Her research and teaching, at both undergraduate and graduate levels, focus on Intercultural Communication, Organizational Communication, and Negotiation and Conflict Management. A major strand of inquiry that Dr. Liu undertakes is concerned with whether people from different cultures engage in different cognitive and emotional processes, and if so, what effect might these differences have on the way they negotiate, manage conflict, and provide emotional support to distressed others. Her current research investigates culture’s main and moderating effects on the process through which negotiators’ emotions influence their own, as well as their counterpart’s, bargaining tactics and negotiation outcomes. This line of research is primarily quantitative, utilizing sophisticated statistical techniques, such as multilevel modeling and structural equation procedures, to analyze data collected from simulated negotiation interactions. Works from this line of research are published in the field’s premier journals, such as Human Communication Research and Communication Research, as well as key specialty journals, such as Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. Two of the conference papers received the Top Paper Awards, one from the Interpersonal Communication Division and the other from the Intercultural Communication Division of the International Communication Division. One of her journals articles received the 2010 Outstanding Scholarly Work Award from the ICA Intercultural Communication Division [Liu, M. (2009). The intrapersonal and interpersonal effects of anger on negotiation performance: A cross-cultural investigation. Human Communication Research, 35, 148-169.]
Dr. Liu also conducts research exploring culture and communication from a social constructionist, critical-interpretive perspective, using qualitative research methods such as interviews, textual analysis, and grounded theory techniques. Early in her career she was involved in a collaborative research project investigating gendered workplace processes, particularly as they relate to career communication and work-life conflict, as embedded in working mothers’ workplace pregnancy and maternity leave discourses. One of her ongoing projects examines bi-cultural identity (re)construction of second-generation immigrants as a contested space for meaning making. These qualitative works are also published in some of the field’s premier journals, such as Communication Monographs, Human Relations, and Journal of Applied Communication Research, as well as key specialty journals, such as International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Journal of Business Communication, and Journal of Family Communication. It has also resulted in a Top Four Paper Award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association, and three Outstanding Published Article Awards, one from the NCA Applied Communication Division, and two from the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender. Dr. Liu’s published articles can be found at http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~liu/.