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Two days before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Shimul Melwani sat in her office with PhD student Angelica Leigh discussing the two paths diverging before the nation’s voters. As they oscillated between the outcomes of route A and route B, they realized that people in offices across the country, during breaks for coffee or in between meetings, were doing the same thing.

They hypothesized how the reactions to something as pivotal — and contentious — as a presidential election would follow employees into the workplace, possibly for months to come. They turned their curiosity into a new research study to find out how the election’s impact on workplace motivation contrasted between people of different political identities.

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