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Research

Our faculty members conduct research on a variety of organizational issues, approaching the study of organizations and those who comprise them from psychological and sociological perspectives. Below are samples of ongoing research projects.

Research Project 1 - Construal Level at the Hiring Interface

Jean-Nicolas Reyt and Brian Rubineau study processes influencing job screening and hiring decisions using the lens of Construal Level Theory (CLT). Although CLT was developed concerning individuals’ mental mindsets, CLT scholarship has been found to have important implications for organizational behaviours and outcomes. CLT begins with the idea that people’s mental mindsets can be characterized along a continuum from lower to higher construal level, with low-level construals being more concrete, specific, and detail-oriented and high-level construals being more abstract, general, and “big picture”. Job applicants’ construal levels about work tasks are communicated in their resumes, and Reyt and Rubineau's preliminary findings show that resumes using language associated with lower construal levels are evaluated more positively. In two studies, they conduct the first detailed examination of the association between construal level and hiring outcomes. Further, they identify whether and how this association interacts with applicants’ gender may contribute to organizational inequalities.

Research Project 2 - Beyond Warm Bodies

Lisa Cohen uses qualitative and quantitative methods to answer questions about the structure of jobs: why are certain tasks bundled into and across jobs and why are certain jobs bundled together in organizations; and how does this matter for employees and organizations? One emergent finding in this work is that hiring processes influence the design of jobs in potentially unexpected and unexplored ways. When managers recruit and select employees, they often do more than put warm bodies into pre-existing places. Cohen has received a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant for a research project that will further explore these issues. In this project, her research team will conduct interviews and observations in entrepreneurial organizations to open a window into these broader influences of the hiring process. This work will build on and contribute to theory in the areas of hiring, job design, and entrepreneurship.  

"Whose Jobs Are These? The Impact of the Proportion of Female Managers on the Number of New Management Jobs Filled by Women versus Men," Administrative Science Quarterly

"Assembling Jobs: A Model of How Tasks Are Bundled Into and Across Jobs," Organization Science 

Research Project 3 - Authenticity and Leadership

Patricia Hewlin applies multi-methodological approaches to study the engagement and disengagement of authenticity, which is behavior that involves acting in a manner consistent with one’s internal feelings and values. Through field surveys, experiments, and interviews among leaders and employees across multiple industries in the US and Canada, Hewlin addresses the impact of leader behavior on subordinates’ choices to engage in inauthentic expression such as suppressing divergent views and pretending to embrace organizational values. She also investigates the impact of inauthentic behavior on work performance. Hewlin’s research project is advancing scholarship in leadership, social influence, and self-presentation in the workplace. She seeks to better equip organizational leaders with respect to fostering work environments that encourage authenticity and, consequently facilitate innovation, organizational learning, and employee well-being.

Research Project 4 - Social Innovation in Human Rights, Equity and Diversity

Suzanne Gagnon studies the discourses used by social actors in and across organizations to advance human rights, equity and diversity. She uses a multi-methods approach to understand processes through which social innovation is achieved and alternatively, impeded, by prevailing discursive practices across different organizations and other actors (the language that that they use and the issues that are emphasized). The project uses document analysis and case studies, as well as interviews with key stakeholders in the fields of race/immigration, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity in order to gain a rich understanding of practices and discourses of activists and policy-makers in this area. Understanding social actors’ discourses as an underexplored route to uncovering the processes, drivers, and impediments to change in this domain will advance theory in inter-organizational collaboration and in equality and diversity studies. Gagnon’s SSHRC Insight grant (2016-2020) with Wendy Cukier (Ryerson) and Saku Mantere (McGill) supports this project. The work builds on Gagnon’s current studies of change actors inside organizations.

 

Members of the Organizational Behaviour discipline are also actively involved in two research centres. Learn more about the Business and Management Research Centre and the Centre for Strategy Studies in Organizations.