Self-Organizing Into Winning Teams: Understanding the Mechanisms that Drive Successful Collaborations

workplace-1245776_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Amy Wax of California State University, Long Beach, Leslie A. Dechurch, and Noshir S. Contractor of Northwestern University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “Self-organizing into winning teams: understanding the mechanisms that drive successful collaborations,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Wax reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

SGR_48_3_Covers.inddWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

This paper is based on my dissertation research. Throughout graduate school, I was interested in studying team composition and diversity in teams. So, the topic of team self-assembly was very interesting to me (being that it has a lot to do with team composition), and I decided to make it the primary emphasis of my dissertation.

Specifically, I decided to focus on self-assembled teams using a sample of Chinese online gamers because I was granted unique access to a large digital trace data set that could potentially inform my research questions.

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

One of the most challenging (but also most fun/rewarding) parts of conducting this research was spending the summer of 2014 in Shanghai, working on data mining and analyses. It was mainly challenging because of the language barrier. Overall, it was an amazing experience!

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

Unfortunately, a series of semi-structured interviews that we conducted with Chinese and American online gamers ended up getting cut from the paper. Look out for a future publication with these results!

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The Role of Collaboration in Tourism Research

5053443202_bfa18dab8b_z[We’re pleased to welcome Gang Li of Deakin University. Gang recently published an article in Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research entitled “Temporal Analysis of Tourism Research Collaboration Network” with co-authors Wei Fan of Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Rob Law of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.]

Network analysis is an effective tool for the study of relationships among individual, including the relationships among researchers. We would like to investigate the changes of importance of individual researchers in collaboration networks of tourism research over time, which may help to obtain better understanding of collaboration to promote the progress of research.

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We proposed to evaluate the importance of researchers by considering both productivity and their contribution to the connectivity of collaboration networks.  In network analysis, centrality measures can reflect the importance of nodes in a network and degree and betweenness are two commonly used centrality measures in previous studies. This study found that betweenness centrality is better than degree centrality in terms of reflecting the changes of importance of researchers.

Information about the evolution of collaboration network and the changes of each researcher can be provided withthe method proposed in this study. With further research on topic analysis of published articles, the proposed method may help to explore trends in tourism and hospitality research. Moreover, this work provides an alternative method to utilize centrality measure in network analysis.

The abstract for the paper:

Network analysis is an effective tool for the study of collaboration relationships among researchers. Collaboration networks constructed from previous studies, and their changes over time have been studied. However, the impact of individual researchers in collaboration networks has not been investigated systematically. We introduce a new method of measuring the contribution of researchers to the connectivity of collaboration networks and evaluate the importance of researchers by considering both contribution and productivity. Betweenness centrality is found to be better than degree centrality in terms of reflecting the changes of importance of researchers. Accordingly, a method is further proposed to identify key researchers at certain periods. The performance of the identified researchers demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method.

You can read “Temporal Analysis of Tourism Research Collaboration Network” from Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Hospitality & Tourism ResearchClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to US Embassy (CC)

Lise van Oortmerssen on Creative Processes and Their Valuable Surprises

business-graphics-1428648-m[We’re pleased to welcome Lise van Oortmerssen of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. van Oortmerssen recently collaborated with Cees M. J. van Woerkum of Wageningen University and Noelle Aarts of both Wageningen University and the University of Amsterdam on their paper “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board,” recently published in the OnlineFirst section of Group and Organization Management.]

When I started the case study that resulted in this article, it was not creative processes that I was focused on. I had access to the board meetings of an innovative collaboration at the intersection of the ICT and creative industries, involving parties from both the private and (semi-)public sectors. The original research focus was on interaction patterns during board meetings and on trust developments among the board members. However, after I had followed the board meetings for a while, I became intrigued by the way that this group of successful, highly skilled people conducted its deliberations and how the board’s interaction patterns were connected to problem solving developments. I felt that I – ánd the readers of a future paper on this case study – could learn a lot from these innovators who were, almost passionately, dedicated to a common goal.

During meetings, the board’s conversation regularly intensified GOM 39(6)_Covers.inddand sometimes even seemed to get into a flow. Such flow episodes generated new insights and often resulted in novel solutions. This dynamic became my new focus of attention. Following this new direction, the case study resulted in completely different output than I had in mind at the start. It resulted in exploring collective creative processes through communication patterns and in launching the concept of interaction flow. The research process was a creative process in itself. This is what makes me a fan of the interpretive research approach – the approach that allows keeping the eyes open to interesting surprises that emerge from the data and following these into novel research directions. It unlocks the potential for finding even more remarkable insights than you were originally looking for. And that actually happened in this case.

You can read “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board” from Group and Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Group and Organization Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

LiseLise A. van Oortmerssen (PhD) lectures in Corporate Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Her main research interest is in group communication dynamics in organizational contexts, for example focusing on communication patterns in relation to trust and to creativity. She accumulated varied experience as senior advisor in public organizations.

CeesCees M.J. van Woerkum is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Communication at Wageningen University. He published in the fields of mass communication, policy science and organizational communication, mainly about topics related to the domain of life sciences.

noelleNoelle Aarts is Professor of Strategic Communication at the University of Amsterdam and Associate Professor of Communication Strategies at Wageningen University. She studies inter-human processes and communication for creating space for change, in governmental organizations, NGO’s, and commercial companies. She has published on topics such as communication of organizations with their environment, conflict and negotiation, dealing with ambivalence, network-building and self-organization.

Specific Teamwork Requirements and Implications for Team Design

A new issue of Small Group Research is now available online!

Daniel Lafond, Defence R&D Canada–Valcartier, Marie-Eve Jobidon, Defence R&D Canada–Toronto, Caroline Aubé, HEC Montréal, and Sébastien Tremblay, Université Laval, published “Evidence of Structure- Specific Teamwork Requirements and Implications for Team Design” in the October 2011 issue.

The Abstract:

This article reports an experiment using the C3Fire microworld—a functional simulation of command and control in a complex and dynamic environment—in which 24 three-person teams were organized according to either a functional or multifunctional allocation of roles. We proposed a quantitative approach for estimating teamwork requirements and comparing them across team structures. Two multiple linear regression models were derived from the experimental data, one for each team structure. Both models provided excellent fits to the data. The regression coefficients revealed key similarities and some major differences across team structures. The two most important predictors were monitoring effectiveness and coordination effectiveness regardless of team structure. Communication frequency was a positive predictor of performance in the functional structure but a negative predictor in the multifunctional structure. In regard to communication content, the proportion of goal-oriented communications was found to be a positive predictor of team performance in functional teams and a weak negative predictor of team performance in multifunctional teams. Mental load was a useful predictor in functional teams but not in multifunctional teams. Results show that this method is useful for estimating teamwork requirements and support the claim that teamwork requirements can vary as a function of team structure.

To view other articles in this new issue, please click here. More information about Small Group Research can be found here.

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Visitor Centers, Collaboration, and the Role of Local Food and Beverage as Regional Tourism Development Tools

Abel Duarte Alonso, University of Western Sydney; Edith Cowan University, and Yi Liu, Curtin University, published “Visitor Centers, Collaboration, and the Role of Local Food and Beverage as Regional Tourism Development Tools: the Case Of The Blackwood River Valley in Western Australia” was published on OnlineFirst on July 14th, 2011 in the Journal of Hospitality and Travel Research. Dr. Alonso kindly provided the following thoughts on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Academics, practitioners, industry bodies, in essence, the main stakeholders in the process of tourism development, marketing and management.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I have a strong interest in tourism development in rural areas, and in studying its potential to be incorporated or blended with other sectors, including food and beverage.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes, for instance, the fact that to date very little has been done to promote local foods or blend this component into a more wholesome tourism experience in addition to sightseeing and outdoor activities.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?
The study offers insights that could be further studied in the region and elsewhere. An aspect of key importance would be to continue studying the developments in the region longitudinally.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

This is the line I am pursuing at the moment: Studying a region seeking to establish or develop its image as a tourism destination, as well as identifying opportunities and challenges in the successful development (and consistency) of tourism and destination marketing.

How did your paper change during the review process?

It changed in the sense that reviewers’ suggestions and constructive feedback were incorporated, for instance, consulting additional literature, exploring the theoretical foundation of the paper further and providing more thorough implications. We believe that these elements contributed to more rigour and to a better, more carefully crafted paper.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Definitely, studying the perceptions of local food producers and whether they are or not currently working with visitors centres in any form could have complemented well to the data collected from visitor centres. This important aspect may be incorporated in a future study.

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JMI- Six Degrees Interviews

The Journal of Management Inquiry has developed a new section called “Six Degrees,” in which important authors and professors of management are interviewed in a takeoff on Inside the Actors Studio.

In the second installment, Gretchen Spreitzer, University of Michigan, and Robert Quinn , University of Michigan, talk about their long-time collaboration, which began in 1988 when Gretchen was a doctoral student and Robert was a faculty member.

In the third installment of Six Degrees, Richard Stackman interviews Jone Pearce, University of California, Irvine, about her life and career. Jone is the Former President of the Western Academy of Management and the Former President of the Academy of Management. In this interview, she discusses her relationship with her students, who she continues to collaborate with as professors.

To listen to these interviews and more from Six Degrees, click here.

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Structure-Specific Teamwork

Evidence of Structure-Specific Teamwork Requirements and Implications for Team Design“, by Daniel Lafond and Marie-Eve Jobidon, both of Defence R&D Canada-Valcartier, Québec, Caroline Aubé of HEC Montréal, Québec, and Sébastien Tremblay of Laval University, Québec, was recently published in Small Group Research OnlineFirst. Dr. Lafond has provided an additional perspective on the article:

Who is the target audience for this article?

Researchers in cognitive, organizational and social psychology; Human factors specialists; Decision makers and personnel in the military, healthcare, emergency response, and public safety domains.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The considerable potential for knowledge transfer from basic research to applied issues in relation to human performance.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The main findings challenged a predominant assumption that key determinants of team performance are the same across all contexts.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Contribute to the development of team design methods and stimulate further research on how team structures influence teamwork requirements.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

Human cognition and performance: From individuals to teams.

How did your paper change during the review process?

Significant improvements to the conceptual background, theoretical discussion and analyses.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

We would not change anything in particular, but we will certainly pursue the investigation of determinants of team performance and how these factors are modulated by context of work and organizational structure of teams (e.g., by studying a wider set of team structures).

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