Ben Rogers


PhD Candidate

Kenan-Flagler Business School | UNC-Chapel Hill


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I am interested in the stories we tell about our work and lives, and how these narratives shape our experiences, relationships, and views of the world. The narratives I study are inspired by numerous disciplines (organizational behavior, psychology, mythology, education) and take a variety of forms, including archetypes about the meaning of our work roles, life stories that mirror the classic Hero's Journey, mindsets, attributions, and rituals. I am particularly passionate about studying how these narratives can be used to design effective and scalable psychological interventions to help workers - and people more broadly - to find more meaning and improve their well-being.

I also teach organizational behavior in the undergraduate program and I have assisted in the instruction of negotiations, teamwork, and research methods for the MBA and PhD programs.

Research

Publications

Rogers, B.A., Christian, J., Jennings, R. & Lanaj, K. (in press): The Growth Mindset at Work: Will Employees Help Others to Develop Themselves? Academy of Management Discoveries. [LINK]

Nault, K. A., Rogers, B. A., Sezer, O., & Klein, N. (2020): Behavioral insights for minimizing loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Behavioral Science & Policy. [LINK]

Revisions Requested

Rogers, B.A., Sezer, O., Watkins, T., DeCelles, K., Norton, M., & Hershfield, H. After-Work Rituals and Well-being. (1st round R&R at Organization Science)

Rogers, B.A., Chicas, H., Kelly, J.M., Kubin, E., Christian, M.S., Kachanoff, F.J., Berger, J., Puryear, C., Guo, J., McAdams, D.P., Gray, K. Hero’s Journey Self-Narratives and Meaning. (1st round R&R at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

Rogers, B.A., Sezer, O., Klein, N. Third-Party Perceptions of Ingratiation Attempts (1st round R&R at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

Chawla, N., Gabriel, A.S., Prengler, M.K., Rogers, K.M., Rogers, B.A., Tedder-King, A. & Rosen, C.C.: Post-Partum Coworker Support (1st round R&R at Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Special Issue).

Works in Progress

Rogers, B.A., Christian, J.S., Sherf, E., Manager Growth Mindset and Attributions (Data collection).

Rogers, B.A., Christian, M.S., Paradox Mindset and Well-Being (Data collection).

Ong, M., Sonday, L., Rogers, B.A., Walker, O., Meaning of Work Over Life (Data collection).

Christian, M.S., Rogers, B.A., Energy Crafting and Interoceptive Awareness (Data collection).

Dissertation

Title: Distressing but Meaningful: The Buffering Effect of Role Meaning Archetypes.


In my dissertation, I develop and explore the buffering effect of role meaning archetypes - internal mental models of the meaning and significance of one’s work role – when people encounter distressing events at work. Emotionally straining experiences are an unfortunate part of organizational life and can challenge a worker’s sense of meaning. Research focusing on how such events undercut a sense of meaningfulness in the moment suggests that workers require time or post-hoc sensemaking in order to potentially see them as worthwhile. Yet, anecdotal evidence suggests that distressing experiences at work can feel meaningful in some cases. I develop theory to explore this phenomenon, suggesting that distressing experiences may in fact be a central part of a workers’ internal narrative about their work. I propose a theoretical model for how distressing experiences at work, when they correspond to a person’s role meaning archetype, can be perceived as meaningful in the moment. I detail the meaning justification process by which this occurs, specifically arguing for dual cognitive and affective mechanisms. Cognitively, I argue that archetypal distressing events should lead individuals to perceive they are enacting valued occupational identities which provide a sense of meaningful coherence to the experience. Affectively, people are likely to experience emotional ambivalence when distressing experiences correspond to role meaning archetypes, which should prompt them to consider the event more flexibly and deeply and how it might meaningfully connect to their values. I conclude by exploring how the buffering effect of meaning archetypes during distressing events might lead to higher levels of engagement at work. To test my model, I am conducting a pilot and three empirical studies utilizing a variety of methodologies (survey, experimental, experience sampling) and samples (online, undergraduate, nurses).

Committee:

  • Dr. Michael Christian, Kenan-Flagler Business School (co-chair)

  • Dr. Jessica Christian, Kenan-Flagler Business School (co-chair)

  • Dr. Shimul Melwani, Kenan-Flagler Business School

  • Dr. Ovul Sezer, Cornell University

  • Dr. Blake Ashforth, Arizona State University