Science Forum Looks at the Importance of Workplace Communication

Good communication is key to workplace success.

That’s the gist of the message Joan Rentsch, a communication studies professor, will share at this week’s Science Forum.

Rentsch will talk about common communication inefficiencies among groups, how these inefficiencies can impact work, and ways to improve collaboration. Her lecture, titled “Communicating to Build Knowledge in Decision-Making Teams,” begins at noon on Friday, October 10, in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Science Forum is a weekly lunchtime series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

Free and open to the public, each Science Forum consists of a forty-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase it at the café in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship, and creative activity happening on campus.

Rentsch, director of UT’s Integrative Organizational Research Laboratory, will also discuss her study on virtual teams and how they make decisions, which was funded by the Office of Naval Research. The results of her research indicate that certain team training strategies help improve communication weaknesses in an organization.

Rentsch earned her doctoral degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Maryland and her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University. Her research has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, and Organizational Research Methods. The Office of Naval Research, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Air Force Research Laboratory, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research have all funded her research on organizational communication and psychology.

The weekly Science Forum takes a break next week, due to fall break, and then continues:

October 24—Philip Enquist, UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments, will speak on “Higher Density Living with Higher Quality of Life.”

October. 31—Stefan Spanier, professor of physics, will talk on “Searching for New Forces with the Large Hadron Collider.”

November 7—Omer Onar, Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow at ORNL, will discuss “Electric Vehicles without Plugging In.”

November 14—Tim Isbel, Anderson County Commissioner, will speak on “A Vision for Rocky Top’s Coal Creek Miners Museum.”

November 21—Steven Ripp, research associate professor at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology, will talk about “Catch of the Day: Tiny Zebrafish in the Big Pharmaceutical Pond.”

For more about the UT Science Forum, visit the Science Forum website.

C O N T A C T :

Mark Littmann (865-974-8156, littmann@utk.edu)