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Research Lecture: Melissa Valentine

Friday, October 7, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: 

Phelps 1410

Availability: 

Open to the Public

Lecturer/Speaker(s): 

Melissa Valentine, Assistant Professor of Management and Science Engineering, Stanford University
Title

Flash organizations: Crowdsourcing complex work via reconfigurable organizational structures

Abstract

The nature of work is being reshaped by computational systems, which increasingly draw on massive online labor markets to hire and direct workers' behavior at scale. These crowdsourcing systems have accomplished work by using pre-defined workflows, but can only complete tasks that are so modular and decomposable that they can be entirely pre-defined. We developed a crowdsourcing system that can achieve complex and open-ended goals by combining the open-call recruitment of crowdsourcing with the more sophisticated and reconfigurable coordination affordances of organizations. Our system creates flash organizations, which automatically hire diverse online experts from massive online labor markets to populate structures inspired by organizations (roles, teams, and hierarchies), and then continuously reconfigure these structures to responsively adapt the crowd workers’ activities. We report a deployment in which flash organizations successfully carried out open-ended product design, software development, and game production. This research demonstrates how computational systems can enable digitally networked organizations that flexibly assemble and reassemble themselves from a globally distributed online workforce to accomplish complex work.

Speaker's Biography

Melissa Valentine is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Management Science and Engineering Department, and a core faculty member of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization. She studies the changing nature of groups and teams in organizations, with a focus on team learning and design. She has conducted multi-method field research in a variety of organizational settings; current projects include team coordination in emergency medical care, synchronized group learning in cancer care, and complex group coordination in online labor markets.

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The Technology Management Program Dean’s Research Lecture Series is the premier event that brings accomplished and inspiring professors to campus to explore topics related to the field of technology management and organizations. The lecture series provide a forum for the academic community to learn from and engage in conversations with outstanding scholars on cutting-edge research findings.

Each quarter will feature several preeminent speakers. Lectures will last approximately one hour starting at 12:00pm and take place in the TMP Executive Learning Center, Phelps Hall 1410. Lunch is provided for all guests who RSVP.

Attendees are required to register prior to the event for lunch and space reservation. For more information, contact Amanda Higham via email or by phone at 805-893-7577.

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