Melissa J. Williams joined the Goizueta faculty in 2011, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She earned a PhD in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Williams studies what happens when social identities (gender, race, stigma, or national culture) collide with workplace hierarchies. She also investigates the consequences of putting people in positions of power and leadership. Her research has been published in top journals (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Management), and covered in major media outlets (Forbes, The New York Times, Wall St. Journal). She is currently an Associate Editor at Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and serves as Area Coordinator for the Organization & Management area at Goizueta. Professor Williams can be reached directly at mjwilliams (at) emory.edu.
University of California, Berkeley: PhD, Social / Personality Psychology 2008
Rice University: BA, Psychology 1995
Areas of Expertise (6)
Gender Wage Gap
Women in the Workplace
Diversity & Inclusion
Power & Leadership
Looking the part: Stereotypicality in appearance among White professionals predicts leadership attainment and perceived leadership suitabilityPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Williams, M. J., Wade, J. B., Nwadei, T., Swaminathan, A., Harrison, K., & Bukstein, S.
When the boss steps up: Workplace power, task responsibility, and engagement with unpleasant tasksOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Williams, M. J., Lopiano, G., & Heller, D.
Interdependence and reflected failure: Cultural differences in stigma by association☆Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
He, T., & Williams, M. J.
Destigmatization and Its Imbalanced Effects in Labor MarketsManagement Science
Negro, G., Williams, M. J., Pontikes, E., & Lopiano, G.
The face of STEM: Racial phenotypic stereotypicality predicts STEM persistence by—and ability attributions about—students of color.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Williams, M. J., George-Jones, J., & Hebl, M. R.
Sexual aggression when power is new: Effects of acute high power on chronically low-power individualsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Williams, M. J., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Guillory, L.
The subtle suspension of backlash: A meta-analysis of penalties for women's implicit and explicit dominance behaviorPsychological Bulletin
Williams, M. J., & Tiedens, L. Z.
Serving the self from the seat of power: Goals and threats predict leaders’ self-interested behaviorJournal of Management
Williams, M. J.
When "mom's the boss": Control over domestic decision making reduces women's interest in workplace powerGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Williams, M. J., & Chen, S.
Selectively friending: Racial stereotypicality and social rejectionJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Hebl, M. R., Williams, M. J., Sundermann, J., Kell, H., & Davies, P. G.
Fundamental(ist) attribution error: Protestants are dispositionally focusedJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Li, Y. J., Johnson, K. A., Cohen, A. B., Williams, M. J., Knowles, E. D., & Chen, Z.
The masculinity of money: Automatic stereotypes predict gender differences in estimated salariesPsychology of Women Quarterly
Williams, M. J., Paluck, E. L., & Spencer-Rodgers, J.
Cultural differences in expectations of change and tolerance for contradiction: A decade of empirical researchPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., & Peng, K.
Biological conceptions of race and the motivation to cross racial boundariesJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Williams, M. J., & Eberhardt, J. L.
Gender clues and cues: Online interactions as windows into lay theories about men and womenBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Williams, M. J., & Mendelsohn, G. A.
Not yet human: Implicit knowledge, historical dehumanization, and contemporary consequences.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Goff, P. A., Eberhardt, J. L., Williams, M. J., & Jackson, M. C.
Culture and group perception: Dispositional and stereotypic inferences about novel and national groupsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Spencer-Rodgers, J., Williams, M. J., Hamilton, D. L., Peng, K., & Wang, L.
Warding off the attacker: Self-defense in theory and in practiceJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Williams, M. J., & Hebl, M. R.
In the News (8)
Stereotypes about STEM ability impact retention of minorities in STEM majors, jobs
Atlanta Business Chronicle online
March 25, 2019
When Power Makes Leaders More Sensitive
New York Times online
May 15, 2017
Sudden power is a scourge—and not just in politics
Boston Globe online
Oct. 23, 2016
How Women Can Be Assertive (and Lovable)
July 19, 2016
The Price Women Leaders Pay for Assertiveness—and How to Minimize It
Wall Street Journal online
May 30, 2016
Is Housework a Career Killer?
The Huffington Post online
March 24, 2013
Speaking Out About Women And Power
Feb. 4, 2013
Working Moms Study: Household Managers Found To Have Less Ambition At Work
The Huffington Post online
Jan., 22, 2013