Statement of Research Interests
Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychology is a broad area of research concerned with the development and application of psychology to address workplace issues. My research in I/O psychology is focused primarily in four areas. First, I am keenly interested in the interface between work and non-work, particularly as it concerns issues of balancing work and family. In the past I have conducted research looking at issues of diversity and discrimination which is a path that I hope to continue in my second line of research affiliated with the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality program. I have recently begun to explore a third topic: the methodological questions fundamental to an understanding of meta-analyses, one of the techniques commonly employed in the field of I/O psychology. Finally, my interest in teaching informs a fourth area of research through the examination of training and teaching principles and practices.
Research in the area of work and family has been a growing hot topic in I/O psychology. My research in this field has taken a unique approach to the issue by spotlighting the impact of emotions and stress in the lives of individuals in specific situations where work and family intersect. For instance, one current research project involves examining performance on a task when individuals have been primed to ruminate about off-task concerns. This situation is designed to replicate the circumstances whereby an employee finds that continuous thoughts about familial concerns intrude upon the work domain and negatively impact performance on the work task.
Another strain of my research into work and family issues revolves around the experiences of commuters. Our research is looking at what particular aspects of the commute experience lead to stress in employees. We predict that variables such as commute variability and subjective impedance, the extent to which the commuter feels that their commute is slowed or stalled, will be better predictors of stress than factors such as time or distance alone. I am also interested in how dissatisfaction with one’s commute relates to job outcomes. In a relocation study, some individuals indicated that the change in commute (increased commute dissatisfaction) was a factor in their intentions to leave the company.
At Rice I’ve had the opportunity to become involved in an additional area of research through the program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Through this program I hope to resume research on issues of diversity and discrimination. As a woman in academia, I feel that it is essential that I remain vigilant in examining the unique struggles facing my gender in the workplace. For example, our previous research on stereotype threat found that in a single-sex setting, women were less susceptible to the negative effects of stereotype threat. I am also particularly interested in exploring the experiences of employees that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. My future projects in this topic could draw from some earlier research that examined the stereotyped representation of gay males and lesbians on prime time television.
Meta-analyses are frequently conducted in I/O psychology. One issue that often arises when conducting a meta-analysis is the question of outlier removal. To assist with determining whether or not a particular study should be considered an outlier many researchers have utilized the SAMD statistic. However our research recommends a revised SAMD-z statistic which is more accurate that the SAMD for identifying outlier studies. This represents a valuable improvement upon the commonly used meta-analysis techniques.
I have always had a strong desire to teach. My interest in teaching is the inspiration for my research related to training and teaching principles and practices. Our analyses of introductory psychology textbooks provides valuable information to professors who are concerned about including material related to the applied areas of psychology in their instruction of introductory psychology. At a recent Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference symposium I presented on faculty strategies that help undergraduates gain research experience, which I believe is of crucial importance particularly in small liberal arts colleges. This summer I hope to begin work on research examining the help seeking behaviors of K-12 school teachers in a training setting with the hope of developing techniques to improve the training program to maximize teacher’s learning opportunities. Throughout all of my research interests runs the thread of continuous learning and a willingness to explore new areas of research. With this attitude I believe I have been able to gain depth in a few core areas while also maintaining a breadth of knowledge regarding the study of I/O psychology.