"I’m interested in how work can be fulfilling for people"
Melissa Gregg has just joined the theme Digiwork as a guest researcher. She currently works as a Research Lead for Workplace Transformation at Intel in the U.S. but is originally from Australia. In this short interview, she tells us about her background and research interests ahead of her stay at the Pufendorf Institute.
What is your background?
I am an Australian born researcher now living in Portland, Oregon. I grew up in Tasmania, the island at the very bottom of Australia. After my bachelor’s in sociology and English Literature, I went to graduate school in Sydney, where I studied gender and cultural studies, specialising in affect theory. After my PhD, I was a research fellow and a faculty member in various Australian universities, but I’ve been based in the US for the past four years, working for Intel.
Why are your involved in the theme Digiwork?
I was kindly invited! I have written quite a lot about digital technology in the workplace, and the impact on management and professionals’ sense of identity and performance. I also run a research center at Intel on Workplace Transformation, so the theme is very relevant.
What do you hope to contribute?
I have a fairly unique background, as a former gender studies professor who now works in Silicon Valley. There is only a limited number of humanities and social science voices in the technology sector. I hope to share my experiences and give scholars a sense of what is happening in industry right now, so that more researchers will consider getting involved in influencing the direction of technology design.
What do you hope to get out of your work with the theme?
I am looking forward to making new connections in many disciplines, and hearing a lot of cutting-edge ideas. In my corporate job, it can be hard to balance the pace of business with the reflection needed for writing and thinking. So I look forward to some solitude, some brainstorming, and some hard work too.
What are your research interest?
I’m interested in how work can be fulfilling for people. Everything really stems from that. I also love studying technology, of course, and how new platforms and devices can help workers gain a sense of control over their schedule and aspirations.
What drives you?
I have a very keen sense of time passing, which may be why I just wrote a book about time management! I am driven professionally by a number of things, but in the tech field especially, to make sure there are diverse voices involved in decision making for the technology we build.
What are you working on right now?
I am finishing revisions to a new book, which I will be sharing while visiting Lund. It’s a history of time management and productivity in the office - with a feminist twist. I’m also involved in some new collaborations investigating the future of work, covering things like AI, co-working and contingent work.
Have you ever been to Lund and/or Sweden?
Sadly I have not. But I have always wanted to see what it would be like to live and work in Sweden. This is a little dream come true for me.