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Inside the Organizational Research Lab

Organizational Lab

Communication Studies Professor Joan Rentsch’s Organizational Research Lab (ORL) has allowed her to conduct leading edge research projects focused on distributed team decision-making and knowledge distribution for such organizations as the Office of Naval Research, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Air Force.  

In military collaborations,  language barriers are often created by sub-group acronyms or lingo not commonly known outside of an expertise group.  There is also an inherent bias against sharing unique information when team members do not all come from the same group.  These barriers to team communication can have far-reaching impacts and serve to diminish the ability to achieve desired results and objectives.

As a result, Rentsch and her research team use the ORL to gather data from lab observations and assessments which can then be extracted and analyzed as individual components.  The ultimate goal is to develop technology and strategies that can be used to train team members to develop more effective team communication and decision-making skills.

“We are deep into the research stream with much more work ahead of us,” said Rentsch.  “The lab makes it possible to conduct state-of-the-art team focused research projects that can benefit many different types of decision-making groups.  It also provides a rich learning experience for our students and attracts financial support for the school.”