David Obstfeld, Cal State - Fullerton

Getting New Things Done: Networks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action
David Obstfeld


Fall 2017
Lecture Time: 
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 
R0220 Ross School of Business
Introduced By: 
Mijeong Kwon


This talk presents the core ideas from my new book with Stanford University Press: "Getting New Things Done: Networks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action." Mobilizing
people to pursue action in the pursuit of innovation depends critically on the effective orchestration of social networks and knowledge sharing.  This orchestration is vital to the pursuit
of innovation, especially in a world increasingly reliant on collaborative projects that assemble actors with diverse interests, abilities, and knowledge. In the talk, I offer a conceptual framework
along with original ethnographic data from an automotive design context for conceptualizing how social network and knowledge processes combine to influence success in both routine and
non-routine innovation.  I integrate recent work to propose a theory of social skill with implications at the micro-, organizational-, and industry levels. I will also discuss a new research
direction which applies the above theoretical framework to identifying student behaviors and institutional practices associated with underrepresented minority college student success and
career advancement.

Additional Notes

David Obstfeld is an Associate Professor of Management at The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. His research examines how social
network and knowledge processes interact to produce different forms of innovation in organizations, entrepreneurship, and collective action. His research has been funded by multiple grants including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Academy of Finland, and received the W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship for an outstanding contribution to the organizational discipline by an article published within a three-year period from the American Sociological Association. His book-length study, Getting New Things Done: Networks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action (Stanford University Press 2017), focuses on how brokers coordinate action for innovation and value creation in complex organizational contexts. His research has been published in leading management and the social science journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and Industrial and Corporate Change, and widely cited across a diverse range of disciplines. Before joining Mihaylo, David was a visiting faculty member at the Stern School of Business, New York University and the Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine. He received his A.B. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Prior to his academic career, he was an executive at the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) for 10 years.