WSC Speaker Series

Welcome to the WSC Speaker Series.

Work, Family, & Health
Speaker Name:
Kimberly French

The School of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology featured Dr. Kimberly French, a member of the Work Science Center Network.

Work and family are two core sources of personal identity, facilitating joy, accomplishment, and belonging. At the same time, work and family roles may conflict with one another, resulting in feelings of stress, strained relationships, and detrimental coping behaviors. While substantial literature has been dedicated to understanding negative psychological effects of work-family conflict, it is unclear whether, how, or when experiences affect physiological functioning and health. Such a connection is imperative for understanding the scope and nature of work-family processes and establishing work and family experiences as social determinants of major societal health issues such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. French explores metabolic and cardiovascular outcomes in relation to work demands and work-family conflict experiences. She presents a series of studies focusing on long-term and acute physiological reactions. The results have practical and theoretical implications for the nature and timing of connections between work, family, and physiology.

For transcripts and downloads visit:

Task, Team, Technology Integration in High Technology Teams
Speaker Name:
Ken Catchpole

Ken Catchpole has spent the last 15 years studying safety and human performance in acute clinical care in general and surgery in particular. Using examples from cardiac, orthopaedic, neurological, spinal, trauma and urological surgery, he describes the results of observational studies that have helped to understand how surgical performance arises from the interaction between what people do, how they work together, and what they do it with; how the introduction of new technologies can have far profound, and not always beneficial effects; and what this might mean for the future of healthcare delivery and workforce management.

Implications of Moral Organizational Behavior for Employee Beliefs, Motivation, and Well-Being
Speaker Name:
Michael Ford

In the first of the Work Science Center Distinguished Lecture series, Dr. Michael Ford visited Georgia Tech on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

Workers are often assumed to construe their organizations as entities and develop a reciprocal social exchange relationship resembling that with other humans. To the extent that this assumption holds true, workers hold their employers responsible for the morality of their behavior. This presentation delves into several conditions of this aspect of the employee-organization relationship that have been previously understudied. First, recent research will be covered on the beliefs and emotions that workers develop toward their employers at large, how quickly these can fluctuate, and implications for employee well-being and motivation. Then, new findings will be presented on the events that trigger moral emotions at work, the perceived entitativity of the organization responsible, and how employees respond to these occurrences and explain them with respect to the collective intent of the organization. Future directions for research on emotions toward and trust in organizations and institutions will be considered.

For transcripts and download, visit 

The impact of work in people’s lives: An overview of the Boston College Working Project
Speaker Name:
David Blustein

On Wednesday, December 6th the Work Science Center hosted another guest for its Work Science Speaker Series. Dr. David Blustein is a professor in Boston College's Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Education Psychology. Dr. Blustein spoke about the dichotomous purposes for which individuals work: to survive or to feel accomplished.

In his talk, entitled: “The impact of work in people’s lives: An overview of the Boston College Working Project”, Dr. Blustein reviewed the major findings from a comprehensive qualitative study of working in the U.S., known as the Boston College Working Project. This study sought to identify the lived experience of 61 adults using a purposive sample from a diverse array of settings with a particular focus on the participants’ work lives. This study identified a growing sense of social and psychological erosion in the workplace, which has manifested in a wide array of ways, including increased self- and other blame, as well as a fragmented sense of security.  The presentation concluded with future research directions and implications for public policy based on the very rich findings from this study.

What Makes Buildings Human?
Speaker Name:
Dr. Sonit Bafna

Dr. Sonit Bafna, Associate Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Architecture, presented three studies showing the effect of unit organization on the amount of time nurses spend in patients' rooms, the association between apartment layout and depression, and the relationship between thought and design in architecture.