“Our research shows that teaching managers to be more supportive can have cost savings for turnover and lower stress,” she notes. “Most previous research has been on general measures of emotional support, but not on specific behaviors by the boss.”
Next steps are to publish findings on how to implement work-life change management, including health effects of work-life issues and sustaining positive workplaces. “I’m looking for organizations to partner with on evaluating and implementing leadership and work-life change management initiatives to improve how we are managing e-working and technology and work-life boundaries,” she says.
Kossek plans to bring that research, and other interests — including gender and diversity, leadership development and inclusion, and organizational change — to her role as research director of the Butler Center.
“I am responsible for bridging research and practice on women’s leadership and studies on the advancement of women in organizations,” she says.
Goals for the center include creating a website that highlights research on women, building a research presence by inviting scholars to campus, and planning an international conference in New York as president of the Work-Family Researchers network. A new Purdue conference on women, leadership and occupational resilience would follow.
Kossek’s teaching duties will begin in fall 2013 with International Human Resources and continue in the spring with a new class on the talent management of gender and diversity in organizations.
A sought-after keynote speaker and consultant for academic and industrial settings worldwide, Kossek is also the author of eight books, including CEO of Me: Creating a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age. She and co-author Brenda Lausch outline six work-life patterns and how to move toward a pattern that’s more productive and comfortable for you, one step at a time.
“Job and family creep, the lines cross like mush,” Kossek says. “Some separation of boundaries is needed to help us focus.”
When not working, Kossek likes to take care of the family terrier, Domino, and she and husband, Sandy, enjoy being with family in Michigan by Lake Michigan. “I would also like to join a tennis group and a book club,” she says.
Given her expanding boundaries of professional interests and commitments, she quickly adds, “Those things will need to wait.”