Professor Uses Science to Help Women at Work

Posted: June 13, 2011 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: June 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

By Tara Laskowski

Eden King

Eden King. Creative Services photo

Mason psychology professor Eden King has taken her years of research examining workplace dynamics, discrimination and diversity and turned it into a readable, helpful and science-based guide to help women in all stages of their career “survive and thrive” at their jobs.

Her new book, “How Women Can Make It Work: The Science of Success,” co-written with Jennifer Knight, is the first book to use science to help real women in their careers.

“Many of the books that are out there are based solely on anecdotes or personal experiences, or interviews with a few women. Ours is based on real social science findings that we tried to describe in understandable and engaging ways,” says King.

The book — which covers everything from how to create a resume and nail a job interview to how to balance work/life responsibilities and move up the corporate ladder — is aimed at women who are finishing college and starting  new jobs and careers or making changes in those jobs or careers.

King, who joined the faculty of Mason’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program in 2006, cites her own research as well as other studies in the field to highlight areas of concern, overcome obstacles and create success for women at work.

In “How Women Can Make It Work,” King and Knight discuss:

  • The workplace equivalent of eHarmony — how to find a company that fits just right with your work values.
  • The upsides and downsides of your BlackBerry — how being “plugged in” might be helpful to your career but negatively affect your personal relationships.
  • Smiley face email correspondence — studies have shown that using emoticons in emails to your new boss just might reduce your starting salary rate.
  • You’re good enough; you’re smart enough — how having a positive attitude can lead to more leadership opportunities.
  • The “bump” in the road — when to reveal your pregnancy at work and how to avoid negative perceptions of moms in the workplace.

The book also includes special chapters focusing on workplace issues that might arise for women with disabilities, minority women, lesbian and bisexual women and single moms.

“Although women have overcome many barriers at work, research indicates that we still encounter subtle obstacles that can have a huge impact on the careers and lives of the youngest generations of women. We hope to point out some of those potential problems and offer strategies for their resolution,” says King. “As a whole, we hope the book will help serve as a guide to achieving personal and professional success.”

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