Graduate Student Connor Eichenauer Receives 2024 Joseph L. White Award for Outstanding Graduate Contributions to J-DEI

May 13, 2024 - Shelly DeJong

Connor poses with Kevin Ford with his award.

Congratulations to Connor Eichenauer, a 5th year graduate student specializing in Organizational Psychology, on receiving the 2024 Joseph L. White Award for Outstanding Graduate Contributions to JDEI (Justice, Diversity, Equity, or Inclusion)

This award looks to encourage and support the department’s graduate students’ exemplary research on topics that examine or advance justice, diversity, equity, and/or inclusion. It is named after Joseph L. White, Ph.D., the first African American person to receive a doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.  

“Receiving this award is extremely gratifying and is a testament to the great work being conducted by students and faculty in the MSU Organizational Psychology program contributing to JDEI research and practice in workplace contexts,” said Eichenauer. “My accomplishments as a researcher and practitioner are a direct product of formal collaborations and informal brainstorming conversations among our students and faculty on topics related to JDEI; many current and recent students in our program are deserving of this award.” 

Eichenauer’s research focuses on how to reduce biases during personnel assessment and the employee selection process. His desire to study Organizational Psychology was first inspired by listening to his mother talk about her struggles working in a male-dominated profession. He recalls her sharing stories of needing to adapt to fit in with her male colleagues. Her stories inspired Eichenauer to strive to make a difference in the working lives of people from underrepresented backgrounds.  

A studio headshot of Connor EichenauerAs he began his graduate school career, Eichenauer focused on researching women in leadership—including leading a two-study project that compared male and female leaders’ behaviors when managing challenging work situations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how their subordinates perceived and evaluated them. His master’s thesis examined how employee’s expectations for leader behaviors differ for men and women leaders. In this work, Eichenauer conducted the first direct test of the effects of incongruence between followers’ expectations and leaders’ subsequent behavior. 

Eichenauer has also investigated accent-based hiring discrimination among immigrants as well as investigating whether hiring practices using asynchronous interviews eliminates gender bias. Eichenauer’s dissertation investigates factors that influence hiring managers’ use of different selection tools, which varies in terms of minority group performance and fairness perceptions.  

As a graduate student, Eichenauer has interned with Honeywell, Ford Motor Company, and other large organizations. He’s grateful for the opportunity to apply research in organizational settings. 

“I’ve been privileged to be in positions where I could apply evidence based JDEI findings and research methodologies in organizational settings to influence policies, procedures, and programs that directly impact people’s lives,” said Eichenauer. “Through this unique combination of research and applied experiences, I have been able to engage in my passion for JDEI and hopefully make a difference in the working lives of people from underrepresented and marginalized groups.”