AOM Scholars On… How to Pursue Work-Life Balance Without Sacrificing Career Ambition

29 Mar 2024
The work-life balance dilemma has been an age-old issue in the employee-employer relationship. Recent articles reveal that workers are almost always or often feeling burnt out from work. AOM's SME panel provides insights and solutions to support employers and employees trying to achieve better work-life balance without sacrificing career ambitions.

Watch the panel recording from 7 May 2024


Brianna Caza, associate professor of management at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, moderated a discussion among panelists Allison Elias of the University of Virginia, Laura M. Giurge of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Ellen Ernst Kossek of Purdue University on employee’s experiences balancing work and life responsibilities and what employers can do to support their career growth, as part of AOM’ scholar-led webinar series, “AOM Scholars On...”.

Research-based Insights

  • AOM scholar Laura M. Giurge has found that people struggle to manage their time. This is a recent phenomenon, as it used to be primarily managed for employees via workplace attendance requirements. There are many biases and popular discourse about time, but research suggests that managing time is far more difficult than realized and it’s critically important to align your goals with how you spend it
  • AOM scholar Allison Elias shares that there’s a growing awareness, especially in young workers, of selecting an organization or job with the intention of how much they want to devote their whole self to work for a more balanced work-life reality. 
  • AOM scholar Ellen Ernst Kossek stresses that not everyone wants to integrate or separate all the time. It is important for employees to have control over when they work and for organizations to come up with norms about the right to disconnect and guidelines for diverse working styles.
  • AOM scholar Brianna Caza notes that managing and structuring tasks where people feel empowered to do their best work is how organizations can invest in the employees

Panel Soundbites

Brianna Caza on task structure: “Managing of tasks and especially managing and structuring tasks where people feel like they can do their core work, or what the things they were trained to do, are most meaningful to them.”

Allison Elias on a more balanced existence: “Among MBA students that I talk to and teach, I think there is a growing awareness of selecting an organization or job with the thought in mind of to what extent you want to devote your whole self to work or to want to have more of a balanced existence and have more autonomy on how much you travel, or what your hours are when you are expected to be available over email... People increasingly value other aspects of their lives and being able to control their choice to take paths where companies are openly embracing a more balanced existence.”

Ellen Ernst Kossek on workforce diversity: “What I think is important is the diversity of the workforce, not everyone wants to work the same way...I don’t think everyone wants to integrate nor does everyone want to separate all the time.... I think this diversity of when you’re on and off is important to give people control over when they work and maybe coming up with norms of when others are expected to respond, and those are two different issues.”

Laura M. Giurge on time management: “People are not very good at managing their time. This is not surprising given that we need to manage our time today and it’s a recent phenomenon. Time used to be managed for us through various social and organizational structures, and the public discourse on time management is also a little misleading, suggesting that managing your time is very easy.”

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Panel Moderator

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Brianna Caza, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Brianna Barker Caza is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her PhD in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Brianna’s research seeks to understand when and how people do well in seemingly difficult work situations involving unexpected events, ethical dilemmas, daily tensions, and challenging interpersonal situations. She has a particular interest in identity and interpersonal dynamics relating to the gig economy, multiple jobholding, and high stakes professional work.

Her research has been published in top tier organizational outlets such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business Ethics, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Business Ethics Quarterly. She is also a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, writing about issues relating to the gig economy, authenticity, identity, and resilience.


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Allison Elias, University of Virginia

Assistant Professor Allison Elias teaches courses about communication and negotiation in Darden's MBA and EMBA programs. Her elective, Women, Gender, and Work, was rated among the top 10% of all Darden electives (according to student ratings regarding course content and instructor quality).

Elias’s 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 2022 book, The Rise of Corporate Feminism (History of U.S. Capitalism series, Columbia University Press), at the intersection history and management studies, charts the trajectory of modern feminism in the office, illuminating the failures of equality-based frameworks and merit-based human resource management practices. This book has received praise from scholars across disciplines (i.e., sociology, history, political science, law, management) and it was named a Best Summer Book of 2023 in the category of Business by the Financial Times.  

Elias provides commentary regarding gender issues at work to media outlets such as NPR’s Marketplace, and her research on women in business schools has been featured in and Poets & Quants.


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Laura M. Giurge, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Laura Giurge is an Assistant Professor at London School of Economics (LSE) and a faculty affiliate at London Business School. She is on a mission to understand how we can transform the way we work and motivate ourselves and others to achieve our potential without compromising well-being. Laura earned a PhD in Management from Rotterdam School of Management within 4 years and before joining LSE, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Cornell University and a visiting fellow at Harvard Business School. 

Her research on time and timing in organizations, workplace well-being, and the future of work has been published in top academic journals and popular media outlets like Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. In 2020, her research on subjective time was recognized as a Best Paper at the Academy of Management, and in 2023 she received an Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Academy of Management Review. Her article on “3 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout” was reprinted in two Harvard Business Review Guidebooks (on remote work and on beating burnout). Her findings are often featured internationally, in outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Economist.

Laura has consulted and presented for numerous organizations, including Microsoft, McKinsey, and Novartis. She captivates audiences with her scholarly expertise, real-world experience, and her original doodles on working life (@lauragiurge) that sets her apart as a speaker. 


Ellen Kossek, Purdue University

Ellen Ernst Kossek is the Basil S. Turner Professor at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management and the first elected President of the Work-Family Researchers Network. Elected a Fellow in the Academy of Management, and the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association, Ellen currently studies how work-life boundaries, work-life-family and diversity employment practices impact women’s workplace inclusion and career equality. She also designs and conducts interventions and evaluates them in field experiments to help organizations and leaders implement work-life flexibility, and work-life cultural change and gender equality initiatives.

Ellen has organized a research to practice conference series on breaking bias to advance gender and diversity and an NSF workshop bringing together scholars on management and diversity on the organizational science of fostering work-life inclusion in universities.  Kossek has won many awards, including the Work-Life Legacy award for helping to build or advance the work-life movement;  the Ellen Galinsky Generative Researcher Award, (2020) for contributing break-through thinking to the work-family field; the Sage Scholarly achievement award from the Academy of Management’s Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division for advancing understanding of gender and diversity in organizations, and won and also  been a multi-year finalist for the Rosabeth Moss Kanter award for work-family research excellence and a best paper award (JOB) for research on diversity climate.  She recently was cited in a Stanford study as being in the top 2% of authors publishing in business and management. Her research been published in top academic and management journals and national media publications.