Elizabeth Williams and alumna’s paper published in Sustainability

Along with coauthor and CSU M.A. alumna Minkyung Kim, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Elizabeth Williams has published the paper “Emotional sustainability in human services organizations: Cultural and communicative paths to dealing with emotional work ” in Sustainability.


Emotional sustainability in the human services sector is crucial for both the organizations and the constituents they serve. However, human services professionals consistently struggle with emotional work as they care for the vulnerable. Despite such challenges, individuals in the human services sector choose to work in emotionally demanding careers and are motivated to serve others. However, such career pathways may not be consistent in other cultures and can further impact the way individuals cope with emotional work. This study explores South Korean social workers and how they experience and sustain themselves through emotional work. Findings show that emotional work led to burnout yet also resulted in fulfillment. Social workers also were mostly led to work in the human services sector by their education system that reflects the unique culture of South Korea. At the same time, these systems were foundational to building sustainability as they bolstered communication networks based on selective ties specific to school.