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HUOS Seminar, Professor Maria Binz-Scharf, Wednesday, 17.1.18 at 1100-1230, room 4128

Professor Maria Binz-Scharf, Wednesday, 17.1.18at 1100-1230, room 4128:

Title:The way we work now - Toward a relational practice theory of network emergence(co-authored with Danielle Dunne and Leslie Paik)

Abstract:Theway we work now differs significantly from the way people worked a generationago. In a global economy thatis increasingly driven by knowledge creation andinnovation, knowledge sharing within and across organizations hasbecome anecessity in order to solve today's complex problems. The notion that networksand networking areessential to modern work is well established in theorganizational literature. However, we know surprisingly littleabout whatpeople actually do in networks, and how they create and develop their networkties at work. Using arelational practice approach, we examine how knowledgeworkers accomplish work together in the new economy.Based on an ethnography ofscientists working in academic labs, we find five categories of relationalpractices atwork: helping, mentoring, apprenticing, co-creating, andcoordinating. We theorize how these practices shapescientists' networks throughouttheir career stages around different skills, foci, and objects. The relationalpractice perspective makes an important contribution to the network literature,which has largely focused on the structure ofnetworks. Our agentic view ofnetwork emergence adds to existing understandings of the changing nature ofwork byemphasizing the increasingly entrepreneurial role of knowledge workersin negotiating access to the knowledge theyneed to accomplish their work. Futureresearch needs to integrate small and big data studies to zoom in and outbetween relational practices and network structures.