The Pros and Cons of Being a Jerk at Work

At some point, we’ve all met a jerk at work. These people may have reckless abandon for the feelings of others. They may be loud, rude, obnoxious, tactless, crass, or forceful. On the other hand, we sometimes see or hear examples of jerks achieving renowned success in the business world. Successful jerks are oftentimes known for their originality and creativity, and for their entrepreneurial achievement. New research (Hunter & Cushenbery, 2015) explores whether being a jerk has certain advantages, or if the so-called benefits of being a jerk are really just a lot of hot air.


Territorial Marking Can Impact Workplace Creativity

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Protecting the Turf: The Effect of Territorial Marking on Others’ Creativity
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Workplace creativity is undeniably important, yet still fairly elusive. Organizational leaders are still learning how to best identify and hire creative people and how to best inspire creativity among people already on the job. New research (Brown & Baer, 2015) focuses on the role of “territorial marking” in influencing the creative process. No, this has nothing to do with the behavior of wild animals. Territorial marking (or more specifically, control-oriented marking) means that people “mark” things that they own, in order to make sure that others don’t try to claim them for themselves. There are many ways that this is done. People put name labels on staplers, personal photos on desks, or write names on bologna sandwiches in the office refrigerator.


How to Inspire Workplace Innovation: Increase Self-Efficacy

Workplace innovation can be somewhat elusive, so what are the secrets to encouraging creative thinking and innovation within the workplace?  A study by Ng and Lucianetti (2015) explored what factors influence individual innovative behavior. Previous research has not given sufficient attention to employees’ “sense of agency” in determining innovation. Sense of agency means the innate desire and intention to affect outcomes by one’s own actions. The study under review sought to address this issue.


Good Moods Encourage Speaking Up at Work

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2015
Article: How and When Peers’ Positive Mood Influences Employees’ Voice
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

We can probably agree that speaking up at work is a good idea when employees have constructive things to say. They might have insight into how something can be done more efficiently or an idea that leads to better results. Researchers in this study (Liu, Tangirala, Lam, Chen, Jia, Huang, 2015) focused on this type of speaking up—the kind that involves making productive suggestions—as opposed to criticism. Interestingly, they found that good moods go a long way in determining whether someone will speak up at work.


Emotional Intelligence Leads to Good Moods and Creativity in the Workplace

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2015
Article: Regulating and Facilitating: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Maintaining and Using Positive Affect for Creativity
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Emotional intelligence is good for influencing many workplace outcomes, but can it really lead to creativity in the workplace? Some past researchers believed that the two had nothing to do with each other. They said that emotional intelligence was about figuring out the single best way to handle an emotional situation and creativity was about brainstorming many different ways of doing things. These almost sound like opposite strategies. But new research (Parke, Seo, Sherf, 2015) has found that skills and strategies associated with emotional intelligence can ultimately lead to more creativity in the workplace.


Servant Leadership Benefits Performance through Serving Culture

Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Servant Leadership and Serving Culture: Influence on Individual and Unit Performance
Reviewed by: Winnie Jiang

The concept of servant leadership is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the service industry. Multiple studies have found that servant leadership is positively related to individual and organizational outcomes such as performance and organizational citizenship behavior, which is when employees go beyond their formal job requirements to help the organization.However, curious people may still wonder how servant leadership produces these positive outcomes. The lack of understanding of how servant leadership leads to these positive effects can make it difficult for organizations to implement this leadership practice and to fully enjoy its benefits.

New research (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014) has found that servant leadership leads to favorable individual and organizational outcomes through fostering a serving culture and enhancing employees’ sense of identification with their organization.


How Well-Connected Leaders are Improving Workplace Innovation and Creativity

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: The benefits from well-connected leaders: Leader social network ties as facilitators of employee radical creativity
Reviewed by: Anjali Banerjee

In recent years organizations have recognized the importance of fostering workplace innovation and creativity. The problem is, how can they make it happen?

New research suggests that the key might be dependent on the size of team leaders’ social networks. By working with leaders who have substantial social networks within the organization, employees are granted access to more resources, ideas, and strategies to utilize in creative ways.


The Negative Effects of Knowledge Hiding on Organizational Trust and Creativity

Publication: Academy of Management
Article: What Goes Around Comes Around: Knowledge Hiding, Perceived Motivational Climate an Creativity
Reviewed by: Will Smith

Have you ever encountered a situation where a colleague purposely withheld pertinent information? How did that change your interactions with them, or the dynamics within the office?

A recent study addresses the topic of Knowledge Hiding, and how consciously withholding information can affect both trust and creativity.

The act of hiding knowledge leads to what the researchers describe as “the distrust loop.” In this cycle, employees who intentionally hide information lose the trust of their peers. In order to impart a sense of justice, the effected peers will then withhold information from the knowledge hiders. This, in turn, affects the knowledge hider’s ability to collaborate effectively and generate creative ideas.


Culture and Creativity: Is It All About Social Context?

Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Social context: Key to understanding culture’s effects on creativity
Reviewed by: Angela A. Beiler

In recent years, workplace creativity has become an area of interest to many employers.

With the increase in globalization within organizations, understanding employee creativity also requires an understanding of how and when individuals within various cultures exhibit this characteristic.

In a new study, researchers found that the manifestation of creativity differs between Eastern and Western cultures, which could be due to a number of cultural differences.


An Easy Recipe for Improving Team Performance on Creative Tasks

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (Nov 2013)
Article: Examining the Asymmetrical Effects of Goal Faultlines in Groups: A Categorization-Elaboration Approach
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Leaders and I-O Psychologists are always trying to discover new ways to improve team performance. New research by Ellis, Mai, and Chrisitan (2013), has found an interesting new way to do this for creative tasks. When team members have different approaches to achieving goals, team performance may improve.