hero image
Alexandra Dunn - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Alexandra Dunn

Assistant Professor | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Dunn focuses on creating a supportive work environment and positive onboarding experience.




Alexandra M. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management, is an organizational scientist who teaches management, human resources, and organizational behavior in the undergraduate and MBA program. She is a member of the Fredericksburg SHRM chapter and SHRM-CP certified. She enjoys collaborating on research projects with undergraduate and graduate students, professors from UMW and other universities, and local businesses.

Her research focuses on creating supportive work environments, recruiting and onboarding, high-reliability organizations (e.g., firefighters, police officers), and how to design effective surveys. Dr. Dunn’s work has been published in numerous academic journals including the Journal of Business and Psychology, Human Relations, and the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. She also has co-authored work that appears in The Cambridge Handbook of Meeting Science and has contributed to The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Dr. Dunn’s work has been quoted in multiple media outlets including Men’s Health, the Charlotte Business Journal, and Fredericksburg.com. She has received fellowship awards from the National Science Foundation and P.E.O. International and was recently awarded the Waple Professorship at UMW.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Management and Organizational Behavior

Human Resource Management

Onboarding, Recruitment, and Socialization

Organizational Support

Survey Response Quality

Education (3)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte: Ph.D., Organizational Science 2017

University of North Carolina at Charlotte: M.A., Industrial Organizational Psychology 2014

Elon University: B.A., Psychology 2011

Affiliations (4)

  • Academy of Management
  • Southern Management Association
  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists
  • North Carolina Industrial Organizational Psychology

Media Appearances (3)

Dunn: Fit and fairness are two words that managers should live by



A friend told me a story that highlights the importance of trusting and using the formal hiring process at your organization—and treating your employees fairly. Brenda (not her real name) has been with her large technology company for four years. Since joining the company, she has seen upwards of five management changes while her team was growing and taking on more responsibility. After designing, organizing, and leading multiple events, Brenda was promoted to manager and given the authority to hire two people to join her team. The same responsibility was given to two of her team members, Joe and Sheila...

view more

How to succeed as a millennial woman in business

Charlotte Business Journal  online


I had the opportunity to attend the recent #NextGenCLT event and I was not disappointed. As a woman millennial finishing my dissertation and studying business, I was excited to hear the four female panelists discuss strategies for success and how to take advantage of opportunities for growth for millennial women in business. The discussion was multifaceted, thoughtful, and sparked future conversations.

view more

The Job Habit That Can Burn You Out

Men'sHealth  online


There's a better way to impress your boss—without going crazy.

view more

Articles (3)

Quantity and quality: Increasing safety norms through after action reviews

Human Relations

AM Dunn, C Scott, JA Allen, D Bonilla

2016 Workplace safety is a concern for both scholars and practitioners alike because accidents and injuries can result in time away from work and lost organizational resources. This study focuses on how one type of post-incident discussion can be effectively used to promote positive safety norms. It adds to the growing body of research on after action review meetings, one type of post-incident discussion intervention commonly used in high reliability organizations to increase future workplace safety behaviors. This study also extends the sensemaking and high reliability literatures by examining a three-way interaction between perceived frequency of after action review meetings, ambiguity reduction and psychological safety. Survey data were obtained from 330 firefighters. Results from the three-way interaction showed that safety norms were highest when perceived after action review frequency, ambiguity reduction and psychological safety were simultaneously high, and safety norms were lowest when perceived after action review frequency, ambiguity reduction and psychological safety were simultaneously low. By examining both the perceived quantity and quality of after action review meetings, this study provides insight into which after action review facilitation objectives are most likely to increase positive safety norms and ultimately create a shared understanding of how to behave safely in future workplace events in high reliability organizational contexts.

view more

Five theoretical lenses for conceptualizing the role of meetings in organizational life

The Cambridge Handbook of Meeting Science

C Scott, JA Allen, SG Rogelberg, A Kello

2015 Although work meetings remain an enduring and commonplace organizational communication activity, scholars have only recently begun to theorize the meeting as a phenomenon unto itself. When meetings have been studied, they have usually been analyzed as settings for the exploration of other phenomena.Recent research that examinesmeetings addresses a broad range of issues, but often leaves theoretical questions and assumptions regarding the nature of meeting communication itself and the role of meetings in shaping organizational life underspecified or completely unarticulated. What are meetings really? Why should practitioners and scholars see them as more significant than any other organizational phenomenon? Why should they believe that work meetings actually play an important role in shaping (i.e., rather than merely reflecting) larger attitudes and perceptions about organizations and the individuals who facilitate and participate in them? This chapter presents a set of metaphors that capture the various ways in which meetings are approached in contemporary research. Each metaphor reflects and sustains distinct assumptions about what meetings are, what role they play in organizational life, and the manner in which they constitute organizations. We argue that meeting science should deploy both practical and theoretical assumptions that position meetings as generative activities through which groups and organizations are constituted and sustained. The chapter also describes related directions for future research that would add to our understanding of the various ways that meeting communication shapes individual and organizational outcomes. Work meetings remain an enduring and frequently occurring activity in organizational life. Unfortunately, in spite of their prevalence, meetings have usually only been analyzed by scholars as settings for the exploration of other phenomena such as decision making or group development (Schwartzman, 1986). Consequently, the practical relevance and related frustrations of work meetings have received far more attention than theoretical questions about what meetings are and how they fit into larger organizational processes and outcomes. Researchers have only recently begun to theorize the meeting as a phenomenon unto itself (e.g., Rogelberg, Leach, Warr, and Burnfield, 2006), and theory development regarding the role of meetings in organizational life has been particularly sparse.

view more

Less acting, more doing: How surface acting relates to perceived meeting effectiveness and other employee outcomes

Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

Alexandra Dunn et al.

2013 This study adds to the growing body of research on work meetings and extends the emotional labour literature beyond a service context by examining the relationship between surface acting during meetings and perceived meeting effectiveness. Additionally, the relationships of surface acting during meetings and perceived meeting effectiveness with time-lagged reports of intention to quit and emotional exhaustion 3 months later were investigated. Structural equation modelling of data from 178 working adults revealed negative relationships between surface acting and perceptions of meeting effectiveness...

view more