Grant: $169,325 - National Science Foundation - Sep. 14, 2009
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Award Description: This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). Project-based design organizing is fundamental to the contemporary relentless pursuit of innovation. Design organizations inevitably have virtual components and their design processes are deeply affected by information technologies (ITs) serving as design infrastructures. Past research on virtual organizations emphasizes how virtuality can improve performance through substituting traditional ?physical? forms of organizing. As IT becomes ubiquitous, such a view, however, is neither practical, nor theoretically sustainable. All organizations are built simultaneously with both bits and atoms and virtual organizing is always situated in physical materiality. Our goal is to study: (a) how project-based design organizations virtualize their work capabilities by entangling both virtual and physical materiality; (b) how design control and environmental volatility affect the virtualization process. The proposed study addresses these three goals. First, we will develop and validate a semi-formal notation to describe the content and scope of the entanglement of virtual and physical materiality in design processes. Our earlier fieldwork indicates that project-based organizations virtualize their work capabilities according to their specific, received process logic. Second, using empirically validated chronological representations of virtualized work capabilities, we will examine the impact of two critical contingency variables- control and environmental volatility- how design organizations are likely to virtualize their work. To address these questions, we conduct longitudinal case studies in four project-based design organizations- construction design and management, software teams, network (hardware/software) product design teams, and complex mechanical and process engineering (fluid controls in aerospace) involving different levels of design control and environmental volatility. The studies will be organized as four separate multi-level (involving both organizational units, strategic business units and design projects) studies that draw upon field-oriented data collection techniques involving semi-structured interviews, observations, archival research, surveys, the use of video and images (to address the physical aspects of material work) and process modeling. Main data analysis techniques are process oriented event structure studies and pattern matching.
Project Description: First deliverables will be a detailed study plan for executing the study involving data collection and formulation and development of a process notation to capture virtualized work processes. This process is ongoing and will be finished by the end of the year.
Jobs Summary: Jobs are research assistant positions within a PhD program, the research may result in additional changes and jobs in studied organizations when the study is finished. (Total jobs reported: 3)
Project Status: Not Started
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 14, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.