Allison S. Gabriel, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations
March 2, 2017
Seven Questions with Allison S. Gabriel
"What I enjoy most about teaching is building connections between what the science says about management best practices, and what people are actually experiencing at work."
What brought you to the Eller College?
The faculty members in the Management and Organizations department in the Eller College were the primary driver of me deciding to leave my previous position and come here. I had always respected the research coming out of the department, and after getting to know a few of the faculty members, I knew that this department would be a special group to be a part of. When a job opened up in the spring 2015 semester, I just knew I had to apply and give it a shot! After getting the chance to visit during my interview, all my good feelings were confirmed: the faculty, staff, and students in the department and across the college were wonderful, and continue to be wonderful today. There is something special going on at Eller that just isn’t being replicated anywhere else. I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it.
How long have you been at Eller?
I have been at the Eller College since August 2015. So, that makes it a little over a year and a half!
What is your current research, and what most excites you about that area of focus?
I’m an industrial-organizational psychologist by training, so much of my research focuses on what employees experience at work day-to-day and how this affects their emotions, motivation, and well-being at work. I’m fascinated by understanding how experiences people have at work each day—from interacting with a rude coworker, to accomplishing a work task, to even feeling hungry—change how people think and feel about their work. What makes me most excited about my general research focus is that I am able to examine questions that really connect to people’s experiences at work, and, hopefully, can have meaningful changes. For instance, I am currently conducting research about how women handle demands tied to work and caring for their children, with a particular focus on breastfeeding. I know how important these questions are for improving the daily experiences of working women, and feel a heavy burden that I am happy to carry to share their story in my research in order to inform policy change at organizations.
What are you currently teaching, and what do you most enjoy about teaching?
I teach organizational behavior for our undergraduate students primarily, and also teach executive education courses related to teams and leadership. What I enjoy the most about teaching these courses is building connections between what the science says about best practices tied to management, and what people are actually experiencing in the work, whether it’s students juggling part-time work demands while in school or senior executives figuring out how to best manager their teams. There are always real world connections to be made.
How do you bring your research into your teaching?
I always try to bring up my research (when it is relevant, of course!) in my courses. As one main example, in my organizational behavior course I teach an entire unit on stress, which fits well with my research on employee well-being. In this unit, I show students some of my work on different ways to manage stress at home after work, what strategies they can use to better cope with their stress, and what supervisors can do to set a healthier, more productive tone with their employees.
Beyond research and teaching, what are your passions?
Outside of research and teaching, I spend time focused on my own health/wellness. My husband and I are both avid runners, and have also taken up cycling and hiking since moving to Tucson. You’ll also find me around town in group fitness classes most weekday evenings. Beyond this, I like to spend as much time traveling as possible and soaking up the Southwest—we are originally from the East Coast/Midwest, so everything out here is all new to us!
What does the Eller Experience mean to you?
The Eller Experience means creating lifelong relationships with my colleagues and my students to create not only a better experience in the college, but a better experience in the workforce as well. That may sound like a broad endeavor, but I truly believe that we are equipping our students with the knowledge they need to be better managers, better team members, and better members of their communities.