As part of our profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Jacqueline Lane of Harvard Business School, which is in a fairly well known location. Jacqueline, so…
What are your research interests right now?
I am interested in the knowledge production process, and the implications of social networks and technology in facilitating the creation and diffusion of new knowledge and innovative breakthroughs. I am particularly interested in the role of digital platforms in diversifying people’s networks to broaden how knowledge is shared, accessed, transferred and diffused to produce new knowledge. More specifically, digital platforms offer individuals unprecedented opportunities for collaboration and learning (e.g., the ability to communicate across space and time, and on the go via mobile devices), enabling people to enact new practices or achieve outcomes that could not be accomplished without the use of these new technologies. At the same time, these platforms also collect and distribute new digital trace data that provide detailed insight into what people are doing and whom they are communicating with in their social networks. These opportunities make it an exciting time in innovation research to study collaboration and knowledge production.
What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?
My current research interests bring together two different areas of management research that are not often connected. These are two areas are technology adoption and collaboration/teams research. By bridging these two literatures, we can gain new insights on the levers that improve knowledge production and innovation. I also believe that these topics are a timely issue in many different types of organizations today and have potential impact for practitioners, given the rise of collaborations and the increasing “network of teams” that need to communicate, interact and work together effectively to accomplish organizational goals and projects.
At the 2019 Conference you were a TIM Dissertation Award Finalist, sponsored by the Lazaridis Institute. Tell us about your dissertation and why you think its findings are important.
My dissertation research explores how new technologies can facilitate virtual collaboration and enable teams to achieve outcomes that they were not able to accomplish without the use of technology. At the same time, it also raises some of the potential “constraints” of technology use on virtual team collaboration and knowledge sharing. For example, we tend to think that collaboration platforms facilitate knowledge sharing within organizations because of the openness and the capabilities afforded to connect with anyone else, across space and time. However, in my research, I find that although the use of collaboration platforms generally increases knowledge sharing, these increases are not uniform across employees. I find that its impact on interaction patterns only applies to individuals who are seated farther than conversation distance apart, suggesting that office space designs and spatial proximity are still important considerations for what types of knowledge and with whom knowledge is shared. Also, we tend to think that employees have the capability to share knowledge with anyone else in the organization, but my research finds that in certain cases, individuals perform better when they actively choose to dissolve certain “negative” relationships, because conflict in their networks monopolizes a significant portion of a worker’s mental energy. In short, I think these findings are important because they suggest that collaboration platforms can have both positive and negative effects on teamwork and that the features of the social context and the features of the technologies themselves, can have a significant impact on the effects of technology use on organizing.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
I grew up in Vancouver Canada where there is lots of rain, beautiful summers, beaches, water and mountains, all in one city. Growing up there has definitely shaped my interests and hobbies. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, yoga, and long walks – rain or shine!
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