Whether it’s crossing disciplines, breaking down silos, or thinking outside the box, everyone’s talking about boundary spanning as the key to solving the world’s toughest problems.
So why isn’t everyone doing it?
A new study conducted by Tom Bateman, Professor of Management at the McIntire School of Commerce, and Andrew Hess, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Washington & Lee University, offers some intriguing clues. The study, titled “Different Personal Propensities among Scientists Relate to Deeper vs. Broader Knowledge Contributions,” appeared March 2, 2015, in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
“We wanted to see if we could predict who would do deeper, more specialized work, and who would do broader, boundary-spanning work,” says Bateman, an expert in leadership, motivation, and decision making. “Scientific research is absolutely crucial to the health and well-being of our planet and its people—and if we want to understand how scientific progress occurs, we have to develop a better understanding of why and how researchers pursue their work in the ways that they do.”
Examining 10-year archival records of research published by some 466 medical researchers, Bateman and Hess first scored each published article according to the depth and breadth of its contribution to existing knowledge. (Conveniently, the digital archive of which they made use indicates key subject terms for every article published, enabling the objective discernment of breadth and depth.) By indexing the scored articles by author, the two were then able to assess each researcher’s publication record according to its breadth and depth.
Next, Bateman and Hess sent questionnaires to the researchers, seeking insight into key work-related behaviors and attitudes. How might factors such as an individual’s professional competitiveness or conscientiousness affect the nature of their research output? What about the individual’s fundamental attitude toward their research, as either an opportunity to learn, or an opportunity to perform? “We were able to relate the researchers’ questionnaire scores to the breadth and depth of their research,” Bateman says. “And the predictors were different for the two different types of research output.”
Their findings? Broadly speaking, highly competitive researchers were more likely to turn out highly specialized work; similarly, highly conscientious researchers, keen to follow rules and meet expectations, likewise avoided breadth. Those who regarded their work as an opportunity to perform were also more likely to produce highly specialized research—but those who regarded their work as an opportunity to learn were likely to lean toward boundary-spanning breadth.
Bateman is quick to point out that the researchers’ behaviors are only that—behaviors. “These are not necessarily deeply engrained personality traits, but behavioral workplace styles that can be changed if people decide they want to change them,” he says. “If individual researchers know what their tendencies are, they can start to think strategically about whether they want to strive for greater depth, or greater breadth,” he says. “The same point applies to research teams and research administrators, who can start thinking about how to change goals and approaches to research output.”
The Latest on: Boundary spanning
via Google News
The Latest on: Boundary spanning
- The Canary and the Crow – Arcola Theatre, Londonon January 20, 2020 at 3:57 pm
Created by and starring Daniel Ward, this is theatre at its most alive and most boundary spanning, erasing the divide between the Arcola Theatre audience and the performance space with embracing live ...
- Research: Firms’ strategic decisions affect evolution of activism and emergence of mobilizationon January 17, 2020 at 6:00 am
Firms decisions can be considered critical events in a protracted conflict that not only determine local mobilization outcomes, but can also have boundary spanning effects», says Prof. Perretti.
- On impact and volcanism across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundaryon January 16, 2020 at 11:03 am
The other disturbance was the eruption of an estimated ~500,000 km 3 of lava across much of India and into the deep sea in a large igneous province known as the Deccan Traps (7, 8) during the K/Pg ...
- Purdue’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is awarded the 2020 Model Program at the USASBE Annual Conferenceon January 16, 2020 at 10:36 am
“Purdue demonstrated a comprehensive, well-executed program that is bold, boundary-spanning, and inclusive.” Started in 2005, Purdue’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program has grown ...
- Local activism can't be crushed, research finds. At most, it changes targeton January 16, 2020 at 7:37 am
«Firms decisions can be considered critical events in a protracted conflict that not only determine local mobilization outcomes, but can also have boundary spanning effects», says Prof. Perretti.
- What is boundary spanning?on November 18, 2019 at 12:19 am
Boundary spanning is reaching across borders, margins, or sections to 'build relationships, interconnections and interdependencies'* in order to manage complex problems. Boundary-spanning individuals ...
- Suggestions for Authors (What Makes a Story PHAB?)on November 14, 2019 at 3:15 am
The PHAB Stories Project illustrates unique collaborations and innovative boundary-spanning actions that have had a positive impact on the health of an individual, family, or community. Each story ...
- CHS: Small: Intra-Organizational Boundary Spanning: Strategic Implications for the Design, Implementation, and Use of Enterprise Social Mediaon August 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge ...
- What Is a Boundary Spanner in Public Relations?on July 28, 2018 at 4:59 am
As a discipline, public relations itself is a boundary spanner, using many communication methods to establish and build relationships. Each boundary spanning strategy or function in PR is about ...
- The importance of boundary managementon July 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm
3 This article addresses boundary spanning leadership and management of professional boundaries. Leaders traditionally try to work with boundaries by managing vertically up or down the chain of ...
via Bing News