Erin Kelly


Erin Kelly

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Erin L. Kelly is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Co-Director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research. 

Kelly’s research has been published in many top sociology, management, and interdisciplinary journals and twice recognized with the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award. Her book with Phyllis Moen, Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It, was published by Princeton University Press in March 2020.  Overload received the 2021 Max Weber Award from the American Sociological Association's Organizations, Occupations, and Work section, and an honorable mention for the 2021 Viviana Zelizer Award for best book in economic sociology. Overload was also named as one of Business Insider's 10 Books to Read to Learn about the Future of Work.

Kelly investigates the implications of workplace policies and management practices for firms, workers, and families with a joint focus on equity, wellbeing, and organizational performance. Previous research has examined scheduling and work-family supports, family leaves, harassment policies, and diversity initiatives in a variety of organizations and industries. Kelly’s early research contributed to our understanding of which diversity policies and programs seem to change organizations and which are primarily “window dressing.”

As part of the Work, Family, and Health Network, Kelly evaluated innovative approaches to work redesign with group-randomized trials in professional/technical and health care workforces. A current collaborative project investigates how work conditions in e-commerce warehouses impact workers’ experiences, well-being, productivity, and turnover. Kelly is also interested in workers’ voice on the job, and strategies for engaging workers and learning together in different work contexts. Ongoing projects explore different facets of wellbeing and engagement in low- and moderate-wage jobs, including warehouse work, with the goal of identifying promising practices and designing evaluation projects that advance both scholarly and organizational goals.  

Kelly is a sociologist and received her PhD from Princeton University and her BA from Rice University. She previously taught at the University of Minnesota.


“Overload” wins 2021 Max Weber Book Award

Erin Kelly recognized for work-family research


"7 Strategies to Improve Your Employees’ Health and Well-Being."

Kelly, Erin L., Lisa F. Berkman, Laura D. Kubzansky, and Meg Lovejoy. Harvard Business Review, October 12, 2021.

"A Blueprint for Designing Hybrid Work Policies."

Kelly, Erin L., and Phyllis Moen., May 17, 2021.

"Advancing Working Family Well-Being."

Kelly, Erin. Presentation, NIOSH Total Worker Health Webinar, United States of America. January 2016.

"An Integrative, Multilevel, and Transdisciplinary Research Approach to Challenges of Work, Family, and Health."

Jeremy Bray, Orfeu Buxton, David Almeida, Erin Kelly, James Dearing and Rosalind B. King. In RTI Press Publication No. MR-0024-1303, edited by Joanne Studders. Research Triangle Park, NC: March 2013.

"Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies."

Kalev, Alexandra, Frank Dobbin and Erin Kelly. American Sociological Review Vol. 71, No. 4 (2006): 589-617.

"Can a Flexibility/Support Initiative Reduce Turnover Intentions and Exits? Results from the Work, Family, and Health Network."

Moen, Phyllis, Erin Kelly, J. Michael Oakes, Shi-Rong Lee, Jeremy Bray, David Almeida, Leslie Hammer, David Hurtado, and Orfeu Buxton. Social Problems Vol. 64, No. 1 (2017): 53-85.

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