Humanistic Management PhD Network March 4 2019

Welcome back to IHMA’s Humanistic Management PhD Network. This year we are looking forward to supporting PhDs with even more mentoring, social support and research opportunities. We also have possibilities to connect researchers for publication work, and data gathering sites in companies and organizations connected to IHMA. Please feel free to join our monthly calls.  The PhD Network webinar is held the first Monday of every month at 10:00 (Eastern time).

In our monthly gatherings the Humanistic Management Ph.D. network is featuring  the work of selected Ph.D. students in the field to :

1) highlight their research topic

2) ask specific questions regarding their work for feedback

3) share and discuss concerns of members of the group via Zoom

This session will feature a presentation by Gareth Craze, Doctoral Candidate – Department of Organizational Behavior, Coaching Research Lab Brain, Mind and Consciousness Laboratory at Case Western Reserve University.  The title of his presentation is: Sweet Emotion: The Effects of Sugar Consumption on Emotion Regulation and Emotional Contagion in the Workplace


Sugar consumption is a characteristic feature of many modern dietary patterns and has been implicated in a range of so-called “diseases of civilization”, including a host of mental and mood-related disorders, primarily owing to its effects on blood sugar and insulin regulation, and its inflammatory properties. Previous scholarly work from Darwinian medicine and other evolutionarily grounded approaches to health and nutrition have suggested that this represents a case of evolutionary programming run amok: a hijacking of ancestral adaptations for basic glucose acquisition by modern socio-environmental conditions which permit easy, widespread access to hyper-palatable, industrially processed sugar-rich foods and beverages. 

In this presentation I will discuss my upcoming dissertation research, in which I use evolutionary mismatch theory paired with an emotional contagion framework and emergent systems modeling to propose that sugar consumption may have negative implications for the effective functioning of emotion regulation in work organizations. A substantial amount of modern human sociality takes place at work, and the workplace has increasingly become the setting for the proliferation of “cake culture” – the consumption of sugar-rich foods as an enduring habitual, ritualistic and normative feature of much modern office-based organizational life. Emotional contagion is the effect by which groups experience rapid, localized feedback about the emotional states of others, in turn influencing their own emotional states, which then influences the emotions of other people, and so on, creating a collective, synchronized emotional state among a subset of individuals within a given population.

With sugar increasingly recognized as having distinct micro-nutrient properties which are capable of compromising emotion regulation, as well as producing significant negative effects on stress, fatigue and mood, the workplace might thus serve as a vector for the transmission of negative emotional states among organizational members through the vehicle of emotional contagion. In seeking to bear out this claim, I am concerned with two principal research questions in my dissertation: (1) “Does the consumption of sugar among individual members of an organization negatively impact their healthy emotional functioning (i.e. their ability to healthily regulate and process emotions) such that the healthy emotional functioning of other individual members of the organization is also negatively impacted?” and (2) “Does the healthy emotional functioning of individuals within an organization, negatively impacted by sugar consumption, contribute to the degradation of the emotional health of the organization as a whole?”. 

Following the talk and audience discussion, we will hold a group discussion on career and professional development for doctoral students.  

Hosted by: David Wasieleski, Erica Steckler and Michael Pirson.

All interested students and scholars are welcome!


The HM PhD Network is sponsored by the Institute for Ethics in Business at Duquesne University.

This monthly gathering is hosted by the International Humanistic Management Association in collaboration with the Academy of Management MSR Interest Group and Social Issues in Management (SIM) Division.