• Seminars

    The Work and Organization Studies group is a hub for the study of work, employment, and organizations, and is host to one of the longest-running seminar series at MIT. These weekly seminars attract researchers from across the Institute and around the world. Unless otherwise noted, OS seminars are held from 11:00-12:30 pm on Thursdays in E62-350 and IWER seminars take place from 12:30-2:20 pm on Tuesdays in E62-346.

  • OS Seminars
  • Date Event
    September 8, 2016 Community Lunch
    September 15, 2016 Christine Beckman - Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

    Rituals of Quantification: Creating a System of Control (with Melissa Mazmanian)

    In this paper we explore budgeting as a ritual ofquantification. Using qualitative data from a hotel management firm we observemanagers engaged in a process of creating a number that drives daily decisionsfor the subsequent year. We highlight the ritual characteristics of budgeting(intense engagement, moments of voice, bounded stages, annual reenactment, andquantified output). In describing how the complementary processes ofsocialization and commensuration undergird this ritual, we provide insight intoboth how it operates and the source of its power. In sum, we argue that theritual of quantification incorporates elements of behavioral, normative andoutput controls to create a robust system of organizational control. This workhas implications for theories of control and calculative practices inorganizations.

    September 29, 2016 Nelson Repenning- School of Management Distinguished Professor of System Dynamics and Organization Studies

    Synthesizing a Dynamic Theory of WorkDesign

    Catalyzed by the seminal contribution of Hackman and Oldham, work design was once apopular topic in work and organization studies and considered to be one of thefew theories that was both rigorously tested and practically relevant.  In the last two decades, interest in andstudies of work design have diminished, leaving existing theory increasinglyout of touch with contemporary practice. An inadequate understanding of work both leaves many organizationaltheories resting on a shaky foundation and restricts our ability to influencepractice.  In this talk, I will proposean updated approach to understanding the nature of effective and engagingwork.  I begin by revisiting the staticconception of work that underlies most existing theory and build an alternativeframework based on the notion that even the most routine work is not entirelypredictable and requires a continuing stream of local adjustments andaccommodations.  I then propose fourrelated mechanisms through which organizations can capitalize on thisunderlying dynamism to build both motivation and competitive advantage.  These mechanisms provide a path to unify avariety of seemingly disparate work design practices, including elements of thefamed Toyota Production System and agile software development practice.  Several examples from recent interventionprojects will show how these mechanisms can be used to generate more effective,engaging work.

    October 13, 2016 Sharon Koppman- University of California, Irvine

    Glass Halls through Glass Walls: Why Men Get Core Jobs in Feminized Occupations

    In light of a large literature on occupational sex segregation, advertising stands apart.  Within this feminized occupation, women show high interest, aptitude, and qualifications for creative work, yet relatively few are employed in creative jobs.  I explain this empirical puzzle through an overlooked source of sex segregation: beliefs that circulate within occupations.  By analyzing in-depth interviews (N=54) with advertising practitioners, I reveal how beliefs that circulate within advertising—specifically, the male ideal ofthe emotional and independent creative person—inform individual decisions to stay in creative jobs or leave.  Through the use of primary survey data (N=351), I demonstrate that identification with this internal ideal patterns sex segregation. Together, this study suggests that, much like the “glass elevator” lifts men in feminized occupations into management, these occupational beliefs provide “glass halls” through which men stride into the jobs defined as most desirable within the occupation itself.

    October 20, 2016 Valentina Assenova- Yale University
    October 27, 2016 Julia J. Lee- University of Michigan

    Relational Self-Affirmation: Changing the Stories that We Tell Ourselves 

    November 3, 2016 Devon Proudfoot- Duke University

    A Gender Bias in the Attribution of Creativity: Archival and ExperimentalEvidence for the Perceived Association Between Masculinity and CreativeThinking

    November 10, 2016 Francesca Gino- Harvard Business School
    November 17, 2016 Fabiana Silva- University of California, Berkeley

    The Strength of Whites’ Ties: How employers reward the referrals of black and whitejobseekers

    December 1, 2016 Ryann Manning- Harvard Business School

    All Hands are Needed: Emotion and Resilient Organizing by West African DiasporaCommunities in Response to the 2014-2015 Ebola Outbreak

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  • IWER Seminars
  • Date Event
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