Research Coordination Network
CSSeVOR: Computational Social Science enabled Virtual Organizational Research

Co-Principal Investigators:
Dr. Noshir Contractor
Dr. Leslie DeChurch
Dr. Bruce Walker
Dr. Davood Tofighi

Funded by: The National Science Foundation, Award Abstract #SCC-SBE:1244737.
Link to Award Description

Rapid advancements in digitally-enabled communications have given rise to a new organizational form - the virtual organization. Because of their immense capacity for flexibility and their ability to draw on diverse expertise across time and space, the large-scale, cross-boundary collaborations enabled by virtual organizations have the potential to solve some of the grand challenges of today's world - those in education, health care, environmental sustainability, climate change, and disaster response. However, research on understanding and enabling virtual organizations requires the deep expertise of many disciplines including computer science, information and decision sciences, communication, management, and psychology, to name a few. Therefore an integral next step is to invest in community and infrastructure development that better fuses the "social" and the "technical" cores of this research enterprise. This need for greater socio-technical integration is at the heart of a new paradigm which we call computational social science enabled virtual organizational research (CSSeVOR).

This research coordination network (RCN) will increase the interconnections between scholars across disciplines and catalyze a new community examining virtual organizations using CSS approaches. Big data presents an enormous opportunity for social science, particularly the areas aimed at understanding social behavior and organizing processes. However, utilizing such data requires a fundamental transformation within the areas of social science engaged in this problem domain. This RCN engages a core set of interdisciplinary scientists representing both the "social" and the "technical" thinking about virtual organizing, to work collaboratively to build the scientific network needed to tackle the challenges of utilizing big data in the social sciences, and to set up the necessary conditions for big-data enabled social science research to thrive. The RCN team will conduct workshops, research incubators, doctoral consortia, and a conference to build community and capacity for CSSeVOR.

CSSeVOR Steering Committee

Our steering team consists of many members of the "Virtual Organizations as Socio-technical Systems" (VOSS) research community and is therefore well positioned to leverage big-data for understanding virtual organizations. Other members of the steering team are leaders in the management, curation and manipulation of big-data. In the CSSeVOR RCN, this diverse core group will work to nurture and build the necessary human and social capital needed for transformation within the various social science disciplines whose work largely contributes to knowledge about virtual organizations: communication, organizational behavior, psychology, and sociology.

Steering Committee Members:
Alex 'Sandy' Pentland - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Brian Uzzi - Northwestern University
David Lazer - Harvard University
James Hendler - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
James Herbsleb - Carnegie Mellon University
John Mathieu - University of Connecticut
Peter Monge - University of Southern California
Scott Poole - University of Illinois
Stephen Kozlowski - Michigan State University
Russell Clark - Georgia Institute of Technology