Simulations of Resource Dilemmas

Charles Pavitt, University of Delaware, published “Communication, Performance, and Perceptions in Experimental Simulations of Resource Dilemmas”  in the June 2011 issue of Small Group Research. He kindly provided some background information about the recent article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Resource dilemmas have been studied by scholars in numerous fields (sociology, psychology, business administration, ecology, among others) and I would hope they would be interested. I would also like to motivate other communication researchers to take up the topic.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I have been an environmental fanatic since my youth, worked for Greenpeace for a while among other things. Back in the mid 1980s I discovered early research on resource dilemmas and realized it provided me an opportunity to combine my biggest academic and societal concerns. I have been planning on conducting this research program since that time, and its performance (completed at least temporarily with this article) has been the most satisfying scholarly work I have done.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

No, I think any small group communication person would tell you that attending to positive maintenance and procedure, and doing specific planning, leads to good outcomes.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

As noted above, I hope it inspires other communication researchers to examine resource dilemmas.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

It fits my belief that the most important communication research studies communication content.

How did your paper change during the review process?

Most importantly, the review process motivated me to make my underlying conceptual position concerning the role of communication relative to social norms, trust, and group identity clear.

What, if anything, would you to do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

For the entire project, I would change the scenario from a banking metaphor to one explicitly relevant to environmental issues, such as fish in a lake.

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