How Does Individual Employee Recognition Help the Team?


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (advance online publication, 2016)
Article: Recognizing “me” benefits “we”: Investigating the positive spillover effects of formal individual recognition in teams
Reviewed by: Ashlyn Patterson

Individual employee recognition for a job well done is important. Many organizations have programs that formally recognize employees for their achievements, such as “employee of the month” or “star performer” awards. These awards typically focus on highlighting the performance of single employees. Given that most employees work within teams, how does singling out one team member impact the rest of the team? New Research (Li, Zheng, Harris, Liu, & Kirkman, 2016) explores the positive spillover effects that recognizing an individual team member can have on the rest of the team.

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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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Team Building: Encouraging Your Team to Eat Together is a Recipe for Success


Publication: Human Performance (2015)
Article: Eating Together at the Firehouse: How Workplace Commensality Relates to the Performance of Firefighters
Reviewed by: Susan Rosengarten

Organizations are constantly looking for new ways to foster trust, respect, and team building among employees, and new research (Kniffin, Wansink, Devine, & Sobal, 2015) suggests a relationship between eating behavior and team performance. The researchers surveyed a group of 395 firefighting officers from 13 American firehouses.

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Power Disparity on Teams: Now We Know When It Works


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: When Does Power Disparity Help or Hurt Group Performance?
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Power is what makes people obey even when they don’t want to, and power disparity on teams refers to a situation in which power is not evenly distributed among team members. Imagine a situation in which a powerful and experienced executive works with several junior associates on a project. This might be called high power disparity, because one person will have all of the power.

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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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Workforce Diversity: Does Diversity Training Improve Creativity?


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2015
Article: The Interplay of Diversity Training and Diversity Beliefs on Team Creativity in Nationality Diverse Teams
Reviewed by: Andrew Marcinko

Workforce diversity has become a major organizational issue for most companies in the 21st century, and with good reason; we’ve come a long way from the mono-cultural workplaces that dominated the business world just a few short decades ago. Organizations of all sizes tell us in corporate press releases and social media posts that, within their company, “Diversity drives innovation and creativity!” However, research tells us that’s not necessarily a given.

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How to Make Meetings Productive: The Role of Employee Participation


Publication: Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
Article: Participate or Else! The Effect of Participation in Decision Making in Meetings Relates to Employee Engagement
Reviewed by: Madeleine Holtz

We wouldn’t think that the purpose of meetings is to encourage employee participation. After all, meetings are held for a variety of specific work-related reasons. But the results of these meetings can vary incredibly. Productive meetings can include the successful collaboration of ideas, while unproductive meetings can result in decreased morale in employees. How can we do better? New research (Yoerger, Crowe, & Allen, 2015) investigated the relationship between participation in decision-making, or PDM, and employee engagement in the context of meetings.

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Climate Uniformity: A New Concept with Important Organizational Outcomes


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Climate Uniformity: Its Influence on Team Communication Quality, Task Conflict, and Team Performance
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

When it comes to research on organizational climate, the concept called “climate uniformity” is the new kid on the block. In fact, new research by González-Romá and Hernández (2014) is the first to actually collect data and start to determine what this concept means for organizations. The results are intriguing, as they found that the degree of climate uniformity is related to communication, conflict, and even team performance. So now you might be asking, what in the world is climate uniformity?

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Lack of Supervisor Justice Leads to Team Cohesiveness


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Misery Loves Company: Team Dissonance and the Influence of
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Supervisor justice sounds like a good thing, and it is. This term refers to leaders who treat their employees fairly, and when speaking specifically about interpersonal justice, it means that they treat their employees with dignity and respect. Past research has highlighted the positive outcomes that occur when supervisor justice is at a high level, for example, employees will be more committed to the organization. However, a new study (Stoverink, Umphress, Gardner, & Miner, 2014) found the opposite. When supervisor justice is perceived to be lacking, there could be a positive benefit for employees who work on teams.

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How to Fix the Negative Relationships that Affect Team Performance


Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: When Do Bad Apples Not Spoil the Barrel? Negative Relationships in Teams, Team Performance, and Buffering Mechanisms
Reviewed by: Amber Davidson

Nearly all companies and organizations use teams to get work done, but can negative relationships be preventing that from happening? As common as teamwork is, the dynamics that make a team actually work are often overlooked. Whether the team is temporarily thrown together or a permanent fixture, how the individuals get along is an essential factor in how well the team performs. Every individual has their differences, and frequently this can lead to disagreements or negative relationships amongst members of a team.

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