• Meet Baylor’s expert on balancing work and family life

    Dr. Dawn Carlson portrait photo

    With the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping the workplace landscape, striking the right balance between work and home has become harder than ever. Working parents, in particular, often find their employers failing to provide the support and resources that they need.

    Even before the pandemic, Dr. Dawn Carlson (BBA ’89, MBA ’91) saw many young people starting families and struggling to figure out to balance work and family. The longtime Baylor business professor decided to focus her research on family-friendly organizations — organizations that support and offer resources to their employees — and what that means for both the employees and the employer. (Spoiler: Everyone comes out ahead.)

    A two-time Baylor graduate, Carlson returned to her alma mater as a professor in 1999. She now serves as the Hankamer School of Business’ H.R. Gibson Chair of Organizational Development, and as director of the McBride Center for International Business, helping develop and expand global education in the business school.

    Among her most recent studies was a look at adoptive parents’ experiences in the workplace, where she found that the perceived stigma of being an adoptive parent can negatively impact both work and family outcomes. (On the flip side, organizational support for employees who adopt has proven beneficial to both the families and the organizations.)

    With more than 100 publications in top peer-reviewed journals, Carlson’s research on work-family conflicts has considered such related issues as mental health, technology use and family functioning. A recent Stanford study found Carlson ranked among the world’s most-cited researchers in the history of higher education, and a 2019 study named her one of the nation’s top 25 scholars in work-family research. She has also received multiple awards for her teaching and research from Baylor and Hankamer.

    Sic ’em, Dr. Carlson!