Department: Education Programs

Areas of expertise:

  • Meaning of Work
  • Generation Y
  • Phenomenology
  • Organization Development 

Coates teaches in the area of adult education/human resource development. Her research focuses on using phenomenology to understand the meaning of work among individuals in the workplace across a variation of industries, jobs and organizations. The purpose of this research is to understand people's perception of work including: why they work, their experiences of work, what work means to them and what they intend on accomplishing by working. This level of understanding can help us improve both the experience of the workplace for employees and performance at the individual, group, process and organizational levels. Coates has developed an organizational development tool based on approaching the meaning of work phenomenon from a system's perspective. This tool can be utilized at a strategic level to help inform decision-making within an organization. Coates's most recent research was conducted with Generation Y employees for the purpose of hearing their voices in understanding their perceptions of work. 

Coates earned her bachelor's in psychology from Virginia Tech, master's in industrial organizational psychology from Baruch College (CUNY), and a doctorate in organization performance and change from Colorado State University. 

Media contact: Eric Gorton,

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