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Betty Johnson, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Betty Johnson at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Chair, Dr. J. Beth Mabry, Committee Member, Dr. Michael Valentine, Committee Member, Emily Axelrod, External Reader

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • J. Beth Mabry, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Michael Valentine, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Emily Axelrod, MSW, External Reader


autonomy, breaks, camera use, coping, dramaturgy, engagement, gender, emotional exhaustion, impression management, leadership, small talk, social support, stereotypes, stress, surface acting, technology, time waste, video meetings, workplace norms

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In the first quarter of 2020, societal upheavals related to the COVID-19 pandemic included employers’ work-from-home mandates and an almost overnight adoption of video meetings to replace in-person meetings no longer possible due to contagion fears and social distancing requirements. This exploratory study aimed to address, in part, the scientific knowledge gap about video meetings as a source of emotional labor. The study used mixed methods to explore three hypotheses concerning how the contemporary use of video meetings related to emotional exhaustion, stressors, and coping. Data were gathered through an online survey questionnaire. Emotional exhaustion, the dependent variable in the study, was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Schaufeli et al., 1996) General Survey emotional exhaustion subset of items. Stressors measured included surface acting, which was measured using items adapted from Grandey’s (2005) scale. Coping was measured by perceptions about coping resources and cognitive coping. Socio-demographic characteristics served as control variables. Open-ended items produced data pertaining to emotional exhaustion, stressors, and coping related to video meetings. After data cleaning, the sample comprised 345 (n = 345) cross-sector professionals working for U.S.-based organizations. Findings based on a series of linear regression analyses and qualitative data thematic analysis showed video meeting hours and surface acting significantly related to a higher level of emotional exhaustion. Extrovertism, nonwork video gatherings, and social support from another adult in the home were nonsignificant in their relationships with emotional exhaustion. Perceptions that video meetings were too many for participants to accomplish their overall job responsibilities were significantly related to a higher emotional exhaustion level. Perceptions that video meetings were useful to the participant significantly related to a lower emotional exhaustion level. Perceptions that family, household, and personal responsibilities competed for the energy participants needed to do their jobs successfully were also significantly related to a higher emotional exhaustion level. Qualitative data analysis also revealed emergent themes that suggest implications for practitioners and direction for future research. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Betty Johnson

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-7742-2901

Dr. Betty J. Johnson is a leadership and change consultant. At the heart of her work is the wellbeing principle that people thrive at work when they accomplish their goals while building positive relationships. Her 30 years’ experience includes all levels of an organization—senior executive, practice leader, frontline manager, trainer, and sales professional roles—and is enriched by her international consulting with business, government, and non-profit organizations.

After receiving a B.A. in English from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Johnson participated in a national security program at the U.S. Army War College where she discovered her professional purpose: to help leaders generate engagement, high performance, positive relationships, and meaning for themselves and others.

Dr. Johnson’s firm, Bridging the Difference, LLC, applies scientific research-based practices, real-work practical lessons, and an empathetic process to help leaders recognize behavior-goal misalignments that create churn. She helps them develop their ability to get the results they want: deep-level diversity, equity, and inclusion; empathy as a performance enabler; participatory management and employee empowerment; high-performance teams; change and resilience, and; problem resolution. Dr. Johnson’s proprietary methods include Intentional Meetings®, Mindful Influence®, Team to Win®, and Align to Transform®.

Dr. Johnson’s doctorate from Antioch University concentrates on Leadership and Change. Her doctoral research illuminates significant relationships between video meetings, stressors, coping resources, and cognitive coping in the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Through this research, she provides straightforward, results-based recommendations for researchers and practitioners.

Consistent with her advocacy of wellbeing theory, Dr. Johnson brings her character strengths to every endeavor. Among clients, family, and friends, she is best known for her wise perspective and her empathetic counsel to others. Dr. Johnson’s client work includes action research that introduces new practices to get meaningful, measurable results. Believing that each situation is unique, Dr. Johnson adapts to each client’s culture by bringing novel and productive ways to think about and achieve goals. Said one executive client, “Betty brought a fresh perspective to leadership for me to learn from. I appreciated her thoughtfulness and scientific approach to things. I also liked how she challenged my thinking and allowed me to see a different perspective.” These words exemplify the benefits of her work and fuel Dr. Johnson’s drive to continue fulfilling her purpose as practitioner and researcher.