Mark Mortensen
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

Professor Mortensen’s area of expertise is organizational collaboration, with an emphasis on two increasingly prevalent ways of organizing that do not fit traditional models of team dynamics: globally distributed (virtual) and project-based work. In his research, he has investigated the nature of conflict in distributed collaborations and its relationship to identity, context, and communication; the impact of dispersion structure – in the form of balance, imbalance, and isolation – on collaboration dynamics; and the effects of first-hand experience – gained through site visits and expatriate assignments – on trust. He has also explored the interpersonal effects of working in multiple, partially-overlapping, fluidly-shifting projects, developing a fundamentally new model of collaboration.

Professor Mortensen's research has been recognized by the academic community through awards including: the William H. Newman award, OB Division Best Dissertation-Based Paper award, and Runner-up OCIS Division Best Paper award from the Academy of Management; and as a Best Paper Award Finalist from the Interdisciplinary Network of Groups Researchers. His research has been published in top peer-reviewed academic journals including Organization Science, Management Science, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and the International Journal of Conflict Management; in multiple edited volumes; in practitioner journals such as the MIT-Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review Online, and IESE Insight; and in media outlets including the Economist, Boston Globe, and Globe and Mail.

Professor Mortensen teaches the Organisational Behaviour core in the INSEAD MBA program. He directs the Global Leadership Program for DNV GL and teaches modules on Team Dynamics and Virtual Teams; Power, Networks, and Influence; and Organizational Change. He has taught in open enrolment programs including: Consulting and Coaching for Change, Managing Global Virtual Teams, Manufacturing in a Global Network, and Strategic Research and Development Management programs and in custom programs for Allied British Foods, Astellas, Bayer, Lundbeck A/S, Maersk Oil, Manulife Financial, Merck KGaA, MetInvest, PWC, Takeda, United Technologies, and the World Economic Forum.

Professor Mortensen consults widely on issues of team dynamics, global collaboration, power and social networks, and organizational change. Among the companies he has worked are First Solar, Generalized Reinsurance, Goldman Sachs/Pine Street, Maersk Oil, and Merck KGaA.

Prior to joining INSEAD, Mark was on the faculty at the MIT-Sloan School of Management and before that the Desautels School of Management at McGill University. Professor Mortensen holds a PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, as well as an M.S. from Stanford University and a B.A. from Colby College, both in Computer Science.

Research

Professor Mortensen studies the changing structure of teams and collaborative work. Moving beyond traditional models of hierarchical organizational structure and the more recent emphasis on teams, his research explores new team structures that do not fit historical models of team dynamics, yet are increasingly prevalent in today’s globally-dispersed, fast-moving economy. In particular, his research focuses on two such structures through the examination of both globally distributed and project-based work.

In his first stream of research, he studies the effects of geographic dispersion and technology mediation on interpersonal interaction. Moving beyond our traditional understanding of teams as collocated individuals, his research explores the effects of physical, temporal, technological, and configurational distance on team dynamics. Among the topics he has explored are:

  1. The differing nature of conflict in geographically collocated and distributed teams. In these studies we examine the effects of geographic distribution on shared identity and shared context within global work teams. We highlight the critical role of spontaneous communication in fostering both, and in mitigating their effects on both interpersonal and task-based conflict.
  2. The impact of dispersed team structure on effectiveness. In this study we explored the effects of imbalanced subgroups and geographic isolates on both interpersonal outcomes like identification and conflict and task-related outcomes like team-level memory and coordination effectiveness.
  3. The relationship between first hand experience and knowledge. In this study we studied the effects of first hand experience - time spent face to face with distant collaborators onsite - on knowledge. We illustrate the differing roles of generalized knowledge (e.g. cultural intelligence) and knowledge of a specific other culture. Within the latter we introduce identify the phenomenon of reflected knowledge (knowledge of how the other sees one's home site) and illustrate the distinct effects of these different types of knowledge on cross-site trust.
  4. The effects of distribution on construal level. In this paper we explore a well-tested psychological phenomenon - construal level - within the context of distributed work. We show that irrespective of other factors, simply being separated increases perceived psychological distance among distant collaborators, which in turn causes them to perceive one another at a more abstract level, increasing generalizations and affecting the malleability of impressions over time.

In his second stream of research, Professor Mortensen studies the effects of dynamic, interdependent collaboration on our traditional understanding of team dynamics. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find individuals working in the traditional “one-person, one-team” context – as most individuals work on multiple, partially overlapping, fluidly shifting projects. This raises numerous questions about the applicability and relevance of traditional models of team dynamics and processes. Among the topics he has explored in this domain are:

  1. The effects of multiple team membership on learning and performance. In a series of studies, we both empirically examine and conceptually theorize about the effects of working simultaneously on multiple teams on team outcomes including learning and productivity.
  2. The role of shared membership models on team dynamics. In this study I question a widely-held assumption in management theory and practice - that members of a team agree on that team's membership. With teams typically defined primarily via their membership, disagreement among the mental models of team membership held within a team has significant ramifications for team dynamics and effectiveness. I explore and find evidence of effects of unshared membership models on team dynamics and effectiveness.

Teaching

Professor Mortensen teaches in the Organisational Behaviour core in the INSEAD MBA program. He directs the Global Leadership Program for DNV GL and teaches modules on Team Dynamics and Virtual Teams; Power, Networks, and Influence; and Organizational Change. He has taught in open enrolment programs including: Consulting and Coaching for Change, Managing Global Virtual Teams, Manufacturing in a Global Network, and Strategic Research and Development Management programs and in custom programs for Allied British Foods, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, Bayer / Bayer Crop Science, Lundbeck A/S, Maersk Oil, Manulife Financial, Merck KGaA, MetInvest Holdings, pwc, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, United Technologies, and the World Economic Forum.

Awards and Honours

Research Awards

Professor Mortensen has received multiple awards from the academic comunity for his research, including:

  • INGRoup; Best Paper Award Finalist, INGRoup 2013 Conference (2013)

  • Richard S. Leghorn (1939) Career Development Professorship in the Management of Technological Innovation (2007-2010)

  • William H. Newman Award for outstanding paper based on a recent dissertation (All Academy Award) (2004)

  • Organizational Behavior Division Best Dissertation-Based Paper Award (2004)

  • Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division Runner-up Division Best Paper award (2001)

Teaching Awards

Professor Mortensen's teaching has also been recognized:

  • INSEAD Deans’ Commendation for Excellence in MBA Teaching (2011, 2014)

Professional Leadership

Professor Mortensen has served in many leadership positions within the academic community including:

  • Elected Board Member, Interdisciplinary Network of Groups Researchers (INGRoup) (2009-2012)
  • Elected Representative-at-Large: Academy of Management, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division (2006-2009)
  • Member Division Best Competitive Paper Award Committee: Academy of Management, Organizational Behavior Division (2009)
  • Program Committee, International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration (2009)
  • Associate Editor: Academy of Management, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division (2008)
  • Chair, Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee: Academy of Management, Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division (2005)

Editorial Positions

  • Organization Science editorial board (2007-present)
  • Academy of Management Journal editorial board (2013-present)

Reviewer Activities

Professor Mortensen is a reviewer for numerous academic journals and conferences, including:

  • Academy of Management Conference
  • (multiple Organizational Behavior division outstanding reviewer awards)
  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Administrative Science Quarterly
  • Journal of Organizational Behavior
  • Management Information Systems Quarterly
  • Management Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
  • Organization Science
  • Organization Studies
  • Sloan Management Review

He also reviews for granting agencies including the National Science Foundation.

Publications

Journal Articles

  • Mortensen, M. (2014) Constructing the team: Why do teams disagree on their boundaries and what does it mean?, Organization Science, 25(3) 909-931.
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]
  • Caya, O., Mortensen, M., Pinsonneault, A. (2013) Virtual teams demystified: An integrative framework for understanding virtual teams; International Journal of E-Collaboration, 9(2), 1-33.
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]
  • Wilson, J. M., Crisp, C. B., Mortensen, M. (2013) Extending construal level theory to distributed groups: Understanding the effects of virtuality, Organization Science, 24(2) 629-644
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]
  • Mortensen, M. & Neeley, T. B. (2012) Reflected Knowledge and Trust in Global Collaboration, Management Science, 58(12), 2207–2224.
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]
  • Wageman, R., Gardner, H., Mortensen, M. (2012) The Changing Ecology of Teams: New Directions for Teams Research, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(3), 15-25.
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]
  • Wageman, R., Gardner, H., Mortensen, M. (2012) Teams have changed: Catching up to the future, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(1), 48-52.
    [view abstract] [download from publisher]
  • O’Leary, M., Mortensen, M., & Woolley, A. W. (2011) Multiple Team Membership: A Theoretical Model of Its Effects on Productivity and Learning for Individuals and Teams, Academy of Management Review, 36(3), 461-478.
    [view abstract] [download from publisher]
  • O’Leary, M. & Mortensen, M. (2010) Go (Con)figure: The role of competing subgroups in geographically dispersed Teams, Organization Science, 21(1), 115-131.
    [view abstract] [download from publisher]
  • Hinds, P. and Mortensen, M. (2005) Understanding conflict in geographically distributed teams: An empirical investigation, Organization Science. 16(3), 290-310.
    [view abstract] [download from publisher]
  • Mortensen, M., & Hinds, P. (2001). Conflict and shared identity in geographically distributed teams. International Journal of Conflict Management, 12(3), 212-238.
    [view abstract] [contact author for copy]

Works in Edited Volumes & Conference Proceedings

  • Bertolotti, F., Mattarelli, E., Mortensen, M., O’Leary, M., & Incerti (2013) How many teams should we manage at once? The effect of Multiple Team Membership, collaborative technologies, and polychronicity on team performance. Proceedings of International Conference on Information Systems.
  • O’Leary, M., Woolley, A. W., & Mortensen, M. (2011) Multiple team membership: MTM in Multi-team Systems, In S. Zaccaro, M. Marks, and L. De Church (Eds.),Multi-Team Systems: An Organization Form for Dynamic and Complex Environments. Psychology Press.
    [http://www.psypress.com/multiteam-systems-9781848728691]
  • Mortensen, M., Woolley, A. W., & O'Leary, M. B. (2007). Conditions Enabling Effective Multiple Team Membership. In K. Crowston & S. Sieber & E. Wynn (Eds.),Virtuality and Virtualization, Vol. 236: 215-228. Boston: Springer.
    [http://www.springerlink.com/content/n6pj0674v788404p/]
  • Mortensen, M. (2004). Antecedents and consequences of team boundary disagreement.
    Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings.
  • Mortensen, M. & Hinds, P. (2002). Fuzzy teams: Boundary disagreement in distributed and collocated teams.
    In P. Hinds, & S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed Work. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Mortensen, M., & Hinds, P. (2001). Conflict and shared identity in geographically distributed teams.
    Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings.

Working Papers

  • Mortensen, M. From teams to recombinant collaboration: Understanding the evolution of organizational work
    [INSEAD working paper]
  • Cavaretta, F. & Mortensen, M. Linking Triumphs and Tragedies: Variability in Teams Outcomes and a Re-Examination of the Diversity-Performance
    [contact author for copy]

Practitioner Publications

  • O’Leary, M. & Mortensen, M., Woolley, A. (2010) Working together effectively before it all goes downhill, IESE Insight, 21(1), 115-131.
    [download from publisher]
  • O’Leary, M. B. & Mortensen, M. (2008) A surprising truth about geographically distributed teams,
    Sloan Management Review, 49(4), 5-6.
    [view abstract] [download from publisher]

Popular Press

  • It’s official: business travel broadens the mind, Economist.com, June 25, 2009
  • Why cutting business travel could be a false economy, CNN.com International, May 9, 2009
  • Profs: Keep those corporate road warriors flying, Boston Globe, Boston May 6, 2009
  • Being part of the team, Montreal Gazette, Montreal, April 30, 2005.
  • Early bird gets the praise, Montreal Gazette, Montreal, Sept. 11, 2004.
  • You’ve got soliloquy, Globe and Mail, Toronto, Sept. 24, 2002.

Biography & Vitae

Professor Mortensen received his PhD from the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He was a member of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization and his principal thesis advisor was Pamela Hinds and committee members were Stephen Barley, and Robert Sutton. He also holds an MS from Stanford University, and a BA from Colby College both in Computer Science.

Prior to joining INSEAD, Professor Mortensen spent six years as an Assistant Professor in the Organizational Studies Group at the MIT-Sloan School of Management, and before that he was an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the McGill University School of Managment in Montreal, Canada.

Professor Mortensen's full c.v. can be downloaded here: [download c.v.]

Contact

Mark Mortensen
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Phone: +33 1 60 72 48 47
Email: [email protected]

Assistant: Ines MAGNASCO
Phone: +33 1 60 72 91 73
Email: [email protected]

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