Our Research Lab

At the Connelly Laboratory for Organizational Behaviour Research, we study how workplaces are changing and how employees are reacting to these changes. We focus on workers who are often overlooked: part-time workers, independent contractors, “temps”, mobile workers, temporary foreign workers and workers with disabilities. 

By providing a space dedicated to organizational behaviour research, our lab fills an important need. Even though workplace dynamics play a huge role in people’s lives, they aren’t always well understood. We develop hypotheses and test them by running experiments or by analyzing data from workplaces. This helps us anwer questions like:

  • What workplace conditions and relationships best encourage people to collaborate with colleagues, and to share their knowledge and skills? What kinds of workplace conditions discourage collaboration and knowledge sharing?
  • How can people who occupy leadership positions sustain their own focus and health while still fulfilling their responsibilities towards colleagues, employees, and mentees?
  • How do communication tools in the workplace affect the ways people collaborate?

Understanding these dynamics helps create workplaces that foster and make use of employees’ strengths, and that become healthier, happier, and more fulfilling for people to work in.

The Connelly Laboratory for Organizational Behaviour Research was founded in 2013, by Dr. Catherine Connelly. It is located on the fifth floor of McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, where Dr. Connelly is associate professor and Canada Research Chair in the department of Human Resources and Management. Funding for the development and acquisition of infrastructure, equipment, and facilities comes from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

We have the expertise and tools to pursue ambitious, empirically-grounded, research projects:

Organizational Behaviour Experiments

  • Our lab offers a dedicated space for running experiments in organizational behaviour. In addition to a large open area, the lab contains separate rooms for intake and debrief of study participants. Because it is made up of modular work areas, the space can be modified to meet the requirements of different experimental designs.
  • We have a range of specialized equipment including bio-signal monitoring equipment that can be used to study stress responses and equipment for recording and analyzing experiments.

Data Collection

  • We have an online survey tool. It's accessible, secure, and convenient for study participants to use.
  • We have tablets that can be used for surveys and experiments.
  • We have protocols in place for safely storing the information we collect.

We have developed tools and processes that encourage collaboration with various partners at different stages of the research process:

  • Our research program is interdisciplinary: it draws on theories and methods from human resource management, organizational behaviour, and management information systems, and uses methods developed in psychology.
  • We reach out to different stakeholders: private sector and industry groups, academics from different fields, and members of the community.
  • We are part of the Canadian Disability Participation Project.

Our research addresses issues of interest to social scientists, but also to workers, policy makers, human-resources specialists, and managers, as well as the public. We work to present our findings in ways that are meaningful to different audiences, and can be effectively shared:

  • We can quickly and effectively disseminate training modules, surveys, and other materials to interested individuals or to members of participating organizations.
  • We share a commitment to disseminating our findings through academic channels (conferences, publications) and to practitioner audiences.
  • Through networking with government bodies and other stakeholders, we are helping to inform policy debates.
  • Through her work in the DeGroote School of Business, Dr. Connelly is engaged in the education of future managers and leaders.