ORGANIZATIONAL SCIENCE AFFILIATED FACULTY INTERESTS
Organizations increasingly rely on computer mediated communication such as email and the internet for employees to communicate with each other. As more employees become telecommuters or interact in virtual groups, it becomes more important that the groups formed through this computer communication are effective. My research has three main threads in determining how successful virtual groups and virtual communities develop:
- Sense of virtual community: how can we measure SOVC? What are its antecedents what are its outcomes? How does SOVC relate to other important employee attitudes?
- How do virtual groups affect FtF groups and organizations?
- How does the online environment interact with the online group’s social processes to affect group functioning and success?
A major trend in today’s global economy has been the rapid expansion of large corporations across national boundaries. How do these transnational organizations structure their employment relationship in foreign countries? What kinds of labor management structures (e.g., recruitment test, suggestion system, and grievance procedures) are they likely to adopt? To what extent are their employment practices shaped by economic/rational considerations, political/legal environments, and institutional/cultural heritages? The main project I am working on seeks to address these and related issues in the context of China, where foreign direct investment has surged during the past 25 years and yet multinational operations continue to be troubled with frequent labor strife. Dr. Wei Zhao and I have recently conducted fieldwork and surveys in China and we are hoping that the data we collected will help us to better understand these questions.
I am interested in information sharing, organizational & national cultures, cultural adjustment, communication conflict, multinational corporations (MNCs) and expatriates.
I am interested in leadership, emotions and multi-level research methods.
Broadly, I am interested in organizational communication, nonstandard labor arrangements, and identification, participation, and control in organizational settings. Specifically, I am interested in examining how alternative work relationships (out-sourced/contingent employees, volunteers, geographically dispersed workers, etc.) impact our understanding of what it means to be or communicate as an organizational member.
My research focuses on applications of individual differences and individual differences assessment to workplace settings. I have three more specifically dedined lines of research . First, I am interested in faking on personality assessments (when people give answers that aren’t accurate but make them look good). This is where most of my research effort has been over the last several years. While I am still interested in this topic, I am kind of scaling back my work in this area. Second, I am interested in the concept of social competence or social skills. This is an old literature that is really kind of a mess. My students, colleagues and I are looking at what social competence is and how to measure it. We are also interested in starting to develop a comprehensive theory of social competence and associated workplace outcomes. Ultimately, we would like to better understand how social competence is realted to workplace issues such as leadership. Third, and primarily through the interests of my students, I have been developing an interest in leadership. As I already noted, leadership is an important potential application for our work on social competence. However, I am also interested in issues of leader derailment, self-awareness on the part of the leader (do they hold accurate perceptions about themselves), and how personality is related to issues of leadership.
Organizational "Diversity" as a concept, organizational initiative or lofty goal is a pervasive part of contemporary organizational life. As the demographic landscape rapidly changes in American society, organizations too must respond to how "differences" are constructed, maintained, abused, reproduced, recast, etc. A valuable and significant component missing in much of the diversity discussion is how communication plays a role in (re)constructing this phenomena. Often we hear diversity "management", diversity "education", "organizational" diversity, but how often do we hear diversity "communication", which in my opinion, is at the heart of interpersonal, group, and organizational functioning. This research attempts to place communication as a construction/function (use of metaphors, narrative explanations of diversity, commodification of diversity, diversity and language, diversity as symbol) at the center of this important discussion.
Virtual Team Socialization
How are team members socialized (formally or informally) in a virtual team environment? Are the communication socialization processes similar or different than traditional team socialization? What are the personal, organizational, and societal implications of this socialization (mentoring, social vs task communication, productivity, relationships between team and organization).
How do traditionally underrepresented groups, primarily African Americans, perceive their participation and engagement in organizational discourse? What factors (present or antecedent) enable or constrain inter-ethnic, inter-racial, or inter-cultural communication in the organizational context.
I have an eclectic set of topics I am interested in. My interests are in:
- Meetings at work. Examining antecedents and outcomes associated with the “meeting epidemic.” Interested in meeting effectiveness, how meetings tie into organizational effectiveness, the costs of bad meetings, and sense-making in meetings.
- Leadership effectiveness and derailment.
- Organizational research methods.
- Non-profit organization effectiveness. A good deal of my attention has targeted the effective utilization and integration of volunteers.
- Employee stress and well-being with a particular focus on dirty workers.
I study work and organizations in the 24/7 global, technologically-mediated economy. My current projects include research on the consequences for different generations of employees of working in the this restructured economy with particular attention paid to the impacts of different sorts of technology use, insecurity and time pressures (with Charles Brody). I have also, with Brett Agypt, been building on my theoretical efforts to understand a new time sense I’ve called “layered-task-time.” In addition to construct development, we are testing hypotheses linking layered-task-time to individual’s “temporal personalities” and a variety of work related outcomes. Other projects examine creative work in the knowledge economy, the destandardization of the 8 hour day, work-family balance, and the relationships between sociological concepts of management citizenship behavior, leadership, POS and other I/O foci. Finally, with Stephanie Moller, I continue to study the stratification consequences of the transformation of the macro-economy.
My research efforts are united by an interest in the role of everyday organizational talk as it shapes identity formation and safety/risk culture in organizations. For some time now, scholars of management and organizational communication have been concerned with identity formation, and much of this work has been concerned (rightly) with the impact of these discursive processes on the experiences of individuals in the workplace (e.g., in terms of discrimination, burnout, harassment, etc.). Alternatively, my research seeks to explore the impact of talk on group- and organization-level sensemaking as it shapes collective, material health and well being at work. That is, if we assume that organizing is a collective process by which we collaboratively interpret and respond to the organizational environment, does our sense of who we are shape what we "see" in the environment and the set of possible responses we imagine? Specifically, my work explores the capacity of everyday talk to shape how we interpret and respond to a variety of social and material risks in organizational life. Applied research topics include: occupational safety, emotion management, high reliability organizing, dirty work, meetings, and informal socialization processes. Current research projects include:
- An exploratory study of retrospective sensemaking among first responders during post-incident critique meetings;
- An analysis of how people appraise the effectiveness of meetings;
- An ethnographic study of how firefighters use talk to appraise and negotiate occupational hazards; and
- A structurational model of organizational socialization processes.
My research focuses on the relationships between employees, their supervisors, and their work organization. It includes issues relevant to leadership, job attitudes and employee motivation. Most of my work has been focused on helping to develop and test organizational support theory, which centers around perceived organizational support (POS)—defined as the degree to which employees believe their work organization cares about them and values their contributions. It is primarily a social exchange approach, according to which employees feel obligated to reciprocate POS, in part by exhibiting enhanced job performance or helpful acts that are beneficial to reaching the organization’s goals. Much of my recent work has focused on the role of supervisors for influencing POS and other positive outcomes. Supervisors are an important focus because they are often viewed as representatives acting on behalf of the organization and they are an important source of support for those below them.
Some of my recent areas of interest include:
- How do the job attitudes and experiences of supervisors affect their direct reports?
- What factors influence how supportively supervisors treat direct reports, and what are the consequences of such treatment.
- To what extent do meetings serve as an important venue in which the relationships between employees, their supervisor and the organization are shaped and maintained?
- What are the implications of supervisor and organizational support for work stress and employee well-being?
My research focuses on small group interaction, nonverbal behaviors, emotions, gender, and expectations. Recently, I have conducted projects on altering the status meaning of gender and, with Murray Webster, on the effect of behaviors on inequality structures in small groups. My current laboratory project, also with Murray Webster, addresses how characteristics come to have status value.
My research interests performance appraisal, managerial assessment, work ethic, and applied measurement.
- What are the characteristics of organizational structures and practices (e.g., HR practices) for multinational corporations when they face the dual institutional pressures from their home country and their host country?
- What are determinants of the formation and effectiveness of different types of interorganizational relationships (e.g., contract-based vs. network-based) in a transitional economy?
- How do organizational changes influence social inequalities during China’s market transition?
- How do market classification systems affect organizational identities, status hierarchies, and product valuation?
ORGANIZATIONAL SCIENCE AFFILIATED FACULTY INTERESTS
I work in the fields of business ethics and sustainability. As a philosopher I do both normative and conceptual work, but recently I have taken on a number of traditional social scientific projects (with social science colleagues). My research may be divided into four broad areas. 1) Ethical issues in international business, especially labor practices in global supply chains and the human rights duties of corporations; 2) ethical issues pertaining to the pharmaceutical industry such as marketing, new drug development, and self-regulation; 3) conceptual problems related to understanding key social concepts such a coercion, exploitation and corporate agency; and 4) environmental sustainability.
I am interested in entrepreneurship, family businesses, global strategic management, and new ventures.
I am interested in assessment centers, high performance teams, and NEO Factors as predictors of work-related behaviors.
Roslyn Arlin Mickelson
I am interested in how school and classroom composition (gender, SES, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, immigration status) affect long-term (educational and occupational attainment, attitudes, social cohesion and democratic values) and short-term educational outcomes (achievement, social identity). I’m surveying the extant US social science literature with the goal of identifying what we currently know, identifying gaps in the research record, and creating a research agenda to fill those gaps. I am investigating how adolescents’ educational performances are influenced by their perceptions of the opportunity structure that awaits people like them (in terms of their own gender, social class, and ethnicity).
How are organizations in the region coping with the increasing Hispanic population? I wonder about the employment side, rather than the consumer side. I realize that many companies have translated web materials into Spanish for consumer transactions, but what are they doing regarding employment? For example, have they hired recruiters who speak Spanish? Are application materials written in Spanish? What about training materials or training programs? What costs are involved and how do other applicants/employees react?
Technology is playing a much larger role in the selection and recruitment of individuals. My research concerns the impact these technologies have on potential applicants. One technology I am particularly interested in is computer adaptive tests (e.g. the computerized GRE). Computer adaptive tests (CAT) differ from conventional tests along numerous dimensions that may create a qualitatively different test taking experience for the test taker. My research investigates how specific features of CATs, such as the type of items, the difficulty of the items, the ability to navigate within the test (e.g. skip items and come back to them later), and so on, affect test takers both in terms of their performance on the test and also their reactions to the test (did they like it, did they think it was fair, was it anxiety provoking, were they motivated, etc.). Other potentially interesting aspects of CATs include test takers perceptions of performance while taking the test and their reactions to feedback regarding their performance and interventions that may improve test takers’ reactions such as providing pre test explanations regarding how CATs work. In addition to these specific interests, I am also interested in reactions to selection procedures in general and the impact of other technologies in personnel psychology.
I have also been researching issues related to diversity and how organizations can better manage a diverse workforce to improve the bottom line. Much of this work has to do with an organization’s diversity climate and how this climate might relate to turnover, absenteeism, sales performance, etc. Some more recent questions concern issues such as: perceptions of leadership in a diverse climate and how diversity at different levels of an organization affects employees at other levels. For many of these issues I have assembled some archival data sets that may be potential data sources to address some of these questions.
I am interested in Social Psychology, Status in Society, and Small Group Interaction.
Kelly Zellars There is a substantial amount of research suggesting that employees experience job stress and even burnout due to overload, customer troubles, role ambiguity, etc. However, there has been relatively little (almost none) research examining consequences of interpersonal stress, specifically stress caused by interpersonal interactions with coworkers. Although coworkers could obviously contribute to overload, etc, I am primarily thinking of coworker's interpersonal styles. Perhaps coworkers also contribute to the emotional labor at work. (In other words, "Because I must continue to work with you, I can't express how your interpersonal style drives me crazy.") Overall, the idea is to focus on coworker relationships. I am also examining how types of control workers have (e.g., interpersonal, political skill, self-efficacy) influence stress and strains. Finally, I am expanding my personality research to include an examination of individual differences in the dispositional tendency to experience evaluation anxiety arising from the social context of organizations.