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.

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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.

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Transformational Leadership: Good for You and Good for Them


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (Online First Publication, 2015)
Article: Benefits of Transformational Behaviors for Leaders: A Daily Investigation of Leader Behaviors and Need Fulfillment
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Transformational leadership is characterized by motivating, inspiring, and coaching employees to achieve change and innovation. As you can imagine, research has supported the benefits of this leadership style for the followers of such an inspirational leader. For example, research has found that followers of transformational leaders have greater job satisfaction and more creativity. But new research (Lanaj, Johnson, & Lee, 2015) has found that transformational leadership is also beneficial to the leader. How does that happen?

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Narcissistic Leaders Can Use Humility to Succeed


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2015)
Article: Leader Narcissism and Follower Outcomes: The Counterbalancing Effect of Leader Humility
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Are narcissistic leaders good for business? Are they good for employees? It’s a difficult question to answer, especially considering that research has found mixed results. Narcissistic people may be bold risk-takers with supreme confidence and unshakeable vision. This sounds like the kind of person we’d want leading, right? On the other hand, they have personal grandiosity, a feeling of superiority, and the constant need for admiration. Well, maybe we don’t want this person in charge. Fortunately, new research (Owens, Wallace, & Waldman, 2015) helps us resolve this dilemma. They found that narcissism can be good for leadership, but only when it’s tempered with a healthy dose of humility.

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How is Personality Linked to Charismatic Leadership in Different Work Conditions?


Publication: Personnel Psychology (2015)
Article: Personality and Charismatic Leadership in Context: The Moderating Role of Situational Stress
Reviewed by: Kevin Leung, Ph.D.

When we think of charismatic leadership, we see someone who is energetic, inspiring, and likeable. Maybe famous CEOs like Jack Welch and politicians like Barack Obama come to mind. Charismatic leaders can be powerful agents of change by getting others on board to achieve their vision. In fact, research has shown that charismatic leaders tend to have more satisfied followers and better company performance.

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The Psychology of Unemployment: Can Personality Change?


Publication: : Journal of Applied Psychology (February 2015)
Article: Personality Change Following Unemployment
Reviewed by: Lia Engelsted

 

What is behind the psychology of unemployment? As evidenced by personality psychology literature, individuals vary in their patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It is theorized that personality develops during the first 30 years of life, and then stabilizes during later adulthood. However, there is debate among personality psychologists on whether certain life events—like unemployment—can alter one’s personality later in life.

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The Recipe for Creating Proactive Employees


Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (2015)
Article: Building and sustaining proactive behaviors: The role of adaptivity and job satisfaction
Reviewed by: Alex Rechlin

Employers seek proactive employees – those who will initiate positive change in the organization. However, not much is known about how to build and sustain proactivity in the workplace. One perspective is that adaptability is important for being proactive later on. Adaptability is adjusting and changing your behavior when a change occurs. The current authors (Strauss, Griffin, Parker, & Mason, 2015) argue that adaptability is important for knowledge acquisition, increasing change-related self-efficacy, and maintaining positive relationships. Through these mechanisms, adaptability may lead to greater proactivity at a later time.

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Working From Home: Telework Can Keep Employees Happy


Publication: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology (2015)
Article: The Impact of Telework on Emotional Experience: When, and for whom, does telework improve daily affective well-being?
Reviewed by: Lia Engelsted

Moving from the barriers of the cubicle to working from home, also called telework, is a technology-based advancement that is relatively new to the world of work. It is estimated that one in four Americans telework, which basically refers to working from home or another convenient location based on an employee’s residence. The increasing popularity of teleworking within the past three decades has lead to a plethora of research on the topic. This research reveals mixed findings on the employee-related outcomes of teleworking.

Several studies suggest that telework has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, work-family balance, stress reduction, autonomy, and reduced intention to turnover. However, teleworking can also lead to perceptions of professional isolation, exclusion from the workplace, family-to-work interference, and increased dissatisfaction among coworkers. Despite the mixed findings on the outcomes of teleworking, there has been limited research comparing how employees feel, or their affective well-being, when teleworking versus working from the office.

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The Hidden Danger of Narcissistic Leaders


Publication: Academy of Management Review (2015)
Article: Narcissistic Organizational Identification: Seeing Oneself as Central to the Organization’s Identity
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Narcissistic leaders can bring down an organization even when they are trying to build it up. Work by Galvin, Lange, and Ashforth (2015) uses extant organizational research findings to propose a new theory that may explain why this is so. They say that something called narcissistic organizational identification is to blame, and they demonstrate several ways that it happens and discuss how we can make sure this phenomenon doesn’t end up ruining businesses.

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Goal Orientation: Helping Team Performance or My Own Performance?


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, (Advanced Online Publication, 2015)
Article: Outperforming Whom? A Multilevel Study of Performance-Prove Goal Orientation, Performance, and the Moderating Role of Shared Team Identification
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Not all people are motivated by the same things, and goal orientation is one way that psychologists classify what makes people tick. You might think of goal orientation as the basic underlying goal that explains what you do and why you do it. New research (Dietz, van Knippenberg, Hirst, Restubog, 2015) shows how a certain type of goal orientation can only sometimes help performance, depending on the situation.

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