Honours Thesis

2016 - 2017
Department of Psychology · Department of Knowledge Integration
University of Waterloo

My thesis investigated whether the race and gender of workplace supervisors changes how their subordinates react to fair or unfair treatment. In a large-scale multi-phase field survey of 400+ workers, I found that supervisors' race and gender do not affect how subordinates evaluated supervisors who they perceive treat them with dignity and respect; that white women and black men are evaluated unusually harshly when their subordinates feel poorly treated; but that black female supervisors do not experience this kind of bias. My findings added to our growing understanding of the complex relationship between race, gender, and workplace outcomes. Click here for the full thesis.

Undergraduate Research Projects

Bringing together data science skills and social science methodologies.

Are the social sciences lagging in their ability to adaptively restructure in new problem spaces?

I investigated Nicholas Christakis' claim that the social sciences have lagged behind the natural sciences in their ability to restructure around new problems. I analyzed a longitudinal sample of 12,000 academic social science publications, by constructing a bipartite network of research papers and research areas. I analyzed whether the relationship between network structure and the heterogeneity of research teams changed over time. My analysis showed that while interest in new problem domains increased with time, social scientists had not become any more likely to engage in cross-disciplinary collaboration when investigating these areas. Image: Vaguely Artistic // Flikr //

What is Student Disillusionment? Psychometric properties of the Student Disillusionment Scale.

I developed a survey tool to measure students' disillusionment with post-secondary education, and investigated its statistical and psychometric properties. The tool met the recommended level of statistical reliability for use in a research setting. Validation testing found that the scale was related to the "Big 5" personality traits in a way that was consistent with the theoretical basis of the scale. Future validation efforts could test whether Student Disillusionment predicts educational outcomes such as student attrition and satisfaction. Image: Shopify Partners // Burst

How do perceived unfairness and moral disengagement influence unethical workplace behaviours?

In a laboratory study of workplace behaviour, I found that perceived workplace unfairness had a dramatic effect on participants' self-reported willingness to engage in unethical workplace behaviours. I also found that this effect was mediated by moral disengagement, the ability to process unethical decisions in a way that distances oneself from experiencing emotional distress. My findings had interesting implications for the study of moral disengagement, raising questions regarding whether moral disengagement is a stable trait or a state that is sensitive to context. Image: Shopify Partners // Burst