Stephen H Lee

Stephen H Lee
  • Visiting Lecturer

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: workplace gossip, helping, voice, ethics

Links: CV


Stephen Lee is a postdoctoral researcher and visiting lecturer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies how people interact with each other in the workplace and why well-intended behaviors may have unintended consequences. His research focuses on behaviors including workplace gossip, helping, and voice. His work has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Stephen currently teaches the Undergraduate core course on Teamwork and Interpersonal Influence (MGMT 301). Previously, he has taught Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the University of Washington, where he received the PhD Program Distinguished Teaching Award.

Stephen received his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Organizational Behavior) from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and earned his BBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Before academia, he worked in management consulting.

Continue Reading


  • Trevor Watkins, Stephen Lee, Kai Chi Yam, Yuanfang Zhan, Lirong Long (2022), Helping after dark: Ambivalent leadership outcomes of helping followers after the workday, Journal of Organizational Behavior.

    Abstract: Helping has long been considered as a beneficial behavior that enhances organizational effectiveness. Recent technological boons, however, have expanded the boundaries of when and where employees fulfill their responsibilities. In the context of leadership, this means that leaders are now able to efficiently provide help to their followers in the evening after the official workday ends, and there is theoretical reason to expect that this behavior leads to meaningful emotional and behavioral reactions. In this manuscript, we draw from theory on emotional appraisal to explain how helping followers in the evening is positively associated with pride or irritation for leaders as a function of leaders' trust in their followers. Furthermore, we posit that these emotional reactions are positively associated with next-day transformational and laissez-faire leadership behaviors, respectively. The results of two experience sampling studies align with our predictions for the pride pathway, while providing mixed results for the irritation pathway. Overall, we extend existing theory on organizational helping by highlighting the theoretical and practical implications of helping followers after the official workday ends.

  • Stephen Lee and Christopher M. Barnes (2021), An attributional process model of workplace gossip, Journal of Applied Psychology, 106 (2), pp. 300-316.

    Abstract: Despite the ubiquity of gossip in the workplace, the management literature offers a limited understanding of its consequences for gossip senders. To understand whether gossiping is beneficial or detrimental for the gossip sender, it is necessary to consider the perspective of gossip recipients and their response to gossip. We develop a typology of gossip that characterizes archetypal patterns of interpreting gossip. We then draw from attribution theory to develop a multilevel process model of workplace gossip that focuses on how the gossip recipient’s attributions of a gossip episode shape the gossip recipient’s subsequent response and behaviors. In addition to the valence and work-relatedness dimensions of gossip that comprise the typology, we examine credibility and the status of the gossip target as fundamental features of the gossip episode that jointly affect the gossip recipient’s attributions. At the episodic level, the process of deciphering the gossip sender’s motives influences the subsequent reciprocation of gossip. Depending on the locus of causality attributed to the gossip episode, gossip also contributes to the perceived trustworthiness of the gossip sender and the gossip recipient’s cooperation with or social undermining of the gossip sender over time. The proposed model suggests that the potential benefits or social consequences of gossip for the gossip sender depend on the characteristics of the gossip and the context of the gossip episode that serve as inputs to the gossip recipient’s attributional process.



Latest Research

Trevor Watkins, Stephen Lee, Kai Chi Yam, Yuanfang Zhan, Lirong Long (2022), Helping after dark: Ambivalent leadership outcomes of helping followers after the workday, Journal of Organizational Behavior.
All Research