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New Ivey faculty: Shannon Rawski

  • Communications
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  • Jul 27, 2021
New Ivey faculty: Shannon Rawski

Ivey welcomes 12 new faculty members to campus! To help you get to know our new colleagues, we asked each of them a list of questions about their academic – and personal – interests.

Get to know: Shannon Rawski

Meet Shannon Rawski, an assistant professor of Organizational Behaviour at Ivey whose research looks at sexual harassment in organizations, sexual harassment training effectiveness, and gender issues in the workplace. Rawski loved school and her education includes a PhD in Management from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Bowling Green State University. Prior to Ivey, she was an assistant professor of Management and Human Resources at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. On the personal side, she enjoys reading dystopian/utopian fiction and outings with her family or her Corgi, Badger.

Q&A with Shannon Rawski

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

Sexual harassment is an abuse of power over people, similar to how embezzlement is an abuse of power over financial resources. There will be instances where well-intentioned powerful people harass less powerful people who are not in a position to negotiate for different workplace norms. There will also be instances where malicious people seek out opportunities to harass others by gradually pushing the boundaries for what is acceptable in the workplace. Organizations that do not work to maintain cultures of respect, create environments where both well-intentioned and malicious actors can create hostile work environments.

Training is a sense-giving experience that affects employees' sense of self and social relationships in the workplace. Training will be more effective when you create positive roles during training for employees to enact after training.

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I grew up in Point Place (the best place any place!) in Toledo, OH. Toledo is the fifth largest city in Ohio so I benefited from world-class community resources, such as the Toledo Zoo (where I worked my first job in the North Star Trading Post) and the Toledo Museum of Art (where I took classes in pottery, life drawing, and fashion illustration). Toledo is also big enough to create cohesive sub-groups within the community. I grew up in a predominantly Polish Catholic neighbourhood as a third-generation Polish-Hungarian American. This experience of sameness coupled with my experiences with diversity after moving away from home, has given me a great appreciation for the balance between embracing you own cultural heritage while maintaining openness to others' cultures and perspectives. Toledo is also a blue-collar city, full of hardworking people who don't take themselves too seriously. A great example is the Toledo Christmas Weed – a giant, unsightly weed growing out of the sidewalk near a main intersection that Toledoans decided to decorate for the holidays in lieu of a regular Christmas tree. Toledo may be a bit rough around the edges (especially the edges of all the potholes), but at least it has a sense of humour!  

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

M. Neil Browne and the IMPACT learning community he created at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) was incredibly influential to me. Through IMPACT, I was able to receive a true liberal arts education. He gave me a foundation of critical thinking, diversity of experience, and love of ideas that fueled my academic and career success years later. My PhD adviser, Anne O'Leary-Kelly, honed those skills throughout my PhD program, giving me a knack for writing sound management theory. My family is also a strong influence in my life, in particular my siblings for their social support in my early life and my spouse and my daughter for encouraging and inspiring me to continuously improve.

What led you to your career?

I always knew I wanted to be an academic because I LOVE school so much.  I never wanted to leave. Initially, I was interested in abnormal/clinical psychology. But, through a chain of random events, I ended up as an undergraduate research assistant in BGSU's I-O Psychology department. Through my conversations with professors and graduate students there and my passion for gender issues, I decided to devote my professional life to researching sexual harassment in the workplace and developing best practices for training interventions.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I spend a lot of time with my family. We love to go on family walks and bike rides, cook together, and have other family adventures (when travel is possible). I also have a lot of creative hobbies (e.g., sewing, crochet, nail art), and I like to exercise my operant conditioning skills by training my Corgi, Badger, to do dog agility. We're the perfect team of stumpiness, food motivation, and heart!

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I am an introvert. Most people are surprised because I am so high energy in the classroom and when giving research presentations. I am passionate about what I teach and research so I often appear to be an extrovert in those settings, but I really need solitude to recharge my batteries.

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

I'm not sure about an individual song, but on Spotify, I'll typically pick an ’80s playlist, or if I'm in a singing mood, a show tunes playlist. Every once in a while, I'll get nostalgic for some early 2000s emo, too. 

What book would you recommend to others? On the personal side?

For fun, I like to read dystopian/utopian fiction (fun fact: one person's utopia is another's dystopia!). The Handmaid's Tale is a classic. The young adult series The Hunger Games and Divergent are also fun reads. One of the best contemporary books in this genre that I've read is The Bees. If you like dystopias, female underdog protagonists, and entomology, you will love The Bees.

On the business side?

On the professional side, I really like psychology/sociology books because they give you greater insight into and empathy for human behaviour, especially dysfunctional behaviour. You'll have to do a little more critical thinking to imagine the business applications, but at the end of the day, employees are people too, so learning more about psychology and sociology will improve your leadership and management capabilities! Anything by Oliver Sacks is fascinating. I am also a huge fan of Erving Goffman’s Frame Analysis. It can be dense, but this book will completely change the way you understand social interactions in your workplace and life.