20080509 Friday Food Manchester United Business School


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Diversity and representation in coordination of interdisciplinary research projects

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20080509 Friday Food Manchester United Business School

  1. 1. Diversity and representation in coordination of interdisciplinary research projects Using Small Groups As Complex Systems Theory as a practice lens
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>The value of a theoretical lens </li></ul><ul><li>Why SGACS? </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of SGACS </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of the research </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits to IBBT </li></ul>
  3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>Multidisciplinarity – A mindset that endeavours to study subjects from several academic disciplines in parallel </li></ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinarity – A mindset that endeavours to combine the tools and theories of several academic disciplines in the study of subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Transdisciplinarity – A mindset that endeavours to develop theories and tools that are independent of particular academic disciplines </li></ul>
  4. 4. The value of theoretical practice lenses <ul><li>Provide constructs used to understand socio-technical system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Orlikowski (2000) applied Giddens’ structuration theory to study technology in use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Walsham (2002) used structuration theory to study outsourcing practices in software development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wastell (2004) applied Actor Network Theory to the study the role of technology in local government and its effect on power relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kuuti (1999) developed a framework for using Activity Theory to study IS development and research </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Why SGACS? <ul><li>Positivist tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Provides concepts (variables) that can be measured quantitatively </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a framework of relationships between group structure, activities and outcomes, and the context in which they operate (causal dynamics) </li></ul><ul><li>This framework can be used to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diagnose pathologies in groups that do not perform as expected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predict group performance from its structure and composition </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Overview of SGACS <ul><li>Multiple levels and changes over time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local, global and contextual dynamics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Causal dynamics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in the local and contextual dynamics cause changes in the global dynamics and are in turn affected by these changes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Group Functions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group goals vs. Member needs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Group composition and structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members, tasks and tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modes of group life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formation, operation, metamorphosis </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Coordination networks
  8. 8. Example A (qualitative) <ul><li>A case study of a joint crime prevention task force in a London Borough </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vehicle crime task group (schools, charities, social services), Police, local council representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disagreement over goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of example strategies and best practice guidelines </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disagreement over basic definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of statistics (knowledge) for determining where the hotspots and who the main perpetrators were </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No agreement over who should provide that knowledge (roles) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor tool network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of communication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of useful representations to develop alignment between members from different backgrounds </li></ul>
  9. 9. Example B (quantitative) <ul><li>Comparison of four student-project groups in a CSCW course </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement of local and global variables over time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local: Records of communication network (email, phone, SMS etc.), diaries of member interactions (member network) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local: Questionnaire 11 questions given four time one week apart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global: Happy-o-meter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global: Measure of the outcome (group mark) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Looking for differences in local dynamics between groups that could explain differences in global variables </li></ul>
  10. 10. Example B cont’d <ul><li>Factor Analysis on questionnaire results uncovered 4 factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Task needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Member compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tool quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual Comfort </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Example B cont’d Dynamics Group A Group B Group C Group D L o c a l Task needs + + + + + + + + + + Member interaction + + + + + + + + + + + + Tools Support + + + + + + + + + + + + Member comfort + + + + + + + + + + + + G l o b a l Project Outcome + +++ ++ ++++ Member Needs + +++ ++ ++++
  12. 12. Proposed case studies <ul><li>Study a (small) number of IBBT projects groups over time </li></ul><ul><li>Projects at different stages </li></ul><ul><li>Duration 3-5 months </li></ul><ul><li>One would hope to find, over time, a development in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group composition and structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Declining diversity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increased coordination of understanding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nature and role of representations and communication </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increased coordination of goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global dynamics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group function </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching goals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Members’ needs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Proposed case study cont’d <ul><li>Variables of interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>KSA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>VBA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PCB </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools and representations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global variables </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Methodology <ul><li>Repeated (Semi) Structured Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of representations used (e.g., emails, documents, drawings, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Communication networks </li></ul><ul><li>Diaries </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  15. 15. Threats to validity <ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Maturation </li></ul><ul><li>Testing </li></ul><ul><li>Selection bias </li></ul><ul><li>Mortality </li></ul>
  16. 16. What does IBBT get out of it? <ul><li>Evaluations of individual projects? </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness of problems that may arise and their probable causes </li></ul><ul><li>This which would allow project managers to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid problems by setting the conditions that promote productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be able to detect early warning signs for problems that may be developing within projects </li></ul></ul>