Michalle Mor Barak

Research Interest 
Diversity/Cross Cultural
Military Social Work
Contact Information
University Park
Professor and Director, Doctoral Program
Dean’s Professor of Social Work and Business
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
MSW, University of Haifa, Israel, 1982
BA, University of Haifa, Israel, 1976

MICHALLE E. MOR BARAK is in the vanguard of a new breed of social work and management experts focusing on global workforce diversity. In her award-winning book, Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace (SAGE, 2nd edition, 2011), she proposed an original model for creating an "inclusive workplace"– one that helps businesses, as well as public non-profit organizations integrate with society via expanding circles of inclusion at the organizational, community, state/national and international levels. The book has won the CHOICE award from the Association of College and University Libraries and the Academy of Management's Terry Book Award for "the most significant contribution to management knowledge."

Her scholarly publications were among the first to introduce the construct of inclusion to the discourse about global diversity management through ground-breaking research. Two measurement scales that Mor Barak and her research team established and validated — the Mor Barak Inclusion-Exclusion Scale and the Diversity Climate Scale — have been widely used in for-profit and non-profit research and in corporate employee surveys.

Her current research projects focus on diversity, work-family balance, social support and corporate social responsibility. They examine the impact of organizational culture on job satisfaction, organizational commitment and retention. Her studies test theoretically based models in both non-profit and for-profit organizations nationally and internationally.

Mor Barak's research demonstrates that diversity management and inclusion, when adopted as key business strategies, represent more than just doing the right and moral thing. They also constitute good business. Diversity management is essential if corporations are to adapt to an increasingly diverse workforce, and it gives them a competitive advantage in recruitment, retention, customer relations, marketing and developing a positive corporate image. All of this, in turn, translates into profits and, more importantly, adds to the common good for employees, their families and their communities.

An internationally renowned scholar, Mor Barak has led conferences on diversity at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy, as well as at the Borchard Foundation's Chateau de la Bretesche in France. She received numerous awards of distinction, including the Fulbright award, Lady Davis award for international exchange scholars, University of California Regents Award, and Sterling C. Franklin Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship.

Ranked #4 among the top 100 authors of the most influential articles in the social work discipline over the past decade based on overall and yearly citations, Mor Barak conducted a meta-analysis study (in collaboration with former doctoral students Amy Levin and Jan Nissly) that examined retention in the child welfare and social work workforce. She has conducted several longitudinal studies examining the effects of diversity and quality of supervision on retention among child welfare workers.

Mor Barak mentors and works closely with doctoral and master's students who are active participants in her research projects and co-authors of many of her publications. In recognition of her contributions as a mentor to students, she won the Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring. She also provides leadership for the USC School of Social Work's Social Work and Business in a Global Society concentration, as well as the university's joint MBA/MSW dual-degree program, with the goal of creating a new breed of boundary-crossing professionals with joint social work and business education, who can initiate programs to help workers, families and communities while improving organizational effectiveness of both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Dr. Michàlle Mor Barak opens her award-winning book, Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace (Sage, 2005), with a simple question: what makes a successful manager? She embodies many of the qualities herself: creative vision, an ethical outlook, and the ability to work with individuals of different backgrounds. Even as a student, Mor Barak saw potential where few others did, at the intersection between social work and business. Today, she is an international scholar in both fields whose wide-ranging research in global workforce diversity has revolutionized social work and business practices worldwide.

Mor Barak has been fascinated with cross-cultural collaboration since first being exposed to workforce diversity in her native Israel, where she started her career as a social worker for an international seafaring company. Multiethnic crews, often a medley of nationalities such as Italian, Norwegian and American, faced issues of communication, collaboration and teamwork, and it was Mor Barak’s responsibility to guide them through any cross-cultural misunderstandings. As her ambition grew beyond individual therapy to diversity management, work-family balance and corporate responsibility, she traveled to the United States to pursue a master’s degree and doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.

After graduating, Mor Barak joined the USC School of Social Work, where she has developed her reputation as a visionary, cross-disciplinary scholar in the areas of global workforce diversity, social work practice in the workplace, and inclusion. Her aforementioned book on these topics won the prestigious Academy of Management’s George R. Terry Book Award—the first time any social worker or USC faculty member received the prize.

Mor Barak recently partnered with two colleagues in the USC Marshall School of Business to carry out an innovative study at a factory in Mexico, pairing factory remodeling techniques with a five-part cross-cultural intervention. As a result, the Korean managers and Mexican workers were able to collaborate and contribute to their mutual goal of ensuring productivity and profitability for the factory. In Mor Barak’s mind, this is a basic component of social work—guaranteeing employment and ensuring well-being. She also conducts longitudinal research on the child welfare system, whose workers have notably high rates of turnover.

In addition to directing the doctoral program and chairing the Work & Life concentration at the School of Social Work, Mor Barak is also involved in the new military social work program and teaches courses on social work practice in work settings, research, diversity management from a global perspective, and statistics. Many of her students have the opportunity to participate in teleconference seminars with distinguished guests, and in 2005, she received the Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentorship.

Awards and Distinction
Ranked #4 among the 100 authors of the most influential articles in the social work discipline over the past decade based on overall and yearly citations, British Journal of Social Work, July, 1-18 (2011)
Academy of Management George R. Terry Best Book Award for “the Most Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Management Knowledge”, Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace (2007)
Global Business Round Table Fellow, Center for Work and Family, Boston College (2007)
Choice Award for Outstanding Titles from the Association of College and Research Libraries, Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace (2006)
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Faculty (2006)
Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentorship, University of Southern California (2005)
Lenore Stein-Wood and William Wood Professor of Social Work and Business in a Global Society, (2004)
Sterling C. Franklin Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship, (2003)
Borchard Foundation Bretesche Award, (2003)
Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Award, (2001)
Best Paper Award, Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management (2000)
Distinguished Faculty Award, Alumni and Friends of the USC School of Social Work, Los Amigos de la Humanidad (1998)
Lady Davis Award, Visiting Professorship to the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management (1995)
University of California Regents Fellowship, for scholastic excellence (1985)
University of California Scholarship, for outstanding achievement (1984)
Fulbright Award, for international exchange scholars (1982)
More awards
Selected Publications

Mor Barak, M.E. (2011). Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Travis, D. (2011). Socioeconomic Trends: Broadening the Diversity Ecosystem. In Q. M. Robertson (Eds.) Handbook of Diversity in the Workplace. London, UK: Oxford.

Travis, D.J., Gomez, R.J. & Mor Barak, M.E. (2011). Speaking Up and Stepping Back: Examining the Link between Employee Voice and Job Neglect.Children and Youth Services Review.

Travis, D.J. & Mor Barak, M.E. (2010). Factors influencing child welfare workers' propensity to seek positive change or disengage from their jobs.Journal of Social Service Research, 36(3), 188-205.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Travis, D. (2009). Diversity and Organizational Performance. In Y. Hasenfeld (Eds.) Human Services as Complex Organizations. (pp. 341-378). Thousand Oaks, CA.

Mor Barak, M.E., Travis, D.J., Pyun, H. & Xie, B. (2009). A Meta-analysis of the Role of Supervision in Child Welfare Service Provision. Social Service Review, 83(1), 3-32.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2008). Social Psychological Perspectives of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion in National and Global Contexts. In R. Patti (Eds.)Handbook of Human Service Management. (pp. 239-254). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Cho, S. & Mor Barak, M.E. (2008). Understanding Diversity and Incusion in a Percieved Homogeneneous Culture: A Study of Organizational Commitment and Job Performance Among Korean Employees. Administration in Social Work, 32(4).

Mor Barak, M.E. & Travis, D. (2008). Management: Human Resources.Encyclopedia of Social Work (Twentieth).

Mor Barak, M.E. & Travis, D. (2007). Employee Assistance and Counseling.Encyclopedia of Stress, 1(Second), 922-926.

Findler, L., Wind, L. & Mor Barak, M.E. (2007). The Challenge of Workforce Management in a Global Society: Modeling the Relationship between Diversity, Organizational Culture, and Employee Well-being, Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment. Administration in Social Work, 31(3), 63-94.

Mor Barak, M.E., Levin, A., Nissly, J.A. & Lane, C.J. (2006). Why do they leave? Modeling turnover intentions from child welfare workers’ perceptions of their organizational climate. Children and Youth Services Review, 28(5), 548-577.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2005). Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mor Barak, M.E., Schwartz-Nuttman, O. & Findler, L. (2005). Workforce Diversity and the Inclusive Workplace Model: Implications for Israel. Work Society and Law, 306-321.

Nissly, J.A., Mor Barak, M.E. & Levin, A. (2005). Stress, social support, and workers’ intentions to leave their jobs in public child welfare. Administration in Social Work, 29(1), 79-100.

Mjelde-Mossey, L.A., Mor Barak, M.E. & Knight, B.G. (2004). Coping behaviors as predictors of drinking practices among primary in-hom demential caregivers. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 23(3), 295-308.

Mor Barak, M.E., Travis, D. & Bess, G. (2004). How Well Does Fieldwork Experience Prepare Social Work Students to Become Competent Managers?.Administration in Social Work, 28(1), 21-44.

Mor Barak, Findler & Wind (2003). Cross-cultural aspects of diversity and well-being in the workplace: An International perspective. Journal of Social Work Research and Evaluation, 4(2), 49-73.

Mor Barak, M.E., Nissly, J. & Levin, A. (2001 December). Antecedents to Retention and Turnover among Child Welfare, Social Work, and other Human Services Employees: What can we learn from past research? A review and Meta-analysis. Social Service Review, 625-661.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Levin, A. (2001). Outside of the corporate mainstream and excluded from the work community: A study of diversity, job satisfaction and well-being. Journal of Community, Work and Family, 5(2), 133-157.

Mor Barak, M.E., Findler, L. & Wind, L.H. (2001). Diversity, inclusion, and commitment in organizations: International explorations. Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, 2(2), 72-91.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Bargal, D. (2000). In M.E. Mor Barak and D. Bargal (Eds.) Social Services in the Workplace. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2000). The Inclusive Work Place: An eco-systems approach to organizational diversity. Social Work, 45(4), 339-353.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Bargal, D. (2000). Human services in the context of work: Evolving and innovative roles for occupational social work.Administration in Social Work, 23(3/4), 1-12.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2000). Repositioning Occupational Social Work in the Twenty First Century. Administration in Social Work, 23(3/4), 201-210.

Mor Barak, M.E. (2000). Beyond affirmative action: Toward a model of organizational inclusion. Administration in Social Work, 23(3/4), 47-68.

Mielde-Mossey, L. & Mor Barak, M. (1999). The conceptual and empirical link between health behaviors, self reported health and the use of home health care in later life. Quarterly Home Care Journal, 17(3), 71-89.

Mor Barak, M.E., Cherin, D.A. & Berkman, S. (1998). Organizational and personal dimensions in Diversity Climate: Ethnic and gender differences in employee diversity perceptions. Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, 34(1), 82-104.

Mor Barak, M.E. & Cherin, D.A. A tool to expand Organizational understanding of workforce diversity: Developing a measure of Inclusion-Exclusion. Administration in Social Work, 22(1), 47-64.


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