My Research

Postdoctoral Research fellow in gender, equality, and inclusion at work

University of Leeds, UK
Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC)

Download my CV here for details on working papers and projects

My current job role includes producing publications based on my PhD thesis under the guidance of my mentors. Within the dissertation, I cover topics such as the structural, cultural, and individual reasons for persistent gender inequality. I focus on women's underrepresentation in leadership roles, and work to examine why the focus on gender equality has translated into 'fixing women.' I am a dissertation supervisor, seminar leader, and occasional lecturer for students completing their degrees at the University of Leeds. Based on student requests, I create focused and simplified videos on complex academic topics.

My research responds (broadly) to two key questions: How and why does organizational gender inequality persist? and What is the role of leaders in developing effective programs to shift the status quo? 

In my most recent work, I adopt theoretical components from strategic diversity leadership and discourse theory to understand the moderating role of leader behaviour in effective diversity management, and how we can use behavioural insights to adjust or promote this behaviour.

In my primary research area, I investigate how people in organizations understand and interpret gender inequalities in the labor market. My research in this area exposes the power of institutional myths that we depend on to make sense of what’s happening around us, and how these myths become institutionalised despite lacking empirical evidence. When leaders, EDI champions, and scholars want to improve EDI in their institutions, they rely on these myths to guide the types of initiatives and diversity management they implement. Unfortunately, the initiatives they support and the change they desire are decoupled, which leads to a paradox. Our solutions are not connected to our problems.

In my other research area, I am interested in how we can better express empirical evidence and research studies to ‘re’couple them to our larger EDI goals. A first step in this line of inquiry is determine what exactly are our goals. The ‘wicked problems’ that face management and organizational scholarship are often ambiguous, and the ‘best case scenario’ for practice-based outcomes is often poorly defined. My research thus aims to connect practitioner goals (for example, retention of diverse employees, strong teams, more representation overall) with actual empirically based EDI interventions.

I am incredibly proud to work alongside others in my department who continue to produce important research with impact.


You can visit the CERIC page here and my staff page here

© 2020 by Cheryl M Hurst