Allison Elias

Allison Elias
people / faculty

Allison Elias

Visiting Assistant Professor
Labor Relations, Law, and History


Allison Louise Elias is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History at the Cornell ILR School, and she serves as a visiting lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. She researches historical and contemporary issues involving women in the workplace with a focus on social mobility, occupational choice, leadership development, and talent pipelines. She is writing a book (under contract with Columbia University Press) about women’s workplace activism in U.S. corporations from the 1960s-1990s, revealing contested meanings of feminism and divergent understandings of meritocracy. Her book analyzes changing state and corporate policies that encouraged occupational integration, providing some but not all women with upward mobility into leadership positions. Dr. Elias has begun research for a new project that explores short-termism and the business case for diversity.

At Cornell Dr. Elias teaches a variety of courses about history, management, gender, and leadership. She received a Cornell ILR MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching in 2016. Dr. Elias works across disciplines to design and deliver online courses to practitioners. As an advisor, she oversees independent studies, honors theses, and field internship experiences, and she leads a transition seminar for freshman and transfer students.

Dr. Elias serves as Faculty Advisor to the ILR Women’s Caucus, a student organization that advances gender equity through professional development opportunities, community outreach, and awareness campaigns. From 2016-2017, Dr. Elias served as a Faculty Fellow for Balch Hall, a residence for freshman women. Twice Dr. Elias has been nominated for the Cornell International Women’s Day Leadership Award.

Before coming to Cornell, Dr. Elias studied stakeholder management as a researcher at the Darden School of Business, winning first place for teaching materials from INFORMS, the leading international association for operations and analytics research. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia in 2013. As a graduate student she taught writing, history, and women’s studies courses, and she served as an oral history researcher at the Miller Center for Public Affairs. Currently at the University of Virginia, she sits on the Women’s Leadership Council, which advises the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity in order to develop a more equitable gender climate.


Journal Articles

  • Allison Elias. 2018. Clerical Work Is "Outside the Pyramid": Corporate Affirmative Action and Working Women's Barriers to Upward Mobility, Journal of Policy History . 30(2).


  • Allison Elias. 2018. Feminism at Work: Women, Gender, and Success in Corporate America. Columbia University Press, 2018.

Book Chapters

  • Allison Elias. . "Equality As A Result?": Affirmative Action and the Stubbornness of Sex Segregation. in The President and American Capitalism Since 1945. University Press of Florida, Mark Rose and Roger Biles. (Accepted)
  • Allison Elias, Richard Brownlee, Segiy Dmytriyev. . Integrative Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholder-Oriented Partnership Between The Coca-Cola Company and World Wildlife Fund. in Stakeholder Engagement: Clinical Research Cases. Springer, R. Edward Freeman, Johanna Kujala, and Sybille Sachs. (Accepted)
  • Eileen Boris, Allison Elias. 2017. Workplace Discrimination, Equal Pay, and Sexual Harassment: An Intersectional Approach. in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women's Social Movement Activism. Oxford University Press, 2017. Holly J. McCammon, Verta Taylor, Jo Reger, and Rachel L. Einwohner. (Accepted)

Conference Proceedings

  • Allison Elias. 2015. Learning to Lead: Women and Success in Corporate America. in Business and Economic History Online. Business History Conference, 2015.

Professional Activities

  • Women, Gender, and the ‘Vanishing Corporation'. Presented to Cornell ILR School. Ithaca, NY. 2016.
  • Author-Meets-Critic Session, Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community. Presented to Work and Family Researchers Network. 2016.

Honors and Awards

  • MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching, Cornell ILR School. 2016
Allison Elias


Ives Hall Faculty Wing, Room 362
(f) 607-255-6840