Our Students in Action

Shabnam Ozlati

Exploring New Areas of Organizational Psychology

Shabnam Ozlati has a world of experience for someone still in the first year of her doctoral program at CGU. A few months before successfully completing her medical degree in Tehran, she immigrated to the U.S. and began studying at Cal State Northridge in Southern California. At Northridge, she was recognized as a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar for work in her Master’s program in Human Factors. The Casanova Scholarship brought Shabnam to the Institute of Organizational and Program Evaluation Research at Claremont Graduate University, where she quickly became a vital member of the research team. By the time her first semester as a doctoral student was underway, she was involved in the First Five L.A. evaluation projects being conducted by Drs. Donaldson, Christie and Azzam to improve the quality of life for young children in the Los Angeles area.

Shabnam’s own research interests involve the transdisciplinary field of knowledge management, an area that combines disciplines such as organizational sciences, information science, cognitive science, education and training, management, and business. She is interested in developing and evaluating knowledge management initiatives. Knowledge management (or "KM"), she explains, can be defined as “collaborative and integrated processes or systems for creating, capturing, organizing and sharing organizations’ intellectual assets”. Knowledge flows through multiple entities including individuals, best known methods or lessons learned, documents, routines, systems, and methods. “More and more organizations are realizing that knowledge embedded in their establishment is a huge asset. Knowledge assets produce benefits such as competitive advantages but the dynamic nature of outcomes makes it difficult to measure the success of KM initiatives.”

Shabnam is doing her research with Dr. Donaldson in an evaluation of knowledge management initiatives. “The knowledge management field is fairly new, only about 10 years old, and has been dominated by information systems people who can now facilitate the process through better technology. I am interested in the human and organizational aspects of this, especially what defines a successful knowledge management practice.” Different stakeholders expect different outcomes for a successful knowledge management initiative, like financial returns, increasing creativity and innovation, and supporting decision making, which sparks many debates. Shabnam and Dr. Donaldson are developing different models, and checking them against empirical research to see what works in knowledge management.

Aside from her current research, Shabnam also assisted Dr. Donaldson to edit a book with Drs. Tina Christie and Melvin Mark entitled What Counts as Credible Evidence in Evaluation and Applied Research. She is working on a project to analyze CGU psychology faculty publications and citations, as well as some other technology related projects. Her efforts have been particularly instrumental in making Claremont Graduate University's conferences and workshops available to a global audience through cutting-edge web technology.

As if that weren’t enough, Shabnam leads a Knowledge Management research group, created out of a transdisciplinary consortium on the topic that she helped organize in her first year. Her many efforts and academic achievements have no gone unrecognized. Shabnam was recently awarded the Larry and Jane Rosen Fellowship. “It feels so good to be recognized. I am happy that the faculty have noticed my interests and enthusiasm.”

In her leisure, Shabnam studies about space and individual and social well-being of humans in space and artificial environments. She has a certificate degree in Space Studies from International Space University in France.