<br>Gralla Laboratory

Gralla Lab: Decisions in Context

The Gralla Lab studies decision-making in real-world contexts. Our core areas are disaster response operations and systems engineering and design. We use methods from systems engineering, operations research, and management to develop better decision-making tools and strategies. We aim to work closely with organizations, bringing sophisticated techniques to bear on real-world problems, and developing solutions that can be deployed in practice.

Our key research areas include:

Disaster response operations and logistics
Developing models and decision support tools that account for the challenging context of disaster response. Topics include:
  • Context-appropriate mathematical models for disaster response operations management
  • Process improvement in disaster response organizations
  • Information and situational awareness for decision-making

Human decision-making in engineering systems
How do people decide? Identifying their strengths and weaknesses, in order to build better decision approaches and support tools. Topics include:
  • Human behavior's influence on engineering system design and operation
  • Measuring and modeling human behavior in complex engineering systems
  • Problem-solving and problem-formulating processes
  • Performance measurement and training

Systems engineering and design in context
Understanding how systems engineering and design are accomplished "in context": by humans, in organizations, with limited information, and under other contextual influences.
  • Human decision-making in engineering design
  • Influence of problem and organizational decomposition on the design process

More generally, our research seeks to combine the strengths of human intuition and mathematical models to create better decision-making approaches. (For more details, see research and projects, and check out this video about our department's research, featuring myself and two students.)

The lab is directed by Erica Gralla, Assistant Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at the George Washington University.