Current Projects

Judgment and Decision Making

The rationality of human decision making is bounded. Consequently, team composed of human members are also limited in their capacity to make rational decisions. Team decision making is further complicated by the complex and dynamic demands required of collaborative decision making tasks. In this project, we are outlining and integrating two primary traditions related to decision making that account for and outline decision making procedures that seek to counteract the limits of human rationality. Our integrative model specifies team decision making strategies that can support and further counteract some of the limits of human decision making.

Cognitive Complexity

The information processing needs of modern-day organizations have evolved to demand the ability to think in multidimensional ways. For example, to address complex issues, organizations rely on inter- and/or trans-disciplinary collaborations that require employees to be open to ideas outside their own, recognize the value of these ideas, and integrate in ways not previously done. Because of this, it is imperative that employees approach information-processing activities in a manner that enables the recognition of multiple dimensions and the integration of these dimensions, appropriately. Failure to do this may hamper the ability to maximize critical information that is often needed to solve problems or generate novel ideas. The tendency to recognize the varying dimensions of a situation and then integrate these dimensions is known as cognitive complexity (Bieri, 1955; Streufert & Castore, 1971). We are conducting a series of studies to determine the relative importance of various individual differences in predicting cognitive complexity. 

Knowledge Integration in Teams

The challenges faced by organizations have increased in complexity, calling for greater reliance on teams, and very often, cross-disciplinary teams.  In these teams, members must often work to contribute specialized knowledge while integrating their unique expertise (e.g., interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary teams; Klein, 2004)—presenting a unique paradox. This situation presents the overarching question regarding how team members can engage with two contradictory states simultaneously—specialization and coordination (Smith & Lewis, 2011). When faced with this tension, team members often identify with one side of the duality to ease their discomfort (Ashforth & Reingen, 2014). To be effective, however, members of cross-disciplinary teams must be equipped to accept and manage paradoxical tensions, supporting positive outcomes. To achieve this acceptance, teams need cognitive complexity (Smith & Lewis, 2011). In this project, we are developing and validating a process-oriented account of the integration of knowledge in teams when members possess predominantly unique (as opposed to shared) information. 

Graduate Student Theses and Dissertations

The Dynamics of Team Trust (Amer Odeh)

Amer is currently writing up his master’s thesis using a multilevel structural equation model to shed light on some of the dynamic elements of team trust development. Specifically, the research is focused on how the resources individuals bring to the team setting may impact the emergence of team level phenomena. Amer is also working on a theory paper on judgment and decision making with Dr. Brown.

The Effect of Grief on Job Satisfaction (Jessica Zalewski)

Jessica is currently working towards her master’s thesis in which she is exploring the impact of grief on job satisfaction. Through a longitudinal study, Jessica will be assessing the evolution of grief over the course of 12 months, and its relationship with job satisfaction in individuals who are actively working while processing loss. The goal of this research is to inspire data-driven amendments to current workplace policies to provide adequate time and resources for their bereaved employees. 

Police Officers’ Evaluation of Support (Georgia LaMarre)

Georgia spent two years working as a research assistant with the Wayne State Police Stress Research Group (PSRG) on a grant funded interdisciplinary project that explores the antecedents and outcomes of police officer stress. Using data from this study, she is leading the preparation of a manuscript about how a police officer’s evaluation of support from within his/her organization interacts with perceptions of support from others outside of the organization (i.e., community, family, the media) to influence perceptions of identity and stress. 

Team Strategy Mental Models (Zachary Fragoso)

Zack and his Team Dynamics collaborators are currently working to conduct an online data collection through a virtual escape room entirely designed by their team. His dissertation study started out as an in-person experience built on campus, however, was adapted to be carried out virtually due to the COVID-19 circumstances. In this study, undergraduate students in teams of 2-6 work together to complete an escape room, while tackling competing goals presented by the study. 

For more information about this study, see

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