When Do Proactive Employees Receive Higher Job Performance Ratings?

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” – Milton Berle

Proactive employees take initiative, expand and craft their jobs, and voice ideas to others in the workplace. In general, employees who take initiative are looked upon positively; however, taking initiative does not always result in better performance or better performance ratings. According to a new study (Wihler, Blickle, Parker Ellen III, Hochwarter, & Ferris, in press), taking initiative is a process that involves both individual and organizational factors, and can result in either high or low ratings of job performance.


When Does Job Security Affect Job Performance?

Job security has rapidly decreased as a result of the global economic downturn and financial crisis. In a recent survey, employees ranked job security as the greatest contributing factor to job satisfaction. However, because job insecurity is unavoidable in the current situation, organizations need to understand the conditions under which employees can remain engaged at work and how negative responses to job insecurity can be reduced.


Goal orientation.FB

Goal Orientation: Helping Team Performance or My Own Performance?

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.


Toxic Work Relationships.fb

How to Survive Toxic Work Relationships by Thriving

How can we possibly survive toxic work relationships? After all, the workplace is replete with human interaction and relationships: employees actively communicate with coworkers and supervisors in both one-on-one and team settings to complete tasks and projects. However, not all workplace relationships are positive; some are downright de-energizing. A relationship is characterized as de-energizing when it is both negative and draining, and this type of relationship can have serious implications for employees.


Organizational Newcomers.fb

Organizational Newcomers: Conflict Can Lead to Worse Performance

Organizational newcomers are those employees who are “just off the boat” and are still trying to figure out how work is done at their new organization. Sure, HR-led orientations may be useful for some things, but there are certainly job-related specifics that require more detailed information from people already doing the job. A newcomer’s ability to acquire this information may be the difference between good and bad job performance. New research (Nifadkar & Bauer, 2015) helps us understand what can go wrong in this process.



Do Telecommuters Have Better Job Performance?

With the dawn of the technological age upon use, telecommuters are employees who are able to work in remote locations, such as home, outside of the traditional work setting. Rather than commute into work every day, technology enables people to work virtually and perform tasks while physically apart from their colleagues and supervisors.



Manager Personality Can Lead to Organization-Wide Performance

Is personality related to job performance? This classic I-O psychology question is still debated today, and thanks to the latest research, clearer answers are emerging. A new study (Oh, Kim, & Iddekinge, 2015) shows that the manager personality is related to important organization-wide outcomes. This finding has clear implications for selection of organizational leaders.



Ethical Leadership Inspires Trust and Employee Success

Ethical leadership certainly sounds like a good idea, but I-O psychologists will require scientific evidence before being convinced. Is ethical leadership something different from other effective leadership styles or behaviors, and does ethical leadership lead to anything positive in the workplace? New research (Ng & Feldman, 2015) has answered this question. Results show that ethical leadership is a real, distinct idea, and it can indeed lead to positive workplace outcomes that extend beyond the effects of other leadership styles.


Organizational Citizenship Behavior.500

What Does Job Security Have to Do With Organizational Citizenship Behavior?

Researchers have been trying to figure out if job security and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) are related. Job security is something we’ve probably all thought of, and OCB refers to workplace behavior that goes above and beyond the call of duty and helps the organization, like helping a co-worker or taking on extra responsibilities without extra compensation. Do people who have more job security perform more or less OCB? Some researchers have found that they perform more OCB, some have found that they perform less OCB, and some have found that it doesn’t matter either way. So who is right?


Intelligence Testing: Is It Always the Smartest Thing to Do?

Smart employees tend to be better at doing their jobs. This is considered one of the most important findings in the history of I-O research. Meta-analysis, which is a method of compiling results from many different researchers and studies, has shown that intelligence (or general mental ability) is associated with better job performance for basically any job. But there are other important components that make organizations successful besides narrowly-defined task performance (parts of a job that are in the job description). New research (Gonzalez-Mulé, Mount, & Oh, 2014) investigates whether intelligence can also predict other measures of workplace success.


What Type of Happy Employees Can Benefit Organizations?

We tend to think that organizations with happy employees are more likely to be successful. Happier employees tend to have better performance and are less likely to leave their companies. However, when asked what happy employees are like or what it means to be a happy employee, chances are people would not give consistent answers. Are happy employees those who receive higher salaries or those who enjoy higher job and life satisfaction? If both types of employees are considered happy, which type is actually beneficial to organizations?


Employee Sleepiness

Employee Sleepiness is Harmful for the Workplace

Sleepiness is what happens when people feel a strong biological urge to sleep. Unlike fatigue, which usually occurs when becoming exhausted by hard work, sleepiness has several different causes. These causes include poor sleep quantity (not getting enough sleep), poor sleep quality (waking up often while trying to sleep or not achieving a deep level of sleep), a disruption to the circadian rhythm (a person’s natural sleep cycle), or through drugs or disorders that affect the central nervous system. A new review by Mullins, Cortina, Drake, and Dalal (2014) shows why organizations should care about employee sleepiness.


career setbacks

Back to the Drawing Board: Surviving Career Setbacks

Career setbacks can be pretty brutal. When everything seems to be going right, sometimes we are faced with unexpected challenges that change the course of our careers and our lives. So what do you do if you’re laid off, didn’t get promoted, or didn’t make the cut? A new article by Marks, Mirvis, and Ashkenas (2014) has highlighted three scientifically supported steps that you can take:


Organizational Socialization Tactics to Help Newcomers Adjust

Using Organizational Socialization Tactics to Help Newcomers Adjust

The process of socialization within organizations is designed to quickly help newcomers orient and familiarize themselves with company procedures. If you have ever been on the receiving end of an effective initiation program, then you know how helpful it can be in helping with early adjustment. The science shows that effective early socialization can affect long term organizational outcomes. Recent research investigated how organizations can use certain organizational socialization tactics to positively influence such outcomes.


Social Media at Work: Implications for Productivity

A pair of researchers recently set out to examine how certain people use social media at work, and how that impacted their performance.

Their survey of individuals across various industries and jobs revealed various ways that people believe social media at work helps and harms their performance. The researchers then conducted a series of studies in developing a questionnaire for measuring social media behaviors, only one of which will be the focus for this review.


Successful Leadership for Virtual Teams: Strategies to Increase Performance

Successful leadership for virtual teams is becoming an increasingly important issue in the workplace. Due to increasingly sophisticated technologies, organizational globalization and flexible work structures, virtual teams are steadily growing in popularity, and more traditional leadership research may have somewhat limited application.


Employee Start Time: Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?

We have plenty of adages emphasizing the positive implications of starting the day early. Past research seems to suggest that elevated morning activity is seen as an indicator of being responsible, dutiful, and a hard worker.

In a series of three new studies, lead researcher Kai Chi Yam and his colleagues examine whether this pro-morning bias actually exists by examining how employee start time influences supervisor ratings of their job performance.


Are You Managing and Keeping Your Star Performers?

Every organization wants to retain its best people, because star performers are essential to success. But this maxim has become even more prevalent in today’s business world.

The authors claim that the 20th century was about reforming the business world into factories that valued conformity and having everyone do their tasks in the same way. But the current business climate has people working to solve more problems in more unique ways. The projects that we work on involve quick turn-arounds and efficiency.

In short, the business world has moved away from the conformity of the 20th century and into the creativity of the 21st century. This change has made star performers even more valuable, according to the authors of the study.


Is More Status Inherently Better? Investigating Performance After Status Loss

Most of us want the respect and benefits that come with high status positions and professions. But we seldom think of the costs associated with this status.

A recent study investigates how losing that status can have detrimental effects, highlighting the implications that even a slight decline in performance can have.


Working Abroad- How to Help Employees Weather the Storm

More and more organizations these days are sending employees on international assignments. This can have many benefits for these organizations, and can be exciting for the individual.

But not everyone proves successful in integrating into foreign cultures, which affects their work and can ultimately lead to major losses for organizations.


Will Being an Average Performer Prevent Employee Victimization?

There has been a surge of interest in research on employee victimization in the last few years, both because the phenomenon is on the rise and because of the negative effects it has on both a personal and organizational level. Employee victimization has many causes and takes many forms, from aggressive incivility and bullying to general mistreatment.

Although previous studies investigated the situational and personal factors that precipitate victimization, little research has been focused on the behaviors that may lead to someone getting targeted.


How to Create Successful Work Teams

Teamwork plays an essential role in the success of many organizations. But what factors determine whether work teams will succeed or fail?

This question is an important one for I-O psychologists, and research by Chun and Choi (2014) has provided new insights into how managers can form successful work teams by considering the role members’ needs and intragroup conflict play in overall group performance.


Make It Rain: How bad weather could be good for work productivity

Have you ever woken up to the sound of rain and thunder outside your window, with the decisive thought that it would be a lazy day?

Although inclement weather might not necessarily be the best thing for putting you in a great mood in the morning, a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that those thunderstorms just might enable you to get more work done.


Taking control back: Surviving an Abusive Supervisor

Abusive supervision is a serious issue, and much more prevalent than you might realize.

A lot of research has been done on this topic– partly because it is on the increase, but also because of its devastating effects on morale and productivity.

In looking at personality and the choice of coping strategies, new research reveals insights that can help employees maintain performance while surviving an abusive supervisor.


How to Increase Your Productivity: Setting Priorities

How many of us frequently find ourselves with a never-ending to-do list, wishing there were more hours in a day? We want to achieve our goals and increase productivity, but there’s just no way to get it all done. Well, the trick to boosting your productivity is not necessarily having more time to accomplish your tasks, but instead simply making the most of what time you do have by setting priorities.


When Leaders Do Not Treat Employees Equally

New research by Tse, Lam, Lawrence, and Huang (2013) has discovered what happens when leaders have better relationships with some employees and worse relationships with others. The results are discouraging. When leaders do not treat employees equally, many problems arise, and ultimately job performance may suffer.


Idiosyncratic Deals: How work arrangements affect job performance

Typically, when an employee and an employer enter into a work agreement, the employee has pre-defined responsibilities. For instance, an employee must complete tasks a, b, and c during a specified time period in a specific location. A marketing manager, for example, must develop the company’s marketing strategy over two months, while working at an office in San Francisco. However, there are exceptions to this typical work arrangement. An employee may be assigned additional roles or tasks that make a flexible schedule or alternate work location more appropriate. Despite the fact that the employee was originally expected to work eight hours a day from the San Francisco office, the employer agrees to allow this employee to work from any location. These exceptions to employer-employee work arrangements are known as idiosyncratic deals or “i-deals.”


Selection Tests and Job Performance

Ideally, when we test prospective employees, we gather valuable information that will help us determine if a candidate is suitable for a given job. But that’s not all. We also create an impression in the candidate’s mind about our company, its culture, and its values. Research has found that candidates’ reactions to selection testing do affect their attitudes. For example, candidates may react anxiously or perceive unjust treatment. These reactions can influence a candidate’s view of an organization, as well as determine whether they would recommend it to others. New research (McCarthy, Van Iddekinge, Lievens, Kung, Sinar, & Campion, 2013) explores the possibility that selections tests could also be influencing subsequent job performance.


Self-efficacy and Job Performance

Is self-efficacy – the belief in one’s ability to succeed – the result of past performance or a cause of future performance? Research thus far has shown that both perspectives are true: that past performance is a driver of self-efficacy (Kozlowski, Gully, Brown, Salas, Smith, & Nason, 2001) and that self-efficacy is a driver of future performance (Sitzmann & Ely, 2011).


The Connection Between Self-Esteem and Job Satisfaction

Previous research (e.g., Chang, Ferris, Johnson, Rosen, & Tan, 2012) has shown that core self-evaluation – an umbrella term that includes self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control, and emotional stability – predicts job satisfaction. Simply put, if an employee thinks highly of herself, she tends to be satisfied with her job. Furthermore, these investigators found that if an employee feels good about herself and has success at work, she is even more satisfied with her job.


Emotional Labor: How Faking a Smile at Work Affects Job Satisfaction

Have you ever given a fake smile to someone at work even though you weren’t feeling happy or very excited to see him? If so, you’ve engaged in a process known as emotional labor in which you manage your emotions in order to act in an appropriate way in a work setting. Maybe you wouldn’t go to such efforts when around friends and family, instead feeling free to express the emotions you actually feel. In a work setting though, it may not be best to show your irritation about missing lunch to your brand new client.


Does a Job Furlough Affect Performance?

A job furlough is when an employee is temporary laid off. For example, an employee who typically works five days a week is placed on furlough, and as a result, she is now only allowed to work four days per week. During the Great Recession of 2008, when companies sought ways to cut costs, furloughs became a popular technique. Since furloughs became so common, researchers Jonathon R. B. Halbesleben, Anthony R. Wheeler, and Samantha C. Paustian-Underdahl felt it important to understand the effects of furloughs on job performance. According to their results, the authors discovered that, in addition to the loss of salary, furloughs affected the emotions and job performance of the furloughed employees. When furloughed, employees became emotionally exhausted. Further, their performance declined. They were less able to complete assigned responsibilities and were more careless with company property.


Envy At Work: The Tale of Two Envies

Envy. Since historic times, social comparisons has spurred many conflicts. Envy at work comes in many masks. Undermining someone socially. Not helping them. We can even allow our own job performance to suffer out of envy-driven resentment or spite. We all know how envy can have disastrous consequences. But is envy always bad?


Stretch Goals: Careful Timing Required

Organizational leaders are often interested in “spicing up” their employees’ jobs, as a way to challenge them and increase the variety of work tasks they complete. One way in which organizations often do this is through the use of challenging job assignments, or “stretch goals.” These assignments are designed to challenge employees, to encourage them to learn new skills or think in new ways, and, hopefully, to facilitate professional growth. Research has supported the effectiveness of challenging job assignments for improving job performance; however, almost all research in this area has been done with individuals early in their careers. The authors of the present study were interested on the effect that challenging job assignments would have on mid-career employees.


Job Performance – Predictors of Mood

If you want happy employees, give them important tasks within their range of abilities, according to a study by Cynthia D. Fisher of Bond University, Amirali Minbashian of the University of New South Wales, Nadin Beckmann of Durham University, & Robert E. Wood of the University of Melbourne. More specifically, the results of the study indicated that the importance of a task and the employee’s confidence about completing the task predicted whether an employee would experience positive or negative emotions. If the task was important and the employee felt that she could complete it effectively, she had an increase in positive emotions. On the other hand, if the task was important and the employee felt that she could not complete it effectively, she had an increase in negative emotions.


The curious case of the employee’s declining performance (Human Resource Management)

Individuals who are curious and creative – traits within the openness to experience personality dimension – have a slower decline in job performance than those who are less curious and imaginative, according to a study by Amirali Minbashian and Joanne Earl of the University of New South Wales and Jim E.H. Bright of the Australian Catholic University. After about three years, most employees’ performance begins to decline, but the decline of those more open to experiences started later and progressed at a slower rate.


Job Commitment and Performance (IO Psychology)

Job involvement is related to both in-role job performance and organizational citizenship behavior, according to an investigation by Aamir Ali Chughtai of Dublin City University. Job involvement relates to the employee’s level of commitment, in-role job performance refers to how well an employee performs the formal job requirements, and organizational citizenship is an umbrella term for roles or functions that an employee takes on that are not part of his or her formal job requirements.


Bad Behavior At Work: Are Managers Asking For It? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior, Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (January, 2013)
Article: Blaming the Organization for Abusive Supervision: The Roles of Perceived Organizational Support and Supervisor’s Organizational Embodiment
Authors: M.K. Shoss, R. Eisenberger, S.L.D. Restubog, T.J. Zagenczyk
Reviewed By: Ben Sher, M.A.

stressed_man_portraitCounterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) occur when employees do things that go against organizational goals.  For example, stealing, bullying, unnecessary absence, swivel chair racing, beer pong in the break room, and assaulting the copy machine with a baseball bat when it is out of toner are all classified as counterproductive work behaviors.  I-O psychology research has typically tried to predict which type of person will engage in these devious behaviors.  However, a recent study by Shoss, et al. (2013) has found that certain organizations may also be causing an increase in bad behavior.


When Customers Attack: Verbal Aggression and Employee Performance (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Training, Conflict
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEPT 2012)
Article: When Customers Exhibit Verbal Aggression, Employees Pay Cognitive Costs
Authors: A. Rafaeli, A. Erez, S. Ravid, R. Derfler-Rozin, D.E. Treister, R. Scheyer
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

What happens when customers get angry? For starters, they may yell, scream, pound their fists, emit a plume of smoke from their ears, and occasionally rip off their t-shirts like Hulk Hogan. But then what happens to the employees? Research by Rafaeli, et al. (2012) examines the negative effect this kind of behavior has on the people working behind the counter.


A new rating scale for multisource feedback (IO Psychology)

Topic: Feedback, Job Performance, Measurement
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2012)
Article: Evidence for the effectiveness of an alternative multisource performance rating methodology
Authors: B. J. Hoffman, C. A. Gorman, C. A. Blair, J. P. Meriac, B. Overstreet, & E. K. Atchley
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Do you receive multisource feedback (also called 360 degree feedback) at work? Based on its extreme popularity, my guess is that you do. An important question, therefore, is how to make the ratings more accurate and thus more informative for development. Brian Hoffman and his colleagues recently conducted two studies in which they developed and evaluated the efficacy of a new type of scale, called frame-of-reference scales (FORS), to use in multisource feedback systems.


Does Asking For Help Lead to High Performance? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Learning, Personality, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: The Impact of Help Seeking on Individual Task Performance: The Moderating Effect of Help Seekers’ Logics of Action
Authors: D. Geller, P.A. Bamberger
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Help, I need somebody! When employees get stuck trying to complete a task, asking for help seems to be the surest way to solve the problem. But does asking for help lead to better job performance? According to Geller and Bamberger (2012), the answer is that it depends on who you are and why you are asking for help in the first place.


The relationship between job performance and turnover – It’s not as simple as we thought! (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Turnover, Culture
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2012)
Article: The effect of culture on the curvilinear relationship between performance and turnover
Authors: Michael C. Sturman, Lian Shao, & Jan H. Katz
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

The relationship between job performance and turnover has long been thought to be curvilinear (U-shaped). In other words, the highest and lowest performers are most likely to quit their jobs. Numerous studies have replicated these findings, but these studies were almost entirely conducted in the United States. In a recent article, Michael Sturman and his colleagues investigated the effect that culture may have on the relationship between performance and turnover.


Tips for Getting Tips (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Personality, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: Want a Tip? Service Performance as a Function of Emotion Regulation
and Extraversion
Authors: N. Chi, A.A. Grandey, J.A. Diamond, K.R. Krimmel
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your restaurant server is quite the professional!  He manages a genuine, warm smile despite his impending apartment eviction, recurring car-transmission problems, and the fact that his favorite football team just lost in the playoffs.  But to pull that off, your server had to perform something called emotional labor, a crucial topic of interest to IO Psychologists.  New research by Chi, Grandey, Diamond, and Krimmel (2011) has found that certain emotional labor strategies are more useful than others, and that sometimes it depends on the type of person using these strategies.


Goals for Groups (IO Psychology)

Topic: Goals, Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: The Effect of Goal Setting on Group Performance: A Meta-Analysis
Authors: A. Kleingeld, H. van Mierlo, L. Arends
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

He shoots, he scores! No, not those kind of goals. We’re talking about workplace goals—the kind that are used to help improve performance. And while past research has shown that goals do improve performance for individuals, a new meta-analysis by Kleingeld, van Mierlo, and Arends (2011) confirms that goals can help groups as well.


Thinking about Building the Box: Practical Intelligence & Entrepreneurs

TopicJob PerformancePotentialTalent Management

Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2011)

Article: The Practical Intelligence of Entrepreneurs: Antecedents and a Link With New Venture Growth

Authors: Baum, J. R., Bird, B. J., & Singh, S.

Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although general intelligence has been found to be a good predictor of potential success in a job, recent research suggests that other, more specific forms of intelligence may also be useful in predicting job success. One aspect of these other intelligence constructs that is particularly encouraging is that they can be developed. As such, if a particular type of intelligence were demonstrated to have an especially positive impact on individuals’ success in a given field, then education and training in this field could emphasize cultivating this form of intelligence in the people studying it.


Do We Have Organizational Support? Let’s Not Agree to Disagree

Topic: Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: When Managers and Their Teams Disagree: A Longitudinal Look at the
Consequences of Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Support
Author: M.R. Bashshur, A. Hernandez, V. Gonzalez-Roma
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your manager likes Chinese food, classical music, Ohio State football, and is a lifelong Democrat.  You, on the other hand, love Mexican food, heavy metal, went to Michigan, and have a ten inch GOP tattoo across your back.  Will workplace productivity suffer?  Hopefully not.  But what if you believe your organization fails to adequately support your work team, while your manager thinks they’re doing a fine job?  According to research by Banshur, Hernandez, and Gonzalez-Roma (2011), this scenario could lead to poor productivity and poor attitudes.


One Plank at a Time: Building the Bridge from OCBs to Performance

Topic: Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: A Moderated Mediation Model of the Relationship Between Organizational Citizenship Behaviors and Job Performance
Authors: Ozer, M.
Reviewed by: Neil Morelli

What do employers ultimately care about when considering employee behavior? Performance. Understanding organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have been an important part of understanding job performance. OCBs are defined as actions employees take to go “above and beyond” their regular job to help meet the needs of coworkers and company.


Using performance management practices to drive employee engagement

Topic: Engagement, Job Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Performance management at the wheel: Driving employee engagement in organizations
Authors: Mone, E., Eisinger, C., Guggenheim, K., Price, B., Stine, C.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You’ve probably heard quite a bit about employee engagement lately, and you know that you want engaged employees. However, what can you do to increase levels of employee engagement? This article discusses ways in which performance management practices can be used to drive employee engagement and provides suggestions for future research.


Employee engagement: Wild goose chase or golden egg?

Topic: Job Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Work engagement: A quantitative review and test of its relations with task and contextual performance
Authors: Christian, M.S. Garza, A.S., Slaughter, J.E.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Try this: pick your favorite search engine and type in the phrase “employee engagement.” A quick glance at the results would tell you that you’ve searched a phrase that has been on many of the minds in the business and HR worlds. Despite employee “engagement” becoming a popular buzz word with organizations, some important questions still remain: What is it? Is it substantively different from other work attitudes? Does it help us predict employee performance above and beyond other, more well-established constructs?


Poker Face in Workplace: The Good, The Bad, and The…

Topic: Job Performance, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Service Without a Smile: Comparing the Consequences of Neutral and Positive Display Rules
Authors: J.P. Trougakos, C.L. Jackson, D.J. Beal
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Sometimes jobs require employees to convey specific emotions.  For example, a funeral director needs to appear somber, a police officer must appear neutral, and a restaurant server needs to look cheerful.  The guidelines that determine which facial expressions an employee needs to maintain are called display rules. In order to maintain a specific demeanor on a continual basis, employees must engage in emotional labor, unless you are a clown and you have a smile painted on your face.


Time for Teamwork: When Aspects of Collectivism are Most Beneficial

Topic: Goals, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (March, 2011)
Article: The power of “we”: effects of psychological collectivism on team
performance over time
Authors: Erich C. Dierdorff, Suzanne T. Bell, and James A. Belohlav
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Collectivism, in essence, is the orientation of a group’s members toward a similar set of goals and for their mutual wellbeing as a team.  A group composed of collectivistic members should be more cooperative and will likely show a higher degree of citizenship behavior amongst its team members.  However, can certain aspects of collectivism be damaging?  The authors of this study set out to determine the interplay of psychological collectivism and team performance over the course of time.


Does Being Proactive in Your Job Positively Relate to Your Performance, Satisfaction, and Commitment? Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Topic:  Job Performance, Organizational Commitment
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JUNE 2010)
Article:Employee proactivity in organizations: A comparative meta-analysis of emergent proactive constructs
Authors: Jeffrey P. Thomas, Daniel S. Whitman, and Chockalingam Viswesvaran
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

Given the dynamic nature of the work environment, being proactive has become necessary for today’s leaders and managers. What does that mean? More specifically, what is Employee Proactivity and what does it lead to? Measuring Employee Proactivity has varied from measuring “proactive personality”, which is considered a steady, natural propensity to direct or control circumstances and dynamically provoke change, to measuring “voice” which measures the tendency to constructively discuss change. Two other ways of measuring it are the self-explanatory variables “personal initiative” and “taking charge”.


What Does Organizational Tenure Really Buy You?

Topic: Citizenship BehaviorsCounter-Productive Work BehaviorJob Performance

Publication: Journal of Management (SEP)

ArticleOrganizational tenure and job performance

Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It is often intuited that employees who remain in an organization longer gain more knowledge of their job and the organization and thus perform at a higher level than employees with less tenure. Indeed, it’s no secret that organizational tenure is common factor considered in administrative decisions such as offering promotions and awarding raises and other fringe benefits (e.g., pensions, vacation days).  For many of us, anecdotal evidence probably confirms the assumption that as tenure within the organization increases, so does performance. But what does the research say?


Emotional Intelligence: A tangled web of definitions, predictors, outcomes, and models

Topic: Emotional Intelligence, Job Performance, Leadership
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice
Article: Emotional Intelligence: Toward Clarification of a Concept
Author: C. Cherniss
Selected commentary authors: Kaplan, Cortina, and Ruark (2010); Antonakis, J. & Dietz, J. (2010)
Reviewed by: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been one of the most popular topics studied throughout the history of I/O psychology. Given its popularity, it has been defined and measured in several different ways throughout time, leading to some confusion and controversy in the field. Cherniss (2010) argues that despite these multiple definitions and models, most researchers generally agree on what EI is: ‘‘the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion in the self and others’’ (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000, p. 396).


What Makes for a Successful Employee and Why?

Topic: Job Performance, Personality
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (MAR 2010)
ArticleHuman capital and objective indicators of career success: The mediating effects of cognitive ability and conscientiousness
Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Career success is important for determining an employee’s well-being, life satisfaction, and can also contribute to organizational success.  While it is well known that an employee’s level of education and work experience influences his/her career success, Ng and Feldman suggest that why this relationship exists is unclear.


Why Work Group Satisfaction Matters

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
Article: Satisfaction, citizenship behaviors, and performance in work units: A meta-analysis of collective construct relations
Authors: D.S. Whitman, D.L. van Rooy, and C. Viswesvaran
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The happy worker is the productive worker, right?  Not necessarily.  Indeed, much of the past research on job satisfaction (which is extensive, to say the least) suggests that at the individual employee level, job satisfaction and performance are weakly related.  This finding, however, tends to go against common sense.  Doesn’t it seem reasonable to believe that employees who are satisfied at work perform better than those who are not as satisfied or dissatisfied at work?  It apparently does to many researchers and thus the search for clarification continues.


Predicting Job Performance with Implicit Words Games?

Topic: PersonalityMeasurement, Job Performance
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
ArticleWe (sometimes) know not how we feel: Predicting job performance with an implicit measure of trait affectivity
Authors: R.E. Johnson, A.L. Tolentino, O.B., Rodopman, and E. Cho
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In the world of emotions, trait affect refers to the predisposition some people have to generally experience positive or negative emotions.

Trait affect is often broken up into Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA). While high levels of NA are associated with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, high levels of PA are associated with positive emotions such as excitement and joy.  It should not come as a surprise that PA tends to relate favorably to work performance whereas the opposite is true for NA.


How Ethical Leadership Drives Performance

Topic: Ethics, Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (2010)
Article: The relationship between ethical leadership and core job characteristics
Authors: R.F. Piccolo, R. Greenbaum, D.N., Den Hartog, and R. Folger
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It has long been thought that the characteristics of an employees’ job affects their motivation and ultimately their work performance.  Indeed, job characteristics such as autonomy (degree of discretion employees have over their work) and task significance (degree to which work tasks have a meaningful impact on others) are well known to predict positive workplace outcomes such as employee satisfaction and performance.

Importantly, a recent study by Piccolo et al. (2010) suggests that ethical leadership is one factor that contributes to these job characteristics.


Can Personality Lead to Better Performance?

Topic: Motivation, Personality, Job Performance
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (MAR 2009)
Article: Using a two-factor theory of achievement motivation to examine performance-based outcomes and self-regulatory processes.
Authors: Story, P.A., Hart, J.W., Stasson, M.F., & Mahoney, J.M.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Have you ever wondered why some employees seem to find it easier to achieve their organizational goals than others? Current research proposes that theories of achievement motivation can explain some of  these employee differences. Achievement motivation refers to the tendency to set and work toward personal goals and/or standards (Cassidy & Lynn, 1989). It can be broken down into two motivational factors: intrinsic achievement motivation (IAM) and extrinsic achievement motivation (EAM) (Ryan & Deci, 2000). While researchers agree that achievement motivation is a complicated concept, many disagree about how it differs amongst employees.


SJTs: They’re Not Perfect, but Gosh Darn it they Work!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Human Performance ( JAN 2010)
Article: Contextual effects on SJT responses: An examination of construct validity and mean differences across applicant and incumbent contexts
Authors: W.I. MacKenzie, R.E. Ployhart, J.A. Weekley, and C. Ehlers
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

A situational judgment test (SJT) is a commonly used employee selection tool which presents job applicants with realistic work situations. Job applicants are required to choose from several response options, which range in their effectiveness (as rated by subject matter experts).  While SJTs tend to predict future job performance rather well, there is still debate as to what SJTs actually measure (SJTs correlate with and likely measure cognitive ability, personality, job knowledge, and experience simultaneously) and how they operate in different contexts (e.g., job applicants vs. incumbents).


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?


Are Female Leaders Judged More Harshly than Male Leaders?

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance, Diversity
Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (APR 2009)
Article: Is Transformational Leadership Always Perceived as Effective? Male Subordinates’ Devaluation of Female Transformational Leaders.
Authors: Ayman, R., Korabik, K., and Morris, S.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Amongst researchers and practitioners, one of the most popular leadership styles today is transformational leadership. Transformational leaders inspire their subordinates through motivational communication and action. They are generally concerned with promoting personal growth and development in their followers by challenging them to learn new skills and abilities.


Leading Employees by Involving Them Leads to Results

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2010)
Article: Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial and non-managerial subordinates
Authors: X. Huang, J. Iun, A. Liu, and Y. Gong
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Isn’t it nice when our supervisors invite our ideas/opinions and include us in decision making?  Of course it is!  These kinds of supervisory behaviors are known as participative leadership behaviors and, not surprisingly, they tend to positively impact employee job performance.  Although this effect is expected for all employees, a recent study by Huang and colleagues (2010) suggests that the reasons why participative leadership behaviors lead to improved performance depends on a subordinate’s hierarchical level in the organization.


To Monitor or not to Monitor Emails: That is the Question

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Academy of Management Perspectives (NOV 2009)
Article: Monitoring employee emails: Is there any room for privacy?
Authors: W.P. Smith and F. Tabak
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It’s hard to imagine work without email. For many employees, email is a necessity. One potential problem with email, however, is that it can be easily abused by employees (i.e., using email for personal reasons at work). In response, many organizations have implemented email monitoring software. But, is email monitoring fair? Does it illegally infringe on the rights of employees? And how does it affect employees?


Do You Feel Like I Do?

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2009)
Article: Do you feel what I feel? Mood contagion and leadership outcomes
Authors: S.K. Johnson
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed from time-to-time – and leaders are certainly no exception.

As a recent example, a study by Johnson (2009) shows that followers’ moods are directly impacted by the expressed moods of leaders. This phenomenon is known as mood contagion , which in this case refers to the automatic transfer of moods from leaders to followers. Mood contagion occurs unconsciously and thus employees have little control over it.


Ladies and Gentlemen: The Invigorating Leadership/Job Performance Chain

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2009)
Article: How leaders cultivate social capital and nurture employee vigor: Implications for job performance
Authors: A. Carmeli, B. Ben-Hador, D.A., Waldman, and D.E. Rupp
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

One important characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to build relationships and encourage communication and collaboration among their employees (i.e., leader relational behaviors ). Although we can probably all agree that leader relational behaviors should have a positive impact on employee and organizational performance, Carmeli and colleagues recently showed that the relationship between leader relational behaviors and job performance is a complex process.


Mentoring: A Win-Win-Win Situation

Topic: Mentoring, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (DEC 2009)
Article: What can I gain as a mentor? The effect of mentoring on the job performance and social status of mentors in China
Authors: D. Liu, J. Liu, H.K. Kwan, and Y. Mao
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Generally, mentoring relationships are intended to develop younger and/or less experienced employees.  However, research has shown that mentoring relationships benefit mentors as well as their protégés. In a recent investigation, Liu and colleagues (2009) found that mentoring relationships relate favorably to mentors’ job performance ratings and social status within the organization.


After the Honeymoon: Supervisor support is still important

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUNE 2009)
Article: Change in newcomers’ supervisor support and socialization outcomes after organizational entry
Authors: M. Jokisaari, J. Nurmi
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Most organizational researchers know about the “Honeymoon Effect” – the notion that employees are on their best behavior in the months directly following their hire. However, previous research has been limited to the first year after hire and has not investigated specific aspects of employee  socialization that might contribute to this initial good behavior. Recently, Jokisaari and Nurmi looked into supervisor support as a predictor of important work outcomes over the first two years of employment.


Great Expectations: Catalyst for Employee Learning and Development

Topic: Job PerformanceLeadership, Training
Publication: Journal of Management (OCT 2009)
Article: Pygmalion and employee learning: The role of leader behaviors
Authors: X.M. Bezuijen, P.T. van den Berg, K. van Dam, and H. Thierry
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Isn’t it fascinating how our expectations of others so frequently come to fruition?  The finding that supervisors’ expectations of their employees’ capabilities accurately reflect their actual performance is well-established. This phenomenon is called the self-fulfilling prophesy (AKA the Pygmalion effect). But, how and why do supervisors’ expectations of employees’ capabilities reflect their performance? Is it magic? Is it a sixth sense? Is it prescience?


So Many Constraints…Just Let Me to be Conscientious!

Topic: Job Performance, Personality
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (NOV 2009)
Article: A meta-analytic investigation into the moderating effects of situational strength on the conscientiousness-performance relationship
Authors: R.D. Meyer, R.S. Dalal and S. Bonaccio
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Conscientiousness is a personality trait that predisposes employees to be well organized, attentive to detail, dependable, and goal/task-oriented. It’s not surprising then, that conscientious employees tend to perform well at work.  Despite the importance of conscientiousness for predicting job performance, Meyer, Dalal, and Bonaccio (2009) found that the relationship between  conscientiousness and job performance varies depending on the strength of the work situation (i.e., situational strength).


Job Demands are to “I can’t” as Job Resources are to “I won’t”

Topic: Burnout, Job Analysis, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (OCT 2009)
Article: How changes in job demands and resources predict burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism
Authors: W.B. Schaufeli, A.B. Bakker, W. Van Rhenen
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

There are many theories that explain the causes and effects of experiencing work strain and work engagement. Schaufeli and colleagues (2009) investigated one such theory known as the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) theory which focuses on what needs to be done on the job (i.e., job demands) and the social, psychological, physical resources that the job provides for the employees (i.e., job resources).


Finding the Optimal Working Flow

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (SEP 2009)
Article: ‘Flow’ at work: An experience sampling approach
Authors: C.J. Fullagar and E.K. Kelloway
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Although many IO psychologists are concerned with negative work states and behaviors such as burnout, stress and strain, workplace accidents, and counterproductive work behaviors, it is also important to identify and explain positive work states and behaviors. One such concept is known as flow. Flow is an ideal working experience in which an employee is fully engaged in his/her work. It’s basically a person’s optimal work experience (best case scenario!).


How Can You Be So Rude!?

Topic: Job Performance, Work Environment, Culture
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAY 2009)
Article: Overlooked but not untouched: How rudeness reduces onlookers’ on routine and creative tasks
Authors: Porath, C. L. and Erez, A.
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Now here’s a topic that might make you ball your fists: Rudeness in the workplace. Have you ever been treated rudely by a coworker or supervisor?  Have you ever seen rude behavior at work? If so, you are not alone. Perhaps as many as 25% of employees report witnessing rudeness on a daily basis (For some reason, the DMV crosses my mind).


Effective Goals CAN Fly Under the Radar

Topic: Goals, Job Performance
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Article: An exploratory field experiment of the effect of subconscious and conscious goals
on employee performance.
Author: A. Shantz, G.P. Latham
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Do subconscious goals lead to improved employee performance? What exactly are subconscious goals?  Unlike conscious goals, employees are unaware of subconscious goals. When they become aware of them, they become conscious goals. In other words, subconscious goals may drive employee behavior automatically as they are below their conscious awareness.


Comparing Modes of Customer Service Communication

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Computers in Human Behavior
Article: Human communication in customer-agent-computer interaction: Face-to-face versus over telephone
.Author: A. Kira, D.M. Nichols, M. Apperley
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Regarding consumer service, organizations strive for several outcomes: 1) The customer receives quality service, 2) the service is delivered in a timely manner, and 3) customers are served at their convenience.

Taking these goals into account, Kira, Nichols, and Apperley (2009) investigated the differences  between customer service interactions via telephone vs. face-to-face interaction in a series of experiments.


What to do about the Failure-Focused Employee

Topic: Job Performance, Motivation
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Failure avoidance motivation in a goal-setting situation.
Author: S.R. Heimerdinger, V.B. Hinsz
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Although it is known that employees who set specific and difficult goals tend to outperform those who set broad and relatively easy goals, different employees have differing motivational mindsets when they set their goals. Some employees are motivated to learn and master skills. Others are motivated to demonstrate their competence to others. (“Those darn showoffs!”) Interestingly, though, some employees  are motivated, not by accomplishments, but to simply avoid failing. In other words, when some employees set personal goals, they are focused on NOT FAILING as opposed to succeeding (e.g., “My goal is to NOT completely bomb this presentation!”).


Taking a Hard Line on Employee Lateness Can Pay Off!

Topic: Culture, Job AttitudesJob Performance
Publication: Human Performance
Article:  Employee lateness behavior: the role of lateness climate and individuals lateness attitude.  
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Many organizations go to great lengths to curtail employee lateness (showing up tardy for work) and for good reason – it can cost organizations billions of dollars in productivity a year.

In order to better understand why lateness occurs, Elicker, Foust, O’Malley, and Levy (2008) investigated (1) organizations’ lateness climates and (2) employee attitudes about lateness as joint predictors of actually showing up late for work.


If I’m Bad, Then So Are You!

Topic: Feedback, Job Performance, Performance Appraisal
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: The influence of a manager’s own performance appraisal on the evaluation of others.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Have you ever received a poor performance appraisal from a supervisor?  (Let’s hope not too many!)  If you have, were you surprised?  (Hey, I’m a pretty good employee! What gives!?).  Researchers and managers alike have been interested in uncovering the factors that influence performance appraisals (besides actual performance).


Where leaving it to Beaver meets the bottom line

Topic: Citizenship BehaviorJob Performance
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Test of Motowidlo et al.’s (1997) theory of individual differences in task and contextual performance.
Blogger: James Grand

A helpful hand here or a thoughtful “hi-how-are-ya” might be more valuable than we think. Psychologists are starting to realize that such dispositional characteristics can be meaningful predictors of on-the-job performance. Nearly 10 years ago, Motowidlo, Borman and Schmit proposed that performance at work was more than just the number of pizzas one delivers in 30 minutes or less or any other similar indicators of taskwork proficiency.


Does Narcissism Lead to Ineffective Leadership? Depends on the Rater

Topic: Job PerformanceLeadership, Personality
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Narcissism in Organizations: A multisource appraisal reflects different perspectives.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Organizational researchers have identified a personality trait that consistently relates to immoral and ineffective leadership: narcissism. Narcissism involves an exaggerated sense of self-worth (I’m better than everyone else!), a need for admiration and power (Everyone should look up to me!), and a tendency to exploit others (They don’t even know I’m using them, HAHAHA). It’s not difficult to see how such a leader would fail to manage others effectively.


Believe in yourself and someone just might drive a dump truck full of money to your house

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: How the Rich (and Happy) Get Richer (and Happier): Relationship of Core Self-Evaluations to Trajectories in Attaining Work Success.
Blogger: Rob Stilson

OK, the scope of this article is beyond this blog (or perhaps the blogger), but I will give you the highlights and let you learn the rest for yourself.  The focus of the article is essentially the Matthew Effect which says scientists who have success early tend to continue to do better throughout their careers.  The authors wanted to determine if this applied across the career spectrum as well as to scientists.


Oh give me a BREAK!

Topic: Emotional IntelligenceJob PerformanceWellness
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Making the break count: An episodic examination of recovery activities, emotional
experiences, and positive affect displays
Blogger: LitDigger

Do your customer service employees do work-like activities during their breaks or maybe
even not take their breaks at all? If you care about their ability to ‘put on the happy face’ for customers, then research by Trougakos, Beal, Green & Weiss (2008) says that breaks are important.


Hope…and Improved Job Performance?

Topic: Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Exploring the role of hope in job performance: Results from four studies.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Yeah sure, hope isn’t as common a concept in organizational research as job satisfaction or commitment, but Peterson and Byron (2008) found that hope does indeed play a role in predicting employee job performance.  In addition, the authors were interested in finding out if hopeful employees solve work-related problems differently than their less hopeful colleagues.  Although we are all somewhat familiar with hope (seriously, who doesn’t hope to win the lottery?), the way in which it is defined by Peterson and Byron is not necessarily what we might expect.  According to the authors, the concept of hope, as it applies to the organizational setting, is not a passive emotional state (i.e., I hope the Rays win the pennant!).  Rather, hope involves an active component, and it refers to an overall feeling that one can achieve his or her goals.