Ruth Kanfer

Professor of Psychology

  • Office: J.S. Coon Bldg, Rm. 226
  • Phone:  404-894-2680 (msg)
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Research Areas in Work & Organizational Psychology:
    • Motivation/Goal Setting/Self-Regulation
    • Adult Development/Learning/Work & Aging
    • Job Search & Reemployment


B.A. Miami University, Oxford OH; M.S. Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe AZ; Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL


Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP; 2008) 

William R. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award (with P. L. Ackerman), Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP; 2006) 

Outstanding Publication of the Year in Organizational Behavior Award (with P. L. Ackerman), Academy of Management (1989 and 2004) 

Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in Applied Research), American Psychological Association (APA, 1989) 

Elected Fellow:  Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Sciences, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 

Leadership Roles

Director, Georgia Institute of Technology Work Science Center (2015-) 

National Research Council Science and Practice of Learning Committee (2015-2018) 

Academy of Management, Board of Governors (2004-2007) 

Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Chair (1997-2001) 

Editorial Board Memberships & Advisory Boards

Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work Steering Committee (2016-); Scientific Advisory Board, Jacobs Center for Lifelong Learning, Bremen University, Germany (2009-2012); Director, Georgia Institute of Technology Work Science Center (2015-); Academy of Management, Board of Governors (2004-2007); Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Chair (1997-2001) 

Editorial Boards: Work, Aging, and Retirement (2016-); European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology (2013-); Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2004-); Human Performance (1997- ); Applied Psychology:  An International ReviewJournal of Applied PsychologyJournal of ManagementOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision ProcessesBasic and Applied Social Psychology 

Research Interests

The impact of technology and automation on work motivation/self-regulation and engagement 

Motivational dynamics, work identity, and adult development 

Future time perspective, job search, and employment attitudes 


Finkelstein, L., Truxillo, D., Fraccaroli, F., & Kanfer, R. (Eds.), (2015).  Facing the Challenges of a Multi-Age Workforce.  A Use-Inspired Approach.  NY:  Psychology Press.

Kanfer, R., Chen, G., & Pritchard, R. (Eds.) (2008).  Work Motivation: Past, Present, and Future. NY: Psychology Press.

Lord, R., Klimoski, R., & Kanfer, R. (Eds) (2002).  Emotions in the Workplace: Understanding the Structure and Role of Emotions in Organizational Behavior.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kanfer, R., Ackerman, P. L., & Cudeck, R.  (Eds.) (1989). Abilities, motivation, and methodology: The Minnesota Symposium on Learning and Individual Differences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence

Recent Publications

Kanfer, R., Lyndgaard, S. F., & Tatel, C. E. (2020). For whom the pandemic tolls: a person-centric analysis of older workers. Work, Aging and Retirement6(4), 238-241.

Lim, L., Kanfer, R., Stroebel, R. J., & Zimring, C. M. (2020). Beyond co-location: Visual connections of staff workstations and staff communication in primary care clinics. Environment and Behavior, 0013916520950270.

Lim, L., Kanfer, R., Stroebel, R. J., & Zimring, C. M. (2020). The Representational Function of Clinic Design: Staff and Patient Perceptions of Teamwork. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 1937586720957074.

Kim, S., Irizarry, J., & Kanfer, R. (2020). Multilevel Goal Model for Decision-Making in UAS Visual Inspections in Construction and Infrastructure Projects. Journal of Management in Engineering36(4), 04020036.

Kanfer, R., & Blivin, J. (2019).  Prospects and pitfalls in building the future workforce.  In F. Oswald, T. Behrend, & L. Foster (eds). Workforce Readiness and the Future of Work (pp. 251-259).  New York:  Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Kooij, D. T. A. M., & Kanfer, R. (2019).  Lifespan perspectives on work motivation.  In B. Baltes, C. Rudolph, & H. Zacher (eds), Work across the lifespan (pp. 475-493). New York: Academic Press.

Kanfer, R., & Fletcher, K. A. (2019). Work motivation and employment goals in later adulthood. In S. J. Czaja, J. Sharit, J. James, & J. Grosch (Eds.), Current and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work (pp. 219-242), Springer: New York, NY.

Beier, M. E., LoPilato, A. C., & Kanfer, R. (2018).  Successful motivational aging at work: Antecedents and retirement-related outcomes. Work, Aging, and Retirement, 4, 213-224.

Kooij, D. T. A. M., Kanfer, R., Betts, M., & Rudolph, C. (2018).  Future time perspective: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Journal of Applied Psychology,103, 867-893.

Kanfer, R., Frese, M. F., & Johnson, R. E. (2017).  Motivation related to work:  A century of progress. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 338-355.

Heckhausen, J., Shane, J., & Kanfer, R. (2017).  Competence and motivation at work throughout adulthood:  Making the most of changing capacities and opportunities.  In A. Elliot, C. S. Dweck, & D. Yeager (Eds.), Handbook of Competence and Motivation: Theory and Application (2nd Edition; pp. 449-470).  NY: Guilford Press.