Quality of Communication Between Participants Affects Research Outcomes

mcgreavynewEffective communication and shared decision-making may lead to better outcomes for sustainability science teams working on collaborative research.

Communication affects project participants’ ongoing commitment to collaboration, their ability to combine different ideas and understand one another, and eventual project outcomes such as developing research methods, implementing new technologies, and enacting legislation.

Those are the findings of a group of researchers from the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions in a paper published in the journal Ecology and Society, “Communication and sustainability science teams as complex systems.

Interviews and participant observations revealed that teams using single person decision making experienced reduced individual satisfaction and slower or no progress toward goals.

Authors on the paper include: Bridie McGreavy, Postdoctoral Researcher, New England Sustainability Consortium; Laura Lindenfeld, Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication & Journalism and Director, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center; Linda Silka, Senior Fellow, Mitchell Center; Karen Hutchins Bieluch, Practice Based Learning Specialist, Dartmouth College; Jessica Leahy, Assistant Professor of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and Bill Zoellick, Director of Education Research, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park.