UI student receives Fulbright grant to study work-life balance in Japan

Daniel Goering was awarded a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award, which he will use to conduct a mixed methods interdisciplinary study at a benefits firm in Tokyo, Japan. Daniel, of Agency, IA, is currently a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

Daniel Goering
Daniel will investigate methods of work-life balance in Tokyo, Japan through a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant

In Japan, Daniel will collaborate with experts at the University of Tokyo to study issues of work-life balance and investigate methods to reduce burnout from stressful work environments.

As baby boomers retire, working adults in the U.S. and Japan are faced with an increasingly demanding work environment as a result of a shrinking workforce, which can lead to a vicious cycle of stress and work-family conflict.

To address the issue, Daniel will integrate the unique concept of ikigai with American positive psychology theories in hopes of finding a way to break this cycle.

Ikigai is a Japanese cultural concept meaning, “a purpose which imbues one’s life with meaning and worth,” or “the pursuit of a life worth living.” Daniel’s study investigates whether or not focusing on others’ happiness can help break the vicious cycle of stress, burnout and work-family conflict in employees.

“The concept of ikigai (explains) one’s unique purpose and way of giving back to which he or she is especially suited; my research is my unique way of giving back, my ikigai,” Goering said.

In addition to his research, Daniel hopes to engage the host country by leading stress resilience and work-life balance executive training workshops scheduled for May 2016 at JX Nippon Oil, Pasona and Rotary International with help from his sponsors at the University of Tokyo. Daniel will then share the results with all participating organizations and present his findings at two academic conferences.

“It is my hope to improve the lives of individuals and families through this current study as well as my future research as a professor.”

Upon his return, Daniel will finish developing a dissertation proposal relating to increasing resilience to work-family stress, culminating in his PhD in organizational behavior.

His Fulbright grant will allow him to develop his research stream of international work-family issues, which he hopes will lead to multiple high-impact journal publications. Daniel’s goal is to become a tenure-track professor and thought leader in management.

Daniel is one of 13 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant winners from the University of Iowa for 2015-16. See the full list of winners.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more information on applying for a Fulbright through the University of Iowa, visit our Fulbright page.

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