Research group on

Complex Collaboration

The Group on Complex Collaboration brings together an interdisciplinary group of organization theorists, technology scholars, healthcare researchers, and practitioners interested in how technology has become entwined with existing organizational structures and is increasingly enabling new forms of work, organizing, and living.

Our goal is to answer fundamental questions related to how technology re-assembles organizational phenomena such as: decision-making, coordination, control, and innovation. As AI, robots, data analytics, digital assistants, ubiquitous surveillance, and GAFA technology platforms gain momentum, traditional constraints around boundaries, scale, scope, expertise and industry have been breached. Equally important, much of previously private social utterances and relations are now becoming appropriated by various firms whose platforms they occur on. Even the nature of work is radically being transformed with jobs disappearing or drastically reshaped by the ability of emerging technologies, such as AI, to bring into being more entangled work practices and new regimes of organizing.

We primarily focus on complex knowledge work in demanding organizational settings such as: life and biomedical sciences, hospitals, trauma care, urgent care clinics, organizational teams, open science, open source, innovation and online communities. The emerging technologies we investigate include: AI, data analytics, robots, technologies that support collaboration, expert systems, technology platforms, electronic health records, etc. We investigate questions such as:

  • How is knowledge produced in large-scale science research networks?

  • How is technology mobilized to resolve collaboration social dilemmas and create new open science regimes of knowing?

  • How is knowledge shared in online communities and what is the structure of successful ones?

  • How do hospitals adapt core operations and activities to take advantage of the affordances of learning algorithms?

  • How do complex healthcare organizations make sense of and respond rapidly to large-scale disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • How does the introduction of medical robots affect surgery team performance and coordination?

  • How does the availability of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) affect interdisciplinary collaboration and patient follow-up in urgent care setting?

  • Taking an expertise coordination perspective, what can be learned about knowledge practices in complex medical decision-making, around diagnosis and treatment?

  • How does moving a hospital to a brand new fully-equipped space transform work organization, coordination, and performance?

Theoretically and empirically, the Group on Complex Collaboration has already contributed to the literature on knowledge teams coordination, medical team coordination, IT appropriation, online collaboration, and why individuals participate and exchange knowledge online. The group is international in membership and outlook and coordinated from the Desautels faculty at McGill University. We encourage you to explore our website, review our research output, and to contact us.

The Group on Complex Collaboration is supported by the Canada Research Chair on Technology, Innovation, and Organizing.