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Balancing Act - Krannert professor earns another recognition from Academy of Management


Ellen Ernst Kossek, the Basil S. Turner Professor of Management at Purdue University’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, is the recipient of the prestigious Janet Chusmir Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management (AOM).

The award, which celebrates a scholar who has made outstanding contributions to the division of gender and diversity and served as a mentor to others in the field, was presented at the annual meeting of the AOM during the first weekend of August in Seattle.Ellen Ernst Kossek

The honor is the most recent in a series of accolades earned by the professor, including the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for work-family research excellence and the Lu Ann Aday Award for exceptional work in the social sciences. Kossek was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management in 2018 for her “significant contributions to the science and practice of management.”

Kossek joined the Purdue faculty in 2013 after a 25-year stint at Michigan State University. She has been a visiting scholar at universities spanning the globe, from Kings College, London, to the University of Australia in Adelaide. Her teaching interests include talent management of gender and diversity in organizations and managing international organizational behavior and organizational development.

With an impressive body of work and a legacy as an outstanding professor, Kossek has been an example for many in the field. In particular, she serves as a role model for her students. “I've developed a relationship with them,” she says. “None of us do anything perfect, so you give feedback in a way that they feel good about it and then improve. A big part of mentoring is taking time to teach people.”

Beyond her academic mentorship, Kossek is a role model for what life outside of work can look like. “I've modeled joint devotion to work and family and personal life,” she says. “And for the gender and diversity division, that's important.”

Kossek considers Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a leading social scientist, to be one of her own role models, particularly at the start of her career. “Kanter is a giant in the field who to me started the work and family movement,” she says. Kossek was a teaching assistant for Kanter while working towards her PhD in organizational behavior at Yale University. In the same semester, Kossek had her first child, which was a difficult undertaking in a time when maternity leave was not offered at Yale.

“I think every generation has an idea of what a role model looks like,” Kossek says. “There are some things that are constant, like trying to help people learn or giving coaching, but it changes from generation to generation because of the nature of education.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Kossek considers her greatest accomplishment to be maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “When I look back, I’m most happy that I have a personal life,” she says. “I'm happy to have something to look forward to. I always try to remember that. I love my work, but I'm happy I have work and family.”

Kossek encourages a normalization of this attitude towards work and personal life. “An organizational and societal responsibility may be to add to knowledge on the benefit of work-life balance,” she says. “It helps health, well-being, and productivity. We just have to change the mindset in the U.S. for people to understand that.”

Between teaching, research, writing, and her personal life, Kossek remains a leader in her field. She is continuing her work on how to train organizations to support sick and family time and is in the process of writing more than 10 research papers.

By Hannah George