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Five Models for Interaction Between Science Enterprises and Organization Scientists


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Slides from presentation at the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

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Five Models for Interaction Between Science Enterprises and Organization Scientists

  1. 1. Five Models for Interaction Between Science Enterprises and Organization Scientists Nicholas Berente, University of Georgia James Howison, University of Texas at Austin John Leslie King, University of Michigan
  2. 2. A Research Coordination Network RCN for Managing Collaborative Research Centers (NSF# 1240160)
  3. 3. RCN activities • Workshop 0 (Athens, Oct 2011): – Managing Cyberinfrastructure • Workshop 1 (Cleveland, May 2012): – Managing virtual organizations as sociotechnical systems (VOSS) • Workshop 2 (Ann Arbor, February, 2013): – Leading Cyberinfrastructure Enterprise • Workshop 3 (Austin, February 2014): – Managing software work in scientific research centers
  4. 4. What are Science Enterprises? • From small science to large projects to organizations with project portfolios – many associated with Cyberinfrastructure – many working at distance • Include: – FFRDCs (e.g., National Center for Atmospheric Research) – Supercomputing centers (e.g., NCSA, TACC) – Long-lived mission oriented projects (e.g., iPlant, Teragrid, XSEDE, GENI) • Exclude: – Universities
  5. 5. Who are the Science Executives? • Successful scientists and engineering researchers – Derive vision from their deep science engagement – Relate well to other scientists "often the PIs that have the right personality to rally a large community to really launch one of these large centers, that skill set definitely doesn’t translate to becoming a good manager for a large project.” “The vast majority of scientists have no interest in becoming a manager. They may be interested in succeeding at managing things but … “
  6. 6. Significant management challenges "I think as a new organization gets started... you get a large project going and it’s sort of like here’s the first paycheck … go! It would be good, I think, to have a little bit of help or at least a document for the managers or the organizers of the project to go through and say oh, the first thing I should do is probably think about measuring the organization. Wait a second, I don’t know anything about that... "
  7. 7. Executive vs. Project Manager “…as managers rise, they must think more broadly, understand more comprehensively, and act in a more sophisticated manner. They must shift from tactical thinking to strategic thinking, from meeting objectives to conceptualizing the nature of the business. They must balance multiple forces, allocate scarce resources, and maintain the cohesive integrity of larger numbers of people and functions… In short, the executive function is radically different from the managerial function…” Harry Levinson (1981, p.84)
  8. 8. Executives seeking insight • Focused on improving their organizations through actionable knowledge and doing science, but interested in broad questions. "Basically it’s wanting to hear, in some kind of nutshell, of course, how people who have studied very many organizations over long periods of time, you know, what’s the state of practice? What have people learned? What can be beneficial to someone who has never gone to management school and is now, you know, managing large amounts of people and large sums of money…… it’s interesting to me to hear that other people have approached things in the same way, which leads me to think there’s a reason for that. And I’m sure you all know what that is.”
  9. 9. Organizational scientists are interested • Science as harbinger of change • Science as crucial locus of innovation • Science as multi-incentive world, money is relevant and important, but doesn’t dominate • Organizational sciences are interested: – Management, Strategy, Information Systems – Public administration – Information schools and Software engineering
  10. 10. How do we interact? Analysis of position papers and discussion revealed five received models of interaction: 1. Engineering model 2. Research subject model 3. Educational model 4. Consultative model 5. Interdisciplinary research model
  11. 11. 1: An Engineering Model • Organization scientists provide science enterprise leaders with ‘off the shelf’ knowledge with which to engineer solutions to problems. • Solutions are conveyed through primary publications read by practitioners • Issues: Management knowledge is hard to de- contextualize, science is quite specific, translation research not highly valued in Org Science
  12. 12. An interaction I mean I actually wanted to hear about what topics were well understood and which are not because I don’t study virtual organization research at all. I don’t read any papers on it … I’m just doing whatever the next job is. I’m not studying how … … you need the abstracts … … yeah. (pause) No, I want somebody to read the abstracts … and just tell me what I need.
  13. 13. 2: Research Subject Model • Science enterprises serve as subjects of study for organization scientists • Example: – Many VOSS funded projects work this way • Issues: – Mismatch in questions of intellectual value to Org Science and practical implications for a particular science enterprise
  14. 14. 3: Educational Model • Organization scientists educate enterprise leaders via custom courses that focus on relevant theoretical and empirical findings. • Example: Business for Scientists and Engineers at Kellogg (Northwestern) • Issues: – Often focused on “Bench to Market” and expensive ($7,300) – High investment for syllabus development – Teaching payoff not always attractive to best researchers – Funding agencies must be happy to include in budgets.
  15. 15. 4: Consultative model Organization scientists consult with leaders of science enterprise to solve relevant problems. Highly personalized, highly contextualized. Example: – Steve Fiore and Margaret Palmer at SESYNC Issues: – Could be expensive for Science enterprises – Researchers don’t typically have whole-enterprise insight – Time-consuming for research academics – Unlikely to lead to research publications
  16. 16. 5: Interdisciplinary research model Organization scientists join with leaders of science enterprise as full partners in collaborative research – addressing questions that are actionable as well as academically interesting for organization scientists "And from the point of view of [my VO]... I have a feeling that they would be favorably disposed just for no other reason than well it’s a form of research. We’re all about research and fostering collaborations and all that, you know.” Issues: – Could be seen as “outside field” for both parties – Hard to build trust – Funders could see as distraction
  17. 17. Two meta-issues 1. Nature of management knowledge: “Best practices” of management gurus vs. “Tools to think with” (Schön 1983; Flyvbjerg 2003) – Management education focuses on Interpersonal exchange and exposure to wide variety of cases. – Research in Management not aligned with teaching
  18. 18. 2. Misalignment of interests • Reward system in Org Sciences focused on abstraction for publication – with vague hope for impact on practice • but not usually even vague intent to influence science • Reward system for Science Executives focused on execution and speed. – with vague interest in reflection on how their organizations compare to others • But not usually in management in the abstract
  19. 19. Ways forward for the RCN • Benchmarking across science enterprises – Org science academics as trusted clearinghouse – Recent survey of Coalition for Academic Scientific Computing (CASC) member organizations • Embedded junior scholars – “the value is not in consulting but the conversation.” – Undergraduates, masters and executive doctorate students spending 2-3 weeks onsite. – PhDs and Org Science PIs to synthesize • Science Executive Education – NSF funded, tailored course – First prototype to be delivered at UGA in 2 weeks. • VORTEX: clearing house for resources on managing virtual organizations – Working with Science of Team Science team towards this.