Susan Lambert, a female-presenting person, smiles towards the camera against a light-gray background.

Susan J. Lambert, PhD

Professor Emeritus; Co-Director of the Employment Instability, Family Well-Being, and Social Policy Scholars Network (EINet)

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: E-18; WSSC 255

Areas of Expertise
Government and Policy
Non-Profit Organizations
Poverty and Income

As employers wrestle with pressures to minimize labor costs, they are increasingly using daily scheduling practices to pass variations in demand onto workers. These growing legions of hourly employees - just-in-time workers - find that their jobs are subject to change season to season, week to week, or even day to day. Understanding how managers are structuring and scheduling jobs is crucial to determining new directions for both social policy and employer practices.

Susan Lambert, Professor at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, is one of the few researchers focusing on the "work" side of work-life issues, primarily studying low-skilled, hourly jobs. Central to her research is examining whether it is possible to create a better model of work for both hourly low-wage employees and employers. This is especially important at a time when employers are shifting risk from the market onto employees, subsequently undermining workers' ability to access social benefits such as health insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid leave.

Susan Lambert is retiring from the Crown Family School
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Faculty Research Identifies Strategies for Implementing Work Scheduling Laws during Economic Uncertainty
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Professors Yoonsun Choi and Waldo E. Johnson, Jr. are inducted as 2023 fellows by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW)
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Stable Scheduling Study Reveals Benefits and Feasibility in Retail for Families, Businesses
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New research examines how many low-wage workers struggle to get benefits
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Professors Susan J. Lambert and Julia Henly awarded a WorkRise grant
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See all news articles about Professor Emeritus; Co-Director of the Employment Instability, Family Well-Being, and Social Policy Scholars Network (EINet) Susan J. Lambert
Susan Lambert: What drives schedule instability isn’t just software; it’s that the software doesn’t account for the unexpected
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Susan Lambert Explains Scheduling Algorithms and How They Increase Stress For Workers
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Susan Lambert on Retailers’ Sick Leave Policies in the age of COVID
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Susan Lambert discusses why programs like WorkShare Illinois are good solid steps for public policy
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William Pollak Award for Excellence in Teaching
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  • Lambert, Susan J. & Haley, Anna (in press). Implementing new work hour regulations in the service sector: Compliance and enforcement challenges. Industrial and Labor Relations Review.
  • Chung, Heejung, Jaga, Ameeta & Lambert, Susan J. (2022) Possibilities for change and new frontiers: introduction to the Work and Family Researchers Network special issue on advancing equality at work and home, Community, Work & Family, 25:1, 1-12, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2022.2008057
  • Williams, Joan and Lambert, Susan J., and Kesavan, Saravanan and Korn, Rachel and Fugiel, Peter and Carreon, Erin Devorah and Bellisle, Dylan and Jarpe, Meghan and McCorkell, Lisa. (2022). Stable Scheduling Study: Health Outcomes Report. Available at SSRN: or
  • Henly, Julia R., Lambert, Susan J., & Dresser, Laura J. (in press). The new realities of working-class jobs since the Great Recession: Innovations in employment regulation, social policy, and worker organization. In edited volume: What has happened to the American Working Class since the Great Recession? (2009-2019). ANNALS of The American Academy of Political and Social Science.
  • Kim, Jaeseung, Henly, Julia R., Golden, Lonnie & Lambert, Susan J. (2020). Workplace flexibility and worker wellbeing by gender and parenting young children. J. of Marriage and Family, 82(3):892-910.
  • Lambert, Susan J.,  Henly, Julia R. & Kim, Jaeseung (2019). Precarious work schedules as a source of economic insecurity and institutional distrust. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 5(4): 218-257.
  • Lambert, Susan J., Henly, JuliaR., Schoeny, Michael, and Jarpe, Meghan (2019). Increasing schedule predictability in hourly jobs: Results from a randomized experiment in a US retail firm. Work & Occupations, 46(2), 176-226.
  • McCrate, Elaine, Lambert, Susan J., & Henly Julia R. (2019). Work schedule instability and underemployment among hourly workers in Canada. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 43(5): 1287-1314.
  • Fugiel, P.J. & Lambert, Susan J. (2019). On-demand and on-call work in the United States. In M. O’Sullivan, J. Lavelle, J. McMahon, L. Ryan, C. Murphy, T. Turner & P. Gunnigle (eds.), Zero Hours and On-Call Work in Anglo-Saxon Countries. Chapter 6, pp. 111-135. Springer Publishing.
  • Williams, Joan C., Lambert, Susan J., & Kesavan, Saravanan (December 2017). How the Gap used an app to give workers more control over their schedules, Harvard Business Review.
  • Stanczyk, Alexandra B., Julia R. Henly, and Susan J. Lambert. 2017. “Enough Time for Housework? Low-Wage Work and Desired Housework Time Adjustments.” Journal of Marriage and Family 79(1): 243-260.
  • Henly, Julia R., and Susan Lambert. 2014. "Unpredictable work timing in retail jobs: Implications for employee work-life outcomes." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 67(3): 986-1016.
  • Lambert, Susan J. 2014. "The limits of voluntary employer action for improving low-level jobs." In Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility, edited by Marion Crain and Michael Sherraden. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Golden, Lonnie, Julia R. Henly, and Susan Lambert. 2013. "Work schedule flexibility for workers: A path to employee happiness?" Journal of Social Research and Policy 2(4): 107-134.
  • Lambert, Susan, and Julia Henly. 2013. "Double jeopardy: The misfit between welfare-to-work requirements and job realities." In Work and the Welfare State: The Politics and Management of Policy Change, edited by Evelyn Z. Brodkin and Gregory Marston. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Lambert, Susan J., Anna Haley-Lock, and Julia R. Henly. 2012. "Schedule flexibility in hourly jobs: Unanticipated consequences and promising directions." Community, Work and Family 15(3): 293-315.
  • Lambert, Susan J., and Julia R. Henly. 2012. "Frontline managers matter: Labour flexibility practices and sustained employment in hourly retail jobs in the U.S." In Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? Trends, Determinants and Responses to Job Quality in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Chris Warhurst, Francoise Carré, Patricia Findlay, and Chris Tilly, 143-59. England: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lambert, Susan J. 2009. "Making a difference for hourly employees." In Work-life Policies that Make a Real Difference for Individuals, Families, and Organizations, edited by Ann C. Crouter and Alan Booth. Washington DC: Urban Institute Press.
  • Lambert, Susan J. 2008. "Passing the buck: Labor flexibility practices that transfer risk onto hourly workers." Human Relations 61(9): 1203-27.
  • Henly, Julia R., and Susan J. Lambert. 2005. "Nonstandard work and child care needs of low income parents." In Work, family, health & well-being, ed. Suzanne M. Bianchi, Lynne M. Casper, and Rosalind King. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 
  • Kossek, Ellen Ernset, and Susan J. Lambert, eds. 2005. Work and life integration: Or­ganizational, cultural, and individual perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 
  • Lambert, Susan J., and Elaine Waxman. 2005. "Organizational stratification: Distribut­ing opportunities for work-life balance." In Work and life integration: Organizational, cultural, and individual perspectives, ed. Ellen Ernst Kossek and Susan J. Lambert. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 
  • Lambert, Susan J., and Anna Haley-Lock. 2004. "The organizational stratification of opportunities for work-life balance: Addressing issues of equality and social justice in the workplace." Community, Work & Family 7(2): 181-197. 
  • Lambert, Susan J. 2003. "The work side of welfare-to-work: Lessons from recent policy research." Work & Occupations 30(4): 474-478. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 2000. "Added benefits: The link between work-life benefits and or­ganizational citizenship behavior." Academy of Management Journal 43(5): 801-815. (Lead article.) 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1999. "Lower-wage workers and the new realities of work and family." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 562: 174-190. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1995. "An investigation of workers’ use and appreciation of supportive workplace policies." In Best papers 1995: Proceedings of the Academy of Management, ed. Dorothy Perrin Moore. Madison, WI: Omni Press. 
  • Lambert, Susan, and Karen Hopkins. 1995. "Occupational conditions and workers’ sense of community: Variations by gender and race." American Journal of Community Psychology 23(2): 151-179. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1994. "A day late and a dollar short: Persistent gender differences amid changing requirements for organizational advancement." Journal of Applied Social Science 18(1): 89-108. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1993. "Workplace policies as social policy." Social Service Review 67(2): 237-260. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1991. "The effects of job and family characteristics on the job satisfac­tion, job involvement, and intrinsic motivation of men and women workers." Journal of Organizational Behavior 12: 341-363. 
  • Lambert, Susan. 1990. "Processes linking work and family: A critical review and re­search agenda." Human Relations 43(3): 239-257.

Susan J. Lambert is Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago, and Director of the Employment Instability, Family Well-Being, and Social Policy Scholars Network (EINet). Lambert received a B.A. summa cum laude in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, a M.S.W. (Social Program Evaluation) and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Science (Organizational Psychology) from the University of Michigan.

Lambert’s research focuses on employer practices and how they shape the quality of hourly jobs, the lives of low-paid workers, and inequality in society. The sites for Lambert’s research span both production and non-production industries, including retail, hospitality, financial services, transportation, and manufacturing, and both publicly-held and family-owned firms. Her research includes comparative organizational case-studies and randomized workplace experiments as well as analyses of national data on the prevalence of precarious scheduling practices in today’s US labor market. Lambert’s current research focuses on the implementation of new municipal-level ordinances regulating employers’ work scheduling practices in several US cities. 

Her research is supported by grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Washington Center for Equitable Growth. As a leading researcher on work schedules in hourly jobs, Lambert regularly advises policy organizations, labor groups, employers, and government officials on strategies to improve scheduling practices in ways that balance the needs of employers for labor flexibility with the needs of workers for stable and predictable work hours.