See a copy of my CV here.
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”
-Zora Neale Hurston
I believe that organizations have the potential to positively impact individuals, communities, and society. Yet, workers experience chronic stress and explicit bias and discrimination, especially individuals working in healthcare and members of marginalized social identity groups. In my research, I primarily investigate how these employees survive and thrive working in oppressive and or stressful work environments.
To that end, I examine how employees survive by engaging in short-term, adaptive strategies in oppressive contexts. I, along with colleagues from the University of Michigan (Schmitz, Hicken, & Sonnega), find that systemic, institutionalized racism creates distinct experiences within the same industries among aging Black and White employees. Further, my colleagues (Bryant, King, & Ali) and I have theorized how experiencing racially traumatic events—such as watching viral videos of police officers shooting unarmed Black people—could lead Black employees to 'Calling in Black', especially if their organization lacks resources to alleviate their trauma. Working in these environments may be taxing to Black employees' well-being as demonstrated in my research with Catalyst, Inc. I'm currently exploring how pressures for Black women to feel that they belong and are distinct in the workplace could create visibility tensions (under review with Rabelo) and the need for them to code-switch at work (working paper with Durkee, Lee, & Robotham). In addition to surviving, I also explore how employees may thrive in oppressive workplaces by developing sustainable strategies that eradicate marginalization at the institutional level. For my dissertation, I examined how Black women leaders of religious institutions derive strength and wisdom from their marginality to shape their institutions (working paper with Hernandez). I am also exploring how members of marginalized social identity groups may experience authenticity (with Hall, Phillips, & Kang) and enact influence in governance roles (with Trzebiatowski & Hernandez).
I am also uncovering how workers survive and thrive in stressful work environments through theoretically and methodologically distinguishing workplace constructs and physiological stress responses. I have primarily explored these distinctions among health providers. Healthcare jobs are one of the most stressful occupations, characterized by high demands and long work hours. I've found in my research that nurses and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) experience high levels of burnout and engagement (along with Fragoso, Holcombe, McGonagle, Fisher, & Friebe), which indicates that different aspects of their workplace can mitigate burnout and promote worker engagement. Additionally, my current work finds that workers' experiences in stressful occupations are determined by whether subjective or objective measures are used to assess job demands and resources (under review with Schmitz, Sonnega, & Hicken), which has implications for improving occupational health. In other research, we find that deepening our understand of the body in social interactions could indicate mindfulness or mindlessness, leading to adaptive or maladaptive physiological responses, which has subsequent implications for performance (under review with Akinola & Townsend). Additionally, parsing out the role of mattering in the workplace as separate from meaningfulness could inform how institutional practices contribute to stressful workplaces (with Haizlip & Hernandez).
I am a member of the Academy of Management, Center for Positive Organizations, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists.