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Fernando Olivera is an Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior at the Ivey Business School. He joined the Ivey Faculty in 1998. He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Industrial Administration from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Electronics Engineering from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico.
Olivera's primary research interests are in the areas of organizational memory, group and individual learning, and the impact of communication technology on group work. His work has been published in the Academy of Management Review, Small Group Research, the Journal of Management Studies, the Research on Managing Groups and Teams book series, and other books and conference proceedings. He co-edited the volume Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management: New Directions. He has presented his work at various academic conferences, including the Academy of Management Annual Meetings, the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He is a member of the editorial review board of the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
Professor Olivera teaches courses in Organizational Behavior and Interpersonal Negotiations in Ivey's MBA, EMBA and Ph.D. programs.
- Interpersonal Negotiations, MBA Elective
- Organizational Behavior Special Fields II: Group Behavior and Cross Level Research, PhD Course
- Executive Education
- BS, ITESM
- MS, Carnegie Mellon University
- PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Recent Refereed Articles
Mariano, S.; Casey, A.; Olivera, F., 2020, "Organizational forgetting Part II: a review of the literature and future research directions", The Learning Organization, July 27(5): 417 - 427. Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this two-part paper is to provide a summary of current research opportunities in organizational forgetting literature and a future research agenda. Design/methodology/approach: The summary of current research opportunities and future research agenda is drawn from the systematic literature review and synthesis reported in Part I. Findings: Two broad areas for future research are proposed: A first area that highlights a need to address integrative theoretical challenges that include issues of temporality, history, power dynamics, and organizational context. A second area that highlights a need to reconcile contradicting explanations – such as whether technological sophistication and codification practices versus social networks prevent knowledge depreciation and loss – through a multilevel perspective. Research limitations/implications: Limitations relate to time span coverage and journal article accessibility. Originality/value: This Part II paper provides a summary of current research opportunities and offers directions for future research on organizational forgetting.
Link(s) to publication:
Mariano, S.; Casey, A.; Olivera, F., 2020, "Organizational forgetting Part I: a review of the literature and future research directions", Learning Organization, May 27(3): 185 - 209. Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and synthesize the literature on organizational forgetting. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review approach was used to synthesize current theoretical and empirical studies on organizational forgetting. Findings: The review and synthesis of the literature revealed that the organizational forgetting literature is fragmented, with studies conducted across disparate fields and using different methodologies; two primary modes (i.e. accidental and purposeful) and three foci (i.e. knowledge depreciation, knowledge loss and unlearning) define current organizational forgetting literature; and the factors that influence organizational forgetting can be grouped into four clusters related to individuals, processes, tools and organizational context. Research limitations/implications: This literature review has limitations related to time span coverage and journal article accessibility. Originality/value: This paper offers an integrative view of organizational forgetting that proposes a holistic and multilevel research approach and systematic synthesis of organizational forgetting research.
Link(s) to publication:
- Mariano, S.; Casey, A.; Olivera, F., 2018, "Managers and Organizational Forgetting: A Synthesis", The Learning Organization: the international journal of knowledge and organizational learning management, June 25(3): 169 - 179.
Compeau, D. R.; Olivera, F., 2014, "From theory light’ to theorizing: a reaction to Avison and Malaurent", Journal of Information Technology, December 29(4): 346 - 349. Abstract: The field of information systems (IS), like all academic disciplines, must periodically pause and reflect on its policies, practices, and underlying assumptions. Over the years, various discussions have helped us think about, among other things, the nature of rigor in our research (e.g., Dubé and Paré, 2003 Straub et al., 2004), the importance of relevance to practice in addition to rigor (e.g., Darke et al., 1998 Robey and Markus, 1998 Applegate and King, 1999 Benbasat and Zmud, 1999 Davenport and Markus, 1999 Lee, 1999 Rosemann and Vessey, 2008 Straub and Ang, 2011), and the value of diverse approaches (both methodological and theoretical) to our developing understanding of the phenomena we study (e.g., Robey, 1996 Lee, 1999, 2011 Benbasat and Zmud, 2003 Mingers, 2004 Davison and Martinsons, 2011 Galliers, 2011 Myers, 2011).
Link(s) to publication:
Casey, A. J.; Olivera, F., 2011, "Reflections on Organizational Memory and Forgetting", Journal of Management Inquiry, August 20(3): 305 - 310. Abstract: Organizational memory plays a central role in theories of organizational learning and forgetting. However, we still know little about how knowledge becomes embedded in organizational memory or the reasons and processes through which organizational memory decays. The objective of this article is to clarify the relationship between organizational memory and forgetting, and identify areas that require development if we are to improve our understanding of these constructs. Specifically, we point to the importance of theorizing about (a) the dynamic nature of organizational memory and forgetting, (b) the role of time in theories and research of organizational memory and forgetting, and (c) the processes through which individuals maintain, discard, or remember knowledge, including the dynamics of power.
Link(s) to publication:
Purdy, N.; Laschinger, H.; Finegan, J.; Kerr, M.; Olivera, F., 2010, "Effects of work environments on nurse and patient outcomes", Journal of Nursing Management, November 18(8): 901 - 913. Abstract: Aim To determine the relationship between nurses' perceptions of their work environment and qualityrisk outcomes for patients and nurses in acute care settings. Background Nurses are leaving the profession as a result of high levels of job dissatisfaction arising from current working conditions. To gain organizational support for workplace improvements, evidence is needed to demonstrate the impact of the work environment on patient care. Method A multi-level design was used to collect data from nurses (n 679) and patients (n 1005) within 61 medical and surgical units in 21 hospitals in Canada. Results Using multilevel structural equation modelling, the hypothesized model fitted well with the data [chi(2) 21.074, d.f. 10, Comparative Fit Index (CFI) 0.985, Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) 0.921, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) 0.041, Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) 0.002 (within) and 0.054 (between). Empowering workplaces had positive effects on nurse-assessed quality of care and predicted fewer falls and nurse-assessed risks as mediated through group processes. These conditions positively impacted individual psychological empowerment which, in turn, had significant direct effects on empowered behaviour, job satisfaction and care quality. Conclusions Empowered workplaces support positive outcomes for both nurses and patients. Implications for nursing management Managers employing strategies to create more empowered workplaces have the potential to improve nursing teamwork that supports higher quality care, less patient risk and more satisfied nurses.
Olivera, F.; Goodman, P.; Tan, S. L., 2008, "Contribution Behaviors in Distributed Environments", MIS Quarterly, March 32(1): 23 - 42. Abstract: In this paper, we develop a framework for understanding contribution behaviors, which we define as voluntary acts of helping others by providing information. Our focus is on why and how people make contributions in geographically distributed organizations where contributions occur primarily through information technologies. We develop a model of contribution behaviors that delineates three mediating mechanisms: (1) awareness (2) searching and matching and (3) formulation and delivery. We specify the cognitive and motivational elements involved in these mechanisms and the role of information technology in facilitating contributions. We discuss the implications of our framework for developing theory and for designing technology to support contribution behaviors.
Pomi, A.; Olivera, F., 2006, "Context-sensitive autoassociative memories as expert systems in medical diagnosis", BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, November 6 Abstract: Background: The complexity of our contemporary medical practice has impelled the development of different decision-support aids based on artificial intelligence and neural networks. Distributed associative memories are neural network models that fit perfectly well to the vision of cognition emerging from current neurosciences. Methods: We present the context-dependent autoassociative memory model. The sets of diseases and symptoms are mapped onto a pair of basis of orthogonal vectors. A matrix memory stores the associations between the signs and symptoms, and their corresponding diseases. A minimal numerical example is presented to show how to instruct the memory and how the system works. In order to provide a quick appreciation of the validity of the model and its potential clinical relevance we implemented an application with real data. A memory was trained with published data of neonates with suspected late-onset sepsis in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A set of personal clinical observations was used as a test set to evaluate the capacity of the model to discriminate between septic and non-septic neonates on the basis of clinical and laboratory findings. Results: We show here that matrix memory models with associations modulated by context can perform automatic medical diagnosis. The sequential availability of new information over time makes the system progress in a narrowing process that reduces the range of diagnostic possibilities. At each step the system provides a probabilistic map of the different possible diagnoses to that moment. The system can incorporate the clinical experience, building in that way a representative database of historical data that captures geo-demographical differences between patient populations. The trained model succeeds in diagnosing late-onset sepsis within the test set of infants in the NICU: sensitivity 100%; specificity 80%; percentage of true positives 91%; percentage of true negatives 100%; accuracy (true positives plus true negatives over the totality of patients) 93,3%; and Cohen's kappa index 0,84. Conclusion: Context-dependent associative memories can operate as medical expert systems. The model is presented in a simple and tutorial way to encourage straightforward implementations by medical groups. An application with real data, presented as a primary evaluation of the validity and potentiality of the model in medical diagnosis, shows that the model is a highly promising alternative in the development of accuracy diagnostic tools. © 2006 Pomi and Olivera; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Link(s) to publication:
Zhao, N. B.; Olivera, F., 2006, "Error Reporting in Organizations", Academy of Management Review, November 31(4): 1012 - 1030. Abstract: We develop a framework of individual error reporting that draws from research in human error, learning, discretionary behaviors, and high-reliability organizations. The framework describes three phases that underlie error reporting: error detection, situation assessment, and choice of behavioral response. We discuss theoretical implications of the framework and directions for future research.
Olivera, F.; Straus, S., 2004, "Group-to-Individual Transfer of Learning: Cognitive and Social Factors", Small Group Research, December 35(4): 445 - 465. Abstract: We investigate the effects of group collaboration on member learning in a laboratory experiment. Based on theoretical ideas from research on cooperative learning, we test the hypothesis that groups provide opportunities for transfer of learning to individuals and that such learning occurs via cognitive and social processes that arise during group interaction. Eighty-six students solved puzzles either individually, in groups, or individually while observing a group. Analysis of subsequent individual performance on a transfer task showed that participating in or observing a group caused transfer of learning, whereas working alone did not. Furthermore, results suggest that transfer of learning occurred mainly due to cognitive, but not social, factors. Implications for structuring group work are discussed.
Vince, R.; Suttcliffe, K.; Olivera, F., 2002, "Organizational Learning: New Directions", British Journal of Management, January 13(2): 1 - 6. Abstract: The papers in this special issue are derived from the conference on Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management: New Directions' hosted by the Ivey School of Business, the University of Western Ontario, Canada in June 2001. This conference was the fourth in a series of international conferences in organizational learning, and the first of these to formally extend the general context of the papers and presentations to both organizational learning and knowledge management. This is the third collection of papers from the series of international conferences on organizational learning to be published in a British journal, following on from and developing the collections produced from two former conferences, both held at Lancaster University, that appeared in Management Learning in September 1998 and in the Journal of Management Studies (JMS) in September 2000.
Olivera, F., 2000, "Memory systems in organizations: An empirical investigation of mechanisms of knowledge collection, storage and access", Journal of Management Studies, January 37(6): 811 - 832. Abstract: This research examines the concept of organizational memory in the context of multi-unit organizations. It addresses the question: how do organizations collect, store and provide access to their experimental knowledge? A framework is developed for organizational memory systems and empirically assess the usefulness of this framework in the context of a multinational, business consulting organization. multiple memory systems were identified, including social networks, knowledge centers and various computer-based programs. Findings are presented and discussed with respect to the characteristics and perceived effectiveness of these memory systems.
Work in Progress
- "Remembering organizational memory" with Andrea Casey
- "Learning with laptops: Information technology and the transformation of an MBA program" with Abhijit Gopal, Teresa Marcon and Deb Compeau
- "Multitasking behaviors in groups" with Deb Compeau and Carlie Bell
- "Emotional responses to errors" with Natalie Zhao
- Teaching and Research Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University
- Project Director, ITESM
- Development Director, TELMEX
- Errors and Error Reporting
- Organizational Memory and Forgetting
- Group-to-Individual Transfer of Learning
- Effects of Technology on Group Processes