From Harvard Business School, the influential researcher Ashley Whillans will be coming to CATÓLICA-LISBON on June 24th, in room 520-B, to give a talk on her work on stress and happiness. Ashley Whillans has made headlines in the media thanks to her groundbreaking research on how money can maximize happiness by being used to buy back time.
Next Monday, her talk, “How organizational factors shape employees’ time stress and happiness”, will focus on a few of her most recent papers, which focus on how common organizational practices to incentivize workers can shape the way that employees value their time.
In her talk, professor Whillans will highlight three of her projects, which demonstrate that employees who are rewarded for their performance socialize more with work colleagues than friends and family, in actuality resulting in more stress and lesser happiness. If, instead of cash-incentives, companies reward their employees through incentives like paid vacation days, they can encourage their workers to value time over money, which can result in greater happiness. “These studies suggest that organizations play a critical role in shaping the value that employees assign to social and leisure time and in determining employee happiness”, Whillans writes in the abstract to her talk.
CATÓLICA-LISBON researchers Andrew Hafenbrack and Maria Francisca Saldanha invited Professor Whillans to speak at CUBE’s seminar series. “I first learned about Dr. Whillans' research in the media about how when people use money to buy back their time, such as by hiring a house cleaner, it makes them happier”, Andrew Hafenbrack said.
When they met at the Academy of Management conference in the summer of 2018, Andrew Hafenbrack was already familiar with Whillans’ research, which he also shares with students in his behavioral decision making course. “I thought it would be nice for her to visit given how we have several faculty in management and marketing conducting research on happiness and emotion, and she is at the forefront of these topics.”
Ashley Whillans’ research has in the past focused on time-money trade-offs, namely, how people might be happier if they used their money to buy themselves time well-spent -- hiring a cleaner to do things they don’t enjoy, for example, “subtracting negative minutes from our day”, as the researcher put it when she spoke to the Harvard Business Review. “Any way that we spend money in a way that might save us time – such as also buying ourselves into positive experiences – has reliable and positive effects on the happiness that we get from our days, our weeks, our months and our lives”, Whillans explains in this interview. The scholar has recently presented a TEDx Talk on this same subject.
Ashley Whillans received her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2017, having previously been named a Rising Star of Behavioral Science by the International Behavioral Exchange & Behavioral Science and Policy Association, in 2015.