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Q&A with Duanyi Yang, one of ILR’s nine new faculty members.

Q&A with Duanyi Yang

Duanyi Yang, whose research spans labor relations, sociology and human resources management, has joined the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History. She received her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management after earning both her bachelor's degree in economics and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

What is your research about?
My research investigates how organizational management policies operate within different institutional contexts. I am particularly interested in the ways that organizational policies and practices affect the organizational behavior and welfare of traditionally disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, migrants and low-wage workers) while also attending to the effectiveness of those policies and practices for firms. My work illustrates the challenges that disadvantaged workers face and investigates how innovative human resources policies affect workers’ experiences and their capacity to exercise their voice and pursue their goals at work. 
How did you become interested in your field?
I volunteered at a homeless shelter, Simpson Housing, in Minneapolis when I was an undergraduate. My conversations with the shelter residents and other volunteers made me interested in understanding the causes of poverty and the importance of work and human dignity.
What impact do you hope your research will have?
Through my research, I strive not only to contribute to theories of work and employment, but also to identify institutional conditions, policies and managerial practices that foster job quality, support worker welfare and address inequalities.
What attracted you to the ILR School?
My research integrates theory and research from labor relations, sociology and human resource management, and the ILR School hosts world-leading scholars of all of these areas. I see the ILR School as an intellectual home, and it is hard for me to think of a better place to continue developing my research and teaching.
What are you most excited for about your time at ILR?
The opportunities to learn from and work with my ILR colleagues and students.
Cornell’s “Any Person, Any Study” ethos – how will you be part of that?
I am proud of being part of the Cornell community that offers students from different backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a diverse spectrum of academic studies. Going forward, I seek to establish a class environment that fosters belonging for students of all identities, backgrounds and experiences, and treat each student as a unique individual. I stand committed to continue my research on the problems faced by historically disadvantaged groups, and to address the need to develop more equitable workplaces and organizations. I hope to invite students from underrepresented groups to work together on these challenging problems. I am indebted to my academic mentors for invaluable research and career advice. I hope to repay this debt by providing mentorship for my future students and to enhance opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed.

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