MB 109 Fall 2004 Schedule


Legend

Assignments are due on the day they are listed (except for the very first class -- those readings should be read immediately after class). All items subject to change without notice. Please check the schedule frequently. Before printing articles, try reading them online. Is all that ink and toner really necessary?

Most of the links for journal articles require you to be logged in via your BC id in order to recognize you as legitimate members of the community. Click here for more information. The notation "GD x" is used to refer to the Group Dynamics text book. For example, "GD 1,9" refers to chapters 1 and 9 of that book. LP refers to Liars Poker, by Michael Lewis.

Sections marked "Links" refer to optional readings and resources.

 


 

Week 1 Introduction

7 Sept.  Introduction

In class:
  • Welcome
  • Go over syllabus
  • Learning names
Reading:
  • none

9 Sept.  What's a group?

In class:
  • Types of groups
  • Classes vs. groups; a priori vs. emergent groups
  • Epistemological status
Reading:
  • GD 1,2

 

Week 2 The Individual in the Group

14 Sept.  Psychology of Joining

In class:
  • Needs of the individual
  • Identity
  • Liar's Poker -- socialization at Salomon Brothers
Reading:
  • LP pref.,1,2,3 (i.e., read first 3 chapters plus preface)
  • GD 3
Due:
  • 1-2 page write-ups of each of the three chapters of Liar's Poker (max of 6 pages total). Due via email by 1:30pm.
Links:
  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs [html]

16 Sept.  Principles of Association

In class:
  • Homophily & propinquity
  • Recruiting new members
Reading:
  • GD 4
  • McPherson, Miller; Smith-Lovin, Lynn; Cook, James M.. BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Homophily in Social Networks.Annual Review of Sociology, 2001, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p415. [pdf] {skim for the ideas, not the facts}
Slides:
Links:
  • Marsden PV. 1988. Homogeneity in confiding relations. Soc. Networks 10:5776 [pdf]

  • McPherson, J. Miller; Popielarz, Pamela A.; Drobnic, Sonja. 1992. Social Networks and Organizational Dynamics.  American Sociological Review. [pdf] {focus on the main ideas}

 

Week 3 Differentiation Within Groups

21 Sept.  Social Networks

In class:
  • Interpersonal relations among group members
Reading:
  • GD 5
  • LP 4,5
Due:
Slides:
Links:
  • Tichy, N. M., M. L. Tushman, and C. Fombrun, "Social Network Analysis for Organizations", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 4, No. 4, 1979, pp. 507-519 [^pdf]

23 Sept.  Role Differentiation
(actually presented 28 Sept due to guest speaker)

In class:
  • Individual roles within groups
  • Status hierarchies
Reading:
  • J.C. Johnson, J. Boster, and L. Palinkas. "Social Roles and the Evolution of Networks in Isolated and Extreme Environments. The Journal of Mathematical Sociology Volume 27/Numbers2-3, (2003): pp. 89-122. [pdf]
Slides:
Due:  

 

Week 4 Group Development

28 Sept.  Stages of Group Development
(actually presented 23 Sept due to guest speaker)

In class:
  • How teams evolve, presented by guest speaker Inga Carboni
Reading:
  • GD 6
  • LP 6,7
Due:
Slides:
Links:  

30 Sept.  Emergent Groups

In class:
  • Groups defined by pairwise interactions
  • Freeman beach data, Zachary Karate data and Camp interaction data
Slides:
Links:
  • The Sociological Concept of "Group": An Empirical Test of Two Models. By: Freeman, Linton C.. American Journal of Sociology, Jul92, Vol. 98 Issue 1, p152, 15p [^pdf]

 

Week 5 Conformity & Influence

5 Oct.  Asch Experiments

In class:
  • Effects of peer pressure on perception and behavior
  • examples of conformity and rebellion in Liar's Poker
  • Examples from your own life where your perceptions were altered by others
Reading:
  • GD 7
  • LP 8,9
Due:
Slides:
Links:
  • Intro to conformity experiments [html]
  • Principles of brainwashing [html]

7 Oct.  Milgram Experiment

In class:
  • Milgram authority experiment
  • Authority in Liar's Poker -- when does it work and when not?
Reading:
  • GD 8
Due:
  • 1-page description of your term project. Should list all collaborators on the project, explain the goal of the project, what groups will be studied, how you will get them to cooperate, what methods you will use, etc. Due by 1pm via e-mail. Just one description per project group -- I don't need a paper from each person in a project team.
Links:
  • Milgram, S. The Perils of Obedience. Harper's Magazine. [html]
  • Adolf Eichmann story [html]

 

Week 6 Norms & Culture

12 Oct.  Salomon Brothers

In class:
  • Norms and culture at Salomon Bros
  • Organizational fit
Reading:
  • LP 10,11,epilogue
Slides:
Due:
Links:

14 Oct.  Hawthorne Studies

In class:
  • The bank wiring room study at the Western Electric Hawthorne plant
  • The Mann Gulch disaster
Reading:
  • Weick, K.E. (1993). Collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch Disaster. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38, 628-652. [^pdf]
  • Notes on Hawthorne studies [html]
Slides:
Links:  

 

Week 7 Organizational Knowledge

19 Oct.  Communities of Practice

In class:
  • How groups construct and disseminate knowledge
Reading:
  • Wenger. Communities of Practice 1998. Claims Processing Vignette. [html]

  • Notes on communities of practice [html]

Slides:
Links:  

21 Oct.  Transactional Knowledge Systems

In class:
  • Transactive memory
  • Information flows
Reading:
  • Borgatti, S.P. and Cross, R. 2003. A Relational View of Information Seeking and Learning in Social Networks. Management Science. 49(4): 432-445.[pdf]
  • Granovetter, M. (1973), "The Strength of Weak Ties," American Journal of Sociology, 78 (6): 1360-1380 [jstor]
Slides:
Links:
  • Wegner, D., Giuliano, T., & Hertel, P. (1985).  Cognitive Interdependence in Close Relationships. In W. Ickes (Ed.) Compatible and Incompatible Relationships pp. 253-276 New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.

  • Moreland, R. 1999. Transactive memory: Learning who knows what in work groups and organizations. Pp. 3-31 in Thompson, Levine & Messick, Shared Cognition in Organizations: The management of knowledge. Lawrence Erlbaum.


 

There will be a  talk on Monday, Oct 25th at Harvard by Jeff Johnson on group dynamics at the South Pole station. Prof. Johnson is an extremely colorful speaker. The talk is open to all. For details click here.

 

Week 8  Constructing Knowledge

26 Oct.  Individual-level Creativity

In class:
  • Network structures that promote innovation
  • Individual creativity
Reading:
  • Burt, R. 2003. The social origin of ideas. [PDF] {focus on the ideas at the beginning and in conclusion,  not the empirical test at the end}
  • J.G. March, Explorations and Exploitation in organizational learning, Organization Science, 2, 1991. [^pdf]
Slides:
Links:

28 Oct.  Firm-level Innovation

In class:
  • What makes a firm innovative?
Reading:
  • Powell,W.W.,Koput, K.W.,&Smith-Doerr,L. 1996. Inter-organizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(1): 116145. [link to pdf ]
Due:
  • 1-page project progress report, due by 1:30pm via e-mail
Links:
  • Cohen and Levinthal. 1990. Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, Mar90, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p128, 25p [^pdf]

 

Week 9 Efficacy & Efficiency

2 Nov.  Bavelas-Leavitt Experiments

In class:
  • Effects of centralization on task performance
Reading:
  • GD 5 (again)
  • Bavelas/Leavitt experiments [html]
Links:
  • Harold J. Leavitt; Kenneth E. Knight. Most "Efficient" Solutions to Communication Networks: Empirical Versus Analytical Search.  Sociometry, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Jun., 1963), pp. 260-267 [^pdf]

4 Nov.  Toyota & Effective Coordination

In class:
  • Toyota production group
Reading:
  • Toyota Production System [html]
  • How Toyota recovered from a fire in just 5 days [html]
Links:
  • Spear et al 1999. Decoding Toyota DNA. [pdf]

 

Week 10 Decision-Making

9 Nov.  Social Influences on Cognition

In class:
  • Rational versus real decision-making
  • Conflict
Reading:
  • Northcraft and Neale. Decision Making. [PDF]. Note: It's a poor quality scan.
  • Amason, Allen C.. Academy of Management Journal, Feb96, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p123, 26p [pdf]
  • GD 9
Due:  
Links:
  • Jehn, Karen A.; Mannix, Elizabeth A.. Academy of Management Journal, Apr2001, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p238, 14p [pdf]

11 Nov.  NASA & GroupThink

In class:
  • The Challenger and Columbia disasters
Reading:
  • Abiline paradox [html]
Slides:
Links:

 

Week 11 Inter-Group Relations

16 Nov.  Attribution and Social Comparison

In class:
  • Perceptions of us versus them
  • Social identity theory
  • Homophily revisited
Reading:
  • GD 13,14
  • Greenberg, DN (1995, June). Blue versus gray: A metaphor constraining sensemaking
    around a restructuring. Group & Organization Management, 20(2), 183-209. [pdf] or [pdf] (You may have trouble with or both of these links -- if neither works, you'll have to find the article yourself via BC library system.)

18 Nov.  Organizational Silos

In class:
  • Ties across groups in the organization
  • Intra-organizational boundaries
Reading:
  • Krackhardt, D. & Stern, R.1988. Informal networks and organizational crises. Social Psychology Quarterly 51(2): 123-140.  [PDF]
  • Cross, R., Parker, A., & Borgatti, S.P. 2002. Making Invisible Work Visible: Using Social Network Analysis to Support Strategic Collaboration. California Management Review. 44(2): 25-46. [pdf]

Due:
Links:  

 

Week 12 Research Project

23 Nov.  Research Progress

In class:
  • discussion of term projects
Reading:  
Due:
  • 1-page project progress reports. Due via email by 1pm.
Links:  

25 Nov.  Thanksgiving Break

In class:
  • No class
Reading:  
Due:  
Links:  

 

Week 13 Improving Work Groups

30 Nov.  Team Leadership

In class:
  • Leadership and "groupness"
  • Group maintenance functions and roles
Reading:
Slides:
Links:  

2 Dec.  Action Research

In class:
  • Techniques for making teams work better
  • Brainstorming
Reading:
  • Team manual [html]
Slides:
Links:

 

Week 14 Putting it all Together

7 Dec.  Course Overview

In class:
  • Review of entire course
Slides:
Reading:
  • Begin preparing for final exam

9 Dec.  Wrap-Up

In class:
  • Review of term projects
Slides:
Due: