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Research Topics

The centre is open to any research methodology and refrains from indicating an epistemological or ontological view on how organisational cognition should be studied.

It also encourages innovative and promising approaches that have demonstrated to contribute to the study of this topic. Computational social science (Edmonds & Meyer, 2017) has shown extremely positive impacts on organisational research (Secchi & Neumann, 2016), because it combines and integrates micro and macro dynamics in complex adaptive systems. Hence, the word “computational” reads as a suggestion or emphasis that some of the members of the center have been focusing on over the last years.

Also, due to the potentials for hybrid or cross-methods (i.e. any mix of simulation-qualitative-quantitative), computational organisational cognition is a way to seek opportunities and co-operations.

With the above in mind, it is easy to see that organisational cognition is thought of as the complex interaction of individual, group, departmental, and organisational dynamics. As such, the organisation is a dynamic social system that can be explained by the cognitive processes of its members.

Research streams and areas of enquiry help to understand, assess, diagnose, measure, and explain the antecedents, determinants, and impacts of organisational cognition. This sets the basis for a number of topics that constitute the core streams of CORG’s research agenda. Here they are succinctly described to outline the core research streams of the centre:

  1. Meso-level analyses
  2. Impact of technology
  3. Psycho-cognitive mechanisms
  4. Neuro-organisational cognition
  5. Organisation-Cognition fit
  6. Institutional conformity

Of course, this list does not mean that there could not be new and/or different streams. As a research center, CORG leans on its members to contribute to a research agenda around computational and organisational cognition.

Given the lines of research outlined above, the centre’s core interests develop around open research questions. Based on items 1, 2, and 5 in the list above, line of enquiry #1 takes shape from the question: What are the mechanisms through which cognitive processes are enhanced or hindered by organisations? Otherwise stated, one could ask how do organisational activities, practices, processes—especially by means of other people—enable or disable meaningful (rational, perhaps) cognition.

Line of enquiry #2 relates to items 1, 3, 4, and 5 by pursuing a line of research tends to point at specific applicationd of cognition research. Given a specific setting and conditions, which intervention, configuration of the environment, or strategy could improve cognitive processes? What are the characteristics of a well designed intervention that is set to make cognition develop, change rapidly, or stagnate?

Finally, line of enquiry #3 is designed around computational social science and could potentially refer to all items in the list above. How far can one “exploit” complexity in organisations? If organisations are complex systems, this seems to point at the fact that cognitive processes are set to interface with complexity. What is relatively unknown is under which circumstances complexity is actively pursued or avoided, for example to solve a problem. And to what extent either of these strategies bear more or less costs to individuals, groups, or to the organisation as a whole. This line of enquiry focuses on prima-facie computationally-simulated social interactions as the basis to move our understanding forward.

As far as research methodologies are concerned, the center is open to all those that fits the purpose of its agenda. In spite of the word “computational” appearing as one of the three main characterizing elements, there is no prejudice on other methods to be used. This includes and is not limited to organisational ethnography, various video and audio interviews techniques, survey methods, experimental design, and agent-based simulation modeling.

The centre also encourages theoretical and conceptual work. This is somehow implicit for “computational” studies, since hybrid forms of computational-qualitative and computational-quantitative research are not very common. The area of organisational cognition as intended by CORG’s members is relatively new (see point 1 and above) and it is in great need of theoretical developments. Some of us have already contributed to this direction with their work.