Call for Editor: World Futures Review

World Futures Review invites applications for the Editorship of the Journal.

spwfr_9_1_72ppiRGB_150pixwWorld Futures Review (WFR) is the top forum for all who are professionally involved in exploring trends and alternatives for society. This dynamic quarterly publication offers valuable insight on the theoretical, research and practical issues confronting those interested in futures research. Along with interviews with leading futures practitioners, WFR publishes important new foresight literature.

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Successful Practices for Voluntary Innovation Teams Crossing Scientific and Professional Fields

achievement-agreement-arms-bump-business-cheer-up-collaboration-colleagues-communication-connection-cooperation-deal-digital-device-diverse-fist-fist-bump-five-friends-friendship-group-h-e153366742731.jpg

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Zack Kertcher of the University of Illinois, and Dr. Erica Coslor of the University of Melbourne. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Boundary Objects and the Technical Culture Divide: Successful Practices for Voluntary Innovation Teams Crossing Scientific and Professional Fields,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they recount the motivations and innovations of this research.

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research

Zack:

What drew me to this work is my intrigue with a “big” question and an opportunity.

The “big” question

Whether it is “The Web”, “Mobile”, “Cloud Computing,” or most recently “AI,” technology constructs appear to drive much of what we do, and how we think about our work. They also appear to start by being highly interpretable and open to changes, followed by a period in which they are more stable. The latter is when mass adoption occurs. Much less is known about the former stage. How can people from different organizations and fields of practice adopt a new technology that still has an elusive meaning, and yet use it to make a significant impact in their area of work? As this paper shows, while such efforts exhibit distinct challenges, they also show common solutions.

The opportunity

During my graduate program at the University of Chicago, I had the rare opportunity to interact with the innovators and early adopters of exactly this type of technology construct, “Grid Computing.” By many accounts, it paved the way to today’s “Cloud Computing.” The article reports findings from a part of this project that analysed the experience of three teams in three fields of science that tried to adopt “The Grid” to drive change in their fields.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Zack:

The most challenging aspect of this research was its reach. While still being negotiated at the time when I started my research, there were already many adopters of Grid Computing. These adopters spanned hundreds of organizations, running across all continents, and many fields of scientific and commercial practice. To study an evolving construct, it is best to study it up-close from the perspective of participants. However, performing a qualitative study on such a distributed scale was not trivial. I spent several years examining this community. To make things worse, these individuals came from different fields of practice, which meant understanding all perspectives was particularly difficult.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Both:

This research contributes to the field in two ways:

  1. Innovation management. We examine the development and adoption of “big” technologies from the perspective of the groups working in the trenches to advance these innovations. When successful, such technologies end up impacting our everyday lives. But to be successful, innovators and early adopters need to overcome a set of challenges in how to approach and integrate the new technology into their working practices.
  2. Interdisciplinary collaborations. These collaborations are based on a paradox. On the one hand, interdisciplinary projects are the most innovative, because they involve people with multiple—often radically different—perspectives. But working with such distinct approaches and objectives can be disabling. This paradox is more pronounced when the projects are voluntary and involve an “object” (technology) that is still very much open to interpretation, as was the case here.

 

 

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Team Photo attributed to Free-Photos  (CC)

I Lost My Baby Today: Embodied Writing and Learning in Organizations.

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Ilaria Boncori of the University of Essex and Dr. Charlotte Smith of University of Leicester.  They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “I lost my baby today: Embodied writing and learning in organizations” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivation for this article.

mlqb_48_3.coverWhen we first saw the Management Learning call for papers for a special issue on Writing Differently we were genuinely excited at the prospect of reading scholarly contributions that embraced difference and dared to step away from rigid journal article boundaries. We have known each other around a decade and trudged through the completion of our PhDs together. We remain close friends to this day who enjoy chatting and wondering about research ideas over good sushi. It was on one of those occasions after reading the call that it dawned on us – we could be brave and write differently. If we are honest, we were a little frightened but together we managed to contain our anxieties and we couldn’t have been more delighted at the positive, sympathetic and heartful comments that we received after our submission.

We were motivated about the prospect of trying to write differently and develop our skillset as writers and scholars doing so, but we also knew Ilaria had a very difficult story to tell about losing her baby. Writing the paper was hard for Ilaria in working through her emotions but when asking Charlie to come on board she explained how she also wanted to address a very significant issue that affects many women. Why are our bodies silenced in organizations when they talk about uncomfortable realities such as death, miscarriage, menopause, self-harming, illnesses and so on?

So we decided to go for it, and Ilaria shared her autoethnographic story, hoping that it may be well received and actually get published. Having a friend as co-author made this easier. Another mitigating factor to the fear of exposure was that the point of the article was not the story in itself, it was about daring to write differently through ethnographic text that is embodied, emotional and drenched in lived experience.

The idea for this specific paper also came from our need to break away from what the field recognizes as acceptable mainstream criteria of reading and writing organizations. The language, the content and the style that currently reign supreme are, to us, examples of patriarchal hegemonic perspectives that silence the body, the dirty, the messy, the unconventional and the lived experience that makes us who we are and what we are able to do in organizations.

We therefore retained some form of canonic academic papers (such as an engagement with the literature and a methodological note), but very clearly decided to subvert praxis in terms of content (miscarriage) and style in writing an evocative autoethnographic account. We also challenged the conventions of multi-authored autoethnographic research in that the experience told in our article belongs to only one author, while the other acts as the listener, the critical friend, the academic comforter.

Sharing very personal stories through autoethnography is scary because one’s intimate life is exposed in an uncommon way for traditional understandings of organization studies, and is therefore more fragile and open to criticism that gets too personal to be professional. Nonetheless, we advocate the use of such narratives and writing differently to challenge and resist the dominant masculine discourse in academia through methodological and stylistic changes to our writing, because personal, fragile and reflexive narratives can enhance the understanding of lived experiences in organizations. We are acutely aware that we couldn’t have developed our work without the support and comments of our editors and reviewers who both believed in us and let us work with them without the constraints of normalized and overtly formulaic review processes.

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Scientific Contributions of Within-Person Research in Management

[Authors Brian W. McCormick of Northern Illinois University, Cody J. Reeves of Brigham Young University, Patrick E. Downes of Rutgers University, Ning Li, of the University of Iowa, and Remus Ilies of National University of Singapore recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “Scientific Contributions of Within-Person Research in Management: Making the Juice Worth the Squeeze.” We are pleased to welcome Dr. McCormick as a contributor and happy to announce that the findings will be free to access on our site for a limited time. Below, Dr. McCormick reveals the inspiration for conducting this research and features a video abstract for the article:]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointI had read about Mischel’s situation strength notion when I was an undergrad. The idea was that, in strong situations, everyone behaves the same way regardless of individual differences like conscientiousness or extraversion. In weak situations where there aren’t clear norms for behavior, individual differences rule. This phenomenon results in Mischel’s personality by situation interaction such that personality predicts behavior in weak situations but not in strong situations. That made sense to me, and I didn’t giveit much more thought.

Until few years ago. Some of my students were interested in this stuff, so I started reading more about the situation strength hypothesis. Then, as always, I started to question. First, do authors who rely on Mischel’s theory for their hypotheses actually test for variance differences as per the theory? (Spoiler alert-the answer is no, but that paper is under review elsewhere). Second, might it be that this sort of phenomenon goes beyond personality by situation interactions? The more I thought about this second question, the more intrigued I became.

Then I was on sabbatical at the University of Sydney, and I was looking for an excuse to collaborate with Bo Nielsen on something related to international business. It occurred to me that a more general sort of interaction, something that I began calling a restricted variance interaction, was quite common in IB research. So Bo, my longtime partner in crime Tine Kohler, and I published a paper to this effect in JIBS. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that RV interactions went beyond IB. They were, in fact, everywhere, and at every level of analysis, from within person to between country. If we ever start doing interplanetary research, I bet we find RV interactions there too.

We started fiddling with data and equations, and we discovered that there was a lot of interesting stuff going on with these interactions. First, restriction of variance affects unstandardized weights, but not standardized weights. Second, while restriction on the DV weakens prediction as per Mischel, restriction on the IV actually has the opposite effect! Third, restriction on a mediator has no effect on the indirect effect. Fourth, higher order RV interactions are also entirely possible. Fifth, RV interactions have their own testing requirements. And the more we looked in the literature, the more we found examples of these and other RV interaction phenomena. Put all of this together, add my student Kate Keeler to the team, and you have our JOM paper.

This paper is one of three that Tine, Bo, Kate, and I are working on. The more that people look at the field through an RV lens, the easier they will find it to support their interaction hypotheses. My hope is that, through these various papers, we can generate enough interest in RV interactions that it reaches a tipping point such that everyone gets some exposure to the thinking that underlies these phenomena. Then we will see interaction hypotheses with stronger foundations than is currently the case. Here’s hopin’.

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Exploratory Neural Reactions to Framed Advertisement Messages of Smoking Cessation

[Dr. Dong Yang of I-Shou University recently published an article in Social Marketing Quarterly titled “Exploratory Neural Reactions to Framed Advertisement Messages of Smoking Cessation.” We are pleased to welcome Dr. Yang as a contributor and happy to announce that the findings will be free to access on our site for a limited time. Also, further insights regarding inspiration behind the research, as well as additional information not included in the final publication, are available below.]

SMQ_20_2_C1 & C5.inddSeveral measurement problems were found from previous survey research by using questionnaires. For example, respondents usually answered items to match researchers’ intention or social norms unconsciously, especially when respondents had difficulties to read and understand questionnaires. According to the inspiration of the latest development of medical engineering and relevant research about advertising effectiveness measuring by the eye tracker, this study applies brainwave instruments for exploring social and neural marketing. The most difficult part of experimental manipulation is how to measure needed data effectively while subjects respond in a natural environment without controls. Owing to smokers agreed to assist this study tried to take off the brainwave instruments to end the measuring process as they faced negatively framed fear appeals, it is possible that they may stop to watch the whole negatively framed smoking cessation advertising under true natural surroundings.

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How Do You Stop a Patient From Falling Again?

doctor-with-tablet-1461913089jcx.jpg[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Joseph Allen of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Roni Reiter-Palmon of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Victoria Kennel of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Dr. Katherine Jones of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. They recently published an article in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Group and Organizational Safety Norms Set the Stage for Good Post-Fall Huddles,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Allen recounts the motivations and innovations of this research.

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointThe research in this paper was motivated by both personal interest and practical need in the healthcare field. Specifically, many of the researchers have had families or witnessed themselves instances where patients fell, were injured, and their recovery was impacted by that fall. Further, there is a general and practical need in healthcare to attend to and reduce the frequency of falls at in-patient facilities. As the population ages, the demand upon healthcare facilities only grows, and so the reduction of process of care created injury or illness is essential to providing care to everyone in need. That is, we need to get people in, treat them effectively, and help them transition back to full functioning without lengthening their stay with needless falls or other injuries/issues.

Given that motivation, the research here is particularly meaningful and innovative because it highlights an interesting dilemma in the implementation of best practices for improved patient well-being and care. Specifically, this study showed that having a good organizational safety climate/culture makes it more likely leaders will engage in the desired behaviors and lead effective post-fall huddles, compared to leaders in less positive organizational safety climate/culture. In other words, those who are already aware of the need to do things to keep patient and employee safe as they work together will more readily adopt new and innovative practices to promote that safety. This study supports the need to “set the stage” before implementing new things related to safety.

Additionally, it tells a somewhat scary truth about safety intervention implementation. Organizations who already buy into, support, and foster safety related practices are more effective and probably more likely to succeed at implementing new interventions. Organizations who do not buy into, support, and foster safety related practices do not benefit as much from attempting to implement new and innovative interventions. In other words, the safe get safer and the unsafe may not get much safer over time.

Bottom-line, stay healthy and be judicious in your decisions about where to receive your healthcare.

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Doctor Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

Reflection on Institutions and Entrepreneurship Quality

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Farzana Chowdhury of University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, David Audretsch of Indiana University, and Maksim Belitski of the University of Reading. They recently published an article in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice entitled “Institutions and Entrepreneurship Quality,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Farzana briefly describes the motivation and significance of their research.

ETP_72ppiRGB_powerpointDuring 2012-2013 a group of researchers from Indiana University came across a continuing debate on the quantity and quality of entrepreneurial activity. We found that most of the studies to date considered it important to consider not just the quantity but also the quality of entrepreneurship because not all entrepreneurship contributes equally to economic activity.

Theory and empirical research suggested that entrepreneurship is an activity related to pursue and exploit market opportunities. These opportunities define the type of entrepreneurship activity which differs significantly across regions and countries. Recent research also debated that firm entry small business growth and other indicators are not necessarily per se good indicators reflecting the quality of entrepreneurship. Thus, we identified the need to develop a standardized and empirically tested measure of the quality of entrepreneurial activity across countries and to find a way how formal and informal institutions could enhance the quality of entrepreneurship.

Over the subsequent year, the authors participated in a professional development workshop (PDW) at the annual meetings of the Academy of Management in Philadelphia on the links between institutions and the individual choice made by individuals to become an entrepreneur.  Although important research published in two of the premier scholarly journals in the academic field of entrepreneurship,  The Journal of Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice had previously analysed this decision, little was known about how entrepreneurship quality is influenced by the corresponding rates of return –- or profit rates – associated with the various types of entrepreneurial activities, which in turn is shaped by the quality of existing political and legal institutions.

Our work focuses on the relationship between the quality of institutions and the quantity and quality of entrepreneurship across countries with different levels of economic development. The research impacts the field of institutional economies and economics of entrepreneurship by combining North’s (1990) institutional theory with Williamson’s (2000) institutional hierarchy approach, Whitley’s (1999) national business systems (NBS) perspective and Baumol’s (1990) theory of the productivity of entrepreneurship to explore the interactive and dynamic relationships between the formal and informal institutions and the quality and quantity of entrepreneurship. From the empirical perspective, the work contributes to understanding what types of institutions should be improved if entrepreneurship policy targets the quality of entrepreneurship activity. Most importantly the strength of the relationship still depends on the level of the country’s level of economic development. Our work provides a ranking of countries in descending order by quantity and quality of entrepreneurial activity which is complementary to the standard measures of entrepreneurial activity provided by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

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