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Paul Leonardi


Below, you can find descriptions of my major current and past research projects.

Using Social Media for Knowledge Sharing
Dates: Fall 2012-Current
Graduate Student Researchers: Casey Spruill, Samantha Meyer, and Blair Beverly
Funding: Robert and Kaye Hiatt fund for Media, Technology, and Society Research

Social media graphicThe goal of this study is to explore whether social media technologies can help improve internal organizational knowledge sharing. Using three empirical studies in four organizations I am to achieve the following objectives: (1) to examine how and to what extent use of social media technologies for routine work-related communication can improve people’s accuracy of knowledge about who knows what and who knows whom within the organization; (2) to uncover what types of activities and incentives can encourage people to communicate with specific partners publicly on a social media platform for the benefits of others, and how to encourage people to routinely scan the communications made by others; and (3) to explore whether the visible residue of communications conducted through social media can be used to create perceptions of the strength of one’s ties with communication partners.

Comparing Offshoring of Creative and Engineering Work
Faculty Collaborators: Diane Bailey (UT Austin)
Dates: Fall 2011-Current
Funding: Robert and Kaye Hiatt fund for Media, Technology, and Society Research

global peopleMany of the things we know about how to make offshoring successful for engineering work such as, the very explicit communication of requirements, that the logic of mathematics reduces cultural differences in design solutions, and that engineered objects are built for global consumption may not hold for creative work involving design. Given the possibility that the offshoring of creative work, as opposed to engineering and technical work, brings with it unique management challenges, we know little about what these challenges are and how they compare to work of more routine flavor. This study compares two global organizations – one in the creative services industry and the other in the engineering industry to understand differences in how technical vs non technical work moves across global boundaries.

The Role of Advanced Simulation Technologies in Innovation Processes
Dates: Fall 2011-Current
Graduate Student Researchers: William Barley
Funding: National Science Foundation Grant SES-1057148

weather mapThis set of studies will examine the role of advanced, computer-based simulations in managerial and policy-making decisions by comparing the work of scientists, engineers, managers and policymakers in three different disciplines: automotive engineering, atmospheric research, and urban planning. Research suggests that if the outputs of computer simulations appear to have high visual fidelity with the physical systems they represent, lay users are likely to believe that simulations make accurate predictions. This project will examine the use of simulation-based evidence by both technical and non-technical users during the search, generation and persuasion phases of decisions. The project will employ ethnographic methods to identify and assess representations and understandings of simulation products, patterns in acceptance and use, and associated changes in organizations’ formal and informal influence structures.

Remote Occupational Socialization
Dates: Fall 2011-Current
Faculty Collaborators: Diane Bailey (UT Austin) and Bonnie Nardi (UC Irvine)
Graduate Student Researchers: Casey Spruill
Funding: National Science Foundation Grant IIS-1111246

remoteThis project will explore how remote socialization enabled by information and communication technologies (ICTs) is transforming four occupations: graphic design, automotive engineering, banking, and Internet entrepreneurship. Following a comparative, field-based research design, this research will examine the effects of both organizational environments and socialization tactics on ICT use and consider issues of technology use, socialization, and the changing nature of work. By focusing on how individuals use ICTs to learn what it means to be an occupational member, this research will contribute to a new breed of theory on socialization that indicates the processes, practices, and strategies individuals can use to become effective members of an occupation even though they work remotely from others.

Clinical Information Network for Emergency Pediatric Transfers
Dates: Fall 2008-Spring 2012
Faculty Collaborators: Donna Woods (Northwestern), Ranna Rozenfeld (Children’s Memorial Hospital)
Graduate Student Researchers: Jeffrey Treem and William Barley
Funding: Association for Healthcare Research Quality Grant HS017912-01

emergencyIn this study we develop and implement a risk informed web-based Clinical Information Network for Safe Pediatric Emergency Transfers (Clinical Information Network) intervention to support standardized, safe, reliable clinical communication for pediatric transfers. Through development and implementation of this Clinical Information Network, the potential exists to develop a needed and effective standard for transfer communication, to improve the reliability and safety of clinical information exchange in the transfer process, and to improve the safety of pediatric emergency transfers. The Clinical Information Network will be tested for its impact on the safety of pediatric emergency transfers and the potential for adoption by institutions in other geographic regions.

Innovation in Global Product Development
Dates: Fall 2006-Spring 2010
Faculty Collaborators: Diane Bailey (UT Austin)
Graduate Student Researchers: Jeffrey Treem
Funding: National Science Foundation Grant SBE-0939859 and Robert and Kaye Hiatt fund for Media, Technology, and Society Research.

lightbulbInnovation is increasingly undertaken on a global scale. More and more financial capital used to spur innovation in U.S. firms is spent abroad: domestic companies employ scientists and engineers in other countries to take advantage of highly skilled workers while simultaneously cutting costs. This research examines whether and how innovation investment that leads to task-based offshoring changes the nature of occupational work in domestic U.S. firms.


Simulation Technologies and Organizational Change
Dates: Fall 2005-Spring 2007
Funding: National Science Foundation Grant ITR 427173

car crash simulationThe purpose of this study is to explore why mathematical modeling tools are often underused or misused in the engineering computing environment. Within recent years, a number of studies have documented that engineers are slow to adopt new tools for mathematical modeling and simulation. Specifically, although tools are designed and implemented to improve computational abilities and restructure the way individuals work, they fail to have the impact that designers and implementers intended. The purpose of this study is to understand (1) the process by which a new simulation technology for automotive engineering was conceived and initially designed; (2) the assumptions embedded in the tool; (3) how engineers learned about the tool and how to use it; (4) how engineers incorporate use of the tool into their daily work tasks. With this information, we hope to portray a more complete understanding of the relationship between design, implementation, and tool use.


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