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
- Taranaki farm couple concerned Transpower pylon project will impact on work, and property valueson November 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Transmission lines already span the farm boundary but new plans would see lines cross directly ... help it because we will either get pylons in front of the house, or lines spanning above the cowshed ...
- Fix Florida’s sewage and harmful algae bloom problems | Opinionon November 7, 2019 at 9:15 pm
The third-largest coral reef on the planet, the Florida Reef Tract, spanning from the Dry Tortugas to Stuart ... From Miami-Dade to the reef’s northern boundary in St. Lucie County, leachate from ...
- Waterford Council approver planning for 270 acre solar farmon November 7, 2019 at 10:21 am
Dublin-based Highfield Solar Ltd had sought 10-year permission for a development across four distinct land sections, spanning 270 acres in the county’s Copper Coast region. There are 120 houses within ...
- Yellowstone volcano: What’s happening under Yellowstone’s surface EVERYONE should knowon November 5, 2019 at 7:01 am
Underneath the Yellowstone volcano lies a ‘mantle plume’, which is a chimney-like structure spanning thousands of kilometres deep to the border of the ... thought to originate from the core-mantle ...
- NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft beamed back unprecedented data from interstellar space. It indicates a mysterious extra layer outside our solar system.on November 5, 2019 at 5:37 am
Voyager 2 sent data about the edge of the solar system back to Earth. NASA scientists say it presents a new puzzle about what's beyond the heliopause.
- 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 ...
- Boundary Spanning Leadership Practices for Population Healthon May 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm
In this article, the authors discuss boundary spanning leadership practices for achieving the Triple Aim of simultaneously improving the health of populations, improving the patient experience, and ...
- Antecedents of Boundary Spanning in Cross-functional NPD Teamson January 23, 2018 at 9:34 pm
Edmondson. "Antecedents of Boundary Spanning in Cross-functional NPD Teams." Paper presented at the Product Development and Management Association Annual Global Conference on Product Innovation ...
- Boundary spanning in collaborative networks. Asleep yet?on May 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm
Richly bridged networks are more robust Brokers are well regarded by others in the network Boundary spanning can share practical solutions, access facts and encourage collaboration Brokers enjoy their ...
- Boundary Spanning Leadershipon June 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm
They require collaborative solutions. In the recent book "Boundary Spanning Leadership," authors Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason describe the perspectives of 128 senior executives surveyed over ...
via Bing News