Elizabeth Gorman is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Sociology Department at the University of Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. Before beginning her graduate studies in sociology, she practiced law for five years in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Professor Gorman teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on organizations, work, gender, and quantitative methods.
Professor Gorman's research interests lie in the areas of organizations, work, professions, and gender and other bases of inequality. One current focus examines gender differences in mobility and attainment within organizations, with a special emphasis on professional settings. For example, her recent article in the American Journal of Sociology (with Julie Kmec) develops a theoretical framework for expecting that women’s promotion rates decline at higher organizational levels (the “glass ceiling” phenomenon) and applies the framework to empirical data on law firms. Another recent article in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science (with Fiona Kay) reviews and synthesizes the literature on women in the legal profession. She is currently guest-editing (with Rebecca Sandefur) a special issue of the journal Work and Occupations on professional work.
A second stream of Professor Gorman’s research investigates gender and family-based differences in work-related behavior and attitudes. A recent study in Gender & Society (with Julie Kmec) shows that, in both Britain and the United States, women report that their jobs require greater effort than men say their jobs do. This effect is not explained by either job characteristics or family demands—suggesting that either employers impose higher standards on women or women impose higher standards on themselves (or both). A companion paper in Work and Occupations finds that women engage in more discretionary effort (over and above what is required) than men do in Britain, but no gender difference in discretionary effort in the United States.