Mendoza School of Business

Mendoza research lab seeking participants for business research

Published: June 5, 2019 / Author: Carol Elliott



“Research lab” usually conjures images of chemical or medical settings, with test tubes, chemicals and white-jacketed assistants.

But a research lab in a business school? That might be harder to picture.

Yet primary research — surveys, interviews, observations and ethnographic data — is just as vital to developing greater understanding of human behavior in business as in other disciplines.

“I think a lot of times, especially in the business school, students and members of the community see us in the classroom, as teachers,” said Timothy Hubbard, assistant professor and Donnelly Fellow in Participatory Management in the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. “They miss out on the large number of faculty who are doing incredible research. And, more importantly, we’re studying people where they spend a great proportion of their life — at work.”

hands on a laptop computer keyboard in an office type settingTo better study work-related behavior, Hubbard and other Mendoza researchers are seeking help from members of the public to participate in various research studies being conducted by the Mendoza Behavioral Lab (MLB). They are inviting those interested to sign up to be part of the MLB research panel, which is a pool of people willing to participate in upcoming research activities over the coming months.

Panel members receive emails about available opportunities and can sign up for a specific study that interests them. Participation could include activities such as visiting the lab on campus to play a business simulation game or watch a news program. In some instances, the individual will be hooked up to biometric equipment that measures heart rate or tracks eye movement to gather response data; in other cases, the person might take a survey. Some studies involve exercises that can be completed online.

Panelists must be at least 18 years old and complete a prescreen questionnaire.

The Mendoza Behavioral Lab was launched in 2011 to support faculty researchers and provide an opportunity for business students to gain an understanding of the importance of research and its processes. Located in the Mendoza College of Business, the lab provides a flexible space outfitted with private computer stations, biometric-measuring equipment, webcams and other research resources.

The lab primarily provides data collection support to faculty researchers, with undergraduate research assistants charged with ensuring that data are collected according to instructions provided by the researcher. The assistants help with lab studies as well as studies conducted in the field during Football Fridays and at other events on campus.

“I am excited about the addition of the MBL research panel because it provides the faculty and research associates with an alternative to conducting research with the Mendoza student pool,” said Letecia McKinney, behavioral research program director. “The panel expands the possibility of understanding interactions and behavior in the workplace and a multitude of other business-related topics that in some cases only working professionals can provide.”

Hubbard — who studies strategic leadership topics including CEO personality, CEO dismissal, corporate social responsibility, gender diversity and firm reputation — welcomes engagement from a broad range of people to further Mendoza’s research, which studies topics from creativity and decision-making to leadership and boards.

Many of the studies do offer compensation, said Hubbard, with the amount varying according to the time commitment, which typically ranges from 30 minutes to an hour. But just as importantly, Hubbard said there are other takeaways for the participants.

“We explain everything we are doing from front to back,” said Hubbard. “We’ll have conversations typically before and after the exercise about what they are seeing in their work and outside of work. Many times, people leave feeling energized because they’re thinking about things in different ways.”

The MBL operates under the policies and oversight of the University of Notre Dame’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations that address research projects involving human subjects or materials collected from humans. McKinney, the behavioral research program director, serves as Mendoza IRB Liaison to assist researchers through the IRB application and approval processes, thus providing an in-house resource for all Mendoza researchers.

For more information about the Mendoza Behavioral Lab or the research panel, contact Letecia McKinney at lmckinn2@nd.edu or (574) 631-6989.