The Worker Wellbeing Lab is a feminist research lab that welcomes scholars interested in employee health, flourishing, and belonging.

The lab is directed by Dr. Gloria Gonzalez-Morales. Her research involves the disciplines of occupational health psychology and positive organizational psychology to study work stress, work-life and diversity, workplace mistreatment  and victimization, workplace respect, emotion regulation and the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to improve occupational psychological well-being.

Research Associates develop team and independent research at the WW lab. Learn about our team here!

We organize the research at the WW lab in three buckets: health, flourishing, and belonging.

Most research projects cross over from one bucket to another because we understand worker wellbeing within organizational systems.



Work Stress and Resource Mobilization Theory ​

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales in collaboration with Dr. Neves and Dr. Ewles

This research studies the antecedents and outcomes of challenge-hindrance stressor appraisal in collaboration with Dr. Neves (Universida de  Nova de Lisboa) and Dr.  Ewles  (Canada). This line of research  also includes theory building around the idea of stressor appraisal and mobilization of resources from a longitudinal and multilevel perspective, and its application to organizational behavior.

Understanding Cultural Variations in Gallows Humor and Its Utilization by Explosive Ordinance Disposal Units of the United States Air Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force: A Cross-Cultural Analysis

Nichole Hauck Long, in collaboration with Challie Frostick, Bliss Paik, & Susan Hann Doyle

This study delves into the cultural nuances of gallows humor, particularly within the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) units of the United States and Japan, examining its plausible efficacy as a coping mechanism across diverse cultural contexts among EOD technicians. In the chaos and stress of being downrange or in a training scenario, humor—whether dark, absurd, or twisted—has become critical for maintaining one’s sanity. EOD technicians are trained to detect, disarm, and dispose of all types of explosives, including conventional, unconventional, and nuclear weapons. Their critical role spans combat and non-combat scenarios, ensuring safety and minimizing risk in military operations and peacetime environments.

Approaching their perilous job with the dark humor of highly skilled professionals, EOD Units’ unofficial motto is “Initial Success or Total Failure”. This motto encapsulates the gravity of an EOD technician’s work and the importance of maintaining a level head in the face of adversity. When faced with the threat of dismemberment from an IED or the unpredictable presence of a UXO, the world assumes a different hue. Things that once held profound seriousness now seem no more than mere trinkets. In essence, an EOD technician may find the gravest scenarios amusing, in a way that may seem insanely contorted to an outsider.


Mind the “I” in Mindfulness: Mindfulness, Interdependence, and Work Performance

Gavriella Rubin

This thesis study investigates the relationship between mindfulness and two very distinct performance-related outcomes: productivity and helping behaviors. Workplaces rely on workers both performing their basic job duties and helping each other, i.e. prosocial workplace behaviors (PWBs). Mindfulness is often implemented as a cure-all in organizations for improving performance related outcomes, both related to task-performance and PWBs. But recent research suggests that mindfulness may only lead to more prosocial behaviors for individuals who see themselves as inherently connected to others, as indicated by high interdependent self-construal. Despite the rising popularity of mindfulness at work and growing body of research on the matter, the boundary conditions relating to mindfulness and its outcomes are understudied. This study investigates the relationship between mindfulness and performance, intra-role and extra-role, and the moderating role of interdependent self-construal in workplace settings. Specifically, this study aims to explain how personal styles of dependence in the workplace moderate the relationships between mindfulness and task-performance as well as mindfulness and PWB. We expect to find that interdependent self-construal will buffer the relationship between mindfulness and task-performance while simultaneously strengthening the relationship between mindfulness and PWBs. This study adds to the current theoretical discussion of mindfulness in organizational settings and has practical implications for both modern mindfulness and overall improvement of workplace performance.


“You’ve Got Mail”: The Effect of Email Response Urgency on Response Speed Expectations and Employee Affect

Savannah Leslie

Work-related information and communication technology (ICT) use during recovery hours such as the weekend has posed a threat to employee well-being, as noted in the conservation of resources theory and the effort recovery theory. This research examines the impact that ICT demands have on employee well-being and cognition. Through experimental analysis, I’m exploring how receiving work-related emails during non-work hours impacts the receiver’s (negative) affect and their perception of how quickly they are expected to respond to the email. I will be testing whether the urgency of the sender’s email content (e.g. if a coworker states that they need a response on a project due that week, in a month, or an unknown deadline) and the sender noting when they expected a response (e.g. ASAP, mid-work week, or no note) impacts the reciever’s negative affect and perceptions of response speed expectations. It is expected that being unclear with the urgency of a message can cause unnecessary distress to employees, which ultimately can affect their well-being and performance.


Catch Me If You Can: A Social Network Perspective of Burnout 

Alyssa Birnbaum

This thesis study takes a new lens by focusing on whether burnout, similar to an epidemic, is capable of spreading at work and what elements impact the spread of burnout. Based on a sample of 40 employees from a data analytics company, this research investigates whether the degree of burnout of connected others is related to the degree of burnout experienced by individuals and whether physical location proximity and the frequency of interactions moderate the relationship between the burnout of connected others and the burnout of an individual within the same organization. Although the direct effect and physical location proximity moderation did not yield substantive results, results from the frequency of interactions moderation suggest that frequency of interactions positively impacts the relationship between burnout of connected others and burnout of an individual when burnout levels of others were low. Additional analyses using exponential random graph models (ERGMs) suggest that employees with higher levels of burnout are less likely to form work ties with one another. 


Up in the AIR: Revisiting Boundary Management After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Megan Benzing, Alyssa Birnbaum, Chloe Darlington, Gloria Gonzalez-Morales

This research explores how the immediate transition to remote work due to COVID-19 impacted employees’ boundary management. Through reflexive thematic analysis, we’re learning how people are navigating their work lives with collapsed temporal and spatial boundaries that are more flexible and permeable than ever. Interviews with 40 participants illuminated the increasingly porous nature of work-life boundaries. The transitions in and out of work throughout the day, which we call nano transitions, were often shorter and more frequent than general micro transitions. We found that successful nano transitions are characterized by three components: autonomy, intentionality, and regulation (AIR). This research further delves into the themes that emerged from the interview data and proposes future research that assesses nano transitions in more depth. This topic is especially pertinent as the world of work continues to evolve and remote and hybrid work become increasingly more commonplace.


9-1-1 Call Prioritization and Appraisal: Does Job Experience and Secondary Traumatic Stress Play a Role?

Emily Zavala

The thesis study will not only add to emerging research surrounding the 9-1-1 call taker’s appraisal and prioritization of 9-1-1 calls, but it will also examine explore additional factors, such as job experience and secondary traumatic stress, which have not been investigated. According to Gillooly (2020) revamping current training programs within PSAPs and implementing dispatch protocols to ensure greater consistency in the call-taking process will potentially decrease inaccurate assessments and misclassification of 9-1-1 calls. However, previous research has not taken into consideration the work experience of PST and the exposure to secondary traumatic stress that could affect accurate call prioritization. Therefore, the current study will potentially shed light on other organizational strategies or well-being initiatives that could be used to help PSTs correctly appraise 9-1-1 calls and accurately classify police response.


9-1-1 Dispatcher Well-being and Psychological Capital

Emily Zavala

A public safety telecommunicator (PST) may be the first contact for citizens summoning aid in a potentially life-threatening crisis. Due to work-related stress, PSTs frequently experience an array of psychological disturbances. Current interventions to combat stress emphasize mindfulness, resilience and efficacy and have demonstrated that PSTs with a positive psychological state are less impacted by stressors. Psychological Capital (PsyCap) looks closely at an individual’s psychological state, more specifically at an individual’s hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. The current study aims to explore how PsyCap could be used as an effective tool for PSTs to mitigate work-related stress. Utilizing a phenomenological approach, semi structured interviews and analysis of Reddit posts were used in the pilot study and determined that PSTs displayed characteristics of all four components of PsyCap, in varying degrees, in addition to other coping strategies such as dark humor, silo effect and seeking therapy. The findings of the pilot study potential allude that the use of PsyCap in training and interventions for PSTs could aid in work-related stress and warrants the need for further research.




Emotion Regulation in the Workplace ​

Dr, Gonzalez-Morales, in collaboration with Dr. Michel, Dr. Hoppe, Dr. Steide, and Dr. Oshea

A program of research initially developed with a team of European researchers (Germany: Dr. Michel, Dr. Hoppe, Dr. Steide; Ireland: Dr. Oshea) on experiential sampling studies that explore the relationships between work and non-work domains, and resource-based interventions to enhance employee well-being. This line of research has evolved in several streams. One of them, funded by  the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and in collaboration with Dr Margaret Lumley, led to the release of a mobile application, Emotion Savvy,  to train emotional regulation in young adults, developed in collaboration with Emotional Apps. We are investigating how this type of applications can be used in workplaces to improve organizational climate, social relationships and occupational well-being.


Living a Calling

Megan Benzing

This thesis research studies how living a calling leads to engagement (and lower burnout), benefiting the organization through the enactment of OCBs.


A Social Network Perspective of Work Engagement

Alyssa Birnbaum, Dr. Gonzalez-Morales

This review paper draws on the crossover model and conservation of resources theory to suggest that the effects of social diffusion and the exchange of resources can impact work engagement and that SNA can help measure those social interactions. Linking several network concepts – closeness centrality, density, degree centrality, and tie strength – to potential work engagement research questions related to the spread of work engagement as well as the number and quality of network ties, this review elucidates the potential for integrating SNA methodology to the field of work engagement.


A Socio-Relational Approach to Speaking Up: A Moderated-Mediation Model Examining the Role of Relational Energy and Supervisor Organizational Embodiment on the Relationship Between Respectful Engagement and Speaking Up

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales, Alyssa Birnbaum, in collaboration with Anibal Lopez (first author)

Based on the concept of high-quality connections and the tenets of conservation of resources theory, our research examines both the horizontal (i.e., respectful engagement among peers) and vertical (i.e., supervisor organization embodiment) socio-relational influences on speaking up. Using a three-wave field study of 511 employees, the results of our moderated-mediation model support our theorizing that respectful engagement fosters speaking up via vigor, particularly when perceptions of supervisory organizational embodiment are high.


Remote Workers and High-Quality Connections

Alyssa Birnbaum

This mixed-methods research will investigate high-quality connections (HQCs), empirically testing the conceptual antecedents from Dutton (2003) and Stephens et al. (2012) (i.e., respectful engagement, trusting, task enabling, and play) and day-level outcomes (i.e., engagement and exhaustion) using Day Reconstruction Method to compare these relationships between in-person and remote employees. The following study will utilize reflexive thematic analysis to qualitatively assess HQCs, again focusing on distinct differences between in-person and remote employees.


Careers and Entrepreneurship ​  (research participants needed, click here)

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales has developed different research projects that deal with career development of young workers: a transdisciplinary collaboration with scholars from Arts, Psychology and Engineering to study soft skill training in higher education and how it relates to career development; in Argentina, with Dr. Batlle (Universidad de Buenos Aires) studying correlates of career maturity among high school students.

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales is applying a work stress and gender paradigm to the study of nascent entrepreneurship with colleagues from Portugal (Dr. Neves and Dr. Lopez, Nova Business School) and Spain (Dr. Diaz, Universidad de La Laguna).


Presence Scale Validation

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales, Gavriella Rubin, Fabiana Memmolo, in collaboration with external researchers

Validating a new scale that measures the ability of being present at work.



Relational Pathways to STEM Identity and Belonging 

Ashley Bonilla 

This dissertation study explores the relational pathways influencing STEM identity and belonging, focusing on historically marginalized groups (HMGs) and women. It delves into how communal goals framed as growth-in-connection, shape STEM engagement and persistence (e.g., identity and belonging). Through a mixed-methods approach, this study aims to redefine success in STEM, emphasizing collaboration and connection to foster a more inclusive and diverse STEM community.

Combatting Intra-Force Adversaries: An Exploration of Masculinity Contest Culture on Women’s Meaningful Participation in the Military

Nichole Hauck Long

In a time when gender integration in the armed forces of partner nations is a global priority, this study examines the historical context of women’s participation in the United States Armed Forces. It emphasizes the persistent barriers and unique challenges faced by women in uniform. Despite progress in fostering inclusivity, women in uniform still experience disproportionately high rates of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination. This study underscores the paradox of gender integration efforts, which often mask deep-rooted gender inequalities. It also delves into the complexities of intersectional gender identity and demographic diversity, and how they intersect with the U.S. military’s Masculinity Contest Culture (MCC). The research aims to analyze the intricate nature of the MCC and its impact on the prevalence of Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment (GBDH). By navigating the subtle dynamics of gender within the military, this study advocates for a shift in the overall military culture, advocating for a move beyond superficial diversity measures.


Respectful Workplaces ​

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales, in collaboration with Mr. Hausdorf and Dr. Koehler

This is a program of research for developing conceptual, theoretical and methodological contributions such as reflective measures of victimization, diversity and inclusion; narrative and meta-analytic reviews of workplace incivility; experiments to understand the antecedents of victimization; and theory building to propose a framework of workplace respect. Given that respect in the workplace is closely connected to the belonging of employees, this program of research is enacted from a diversity and inclusion perspective and theoretically anchored in positive organizational scholarship and emotional management. Dr. Gonzalez-Morales’ project on cultural diversity and communication-based incivility is funded with competitive funding from the Federal Canadian Agency, SSHRC in  collaboration with Hr. Hausdorf from University of Guelph, Canada and Dr. Koehler, from University of Melbourne, Australia. ​


Entrepreneurial Belonging of Women in STEM

Cecelia Dotzler

This research examines entrepreneurial belonging of women in STEM using a multilevel perspective that highlights the masculinity contest cultures of entrepreneurial contexts and the need to value relational practice.


STEM Postdoctoral Scholars: A Qualitative Exploration of Job Crafting

Cecelia Dotzler

This study investigates the effect of combining an existing diversity training with an appreciative inquiry summit to decrease the negative consequences of diversity trainings (decreasing the risk of triggering stereotype threat and negative affect) and increasing the positive effects (e.g., increasing diversity self-efficacy and hope). The study contributes to the literature on diversity trainings and the potential impact that appreciative inquiry can have on both emotional reactions and long-term behavioral changes.


A Motivational Approach to Job Crafting Inclusion Behaviors for Women’s True Belonging in STEM

Cecelia Dotzler

There is a known persistent gender disparity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields that begins at the university level and expands into the latest stages of career trajectories. This disparity attracts attention from scholars from many fields yet requires further efforts to rectify, given the current rate of change would not support reaching gender parity for 130 years. Recent reviews of diversity training initiatives show a lack of consistent results around their efficacy, and several studies suggest that participants of these trainings experience feelings of threat (Pietri et al, 2017). There is an opportunity to explore how positive psychology might enhance the desired outcomes of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and buffer against the unintended and harmful consequences – and how doing so from a promotion-focused and appetitive-oriented motivational standpoint might lead to more positive outcomes. Job crafting might be a powerful tool to integrate into DEI work and facilitate women’s true belonging in STEM spaces. The current conceptual paper introduces the novel concept of job crafting for inclusion behaviors and explains the motivational mechanisms that allow employees task crafting, relational crafting, and cognitive crafting to create inclusive STEM spaces in which women can truly belong and be their unique selves.


Authentic Belonging: A Qualitative Inquiry to Facilitate Women’s Authentic Belonging in STEM

Cecelia Dotzler

I am proposing two distinct and complementary research projects that will lead to a deeper understanding of the crucial experience of authentic belonging, defined as the resulting experience of inclusion efforts that fulfill both social identity needs of differentiation (uniqueness, authenticity) and assimilation (integration, belongingness). Authentic belonging is a necessary condition for women’s persistence, engagement, and thriving in STEM fields in which there is currently a stark and longstanding gender disparity (Crotti, 2021). My dissertation research will provide a better understanding of the similarities and differences between men and women in STEM in the experience and impact of authentic belonging. Further, it will serve as a guide for individuals seeking to job craft toward inclusion behaviors with the goal of creating inclusive spaces for women in STEM.


An Early Career Scientist’s Perception of Communal Goal Affordances in STEM

Ashley Bonilla, in collaboration with Dr. Anna Woodcock

This study uses a sample of ethnic-minority early-career scholars to examine three aims. (1) Investigate the perceptions of communal goal affordances in STEM (2) Investigate the type of mismatch they experience. For example a negative mismatch in which they perceive a STEM career lacks communal opportunities, or positive, where they perceive a STEM career provides an excess number of opportunities to fulfill communal goals. (3) Investigate how communal goal mismatch type (negative vs. positive) influences their STEM intentions, sense of belonging, and science identity.


Integrative Team Belonging Training

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales, Nohelia Veliz Argote, in collaboration with Dr. Feitosa

Dr. Gonzalez-Morales is working with Dr. Feitosa (Claremont McKenna College) on a project funded through a Blais Challenge Award. Nohelia Veliz Argote is leading the WW lab work in this project that incorporates team processes, diversity and emotional management, to create more resilient work teams.


On One Condition: Stereotype Activation and its Role in Prejudice Against Women in Leadership

Veronica Scott

Role Congruity Theory provides an evidence-based framework for how biases against leaders who are ‘women in general’ operate (Eagly & Karau, 2002). However, stereotypes of ‘women in general’ are closest to stereotypes of women with majority group identities (ex. White, cis, straight), and prior research shows that communal expectations of ‘women in general’ are not shared for many Women of Color and Queer women. Thus, there is less clarity regarding how gender biases operate against women leaders who have additional minority-group identities or even specific career roles, for which their subgroup stereotype differs from traditional gender stereotypes based on white cis straight (and otherwise majority-group) womanhood. In this paper, I review the unique stereotype subgroups that result from the intersectional identities of Women of Color (WOC) women, as well as queer women, and I make the case that the traditional gender expectations held for ‘women in general’ frequently fail to generalize to these groups. I then explain how multiple identities and roles can intersect to create intersectional stereotypes. Finally, I illustrate that evaluating women leaders through a simple or an intersectional stereotype will depend upon which one is activated in the moment. Lastly, I suggest future research directions for scholars seeking to apply an intersectional lens (Crenshaw, 2017) to the study of stereotyping and women in leadership.


Appreciative Inquiry to Examine and Facilitate an Organizational Culture of Active Organizational Belonging

Veronica Scott

This dissertation study uses appreciative inquiry as a way of examining and facilitating an organizational culture of active organizational belonging (particularly as opposed to masculine competitive contest culture). It will used a mixed method design to answer the research questions: a) How might viewing organizational belonging as a positive core, and moving towards this core through positive inquiry, help shape how individuals relate to one another at work? b) What would positive relational practice at work entail?


Moving From Problems to Solutions: A Review of Gender Equality Interventions at Work Using an Ecological Systems Approach.

Veronica Scott, in collaboration with Dr. Vienne Lau (first author), Meg Warren, and Dr. Michelle Bligh 

Despite the mounting research on gender inequality in the workplace, progress toward gender parity in organizational practice has stalled. We suggest that one reason for the lack of progress is that empirical research has predominately focused on the antecedents and manifestations of gender inequality in the workplace, paying inadequate attention to the solutions that could potentially improve gender equality and women’s experiences at work. Indeed, we report here that less than 5% of the relevant studies published in preeminent management, psychology, and diversity journals since the turn of the century identify practical interventions for solving gender inequality in organizations. To advance gender equality at work, we argue that a paradigm shift from problems to solutions is critical and urgent. Using ecological systems theory (EST; Bronfenbrenner, 1977) as our guiding framework, we present an integrative review of gender equality interventions spanning across the management, psychology, and feminist literature over the past two decades at the ontogenic system, interpersonal microsystem, and organizational microsystem levels of analysis. We subsequently provide an overview of domains not currently addressed in extant research (meso-, macro-, and chronosystems) and identify future research directions to spur progress towards workplace gender equality.

Gender and Sexual Diversity

We are working on several projects focused on women’s emotional  labor, high quality  connections and relational practice; bias literacy interventions to support gender equality in the workplace; workplace experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals (in  collaboration with Thomas Sasso University of Guelph, Canada).

Participate in our research, click here!