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Through teaching, research and outreach, ILR generates and shares knowledge to solve human problems, manage and resolve conflict, establish best practices in the workplace and inform government policy.

Workplace Creativity, Morality and Motivation Researched by Lucas

Brian Lucas

Assistant Professor Brian Lucas of ILR’s Department of Organization Behavior wants to help people be the best possible version of themselves.

Lucas studies how individuals understand and navigate their environments, both in and outside of the workplace. His specific areas of focus are creativity and morality – “domains where people are always trying to do a bit better,” he says.

He and Lillien Ellis ’14, M.S. ’17, Ph.D. ’21, through an ILR technology and the future of work grant, are researching the use of experience-sampling technology to increase creativity in the workplace. And, with Kaitlin Woolley, assistant professor of marketing at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, he is studying motivation in the workplace. 

Lucas, whose training is in experimental social psychology, joined ILR in 2017. He was drawn by what he describes as Cornell’s “vibrant research community and its enthusiastic support for young academic researchers.” He values Cornell’s “collaborative atmosphere, which promotes the cross-pollination of ideas among social scientists across campus.”

Lucas teaches three classes: Introduction to Organizational Behavior, Managing for Creativity and Leading and Managing Teams. “In the classroom, I like to use concepts and theories to inform real-world problems – the day-to-day issues that one might face in an organization,” he says. “Although they’re theory-driven, my classes are practice-focused.”

In 2016, Lucas won the Best Theoretical or Empirical Paper Award from the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management for a research project that explored the relationship between egalitarianism and empathy. The paper, co-authored with Nour Kteily of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Also published last year were papers on how people’s pursuit of money affects the way they see themselves (Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2018); how to manage the consequences of word-deed misalignment – saying one thing, but doing another (Research in Organizational Behavior, 2018); and how leaders can create more effective vision statements (Academy of Management Journal, December 2018).

Lucas was an adjunct assistant professor and postdoctoral research professional at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He earned his doctorate from Northwestern, where he explored his own creativity – playing guitar in a rock cover band.

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