Shared Purpose and Belonging
I believe organizations can be forces for good, with influence beyond the full-time employees who are the usual focus of organizational behavior research.
Many of my projects involve people sometimes thought to be on the margins of organizational life--low-wage, remote, or temporary workers, for example, or the family members of employees. I am particularly interested in how these groups experience belonging, shared purpose, and a sense of community through their (perhaps more tenuous) organizational ties.
Mattering at Work
Another research stream involves the idea of mattering at work. In my dissertation, I explore how members of a startup deal with losses associated with rapid company growth. As their roles and relationships shift, members at every level begin to question whether they still matter at work. My data reveal how they answer that question, together.
In a second study, coauthors Julia Lee Cunningham, Nathan Meikle and I examine how employees experience manager-led activities designed to build relationships. We find these workplace rituals are particularly effective when they help employees feel they matter.
A third mattering study, this one with Wayne Baker, connects perceptions of mattering with how often people are willing to ask each other for help.
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