New NSF Solicitation

8 March 2008 at 5:51 pm 1 comment

| Steve Phelan |

This call might be of interest to organizational economists:

From Jack M at the NSF:

NSF issued a new solicitation on Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems yesterday. Proposals are due 2 June.

Further information and a link to the solicitation itself can be found at:

This is a wonderful opportunity for US-based social scientists working on topics pertinent to virtual organizations, broadly construed. A synopsis and list of some potential topics is provided below. These should not be construed as complete lists. Additional pertinent research topics are welcome, so long as the work would yield sound, generalizable advances in knowledge.

We look forward to receiving your strong proposals.

Feel free to distribute this notice widely.

Best regards.
Jack M.

Jacqueline R. Meszaros, Ph.D.
Program Director
Innovation and Organizational Sciences
Decision, Risk and Management Sciences
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 995
Arlington, Virginia 22230


Jack M.

A virtual organization is a group of individuals whose members and resources may be dispersed geographically, but who function as a coherent unit through the use of cyberinfrastructure. Virtual organizations are increasingly central to the science and engineering projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Focused investments in sociotechnical analyses of virtual organizations are necessary to harness their full potential and the promise they offer for discovery and learning.

The Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems (VOSS) program supports scientific research directed at advancing the understanding of what constitutes effective virtual organizations and under what conditions virtual organizations can enable and enhance scientific, engineering, and education production and innovation. Levels of analysis may include (but are not limited to) individuals, groups, organizations, and institutional arrangements. Disciplinary perspectives may include (but are not limited to) anthropology, complexity sciences, computer and information sciences, decision and management sciences, economics, engineering, organization theory, organizational behavior, social and industrial psychology, public administration, and sociology. Research methods may span a broad variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including (but not limited to): ethnographies, surveys, simulation studies, experiments, comparative case studies, and network analyses.

VOSS funded research must be grounded in theory and rooted in empirical methods. It must produce broadly applicable and transferable results that augment knowledge and practice of virtual organizations as a modality. VOSS does not support proposals that aim to implement or evaluate individual virtual organizations.

Critical challenges and prominent themes that scientific inquiries might address under VOSS may include (but are not limited to):

  • Units and frameworks of analysis — both social and technical: Social units of analysis may be individuals, teams, scientific disciplines, individual or multiple organizations. Technical units of analysis may include specific tools or objects, virtual or immersive environments or “worlds,” specialized niches, or collections of such virtual environments. What are the conceptual and comparative frameworks of analyzing virtual organizations? What theoretical, methodological, and empirical approaches can be applied, what need to be adapted, what need to be developed?
  • Organizational life cycles: What are the stages and causes of virtual organization evolution, including, for example, formation of new organizations, organizational change or transformation, and organizational crisis or decline? How do they vary across task, domain, population, and/or stage of organization lifecycle?
  • Production and innovation: What technological, social, and legal arrangements support intellectual production and innovation in virtual organizations? How do these arrangements interact? How do they vary across task, domain, population, and/or stage of organization lifecycle?
  • Organizational structure, scope, and scaling: Are there levels of connectivity, diversity, and interactivity at which scientific production and innovation can be optimized in virtual organizations? How does optimization on these dimensions vary across task, domain, population, and/or stage of organization lifecycle?
  • Individual and collective motivation: What are the social and technological barriers to and/or enablers of participation in a virtual organization? What are the social and technological forces of coordination, competition, and/or collaboration? How do these forces vary across task, domain, population, and/or stage of organization lifecycle?
  • Management, Governance, and Leadership: What are models of governance agreement, and what should they address? How do they interact with the cultures, structures and arrangements governing the participating individuals and institutions? How do virtual organization and participants understand, negotiate, and prioritize multiple and what might be conflicting memberships?
  • Measurement and assessment: What are the tests of efficiency, equity, and effectiveness that can be applied to different types of virtual organizations? How do these conditions vary across task, domain, population, and/or stage of organization lifecycle?
  • Comparative performance: Under what conditions do virtual organizations outperform co-located organizations? What tasks or processes can be done or done better by virtual organizations that cannot be done or done as well in co-located organizations, and vice versa? What are the advantages and disadvantages of technological-mediation? Under what conditions (and how) might virtual organizations be instrumented to advance our understanding of certain phenomena better than co-located organizations?

Entry filed under: Former Guest Bloggers, Theory of the Firm.

Pre-Internet Blogging Steven Cheung Has a Blog

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. JC Spender  |  9 March 2008 at 1:51 pm

    If anyone wanted me on a team for this I should be delighted to contribute.

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