Workshop: Patterns of Interactions - Emergence and Consequences

Sandbjerg Estate, Denmark, August 25 to 27, 2023

The workshop aims to explore and better understand what influence formal and informal structures have on realized interactions (who actually talks to whom), and thus knowledge creation in organizations. Formal structures usually represent managers’ ideals about who should talk to whom. However, formal structures are not always followed. This is often complementary with  informal interactions that enable  employees to gain new and important knowledge.

 Our knowledge of how formal and informal structures interact to influence organizational behavior is mainly based on theory and simulation models, as data on realized interactions is notoriously difficult to obtain. Now, however, new advanced technologies allow precise recordings of interaction patterns among employees, as well as micro-level measurements of interactors’ psychophysiological responses during interactions. Such data (jointly with more traditional measures) can be used to map how formal and informal structures influence the pattern, nature, and quality of realized interactions. 

 In the workshop, we will discuss the possibilities of developing new theories and a new understanding of knowledge creation – a relationship that has relevance for most modern organizations – regardless of whether this knowledge creation takes place in private workplaces or public institutions. 

We expect that different theoretical (e.g., organizational design, network theory) and methodological approaches (e.g., experiments, field studies, and simulation studies) may contribute to this development. How may these different traditions, individually or combined, provide new insight into this emergent area? 

The workshop will include paper presentations, panel discussions, as well as discussions of work in progress to shape a future research agenda in this area. There will also be a possibility of submitting for a special issue of Journal of Organizational Design in connection with the workshop.