Research Summary

How do major societal changes such as the aging of the workforce and female professionals’ growing contribution to their household’s income shape workers’ experience of the workplace, their career aspirations, and social exchanges between employees? To explore these questions, I look at the micro-level consequences of macro-level demographic and cultural shifts. So far, I have investigated (1) how collective views of younger workers shape their experience in a rapidly aging workforce; and (2) how gender dynamics at home impact female workers’ outcomes at the workplace. I explore these questions using a wide range of methods including experiments, quasi-experiments, archival data, automated text analyses, nationally representative surveys, academic forecasting studies, and field interventions. In doing so, I aim to advance our understanding of a rapidly changing workforce and develop practical solutions to address the challenges that these changes raise for workers, managers, business leaders, and organizations.

Younger workers in an aging workforce. In aging societies, keeping an increasingly age-diverse workforce engaged, cohesive, and productive has become a growing issue for organizational leaders. Age-biases and intergenerational conflicts, on the rise, can get in the way of achieving this goal. In tackling this issue, researchers have often focused on the plight faced by older workers—the proportionally growing segment of the workforce—assuming that age-stigma increases throughout the lifespan. My work challenges this popular assumption, showing how younger workers face more prejudices than older workers, and how these prejudices shape their experience of the workplace and the nature of modern intergenerational conflicts in organizations.

Gendered dynamics in dual-earner households. In another stream of research, I examine how gendered dynamics at home impact female professionals’ outcome at the workplace. Management scholars have often emphasized demand-side processes (e.g., employer discrimination) to account for gender disparities in career outcomes. In contrast, a growing body of work has shown how supply-side processes (e.g., women’s greater home/family demands) hinder female workers’ professional aspirations. Indeed, female workers still bear the brunt of their households’ domestic duties, even as their contribution to family income has soared and societal endorsement of traditional gender norms has plummeted. These extra home/family demands, in turn, interfere with their work duties, significantly contributing to contemporary gender disparities in career outcomes. In this context, my work seeks to build on growing public support for egalitarian division of labor to offer theory-driven interventions that improve women’s professional outcomes.