When and Where
Discussion Topic
Wednesday, January 16, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

Organizational rules can be seen as a specific form of organizational knowledge. What are the implications of such a knowledge perspective on organizational rules? What are the implications for our models of bureaucracies, cultures, institutions, organizations, and societies? Martin will get the discussion starting by presenting a brief review of classic and current ideas on organizational rules and relate that to current ideas on organizational learning and knowledge.

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz, OBHR Division, UBC

You can download a paper related to this workshop here. (In PDF Format*)
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

A primary motivation for companies entering into joint ventures is learning new knowledge from the venture partners. Which factors contribute (and inhibit) knowledge sharing in joint ventures? What obstacles arise in international joint ventures? How can we study knowledge sharing empirically?

Discussion Leader: Oana Branzei, Doctoral Student, OBHR, UBC

Materials related to this workshop are available. For more info, follow this link.
Wednesday, February 13, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

A common observation of organization scientists has been that knowledge tends to be widely dispersed across locations and participants. Dispersed knowledge is hard to use and hard to exploit. How can individual actors and organizations integrate dispersed knowledge? We will discuss Articles by Friedrich August von Hayek, Robert M. Grant, and Haridimos Tsoukas

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

Materials related to this workshop are available at Irene Khoo, HA562. For more info, follow this link.
Wednesday, February 27, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

In this workshop we will explore a specific aspect of models of organizational rule change. The question is, Does the likelihood of rule changes increase or decrease with waiting time (duration) since the last change? A priori one could speculate that the likelihood should decrease because a rule becomes more institutionalized the longer it stays unchanged in place. On the other hand, one can argue that the likelihood of change should increase because a rule falls obsolete the longer it stays unchanged in place. Surprisingly, empirical studies exploring this issue found that the likelihood of suspensions would always increase with waiting time, but that the likelihood of revisions would increase in some contexts, while it would decrease in others. How can that be? We will explore a novel interpretation of this difference, based on the idea that rules can become forgotten. When rules are forgotten, they become too obsolete to be repaired but nevertheless stay in the risk set for revisions, thereby creating the illusion that the likelihood of revision decreases. Martin will present results of Monte Carlo computer simulations which show (he thinks) that the duration dependence of revision rates can be biased downwards when rules are forgotten.

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

More materials related to this workshop will be posted here.
You can download a paper related to this workshop here. (In PDF Format*)
Wednesday, March 27, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

An important problem of organizations is the sharing, integration, and exploitation of organizational knowledge. How do organizations and their subunit exchange organizational knowledge? Research on communication offers several unique and inspiring insights on this question, and we will discuss some of that in this workshop. We will review articles by Morten Hansen and Gabriel Szulanski and others.

Discussion Leader: David Patient, Doctoral Student, OBHR, UBC

You can download two papers related to this workshop: 1. Download Hansen. 2. Download Szulanski. (In PDF Format*)

Here is also a set of discussion questions for this workshop: Questions
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

Suppose you thought of laws as packages of rules that identify and govern a domain in a larger regulatory system, and regulations as administrative extensions of those laws, some amplifying the rules, some dampening them. Now suppose you wanted to apply those law and regulations to an important societal issue—water management. As the water laws and regulation involved in water management evolved, would you follow conventional wisdom and anticipate an increasingly complex mass of laws and regulations and decreasingly efficient system? We do not think so. In keeping with new work in institutional theory and organizational learning, we argue that the evolution of water laws and regulations, under particular conditions, may lead to decreasing rates of legal and administrative complexity and increasing efficiency. Our main objective is to demonstrate in the context of one political system that the laws and regulations governing a resource co-evolve and that this co-evolution follows not simply a path of increasing complexity, but a path that punctuated by rule extinction and substitution, with some positive consequences for the allocation of the resource and the yields from that allocation. In other words, we intend to develop an institutional ecology of regulatory rules and use it to help explain changes in water allocation over time.

Discussion Leaders: Devereaux Jennings and Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

You can download two papers related to this workshop: 1. Jennings, Zandbergen, and Martens 2. Project Description Draft
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423

NOTE: Our Frontiers meetings
will move to Tuesdays,
starting in May.
This meeting is the
last one on a Wednesday.


What is the connection between sticky prices and sticky information? Although sticky prices are well known in Economics, surprisingly little is known about their causes. Are sticky prices produced by sticky information or sticky knowledge? Or, conversely, do sticky prices give rise to stickiness of knowledge and information? In this workshop we will attempt to connect ideas from the economic literature on sticky prices with the management literature on innovation. Although we can not guarantee that linkages between both sets of ideas are strong, we nevertheless hope this workshop will help us to learn about the causes of sticky prices and the strategies organizations use to deal with sticky information. We will read two short papers by Eric von Hippel and Allan Meltzer. Download the papers: Eric von Hippel and Meltzer (sorry for the poor formatting -- the original is available in Koerner)

Here are two additional pointers (shouts to Dorit) to two excellent pieces on this topic:

The internet and the 'stickiness' of prices

Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve

Discussion Leader:Any Volunteers? (Let me know) Otherwise: Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

TUESDAY, May 7, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423
Note that we now
meet on Tuesdays, and not
more on Wednesdays.


In this frontiers seminar we will discuss two papers that Martin has been asked (by two journals) to review. The papers present current research on organizational learning and mimicry and should allow us to tune into several ongoing (and rather exciting) debates in the field. Because the papers are part of an anonymous review process, the authors are not known to us, and we will refrain from distributing the manuscripts electronically. We will produce a small number of copies that will be available at Irene's office in HA562. Please pick up a copy of each article and read them before you come to this Frontiers meeting.

Discussion Leader:Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

TUESDAY, May 21, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

What are the main lines of argument in Macro-OB? Where is the field going? We will hold a very loosely structured conversation on these topics and thereby learn about the current state of the field. This meeting will also help our doctoral students to prepare for their comprehensive exam. Because this is such a broad topic, it would be great if many people could attend and contribute.

Discussion Leader: Everyone (I guess)

TUESDAY, June 4, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

How much do firms know? Do they need to know more than they make? How do firms reap benefits of specialization? In this frontiers seminar we will discuss a recent paper by Brusoni, Prencipe and Pavitt (ASQ 46, 2001: 597-621) that explores outsourcing of knowledge of firms in the aircraft engine industry. The paper touches on a number of issues that are central to the OT field, including organizational boundaries, organizational learning, loose coupling, modularity and innovation. In some ways these topics also connect to our past discussions on stickiness.

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz, OBHR, UBC

You can download the paper related to this workshop: Brusoni, Prencipe and Pavitt (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, June 25, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

This projects focuses on the effectiveness of product innovation processes of Canadian manufacturing firms and the firm-level processes that influence this effectiveness. I argue that the characteristics of firms' output markets (dynamism, munificence, product substitutability, concentration, entry barriers) and the characteristics of their core technologies (ease of imitation and value appropriation) impact firms' incentives to innovate, thus shaping their strategic orientations towards innovations and their willingness to investment in developing innovative competencies internally. Firms' competitive environments also influence the extent to which firms rely on external collaborations and the type of relational capital they value (for example, in the forest industry, where the focus is on cutting costs and innovations are incremental in nature, ease to imitate, and thus often cannot be patented, firms introduce process innovations mainly by maintaining close relationships with their equipment suppliers). Firms rely on both internal and external sources of knowledge in their innovation processes. The interest of this study is to understand the relative contributions of internal and external sources of knowledge on the effectiveness of product innovation. I argue that, given firms' strategic orientation and absorptive capacity, their access to diverse sources of external knowledge increases the effectiveness of their innovation processes. The study addresses two types of product innovation: incremental, which reflects firms' exploitative learning (significant improvements in existing products) and radical, which reflects firms' exploratory learning (new products). The effect of both internal absorptive capacity and external collaborations on firms' product innovation is mediated by firms' capacity to successfully implement innovations. This concept represents a narrow, activity-based component of absorptive capacity that captures how well firms can implement an innovation once they acquire the knowledge about a new product, either internally or externally. Implementation capacity focuses on firms' present and future ability to successfully manage specific innovation projects. I also argue that, in the same industry (e.g. forestry, chemical products), internal sources of knowledge may be relatively more important for large firms while external sources of information may be relatively more important for small firms.

Discussion Leader: Oana Branzei

There are two papers related to this workshop. You can download the first one here: Zahra and Nielsen, and the second one here: Zahra and George (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, July 30, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

This paper examines possible shortfalls in the design of Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) and proposes a way to design more effective KMS using meta-knowledge. We develop a theoretical framework for identifying the best design features necessary to support effective KM in organizations. We then apply this framework to identify possible weaknesses of 40 KMS in four different categories of tools: content management, knowledge sharing, knowledge retrieval, and general KMS. Our findings show that one of the problems in the design of existing KMS is the lack of a unified approach to meta-knowledge (knowledge about the knowledge). In the second part of the paper we propose an empirical evaluation of users' meta-knowledge requirements using the Delphi methodology as well as conjoint analysis. We hope that our findings can be used to support the development of more effective KMS.

Discussion Leader: Dorit Nevo

You can download a paper related to this workshop here. (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, August 20, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

This paper takes a knowledge based view of corporate environmental performance and tests how combinations of resources, generic and specialized technical knowledge may help firms improve their environmental performance, in different national contexts. We build a structural equation model relating firm characteristics (corporate culture, size, sector, and prior environmental performance), their resources and their knowledge regarding environmental management with three facets of environmental performance (regulatory compliance, environmental innovation, and time lag to ISO 14001 certification). We test this model using a random sample of 291 Canadian firms and then replicate the test for 193 Japanese firms and 224 Chinese firms. We find that national context moderates the effects of corporate culture, resources, and knowledge on firms' environmental performance, particularly on their level of environmental innovation. Specialized knowledge significantly increases the level of voluntary environmental performance (environmental innovation) and does so more in Canada, than in Japan, than in China. While environmentally supportive corporate cultures facilitate the accumulation of both generic and specialized environmental knowledge in all three contexts, corporate culture does not directly affect environmental innovation in either Canada or Japan: in both contexts, the effect of corporate culture on environmental innovation is fully mediated by specialized knowledge. Unlike specialized knowledge, greater levels of generic knowledge are not associated with greater levels of environmental performance, in Canada, Japan, or China. Resources explain environmental performance differences among firms only in China and act as a stand-alone mechanism to improve generic and specialized knowledge, as well as environmental performance: in China, resources affect knowledge and environmental performance independently from firms' corporate culture. We explain the differences and the similarities between Canada, China, and Japan as the result of cultural norms, economics, institutional arrangements, and bases for corporate legitimacy. By showing that resources, generic and specialized knowledge have different effects on firms' environmental performance and by explicitly considering the influence of national culture as a contextual variable, this study contributes to the research on the knowledge-based and resource-based views of organization and on corporate environmental performance.

Discussion Leader: Oana Branzei

You can download the corresponding paper by Oana Branzei, P. Devereaux Jennings, Ilan Vertinsky (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, Sept 17, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

Without actual and comprehensive data it is almost impossible to manage an organization. The knowledge about an organization's structure and processes is essential for strategic thinking, planning, and acting. Furthermore, the disclosure of information leads not only to a higher degree of transparency of an organization's performance but may also have a stimulating effect on its members.

Several questions derive from this observation: What does transparency mean in this context? Why and under which circumstances does it unfold a creative and encouraging power? What are the key moderators of this process?

Starting from an individual point of view we fundamentally assume that the main influence factors of information-based behaviour are one's perception and assessment of an organization's degree of transparency. To highlight existent interdependencies between one's transparency experience and one's behaviour we introduce a model linking the disclosure of information to the performance of an organization's member. To underline the results of the model we develop propositions about a blueprint of information-based behaviour.

Discussion Leader: Yvette E. Hofmann, University of Munich, Germany

TUESDAY, October 8, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus


In an effort to increase perceptions of fairness in organizations, there has been a trend among organizations to adopt highly formalized procedures to guide their manager's decision-making processes. Organizations tend to formalize procedures that have been viewed as fair by employees. Ironically, the mere act of formalization may detract from the aspects of the procedure that were important to its success (Sitkin & Bies, 1994). This paper argues by "formalizing fairness," organizations may inadvertently create higher feelings of entitlement among their employees, while at the same time diminishing their manager's ability to engage in fair decision-making processes. Further, the formalization of procedures may be associated with decreases in employees' perceptions of managerial fairness, as well as increased pressure for managers to behave in a fair manner. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Discussion Leader: Laurie Barclay, doctoral student, UBC Commerce, OBHR

There are two important papers related to this workshop. A paper copy of an article by Sitkin and Bies will be made available via Irene Khoo (HA562), and a second article is downloadable here (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, Oct 22, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

Institutional and ecological theories of organizations are consistently being seen as complementary rather than opposing perspectives. Both theories support the viewpoint that change is often detrimental to organizations. However, within institutional theory a lack of change can also be seen as a liability. To the extent that organizations do not change when their stakeholders change, they may face a "liability of inertia".

Discussion Leader: Graham Brown, doctoral student, UBC Commerce, OBHR

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Liability of inertia paper (In PDF Format*)
TUESDAY, Nov 12, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

Real options approaches find increasing attention in research on organizations. Real options thinking extends finance's option theory to non-financial investments. A firm's investment in specific capabilities, say a research lab, confers the right to the firm to exercise the option at a later time, and, when conditions are favorable, extract positive rents, e.g., through the marketing of specific products that were discovered through efforts of the research lab. If conditions are not favorable, the option may simply be allowed to expire (writing off the cost of the lab). Clearly, the downside losses of investments in real options are limited (the costs of building the lab are fixed), while the upside gains are not and increase with the uncertainty of the environment. Inherent in this framework is a view of uncertainty as an opportunity rather than a threat, a view that breaks in several respects with prevailing assumptions in prior theories of organizations and has important implications for out thinking about organizational adaptation, capabilities, and strategy. In this workshop we will familiarize ourselves with real options thinking and discuss the opportunities offered by this new paradigm. The reading materials for this workshop include a downloadable article by MCGRATH (In PDF Format*) and a paper-based article by Michael Barnett (copies are available at Irene Khoo, HA562).

Discussion Leader: Martin


When and Where
Discussion Topic
Date Jan 14, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus


This workshop will consist of two parts. First, Prof. Dierkes will give a brief overview of the development of the field and its key future challenges. This part summarizes some key insights from his collaboration on the Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge. In the second part, Prof. Dierkes will draw on a case study on the transformation of Hoechst into Aventis to demonstrate the practical relevance of organizational learning concepts. This study was completed last year, undertaken together with Ariane Berthoin Antal, Camilla Krebsbach-Gnath, and Ikujiro Nonaka with the support of colleagues from Stanford Business School and the Helsinki School of Economics and funded by the company. The case not only demonstrates many elements of organizational learning theory but also contains a lot of information regarding "windows of opportunities" and "organizational politics".

Discussion Leader: Meinolf Dierkes, Director, Research Unit Organisation and Technology, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, Germany

Wednesday, Feb 5, 12 to 1:30 pm, HA 423, UBC Campus

(Note that our new time slot for Frontiers is Wednesdays)

In this workshop we will discuss work in progress related to a research project on the change of water laws in BC (the instigators are Martin, Dev, Caroline, David, and Ke). Main topics: The role of law research for our understanding of organizational environments, capturing law changes, types of law change, the interaction between statutory law and case law, data handling, models of statutory amendment and re-enactment, and (YES!!) first results! One key question regards section size -- do large law sections with many provisions change less than small sections? If legal complexity inhibits law revision, then we would expect that the hazards of statutory amendment and re-enactment decline with the amount of text of a law section. A second question regards the usage of the law -- how does the application of the law in court cases affect law revision? If usage of the law in court cases confirms the law (or if courts base their decisions on the best established parts of the law), then we would expect that hazards of statutory amendment and re-enactment decrease with the number of citation of the law sections by the courts. Our findings are rather surprising!

Discussion Leaders: Martin, Dev, Caroline, David, and Ke

Date: Wednesday, March 5, HA 423, UBC Campus


In this workshop we will discuss two papers that were recently sent to Martin for review. Because the papers are part of an anonymous review process, the authors are not known to us, and we will refrain from distributing the manuscripts electronically. We will produce a small number of copies that will be available at Irene's office in HA562. Please pick up a copy of each article and read them before you come to this Frontiers meeting.

Discussion Leader: Martin

Date: Wednesday, March 19, HA 423, UBC Campus


E-Learning is the delivery of knowledge to learners via information and communications technologies (e.g., video, CD-ROMS, e-mail, internet/intranet/extranet networks, chat rooms, teleconferencing, internet/intranet networks, web conferencing, etc). E-Learning has increasingly moved to the forefront in training and education, and we will explore among others: (a) the drivers of this trend (b) advantages and disadvantages of E-Learning for organizations and individuals (c) implications for human resource management, and (d) organizational and human challenges for using and exploiting E-Learning. The format of this workshop will be open discussion/brainstorming. Two short background paper on E-Learning are available here. The first is an overview of the trends leading to E-learning . The second explores the efficiency of E-learning (Both are in PDF Format*)

Discussion Leaders: Bonnie Leung and Martin Schulz
Date: Wednesday, April 2, HA 423, UBC Campus


Text is a key component of human societies and organizations. Most social and organizational relationships are expressed in texts. Relationships between text pieces constrain and enable both the change of that text and the change of the underlying realities. From that perspective, it might be worthwhile to explore how text pieces are connected and what technologies can be used to find text pieces that can be connected. This workshop reviews recent technologies of text retrieval and matching to identify new ways to analyze the change of organizational and legal texts over time.

Here is a pointer to a website that gives a bit of an introduction to mining textual data.

Discussion Leaders: Ofer Arazi and Martin Schulz

Date: Wednesday, April 30, HA 423, UBC Campus


How does organizational learning occur in hierarchical organizations? Who learns from whom, and who teaches whom? We explore such questions in this workshop dedicated to new research in this area. We will discuss papers that were recently sent to Martin for review. Because the papers are part of an anonymous review process, the authors are not known to us, and we will refrain from distributing the manuscripts electronically. We will produce a small number of copies that will be available at Irene's office in HA562. Please pick up a copy and read it before you come to this Frontiers meeting.

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz

Date: Wednesday, May 14, HA 423, UBC Campus


Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) are computerized systems intended to support the management and application of organizational knowledge. Despite the many potential benefits from KMS industry reports show that companies are having difficulties in realizing these benefits. In a previous paper we developed a theory-based approach to the evaluation of Knowledge Management Systems and identified the main shortfalls of existing systems. Our findings show that the lack of appropriate meta-knowledge might contribute to KMS failures in organizations.

In this presentation I will we describe the results of an empirical study conducted using the Delphi and Conjoint methodologies to identify the specific meta-knowledge that should be incorporated into the design of KMS. Specifically the study identifies the knowledge and source attributes that people consider in their knowledge use decision. We propose that these attributes should be included as meta-knowledge in the KMS design in order to enhance knowledge adoption.

The results indicate the 'accuracy' and 'relevance' of the knowledge are the most important attributes in the knowledge selection decision and 'extent of knowledge' and 'trustworthiness' are the most important attributes in the selection of a knowledge source. In addition the results show that knowledge plays a slightly more important role than knowledge source in the overall decision. Finally, we identify several demographic and contextual variables - such as the knowledge search task and organization size - that might affect the relative importance of knowledge and source attributes placed by difference individuals.

Discussion Leader: Dorit Nevo

Date: Wednesday, June 11, HA 423, UBC Campus


Assume a dynamic system of rules (laws, institutions, organizational rules) that adapts to signals received from the environment and that is functionally differentiated so that different rules deal with different problems. The dynamics of such a system depends to a large degree on processes that generate problems for individual rules and on processes that translate experiences with problems into rule changes. While we know a few things about the latter (due to organizational learning research, among others), we know surprisingly little about the former. What determines the generation and recognition of problems of a rule? A few insights might be gained if we explore legal court cases.

In this workshop we will introduce a brand new research project that studies the rate at which legal statutes are cited in court cases. Among the questions to be explored are, What determines the susceptibility of law sections to litigation? Which types of law sections attract litigation? What is the role of legal ambiguity? Does the text length of a law section matter, or its age? Which historical periods and regimes invite litigation related to specific law sections?

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Legal Study on Trial Rates (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leaders: Martin Schulz, David Patient, and Ke Yuan

**TUESDAY**, September 30, 12-1:30pm,

HA 428, UBC Campus


The study discusses how firms with more heterogeneous portfolios of R&D alliances can expand their absorptive capacity by "bolting on", assimilating, and cross-pollinating external knowledge developed by specialized organizations. It argues that firms with more organizationally and geographically diverse portfolios of R&D strategic alliances adopt more radical innovations and implement them faster and more effectively than firms which craft homogeneous sets of external ties. Several of the mechanisms through which greater portfolio heterogeneity enhances innovation are articulated and tested using a large database of Canadian manufacturing firms. I hypothesize that R&D strategies and human capital moderate the relationship between portfolio characteristics and firm-level innovation. Companies that focus on in-house learning are more successful at creating new capabilities by working jointly with their partners than organizations seek allies with turnkey complementary skills. Moreover, firms with knowledgeable employees can locate knowledge bases faster and are likely to develop or harvest them more proficiently. The strength of these moderation effects also depends on the extent of external information sourcing: R&D strategies and high quality personnel are more likely to leverage the positive effects of heterogeneous alliance portfolios when engaging in R&D collaborations successfully broaden firms' access to external sources of information. The strength of these mechanisms varies between explorers and exploiters and across industry clusters.

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Download Paper by Hamel on Inter-Partner Learning (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leader: Oana Branzei, Ph.D. Candidate, OBHR


When and Where
Discussion Topic
**TUESDAY**, February 10, 2004, 12-1:30pm,



Teams are a primary locus of learning within organizations. However, not much research has appeared that explores learning within teams. When do teams learn well, and when do they fail to learn? Which characteristics of teams contribute to knowledge production in teams? Which factors impede or facilitate learning in teams? We will explore such questions guided by recent papers on this subject. Because the papers are part of an anonymous review process, the authors are not known to us, and we will refrain from distributing the manuscripts electronically. We will produce a small number of paper copies that will be available at Martin's office in HA 561 (in the shelf on his door).

Discussion Leader: Martin Schulz, OBHR

**TUESDAY**, March 09, 2004 12:00 - 13:30 pm,


Ecological Models of Law Change

This workshop is about work in progress of a research project on water laws in British Columbia. We mainly explore the ecological relationships between law sections, in particular, how relationships between law sections influence their propensity to be changed. Law sections are related to other law sections in terms of their thematic content, and we have used cluster analysis to distinguish groups of thematically similar law sections. In our models we explore how cluster characteristics and the location of a section in a cluster affects its rate of amendment. First results are presented, based on event history analyses of 673 amendments of 365 water law sections over a ninety-year period, 1914 to 2001. A main purpose of the workshop will be to discuss alternatives to the current cluster-based approach.

Discussion Leader: The Institutional Ecology Project Crew

TUESDAY, March 30, 2004 12:00 - 13:30 pm,

HA 328, UBC Campus

HR Branding and Organizational Learning

Branding approaches to Human Resource Management seem to gain prominence in the Strategic HR field. Can branding give strategic advantage to companies? Assuming that intellectual capital embodied in the workforce is one of the most important strategic assets of companies, one wonders how companies can derive strategic advantage from developing an HR brand. It is conceivable that by developing an HR brand identity, organizations can communicate and link goals with their current workforce. Additionally, through their branding they will have the ability to present themselves to potential job candidates as an employer of choice. This will place them in a better position to attract the knowledge, skills, and abilities that fit with the organization and its culture. We will explore these and related ideas in this hands-on workshop.

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Download Paper by Collins on Recruitment (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leader: Greg Phillips (Sauder School, UBC)

Date: TUESDAY, October 5, 2004 12:15 - 13:45 pm


HA 312, UBC Campus

Functional Differentiation in a Rule System

Functional differentiation is a process of evolution that partitions a system into functionally independent parts that are internally tied together by a commonality of purpose. For example the structuring of organizations along lines of production, marketing, accounting, purchasing, etc creates departments that perform actions related to specific needs of the organization. Likewise, many animal colonies (termites, bees) display elaborate functional differentiation of member roles, e.g. queen, workers, soldiers, slaves, foragers, excavation, brood-tending and so on. In human societies we find that differentiation creates relatively independent spheres of activity such as the law, politics, the economy, the military, the arts, and the health sector. In this workshop, we will attempt to bring this "big" concept down into an empirical context, the evolution of legal rules. We will discuss how functional differentiation might shape the evolution of BC's water laws, what types of empirical patterns it would produce (and what patterns we de facto find), and its relationship to other processes, such as rationalization, specialization, and learning.

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Download a paper related to this talk (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leaders: The Institutional Ecology Project Group (well, its Vancouver chapter)

Date: December 7, 2004, 12-1:30pm

HA 423, UBC Campus

Does Openness Hurt? The Emotional Impact of Information Disclosure on Academic Professionals

Without actual and comprehensive data it is almost impossible to manage an organization. The knowledge about an organization's structure and processes is essential for strategic planning and acting. Therefore, researchers have laid out the importance of information supply, information management, and information technology. However, what has received less attention is research focusing on what emotional impact information disclosure has. In consequence, one knows little about how people actually experience information transparency within organizations. Yet, this aspect is vital for understanding people's behavior at the workplace, especially their individual task performance. To bridge this gap the study concentrates on the question to what extent the information disclosure is influencing an employee's emotions and, hence, his performance. Thereby, an organizational setting is chosen for the empirical analysis which depends tremendously upon knowledge, expertise, and, thus, on information: this is universities. It is assumed that information disclosure is leading to a specific degree of information transparency within universities. This is perceived in different ways by academic professionals. Depending on their perceptions and their personal needs and motivation, academics may have a positive or negative transparency experience, characterized by different emotions. But what do they look like? And do they influence or trigger certain behavioral reactions?

Discussion Leader: Yvette Hofmann (Visiting Scholar, OBHR, Sauder School of Business, UBC)


When and Where
Discussion Topic
April 12, 2005 12:00 - 13:30 pm,

HA 423, UBC Campus


Rules are omnipresent ingredients of organizations, and theories of organizations have acknowledged this fact at least since Weber's seminal work on bureaucracies. Equally omnipresent is rule hassle in organizations – situations in which rules present imposing and sometimes non-sensical obstacles for its subjects' intended course of action. Although rules have found considerable attention in organizational research, rule hassle has found only limited attention. In this project we ask, how do organizational rules produce hassle perceptions in rule subjects? How do participants react emotionally and cognitively to rules? We focus on two critical dimensions of rules that we believe might create hassle perceptions: rule dominance and rule salience. Rule dominance is defined as the degree to which a set of rules is enforced and regarded as legitimate. Rule salience relates to the degree to which rules make demands on the subjects' attention. We propose three key mechanisms. First, dominant rules diminish hassle cognitions (about the time wasted, questioning the purpose of the rules). Second, dominant rules induce emotions (such as anxiety and anger). Third, salient rules intensify both hassle cognitions and hassle emotions. We explore our propositions with empirical data collected in a rule-intensive context.

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Download a Paper related to this workshop (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leaders: Martin Schulz and Laurie Barclay (Sauder School of Business, UBC)


When and Where
Discussion Topic
Date: March 7, 2006 12:00 - 13:30 pm,

HA 423, UBC Campus


This study develops a problemistic (i.e., problem-oriented) approach to explore how legal rules change over time. We combine theories of organizations - in particular theories about organizational rules - with theories of jurisprudence to formulate hypotheses and develop models about the hazard rate of legal rule change. We propose that the evolution of a law can be seen as an interplay between rules and problems, and explore how law changes can be produced by three problem-related mechanisms: a) problem attraction to rules with high topic density, b) problem articulation through legal contests involving the rules and c) problem processing in domains that compete with adjacent domains for scarce organizational attention. To test our hypotheses, we collected data on all amendments and repeals to the British Columbia Water Act from 1914-2002 as well as all higher court cases involving the BC Water Act, from 1901-2004 . We use event history analysis to model the rate of change of water law sections. Our findings show that rates of rule change (i) increase with topic density of rules, (ii) decrease with in the number of legal contests citing the rule, (iii) increase with the number of contest that challenge the authority of the State, and (iv) decrease with attention paid to adjacent rule domains. Our study suggests that the problemistic perspective can shed new light on the evolution of laws and of social institutions in general

You can download a paper related to this workshop: Download a Paper related to this workshop (In PDF Format*)

Discussion Leaders: Martin Schulz and David Patient (Sauder School of Business, UBC)

Date: May 30, 2006, 4-5:30 pm,

HA 423A, UBC Campus


Based on several organization theories, specifically, theories of legitimacy and power, we establish an "interactive" perspective that resolves the competition between two dominant sociological views (the normative and the social constructivists' views) on the processes governing the allocation of citations to articles in the organization sciences. In contrast to these two theories, we argue that neither authors' eminence nor publications' quality alone can explain the citation process completely. The two factors are not mutually exclusive. As sources of legitimacy, they interact with each other and collectively influence the process. The effect of one factor is negatively moderated by the other factor. We predict that for scholars from high-status schools, their publications in lower-status journals will have a higher rate of first citations than their publications in high-status journals. Our theoretical predictions are supported by the empirical evidence we have obtained through a longitudinal-data analysis employing event history models.

Discussion Leader: Victor Cui (Sauder School of Business, UBC)

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Please send your suggestions and any inquiries you might have to Martin.Schulz@sauder.ubc.ca, or call (604)822-8381

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