Research group measures the intangible

19 July 2012
The CORE team members are (from left) Professor Gerry Fogarty, Sue Olliver, Professor Tony Machin, Dulmini Ranasinghe and Kim Sankey.
Making sure your employees are happy can be one of the biggest challenges for an employer, but it can be even harder to measure just how satisfied they really are.

Enter the Career and Organisational Research Unit (also known as CORE), based at the University of Southern Queensland.

Led by Professor Tony Machin, Head of the Psychology Department at USQ, the research team uses expert techniques and specialised measurement tools to analyse employee survey results and provide managers with a detailed picture of the organisational climate of their workplace.

It’s a highly specialised and technical service that is exclusively offered by USQ in the wider Darling Downs region.

‘Almost every organisation would have some interest in assessing peoples’ perceptions of the workplace climate,’ Professor Machin explained.

‘We take a precise, forensic look at a workplace, investigating employee satisfaction, work pressures, engagement — these are things that are extremely important and closely related to productivity.’

The research team has the capacity to comfortably survey 50,000 people and has more than 60 years combined research experience in the field.

‘Our core strengths lie in working with organisations to find out the issues critical to them, surveying the target audience and then being able to interpret the data so that it is usable and paints a clear picture of the emotional environment,’ Professor Machin said.

‘Much of our work has focused on the impact of organisational climate on psychological variables such as stress and morale and outcome variables such as turnover, absenteeism, and workplace safety.’

Since its establishment in 1998, CORE has worked with countless organisations such as government departments, corporate heavyweights and even social groups such as USQ’s Alumni Network — it recently completed an alumni survey of some 29,000 past students of USQ who are now based all over the world.

Other active members of the group include Professor Gerry Fogarty (Adjunct Professor), Dr Hong Eng Goh, Dr Gavin Beccaria, Dr Chris McKeon (Research Fellow), Dr Liz Buikstra (Adjunct Research Fellow), Ms Kim Sankey (PhD candidate and Research Fellow), Ms Sue Olliver (Project Coordinator), Mrs Dulmini Ranasinghe (Programmer and web design), and Mr Ken Askin (Database programmer).

To contact the research group please phone or email Ms Sue Olliver: (07) 4631 2376 or email

Media contact;
Jim Campbell, USQ Media, +617 4631 2977,

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