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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 answer questions like:

  • What best encourages collaboration with colleagues, and sharing knowledge and skills? What discourages 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?
  • What are the true costs and benefits of hiring non-permanent workers?
  • How can employees with disabilities thrive in the workplace?

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 professor and Canada Research Chair in Organizational Behaviour 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).

Experiments and Online Data Collection

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

  • Our lab offers a dedicated space for running organizational behaviour experiments. 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, and equipment for audio- and video-recording participants unobtrusively and for analyzing experiments.
  • We have the capacity to run large-scale online surveys, with an accessible and easy-to-use online survey tool, expertise in survey design, protocols in place for data storage, and advanced methods for analyzing survey data.


Our research includes collaborations within McMaster, and with scholars from universities across Canada and throughout the world. It is multidisciplinary: it draws on theories and methods from human resource management, organizational behaviour, and management information systems, and uses methods developed in psychology. It is often undertaken in consultation with and inclusion of organizational partners including private sector and industry groups and non-profit and community organizations.

Our active collaborations include:

  • Is everyone equal in the COVID recovery? Labour market opportunities and exclusion during the job application process, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, with Dr. Andrew Stevens (PI) from the University of Regina
  • The effects of working in a second language on strategic thinking, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, with Dr. Elisabet Service (PI) from McMaster University
  • Informal accommodations as social exchange: Canadian managers’ reactions to employees with and without disabilities, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, with Dr. Silvia Bonaccio (PI) from the University of Ottawa and Dr. Ian Gellatly from the University of Alberta
  • This will be great exposure for you: Precarious employment in the gig economy, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant, with Canadian Live Music Association, Canada’s Music Incubator, Humber College, Music unit, Film & Entertainment Industries, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto
  • Stress and destructive leadership: Causes, conditions, and the mitigating role of mindfulness, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, with Dr. Kara Arnold (PI) from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dr. Ian Gellatly from the University of Alberta and Dr. Megan Walsh from the University of Saskatchewan
  • The Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP), supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Grant, with Kathleen Martin Ginis (PI) from the University of British Columbia. The CDPP is an alliance of university, public, private and government sector partners working together to enhance community participation among Canadians with physical disabilities.

Sharing the Results of our Research

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

  • We can quickly disseminate training modules, surveys, and other materials to interested individuals or to members of participating organizations.
  • We share our findings with academic audiences at conferences and through publications) and with practitioner audiences through presentations and articles.
  • We prepare accessible materials such as infographics and fact sheets to share our research results with a wide audience.
  • We respond to media inquiries about any of our research areas.
  • 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.