My primary research interest surrounds the overarching question: How can individuals from diverse backgrounds succeed in the workplace? Employee success takes many forms. As a worker, an employee can be successful by being a valuable individual contributor, effective leader, and/or suitable candidate for advancement. For individuals, success can involve fulfilling personal goals and maintaining a high level of well-being through work. Both the formal and social aspects of the workplace can facilitate or hinder employee success. Effective training, mentoring, leadership development, and desirable interpersonal treatment exemplify boosters of success. In contrast, bias, prejudice, and discrimination can create barriers that interfere with workers’ effort to become successful.
In the meantime, as the contemporary workplace is increasingly diverse in terms of demographic and cultural factors, individuals from diverse backgrounds tend to undergo different experiences when striving for occupational and personal success. Diversity encompasses a wide range of characteristics, including gender, age, culture, and many other observable and unobservable factors. Workers from disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, ethnic minority, older workers, non-Anglo cultural origins) tend to have poorer access to development and advancement opportunities (i.e., fewer boosters) compared to their advantaged counterparts. They are also vulnerable to unfavorable judgment and treatment (i.e., barriers) regarding important indicators of success, such as negative perceptions of their leadership and quality of their interpersonal interactions. Organizations, as well as society, face many challenges related to effectively curbing these differential experiences, as well as leveraging diversity for better synergy among individuals.
My research program, therefore, seeks to address why such differential experiences occur, how various factors facilitate or hinder the success of diverse workers, and what can be done to promote the success of diverse employees. In particular, employees’ adaptive application of training contributes to their overall success at work (Huang, Ran, & Blume, in press; Ran & Huang, under review). My doctoral dissertation “Are transformational leaders sustainable? The role of organizational culture” examines individual capacity to exhibit leadership as a key driver for long-term success. For accurately capturing workers’ experience of discrimination, I contributed to a multi-sample project in which we developed and validated a scale of employees’ perceptions of age discrimination at work (Marchiondo, Gonzales, & Ran, 2015). Also, I am overseeing a series of studies to understand and mitigate perpetration of prejudice and discrimination against women leaders (Ran, Marchiondo, & Caleo, 2016, AOM; Ran, Marchiondo, & Caleo, 2015, APS).
Moving forward, I am interested in further investigating the intrapersonal process of diverse workers when encountering boosters and barriers to their success. When workers have opportunities to receive training and develop their leadership capacity, I will discover how they self-regulate to apply new knowledge and skills to become more productive at work, particularly how this process may differ across individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as gender, age, and culture. In addition, regarding the multifaceted success, I will explore how diverse workers value and balance different levels of success, such as high performance in terms of a job, advancement in terms of a career, and well-being as a person. I will also continue incorporating various contextual factors (e.g., organizational culture, discrimination, and interpersonal treatment, etc.) that influence the intrapersonal process.