Research Proposal Presentation: Karla Sayegh


Bronfman Building Room 625, 1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G5, CA

Ms. Karla Seyegh, a doctoral student at McGill University in the area of Information Systems will be presenting her research proposal entitled:


Date: Monday, November 6, 2017
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Room 625 (Samuel Bronfman Building – 1001 Sherbrooke Street West)

All are cordially invited to attend the presentation

Student Committee Chair:  Professor Samer Faraj


In this dissertation proposal, we explore how expert work practices are integrated and transformed when human lives are at stake and expertise differences can be consequential. Through a 24-month ethnographic study of two neonatal intensive care units undergoing dramatic restructurings and a relocation, we aim to extend organizational theories of expertise in occupational work as well as examine how novel materialities are transforming the work of experts. We do this by examining how two groups of medical experts in a single occupation integrate their expert performances while coordinating work in and through a dramatically altered materiality. Preliminary findings indicate that novice newcomers played a key role in resolving performance differences of seasoned experts. At the same time, the altered materiality necessitated a shift from emergent coordinating practices to more formal approaches to enact a skillful collective grasp on the novel material setting. Expected contributions are twofold. First, we aim to theorize a process we tentatively call ‘reciprocal socializing’ whereby novices are able to (re)socialize seasoned experts while themselves becoming socialized. We find this to be a salient social mechanism by which expert performances are integrated. The literature on occupational communities generally regards novices as “green” entrants that require socialization; however, our study finds that novices can be purposive social actors that repair perceived breaches delicately by using occupational norms as resources to effect change. Second, we hope to theorize how and why formal structural approaches can be restorative in acquiring a skillful collective grasp on a novel material setting, despite contemporary studies of expertise coordination emphasizing emergent approaches. This inquiry is also line with recent calls to understand the conditions under which the work of experts requires structural arrangements versus social approaches, and the interplay between the two.

Key words: Coordinating expertise, expertise in work and occupations, materiality of space, longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork; qualitative-inductive/abductive approach