FAQs About Organizational-Based Research

1. What are the benefits of working with an academic researcher?

There are several unique benefits to working with academic researchers, such as myself, to conduct research in your organization.

You may have heard of the term Evidence Based Management, an emerging movement that emphasizes using data to drive, or at least influence, decision-making and problem- solving in organizations. One company that has been at the forefront of implementing an Evidence Based Management philosophy is Google, who has used an evidence based approach to enhance the efficacy of their internal leadership training and team building initiatives. I am trained in advanced research methods and statistical analyses, and I will apply my expertise to help you implement some of the philosophical underpinnings of Evidence Based Management into your own organization and management. I can also provide you with a unique, neutral perspective to the challenges you might be experiencing in your organization, and offer you tailored insights into solving those problems.

As a member of the University of Ottawa community, I am bound by strict ethical guidelines when I conduct my research. These ethical guidelines emphasize confidentiality in my research. As a result, many employees feel more comfortable when participating in academic, rather than for-profit consulting, research. In the past, employees who have participated in my research projects have communicated to me that they are more forthcoming when they are guaranteed such confidentiality.

2. Must my organizational needs directly align with your research interests?

Yes and no.

Because I do not conduct research for profit but rather to extend my academic endeavours, any research projects that I agree to must provide mutual benefits to both myself and you. I view my relationships with organizations as a partnership. If your management needs do not directly align with my research goals, the opportunity to work together might still exist. It will depend on whether I can design a research project that will satisfy both your organizational needs and my research goals.

Typically, our partnership will begin with a meeting in which you detail your needs and interests in conducting research in your organization. During this meeting we can also discuss my own research interests and background in further detail. I will then design a research project with both your needs and my interests in mind, and present the design to you. This process might take more than one meeting and further negotiation, depending on the complexity of the research design.

3. What is Organizational Behaviour and what sort of research questions can we answer through a research-partnership?

Often times when I tell people I study Organizational Behaviour they make a joke about me coming to their home to organize their closets. (If you saw the state of my office you would quickly realize this is not what I mean by ‘Organizational Behaviour’)

Organizational Behaviour is the study of individuals’ experiences and behaviour in group and organizational settings. Organizational Behaviour research is applied to creating more productive and healthier organizations, with the particular focus on enhancing people-management. Topics such as leadership, conflict resolution, employee motivation, job performance, communication, team processes, and employee stress and well-being are all topics of interest in the Organizational Behaviour field of research.

Some examples of research questions you might be interested in answering in your organization:

What gives employees a sense of meaning in their work and how does this sense of meaning influence their productivity? How does perceived meaning change overtime?

What are the most prevalent stressors that my employees face on  daily basis and how do these stressors affect their productivity?

What individual characteristics motivate my employees and how might I improve my hiring practices to target those characteristics?

To what extent are my employees friends, and how do those friendships influence their work productivity?

This is only a small snippet of the research questions we ask and answer in Organizational Behaviour research.

4. What does it cost to work with you?

I do not charge any sort of professional fees. However, depending on the challenge you are seeking insight into and the norms in your organization surrounding employee surveys, I might suggest that you provide some sort of incentive (typically monetary) to your employees to encourage them to participate in the research. We can discuss this issue further when we meet. Because I am bound by strict ethical guidelines through my employment at the University of Ottawa, all the research I conduct must allow for voluntary participation, but positive incentives to encourage participation are allowed.