Cornell University

Brown Bag Lunch Workshop: Conducting Field Research in Organizations: Reflections on What Doesn't Get Reported in the Methods Section

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Kennedy Hall, 211

This seminar is not a presentation of research results. Rather, it is a presentation of what goes on "behind the scenes" in the methods that lead up to the results. Using examples from several high-tech organizations (e.g., Motorola, Intel, British Telecom, Red Hat, Cisco), Dr. Jonathon Cummings will discuss the rewards as well as the risks of doing field research, notably the messiness inherent in being in the field rather than in the lab. He will also touch on how to negotiate access to field sites, how to be clear up front regarding who owns the (qualitative and/or quantitative) data, and how to balance personal research interests with the strategic interests of the organization. The seminar is meant to be informal, so please bring questions you have about conducting field research in organizations.

For anyone interested in a primer on field research in organizations, it is recommended to read the following article:
Edmondson, A. C., & S. E. McManus. (2007). Methodological fit in management field research. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1155-1179.


Jonathon Cummings is an Associate Professor of Management at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. After completing his dissertation and post-doc at Carnegie Mellon University, he spent three years at the MIT Sloan School of Management as an Assistant Professor, where he received an NSF Early Career Award for his research on innovation in geographically dispersed teams and networks. His subsequent research has focused on virtual teams in corporations as well as collaboration in science, and his publications have appeared in outlets across a number of fields, including Organizational Behavior (e.g., Management Science, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review), Information Systems (e.g., MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research), Human-Computer Interaction (e.g., CHI, CSCW, CACM), and Science Policy (e.g., Social Studies of Science, Research Policy).

This Brown Bag Lunch Workshop is presented as part of the Graduate Field of Communication Professional Development Series for Graduate Students.

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Joanna Alario

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Dr. Jonathon Cummings

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Duke University

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