Steve W. J. Kozlowski, Georgia T. Chao, James A. Grand, Michael T. Braun and Goran Kuljanin are this year’s winners of the 2013 Best Paper Award from Organizational Research Methods! The scholars were honored at the Academy of Management 2014 Annual Meeting for their article entitled “Advancing Multilevel Research Design: Capturing the Dynamics of Emergence” which appeared in the October 2013 issue of Organizational Research Methods and can be read for free for the next 30 days!
Multilevel theory and research have advanced organizational science but are limited because the research focus is incomplete. Most quantitative research examines top-down, contextual, cross-level relationships. Emergent phenomena that manifest from the bottom up from the psychological characteristics, processes, and interactions among individuals—although examined qualitatively—have been largely neglected in quantitative research. Emergence is theoretically assumed, examined indirectly, and treated as an inference regarding the construct validity of higher level measures. As a result, quantitative researchers are investigating only one fundamental process of multilevel theory and organizational systems. This article advances more direct, dynamic, and temporally sensitive quantitative research methods designed to unpack emergence as a process. We argue that direct quantitative approaches, largely represented by computational modeling or agent-based simulation, have much to offer with respect to illuminating the mechanisms of emergence as a dynamic process. We illustrate how indirect and direct approaches can be complementary and, appropriately integrated, have the potential to substantially advance theory and research. We conclude with a set of recommendations for advancing multilevel research on emergent phenomena in teams and organizations.
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