Leader Decision Making: Balancing Company Needs Versus Employee Needs

Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Paradoxical Leader Behaviors in People Management: Antecedents and Consequences
Reviewed by: Will Smith

Leader decision making is an important topic that affects all organizational leaders. Leaders are often faced with unique challenges that test their abilities to manage diverse teams and situations. They are forced to make hard choices involving satisfying the needs of the organization and those of the employees, which can sometimes cause conflict.

For example, supervisors want to treat all their employees equally, but also find ways to identify the employees’ individual strengths as well as optimize them for the organization without showing favoritism. Or perhaps leaders want to increase morale by having an interpersonal relationship with their staff, but worry that getting close will make employees lose respect for them or their position. Supervisors may always want to allow staff to be autonomous in the work they do, but also need to ensure they maintain a level of productivity in order to meet and exceed organizational standards.


Stigma-by-Association: How Follower Characteristics Influence Evaluation of Leaders

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2015)
Article: The Role of Proximal Social Contexts: Assessing Stigma-by-Association Effects on Leader Appraisals
Reviewed by: Andrew Morris

Evaluation of leaders is becoming an increasingly important workplace topic. This is especially so, because some research suggests that racial disparities within the US workforce have increased over the last decade, as some minority groups are greatly underrepresented in positions of management. There may be a number of reasons for this, but new research (Hernandez, Avery, Tonidandel, Hebl, Smith, & McKay, 2015) suggest that one reason could be biased appraisals of leaders (i.e. evaluations of performance, value and competence) that occur due to characteristics of individuals in the group. This means that the racial composition of the leader’s group, influences opinions of that leader’s effectiveness.


How to Conduct a Job Interview: Avoid the Sales Pitch

Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Do Interviewers Sell Themselves Short? The Effect of Selling Orientation on Interviewers’ Judgments
Reviewed by: Susan Rosengarten

Hiring professionals may often wonder, what is the best way to conduct a job interview? New research offers an important tip that may make applicant evaluations more accurate. During our first meetings with potential clients, investors, colleagues or romantic partners, our initial impressions and appraisal of their character influence the judgments we make about them. But at the same time we’re evaluating others, we’re often ”selling” ourselves, or making ourselves seem more attractive.


Personal Influence at Work

Publication: Research in Organizational Behaviour (2013)
Article: Underestimating Our Influence Over Others at Work
Reviewed by: Arlene Coelho

Research so far has concentrated on the existence of various influences that impact an individual in the workplace. To name a few: power, motivation, leadership, managers and even peers are known to have a substantial influence on employees. The current paper however, focuses on a new dimension of influence at work – ‘the self’. Authors V. K. Bohns and F. J. Flynn suggest that few individuals realize how much they influence their subordinates, fellow colleagues, and even supervisors. This has serious organizational implications.


Explaining Unethical Decision Making: The Problem with Tunnel-Vision

Topic: Ethics, Judgement
Publication: Judgment and Decision Making
Article: Is that the answer you had in mind? The effect of perspective on unethical
Authors: Schurr, A., Ritov, I., Kareev, Y., and Avrahami, J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

When someone makes a “bad” or unethical decision inside or outside the workplace, we oftentimes ask the question: why? Perhaps answering this question is important because it helps us make sense of the behavior, as well as helping us prevent it from happening again in the future.


A Fresh Look at Strategy

Topic: Decision Making, Judgement
Publication: Harvard Business Review (MAR 2010)
Article: Finding your strategy in the new landscape
Authors: P. Ghemawat
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

In light of the continuing recession – an aftermath of the still recent 2008 crash – it seems appropriate to discuss corporate strategy. Companies have a lot to prepare for, rather than look forward to, in the coming decade. Some will react to weak growth and rising capital by retreating to the home market, using the word “global” to reference “economic slowdown” rather than true globalization. This reaction, however, could be a poor decision for firms that are based outside of the developed world. With low per capita incomes in developing countries, there is room for significant growth. Regardless of company location, it is imperative for managers to reevaluate strategy if they are to pursue a global strategy.


Do Optimistic Predictions Lead to Quicker Completion Times?

Topic: Goals, Job Performance, Judgment
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (JAN 2010)
Article: Finishing on time: When do predictions influence completion times?
Authors: R. Buehler, J. Peetz, and D. Griffin
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Past research has shown that human beings often underestimate the amount of time necessary for task completion (“I can finish this project by…”). This optimistic bias has been consistently demonstrated in many work-related settings and most of the research has focused on why this happens. However, a recent series of studies by Buehler, Peetz and Griffin (2010) investigated whether optimistic prediction times have the ability to improve actual completion times and if so, for what kinds of tasks?


I Think, Therefore You Act

Topic: Decision MakingJudgement
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Cognition, capabilities, and incentives: Assessing firm response to the fiber-optic revolution.
Blogger: Katie Bachman

Well, it’s sometimes good to confirm what we already know (lucky for this article).  In this case the learning is that he (or she) who is in charge makes the rules.  Looking at CEOs from 71 communications firms, Kaplan makes a link between the interest of these CEOs in new technology, and the likelihood of putting the new technology into place. Add to that a couple of mundane (and as one I/O AT WORK reviewer commented, obvious) hypotheses that firms with experience in the new technology will be more likely to adopt it and that positive incentives are important.  Any kid who has ever sold lemonade knows that to be successful you need a willing market and the ability to actually make lemonade (or at least know where to buy it).  The force that could keep this article from collapsing in on itself is around the interactions between CEOs and investment moderated by incentives and experience, but instead the author flopped around a little before proposing competing hypotheses.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for exploration, but saying that it could be a positive or negative relationship is about as useful a hypothesis as saying it might rain or it might be sunny today.


Watch Your Head! Ceteris Paribus is Falling!

Topic: Decision MakingJudgement
Publication: Academy of Management
Article: Resolving the commitment versus flexibility tradeoff: The role of resource accumulation lags.
Blogger: Katie Bachman

Ceteris paribus—all else equal—is the economist’s favorite term. It covers all manner of sins because, as we know in psychology, nothing is ever equal or same or whatever. It is the assumption of no variance and it is the mark of an economics article, which is what I have to share with you today. When I first read the title of the article, “Resolving the Commitment Versus Flexibility Tradeoff…,” I was hoping for a spiffy little article on personality traits perhaps, or maybe managerial interventions. Instead, I read a paper on the economic principles of uncertainty and resource accumulation.