Organizational & Management Factors

Principles of Community in Team Science

Dr. Ellen Fisher, Colorado State University; Dr. Jennifer Cross, Colorado State University; Dr. Hannah Love, Colorado State University; Dr. Bailey Fosdick, Colorado State University

Science of Team Science (SciTS) frequently involve a combination of research, teaching, training, and administration.  Less frequently discussed is how team science embodies institutional values and responsible conduct of research (RCR).  In 2017, Colorado State University (CSU) adopted The Principles of Community, a values statement that supports the institutional mission and vision of access, research, teaching, service and engagement.  As members of the CSU community, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has built the principles of community into its strategic plan, including support for team science.

At CSU, we are examining how transdisciplinary scientific teams form and develop in a university setting. This mixed-methods, developmental evaluation has been tracking three cohorts of teams funded by the OVPR.  We administered a longitudinal social network survey to understand team development and dynamics, a social survey to ask about specific collaboration practices, and conducted participant observation, interviews and focus groups to understand group processes, assess turn-taking, and gain insight into group norms.  These data helped reveal how best practices in team science are connected to CSU’s principles of community as well as the responsible conduct of research. 

First, effective team science embodies principles of community.  CSU has developed five principles of community:  inclusion, integrity, respect, service, and social justice.  These principles of community have been incorporated into the OVPR hiring and evaluation processes, discussions of what these words mean to individuals (i.e. creating common language and understanding), and development of new opportunities within the research community.  They also align with best practices for teams which include even turn-taking, gender inclusivity, diversity on teams, and engaging in a team development process.

Second, team science mandates the responsible conduct of research (RCR).  When scientists work as a member of a team there is a feeling of responsibility for the success of the whole team.  This sense of responsibility, also known as collective cognitive responsibility, gives rise to each member of the team taking ownership in the knowledge created by the team and feeling accountable for team outcomes.  This naturally requires that team members trust the integrity of data produced and that all team members are upholding ethical practices in the research of the group.  Responsible conduct of team science necessitates development of various forms of trust, consistent communication, understanding of roles and relationships, and recognizing differences in research fields. 

This presentation will address methods for integrating institutional values such as CSU’s principles of community as well as assessing the adoption and demonstration of these values as well as collective cognitive responsibility within academic teams.  We will also discuss how to conduct trainings that provide development opportunities for teams in the context of institutional/team values and RCR principles.  Finally, team science cannot be fully implemented without institutional support and culture change.  Thus, it is important for administrators to be aware of best practices for team science, institutional values, and research ethics to fully support teams and create meaningful change at in the academy.


Overload, Stress, and Higher Order Cognition in Emergency Managers

Dr. Shalini Misra, Virginia Tech University; Mr. Matthew Rhodes, Virginia Tech; Dr. Patrick Roberts, Virgnia Tech

Studies of public management over the past decade have built upon the insight that there is a “collaboration imperative” (Kettl, 2006). Public sector managers face increasingly complex wicked problems that span boundaries, while at the same time coping with dwindling or static resources. Emergency managers may be particularly susceptible to these problems (Waugh & Streib, 2006). Collaboration across organizational silos is seen as the best way to meet the challenges of wicked problems in an age of limited public sector resources (O’ Leary, Girard, & Blomgren Bingam, 2006). While scholars of public sector decision making have increasingly looked “inside the black box” of collaboration through studying how the organizational and political environment influences collaboration (Thomson & Perry, 2006),  the relationship between information technology and knowledge sharing in teams (Kim & Lee 2006; Wang & Noe 2010), social media as a space to enhance collaboration (Bryer & Zavattaro 2011), very few studies of public managers delve into the black box of the manager's head, examining cognitive factors that influence collaboration.

At the same time, public managers routinely need to process large amounts of information and communication from a variety of sources, be able to prune relevant information, identify misinformation, frequently switch between disparate tasks, contend with quicker delivery of constantly updated indicators, more interruptions, and greater complexity, when the stakes are high and goals are often conflicting. The potential for information overload is especially acute in emergency and crisis management. Emergency managers have periods of slack time in which they consume large amounts of ambiguous information under conditions of uncertainty. During a crisis, the volume of information increases rapidly, and the potential consequences for lives and property are more severe.

The research reported in this paper investigates whether and how emergency managers experience information overload in an environment of digital technology and uncertainty and its relationship to rational thinking and information processing, two aspects of higher order cognition that influence managers’ collaborative capacity. We use a sequential mixed method research design, including a survey of 273 county-level emergency managers from 44 out of 50 states, and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 20 emergency managers to investigate these questions. Above and beyond the effects of age, education, experience, and time spent on emergency managerial work, higher levels of perceived information overload from digital sources were significantly associated with higher levels of perceived stress. Holding the same variables constant, higher levels of perceived stress were linked with lower levels of analytical thinking and higher levels of intuitive thinking. Cyber-based overload was linked to a higher propensity for intuitive thinking at a marginally significant level. Further managers who reported higher levels of critical thinking reported lower levels of stress. While we cannot imply causation, our qualitative analysis supports and enriches the survey findings by highlighting problems of digital overload in managerial environments, the potential for stress, and a lowered capacity for analytical thinking among emergency managers. We propose solutions that have worked in other contexts to bolster the capacity for critical and reflective thinking.


Co-designed Strategic Planning and Agile Project Management in Academia: Case Study of an Action Research Group

Mr. Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Dimmons Research Group, IN3 ‐ Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya); Dr. Mayo Fuster Morell, Berkman Center for Internet and Society - Harvard University

Our study explores the novel phenomenon of strategic planning in academic research. In particular, we approach the phenomenon through two main questions: how strategic planning in research can be supported by co-creation methods, and which impact it might have on research groups. Articulated around a specific case study, the methodological approach is twofold. The methodology to address the first question, regarding co-creation applied to strategic planning, is based on participatory design, applied to conceptualize and prototype strategic planning according to co-creation principles. The methodology to address the second question, on the impact of the co-created strategic planning on the group’s day-to-day management, is based on content analysis of the online tools used for coordinating teamwork. We describe and analyse the collaborative elaboration of the long-term strategy of Dimmons, an action research group specialised in the collaborative economy, outlining its integration in the group’s novel agile project management (APM). Our paper explains the rationale for the different co-creation stages, in dialogue with literature about strategic planning, action research and project management. Results coincide with existing literature about the need to understand strategic planning as a dialogic and emergent process. In this regard, we contribute to the field of research management by analysing the benefits and coherence of co-creation approaches in action research settings, specifically in terms of engagement with strategic vision, as well as its impact improving communication and coordination mechanisms. On the other hand, we establish a common framework from a theoretical perspective between participative strategic planning and participative design. Additionally, our study offers a detailed description about how co-creation for strategic planning in research could be applied, which could be of practical interest for scientific institutions in their project management practices.

Created in 2016, Dimmons ( is one of the eleven research groups of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), the research center of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) based in Barcelona. The group is focused on transdisciplinarity and action research for the study of the collaborative economy from the perspective of the Commons and public policy innovation. As a requirement based on the need to connect during the implementation phase strategic plans with managerial practices (Poister, 2010), the combination of co‐design techniques and AMP practices for the strategic planning of the Dimmons research group was based on the importance of design features and social mechanisms for strategic planning success (Barzelay & Jacobsen, 2009), as well as decentralised approaches for higher engagement and performance in dynamic environments (Andersen, 2004). Aimed at benefiting from design thinking methodologies (Kimbell, 2012) that have proven to improve participant engagement in research (Senabre et al., 2018), the process established different visual and discussion techniques at each stage for effective participation in scientific context. For this, the basic principle for the co‐design adoption was the concept of participation as ecosystem (Fuster Morell, 2010a), considering the Dimmons research group as a “research ecosystem” that holds several forms
and degrees of involvement.


Building Capacity and Capability in Greater Manchester through Peer to Peer Support and Development: The Research Programme Managers’ Network (RPMN)

Ms. Charlotte Stockton-Powdrell, The University of Manchester; Ms. Alison Littlewood, The University of Manchester; Ms. Sarah Ashton, The University of Manchester; Ms. Hayley Brooks, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust; Ms. Cara Afzal, Health Innovation Manchester (HInM); Dr Dieter Weichart,The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

The Research Programme Managers’ Network (RPMN) is a continually expanding and diverse network created by its members, for its members; a working example of Team Science in action!

The RPMN was founded in 2013 by 2 research programme managers, Alison Littlewood and Cara Afzal who identified a need for peer support in this highly skilled yet often under-recognised and under-valued role. Since 2013, the RPMN has grown and now has more than 200 members from The University of Manchester and several National Health Service (NHS) Hospital partner organisations across Greater Manchester and the North West of England.

The RPMN provides peer to peer support for its members as well as networking and training and development opportunities. The nature of research project management in the UK means that many members are on fixed term contracts. It is therefore vital that we develop strategies to train and retain this wealth and breadth of experience to maintain the excellent standards of research delivery in our area.

In 2016, a sub-group of RPMN members, led by Charlotte Stockton-Powdrell, started to create a development framework for its members.  The development framework took 2 years to finalise, underwent a pilot testing phase, and has been endorsed by the Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) Senior Leadership Team, an organisation that brings together research institutions across Greater Manchester.  The development framework enables members to understand their current level of skills and knowledge and also highlights areas they may wish to develop.  The RPMN provides several training sessions per year for its members, and all training links directly to the development framework, ensuring members are being appropriately skilled.  This enables us to build capacity through motivating and retaining key staff, and capability by offering the relevant skills required for these roles.

It has been shown that employing dedicated programme and project managers ensures delivery on recruitment targets, time targets and budgetary targets due largely to consistent management of the projects. This is beneficial to current projects and also increases the likelihood of securing funding to future projects.

The RPMN has been nominated for The University of Manchester Distinguished Achievement Award and the Northern Power Women Awards Innovation category, as well as successfully achieving an Investing in Success Award from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health in 2018.  These nominations, as well as numerous letters of support, demonstrate the added value that the RPMN offers to its members and the research community in Greater Manchester and beyond. 

Furthermore, the RPMN has been recognised as a valuable network beyond Greater Manchester already and we have been asked to share our model with the Newcastle Joint Research Office in the North East of England.  This successful example of Team Science can be replicated beyond the UK and we are delighted to be part of the nascent Team Science Network (TSN) created by our colleagues Ruth Norris, Claire Smith and Amanda Lamb from the University of Manchester and Rachel Chown from The Manchester Cancer Research Centre who are trail-blazers in this emerging field.


Multiagent Systems in an Agile Environment

Dr. John Turner, University of North Texas; Mr. Nigel Thurlow, Toyota Connected; Dr. Rose Baker, University of North Texas; Mr. David Northcutt, Toyota Connected; Ms. Kelsey Newman, Emory University

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight a collaborative effort between academia (University of North Texas, Team Sciences) and practice (Toyota Connected (TC)). This study concentrated on current problems that had been experienced by TC: How to structure and manage multiteam systems (MTSs)?

 Design/methodology/approach – This research study utilized a realist systematic review to address an existing problem by working collaboratively with TC and academia. This collaboration involved problem identification, the development of research questions and a full systematic review guided by the research questions.

Findings – This realist systematic reviewmerged the literature with current practices at TC in an effort to gather evidence to support the best method of structuring and managing MTSs. The findings include a leadership structure that incorporates both shared leadership (bottom-up) and existing hierarchical structures (top-down).

Practical implications – The MTS models presented in this study provide new models for organizations/manufacturers/industries to use as a guide when structuring their MTSs.

Originality/value – This study provides an example of a collaborative research effort between practice and academia using a realist systematic review. The paper also provides some multiteam system models that could be implemented and tested in different organizations. Also, new responsibilities and roles for scrum and MTSs are presented as a new method of achieving Agile.

Reference:Turner, J. R., Thurlow, N., Baker, R., Northcutt, D., & Newman, K. (2019). Multiagent systems in an Agile environment: A realist systematic review. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management. Advance online publication. doi:10.1108/JMTM-10-2018-0355