AOM Scholars On…The Pendulum Shift Toward the Worker

27 May 2022
AOM Scholars discuss the record number of employees leaving the workforce and the ramifications for managers and businesses.


The Academy of Management’s fourth virtual AOM Scholar-led panel.

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Leading global workplace scholar and panel moderator Stephanie Creary of the University of Pennsylvania, joined panelists Allison Elias of the University of Virgina, Simone Phipps of Middle Georgia State University, and Stephen Cummings of Victoria University of Wellington to discuss “The Pendulum Shift Toward the Worker” as part of AOM’s scholar-led webinar panel on 9 June 2022.

The panel shared evidence-based insights on many of the workplace evolutions we have seen today, and specifically whether workers really have more power or agency today than before the pandemic.

The AOM Scholars showcased their research-based insights to make sense of these new workplace realities and to provide actionable tips and insights for organizations, practitioners, scholars, and the world at-large. 

The panel delivered research-based insights informing: 

  • Entrepreneurial paths and remote work as a catalyzing force for employee career shifts toward meaningful work 
  • The “Great Resignation,” wage increases and overall higher expectations among employees toward their employer 
  • The current labor market, unionization proliferation, inflation and the future of work 
  • The impact of the workforce environment on minority workforce groups.
  • How firms and managers can stay ahead and maintain employee engagement to keep up with employee demands as they navigate an ever-changing workforce 
  • The implications of a looming market slow down on anticipated worker leverage.

Learn more about AOM’s Subject Matter Experts.

Panel Moderator 

Panel Soundbite

“I’m surprised that companies are surprised that these things like unionization, mass resignations, or employee activism are happening amidst today’s workforce environment....

This idea of “don’t be surprised but be ready” would be advice I would give to leaders and employers.”

Stephanie Creary, The University of Pennsylvania

Stephanie J. Creary is an identity and diversity scholar and a field researcher.

Stephanie studies people’s identities at work, including their professional identities, marginalized identities, and the resources their organizations provide to support their identities. 

Specifically, her work investigates how individuals effectively navigate identity-related tensions and boundaries at work particularly when personal values and workplace norms related to inclusion and exclusion may seem at odds. She examines the micro- and organizational roots of the issues, workplace practices that seek to address the issues, and consequences of actions taken.

Stephanie's notable published AOM research include:


Panel Soundbite

“What I think makes employee activism more interesting and effective is the notion that surveillance goes two ways now. Employees are surveilling their employers in the same way that employers surveil their employees.

Employers often don’t get this—that they are being watched by current employees and perspective employees.

Technology enables employees to organize collectively in new ways and with great transparency to current work conditions and inequalities.”

Stephen Cummings, Victoria University of Wellington

Stephen Cummings is Professor of Strategy and Innovation and Director of The Atom/Te Kahu o Te Ao Innovation Space at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. 

His research focuses on how historical assumptions can limit innovation and creativity and has co-authored 11 books on this theme, including The Past, Present and Future of Sustainable Management (Palgrave, 2021), and A New History of Management (Cambridge University Press, 2017). 

Stephen has developed executive courses for a range of public and private sector organizations, including Philips, HSBC, The Financial Times, The Commerce Commission, and Prudential.

Stephen's notable published AOM research include: 

Panel Soundbite


“This is a moment of employee empowerment and employee activism. I would encourage leaders and managers, and sort of a stakeholder theory of the firm, to focus in and be attuned to what those employee signals and needs are. Put attention on employees—are there things that can be changed to better accommodate employees and to bring about mutual gain?”


Allison Elias, University of Virginia

Allison Elias is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration and teaches courses about communication and negotiation in Darden's MBA and EMBA programs. 

Her research investigates historical and contemporary issues of gender and diversity in organizations, with a focus on the influence of social movements on corporate practices. 

Her forthcoming book (History of U.S. Capitalism series, Columbia University Press), at the intersection history and management studies, charts the trajectory of modern feminism at work through the lens of the secretarial profession. 

Allison’s notable published AOM research include: 

Panel Soundbite

“When I think of the pendulum shift to the worker, and I think of the implications of this for people of color, or for diverse communities, I think of power dynamics.

Historically speaking, based on my research, and I think we’ve all known, when it comes to power in the employment sphere, women had less power and people of color had less power and elements of this remain true today.”

Simone Phipps, Middle Georgia State University

Simone T. A. Phipps is an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business at Middle Georgia State University, and an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School's Centre for Social Innovation. 

She is also a member of the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2021, and co-winner of the Thinkers50 2021 Breakthrough Idea Award.

Simone’s research interests include Management History, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Social Innovation, Social Sustainability, and relationships between the organization and society. 

Her research usually involves the exploration of gender, racial, and ethnic minorities, with the aim of highlighting their struggles and contributions, as well as finding possible solutions to improve the minority experience in business and society.

Phipps’ notable published AOM research include: