‘Wanna play on my team?’: Interdisciplinary research success recognised

Front line managers (FLMs). They’re the first tier of person in a workplace with supervisory responsibilities (and the ones who usually show up when you want to “…speak to the manager please”!).

A team of researchers from the Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources and the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing (WOW), were recognised by Griffith Business School’s Pro Vice Chancellor for their collaborative research success over the past five years as they addressed front line managers in the workplace.

Dr Rebecca Loudoun
Dr Rebecca Loudoun

Comprising Drs Rebecca Loudoun(pictured left) and Sandra Lawrence, and Associate Professors Keith Townsend and Ashlea Troth, the team have worked together, says Keith:

“…in different permutations for a long period of time, and in recent years we’ve grown to see more and more overlap in our research fields and opportunities for collaboration. The area of common interest here is people management…Parts of the team have OB [organisational behaviour] expertise and others have HR [human resources] and IR [industrial relations] backgrounds. We see clear areas of overlap; we’re just looking at people management matters from different points [of view].”

Asked about the pros and cons of working with researchers from different disciplinary fields, Keith comments on the:

“Complementary skills [that] exist between the four of us, both in research methods and analysis styles, approaches to writing, and ideas. We have a nice combination of quantitative and qualitative [proficiencies], as well as big picture and minutia focus.”

“[But] a common phrase in our meetings is ‘What do you mean by that?!’. It’s important to tease out each others’ understanding of what we mean [and subsequently expect from the research]. We don’t allow these differences to be barriers though – it’s about identifying those areas for understanding and coming to a mutual agreement and understanding on definitions and key concepts.”

Associate Professor Keith Townsend
Associate Professor Keith Townsend

Rebecca, Sandra, Ashlea and Keith(pictured right) are drawing now from a recently completed FLM pilot study as the basis for an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant application due for submission in the new year.

The Griffith Business School Pro-Vice Chancellor’s Annual Research Excellence Award (REA) for a Team/ Group seeks to reward and encourage excellence in teams that contribute positively to Griffith’s research culture through coherent paths and directions in their research and have demonstrable impact and outcomes from their research endeavours. The team will now be considered for the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards where winners from each of the REA categories in University’s four Academic Groups – Arts, Education and Law, Business, Health and Sciences – compete.