DSS works with independent consultants and other organizations in carrying out major projects. This list of "people and partners" identifies all individuals who have worked on or who are working on projects with or through DSS. Please note that employment and contact information is noted in each individual's biographical sketch or vita.

DSS employees and associates use their collective expertise in I/O psychology, organizational behavior, and related disciplines to design and conduct applied research studies and to carry out consulting projects. DSS has a small core of full time employees and consultants who collaborate with a network of consultants in Ohio, many of whom are affiliated with The Ohio State University, to plan and complete projects.

Most DSS staff, consultants, and project team members have advanced degrees (i.e., Master or Ph.D). Many have or maintain formal affiliations with colleges and universities and work as full-time professors, visiting professors, instructors, and/or engage in ongoing graduate-level training. These individuals are active members of professional associations, regularly present scholarly papers at academic and professional conferences, and publish in peer-reviewed professional journals. In addition, these individuals have impressive amounts of applied research and consulting experience.


Phyllis C. Panzano, Ph.D., President

Phyllis C. Panzano is the founder and president of Decision Support Services, Inc. (DSS), an Ohio-based firm specializing in applying industrial/organizational psychology knowledge to the opportunities and challenges facing individuals, groups and organizations. Phyllis has 20 years experience conceptualizing, implementing and managing applied research and consulting projects in the public and private sectors. Much of DSS's recent work reflects Phyllis' expertise and long term interests in top management team decision making and strategic planning processes. DSS often works closely with experts associated with the Ohio State University's Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program and the College of Business in the course of carrying out this work.

Phyllis also has served for the past ten years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in The Ohio State University's Industrial/Organizational Psychology program and she is on the faculty of the the university Honors Program. Her duties include: teaching a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses and special topics seminars; mentoring undergraduate students, advising graduate students; serving on thesis and dissertation committees; grant writing; and directing a series of research grants examining decision making processes within top management teams.

Phyllis has a wide range of research and consulting experience in the private sector. She has developed employee selection and appraisal systems, facilitated strategic planning and plan implementation processes, provided human resource planning consultation, and designed and conducted market research. For example, with Robert Vance, she developed oral and written entrance examinations for all classifications of auto mechanics employed by American Electric Power, Inc., and its eight member companies. She has conducted market research employing techniques ranging from focus groups, to mail surveys, to commercial-pretesting for companies including Rubbermaid, Inc., Anchor Hocking, Inc., and Cross Country Inns. She has served as a project planning consultant for Limited Brands. and as a facilitator and consultant for strategic planning processes in a variety of central Ohio firms.

Phyllis' public sector work over the past twenty years has primarily been conducted in the health care and mental health care domains. Past work has dealt with the impact of legislative and policy changes on consumer behavior, and how top management teams diagnose and take action on strategic issues. Current projects deal with the development of preferred service protocols for meaningful subgroups of adult mental health consumers, motivational job design, needs assessment for healthcare organizations, and the diffusion and adoption of healthcare innovations.

Phyllis received a B.S. and a M.S. in Quantitative Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from The Ohio State University.

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Beverly A. Seffrin, Ph.D., Senior Research Consultant

Beverly A. Seffrin began her graduate work in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology at the Ohio State University with a solid foundation of related work experience. She had served as the Director of Human Resources for a large home healthcare agency in Florida where she specialized in employee relations and had responsibility for thirty-five agencies and two-thousand employees.

Bev earned her M.A. in I/O Psychology in1999 and her Ph.D. in 2002. She received a grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health to conduct her dissertation research. Emotional labor in care giving organizations is the subject matter of that project.

In addition to her academic work, Dr..Seffrin served for two years as a graduate research associate and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State. She then worked for over three years as a graduate administrative assistant for OSU's Office of Business Operations where she was the recipient of the Quality Information Award. During that time, Bev was hired as an independent consultant by the University Architect's Office to conduct a customer satisfaction survey.

Dr. Seffrin currently serves as a Senior Research Consultant to Decision Support Services, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. She has key project management and development activities for two major grants. The first project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Ohio Department of Mental Health, is examining factors and processes related to the uptake and implementation of evidence-based practices by healthcare organizations. The second project is funded by the Social Security Administration and the Ohio Department of Mental Health. This research is examining the applied value of a widely studied motivational job design framework to the population of adults with severe mental disabilities and to other adult members of disadvantaged populations.

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Robert S. Billings, Ph.D.,

Robert Billings is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program at The Ohio State University. He received his A.B. and M.B.A. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

In his faculty position at Ohio State, Robert has taught numerous courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including survey courses in Organizational Psychology and Personnel Psychology, and graduate seminars on Motivation and Job Attitudes, Decision Making in Organizations, Research Methods, and Group Processes in Organizations. He has directed twenty-six Master's Theses and twenty Doctoral Dissertations, and currently advises six Ph.D. students. His administrative responsibilities have included chairing a major departmental committee and serving as the Director of the Behavioral Science Laboratory. Outside of the university, he served on the editorial board of Personnel Psychology for sixteen years and on the editorial board of The Journal of Applied Psychology for twelve years.

Together with several colleagues, Robert has received twelve research grants from federal, state and private funding agencies. The total awarded by these grants exceeds two million dollars. The topics of these grants has included the management of organizational culture in a changing work environment, strategic issue diagnosis among top management teams, organizational commitment and the role of cognition in collective political decision making.

Robert's consulting activities have included conducting numerous employee attitude surveys, designing and implementing performance appraisal systems, developing employee selection systems, and conducting needs assessment for county government. These consulting projects have been conducted for organizations in both the private and public sectors.

Over the last nine years, Robert has collaborated with Phyllis Panzano, President of Decision Support Services, Inc., in a series of projects in the mental health industry. They have been examining how top management teams in Ohio's local mental health authorities and service agencies interpret and respond to new developments in the health care system, in an attempt to better understand and predict strategic organizartional decisions and actions.



Sheri Chaney, M.A., Research Associate

Sheri received her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology from Central Michigan University and did her undergraduate work at The Ohio State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Psychology. Her previous research has focused on decision makers' commitment to a failing course of action across many different reinforcement histories, the construct validity of teamwork situational judgment tests, and the effectiveness of using covariance to detect applicant faking on personality measures. As an independent consultant for a mid-sized manufacturing company, Sheri developed a presentation skills training program for sales employees and conducted a computer skills needs assessment for office professionals, which lead to an in-house computer training lab. Currently, she is involved with data collection for the Innovation Diffusion and Adoption Research Project (IDARP). In addition, she is a researcher on the job taxonomy project, which tests a model of motivational job design for use with adult members of disadvantaged populations (e.g., welfare, mentally-ill).

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