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