My research focuses on organizational phenomena from a social network perspective, but I frequently deviate and explore other topics.
Where do brokers get their good ideas from? A broker is a person who is in a position that bridges structural holes -- a gap in a social network. This position gives the broker some advantages. They can control the flow of information, introduce new people who should meet, or see new opportunities or combinations of ideas that no else sees.
I drew the figure below to help me explain the idea to my five-year-old. Each node is a single person, and the links between them indicate that they talk to each other. People in the dense groups benefit from social support, but they encounter the same ideas and information over and over -- one group about cheese, one bread, the other meats.
But the broker has a new idea. Something that brings together the best elements of each group - the ham and cheese sandwich. While none of the individual ingredients is new, the combination itself is. It's something unique that has a value on its own.
In my current work, I am exploring the origins and consequences of diverse information by analyzing the text of email communications in organizations.
I have published studies with many people in a diverse range of areas. I would say my usual contribution is by finding some way to align the methods with the proposed research questions. I often think of myself as the guy who manages to build the right kind of telescope to observe the stars everyone is curious about.
My first publication came from a collaboration with the faculty at Colorado State University during my MA studies in Sociology. Then a number of papers came out of a collaborative work on ethnography and virtual worlds also at Colorado State. I published two papers on measuring substance use screening in emergency departments while I worked at OMNI Institute as a researcher.
Mergers and Acquisitions
I conducted my dissertation research at a large multi-national consumer products company. We conducted ethnography, did three longitudinal surveys, and collected a very large quantity of email communication data. The first paper published from this work explored the role of identity and attachment to the organization during the merger.
Sung, W., Woehler, M. L., Fagan, J. M., Grosser, T. J., Floyd, T. M., et al. 2017. Employees’ responses to an organizational merger: Intraindividual change in organizational identification, attachment, and turnover. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(6): 910–934.
In this work we use network analysis to describe the efforts of a cancer research center to bridge formal boundaries in join publications.
Fagan, J., Eddens, K. S., Dolly, J., Vanderford, N. L., Weiss, H., et al. 2018. Assessing Research Collaboration through Co-Authorship Network Analysis. The Journal of Research Administration, 49(1): 76–99.
Open Eddi is (or was) a software package that was intended to expand the ways in which researchers could collect data. We first demonstrated some of the new ideas on a demographic that is not technically literate to see how they would respond. We then performed a randomized control trial to see if the methods really do perform better or worse that traditional approaches.
Eddens, K., & Fagan, J. M. 2018. Comparing nascent approaches for gathering alter-tie data for egocentric studies. Social Networks, 55: 130–141.
Eddens, K. S., Fagan, J. M., & Collins, T. 2017. An Interactive, Mobile-Based Tool for Personal Social Network Data Collection and Visualization Among a Geographically Isolated and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Population: Early-Stage Feasibility Study With Qualitative User Feedback. JMIR Research Protocols, 6(6): e124.
Virtual worlds and mental health
Led by Jeffrey Snodgrass at Colorado State, I helped conduct a mutli-faceted study composed of interviews, ethnography, and surveys to determine the positive and negative mental health impacts of virtual worlds. But also, we got to play World of Warcraft and call it work. :)
Snodgrass, J. G., Lacy, M. G., Francois Dengah, H. J., II, & Fagan, J. 2011/5. Enhancing one life rather than living two: Playing MMOs with offline friends. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3): 1211–1222.
Snodgrass, J. G., H. J. François Dengah, I. I., Lacy, M. G., Fagan, J., Most, D., et al. 2012. Restorative Magical Adventure or Warcrack? Motivated MMO Play and the Pleasures and Perils of Online Experience. Games and Culture. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412012440312.
Snodgrass, J. G., Dengah, H. J. F., 2nd, Lacy, M. G., & Fagan, J. 2013. A formal anthropological view of motivation models of problematic MMO play: achievement, social, and immersion factors in the context of culture. Transcultural Psychiatry, 50(2): 235–262.
Scale development and Substance Use
When people abuse substances, they tend to injure themselves or others. This presents an opportunity in the ED to screen for substance use and intervene. ED's are already quite busy, so we wanted to know - was there a single question we could ask that could reliably indicate that someone was abusing prescription drugs?
Broderick, K. B., Richmond, M. K., Fagan, J., & Long, A. W. 2015. Pilot Validation of a Brief Screen Tool for Substance Use Detection in Emergency Care. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 49(3): 369–374.