Research Feature with Dr. Laurie Barclay | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Research Feature with Dr. Laurie Barclay

Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Macdonald Hall

Laurie Barclay is a full professor and the Lang Chair in Leadership. Her research interests focus on creating, maintaining, and enhancing healthy workplaces through fairness and justice, leadership, EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion), and related topics (e.g., behavioral ethics, and conflict management). 

What is the overarching focus of your research program? 

My research examines how to create, maintain, and enhance healthy workplaces through fairness and justice, leadership, EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) and related topics (e.g., behavioral ethics, conflict management).

Briefly describe a research problem or issue you are currently investigating. What questions or challenges are you hoping to address?

Traditionally, my research has focused on promoting fairness within the workplace. However, I have recently expanded this focus to explore how evidence-based insights and practices from the workplace can be leveraged to further promote fairness within society. Given the challenges that society is facing around issues such as climate change, political extremism, and recognizing/addressing systemic injustices, my coauthor (Bob Bies, Georgetown University) and I have argued that it is critical to recognize the pain and trauma that is often embedded in these issues and facilitate healing. Said differently, injustice often lies at the heart of many societal challenges. As such, we need to recognize and address this injustice to facilitate healing and promote justice. Importantly, our research highlights the role of justice within the healing process, including how justice can serve as a motivating force (e.g., when people desire justice), healing salve (e.g., when people “do justice”), and desired end state (e.g., working towards a just society). Ultimately, our objective is to provide evidence-based insights that not only address injustice and promote fairness within organizations but also within society.

Who is the target audience?  Why is your research important to this audience? Why does it matter?

We have issued calls to action for both scholars and practitioners to engage in courageous action to recognize the toll of injustice, promote healing, and work towards a more just society. For scholars, this involves recognizing the pain and trauma of injustice, including how injustice can create challenges, such as loneliness and detract from mental health – topics that have traditionally been neglected and/or under-emphasized in the workplace. We also encourage scholars to provide further evidence-based insights and interventions that can be leveraged not only in organizations but also in broader society. For practitioners, this includes identifying sources of injustice that may be inadvertently embedded in their organizations, recognizing the pain and trauma of injustice, as well as using evidence-based practices to address injustice and promote justice in the workplace. Consistent with Lang’s mission, we also highlight how organizations can use business as a force for good by recognizing the impact of societal challenges within their organizations and working towards promote justice within society.

What is the wider social benefit of your research?

Our research showcases evidence-based knowledge, practical guidance, and interventions that can help address societal challenges. In doing so, we shed light on the importance of recognizing injustice and facilitating healing as well as provide important steps on the path toward creating a more just society.

What comes next?

We are currently starting work on a follow-up project that further elaborates on the process of healing, including factors that can serve as barriers and facilitators. Our hope is to build on our previous research that developed interventions that can help employees and leaders to overcome and prevent injustice to create interventions that can further mitigate injustice and promote justice within organizations and society at large.


Bies, R. J., & Barclay, L. J. (2023). Doing justice: Moving from the pain and trauma of injustice to healing. Organizational Psychology Review. DOI: 10.1177/20413866231225083

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