Mary Beth Watson-Manheim

    Email Address: mbwm@uic.edu
    College: Business Administration Department: Information and Decision Sciences
    Secondary Department: Communication
    Title: Associate Professor
    Office: 2426UH Phone: 6-2370
    Webpage: http://www.uic.edu/cba/cba-depts/ids/facultyprofiles/mbwm.html
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    I conduct research on the managerial, social and educational implications of a global and ICT-intensive (information and communication technologies) workplace.

    I have several different streams of research. First, I investigate the use of information and communication technologies in the workplace, especially in supporting geographically distributed work activities. This includes the use of email and chat, as well as new social media applications and mobile technologies. For example, I conducted a survey of employees of Intel Corporation to investigate how distributed their work activities were, e.g., how many teams they were on, and how many members were in different locations and/or different countries, spoke a different first language, etc., and how that distribution affected their performance.

    Second, I am interested in the performance of work activities in the global workplace from a cross-cultural perspective. In particular, as organizations have become more global, the information technology infrastructure has correspondingly been distributed globally. I am currently interviewing a large number of software developers to understand the challenges they face in obtaining necessary resources and how they go about resolving these challenges, and how this may differ across different countries. The interviews are being conducted in the United States and India.

    Third, I am initiating research on the impact of expenditures of information technology in developing countries. IT expenditures have resulted in enormous efficiency in developed countries throughout the 1990’s and continuing. However, there was a lag effect as expenditures mounted but productivity gains were not realized – the ‘productivity paradox.’ I am interested in whether this phenomenon is being repeated in developing countries, especially India.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 6-9

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Requirements: I am looking for a smart, flexible and conscientious student who wants to learn about business-oriented research and/or the global workplace. You need to be willing to commit 6-9 hours per week in return for 2-3 hours of course credit.

    To apply, you should have a strong GPA and have completed most of the general education requirements. I am interested in students who have completed a research methods course in any discipline but this is not a requirement. My projects cross several disciplinary areas so I am open to a variety of different backgrounds, however, I expect that students in CS, CBA and LAS will be most interested in this work.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    I need research assistants who want to be involved in all aspects of research, including literature review, data entry, and data analysis. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods.

    You will be expected to work independently for much of your assignment. You will also need to be available to meet with me at least 1-2 hours per week.

    This experience should help you learn what business-oriented research is about, and help you decide if you want to pursue research in your career or in graduate school. The workplace is changing rapidly and there are opportunities for investigating these changes regardless of whether you go to graduate school.

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