Rigorous and Relevant Employment Research

The research conducted by IWER scholars is motivated by important real-world questions and challenges that will help shape work’s future. Our faculty members' research projects address a wide range of timely topics, from identifying sources of income inequality to reducing bias in organizational processes.

Emilio J. Castilla | MIT Sloan NTU Professor of Management
"Only when employees, managers, and executives all share a common understanding of what ‘merit’ actually is (and how to measure it) can we hope that the same standards will be applied consistently to all employees, regardless of demographic factors. This can help make the evaluation process more meritocratic, and the workplace more fair and diverse."
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IWER Research in the News

Current IWER Faculty Projects

  • Worker Well-Being

    Professor Erin L. Kelly studies ways to redesign work to benefit both employees and firms. She is leading a study in warehouses that seeks to improve job quality as well as workers’ health and well-being. Her work also investigates how work-family challenges can be managed.

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  • Reducing Bias in Organizations

    Professor Emilio J. Castilla researches companies’ people management processes, with a particular focus on reducing bias. His current projects include applying people analytics to reduce bias in hiring and other people-related processes key for organizational success.

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  • Income Inequality and Economic Mobility

    Professor Nathan Wilmers studies income inequality, including an ongoing study of how changing work tasks for low-wage workers can boost their pay.

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  • Worker Voice and Power

    Professor Anna Stansbury is a labor and macro economist, with a particular focus on issues to do with market power and labor market institutions.  Her work includes quantifying the macroeconomic effects of the decline in U.S. worker power and investigating firms’ incentives to comply with labor and employment law.

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    Professor Thomas A. Kochan focuses on worker voice and engaging frontline workers in shaping work’s future. With colleagues, he is launching a multi-university project that examines worker efforts to gain greater voice at work.

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  • Skills Training

    Professor Paul Osterman recently completed new research on how U.S. workers gain their skills, and is now conducting a follow-up study on workers’ training and skills development during COVID-19.

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  • Conflict Management

    Professor Mary P. Rowe’s work explores topics related to negotiation and conflict management, including the organizational ombuds profession, harassment and bullying, micro-inequities and micro-affirmations, and the role of bystanders in organizations.

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Declining Worker Power, Growing Inequality

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Recent Publications by IWER Faculty

"Employer Practices and Worker Outcomes: A Landscape Report."

Erin L. Kelly, Hazhir Rahmandad, Nathan Wilmers, and Aishwarya Yadama. Washington, DC: June 2022.

"Economics Needs More Socioeconomic Diversity."

Stansbury, Anna. Harvard Business Review, June 10, 2022.

Faculty: Anna Stansbury
"U.S. Workers' Organizing Efforts and Collective Actions: A Review of the Current Landscape."

Thomas Kochan, Janice R. Fine, Kate Bronfenbrenner, Suresh Naidu, Jacob Barnes, Yaminette Diaz-Linhart, Johnnie Kallas, Jeonghun Kim, Arrow Minster, Di Tong, Phela Townsend, and Danielle Twiss. Cambridge, MA: June 2022.

Faculty: Thomas Kochan
"Mistreatment Experiences, Protective Workplace Systems, and Occupational Distress in Physicians."

Rowe, Susannah G., Miriam T. Stewart, Sam Van Horne, Cassandra Pierre, Hanhan Wang, Makaila Manukyan, Megan Bair-Merritt, Aviva Lee-Parritz, Mary P. Rowe, Tait Shanafelt, and Mickey Trockel. JAMA Network Open Vol. 5, No. 5 (2022): e2210768. Download Paper.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
"Rank Has Its Privileges: Explaining Why Laboratory Safety Is a Persistent Challenge."

Basbug, Gokce, Susan S. Silbey and Ayn Cavicchi. Journal of Business Ethics. Forthcoming.

Faculty: Susan Silbey
"How American Adults Obtain Work Skills: Results of a New National Survey."

Osterman, Paul. ILR Review Vol. 75, No. 3 (2022): 578-607. Download Paper.

Faculty: Paul Osterman
"Values and Inequality: Prosocial Jobs and the College Wage Premium."

Wilmers, Nathan, and Letian Zhang. American Sociological Review Vol. 87, No. 3 (2022): 415-442.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
"What Forms of Representation do American Workers Want? Implications for Theory, Policy, and Practice."

Hertel-Fernandez, Alex, William Kimball, and Thomas Kochan. ILR Review Vol. 75, No. 2 (2022): 267-294. Appendix.

Faculty: Thomas Kochan
"Gender, Race, and Network Advantage in Organizations."

Castilla, Emilio J. Organization Science. Forthcoming.

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