PhD, Michigan State University
Teaching and Research Areas:
Organizational Communication; Small Group Communication; Leadership; Strategic Communication; Research Methods
My research interests include organizational communication, small group communication and leadership. In my organizational research, I start with the belief that that understanding work and the workplace begins prior to entering full-time employment. As such, Vocational Anticipatory Socialization (VAS) has been a part of my research agenda for several years. I have recently published a network analysis designed to understand how emerging adults actively and passively seek out information within their web of connections. Another project found that the existing model of VAS needs to be updated to include the Internet as a source of career socialization information. My research team and I have found that first-generation college students perceive that there are VAS barriers different from their legacy colleagues and also that celebrities have influence and help to deliver VAS messages. I would like to expand this research into a more international setting to learn how culture impacts VAS.
Research into organizational culture led me to examine organizational behavior within a healthcare institution. One funded project allowed me to examine a hospital’s culture with respect to patient safety and speaking up about medical errors. Findings indicated that a medical institution’s leadership and culture can impede the transfer of important health related information. Another project examined both the hospital and the healthcare profession’s culture regarding the exchange of information among medical professionals at shift change.
In the small group arena, I examine the dynamics within interacting brainstorming groups. Together with a colleague, I recently presented two studies examining social loafing. The first study looked at whether social loafing can be predicted by the composition of the group and the second looked at the relationship between social loafing and group cohesion. From these studies, we have determined that there is no agreement on the operationalization of group cohesion, and plan to examine this topic in the near future.
In my leadership research, I have looked at issues related to the overlap between communication and charismatic leadership in both the organizational and political arenas. A publication of mine in Communication Monographs examined the failure of many leadership measurement scales to incorporate communication behaviors as part of the leadership construct. Using the findings from this study, I have developed a charismatic leadership measurement scale that has been used in four recent dissertations.
My research projects have been funded by the Michigan Coastal Management Program/State of Michigan Office of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)/NOAA, The College of Engineering, Michigan State University, Michigan State University/Sparrow Center for Innovation and Research, The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.