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Meet our visitor, Susan Reh

We are thrilled to have welcomed Dr Susan Reh, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter Business School to our centre!

Our Senior Research Fellow Dr Daniela Andrei hosted Susan through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).

Get to know Susan through our short Q&A and learn about research below.

⭐️Tell me a bit about yourself?

I am Susan, a senior lecturer in management at the University of Exeter Business School (UK). With a background in psychology and business, I research topics like social comparison and interpersonal behavior, age and well-being, personality, motivation, and diversity. Outside of work, I enjoy exercising and recently discovered stand-up paddleboarding and aerial yoga. I am really passionate about squirrels, and I love to travel and explore new places.

⭐️What will you do / are you doing at CTWD / FOWI?

At FOWI, I am collaborating with Daniela Andrei and Lucinda Iles on a project investigating social comparison processes among older workers and how they affect their engagement and withdrawal behavior at work. Besides that, I am having lots of inspiring conversations about research with other FOWI members and I enjoy working in such a productive, inspiring, and friendly atmosphere.

⭐️How did you find the experience?

It has been great so far, both on a professional and personal level. Daniela and I started our project during the pandemic, fully online, and it has been fantastic to now have personal meetings and discussions. These meetings have not only been enjoyable and inspiring but have also helped our project gain momentum. It's also wonderful to connect with FOWI members, hear about their research, and get feedback and new ideas for my own projects. Everyone has been very welcoming, and I have enjoyed numerous tasty coffees during my meetings. Exploring Perth and its surroundings, like Rottnest Island, Whiteman Park, Fremantle, and Coogee Beach, has been a highlight.

⭐️What does the future of work look like to you?

Good question! I believe the future of work will likely be more hybrid and flexible than pre-pandemic. Hopefully, it will allow employees the freedom to capitalize on their strengths and work in ways that fit their needs in terms of tasks, resources, and preferences.

⭐️If you were a book or a movie, what would it be?

That’s a tricky one, and I’m not sure there is one that I would be. One of my childhood heroes was Paddington Bear. I still admire how he is so chaotic and runs into trouble all the time, but everything turns out fine in the end.

⭐️One thing not many people know about you?

I am really afraid of monkeys. Once, as a teenager, two relatively big and heavy monkeys jumped on my back during a vacation in Gibraltar. Ever since then, I try to avoid them as much as I can. Luckily, the animals I've met in Australia – kangaroos, koalas, and quokkas – have been much friendlier.

During her visit, Susan presented her research on the long-term emotional impacts of job demands on employees, in particular mature workers.

Here’s an overview of what was covered in her research seminar, titled ''Emotional Job Demands and Employees’ Long-Term Emotional Experience':

Many professions require emotional effort from employees to perform their job effectively. Research on emotional labor has investigated the consequences of these emotional job demands (EJDs) on employees’ own emotional experience with mixed findings on whether they are beneficial or harmful. Despite a large body of research, we still know rather little about:

  • The long-term effects of EJDs on employees' own emotional well-being

  • Their effects on the development of employees’ interpersonal emotions, such as their degree of sympathy

  • Factors that enhance or buffer these relationships, like employees’ learning goal orientation

Drawing on the model of strengths and vulnerabilities integration (SAVI) from the lifespan psychology literature, this program of research investigates these questions in two studies using publicly available data over 10 years from the Socioeconomic Panel Study (SOEP, Germany) and the Midlife in the United States survey (MIDUS), both in tandem with data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

We thank Susan for her contributions in investigating social comparison processes among older workers and their effects on well-being at work. We look forward to continuing our collaboration and wish Susan all the best in her future endeavours.

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