Why do you think so? a guide for checking your thinking

We constantly make decision. Most decisions are simple: What to eat, when to get up, what to wear. Other decisions are more complicated (where to travel to, where to live, should we accept a job offer). Then there are organizational decisions: Decisions managers make. These have additional layers of complexity: organizational politics, a diverse range…

How can you develop your team’s social capital?

The success of your team’s work does not only depend on each members expertise, but also on your team’s social capital. Your team’s social capital is the combined resources your team has access to through the relationships team members have with each other and with people from other business units, organizations, and communities. Hence, a…

When does remote working causes stress?

I had my first remote working experience in 2012. It wasn’t fully remote, but a step towards it. As a junior member, I had the lead role of connecting the physical team with the virtual project manager. Since then, I never looked back and don’t consider virtuality a disadvantage. That being said I also had…

What is your social capital?

Everyone has social capital. It is the resources you can access thanks to the relationships we have. It is perfectly human to use these resources to help you share your goals. In return, you have to share your resources with your connection to help them reach their goals. This post explains how you can measure your social capital.

5 reasons for seeking information

Many people cringe when they hear the word networking. Net-work-ing. Let it sink in. Do you get that picture of business cards in your pocket, drink in your sweaty hand, and a feeling on anguish or disgust on your face while looking at other people happily talking with each other, apparently engaged in meaningful conversations….

Team tool review: KOAN

There are many tools that claim to help teams work better together. But a tool is just a tool, and just because something is successful in one company, doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Remember that before implementing a tool, you need to know the problem this tool should solve. Today I’m reviewing why…

How does information flow in your company?

Organizational charts are common in companies. They depict the reporting relationships and should accurately represent who is talking with whom, who is in the know of everything, and who are the people at the periphery of the organization. However, often the real communication network is different to the organizational chart. Knowing how information really flows…

Team Tool Review: Slack

There are many tools that claim to help teams work better together. But a tool is just a tool, and just because something is successful in one company, doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Remember that before implementing a tool, you need to know the problem this tool should solve. Today I’m reviewing why…

What is stopping your remote team?

Most teams has some degree of virtuality, as most teams rely on some electronic tools to communicate. But what happens to your team’s performance when more and more team members work from home, or from some other non-official work location ? Performance does not need to suffer if your remote team has the right processes…

Getting your expertise recognized in (virtual) teams

Sometimes ideas are not picked up by team members or questions get directed to the wrong person. If this is the case, your team might have a problem recognizing each others expertise. This article uses research evidence to explain what cues people are using to form ideas about each others expertise, and includes  a couple…

What type of leader are you?

Leadership effectiveness refers to a leader’s performance in influencing and guiding the activities of his or her unit toward achievement of its goals (see Stogdill, 1950). Transactional leader, transformational leader, authentic leader, servant leader, ethical leader, autocratic leader, laissez-faire leader. Which leadership type are you? I’m going to explain the different types of leaders and…

Career development on the road

When developing your career, it is important to know who you are now and who you would like to be in the future. This requires sitting down and reflecting on your life, an activity that is often neglected, as its benefits are only visible later in life. We tend to focus on the short-term, the…

Rehumanize HR: Putting the humans back into HR

A couple of years ago Harvard Business Review published an article about the future of HR, how HR should be less of a support unit, and take on a more central, strategic role. One way this strategic role could be achieved is by using HR data to underline the importance of HR topics and calculate…

What is Learning?

Have you ever wondered what learning is and how to measure if it happened sufficiently? You might. But if you didn’t, don’t worry. It’s one of those ubiquitous things in life that just ‘is’. However in specific circumstances it is important to know what learning is. A definition of what learning is and is not,…

Types of Social Networks

I’m co-teaching the course Culture, Engagement, and Connectivity in the master Learning of Organization offered by the school of education and public policy at Northwestern’s University. For the virtual office hour I have been asked about what other social networks exists, those that do not involve humans. While my expertise is within human social networks,…

About Jerks and Negative Nancies at Work

Uber, the hail riding company, has been criticized for its culture and leadership style. Often the negative anecdotes I hear about working at US companies center around the benefits and performance focus, it’s often the interpersonal relationships that have more far stretching consequences, as Uber helps to illustrate. Working at a performance drive company is…

Social Network Theories

I have often been confronted by colleagues with the argument that social network analysis is only a method. Over time I became more annoyed with that point. Social network analysis goes beyond this. Yes, it is a method, but it is also a perspective, a framework, with which the world can be analyzed. To underline…

Let’s not benchmark

Benchmarking is comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies (Wikipedia) The goal is to measure how well one is doing compared to the industry’s best, to discover why they are the best, and to copy. But in here lies the problem. When you copy a competitors…

Work Engagement Networks

Are you dreading to go to work every morning looking forward to your weekend, maybe secretly looking for other jobs? Or do you have the opposite feelings for your work: Looking forward to the daily work challenges, mundane tasks, and colleagues? Most of us are somewhere in the middle, as different tasks need to be…

Stimulating Adaptive Expertise

Most individuals chose to attend higher education institutes to set the foundation for becoming an expert. Educational institutions are set up to help individuals achieve this aim. Much expertise development literature focuses on the development of ‘pattern recognition’ as the main path towards expertise. Individuals can make use of various extensively researched activities to achieve…

May I ask you…?

Multidisciplinary teams are a common sight in many work settings such as hospitals, business, and universities. a common problem is that team members exchange information with each other, but don’t distribute their information exchange evenly among team members. Information exchange can be asking for information, but also without a request giving new information to others. This research found that adaptive experts, team members who are flexible and can deal effectively with unfamiliar situation, develop more information exchange relationship. Managers can stimulate adaptive expertise by allowing employees to work on a variety of tasks and master diverse skills.

Strong Ties and Creativity

If you look for help on how to be more creative, the standard advise is to combine existing knowledge, tools, programs – you name it – in a new way. That’s what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in The Second Machine Age. But the same message is taught by Frans Johnsson in The Medici…

Weak Ties and Creativity

Have you heard about the theory of “strength of weak ties” ? Weak ties are those people with whom you interact rarely. Your acquaintances and colleagues you only talk once a while. Their strengths come from exactly this limited interaction. As you don’t interact often with them, chances are high that they know things you…

It’s not about team composition…

The news by Google on how to create a dream team stimulated some conversation in my academic circles. Especially the point that Google was not able to replicate the importance of team composition created some stir. For me, this was obvious. I never considered team composition to be an important factor predicting team performance. Of…

That’s it Google? Psychological Safety ?

The New York Times described Google’s finding about what makes teams effective as “surprising” . The article tells the story of how members of Project Aristotle analyzed huge amount of data, looking for patterns that explain why certain teams are more effective than others. Their first culprit, team composition, turned out to not explain anything….

Put your team to the test

Featured image from Humans of SBE. It shows Wim Gijselaers, Full Professor in Education & Chair of the Department of Educational Research & Development It happened as an accident, one of those side-effects of doing research on teams. A colleague was researching teams and needed to select the best task for it. She already settled on…

Ants and Social Science: Why Ants are awesome

When you are in the social science funding is always an issue. Let me correct this: When you do research funding is always an issue (who doesn’t want to have more money, regardless of your discipline or industry). But less funding is given to the social science as governments consider these fields to be less…

Teams create knowledge like workers build houses

Archimedes Eureka moment, finding out how to measure the volume of irregular objects, is well-known for two reasons: (1) He apparently ran naked through the streets and (2) he connected a personal experience (seeing the water swap over the edges) to the problem of how to assess the purity of the irregular gold crown of…

PhDs: Leave your zone of comfort !

In 2014 I went to a conference and saw a number of very interesting presentation in my field. They work was right down my alley. I decided to check out their department and asked the professor if I could visit. After some planning, a lot of logistics, and even more paper work, I began my…

How to Create and Sustain your Startup: Wisdom from Team Science

Successful collaboration are not the result of random encounters. They are not. Encounters that appear like coincidences are in reality the workings of social network mechanisms. I don’t mean social networks as in social networks sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), but as in the connection between individuals, connections that existed well before network sites visualized these connections…

Why you shouldn’t be committed to your work

Do you need to be committed to your job and your profession? What if you work in a (multidisciplinary) teams, whose standards or work do you need to commit to? If your colleagues slack, because they are less committed to their job, can you do the same or should you put in your weight or…

How to incubate successfully inside companies

1871, the business incubator in Chicago, ranks first business incubators in the US, up from 9th place last year. A tremendous achievement. Business incubators offer startups more than a place to grow, they give them the network and tools to grow. 1817 is especially good at this, excelling in value for Chicago, value for its clients,…

Adaptive Experts: Who are they, why teams should have one, and am I one?

There are two types of experts: Routine and adaptive experts. Both require expertise in a field. The differences between them is how they are dealing with changs in their environment. Adaptive expertise: What is it? I have been studying adaptive expertise for the past five years, beginning with a summary of what other people have…

Building and Maintaining Information Highways

As our jobs are getting increasingly specialized, the importance of information exchange is increasing. Collaboration is important and will become even more important. Tasks require the expertise of several people, and the final product can only be exceptionally great, if all team members who worked on the task collaborated. Collaboration requires information exchange. Information exchange is about asking…

Startup Institute

A startup is a bunch of people who run around like headless chicken trying to make sure that not everything burns down. Don’t like that image? It conveys the chaos that goes on in startups. Individuals who start a company have lots of energy; if you want to work there you need to be able…

The new workplace: Are we on the edge of a new revolution?

There is a buzz in the air that workplaces are in the process of changing. Co-working spaces are flourishing. A vast array of tools promise to make work easier, more enjoyable, more collaborative. But it is more than just the work environment that is transforming. Work itself takes on new forms. Work is shaped by…

How do emergency care teams create knowledge ?

We all have some idea of how interaction in the hospital happens. The doctor gives commands to nurses who report back vital signs and the medical history of the patient. The doctor thinks, gives orders, and finally shouts out the diagnoses. Or maybe you envision the doctor to be young and inexperienced and a nurse taking the…

So, what’s your PhD about…

Featured image by “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham, www.phdcomics.com “Your introduction scares me” my supervisor, a 50+ year old typical introverted researcher, told me after reading the draft of my PhD introduction. “Forget the literature and just write to a general audience, for example, to your grandmother.” Cliche advice I thought. My grandma doesn’t speak…

Why does nobody talk with you ?

Team’s are omnipresent in organizations. They are today’s foundation for getting work done. At the time of writing this post, a team of stewardesses, pilots, and air traffic controllers make sure that I’m getting safely and well feed to AERA. For teams it is important that they master their task. The team I’m currently observing…

What stuck from the Network for Learning Day 2014 (Duisburg, Germany)

Last week was the 2nd Network for Learning Day. The Network for Learning Day was initiated by Sara van Waes (University of Antwerpen), Piet van den Bossche (University of Antwerpen), and Nienke Moolenaar (Utrecht University) as a place for educational scientists (in Europe) who use social network analysis to meet and discuss their research, and…

Social Identity Complexity at the Workplace

I have been interested for a long time in teams and how they functioning. Over time, I specialized in the topic of knowledge sharing: Why do certain people share and other’s not? And what does need to happen for shared knowledge to be processes and transformed by team members. At the beginning of my PhD I thought…

Impression that Last (Sunbelt2014)

The poster  “Impression that Last” presents initial results on the impact of social identity on a team’s information seeking network. The findings are based on a slice of my data. The full data set contains information about several teams over 3 time waves. Several networks are collected (knowledge, valuing, information allocation and information retrieval). The…

Chaos in Expertise Research

This is a follow-up on my first post “What is adaptive expertise”. It’s a try to organize my thoughts about expertise research, see what it is all about, and where does adaptive expertise fit into it. I struggled with that question while writing my review study, struggled even more after a couple of short talks…

What is Adaptive Expertise

When I came across the term Adaptive Expertise  while writing my PhD research proposal, I thought “yes, that’s it.” So I digged deeper trying to find the article in which the term was originally termed. Hatano and Inagaki (1986) came up with it after their observations. A very good description of Adaptive expertise, related to…