2022 Award Recipient: Vanessa Conzon

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The award selection committee unanimously recommended that Vanessa Conzon receive the 2022 Kathleen Christensen Dissertation Award, recognizing the ambition of her dissertation work, its methodological strengths, as well as its contributions to theory and practice. Her studies draw on rich data from four ethnographies that she performed of four separate groups of professionals: STEM research consultants, IT professionals, drug development researchers, and STEM university professors. Collectively, her data reflects of over 1500 hours of observations and 259 interviews, with each ethnography lasting between 6 and 26 months.  Her dissertation examines three distinct questions.  First, what are the conditions under which key organizational stakeholders—specifically, managers— come to either support or limit workers’ temporal autonomy? In her second essay, she considers how workers— independent of managers—can collaborate to expand control over their work hours. In her third essay, she reveals how workers’ temporal autonomy is shaped by family responsibilities in deeply gendered ways that may limit women’s control over time.  Across all three essays, her dissertation highlights the importance of adopting a multi-actor perspective (e.g., considering managers, coworkers, children) when examining how temporal autonomy may be constrained or expanded. By focusing on the network of interactions and relations with these actors—in which workers are embedded, and both experience and (re)produce inequalities (e.g., between worker/manager and woman/man)— her studies show new ways to better understand employees’ experiences of temporal autonomy. Her studies also highlight important implications for related literatures – such as gender inequality, workplace relationships, and quantification. From a practitioner perspective, the findings of this research directly informed organizational changes (e.g., evaluation of a flexible work policy) at her field sites, leading to enhancements of individuals’ work-life experiences.