Management and Organizations Professor’s Research on Breastfeeding at Work Featured in Quartz and Harvard Business Review

Nov. 5, 2019

In the Headlines
Allison Gabriel

New research on the good and bad of breastfeeding at work by Allison Gabriel, associate professor of management and organizations in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, was featured in a November 4 Quartz article as well as an article by Gabriel and her co-authors in the Harvard Business Review on November 7.

The story notes that nursing mothers who return to work are challenged by the need to pump breastmilk regularly—from finding a suitable space to pump to taking the time to pump every three to four hours, from ensuring equipment and bottles are sterilized to refrigerating the milk. “[A]ll these conditions have a material effect, and not just on women’s wellbeing,” says the article.

Gabriel’s study finds that nursing women who are not supported “find themselves less able to complete their tasks—and they produce less milk than happier, better-supported nursing mothers in the workplace.” When women reported that breastfeeding was going well at work, however, the success “correlated with lower negative emotion, which in turn resulted in higher self-reports of work productivity and breastmilk [production],” says Gabriel in the article.

Gabriel’s research was conducted with Sabrina Volpone (University of Colorado-Boulder), Eller doctoral student Rebecca MacGowan and Marcus Butts (Southern Methodist University) and published on October 11 in the Academy of Management Journal.

Gabriel joined the Eller College in 2015 after earning her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2013 from the University of Akron. Her research focuses on emotions at work, employee recovery, interpersonal stressors and relationships at work, motivation and employee well-being.