Organizing for successful platform adoption: Part One

Here’s my latest post published on the OII’s iLabour project blog.

What does innovation literature predict about the organizational challenges of adopting online freelancing platforms? 

TeroVesalainen/pixabai. (CCO)

Digital technologies have fueled a new wave of outsourcing opportunities where firms leverage online labour platforms to access freelancers on and on-demand basis. These developments inform estimations that in the coming years, 80% of large corporations will be substantially increasing their use of freelancers. Indeed, we are observing a 30% demand-increase in the amount of work outsourced through platforms. But nevertheless, most platforms are still struggling with an unbalanced distribution of users, whereby more freelancers than clients use their marketplace. Underlying this uneven distribution is a challenge that platforms present to clients: How to organize for successful platform adoption? In the first part of this two-part blog, I draw upon innovation literature to identify some of the challenges that firms face when adopting platforms and how they can successfully address them.

The impacts of platforms on organizations

One might think that using online freelancers is something that firms can simply decide to adopt. But in practice. realizing successful adoption often proves more complex. While recognizing the benefits of online freelancing platforms, firms also experience their disruptive effect on existing organizational arrangements. Especially large corporations, such as the Fortune 500, have extensive processes and practices in place for hiring and managing their employees, contractors, and various outsourcing relations. Therefore:

“With little guidance on how to organize the sourcing process with online freelancers, platform adoption can actually prove quite challenging.”

Realizing expected benefits of online freelancing platforms requires firms to successfully integrate platforms and online freelancers with the everyday work practices of its members. Viewing platform adoption through an innovation lens, helps to identify some of the challenges that firms may need to address when they consider to use platforms.

Implementation, not adoption

Innovation scholars Klein and Knight have argued that firms often adopt innovations, yet fail to successfully implement them. Innovation adoption refers to the decision to use an innovation, yet it is during implementation that people become increasingly skilled, consistent, and committed to its use in practice. This distinction between adoption and implementation is helpful to further our understanding of how firms start to use platforms. It makes us realize that successful platform adoption is not a given but something you can organize for. Further, it re-directs our attention from viewing platform adoption in terms of success or failure towards people’s use of platforms in everyday practice. Viewing platform adoption as a process, rather than a binary outcome highlights that anticipated benefits are to be realized through company members’ active and coordinated efforts. An important question then becomes: What challenges prevent people from using platforms and how can firms successfully address them?

“Viewing platform adoption as a process, rather than a binary outcome highlights that anticipated benefits are to be realized through company members’ active and coordinated efforts.”

The challenges of implementing platform-use

It is during implementation that organizational members explore and gain experience in using platforms for hiring and working with online freelancers. From an innovation perspective, realizing successful implementation may be challenging for several reasons:

  1. Platform’s product offering may not automatically be a perfect fit for your company. Many innovations are intentionally imperfect or incomplete by design, especially in fast-changing environments. While platforms offer standardized solutions, successful implementation may require firms to make modifications during use, to create the optimal fit between the tools, technologies, and services offered by platforms and their internal processes and infrastructures.
  1. While decisions to adopt platforms are often made at executive management levels, platform users are often found at departmental levels. Whereas executive managers strategize around how to achieve operational excellence through innovation, project managers, team leaders, and individual contributors tend to focus on getting things done, and therefore are more skeptical regarding the merits of an innovation. Related to platform adoption, people on the work floor may thus be inclined to maintain the status quo when they are uncertain about how the use of platforms will benefit them.
  1. To successfully use platforms, people may need to acquire new knowledge, skills, and competences. Especially when an innovation comprises new technologies, people may need time to learn and become competent in using it. This is especially true for platforms, where people often receive little guidance. Platform adoption therefore requires investments in time and resources. Further, on the short term, it may initially lead to problems and delays in getting work done.
  1. Implementation may require a change in organizational members’ roles as well as their work practices and routines. Implementing an innovation requires people who previously worked independently, to share information and coordinate their activities. Platform adoption may thus require establishing new work relations, roles, and routines that are likely to differ depending on which area of the organization is guiding the adoption and implementation process, and whereas firms aim for local or company-wide adoption.

Solutions for successful platform adoption

Innovation literature also provides possible solutions for addressing these challenges. My review of the literature suggests that key factors that shape the implementation process relate to (1) creating a supportive climate for implementation and (2) creating a safe space for experimentation. 

  1. Creating a supportive attitude and climate for implementation. To address resistance to change established work roles, relations, and routines, one antecedent of implementation success relates to creating a supportive attitude and climate for implementation. A supportive climate for innovation implementation is an important predictor of innovation use. When users view adoption of an innovation positively, they will regard its implementation and use as a priority instead of a distraction from their real work. Strong management support is another important factor in the implementation process, especially when it requires people to work together. Managers can for instance provide their team members with a strong narrative around their motivations for adopting an innovation and how it addresses their needs. This often goes together with a third and fourth factor: the availability of sufficient financial resources and a long-term orientation. Financial resources are necessary for training, experimentation, and support. A long-term orientation helps to achieve the benefits of sustained innovation implementation, while realizing that it may diminish productivity and performance in the short term, as people are learning to use an innovation.
  1. Creating a safe space for experimentation. To assess the fit of platforms for your company, and support the learning and training of users, another antecedent of implementation success relates to creating a safe space for experimentation. Experimentation is supported by fostering a strong learning orientation towards skill development, learning, and growth, as well as allowing users to take risks and experience failure in a safe environment. Innovation implementation is rarely an immediate success and a learning orientation can help overcome obstacles in an innovation’s use. Such an orientation can be created by viewing implementation as a collective learning process, in which users are encouraged to experiment with new practices and routines. 

In this blog, I’ve adopted an innovation lens, to identify some of the challenges of platform adoption, and how they can be successfully addressed. To ensure that people become increasingly skilled in using online freelancing platforms, firms are advised to intentionally organize for platform adoption, by fostering a supportive attitude and climate for implementation as well as creating a safe space for users to experiment with platform-use. In part Two, I will share the stories of two Fortune 500 firms who successfully adopted and integrated online freelancing in their business models.

“To ensure that people become increasingly skilled in using online freelancing platforms, firms are advised to intentionally organize for platform adoption, by fostering a supportive attitude and climate for implementation as well as creating a safe space for their members to experiment with platform-use.”

Organizing with on-demand freelancers in the platform economy: Part Two

I wrote this posting for a joint series on labour and work in the modern economy by openDemocracy and SPERI

What challenges do organizations face when adopting online freelancing platforms as part of their business models?

annawaldl/pixabay. (CCO)

Digital technologies have enabled the rise of online labour platforms that transform contemporary organizations and the way work gets done. In Part One of this blog, I introduced a typology of online labour platforms and described the motivations of organizations to work with online freelancers. In Part Two, I further outline an organizational perspective on online labour platforms. I will discuss new ways of organizing with online freelancers and the questions that organizations should consider when adopting online freelancing platforms as part of their business models.

New ways of organizing with online freelancers.

Economists, sociologists, industry analysts, and policy-makers have all been concerned with how online labour platforms are shaping the future of work in the online gig economy. But what’s often missed-out in the societal debate is how platform technologies are adopted by organizations and transform how work is structured and managed. By viewing platform adoption as unproblematic, important questions about the practical opportunities and challenges of online labour platforms are not asked. Consequently, current predictions about how platforms will affect the future of work in the modern economy are informed more by estimations rather than actual practice. A focus on the organizational implications of the platform economy complements other ones, and allows us to better assess how the future of work is taking shape.

“Current predictions about how platforms will affect the future of work in the modern economy are informed more by estimations rather than actual practice.”

To address this issue, I study how organizations, ranging from SMEs and startups to Fortune 500 companies, adopt online freelancing platforms. Broadly, online freelancing works as follows. The platform offers a marketplace where client organizations and freelancers can connect and interact with each other. A client posts a project on the marketplace and interested freelancers can bid on the project. In their proposal, they indicate the price they will charge to complete the project. The client then evaluates the proposals and selects the freelancer that best fits the project. After an interview, the client then decides to make an offer to a freelancer or to continue her search. Upon acceptance of the offer, the freelancer can start the work, which upon completion, is submitted and evaluated through the platform. After evaluation and approval by the client, payment is released to the freelancer.

As described in more detail in Part One, organizations adopt online freelancing platforms for various reasons. SMEs and startups tend to use platforms to access freelancers with specific skills while reducing risks. Other companies report the use of online freelancers because of the flexibility it offers for project-based work. Platforms such as Toptal, focus on specific categories of work. Others offer a wide range of categories, such as Upwork and Freelancer.

Further, startups and SMEs tend to interact directly with the marketplace. Some platforms have started offering managed services systems for large corporations, whereby interaction with freelancers is mediated by a human-service layer. For instance, Upwork’s enterprise offering comprises a white-glove service that assists in recruiting, the classification compliance, deployment, and onboarding of its elite freelancers.

Organizational challenges for working with online freelancers

Along with these strategic advantages, platforms also present organizations with new challenges. One question that remains to be addressed is how platform adoption transforms the structures, processes and practices of organizations, when freelancers get involved in everyday operations. This not only concerns traditional hiring, talent sourcing and procurement strategies, but also the way work is coordinated, administrated, and managed. How do organizations decide about which work tasks to outsource online and how are such work processes organized, managed, and coordinated? Further, how does the very nature of work change when it is carried out by team members that are partly working onsite and partly remotely? These are pressing issues that ask for updated frameworks about contemporary work and organizing.

“A question that remains to be addressed is how platform adoption transforms the structures, processes and practices of organizations, when freelancers get involved in everyday operations.” 

Based upon preliminary analysis, I have identified five organizational challenges that organizations should consider in order to make online freelancing a sustained part of their business models. For sustained adoption, organizations need to:

  1. Overcome internal resistance. My findings indicate that at present the utilization of online freelancers is focused on worker augmentation on an on-demand basis (e.g., to temporarily scale-up teams, get work done that otherwise would not get done, and prevent excessive overwork) rather than the replacement of internal employees. I further anticipate that the uptake of online freelancing will be in the type of jobs that are already outsourced. It will also create new types of jobs as expertise is urgently needed on how to work with online freelancers and manage teams on internal and external workers.
  2. Come to tailor-made solutions to address legal issues and information risks that accompany the involvement of external workers. For instance, increased usage of online freelancers presents organizations with new risks of information flowing outside firm boundaries as well as around intellectual property rights. Organizations may therefore have to develop new solutions to address such issues.
  3. Prevent increases in coordination costs by finding out what work can be outsourced online and developing an internal infrastructure for the online freelancing process.Traditional transaction cost economics explains the existence of organizations, arguing that economic activities with high coordination costs should be organized in hierarchies rather than markets (see Coase, 1937; Williamson, 1981). Digital technologies have significantly reduced the costs of organizing economic activity in markets (e.g., Malone et al., 1987). Platform technologies have significantly reduced the coordination costs of outsourcing work through online freelancing marketplaces. However, there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to this question. Instead, it is more likely that the utilization of freelancers differs for different types of companies (e.g., startups, SMEs, and multinationals), as well as across industry sectors.
  4. Learn and share best practices for working with online freelancers. As Malone and colleagues aptly summarize, the use of online freelancers for knowledge-intensive work calls for new management skills, for instance around how best to divide work into concrete tasks, recruit and onboard freelancers, ensure the quality of work, and integrate workflows and outcomes. However, further research is necessary to fully comprehend how the work of online freelancers can be integrated with what is being done inside the organization.
  5. Find novel solutions for integrating the internal work processes, collaboration tools, and work management systems with the tools and technologies offered by platforms. Online freelancing platforms have built work management solutions and offer dedicated enterprise offerings that give companies new capabilities in managing work online. However, for organizations to truly benefit from the skills and expertise of online freelancers, they need to be able to facilitate integration between internal and external workers, as well as related administrative and reporting processes. This is a delicate balancing act, where platforms strive for standardization while organizations seek tailor-made solutions that fit with their company culture and socio-technical infrastructure.

In this blog, I argued that while organizations and their members increasingly tap into the knowledge and expertise of external workers hired through online labour platforms, we know surprisingly little about how this takes place in actual practice. This is problematic as organizations form one side of the markets that platforms create. Hence, to make informed statements about how platforms are transforming the future of work in the modern economy requires updated frameworks of work and organizing with platforms.

Organizing with on-demand freelancers in the platform economy: Part One

I wrote this blog for a joint series on labour and work in the modern economy by  openDemocracy and SPERI.

To understand the future of work we need to explore the diversity of platforms and how they are used in the modern economy.

Widjaya Ivan/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In the platform economy, digital technologies enable a wide range of interactions. You’re probably familiar with sharing economy platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. But probably lesser known are the transformative effects that online labour platforms have on contemporary organizations and how work gets done.

As an organization studies scholar, my work furthers understanding of the adoption of online labour platforms by organizations and the new organizational forms, processes and practices that are developed to get work done with external people. In the first part of this two-part blog, I will discuss what kinds of platforms are out there and how organizations are adopting them. In part two, I outline an organizational perspective on online freelancing platforms, to better assess how the future of work is taking shape.

In past decades, we’ve witnessed how organizations opened up their boundaries and how outsourcing and offshoring has changed the very nature of work. We are now observing another wave of transformations with organizations adopting platforms such as FreelancerUpworkPeopleperhour, and Amazon Mechanical Turk to outsource their projects online. As measured in the Online Labour Index, platforms connect client organizations with millions of workers around the world. They do this at a speed and scale that was unimaginable just a short while ago. Online labour platforms differ from platforms mediating physical services, such as Uber and Taskrabbit, in that the work is conducted online, requiring no physical interaction between worker and client.

In a recent report, Accenture identified online labour platforms as a key trend shaping the future of work in the next five years, which will significantly transform existing organizational forms and management models by 2022. However, while organizations and their members increasingly hire and work with online freelancers and ‘gig’ workers to get work done, we know surprisingly little about the diversity of platforms that are out there and what types of work can be outsourced through them. Such an understanding is important for obtaining a more realistic understanding of how platforms are shaping the future of work in the online gig economy.

“We know surprisingly little about the diversity of platforms that are out there and what types of work can be outsourced through them.”

 

A typology of online labour platforms?

As new intermediaries in labour markets, platforms connect client organizations and independent workers to collaborate on various tasks that can be carried out online. In past years, numerous platforms have emerged to cater to different types of online work, ranging from small micro-tasks to complex technical projects and professional services. This makes it relevant to develop a typology that can differentiate different types of online labour platforms and help us understand for what projects they are used. One can distinguish between crowdsourcing platforms on the one hand, and outsourcing platforms, for sourcing microworkers and online freelancers, on the other.

Online crowdsourcing concerns the simultaneous sourcing of work and contributions from a largely undefined group of people, which is often organized through contests. Crowdsourcing platforms, such as Topcoder and Innocentive can best be used for complex problems where problem solutions and skillsets are unknown (as described here by Boudreau and Lakhani). They are most useful in tackling projects that benefit from experimentation and multiple solutions. Online outsourcing differs from crowdsourcing in that organizations source work and contributions independently from individual people. Online outsourcing platforms therefore match buyers and sellers of services one-on-one.

Table 1 below summarizes a common distinction made between platforms that focus on microwork and online freelancing. Examples of microwork platforms are Amazon Mechanical Turk, Samasource, and CrowdFlower. Here, the platform efficiently matches individual workers to small tasks. They are used best for relatively simple, repetitive tasks that require little training and coordination. Similarly, online freelancing platforms such as Freelancer, Upwork, or Peopleperhour source independent work from individual people. Here, however, projects often concern knowledge-intensive projects and tasks. They are used best for finding freelancers on an on-demand basis, for well-established categories of work that have clearly defined deliverables and skill requirements, and are easy to modularize and evaluate. Popular categories of projects posted online are software development, creative and graphic design work, and writing and translation. But in principle any type of work that can be delivered online can be mediated by online freelancing platforms.

 

Comparison of microwork and online freelancing platforms

Dimensions Microwork Online freelancing
Task/project size Projects and tasks are broken down into smaller microtasks Larger projects and tasks
Task/project complexity Low High
Task/project duration Task/project completion takes minutes or seconds Task/project completion takes hours, days, or months
Entry barriers Low (little specialised skills or expertise required) High (requires specialised skills and expertise)
Task coordination Automated – through algorithmic management by platform Manual – through human management by client
Compensation Smaller financial remuneration Higher financial remuneration
Examples Amazon Mechanical Turk, Samasource, Crowdflower Freelancer, Upwork, Peopleperhour

Expanding capabilities with online freelancers

I study the motivations of organizations to adopt online freelancing as part of their business models, as well as the new organizational forms, processes and practices they developed to get work done with freelancers. Online freelancing platforms have radically transformed the access that organizations have to freelancers, their talent and services. Today, startups and innovative Fortune 500 enterprises are adopting platforms to augment their internal workforce and capabilities with on-demand workers. There are at least three reasons that online freelancing platforms form an attractive opportunity for organizations:

  1. Platforms enable organizations to access a group of freelancers with highly specialized skills and expertise. This allows organizations to complement their internal capabilities with the skills and expertise of online freelancers. As such, platforms make online freelancers an attractive option to quickly and temporarily complement organizational employees.
  2. Compared to traditional outsourcing vendors and contracting agencies, platforms substantially lower start-up and transaction costs. This allows organizations to quickly address project needs and respond to changes in market conditions.
  3. Platforms eliminate geographical, informational, and administrative barriers in the hiring and onboarding process. This allows their usage for projects of shorter length and scope, and on a more flexible, on-demand basis.

I further argue that the adoption of online freelancing is part of a larger transformation we are witnessing, as organizations move from relatively static hierarchical structures based upon fixed roles towards organizational forms that are based on more fluid and dynamic tasks. People are dynamically teamed together to work on projects, based on their skills, knowledge and staffing needs. Such a task-based form of organizing allows organizations to create the speed, flexibility, and efficiency needed to stay innovative and competitive in today’s global business environment.

In this blog, I’ve argued that while organizations and their members increasingly tap into the knowledge and expertise of external workers hired through online labour platforms, we know surprisingly little about the variety of platforms that are out there and why organizations adopt them for outsourcing work. In Part Two I will discuss new ways of organizing with online freelancers and the questions that organizations should consider when they adopt online labour platforms as part of their business models.

 

Best paper award at 2015 UEBS Strategy conference

Practicing Strategy in a Transitioning World: Practice, Processes, Governance and Institutions

from UEBS website:

PhD students from the Strategy Group, organised the third edition of the UEBS Strategy Mini-Conferences on 30th April and 1st May 2015.

PhD Blog1

The conference theme this year was Practicing Strategy in a Transitioning World: Practice, Processes, Governance and Institutions.  The Chief organizer was Carmelo Paviera, assisted by Nancy Diaz Fernandez, Onya Idoko, George Ferns, Ilay Ozturk

Among the participants were more than 30 doctoral students, academics and practitioners from across the United Kingdom and Europe. Our Keynote addresses were by Dr. Shaz Ansari from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; Professor Robert Chia from Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow; and Dr. Santi Furnari from Cass Business School, City University London.

The best paper award was for Greetje F. Corporaal from the VU University Amsterdam for her paper on “Paradoxical boundary work in strategy making: eliminating or shifting boundaries?”

PhD Blog2

PhD Blog3

Matt Thomas from Oxford Brookes University, told us: “For me this conference gave me the opportunity to understand the sort of work going on elsewhere in the name of strategy and hence to place my own work in that context. The opportunity to get constructive feedback on my own work and discuss others work was of great value.”

Annie Wen from the The University of Manchester – Business School said of the event: “Thanks for organizing the event. The venue for the conference is brillient, which is very suitable for the conference (proper room size with corresponding audience). The event is very much well organized, efficient, fluent and friendly. I got some useful feedback from othe audience and also learned about their research story. The lunch, dinner and wine reception is also amazing, I have tried some traditional Scottish food through this opportunity and it is quite exciting and different! Everyone is so nice and kind, smiling and helpful. I really enjoyed the time in Edinburgh.”

We hope that all our participants enjoyed and took something positive away from the Strategy Mini-Conference 2015, and we hope to see them soon in the next edition of this event.

PhD Blog4

Welcome in the Big Apple!

Newark Liberty Airport (NY), Aug 29th, 15.24: The beginning of a new adventure! Crossing the Holland tunnel, and on my way to the East Village. This area of Manhattan is close to New York University (NYU). I will stay here for the weekend, to check out the neighborhood and to find my way to the University, where I will be working the coming 5 months.

 

Through Airbnb I booked a room with Pamela and her little dog Punky. Upon arrival, P&P were just arriving from a walk at the park. Pamela’s apartment is on the 5th floor and unfortunately, like many New York buildings, the building did not have an elevator! At home I was already worried how to manage with all of my luggage. About how to fit in two suitcases everything I would need during 5 months (with temperatures ranging from +35 to -20 C) and how I to carry them along. In Amsterdam, my sister Suzanne joined me to the airport (Dimi and Tamara also came to Schiphol to say goodbye), and so, I didn’t have to deal with it all by myself. Yet upon arrival with my violin, laptop and the two suitcases, I would be on my own. Luckily Pamela was so kind to help me!

view from my street in the East Village

view from my street in the East Village

After a quick shower and a tour around Pamela’s lovely apartment, I set out to explore the East Village and neighboring Greenwich Village. I went South, along A Avenue, crossing Tompkins Square Park to 6th Street (on the way throwing a tennis ball to a young boy playing with his father), and from there heading West, Washington Square to arrive at NYU. Then, after a stroll along the many restaurants in the neighborhood, I entered a small Japanese restaurant and ordered a nice glass of wine and udon soup (and thinking back to my stay in Kyoto the week before). – End of day 1

Found it: NYU!

Found it: NYU!

NYU Stern, my office for the next 5 months

NYU Stern, my office for the next 5 months

Japanese dinner

Japanese dinner

Day 2. Still jet lagged, and so my morning started early. While drinking tea with Pamela, I was making plans for the day: The High Line (http://www.thehighline.org; an old NY railroad which has been transformed into a beautiful and relaxing park above the city), Central Park, Moma and Times Square. While leaving the apartment, Eleonora sent me a message, asking about my dinner plans. In 2009, we spent the summer together in Copenhagen, both attending the international summer program of Copenhagen Business School. She recently moved to New York and will be working at the New York branch office of her company the coming years. Changing my plans, my sightseeing reversed: still first the High Line, then Times Square, Moma and Central Park (see pictures below). At 6pm I was meeting Eleonora at the Apple store near 5th/59th, after which we had a great evening at a Ukrainian restaurant in Soho (really tasty dumplings and desert, the homemade vodka when leaving was less tasty).

East village flea market

East village flea market

East village flea market

East village flea market

Traces of home

Traces of home

NY architecture in the Meetpacking district

NY architecture in the Meetpacking district

The start/end of the High line

The start/end of the High line

The high line

The high line

The High Line

The High Line

HL

HL

NY architecture

NY architecture

NY architecture

NY architecture

Selfie from the HL

Selfie from the HL

The High line - continued

The High line – continued

Times square

Times square

Times square

Times square

Arty-selfie@Moma

Arty-selfie@Moma

And another one

And another one

Central Park

Central Park

The pond (from the Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger)

The pond (from the Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger)

Ducks in the Pond

Ducks in the Pond

Central Park

Central Park

Dancing on Roller-skates@ Central Park

Dancing on Roller-skates@ Central Park

Day 3. Morning started skyping with my parents. They are in Sweden now, renovating their house. I visited them last June and in the meantime they really transformed the house! After packing my stuff and saying goodbye to Pamela and Punky, my trip continued to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There, I’m staying with Pablo and Josefina in the Jewish quarter, close to the Williamsburg bridge. They are both artists from Chili and work in New York (check http://pablojansana.com and http://www.josefinafrederick.com).Upon arrival, Pablo helped me with my luggage, and we took the classic old-style NY freight elevator, quite an experience! After unpacking my stuff, I spent the afternoon working on my research. (The 4 days between Japan and New York proved not to be enough to finish everything while also packing and preparing my apartment for sublet.) When Pablo, Josefina and their friend Catalina arrived in the evening, and buying groceries, we spent the dinner together, as a small – but really nice – Welcome party for me.

The following days, I mostly worked on finishing my paper revision. It’s the first paper of my dissertation research and past months I’ve been working really hard to revise it for a journal. Hopefully, the reviewers are content with the improved paper and we can take it to the next stage. Only it will take about three months before I know. So, fingers crossed! As a present to myself I bought a nice bottle of Californian wine – which according to my Chilean housemates was scandalous ( of course I should have bought the much better South American wine 😉 )

My apartment in Williamsburg (top floor)

My apartment in Williamsburg (top floor)

My room in Williamsburg

My room in Williamsburg

an the view of Williamsburg bridge

an the view of Williamsburg bridge

Dinner with my lovely housemates

Dinner with my lovely housemates

Day 7 – NYU routines and procedures versus faculty introduction and drinks. Today, I’m on a mission; registering within the SEVIS system (for international researchers in the US), and arranging my NYU ID card and account. Hopefully, there will be some time left to meet with Natalia in the afternoon.

The morning started with figuring out how to go to NYU by metro from Williamsburg. Taking Division Avenue I walked to the metro station on Marcy Avenue. Then, taking the M-line across Williamsburg bridge to Broadway-Lafayette station. A short walk later I arrived at Washington Square, where NYU and Stern School of Business (http://www.stern.nyu.edu) is located. I quickly found the Office of Global Services, where I registered my arrival and got a brief introduction for J-1 Faculty and Research Scholars. Afterwards, I headed off to the Stern Doctoral Office, to apply for my NYU ID card and Stern account. After going back-and-forth between the NYU card office and the Doctoral Office, the only thing left was to visit the IOMS (Information & Operations Management Sciences; see ) department. The secretary warmly welcomed me, and showed me my office for the coming 5 months. They told me I just arrived at the right moment, since that afternoon there would be a faculty introduction of the information systems group. So, after a late lunch in Washington Square Park and meeting with Natalia (my host researcher at Stern; see http://people.stern.nyu.edu/nlevina/), we went to the faculty meeting (Natalia was one of the presenters). Eight researchers of the information systems group gave a pitch about their research. The ‘obnoxious’ alarm after 4-minutes brutally interrupted the speakers, yet also made it exciting for them to quickly raise interest for their research, and to invite us for further discussion afterwards at their posters (while enjoying some drinks and snacks). The faculty introduction was a nice way to get an overview of the research conducted. I discovered that my research not only closely relates to that of Natalia, but also to the work of her colleague Hila who just finished her PhD at Harvard (see http://tinyurl.com/kyxx2d6). After the meeting, we continued (more informal) discussions at a local pub. I found out two department members have their own band – to be musically continued?

Washington Square

Washington Square

Next blog: Williamsburg, Auditioning for the Greenwich Village Orchestra and Worklife@NYU

 

Cultuurfonds Young Talent Awards

All Bernhard Fellows on stage during the Young Talent Awards in the DeLaMar Theatre (I’m on the right with the yellow scarf). Foto: Raymond van der Bas

Last Thursday the Cultuurfonds Young Talent Awards were handed out during a festive ceremony in the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Every year the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds provides € 1,5 million for scholarships for excellent students from the Netherlands that are going abroad for research or study. This year, 151 scholarships have been awarded, of which I’ve had the honor of receiving one! The Cultuurfonds scholarships are aimed to invest in young and special talent, to recruit new talent within within arts, nature and science. The scholarships are given to young and motivated students that have proven to have multiple talents, and are specialized in diverse disciplines. 

It’s a great honor for me to have received a Cultuurfonds scholarship. And I was very happy to celebrate this with my friends Rosa and Trineke and my colleague Julie. This scholarship allows me to go to New York for five months to work as a visiting scholar at Stern School of Business, New York University. I will work closely together with Natalia Levina, an internationally renowned scholar in my area of research, as well as other Stern colleagues. Natalia’s work has been leading in developing my dissertation research. During my time in New York, I will analyze a complex longitudinal dataset, which requires the necessary effort and creativity. In view of our shared research interests and Natalia’s expertise (in areas of qualitative data analysis, cross-boundary collaboration, and how professionals cope with differences for innovation purposes), I believe this experience will help me in further developing my analytical skills, and translating research findings to innovative theoretical and practical insights and applications. 

 

http://www.cultuurfonds.nl/nieuws/nieuwsberichten/cultuurfonds-geeft-voor-eur-15-mln-studiebeurzen-aan-excellent-talent

http://people.stern.nyu.edu/nlevina/

EGOS Rotterdam 2014

This week I participated in the EGOS annual colloquium, as well as the PhD workshop preceding it. This year, Rotterdam School of Management organized  and hosted EGOS (European Group of Organization Studies).

Pre-colloquium PhD workshop

The PhD workshop was organized by Markus A. Höllerer (University of New South Wales), Ola Bergsröm (University of Gothenburg), and Magdalena Cholakova (Erasmus University Rotterdam). During this two-day event, we reflected upon the practices of academic reviewing and publishing (with Frank den Hond and Gerry George), as well as how we can make our research more interesting (with Mats Alvesson). We further discussed the different career opportunities and paths after the PhD (a.o. with Pursey Heugens, and a panel of junior and senior researchers).

I had the opportunity to discuss my dissertation research with a groups of fellow PhDs and Georg Raab from Tilburg university. The feedback really helped me in developing some ideas to further develop the last study of my dissertation, which I’ll be working on during my time in New York. Moreover, Georg invited me to visit his department after my return from NY to present my research! 🙂 The two days of sessions were quite intensive but also very inspiring and I learned many things. We had a nice group of international PhD students together, and after the dinner at the end of the second day, we went to the city centre for some drinks.

Unsettling boundaries: Practices of inter-organizational collaboration

On Thursday, my alarm went off rather early, since it would be a busy day. It was my first night at the Rotterdam Student Hotel. This is where I stayed the rest of the week, to attend the official part of the EGOS conference. After a double espresso and nice breakfast, I made the last preparations for the day. I Reviewed the last paper for which I was a  discussant and went through my presentation one more time. Then it was up to RSM. I was the first presenter in the sub-stream on unsettling boundaries in practices of inter-organizational collaboration, organized by Kristina Lauche (Radboud University Nijmegen), Hans Berends (VU University Amsterdam), and Paul Carlile (Boston University).

Again we had a really nice group of researchers together. Many familiar faces… research colleagues I had met in previous conferences and summer schools. I was quite nervous from my presentation since the work of some of the people present had been a big inspiration in my research, and I didn’t know how they would respond to my presentation. After kicking off, luckily my nerves soon tempered and the presentation went well. In the discussion that followed I received some good points for further developing the paper and many enthusiastic responses!

In the different sessions we elaborated upon the different facets of inter-organizational collaboration, exploring cross-boundary practices of how and why collaboration is initiated, maintained, negotiated, and transformed. We discussed different perspectives on inter organizational collaboration, it’s emergence and decline, the role of time and space, as well as knowledge and boundaries. Next to various methodological approaches, the many interesting presentations also shed light on the various sectors where inter organizational collaboration (e.g. healthcare, emergency response, MNCs, international development, science-industry) is a well-known phenomenon.

I really enjoyed the week in Rotterdam, and hopefully we will all come back together in two years to continue our joint sense making on this important subject matter!