurance industry where we had in-depth access to observe the unfolding deal appraisal routine. Reinsurance is a finance industry that takes risks on large-scale catastrophes, such as the tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and droughts that have brought major losses around the world in recent years. Specifically, reinsurance provides insurance for insurance companies, in the form of financial deals that cover the risk of potential loss from such major catastrophes. Financial deals are a salient context for examining routines; because they constitute a recognizable pattern of actions that are performed by knowledgeable professionals. The research team had in-depth access to eleven firms operating in London and/or Bermuda. Our findings illustrate how the deal appraisal routine is performed with artifacts, and the way the deal appraisal routine intersects with other routines. In a second order analysis, we present three ostensive-performative cycles (technical analysis, contextual analysis and market analysis) that comprise the deal appraisal routine. The performance of each cycle involves the incorporation and knowledgeable use of artifacts that are handed over from related routines, such as the broking routine, client meeting routine and business planning routine, in order to perform the deal appraisal routine. The paper contributes to understanding about the coordination of interdependence within routines. It shows that knowledge codified in artifacts feeds into the performance of tasks within the routine. Artifacts are distinguished by the type of handover. Some artifacts are at the intersection of the deal appraisal routine with related routines, e.g. the information pack handed over from the broking routine, whereas other artifacts are created within the deal appraisal routine, e.g. the technical rate that demarcates the completion of an ostensive-performative cycle. Second, each action and its associated artifacts may comprise a performative-ostensive cycle, in which the action performs an element of the pattern that is the routine. There are thus multiple interdependent performative-ostensive cycles that need to be coordinated through handovers within the overarching performance of the routine. This coordination is complex because such cycles may not be strictly linear, but rather may iterate, as some cycles are repeated before performing a subsequent step in the routine.