If a single word could describe François Chiocchio’s research, it would be “teams”; if a second word were needed, it would be “projects.” Increasingly, these two terms – projects and teams – “describe strategic tools to manage unpredictability, complexity, and turbulence in organizations,” says Chiocchio, an associate professor of organizational behaviour and human resources management at the Telfer School of Management since 2013. But the research hasn’t kept pace with the emergence of these tools for organizations seeking increased responsiveness, he explains. “The result has been a lack of empirical insight into what drives project team performance.”
Chiocchio’s studies look at the effects of trust, conflict, and collaboration on performance, and broadly, how to measure the effectiveness of teams. Among his many publications, he is the lead editor of The Psychology and Management of Project Teams that will be published this year by Oxford University Press. Professor Chiocchio currently manages numerous research projects involving colleagues and graduate students, many of which focus on healthcare and interprofessional environments. He and his co-researchers are studying health teams in Ontario and Quebec, in particular, but his interest in this area also recently took him to Africa (Burkina Faso), where he launched a study on leadership, collaboration, and performance of healthcare teams in the country’s local health centers. Closer to home M. Chiocchio was named, at the end of 2013, Affiliated Researcher at the Institut de Recherche de l'Hôpital Montfort, where he will study “interdisciplinary collaboration in health teams and the management of service improvement projects.”
Chiocchio’s research, published in peer-reviewed journals, has received major funding from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), the Project Management Institute's Research program, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Among his many contributions to the field, he has explored project approaches to teaching, and as a professor of organizational psychology at Université de Montréal before coming to University of Ottawa, he received the prestigious Ministry of Education Prize from the province of Quebec. The award recognized his work in designing a collaborative web platform to help student teams communicate and manage their projects.
“As the use of projects and project teams continues to increase in organizations, managers must understand the factors that contribute to effective project team performance,” Chiocchio explains. “Looking at teams at the level of the project is fertile ground for research and innovation in how people work and interact to produce what they do.”