Recent high-profile cases of workplace sexual
harassment and bullying have raised questions about how business organizations can
foster more respectful work environments. Jaclyn Jensen is at the forefront of exploring
these issues as a researcher who probes why such behavior happens and as an associate
professor of management who teaches DePaul business students the best practices
in human resources.
A native of Cleveland,
Jensen applies her doctoral degree training in organizational psychology to her
work at DePaul, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2012. This
past fall, DePaul honored Jensen with an Excellence in Teaching Award.
In the Q&A
below, Jensen talks about the impact of her teaching and research at DePaul’s
Driehaus College of Business.
What made you decide to become a business professor?
When I started college, I was really hoping
to go to medical school to become a psychiatrist, but ran into some difficulty
in organic chemistry and my med school dreams came to a quick end. I guess I
can say that I’m now grateful for that C-!
I then thought about becoming a clinical
psychologist, but upon taking a psychopathology class I realized that I was not
necessarily interested in working in a therapeutic environment. Around the same
time I took a class on organizational psychology, and also became the
undergraduate representative on the University’s Board of Trustees. These experiences
opened my eyes to the blend of psychology and business in organizations, and
the need to be really thoughtful about people and human resources at work. It prompted me to pursue grad school
in organizational psychology.
During my graduate studies at Michigan State,
I had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate statistics course, and really
liked being in the classroom. I got involved in a number of research projects
around fairness and respect in the workplace, and learned a lot from my faculty
mentors who made me want to pursue a path as a business school professor.
What have been your most interesting research findings?
My interest in this topic is fueled by a real
desire for others (mainly women) to never be in a situation where they are
treated in anything less than a respectful manner, and to help victims find
proper recourse to preventing mistreatment in the future.
To that end, my work on incivility and
harassment has investigated why employees are mistreated by their coworkers and
bosses, how mistreatment affects victimized employees' job attitudes and
behaviors, and what bystanders and leaders can do to try and stop mistreatment
The insights I've found suggest that
employees are targeted when they are both exceptional as well as poor
performers (but for very different reasons); that hostility can be veiled as
negative feedback; and that while difficult to do, bystanders report a
willingness to help when they see good performers targeted with uncivil acts.
Ethical leaders who hold their employees accountable for their actions also can
really help deter incivility, even when competitive pressure to perform might
cause interpersonal conflict and stress.
What is your teaching philosophy?
center of my research is how critically important it is for employees to feel
respected at their workplace, and in turn, for employees to be considerate of
others. I find this same philosophy to be true in my classroom and I work to
first day of class I establish a contract with my students that is grounded in
mutual accountability, including clear expectations (both what I expect of the
students, and what they can expect of me).
second component of my teaching philosophy is active learning and student
engagement. The classes I enjoyed most as a student were the courses where the
professors challenged students to be involved in class, articulate opinions,
question thoughts and be deeply engaged in the learning process.
learning is a process that requires students to take personal responsibility
for their learning rather than relying solely on me (as the instructor) to
deliver the material to them. At the same time, a key aspect of discussion-based
learning is that you learn from others as much as they learn from you. Thus, I
really work to emphasize the importance of contributing, listening, and
thinking throughout class.
What do you like best about DePaul’s
business school and its students?
DePaul’s students are among the most diverse
I've ever taught. The differences in background, experiences and perspectives
make for a very rich and engaging classroom environment. I appreciate when
students readily share their perspectives in class. Because a large percentage
of our students are currently working, the content is directly and immediately
relevant to their work, which is important.
Learn more about majoring in business and graduate business programs at DePaul.