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Friday Research Workshops Archive

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Date

Speaker

Paper

--- Fall 2015 ---
9/11 Welcome and Phd student presentation
9/18 Phd student presentation
9/25 reserved
10/2 Sam Ransbotham Electronic Discovery and Medical Malpractice Litigation
10/9 Idea lab
10/16 Idea lab
10/23 No Workshop
10/30 No workshop
11/6 Russell Funk Search and Structure: Network Dynamics in Knowledge Intensive Organizations

Knowledge-intensive organizations must adapt internal communication and collaboration networks in response to changing external environments and evolving strategies. Yet surprisingly little research addresses how leaders might reshape networks inside their organizations. Using data on 23 million knowledge-sharing exchanges among 1.3 million members of 25 online technical communities, I examine how an essential feature of knowledge-intensive organizations - the systems they use for categorizing and mapping their knowledge - influences bridging tie formation. Bridging ties create and strengthen connections among otherwise distant groups of people in an organization and therefore are powerful tools for adapting networks. Knowledge categorization systems facilitate bridging by making it easier for people to connect with peers in their organization who have relevant expertise. However, I propose that in some cases, these systems may inhibit bridging. First, when a categorization system grows large, cognitive limitations make it difficult to use and therefore people are less able to establish ties with distant partners. Second, when a categorization system decouples from the actual distribution of expertise, its value for promoting bridging diminishes. Finally, when the norms used to evaluate the quality of contributions vary widely across an organization's categorization system, people are less likely to risk sharing knowledge outside their comfort zones and will make fewer exchanges with unfamiliar peers. I find support for all three ideas.

11/13 Arvind Malhotra Innovation Focused Crowdsourcing: From Random Variation Approach to Crowd Co-Creation

Existing theory about the "innovation" promise of crowdsourcing suggests that large numbers of participants will lead to a large diversity of ideas and good comments for refinement, which will in turn, increase the chance that someone will produce a good idea. This is referred to as the "random variation" approach for innovation. This is the most prevalent approach to crowdsourcing used today, embodied in Top Coder challenges, innovation challenge platform providers (e.g., Brightidea, Hyve, Spigit) and most challenges sponsored by firms. There is reason to question this Random Variation approach based on group innovation literature. Moreover, chief innovation officers are increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of innovation arising from the crowd. I and colleague, Dr. Ann Majchrzak at USC, propose an alternative approach, referred to as "Crowd Co-Creation" approach. We ran 21 innovation focused crowdsourcing events with 21 different companies, with each randomly assigned to one of the two approaches. We found the Crowd Co-Creation approach led to more innovative ideas. In this talk, I will describe our approach, results, and implications.

11/20 Vijay Gurbaxani Information Technology Outsourcing: Asset Transfer and the Role of Contract
Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) has become the predominant mode of acquiring information systems services, providing clear evidence that the economics of service delivery favor external service providers over in-house information systems departments. An interesting feature of many large ITO arrangements is that assets necessary for service delivery are transferred to the vendor. The argument in favor of such asset transfers, based in Property Rights Theory, is that they are necessary to incentivize vendors to continue to invest in the transaction-specific assets to improve service. On the other hand, Transaction Cost Economics predicts that transferring such assets increases bilateral dependence and will elevate the risk of post-contractual opportunistic behavior. The contracting challenge is to specify the terms of exchange to achieve the client's objectives for outsourcing while managing the transaction risks. Given the role of asset transfer in ITO engagements, we develop a theoretical framework to derive propositions on contract design in the presence of asset transfer. In particular, we recognize the complementary role of compensation mechanisms, specifically the pricing scheme and the use of performance incentives. We have compiled a unique dataset that provides an opportunity to examine sensitive information on contract structure. We test our propositions by comparing large ITO contracts that include asset transfer to those that do not. We find that asset transfer does significantly affect contract design, manifested in the inclusion of clauses that protect both clients and vendors. Outsourcing objectives are more likely to be met when contracts include compensation mechanisms that complement asset transfer.
11/27 No workshop
12/4 Reserved for Phd student practice talk
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