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

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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workplace innovation

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.

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Good Moods Encourage Speaking Up at Work

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.

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Emotional Intelligence Leads to Good Moods and Creativity in the Workplace

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.

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Servant Leadership Benefits Performance through Serving Culture

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.

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How Well-Connected Leaders are Improving Workplace Innovation and Creativity

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.

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The Negative Effects of Knowledge Hiding on Organizational Trust and Creativity

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.

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Culture and Creativity: Is It All About Social Context?

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.

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An Easy Recipe for Improving Team Performance on Creative Tasks

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.

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If you’re happy and you know it, your boss doesn’t matter: How a positive mood makes up for transformational leadership

One of the major areas of recent leadership research has been on the impact of transformational leaders. Transformational leaders exhibit behaviors that go above and beyond basic job requirements, including behaving in a manner that helps employees focus on group needs rather than individual, showing high levels of optimism and positive feelings, creating an intellectually stimulating work environment, and helping employees feel personally cared for at work. The behaviors of transformational leaders are seen to have positive outcomes within an organization, increasing creativity as well as helping behaviors. The current study suggests that a transformational leadership style may be less influential when employees have a naturally more positive demeanor, looking specifically at both employee creativity and helping behaviors.

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The Role of Social Networking for Cultural Entrepreneurs

The last few years have seen a growing trend of cultural business start-ups, globally. A cultural business (events, arts, music, theatre, etc.) is significantly different from a commercial business for more than one reason. Cultural businesses are usually at an agency level with a limited number of people. They still have their founding member(s) actively involved in the day to day dealings of the business. Additionally, the success measures for these businesses rely heavily on social networking and strong interpersonal connections in addition to fiscal outcomes. Constructing sturdy social ties lies at the very heart of a successful cultural venture. Maintaining healthy relations with competitors and building on personal networks directly helps a cultural business gather information and resources for mutual benefit.

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Leading Creative People

Creative individuals value freedom, are highly specialized, self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught. These characteristics can make leading creative people a challenge.

So far most research on leadership has been about objective knowledge, in other words, what is required to be a good leader. However, the how of leadership is more significant, when leading ‘creative experts’.

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Implementing Creative Ideas at Work

Creativity is an interesting thing. It tends to strike people differently at different times. For me, I am most creative in the air; generally while enjoying my micro-pretzels from Delta.

But creativity is completely useless unless you can make your ideas a reality. In my job, I am lucky that I have a cool boss who lets me bring my weird, atypical ideas to life. (I’m also hoping I get props from my boss for calling her “cool” in print.)

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Creativity and Firm Performance

The impact of creativity on firm performance depends on the riskiness of a firm’s strategy, the firm’s size, and the ability of the firm’s employees to transform creative ideas into new products and services, according to a study by Yaping Gong, Jing Zhou, & Song Chang. When a company has a risky strategy, creativity leads to decreased firm performance. On the other hand, creativity leads to increased firm performance when the size of the company is small or when a company has a high capacity to transform creative ideas into novel products and services (a.k.a., absorptive capacity).

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Climate: A catalyst for innovation (IO Psychology)

Publication: The Journal of Creative Behavior (2011)
Article: Creative Climate: A Leadership Lever for Innovation
Authors: Scott G. Isaksen & Hans J. Akkermans
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

151163Earlier this year, Marissa Mayer, the former Google employee and current Yahoo CEO, ordered employees who were working from home to now work in the office in an attempt to foster more innovation within the company.  This raises the question: what fosters innovation?  According to Mayer and likely based on her previous experience at Google, in-office attendance is key, and according to research by Isaksen and Akkermans, another relevant variable could be climate, which refers to the overall workplace environment.

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Inviting the Inquiry of Science into Strategic Planning (IO Psychology)

Topic: Business Strategy, Creativity, Strategic HR
Publication: Harvard Business Review (SEPT 2012)
Article: Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy
Authors: A. G. Lafley, R. L. Martin, J. W. Rivkin, and N. Siggelkow
Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Strategic planners sit down once a year.  They pride themselves on their scientific rigor in how they analyze and shoot down every idea they generate.  They then proceed with a less-than-stellar, not-so-innovative idea, and they wonder why the organization doesn’t swoon with delight?  Lafley and colleagues (2012) assert that a key component of science is missing in these proceedings: the inquiry.  They argue that the scientific method must first begin with the brainstorming of novel hypotheses, then proceed into the design and testing of these hypotheses.  The authors detail a series of steps that incorporate the inquiry of science into strategic planning to achieve a more creative, successful, and efficient direction.

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Creativity is More Than Thinking Outside the Box (IO Psychology)

Topic: Teams, Creativity
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Cognitive team diversity and individual team member creativity: A cross-level interaction
Authors: S. J. Shin, T.-Y. Kim, J.-Y. Lee, & L. Bian
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

A creative team is a joy to own. But how can an organization ensure that their team is acting as a cohesive, effective, creative unit? It turns out that it is oh so simple, but maybe not as rudimentary as you’d think. Join me as we venture outside the box!

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Is Bureaucracy Bad for Creativity? That Depends on You

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: How does bureaucracy impact individual creativity? A cross-level investigation of team contextual influences on goal orientation-creativity relationships
Authors: Giles Hirst, Daan Van Knippenberg, Chin-Hui Chen, & Claudia A. Sacramento
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Bureaucracy and creativity. They might seem like mortal enemies—we often think of red tape and paper work as the killer of creative thinking—but it doesn’t have to be! Really, it depends on your employees. When we talk about goal orientation (why people do what they do), we usually take about three types of people. First, you have your learning-oriented workers. These are the ones who do what they do for sheer enjoyment of the work. They are intrinsically motivated. Second, you have your performance-prove-oriented employees. These workers want to show you how good they are. Third and finally, you have your performance-avoid workers. These are your risk-adverse employees—the rule followers. They all respond to bureaucracy differently, particularly when it comes to creativity.

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Perceived similarities make it easier for newbies to adjust. But how?…

Topic: Diversity, Work Environment, Culture, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (APR 2011)
Article:Perceived similarity, proactive adjustment, and organizational socialization
Authors: J. D. Kammeyer-Mueller, B. A. Livingston, & H. Liau
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

Organizational newcomers carry the stress of adjusting to their new jobs, working with new people, and learning the ins and outs of a new organization. Previous research has shown that when organizational newcomers engage in proactive adjustment behaviors (e.g. feedback seeking, relationship building), they are more likely to be committed to their new organizations and are more likely to be accepted by their coworkers.

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Creativity at Work…Through Increased Workplace Structure?

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Stress
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2010)
Article: Does Structuring of Human Resource Management Process Enhance Employee Creativity? The Mediating Role of Psychological Availability
Authors: G. Binyamin, A. Carmeli
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

The environment of the modern workplace is increasingly becoming more dynamic and unstable leading employees to perceive high levels of work-related stress. To battle this increased uncertainty in the external environment and provide a sense of stability to employees, organizations are looking internally at the way human resources processes are designed. Structuring of HRM processes consists of 7 essential dimensions: strategic alignment with organizational goals, managerial engagement, employee job functions structured and evaluated based on a job analysis, clarity of HRM policies and evaluation criteria, planning, flexibility, and internal consistency or synergy of all processes. Structuring HR around these 7 dimensions was shown to help alleviate employee stress perceptions by decreasing feelings of uncertainty.  

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Transformational Leadership and Innovative Behavior

Topic:  Leadership, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Transformational and transactional leadership and innovative behavior: The moderating role of psychological empowerment (MAY 2010)
Author: A. Nederveen Pieterse, D. van Knippenberg, M. Schippers, & D. Stam
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

In recent years, the role of creativity and innovation in the workplace has grown exponentially. Being innovative is often considered a competitive advantage in terms of both product outcomes (e.g. new designs) and people processes (e.g. employee recruitment). It has been argued that innovative behavior is more contingent on motivation rather than ability (Amabile, 1988). Assuming this is the case, leadership should play a pivotal role in fostering innovation. In particular, two types of leadership come into play.

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Maximizing your stakeholders’ experiences in product creation

Topic: Business Strategy, Creativity
Publication: Harvard Business Review (OCT 2010)
Article: Building the co-creative enterprise
Authors: V. Ramaswany, F. Gouillart
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

We all know that companies care about their customers – especially when it comes to the customer experience with products. After all, where would any company be without customers? Ramaswamy and Gouillart (2010), however, challenge us to consider other stakeholders (i.e., employees, distributors, etc.) who have a tremendous impact on the customer experience.

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Task Conflict, Team Creativity and…Goldilocks?

Topic: Conflict, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: Task conflict and team creativity: A question of how much and when
Authors: Farh, J. L., Lee, C., & Farh, C. I.
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

The concept of team creativity has become more and more salient in recent years due to an increasing reliance on teams to enhance an organization’s competitiveness.  Team creativity is defined as the creation of new and helpful ideas concerning services, procedures, products, and processes by a team of individuals.  So while, yes, we all want our teams to be creative, what environmental factors will encourage this? 

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Cheated Employees: Less Organizational Commitment and Less Creativity

Topic: Fairness Organizational Commitment Creativity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (July, 2010)
Article: Psychological Contract Breaches, Organizational Commitment, and Innovation-Related Behaviors: A Latent Growth Modeling Approach
Authors: T.W.H. Ng, D.C. Feldman, S.S.K. Lam
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Okay, here’s the deal. Employees make assumptions about what they owe their employers and what their employers owe them in return. This is called a psychological contract. According to Ng, Feldman, and Lam (2010), when employees think this psychological contract is being violated, they may feel less organizational commitment and become less innovative.

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Hands-on practice increases creativity in teams

Topic: Creativity, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2010) Article: First, get your feet wet: The effects of learning from direct and indirect experience on team creativity
Authors: F. Gino, L. Argote, E. Miron-Spektor, G. Todorova
Reviewed By: Jared Ferrell

It is a widely accepted fact that experience leads to creativity, but the question posited by the authors in this study was whether a certain type of experience leads to more creativity. This study focused on differences in team creativity between teams who had direct task experience (learning by doing), indirect task experience (vicarious learning), or no task experience.

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Brainwriting – a New Trend for Increased Innovation?

Topic: Creativity
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (MAR 2009)
Article: Better than brainstorming? Potential contextual boundary conditions to brainwriting for idea generation in organizations.
Author: P. A. Heslin
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

The generation of innovative ideas is essential to the success of modern organizations. In attempts to facilitate this idea generation, group brainstorming has become a fixture in many organizations today. The current article compiles a list of the potential limitations of brainstorming and describes why brainwriting may be more effective.

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Lead to inspire creativity and innovation. Gandhi did it – how hard can it be?

TopicCreativityLeadership
Publication: Journal of Business Research (APR 2009)
Article: Transformational leadership, creativity, and organizational innovation
Authors: L. Gumusluolu, A.Llseve
Reviewed by: Lit Digger

Although Gandhi had passed away before the idea of transformational leadership was academically introduced by Burns in 1978, Gandhi’s life and work exemplified transformational leadership.  Transformational leaders:

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Creativity by Committee

Topic: Creativity
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (APR 2009)
ArticleA cross-level perspective on employee creativity: goal orientation, team learning behavior, and individual creativity
Authors: G. Hirst, D. Van Kippenberg and J. Zhou
Reviewed by: Katie Bachman

In most cases, employee creativity is as much of a necessity for companies as competent management or copy machines—it’s the only way business can get done. New research has evaluated the impact of work climate on employee creativity and the results have some interesting implications for organizations.

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Searching for the Creative Employee

Topic: Creativity
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (JUN 2009)
Article: Interactive effects of growth need strength, work context, and job complexity on self-reported creative performance.
Authors: C.E. Shalley, L.L. Gilson, T.C. Blum
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

A creative workforce can give an organization a unique competitive advantage over its “status quo” competition. But what factors influence creative performance? To provide an answer to this question, Shalley, Gilson, and Blum (2009) tested the role of growth need strength in predicting creative performance at work.

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Creativity by Committee

Topic: Creativity
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (APR 2009)
ArticleA cross-level perspective on employee creativity: goal orientation, team learning behavior, and individual creativity.
Authors: G. Hirst, D. Van Kippenberg and J. Zhou
Reviewed by: Katie Bachman

In most cases, employee creativity is as much of a necessity for companies as competent management or copy machines—it’s the only way business can get done. New research has evaluated the impact of work climate on employee creativity and the results have some interesting implications for organizations.

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Catching the Creativity Bug

Topic: Creativity
Publication: Journal of Management
Article: Multiple tasks’ and multiple goals’ effect on creativity:  Forced incubation or just a distraction?
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

There’s no doubt that organizations value employee creativity. Researchers Madjar and Shalley (2008)  wanted to identify factors that influence creativity at work. Specifically, they wanted to find out
the following:

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