IIM Calcutta strengthens its commitment to its ‘internationalisation’ agenda: Embraces global academic practices, participating in the first Inaugural X-Culture Research Hackathon

 Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM C), one of the country’s foremost B schools, has established its dexterity in academic excellence by being a part of the X Culture Research Hackathon. This is in keeping with the institute’s endeavor in incorporating global academic practices in their curriculum. The institute was represented by Prof. Ramya VenkateswaranAssistant Professor, Strategic Management IIM Calcutta, who was amongst the 15 academicians invited from around the world to be a part of first Inaugural X Culture Research Hackathon.  This is a first of its kind workshop, involving five days of intensive research and paper development, based on the data collected in the X-Culture project. This event was held from July, 15 to July, 20, at Johnson and Wales University campus in Miami, Florida along with the X-Culture Symposium 2017.

According to the Director of the X-Culture project, Dr. Vasyl Taras:  “Traditionally, academicians have been working either alone or in small co-author teams, they collect (or buy) data, analyze them and write papers. This model is limited in the sense a single or limited number of co-authors might have limited perspectives. This could imply that the datasets are not completely utilized. The X Culture Hackathon, provides huge open collaboration platform that generates huge amounts of data and thereafter an opportunity for crowdsourcing the discovery process and making paper development open-source.

Prof. Ramya Venkateswaran has been participating in the X-Culture project by successfully using it as a teaching tool in her PGP elective course at IIM Calcutta on Strategic Decision Making in International Business with Cross Cultural Perspectives for the last two years. IIMC students have always been top performers at the project. Through this period she had been interacting with the X-Culture team and was invited for the research opportunity. Prof. Ramya Venkateswaran added, “The Hackathon was an exhilarating experience and is expected to be a paradigm shift from the traditional half-day paper development workshops at academic conferences

The X-Culture project is a not-for-profit global collaborative project involving around 5000 students from 150 universities across 40 countries working on live problems of businesses worldwide. The X-Culture project tracks over 2,000 variables- longitudinal, multi-level, multi-source, multi-method related to international teams and virtual collaboration.  The vision behind conceptualizing Hackathon is to create a shift towards open data sharing and large-scale collaboration in the social sciences.

At the X Culture Hackathon researchers interested in IB (international business) or international HR/OB(Human resources Management/Organizational Behavior) explore the data one month ahead of the event so that they can attend the Hackathon with initial research ideas and intensively brainstorm the set of ideas for papers based on the data. After receiving feedback on the ideas, the most promising are selected, presented and critiqued. Further debates are carried on research designs and suggestions are shared, and fresher slices of the data or newer variables are supplied by X-Culture data Support team. The hackathon, through its platform facilitates forming co-author teams, running preliminary tests on the data and presenting results from the same for inviting further feedback and suggestions. Basis of all these deliberations, the story that is to be told in the paper is finalized, detailed paper outline and draft proposal is prepared. All these academic activities are carried out while time is being devoted for socializing and forming strong personal and professional connections. Participating academicians go home with a paper idea, a co-author or authors, and even initial results. The Hackathon therefore is similar to a regular conference in terms of time and cost, but with more intensive focus on idea development, a much more publishable outcome and far richer professional connections.

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