15.341 | Fall 2006 | Graduate

Individuals, Groups, and Organizations


1 Introduction: Multiple levels and paradigms

Astley, W. Graham, van de Ven, and H. Andrew. “Central Perspectives and Debates in Organization Theory.” Administrative Science Quarterly 28, no. 2 (1983): 245-273.

Staw, M. Barry, Lance E. Sandelands, and Jane E. Dutton. “Threat-rigidity Effects in Organizational Behavior: A Multilevel Analysis.” Administrative Science Quarterly 26, no. 4 (1981): 501-524.

Reger, K. Rhonda, and Timothy B. Palmer. “Managerial Categorization of Competitors: Using Old Maps to Navigate New Environments.” Organization Science 7, no. 1 (1996): 22-39.

Sutton, I. Robert, and Barry M. Staw. “What Theory Is Not.” Administrative Science Quarterly 40, no. 3 (1995): 371-384.

Barley, R. Stephen, and Gideon Kunda. “Bringing Work Back In.” Organization Science 12, no. 1 (2001): 76-95.

Study questions

  1. What is a theory? Are there different kinds?
  2. Prepare a one-paragraph description of a major theoretical or empirical issue now being debated in your chosen field (e.g., strategy, innovation, organizations). If you don’t know any, go to library and look at the abstracts of articles from several issues of one of the top journals in your field.
2 Learning from experience

Ellis, Shmuel, and Inbar Davidi. “After-event Reviews: Drawing Lessons from Successful and Failed Experience.” Journal of Applied Psychology 90, no. 5 (2005): 857-871.

Edmondson, Amy. “Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams.” Administrative Science Quarterly 44, no. 2 (1999): 350-383.

Berman, L. Shawn, Jonathan Down, and Charles W. L. Hill. “Tacit Knowledge as a Source of Competitive Advantage in the National Basketball Association.” Academy of Management Journal 45, no. 1 (2002): 13-31.

Staw, M. Barry, and Sigal G. Barsade. “Affect and Managerial Performance: A Test of the Sadder-but-wiser vs. Happier-and-smarter Hypotheses.” Administrative Science Quarterly 38, no. 2 (1993): 304-331.

Study questions

  1. How do we know that “we know”? or, what is the process according to which we learn from experience?
  2. Do the same principles hold at the group and organizational levels of analysis?
  3. What do you think should be the next step in the Ellis and Davidi (2005) line of research?
  4. Does ‘affect’ have a role in the process of learning from experience?
  5. Are all these processes relevant to tacit as well as to explicit knowledge?
3 Identity, power, and change in organizations

Miller, L. Marc, and John Van Maanen. “Getting into Fishing: Observations on the Social Identities of New England Fishermen.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 11, no. 1 (1982): 27-54.

Meyerson, E. Debra, and Maureen A. Scully. “Tempered Radicalism and the Politics of Ambivalence and Change.” Organization Science 6, no. 5 (1995): 585-600.

Ashford, J. Susan, Nancy P. Rothbard, Sandy Kristin Piderit, and Jane E. Dutton. “Out on a Limb: The Role of Context and Impression Management in Selling Gender-equity Issues.” Administrative Science Quarterly 43, no. 1 (1998): 23-57.

Barley, Stephen R. “Technology as an Occasion for Structuring: Evidence from Observations of CT Scanners and the Social Order of Radiology Departments.” Administrative Science Quarterly 31, no. 1 (1986): 78-108.

Study questions

  1. What do we mean by the terms “occupational identity” and “gender identity?”
  2. How are identity and power in organizations related?
  3. “Tempered radicalism,” “issue selling,” and “structuration” present three models of change in organizations. How are these processes similar? How are they different?
4 Behavioral decision theory and negotiation

Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” Science 185, no. 4157 (1974): 1124-1131.

Grether, M. David, and Charles R. Plott. “Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon.” American Economic Review 69, no. 4 (1979): 623-638.

Ross, L., and A. Ward. “Naïve Realism in Everyday Life: Implications for Social Conflict and Misunderstanding.” In Values and Knowledge (Jean Piaget Symposium Series). Edited by Edward Reed, Elliot Turiel, and Terrance Brown. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1996, pp. 103-135. ISBN: 9780805815214.

Bazerman, H. Max, Jared R. Curhan, and Don A. Moore. “The Death and Rebirth of the Social Psychology of Negotiation.” Chapter 8 in Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Interpersonal Processes. Edited by Margaret Clark and Garth Fletcher. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2002, pp. 196-228. ISBN: 9780631212294.

Study questions

  1. What does the behavioral decision research tell us about how people think and how they make decisions? Are heuristics pure mistakes or adaptive?
  2. How might we attenuate some of the psychological “barriers” to dispute resolution represented by naïve realism?
  3. How do biases from behavioral decision research manifest themselves in social contexts such as negotiation or even your personal life? What are the limitations to studying negotiation from a behavioral perspective? Any alternatives?
5 Attitudes and Cognition

Petty, Richard, and John Cacioppo. Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996, pp. 3-29 and 255-269. ISBN: 9780813330051.

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss. “Commitment and Social Organization: A Study of Commitment Mechanisms in Utopian Communities.” American Sociological Review 33, no. 4 (1968): 499-517.

Fiske, Susan, and Shelley Taylor. Social Cognition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1991, pp. 22-56. ISBN: 9780071009102.

Carroll, John S. “Out of the Lab and into the Field: Decision Making in Organizations.” In Social Psychology in Organizations: Advances in Theory and Research. Edited by Keith Murnighan. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993, pp. 38-62. ISBN: 9780133740592.

Zemba, Yuriko, Maia J. Young, and Michael W. Morris. “Blaming Leaders for Organizational Accidents: Proxy Logic in Collective- versus Individual-Agency Cultures.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 101, no. 1 (2006): 36-51.

Study questions

  1. What is the relationship among behavior, cognition, and emotion? Which is primary?
  2. In what ways is social cognition not just about social things, but also a social event rather than purely individual? In other words, are you content with a purely intrapsychic theory of social perception, or do we need a cross-level theory?
6 Job performance

Rotundo, Maria, and Paul R. Sackett. “The Relative Importance of Task, Citizenship, and Counterproductive Performance to Global Ratings of Job Performance: A Policy-capturing Approach.” Journal of Applied Psychology 87, no. 1 (2002): 66-80.

Podsakoff, M. Philip, Scott B. MacKenzie, Julie Beth Paine, and Daniel G. Bachrach. “Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: A Critical Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature and Suggestions for Future Research.” Journal of Management 26, no. 3 (2000): 513-563.

Sackett, P., and C. Devore. “Counterproductive Behaviors at Work.” In Handbook of Industrial, Work and Organizational Psychology: Personnel Psychology. Edited by Neil Anderson, Denis Ones, Handan Sinangil and Chockalingam Viswesvaran. London, UK: Sage Publications Ltd, 2002, pp. 145-164. ISBN: 9780761964889.

Dalal, Reeshad S. “A Meta-analysis of the Relationship between Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Counterproductive Work Behavior.” Journal of Applied Psychology 90, no. 6 (2005): 1241-1255.

Study questions

  1. What does the psychological literature tell us about the antecedents and correlates of organizational citizenship behavior?
  2. What does the psychological literature tell us about the antecedents and correlates of counterproductive work behavior?
  3. There is a current debate about whether or not organizational citizenship and counterproductive work behavior are opposite ends of the same continuum. Are they?
7 Networks (and power?)

As a single class, there are strong constraints on what I can expect to accomplish in our time together. I start with an assumption that everyone has at least heard of social networks-I know many of you have seen treatments of this topic in Ezra Zuckerman’s class. For the assignment (see below), I am asking you to identify some research in an area in which you are interested in which network concepts have been used. The assignment will serve as useful background for our time together.

I have three goals for this class:

Goal 1: Orient students to an array of network concepts, with the aim of enlightening students’ choices with respect to their own research agendas.
Goal 2: Give students a tangible sense of how research progress is made in this area.
Goal 3: Introduce some of my own work in this area.

Toward these ends, I see the class as proceeding as follows:

Part I: (60 minutes)

  1. General introduction to the topic of social networks
    1. Historical development of the field–Key branch points
    2. Overview of how network applications have been used to address the “micro-macro” gap
    3. Where organizations fit into the picture

(10 minutes break)

Part II: (45 minutes)

  1. Illustrate how the network concepts and tools have co-evolved within one important domain
    1. Labor markets and inequality

(10 minutes break)

Part III: (45 minutes)

  1. Networks and ascriptive inequality in the labor market
    1. Gender (and race)

I think of each of these parts as a kind of double-click on each preceding step. (As guidance for the required reading, I plan to wave at my own research in Part I–the Fernandez and McAdam paper. In Part II, the discussion will culminate with the Fernandez, Castilla and Moore paper. Part III will focus in on my most current research–Fernandez and Sosa and Rubineau and Fernandez papers).


In preparation for the class, choose an area of research that you have been thinking about. How have network concepts and ideas been used in this area?

Imagine you are committed to doing research in this area. Which network approaches do you think will be fruitful in your view? Less than fruitful? Why?

8 Groups and teams

Levine, John, and Richard Moreland. “Small Groups.” Chapter 26 in The Handbook of Social Psychology. Vol. 2. Edited by Daniel Gilbert, Susan Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 415-469. ISBN: 9780195213768.

Phillips, W. Katherine, and Denise Lewin Loyd. “When Surface and Deep-level Diversity Collide: The Effects on Dissenting Group Members.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 99, no. 2 (2006): 143-160.

Barker, James R. “Tightening the Iron Cage: Concertive Control in Self-managing Teams.” Administrative Science Quarterly 38, no. 3 (1993): 408-437.

Hinds, J. Pamela, and Mark Mortensen. “Understanding Conflict in Geographically Distributed Teams: The Moderating Effects of Shared Identity, Shared Context, and Spontaneous Communication.” Organization Science 16, no. 3 (2005): 290-307.

Study questions

  1. Which theories that apply to small groups also translate into larger groups (20, 50, 100 people)? Why or why not?
  2. What are the similarities and differences in the approaches to studying groups seen in the Hinds & Mortensen and Phillips & Loyd papers? What do you think are the benefits and limitations in these different approaches?
  3. Which three theories or topics relating to small groups do you feel are most in need of further research and why?
  4. How applicable are theories of teams in organizations to small groups in other contexts, and vice versa? What are the key differences, and are they important?
9 External perspective on teams

Bresman, Henrik. “Lessons Learned and Lessons Lost: A Multi-method Field Study of Vicarious Team Learning Behaviour and Performance.” INSEAD Working Paper, 2006.

Ancona, G. Deborah, and David F. Caldwell. “Bridging the Boundary: External Activity and Performance in Organizational Teams.” Administrative Science Quarterly 37, no. 4 (1992): 634-661.

Ancona, Deborah, and Mary J. Waller. “The Dance of Entrainment: Temporally Navigating across Multiple Pacers.” In Research in the Sociology of Work. Vol. 17, Workplace Temporalities. Edited by Beth Rubin. Forthcoming, 2007.

Study questions

  1. How do our core assumptions about team building, team composition, and team performance need to change when we take more of an “external perspective” on teams?
  2. What role do temporal dynamics have in our understanding of team tasks and team processes?
  3. What new research would shed more light on this “external perspective” of teams?
10 Culture

Van Maanen, John. “Rediscovering Japan: Some Thoughts on Change and Continuity in Traditional Japanese Careers.” Career Development International 11, no. 4 (2006): 280-292.

Van Maanen, John, and Edgar G. Schein. “Identity Work: Notes on the Personal Identity of Police Officers.” MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper, 1988.

Van Maanen, John. “The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland.” Chapter 4 in Reframing Organizational Culture. Edited by Peter Frost, Larry Moore, Meryl Louis, Craig Lundberg, and Joanne Martin. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1991, pp. 58-76. ISBN: 9780803936515.

11 Organizing and designing organizations

Galbraith, Jay R. Designing Complex Organizations. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1973, pp. 8-21. ISBN: 9780201025590.

———. Designing Organizations: An Executive Guide to Strategy, Structure, and Process. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001, chapters 2 and 3. ISBN: 9780787957452.

Scott, W. Richard. Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002, chapters 9 and 10. ISBN: 9780130165596.

Dunbar, L. M. Roger, and William H. Starbuck. “Learning to Design Organizations and Learning from Designing Them.” Organization Science 17, no. 2 (2006): 171-178.

Yoo, Youngjin, Richard J. Boland, Jr., and Kalle Lyytinen. “From Organization Design to Organization Designing.” Organization Science 17, no. 2 (2006): 215-229.

Malone, Thomas W. The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style and Your Life. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2004, pp. 3-13. ISBN: 9781591391258.

Study questions

For this session, you may choose to answer one (or both) of the following questions. Your total text for the two questions should be about 2 pages.

  1. What directions or topics for future research on organization design seem most promising to you? Why?
  2. Please pick one or more topics that you think should be included in the Handbook for Collective Intelligence and write sections of the handbook on these topics. For example, you might pick a topic already listed but not fleshed out (such as “collective mind”, “transactive memory”, or “communities of practice”) and then find and summarize literature relevant to that topic. Or you might pick a topic that is not yet listed, but which you think should be, and summarize literature about that topic. It is preferable to write your text as complete sentences with references (and web links, if available). However, you are also welcome to include some partial outlines or lists, if you’d like. To get credit for this assignment, you need to hand in your contributions as a separate document, but you are also encouraged to actually make the contributions on-line, too.
12 Technology and organizations

Barley, Stephen R. “Technology as an Occasion for Structuring: Evidence from Observations of CT Scanners and the Social Order of Radiology Departments.” Administrative Science Quarterly 31, no. 1 (1986): 78-108.

Constant, David, Lee Sproull, and Sara Kiesler. “The Kindness of Strangers: The Usefulness of Electronic Weak Ties for Technical Advice.” Organization Science 7, no. 2 (1996): 119-135.

Hinds, J. Pamela, and Diane E. Bailey. “Out of Sight, Out of Sync: Understanding Conflict in Distributed Teams.” Organization Science 14, no. 6 (2003): 615-632.

Orlikowski, Wanda J. “Improvising Organizational Transformation over Time: A Situated Change Perspective.” Information Systems Research 7, no. 1 (1996): 63-92.

Yates, Joanne. “How Business Enterprises Use Technology: Extending the Demand-side Turn.” Enterprise and Society 7, no. 3 (2006): 422-455.

Study questions

  1. What assumptions underlie literature about the impact of technology on people and organizations? What assumptions underlie the social construction of technology literature? What assumptions underlie a structurational view of technology? How do they differ?
  2. What are the consequences of taking one of these perspectives on technology? Does it matter?
  3. Why might you want to look beyond technology adoption to technology use?
13 Organizational and enterprise change

Kotter, John P. “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” Harvard Business Review 73, no. 2 (1995): pp. 59-67.

Collins, Jim. “Level 5 Leadership.” Harvard Business Review 79, no. 1 (2001): 66-76.

Dyer, H. Jeffrey, and Nile W. Hatch. “Using Supplier Networks to Learn Faster.” MIT Sloan Management Review 45, no. 3 (2004): 57-63.

Spear, Steven, and H. Kent Bowen. “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System.” Harvard Business Review 77, no. 5 (1999): 96-106.

Beer, M. “Transforming Organizations: Embrace the Paradox of E and O.” In Handbook of Organization Development. Edited by Thomas Cummings. London, UK: Sage Publications Ltd, 2007. ISBN: 9780761928126.


Robertson, J. Peter, Darryl R. Roberts, and Jerry I. Porras. “Dynamics of Planned Organizational Change: Assessing Empirical Support for a Theoretical Model.” Academy of Management Journal 36, no. 3 (1993): 619-634.

Kleiner, Art. “Climbing to Greatness with Jim Collins.” Strategy+Business (Fourth Quarter, 2001): 1-11.

Liker, K. Jeffrey, and James M. Morgan. “The Toyota Way in Services: The Case of Lean Product Development.” Academy of Management Perspectives 20, no. 2 (2006): 5-20.

MacDuffie, John Paul, and Susan Helper. “Creating Lean Suppliers: Diffusing Lean Production through the Supply Chain.” California Management Review 39, no. 4 (1997): 118-151.

Study questions

  1. Kotter’s eights steps for managing change are representative of methods for managing and implementing change [Robertson et al. provide a broader view of that framework for change cases]. What assumptions about organizations underlie the majority of the organizational change work?
  2. What are the implications of Collins’ work on organizations that achieve and sustain superior performance for current leadership and change management approaches and practices?
  3. Studies of the Japanese auto industry (i.e. Dyer and Hatch, Liker and Morgan, MacDuffie and Helper) find superior performance coming from organizing approaches. List points that are different about these companies. What is different, if anything, in their management of improvement and change (see Spear and Bowen regarding methods and underlying assumptions.)
  4. Beer proposes alternative approaches to change. What characteristics of these approaches are illustrated in the Japanese auto industry?

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2006
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments