Jacqueline M. Zalewski, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology

I have ongoing scholarly interests in the growing contingencies workers face in their jobs and employment relations. This is because of my background. I grew up as part of the working class in Kenosha, Wisconsin during deindustrialization, characterized by heavy job losses in my community and many others across the US. This experience significantly impacted my ongoing research interests in changes in work and organizations and technology in the workplace (a prime culprit in the reengineering of work, producing greater employment contingencies, and the job losses described above).

For my master's thesis, I conducted ethnographic research of blue-collar temporary work. For my PhD, I interviewed information technologists and human resource professionals about the outsourcing of their work and jobs. I continued doing qualitative research on the outsourcing of professional work and, in 2019, I published a book about its effects on social relations, culture, jobs, and professional work. It’s called Working Lives and in-House Outsourcing: Chewed Up By Two Masters (2019), and you can view the book here.

I have used my interests in changes in work to contribute to scholarship in academic and career advising with collaborator Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer. In 2018, our article “The Professionalization of Academic Advising: Where are We in 2010?” was awarded the first Leigh S. Shaffer Award by NACADA for significant advances made to the academic field of academic advising. Our article “Career Advising in a VUCA Environment” has also been well cited.

Because of my background and professional interests in college teaching and pedagogy, recently I conducted three years of survey research (2017-19) on teamwork in undergraduate Introduction to Sociology courses. My collaborator, Susan Brudvig (Professor of Business Informatics at Northern Kentucky University), and I have one paper that was recently published in Teaching Sociology: “Encouraging Productive Behavior in Student Teams With Interventions (2023), 51(2):127-138.” Susan and I also recorded a podcast, published on the American Sociological Association webpage, explaining the issues that commonly arise in student group work, the interventions we instituted, and the positive effects they had on interactional fairness, students’ perceptions of others, and their satisfaction with teamwork in the course.

We are collecting more survey data in 2023 to continue improving teamwork pedagogy in our own courses and contribute further to scholarly research in this area.

I also developed a class-wide research activity—The Sociology Majors Project (SMP)—that examines the jobs, ongoing education, and professional careers of UG sociology alumni from West Chester University (WCU).

The SMP activity was published November 2020 in the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology (TRAILS).

In spring 2021, in collaboration with Dr. Johnna Capitano (Professor of Management @ WCU), I began qualitative research on contractor and consultant socialization (or onboarding). In 2021 and 2022, Dr. Capitano and I conducted 51 interviews with three types of subjects: 1. Contractors and consultants (or “non-standard workers”); 2. Agency representatives; and 3. Department representatives at client organizations. In 2022 and 2023, we presented analysis at four conferences: Labor and Employment Relations Association Annual Meeting (June 2022), Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference (August 2022), Eastern Sociological Society Conference (February 2023), and Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference (August 2023). In 2023, we plan to write and submit a journal manuscript that describes contractors’ and consultants’ proactive socialization into roles, relationships, and organizations at client organizations.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • The Social Contexts of Substance Use
  • Sociology of Organizations
  • Sociology of Work
  • Independent Study (e.g., sex trafficking, disaster, the military)
  • Sociology Internship
  • Urban Sociology
  • Senior Seminar

Current Scholarly Projects (updated Summer 2023)

Book “Working Lives and in-house Outsourcing: Chewed Up By Two Masters” (2019)

My book on the “in-house outsourcing” of information technology and human resources jobs and professional workers was published by Routledge (2019). The link to the book’s webpage is below:

My book was reviewed in Contemporary Sociology (November 2020). You can find a copy of the review here .

American Sociological Association, TRAILS Publication (November 2020): “The Sociology Majors Project,” Research on the Professional Jobs of Sociology Alumni from West Chester University of Pennsylvania

In fall 2015, I began a research study I call the “Sociology Majors Project” (SMP) about the jobs, professional careers, and ongoing education of Sociology UG alumni from West Chester University (WCU). As part of the curriculum in two sociology classes (Sociology of Organizations and Sociology of Work), students contacted sociology alumni from West Chester University to survey them and gain a better understanding of their jobs, professional careers, and ongoing education. This knowledge has been shared with the department, WCU faculty, current students, and alumni in a career pathways poster.

In summer 2020, I submitted the SMP to the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources and Innovation Library for Sociology (TRAILS)—an online database of teaching and learning resources—for publishing consideration. It was peer-reviewed, deemed an “excellent resource,” and is published in the TRAILS database (November 2020).

The SMP was also featured as a TRAILS resource in the Teaching Sociology April 2021 issue.

Contributor to Investigating Social Problems, 3rd edition, A. Javier Trevino editor, Sage Publications. (January 2021)

In spring 2020, I completed a revision of chapter 10, “Work and the Economy” for the 3rd edition of Investigating Social Problems. It was published by Sage on January 2, 2021. The link to the textbook is below:

I will be revising chapter 10, “Work and the Economy” for the 4th edition of Investigating Social Problems, scheduled to be published in summer 2024.

Teaching Sociology Publication (2022/3) and Continuing Research on Improving Teamwork Pedagogy in the College Classroom

In spring 2017, in collaboration with Dr. Susan Brudvig (Professor of Business Informatics at Northern Kentucky University), I began an experimental research study on teamwork pedagogy in sociology classes. Over three years, we collected survey data from Introduction to Sociology classes before and after three “team development interventions” were added. Thus far, findings show significant improvement in students’ perceptions of: interactional fairness, their perceptions of others, their treatment of others, and their satisfaction with teams.

Thus far, one paper is published in Teaching Sociology (2022): “Encouraging Productive Behavior in Student Teams With Interventions.” 

Data collection in this research study was interrupted in spring 2020, when courses unexpectedly pivoted online at the start of the COVID pandemic. To work further to improve teamwork pedagogy in the college classroom, in 2023 we are continuing this research to explore several other strong relationships in our research data.

Research on Contractor/Consultant Socialization (2021 – 2023)

In 2019, Dr. Johnna Capitano (Professor of Management at WCU) asked me to join the Center for Newcomer Onboarding (CNO). A link to the CNO webpage is below:

In spring 2021, we combined our interests in non-standard work, workers, and organizational socialization to explore this relationship. From May 2021 to May 2022, we interviewed 51 professionals who included: 1. Contractors and consultants; 2. Agency representatives who place contractors and consultants; and 3. Department representatives at client organizations who hire and manage them. We have qualitatively analyzed our data and presented the following conference papers

  • “A Qualitative Study of the Non-standard, Contingent Workforce and Their Socialization Into Client Organizations.” Labor and Employment Relations Association Annual Meeting, June 2022, Research Poster, Virtual Format.
  • “A Map and Gap Analysis of the Socialization Experience of Non-standard Employees Into Client Organizations: What Typically Happens and What’s Missing?” Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference, August 2022, Research Paper, Los Angeles, CA.
  • “Organizational Socialization of Contingent Workers: The Proactivity of Contractors and Consultants Compared to the Agencies and Client Organizations That Employ Them,” Eastern Sociological Society Conference, February 2023, Baltimore, MD.
  • “Contingent Workers’ Proactive Behaviors in the Stages of Organizational Socialization at Clients: What, When, and How Do Contractors and Consultants Use Them?” Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference, August 2023, Philadelphia, PA.

We applied to and hope to present at one more research conference prior to sending a journal manuscript off for publishing consideration.

  • “Understanding the Organizational Socialization of Non-standard Workers into Client Organizations.” People and Organizations Conference, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, September 2023, Philadelphia, PA.

Areas of Scholarly Interest

  • Changes to the Organization of Work, Occupations, Professions, and Formal Organizations
  • Contractor Socialization
  • Technology in the Workplace
  • Work and Inequality
  • Academic and Career Advising
  • Pedagogy on Team Work and Collaborative Learning

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