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Céleste Grimard [PhD/03] – Asper alumna inducted into the Royal Society of Canada for her research on healthy workplaces

November 12, 2019 — 

Asper graduate Céleste Grimard [PhD/03] was recently elected to the Class of 2019 as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Division of Social Sciences. Grimard studied at Asper from 1995 to 2003, completing her dissertation under the guidance of Asper School of Business professors Raymond Lee, Bruno Dyck, Sue Bruning and John Godard. She is currently a professor of leadership at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Her highly cited, award-winning, creative research on bullying, emotions and burnout in the workplace has made Grimard a prolific, internationally recognized scholar responsible for impactful research addressing critical workplace issues.

Ever since she was a child, Grimard was interested in well-being in the workplace. Her father would come home from work, and during supper, share stories about what happened at the factory where he worked. Later, while working in human resource management for around 10 years, she saw how a poor work climate can be devastating for employees. She remembers being influenced by Marvin Weisbord’s book, Productive Workplaces, in which he described three questions that all employees wrestle with, “Am I in or am I out? Do I have any power and control? Can I use, develop, and be appreciated for my skills and resources?” All of this inspired her to become a researcher so that she could better understand well-being at work and discover how to build healthy workplaces. 

Céleste Grimard

The researcher still remembers much from her time as a PhD student at Asper. “The program was rigorous and demanding, yet I felt well-supported and encouraged to pursue my interests. The faculty members were wonderful: they challenged me to meet high standards and gave me all of the tools that I needed to meet them.”

Along with Professor Raymond Lee, Grimard developed the Emotional Labour Scale which has been widely translated and used around the world as a way of measuring how employees regulate their emotions at work. Grimard underscores the centrality of emotions in employees’ day-to-day work lives. When employees fake their expressed emotions and suppress their true feelings, they not only feel inauthentic and become vulnerable to emotional exhaustion, but the people they interact with can sense their insincerity.

Emotions are contagious, and negative emotions are especially likely to spread like wildfire throughout the workplace, leaving people feeling stressed. In turn, stressed employees are more likely to engage in uncivil behaviours that cultivate a hostile working environment. For their part, managers can be part of the solution or the problem. They are part of the solution when they treat employees fairly, emphasize collaboration rather than competition, offer meaningful and rewarding work, and genuinely want to make a difference. They are part of the problem when they engage in exploitative, unethical, and disrespectful behaviours.

Grimard’s current goal is to translate this research into informed, day-to-day workplace practices, whether through innovative teaching or books aimed at managers.

On being elected into the Royal Society of Canada, Grimard states it’s an honour. “This tells me that the workplace research that my colleagues and I have been doing is valuable. It won’t be just me getting the award; I am sharing it with all of my co-authors.”

Grimard will be inducted into the Royal Society of Canada on November 22, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario.

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