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Journal Plans Special Issue Honoring Mary Rowe’s Contributions to Ombuds Field

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association (JIOA) has announced plans for a special issue focused on the scholarly contributions of Mary P. Rowe and their impact on our understanding of the ombuds profession.

Rowe is an Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a member of the faculty of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER). She served for almost 42 years as an organizational ombuds reporting directly to five presidents of MIT.

Rowe’s research and publications encompass a variety of topics encountered in her career—ranging from the role and work of an organizational ombuds to harassment, micro-affirmations, and bystanders. Her research interests include the different kinds of power that are used in interpersonal negotiations; harassment; dispute resolution system design; and coping with difficult people and unacceptable behavior. She is especially interested in the role of bystanders and the “bystanders of bystanders” in helping to affirm professional and productive behavior within organizations, and in the power of micro-affirmations to mitigate and even help to prevent the damage caused by micro-inequities of all kinds. Rowe holds a BA in history/international relations from Swarthmore College and a PhD in economics from Columbia University. 

According to the JIOA announcement of the planned special issue,

 “Rowe’s works have been cited by a multitude of researchers and practitioners alike as having a profound impact in how they think about the ombuds field and discuss it with their organizations. One only needs to review her website at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she served as ombuds for 42 years to see the extent of her influence.

We invite authors to submit essays that reflect on how Mary Rowe’s scholarship may have influenced their own work; how it might benefit future practitioners, scholars, and students; or any topic that involves the work of this major figure in the ombuds field.”