Using Enterprise Social Media to Enhance Team Effectiveness

The goal of this study is to explore whether and how enterprise social media (ESM) technologies can help improve organizational work team effectiveness. In this study, I aim to achieve the following objectives: (1) to develop a theoretical framework that explores the relationship between social media technologies and team effectiveness (2) to conduct empirical studies using an ESM platform testing the proposed relationships between social media use and team effectiveness (3) to design new features for social media technologies to improve the ways that people collaborate, communication and interact in teams to accomplish their goals.

Collaborators: Noshir Contractor, Leslie DeChurch (Northwestern), Paul Leonardi (UC Santa Barbara)

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The Trade-Offs Between Collaboration and Competition in Financial Markets 

This set of studies examines how financial day traders exploit their communication and collaboration networks to improve their financial performance. In financial systems, continuous change in information creates uncertainty about when to trade. To disambiguate market information, traders corroborate with other traders in their networks to exchange both business and personal information.

The first study examines how traders’ communication patterns with their internal and external networks affects their performance. The second study explores how structural balance among traders’ interpersonal ties with one another affects the collective performance of the firm or macro system, and the third study explores how traders selectively choose to communicate their trading views and opinions to their contacts, and how their choices impact the propagation of financial news in their competition and collaboration networks.

Collaborators: Omid Askari, Francesco Bulli, Noah Friedkin, Ambuj Singh (UC Santa Barbara), Sonya Lim (DePaul) & Brian Uzzi (Northwestern)
Funding: U. S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI)

The Role of Network-Structured Discussions on Online Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

Most traditional computer-mediated tools are text-based, linear, and asynchronous in nature. These design features mask the structure of the emergent communication patterns during knowledge sharing discussions. In this study, I team up with Northwestern Information Technology to design a network-structured or graphical discussion forum, Nebula that can improve users’ accuracy of knowledge about who knows what and who responded to whom in their discussions. Using the Nebula platform, I explore how the emergent network structure alters the content, communication patterns and underlying motivations of users’ knowledge contributions.

Collaborators: Noshir Contractor, Leslie DeChurch & Seyed Iravani (Northwestern)
Funding: Northwestern Office of the Provost Digital/Online Projects (PI)

Understanding and Enabling Effective Team Assembly

Recent advances in information communication technologies and web connectivity have created unprecedented opportunities for people to assemble into teams. Because of these new capabilities, the notion of a team is rapidly changing: rather than being stable, bounded entities, contemporary teams are increasingly agile, ad hoc, distributed, and embedded within a larger network of relationships. In this study, I investigate the underlying socio-technical motivations that explain why people choose to team up with others, and explore how we can learn from these factors to improve the effectiveness of team assembly mechanisms.

Collaborators: Noshir Contractor, Leslie DeChurch, Diego Gomez, & Marlon Twyman (Northwestern)
Funding: Northwestern Office of the Provost Digital/Online Projects (PI)