Allison Elias

Allison Elias
  • Senior Fellow and Lecturer
  • Management Undergraduate and MBA Advisor

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2013 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links: CV


Allison Elias is a Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Her research investigates historical and contemporary issues of gender and diversity in organizations, with a particular focus on the ways that social movements become translated into corporate policies and practices. Her forthcoming book (Columbia University Press), at the intersection history, gender, and management studies, charts the trajectory of modern feminism at work by tracing the changing nature of secretarial work from the 1960s to the present.

Before coming to Wharton, Dr. Elias taught at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, where she was also appointed a Fellow in the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence. Previously, she was on faculty at Cornell University in the ILR School and the SC Johnson College of Business. Dr. Elias received her doctorate in History from the University of Virginia, where she worked during graduate school as a research associate at the Darden School of Business.

Continue Reading


  • Allison Elias (2021), The Roots of Corporate Feminism: Women in the American Workplace since 1960, Columbia University Press.

  • Allison Elias (2020), ‘Measured by two yardsticks’: women in bank management training, 1960s to 1990s, Management & Organization History, 15 (2).

    Abstract: In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States government ordered corporations to remedy sex discrimination by increasing the number of women working in male-dominated job categories. This article traces the grassroots activism and government policies that led to the creation of management training programs for women in the commercial banking industry. To move women into the managerial job of a bank officer, conflicting advice emerged about how to best design and deliver training programs that could reconcile the real and imagined incongruities between women’s traditional social roles and the masculine character of managerial job positions. This article uses prescriptive literature, government documents, social science research, and mainstream media articles to show the ideological tension that arose as women began moving into the ranks of commercial banking management. Which women should be selected for training? What should be the content and structure of the programs? While many academics and practitioners considered the benefits of having separate training for women, others questioned if female managers should continue to be trained separately from male managers. The integration of women into commercial banking management likely sparked a broader discussion about the ideal qualities of managers. Female traits and tendencies could enhance the management function, helping to reconcile the traditional role incongruity between woman and manager.

  • Allison Elias, “Gender and Bargaining Power in Historical Perspective”. In Handbook on Gender and Negotiation, edited by Mara Oleklans and Jessica A. Kennedy, (2020)

  • Allison Elias and Patricia Werhane, “(Mis)using Historical Texts to (De)humanize Commerce: Evidence from Smith, Marx, and Spencer”. In Humanizing Business: What Humanities Can Say to Business, Springer, edited by Michel Dion, Edward Freeman, and Sergiy Dmytriyev, (2020)

  • Allison Elias, “Feminism at Work”. In Nevertheless They Persisted: Feminisms and Continued Resistance in the U.S. Women's Movement, edited by Jo Reger, (2019)

  • Allison Elias and Michael Maffie (2019), Platform Design as a Managerial Act: Analyzing Sexual Harassment in the Gig Economy, Perspectives on Work - Annual publication of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, 23 (1).

  • Allison Elias (2018), ‘Outside the Pyramid’: Corporate Affirmative Action and Working Women’s Barriers to Upward Mobility, Journal of Policy History, 30 (2).

  • Allison Elias and Eileen Boris, “Workplace Inequities: An Intersectional Approach”. In The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism, edited by Holly J. McCammon, Lee Ann Banaszak, Verta Taylor, and Jo Reger, (The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism, 2017)

  • Allison Elias, Richard Brownlee, Segiy Dmytriyev, “Integrative Stakeholder Engagement”. In Stakeholder Engagement: Clinical Research Cases, edited by R. Edward Freeman, Johanna Kujala, and Sybille Sachs, (2017)

  • Allison Elias and Jirs Meuris (Under Revision), Is There a Cost or Benefit to Working Together? Gender and Compensation in Interdependent Occupations.


Awards and Honors

  • MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching, ILR School, Cornell University, 2016
  • Finalist, Clayman Institute for Gender Research Fellowship, Stanford University, 2016
  • Henry Berlin duPont Fellowship, Awarded by the Hagley Museum and Library, 2012
  • Bostonian Society/New England Women’s Club Fellowship, Awarded by the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2010
  • Finalist, Seven Society Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching, Awarded by the Teaching Resource Center and the Seven Society, University of Virginia, 2008


Latest Research

Allison Elias (2021), The Roots of Corporate Feminism: Women in the American Workplace since 1960, Columbia University Press.
All Research