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PAULA UNGUREANU

Professore Associato
Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria


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Pubblicazioni

2022 - Dynamic Stereotyping Across Occupations. How Management Academics and Practitioners Negotiate the Knower-Doer Stereotype in Interaction [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola
abstract

Despite the growing debate on the difficult relationship between management theory and practice, we still know little about what happens when academics and practitioners meet in liminal contexts, and how they deal with perceived differences. We study a corporate executive program where management academics and R&D managers draw on the 'knower-doer' stereotype to exchange knowledge about technology innovation management. We introduce the concept of dynamic stereotyping -i.e. using readily available occupational images to engage immediately in temporary and fluid exchanges with members of other occupations. Dynamic stereotyping (anticipation, reaction and reversal) can help reduce the relational insecurity experienced by academics and practitioners when they meet and promote the transition from abstracted to more embodied and realistic views of each other. We contribute to the theory-practice debate and to the literatures on stereotypes and occupations by providing a process-based view on stereotyping and the conditions favoring dynamic versus rigid stereotyping.


2022 - How designed work environment and enacted work interactions impact creativity and work-life balance [Articolo su rivista]
Mattarelli, E; Cochis, C; Bertolotti, F; Ungureanu, P
abstract

Purpose This paper investigates how (1) a work environment designed to sustain creativity (i.e. through flexible arrangements and elements of the social-organizational work environment) and (2) the amount of enacted work interactions among employees, interpreted as facilitators of new idea generation (i.e. outdegree centrality in instrumental networks), differently impact creativity and work-life balance. Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted a quantitative study in a knowledge-intensive multinational company and collected data through a survey on a sample of 207 workers. Findings Findings highlight that flexible work arrangements are positively related to increased work-life balance but not to creativity, whereas having access to a social-organizational work environment designed to foster creativity is associated to an increased level of idea generation, but to a reduction in work-life balance. In addition, centrality in instrumental social networks is also associated to a reduction of work-life balance. Findings thus point to a potential trade-off between structures aimed at increasing creativity and initiatives aimed at engendering work-life balance. Originality/value The research contributes to the current debate on new organizational practices for innovation and creativity, highlighting their unexpected implications for workers. The research also contributes to the literature on work-life balance by unraveling previously unexplored antecedents, i.e. social networks and the social-organizational work environment designed for creativity.


2022 - Seizing the Potentialities of Open Science: From a Community to a Platform Journal [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Haefliger, Stefan; De Vaujany, François-Xavier
abstract

The adventure of the Research Group on Collaborative Spaces (RGCS)[1] started in March 2014. At that time, our network was not an association. It was a Working Group settled in France, in the UK and in Canada gathering researchers and practitioners interested in topics of new collaborative work and collaborative spaces[2]. Quickly came on the way the issue of Open Science (OS) and Citizen Sciences. To develop knowledge commons (for society and organizations) and to explore impactful, inclusive, responsible, resonant new practices, methods and concepts about and for collaborative practices, OS appeared quickly as a promising space


2021 - How perceptions of work-life balance and technology use impact upon creativity in collaborative spaces [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Cochis, C.; Mattarelli, E.; Bertolotti, F.; Scapolan, A. C.; Montanari, F.; Ungureanu, P.
abstract

This paper unpacks creative processes in collaborative spaces (CS). We focus on how the positive resources related to wellbeing and work-life balance derived from working in CS interplay with the use of collaborative technology in affecting individual creativity. We conducted a survey study with individuals working in 27 different CS in Italy. We propose and find a positive relationship between the perceived level of work-life balance satisfaction and individual creativity. Instead we do not find a significant relationship between the frequency of technology mediated interactions with external actors and individual creativity. Furthermore, the relationship between work-life balance and creativity is negatively moderated by technology mediated interactions with external actors. In other words, an intense use of collaborative technology with actors external to the CS can generate perceptions of overload thus making the impact of work-life balance on creativity not significant. We conclude with theoretical and practical implications.


2021 - Place Elasticity and Institutional Translation of Grand Challenges in Cross-Sector Partnerships [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

This work investigates the mediating role of place in how grand challenges translate from policymaking to cross-sector partnerships. By focusing on science and technology parks as tools for tackling the grand challenge of regional innovation, we investigate how place mediates the way policy travels in the institutional field and is transformed along the way, generating unexpected and unwanted consequences for the involved institutional actors. Findings highlight the central role played by place elasticity in the mobilization and transformation of a grand challenge. Specifically, place continuously reshaped its boundaries to first highlight, and then ease, policymakers’ demanding concerns about doing well (managerial concerns) by catalyzing progressive attention around doing good (ethical concerns). We highlight the important role of material-ethical bundles which may first galvanize a partnership, then push it towards failure, and ultimately towards desperate attempts of recalibration which can compromise both managerial performance and ethics. These findings allow us to discuss when and how policy makers may provide guiding or misleading directions for action, why regional governments walk a thin line between mobilizing action and injecting further complexity into a field, and how to tell if cross-sector partnerships stay on course or go adrift with respect to policy indications.


2021 - Working in the era of multiple virtual team membership. A study on the effects of variety of communication rules on individual management of knowledge resources [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Incerti, V.; Bellesia, F.; Bertolotti, F.; Chudoba, K.; Fadel, K.; Mattarelli, E.; Ungureanu, P.
abstract

In contemporary workplaces, individuals are concurrently members of more than one virtual team. As they experience multiple virtual team membership, they may be subjected to different rules related to communication with collaborative technology. We propose that this context variety (i.e. different communication rule systems) and switching between teams negatively affect individual capability to acquire and provide resources in a team, due in part to an increased perception of role overload. In our experimental studies, we confirm that context variety directly and negatively affected individuals' ability to acquire resources, and, through role overload, negatively influenced the ability to provide resources. Contrary to our hypotheses, switching frequently between teams reduced role overload, which, in turn, increased ability to provide resources. Our results have theoretical implications for understanding the changing nature of work in increasingly virtual and complex team contexts, as well as practical implications for managing teams and designing collaborative technology.


2020 - Backing up emergency teams in healthcare and law enforcement organizations: strategies to socialize newcomers in the time of COVID-19 [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, P.; Bertolotti, F.
abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting significant pressure on emergency teams in healthcare and law enforcement organizations. In order to provide rapid backup, new workers must be socialized rapidly and effectively. In addition to considering the pros and cons of various newcomer socialization strategies and tools, healthcare and law enforcement organizations may need to design hybrid socialization strategies at the light of four essential processes of emergency teams: roles, knowledge, interpersonal relations and emotion management. We suggest that emergency teams based on the combined resources of old-timers and newcomers where the more experienced team members contribute actively to the socialization of new members can have unexpected positive effects on the team.


2020 - Can Stereotypes Be Facilitators? Dynamic Stereotype Use in Knowledge Exchanges Across Occupations [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola
abstract

This study investigates how inter-occupational stereotypes -i.e., readily available occupational images used by individuals to define selves and members of other occupations- shape knowledge exchanges across occupations. To investigate how occupational members alternate between sharing and non-sharing knowledge during interaction in contexts characterized by multiple boundary spanning, temporariness and absence of pre-existent structures, we conducted an in-depth study about the use of the knower-doer stereotype in a corporate program where academics and practitioners exchanged knowledge about innovation management. Our findings show that stereotypes are used differently across collaboration stages and leading to different knowledge exchange strategies. Anticipatory scripts that include a) inter-occupational stereotypes and b) complementary proposals of knowledge exchange are used to reduce exchange anxiety in the first stages of the collaboration. However, since anticipatory scripts are often self-referential, they trigger the reactive behaviors of those being stereotyped (reactive scripts). Provisional scripts then allow exchange parties to face reactive scripts by switching expertise and circling self and alter stereotypes in search of a mutually acceptable compromise. By showing the flexible and generative role that stereotypes can have in inter-occupational knowledge exchanges, we contribute to the literature on cross-occupational boundary work and to inter-group stereotypes more broadly."


2020 - Collaboration and identity formation in strategic interorganizational partnerships: an exploration of swift identity processes [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, P; Bertolotti, F; Mattarelli, E; Bellesia, F
abstract

We investigate how collective identity formation processes interplay with collaboration practices in an inter-organizational partnership promoting regional innovation. We found that initial collaboration challenges are dealt with by setting up an early ‘swift identity’ which is associated with material artifacts to increase its strength and stability (‘swift identity reification’). However, as the partnership evolves, the reified identity becomes misaligned with partners’ underdeveloped collaboration practices. To ensure realignment, new attempts at reification are performed, as partners buy time for learning how to collaborate. Our findings contribute to extant identity research by proposing alternative (i.e., ‘swift’ and ‘reified’) mechanisms of identity formation in contexts characterized by both heterogeneity challenges and integration imperatives. They also integrate the debate about the role of identity formation in the evolution of interorganizational partnerships. For both literatures we highlight the important role of materiality.


2020 - Explaining path dependence in boundary work for internal and external innovation. The role of corporate collaborative spaces. [Capitolo/Saggio]
Ungureanu, P.; Cochis, C.; Bertolotti, F.; Scapolan, A.
abstract


2020 - From gaps to tangles: A relational framework for the future of the theory-practice debate [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, P; Bertolotti, F
abstract

The article contributes to a better understanding of the relation between management theory and managerial practice by providing an integrative and historically contextualized review of the theory-practice debate among management scholars, and by proposing a new integrative position which we call entanglement. The integrative review reveals that since its origins in the 1950s up to the last decade, positions in the debate have shifted according to a rigor-relevance pendulum, portraying academics and practitioners as members of distinct, closed communities. To advance this debate, we propose an entanglement position which re-conceptualizes relations between academics and practitioners as trans-epistemic networks of interest within which knowledge can travel via three different boundary spanning strategies: legitimation, mobilization, and enactment. By showing the different degrees of relational intensity (i.e. required boundary spanning effort) of these strategies, we reconcile and integrate contrasting findings in the theory-practice debate. We advance the debate by proposing new research directions in relation to each strategy.


2020 - Multiplex boundary work in innovation projects: the role of collaborative spaces for cross-functional and open innovation [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, P.; Cochis, C.; Bertolotti, F.; Mattarelli, Elisa.; Scapolan, A. C.
abstract

Purpose: This study investigates the role of collaborative spaces as organizational support for internal innovation through cross-functional teams and for open innovation with external stakeholders. In particular, the study focuses on collaborative spaces as tools for multiplex (i.e., simultaneous internal and external boundary management in innovation projects). Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted a qualitative study in a multi-divisional organization that set up in its headquarters a collaborative space for collaborative product development. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and participant observations. Findings: Findings highlight that the relation between expectations and experiences about the collaborative space impact on employees' ability to perform boundary work inside and outside the organization. In addition to the collaborative space's affording role for expectations about hands-on collaborative innovation (space as laboratory), the study also highlights a set of collaboration constraints. These latter are generated by perceived boundary configurations (i.e. degree of boundary permeability and infrastructure in internal and external collaborations) and by discrepancies between expectations (space as laboratory) and actual collaboration experiences in the space (i.e. space as maze, cloister, showcase and silo). We show that space-generated constraints slow down internal and external boundary work for innovation and generate a trade-off between them. Originality/value: Using the process-based perspective of boundary work, the paper connects studies on cross-functional teaming and open innovation through the concept of “multiplex boundary work.” It also contributes to the literature on boundary work by showing the challenges of using collaborative spaces as organizational support tools for multiplex boundary spanning.


2019 - HOW PERCEPTIONS OF WORK LIFE BALANCE AND TECHNOLOGY USE IMPACT UPON CREATIVITY IN COLLABORATIVE SPACES [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Cochis, Carlotta; Mattarelli, Elisa; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Scapolan, Anna Chiara; Montanari, Fabrizio; Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

This paper unpacks creative processes in collaborative spaces (CS). We focus on how the positive resources related to wellbeing and work-life balance derived from working in CS interplay with the use of collaborative technology in affect-ing individual creativity. We conducted a survey study with individuals working in 27 different CS in Italy. We propose and find a positive relationship between the perceived level of work-life balance satisfaction and individual creativity. In-stead we do not find a significant relationship between the frequency of technolo-gy mediated interactions with external actors and individual creativity. Further-more, the relationship between work-life balance and creativity is negatively moderated by technology mediated interactions with external actors. In other words, an intense use of collaborative technology with actors external to the CS can generate perceptions of overload and therefore making the impact of work-life balance on creativity not significant. We conclude with theoretical and practi-cal implications


2019 - Making matters worse by trying to make them better? Exploring vicious circles of decision in hybrid partnerships [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Mattarelli, Elisa; Bellesia, Francesca
abstract

Our research is concerned with how and why vicious circles of decision occur in hybrid partnerships. The literature reports three types of decision dysfunctions that can alter the trajectory of multi-stakeholder collaborations: escalation of commitment, procrastination, and indecision. While previous studies focused on one dysfunction at a time, we inquire about cases in which dysfunctions coexist and interact in the same partnership. Employing multiple sources of qualitative data, we conducted a longitudinal field study in a cross-sector partnership that co-created and managed a science park. We offer an in-depth account of ‘vicious circles of decision’ in which partners’ attempts to solve a dysfunction paradoxically lead to the accumulation of additional dysfunctions. We explain that the process is more likely to happen when solutions are 1) conditioned by the very risk-opportunity tensions they try to solve and 2) inscribed in material artefacts for greater visibility. In addition to the literature on hybrid partnerships, we also contribute to the debate in organization studies about the evolution of collaborations within frames of concurrent risk-opportunity tensions and theorize about the role of materiality in such processes.


2019 - The dynamics of inter-organizational hybrid partnerships in technology transfer [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bertolotti, F; Mattarelli, E; Ungureanu, P
abstract

Drawing on the literature on inter-organizational and hybrid partnerships, we put forth a process-based perspective on the evolution of regional innovation systems (RIS), with particular attention to the changing role of TTOs through-out the RIS lifecycle. We theorize on how perceptions of environmental turbu-lence (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, in short VUCA) may influence partners’ decisions to adopt a given organization model for the bro-ker/TTO that manages the partnership. We show that perceptions of environ-mental turbulence may lead to a set of possible decision pathologies at the partnership level that interfere with the organizational structure of the TTO. We suggest that perceptions of turbulence and decision pathologies play an important part in explaining RIS may deviate from the intended direction or produce outcomes that are unexpected


2019 - What drives alignment between offered and perceived well-being initiatives in organizations? A cross-case analysis of employer–employee shared strategic intentionality [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, P.; Bertolotti, F.; Pilati, M.
abstract

This study investigates the conditions of alignment between an organization’s business strategy, the well-being initiatives (WBIs) offered to employees and employees’ perceptions of the latter. We conducted a comparative study on the conditions of alignment between offered and perceived WBIs in three companies with different business strategies. Findings highlight that the alignment between offered and perceived benefits depends on what we label as ‘shared strategic intentionality’: (1) how employers’ use their understanding of the organization’s business strategy to craft WBIs and (2) employees’ perceptions of WBIs at the light of the attributions about why their employers offer WBIs the way they do, and of the broader understanding of the organization’s business strategy. We contribute to the Strategic HRM literature by proposing an integrative position with respect to the macro (i.e., employer-focused) and micro (i.e., employee-focused) research traditions. Our position has the advantage of looking at employers’ intentions and at employees’ attributions of intentions simultaneously and unravels the central role of business strategy in shaping their alignment. From a practical standpoint, not only do we bring a more nuanced understanding of the strategic HRM challenges faced by employers and employees in settings with different business strategies, but also initiate a discussion about the traps and best practices associated to configuring effective WBIs in organizations.


2018 - Are academics and practitioners that different after all? An entanglement perspective for the theory-practice debate in management [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, P; Bertolotti, F
abstract

The article contributes to a better understanding of the relation between organization theory and managerial practice, by providing a systematic review of the theory-practice debate and proposing a new integrative position called entanglement. A careful analysis of the debate highlights a dichotomist pattern (science versus commonsense, rigor versus relevance and cognition versus action) that propels a circling debate. To reconcile dichotomies, we propose an entanglement position that re-conceptualizes relations between academics and practitioners as loops of trans-epistemic boundary work. We identify three loops that explain how and why academics and practitioners alternate between science and commonsense (legitimation), translate standards of rigor into multiple systems of relevance (mobilization), and form common action-cognition meshes (enactment). We show that not all loops require the same relational effort, which explains some of the contrasting findings in the theory-practice debate. We try to advance the debate by proposing new research directions for each loop.


2018 - Bridging the Research–Practice Divide: A Study of Scholar-Practitioners’ Multiple Role Management Strategies and Knowledge Spillovers Across Roles [Articolo su rivista]
Carton, Guillaume; Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

This study investigates the relationship between multiple role management strategies and knowledge spillovers across roles. We focus on a particular category of boundary-spanning professionals, the scholar-practitioners—professionals who work across the boundaries of academic and practice worlds—and apply a role theory lens to study (a) the sources of interrole conflict they experience at role boundaries, (b) the strategies of multiple role management they enact, and (c) the knowledge spillovers associated to such strategies. We develop a grounded model that describes three role management strategies, which occupy different positions on a role separation–integration continuum, and generate different mechanisms of knowledge spillover. Our study sheds light on the understudied relationship between role management strategies and knowledge consequences, and the type of tensions individuals experience in this process. In addition, we discuss how the strategic management of teaching, research, and practical application roles can help bridge academic and managerial practice worlds.


2018 - Brokers or Platforms? A Longitudinal Study of How Hybrid Interorganizational Partnerships for Regional Innovation Deal with VUCA Environments [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Macri', Diego Maria
abstract

The study investigates the role played by turbulent environments in the evolution of hybrid (i.e., multi-party, cross-sector) partnerships for regional innovation. Although extant research suggests that organizations decide to participate in such partnerships to cope with their turbulent environments, little is known about how actual perceptions of turbulent environments influence the setup and evolution of a partnership. Our qualitative study adopts a longitudinal design to investigate the evolution of a cross-sector regional innovation partnership between ten very different organizations. With the help of the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) model proposed by Bennett and Lemoine (2014a), we study the relation between partners’ initial perceptions of environmental turbulence and the models adopted for the partnership throughout its lifecycle (emergent, brokering and platform). We show that partners’ intentions to solve perceived environmental turbulence through collaboration can have the unexpected consequence of triggering perceived turbulence inside the collaboration itself. Specifically, we show that perceived partnership VUCA at each stage was a result of partners’ attempts to cope with the perceived VUCA in the previous stage. The study thus highlights a set of common traps that both public and private organizations engaged in hybrid partnerships might fall into precisely as they try to lower VUCA threats in their environments.


2018 - Building and Breaching Boundaries at Once. An Exploration of How Management Academics and Practitioners Perform Boundary Work in Executive Classrooms [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola
abstract

Based on an ethnographic study of exchanges between management academics and practitioners in an executive program, the research articulates a process perspective on how academics and practitioners engage in boundary work -how direct interaction strategies (boundary building or boundary breaching) shape their knowledge exchanges. Findings suggest that in order to deal resourcefully with relational insecurity, academics and practitioners use a set of strategies according to trial and error logics. In the beginning of an interaction episode, they draw intentionally on boundary building strategies. If these are refused, they draw on emergent strategies of boundary breaching which connect more creatively classroom roles (in situ) with roles outside the classroom (ex situ). We show that each strategy triggers a different type of knowledge exchange, and that intentional boundary building triggers more limited knowledge exchanges (knowledge transfer) than emergent boundary breaching (new understandings). Our findings contribute to the boundary work literature and integrate arguments about a theory-practice gap with arguments emphasizing the relational potential of academic-practitioner exchanges. We also suggest that if business schools de-infrastructure and encourage trial and error interaction, they can increasingly become trading zones for academic-practitioner boundary work.


2018 - From Broker to Platform Business Models: A Case Study of Best Practices for Business Model Innovation in Hybrid Interorganizational Partnerships [Capitolo/Saggio]
Ungureanu, Paula; Macri, Diego Maria
abstract

This study is concerned with how hybrid partnerships – i.e., multiparty cross-sector partnerships dealing with broad problems that go beyond the scope and scale of single partners – set up, implement, and then innovate business models. In particular, we draw on a hybrid partnership for open innovation where six public and private organizations came together with the intention to set up and implement joint innovation projects with large-scale impact at the regional level. Two business models of hybrid partnerships are discussed in this chapter, the brokering model and the platform model, as well as the mechanisms of transition from the first to the latter. Our findings suggest that while the platform model seems more appropriate for complex projects in which a wide number of heterogeneous interests coexist, both models present advantages and disadvantages. We suggest that advantages and disadvantages of hybrid partnership business models should be considered in a relational manner, by focusing on how the business model innovation will impact on each parameter of the current model and, at the same time, on how manageable the parameters of the new model are in terms of partnership strategy, structure, and mobilizable resources.


2018 - How does organizational space help organizations cope with the challenges of ambidexterity and continue to innovate? A space reorganization experiment in a transitioning organization [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Rietti, Deborah; Giustiniano, Luca
abstract

Influenced by internal and external factors, organizations are increasingly operating in divergent fields that require them to develop ambidextrous competencies. While research relating ambidexterity to aspects such as strategy and innovation has reached a maturity stage, we still know little about the strategic processes that allow organizations to implement ambidexterity, and in particular about the role that organizational space can play in an organization’s attempt to become ambidextrous. By conducting a qualitative study in the medical and scientific division of the Italian National Olympic Committee trying to incorporate an exploitation logic in addition to its dominant exploration logic, we describe a two-phase experiment in which the organization leveraged the organizational space as a transition tool towards ambidexterity, while also trying to maintain its exploration innovation-driven competitive advantage. We find that organizational space can be used as a coping tool against identity and competence threats triggered by organizational transition to ambidexterity, affording both integration and differentiation of the ambidextrous logics.


2018 - Innovating onsite or coordinating online? An exploration of how knowledge practices shape the onsite and online collaboration interplay across the lifecycle of collaborative communities [Articolo su rivista]
Ungureanu, Paula; Cochis, Carlotta; Rodighiero, Stefano; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Mattarelli, Elisa; Montanari, Fabrizio; Rinaldini, Matteo; Scapolan, Anna Chiara
abstract

This paper inquires about how collaborative communities configure online and onsite collaboration practices throughout their lifecycle, paying specific attention to how knowledge practices and online-onsite collaboration practices interplay. While previous literature shows that the same online and onsite collaboration practices can be both good and bad for an organization’s ability to generate new knowledge, we show that this insight can be better understood at the light of an organization’s lifecycle. By studying the evolution of a collaborative community of designers, we show that different stages of development afford different types of community structuring, identity processes and knowledge practices, which in turn shape different needs in terms of online-onsite interplay. We contribute to the literature on collaborative spaces by underscoring the importance of considering hybrid workspaces where the interplay of onsite and online collaboration assumes complex and dynamic configurations.


2018 - Organizational context, employer-employee shared intentionality, and well-being perceptions [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Bertolotti, Fabiola; Ungureanu, Paula; Pilati, Massimo
abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between well-being initiatives (WBI) and employees’ perceptions of WBI in different organizational contexts. We conducted a cross-context analysis of WBI in three companies operating in different sectors. Findings highlight that organizational contexts (organizational culture, organizational structure and work processes) shape management’s strategic intentions about the WBI offered (i.e., the criteria used to configure the well-being packages), and the intentions that employees attribute to management’s decision to offer a given configuration of WBI. We contribute to the process-based research of Human Resource Management (HRM) and to the well-being literature by theorizing on the interplay (alignment or misalignment) between employers’ strategic intentions and employees’ attributions of intentions as a form of shared intentionality. We explain that shared intentionality depends on employers’ and employees’ ability to manage the context interdependencies in which they are embedded. Finally, not only we bring a more nuanced understanding of the well-being challenges people face in different work settings, but also initiate a discussion about the traps and best practices associated to configuring effective WBI.


2018 - The journey of great expectations: A study on how institutional expectations impact collaboration expectations and collaboration enactment in hybrid interorganizational partnerships [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, P; Bellesia, F; Bertolotti, F; Mattarelli, E.; Cochis, C.
abstract

Our research is concerned with the role played by expectations in hybrid interorganizational collaboration projects. In particular, we look at how organizations participating in public-private partnerships negotiate broad and ill-defined goals and expectations set by policymakers to carry forward heterogeneous expectations about the partnership. We empirically study a hybrid partnership in which public and private actors came together with the broad goal of supporting regional innovation and fostering knowledge exchange. We use a process-perspective derived from the sociology of expectations to analyze the generative and transformational role of expectations, that is, how expectations shape dynamics and outcomes of hybrid collaboration. In particular, we document that the tendency to create ad-hoc material objects or spaces (in our case, a regional science park) can lead to vicious self-reinforcing mechanisms that push partners away from the initial collaboration goals. Notably, too many expectations and promissory commitments associated to an already configured physical space may lock partners in rigid and repetitive interaction schemes, especially when the configuration of the space is not backed up by social centrality— willingness and ability to modify pre-existing organizational structures. We offer contributions to a better understanding of collaborative dynamics in partnership failure and a more nuanced understanding of policy goal-setting through hybrid private-public partnerships.


2017 - Can Different Professionals Talk and not Talk to Each Other at Once? Provisional Relations as Boundary Spanning Strategies between Management Academics and Practitioners [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola
abstract

This study contributes to a better understanding of how individuals belonging to different occupational communities negotiate pressures for stability and change during cross-boundary exchanges. We describe micro-dynamics of boundary work enacted by two communities of organizational scholars and management practitioners that come together and interact during a one-year executive master’s program. By looking at how scholars and practitioners negotiated multiple pressures for stability and change (i.e., conformity with or deviance from the knowledge frames of their occupational communities of reference) we identify a set of resourceful strategies called provisional relations and discuss a series of implications for the literature on boundary spanning. Specifically, we propose a social interactionist perspective on change that addresses issues such as occupational interdependencies, mechanisms for coping with multiple simultaneous occupational exchanges, hybrid systems of expertise, and continuous transformation.


2017 - Interrelating Collaboration Practices and Identity Formation in Interorganizational Partnerships [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bellesia, Francesca; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Mattarelli, Elisa
abstract

This work studies the process by which interorganizational partnerships develop collective identities, and, in particular, how collaboration practices and identity processes interplay as partnerships evolves through time. We conducted a longitudinal study in a partnership where organizations from different sectors collaborated to realize a science park. We followed the evolution of the partnership across four stages (setup, design, implementation, and redesign), highlighting for each phase how collective identity processes and collaboration practices interplayed. We document that the enthusiasm and urgency in the initial phases led partners to immediately create a strong sense of belongingness to the partnership, which we labelled as swift collective identity. While in the beginning the swift identity mobilized collaboration practices (i.e., precocious alignment), as the partnership evolved, it became dissonant with what partners could actually accomplish together (misalignment), and, after being dismantled and reelaborated, it set the basis for a more gradual, and slow paced identity (realignment). By discussing alternation between swift identities and small collaboration wins, we contribute to a better understanding of the identity-collaboration interplay in interorganizational settings. By connecting identity fluidity with reification and embeddedness, we also contribute to the current conversation on the construction of collective identities.


2017 - Well-Being or Well-Appearing? A Multi-case Analysis of Employees' Perceptions of Organizational Well-being Initiatives [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Pilati, Massimo
abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between well-being initiatives and employees’ perceptions of well-being initiatives in different organizational contexts. We conducted a cross-context analysis of well-being initiatives in three companies operating in different sectors. Findings highlight that organizational contexts (organizational culture, organizational structure and work processes) shape management’s strategic intentions about the well-being initiatives offered (i.e., the criteria used to configure the well-being packages), and the intentions that employees attribute to management’s decision to offer a given configuration of well-being packages.


2016 - Beyond boundaries. A relational study of knowledge exchanges between management scholars and business practitioners in executive classrooms [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bertolotti, Fabiola
abstract

Based on an ethnographic study of the interaction of two groups of management academics and practitioners in an executive master’s program, the research articulates a process perspective on how academics and practitioners exchange expert knowledge across boundaries. Findings suggest that academics and practitioners can resourcefully deal with knowledge exchanges that are pervaded by relational insecurity, thanks to a set of relational strategies that are used sequentially, according to trial and error logics. The four strategies that we identified connect, albeit to different extents, what goes on inside the classroom (in situ) with what goes on outside the classroom, in academics’ and practitioners’ day-to-day relations (ex-situ). We show that each strategy led to a different type of knowledge exchange and that the first two strategies –that were intentional- had less impact on new knowledge creation than the two strategies that emerged spontaneously from interaction. Our findings challenge orthodox understandings about the existence of a management theory - managerial practice gap and points out the importance of seeing theoretical and managerial expertise in practice as socially entangled rather than community-specific. We also show that business schools play an important role in facilitating academic-practitioner boundary work. By triggering insecurities, conflicts and reparatory negotiation processes, business schools settings allow for repeated contaminations between knowledge deriving from theorizing and practising.


2016 - Bridging the Rigor/Relevance Gap: a Study of Scholar-Practitioners’ Multiple Role Management [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Carton, Guillaume; Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

Drawing on growing voices calling academics to move closer to practical settings, this article strives to bridge the so-called “rigor/relevance gap”. As the literature focuses on the benefits of improving the academic-practitioner engagement and emphasizes the difficulties scholars may face while balancing their different roles, it neglects the understanding of underlying mechanisms aimed at bridging the academic and practice worlds. This article is an attempt to solve this gap by studying how scholar-practitioners - professionals that work across the boundaries of academic and practice worlds - manage their multiple professional roles. For that purpose, we study role conflicts and role management strategies as experienced by 16 scholar-practitioners. We contribute to role theory by identifying a strategy that is employed as passage rite in between strategies to clarify role boundaries and strategies to integrate roles. We contribute to the literature on scholar-practitioners and to the rigor/relevance debate by describing spillover mechanisms between four types of roles: teaching, research, combination and application and discuss implications for the theory-practice gap.


2016 - Institutional Frames and Collaboration Expectations in Hybrid Interorganizational Partnerships [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, Paula; Bellesia, Francesca; Bertolotti, Fabiola; Mattarelli, Elisa
abstract

Our research is concerned with the role played by expectations in hybrid interorganizational collaboration projects. In particular, we look at how organizations participating in multi-party cross-sector partnerships negotiate broad and ill-defined metaproblems set by policymakers to carry forward heterogeneous goals about the partnership. We used a process-perspective derived from the sociology of expectations to empirically study a hybrid partnership in which public and private actors came together with the broad goal of supporting regional innovation and creating and managing a new science park. In particular, we found that the ambiguity of institutional frames gave room to the proliferation of partners’ expectations about the collaboration. Such proliferation was driven by a clash between the pile-up of goals and commitments in relation to the main project of the partnership -i.e. the design of the science park- and the materialization of the project itself -i.e. the realization and use of the science park. Instead of admitting difficulties in making the science park function properly (i.e., managing the clash) our actors continuously alimented their positive expectations about the collaboration thanks to a rolling announcements strategy that constantly pushed expectations further into the future. We offer contributions to a better understanding of collaborative dynamics in hybrid partnership failure by surfacing the negative power of expectations, the dual role of materiality as collaboration enabler and constrainer, and the interplay between broadly defined institutional frames and the proliferation of heterogeneous goals within hybrid partnerships.


2016 - Organizzare la collaborazione nei luoghi di innovazione: le dinamiche relazionali tra spazi fisici e virtuali [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bertolotti, Fabiola; Mattarelli, Elisa; Mizzau, Lorenzo; Montanari, Fabrizio; Scapolan, Anna Chiara; Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

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2015 - From Gaps to Tangles: A Relational Framework for the Theory-Practice Debate [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, P.
abstract

The article contributes to a better understanding of the relation between organization theory and managerial practice. It examines different literatures to identify positions in how organization theories relate to management practice in the theory-practice debate. It finds positions are founded on a similar set of dichotomies -academics versus practitioners, rigor versus relevance, cognition versus action and science versus commonsense- that propel a debate that moves in circles instead of forwards towards new areas of inquiry. However it is shown that dichotomies are often exaggerated because of the excessive focus on theory-practice gaps and the lack of attention to theory-practice interrelationships. To demonstrate how dichotomies may be reconciled, the paper proposes a new position - entanglement- according to which relations between scholarly and managerial theories and scholarly and managerial practices constitute iterative processes in which organization scholars and management practitioners resourcefully combine action and cognition and science and commonsense to create hybrid and dialogic knowledge according to multiple systems of relevance -institutional constraints, personal interests and contexts of cross-boundary interaction. Therefore the paper proposes a research agenda to study such process-based manifestations and discusses implications for the theory-practice debate


2014 - Beyond Boundaries. Reconceptualizing Exchanges between Management Scholars and Practitioners [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ungureanu, P.
abstract

This paper challenges orthodox understandings about the existence of a theory-practice gap in organization science and points out the limitations of, and uncertainties behind, seeing management academics and practitioners as two separate communities with different systems of expertise (i.e., theoretical and practical expertise). Based on an ethnographic study of two groups of academics and practitioners in an executive master’s program, the research articulates a process view of how academics and practitioners, in particular, and individuals belonging to different occupational communities, in general, exchange expertise across boundaries. Findings suggest that academics and practitioners can resourcefully deal with exchanges that are pervaded by information shortage, differences and misunderstandings, thanks to their exceptional ability to develop provisional relations: temporary, open-ended and malleable relations that draw on the broader systems of relations in which they are entangled elsewhere. Accordingly, theories and practices are not exclusive systems of expertise but common resources for instrumental exchanges; when called to interact, academics are easily able to pass from theory to practical theorizing, as practitioners can switch from an involved practical mode to a quasi-theoretical one. These findings contribute to boundary spanning literature by discussing the issues of exchange multiplicity, hybrid systems of expertise, and continuous transformation through relationality


2013 - When the Practice of Theorizing Meets the Theorizing of Practice. Social Knowledge Making in Organization Science Academia and Managerial Communities [Altro]
Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

The aim of the present work is to contribute to a better understanding of the relation between organization theory and management practice. It is organized as a collection of two papers, a theoretical and conceptual contribution and an ethnographic study. The first paper is concerned with systematizing different literatures inside and outside the field of organization studies that deal with the theory-practice relation. After identifying a series of positions to the theory-practice debate and unfolding some of their implicit assumptions and limitations, a new position called entwinement is developed in order to overcome status quo through reconciliation and integration. Accordingly, the paper proposes to reconceptualize theory and practice as a circular iterative process of action and cognition, science and common-sense enacted in the real world both by organization scholars and practitioners according to purposes at hand. The second paper is the ethnographic study of an encounter between two groups of expert academics and practitioners occasioned by a one-year executive business master in an international business school. The research articulates a process view of the knowledge exchange between management academics and practitioners in particular and between individuals belonging to different communities of practice, in general, and emphasizes its dynamic, relational and transformative mechanisms. Findings show that when they are given the chance to interact, academics and practitioners set up local provisional relations that enable them to act as change intermediaries vis-a-vis each other’s worlds, without tying themselves irremediably to each other and to the scenarios they conjointly projected during the master’s experience. Finally, the study shows that provisional relations were accompanied by a recursive shift in knowledge modes. While interacting, academics passed from theory to practical theorizing, practitioners passed from an involved practical mode to a reflexive and quasi-theoretical one, and then, as exchanges proceeded, the other way around.


2009 - Empowerment and Motivational Persistence in Organizations (Italy- Romania) / Empowerment şi persistenţă motivaţională. Studiu intercultural România – Italia [Capitolo/Saggio]
Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

The research aimed to investigate and emphasize the differences and similarities between Romanian and Italian public employees as far as structural, psychological empowerment and motivational persistence are concerned. The main objectives of the research were to determine the nature of the relationship between psychological empowerment and structural empowerment, to introduce the concept of motivational persistence inside a theoretical model of empowerment belonging to Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1979) and to establish the relationship between the two types of empowerment and the motivational persistence on one hand and the socio-demographic variables of the subjects (field of work and nationality) on the other hand. In addition, we tried to build a prediction model for clarifying the weight of the three variables. The research was conducted on a sample of 116 Romanian and Italian employees of the public administration and the public health care system. As far as motivational persistence is concerned, the results show that Romanian obtains better results as far in the field of motivational persistence, that they tend to consider themselves more ambitious and more capable of overcoming difficulties and professional challenges, a bigger need to compete with the others and to compare themselves with the top of their group. As far as the relation between the psychological, structural empowerment and the motivational persistence is concerned, the results indicate the existence of a strong prediction model between the variables.


2009 - The Concept of Motivational Persistence – definitions, development and research arguments / Conceptul de persistenţă: definiţii, evoluţie şi suport empiric [Capitolo/Saggio]
Ungureanu, Paula
abstract

The persistence, through its main features and its frequent association with continuity and perseverance, with prolonged effort and with resistance before obstacles, has gained along the years a positive valence in the common mentality, being often associated to a desirable personality feature. The present article was focused on describing the so called evolution of the persistence concept in the theoretical and empirical studies that have directly or indirectly tackled with it. Persistence has been associated and has helped explain various famous psycho-social theories: the theory of planned behaviour and goal setting, the theory of control or the theory of self efficacy. Furthermore, various empiric researches have been conducted on affective versus cognitive persistence, on persistence when in interaction with stimuli and rewards, on task persistence and persistence in study and, in general, with behavioral persistence. It was also presented a model that sees persistence but as a multi-phase functional process (Albrecht & Meier, 2003). In the end, it has been underlined that the theoretical background presented could be used for the definition and empirical isolation of a more complex concept that goes beyond the limitations of the previous studies that used persistence as instrument for measuring more complex variables. This concept has been given the name of motivational persistence.