Last month, I-O Psychologists met in California to share the latest cutting-edge research. The 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success. We’ve partnered with numerous SIOP presenters, and they’ve provided us with the nitty-gritty on some of the very best presentations, which we now offer to you in a multi-part series.
Perform better, get paid more, is the basic tenant of pay-for-performance (PFP). One type of PFP strategy is bonuses, which are easy to hand out and motivate employees to accomplish short-term goals. PFP can be used at all levels of the organization, from CEOs to managers to entry-level workers. Want that project done by the end of the month? An extra monetary incentive won’t hurt! Or will it?
Although the concept is simple, the positive and negative outcomes of this compensation system are much more complex. One team of researchers (Pohler & Schmidt, 2016) investigated how giving managers bonuses for better performance leads to employee turnover.
Leaders often have to deal with employees’ negative emotions. Whether employees are feeling anxious about a project, feeling sad about being turned down for promotion, or feeling angry about being unfairly treated, leaders play a part in managing these emotions. New research (Little, Gooty, & Williams, 2016) has shown that how these emotions get handled can affect employees’ performance and how they feel about their jobs.
Networking involves building, maintaining, and using professional relationships. When people talk about networking, they are usually quick to point out the benefits of being connected to others. The more people you connect with, the more information you can gain about strategies for dealing with difficult people, trends in the industry, and potential job opportunities. As employees gain more information and connect with more people, does that increase or decrease the likelihood that they will voluntarily leave their current job? New research (Porter, Woo, & Campion, 2016) suggests that the answer depends on whom you are networking with.
Organizational citizenship behavior means going the extra mile at work. Basically, it means doing anything that is not in your formal job description. We typically think of organizational citizenship behavior (or OCB) as something we do to help benefit our organization or the people we work with. In that sense, we might think of OCB as selfless giving that is actually to our own detriment. It makes sense, right? We only have a limited amount of time and resources during the day. If we do more than we need to do, we run the risk of burnout, fatigue, and stress. This is also supported by past research. However, new research shows that OCB can actually provide some advantages for the people performing it.
With the increasing accessibility of technology and mobile connectivity, employees are no longer confined to their offices, and because of this, telecommuting is on the rise. Telecommuting—a term coined in the 1970s—has gained popularity over the decades and researchers and the scientific community have followed suit. A new article by Allen, Golden, and Shockley (2015) reviews the extant literature on telecommuting and clarifies what research supports regarding telecommuting. The authors define telecommuting as the practice of working away from a central location (usually at home) and relying on technology to interact and stay connected.
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.
As a new generation enters the workforce, a growing number of people are seeking passion for work. They desire to attain passion, or a strong sense of enjoyment, fulfillment, identification, and motivation from their work. Ample studies have demonstrated that passion for work predicts positive individual and organizational outcomes, including positive affect (or good feelings), lower job burnout, and higher job satisfaction.
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.
With more actively involved fathers in the workplace, the role of the working man is changing. The ideal worker, or an employee that is perpetually available and committed to work with minimal responsibilities outside of the job, clashes with men’s ability to be involved fathers, or men that are involved with and accessible to their children.
In order to investigate the changing expectations of fatherhood in the workplace and determine how involved fathering impacts work-related outcomes, the researchers (Ladge et al., 2015) conducted two studies. The first study involved interviews with 31 new fathers about their career and fatherhood, and the second study administered a survey to 970 fathers who worked in four different Fortune 500 organizations.
In our currently aging workforce, one in five workers are now age 55 or older. Given this changing demographic, it is important to identify the factors that lead to early departure from the workforce. One of the critical factors is perceived work ability, or the balance between personal resources and work characteristics. In order to prevent premature departure of the workforce, this study (McGonagle, Fisher, Barnes-Farrell, & Grosch, 2015) identified what leads to perceived work ability, and what happens when employees experience it.
Currently, one in five American families includes an individual with caregiving duties, and caregivers in the workplace are becoming much more common. Given the advent of the sandwich generation, or those people who care for both children and aging parents, this number is expected to rise. Even more, the increase of women in the workforce is leading to more working caregivers than ever before, because women tend to be the primary caregiver to both children and elderly parents.
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?
What helps determine whether people pursue their sense of “calling”? The advice I always got was, “Work hard, get a respectable job in a stable industry and then pursue your passion on the side.” This shaped my extrinsic motivation, or the type of motivation that comes from outside a person, when pursuing a career. Others take to heart advice from notable public figures like the late Steve Jobs who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” This kind of advice fosters intrinsic motivation, or the type that comes from within a person, when pursuing a career. The pursuit of a career that meets at the intersection of these two approaches would be ideal, but often economic realities deter many. Recently, two researchers sought to understand what influences career decisions when these approaches clash.
The term “Workplace Conflict” sounds ominous. It conjures up images of yelling, screaming, finger pointing and, in rare cases, hunkering down under makeshift table forts and lobbing used Styrofoam cups at rival camps.
But can workplace conflict occasionally be good? New research by Todorova, Bear, and Weingart (2014) has found that, under the right circumstances, frequent workplace conflict can lead to an exchange of valuable information and, eventually, to higher job satisfaction.
The little stories that tend to get passed around an office on a daily basis can have a profound impact on life in the workplace. “Did you hear about Susie? She was fired just for fixing the boss’ coffee wrong. Right on the spot, just like that!”
A new study on retelling stories in organizations by Stephanie L. Dailey and Larry Browning seeks to understand the functions this sort of narrative repetition can have. Ultimately, the authors found storytelling in the workplace builds the foundation for a unique organizational culture.
One of the newest concepts that people are talking about (at least here in Colorado) is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state in which you pay attention to the present without making judgments, negative or positive, about the feelings or thoughts you have. You’ve probably heard of it, and maybe you’re a little bit skeptical. Very few studies are out there that investigate mindfulness in the workplace, but a team of researchers in the Netherlands, led by Ute Hülsheger, recently set out to determine the benefits of mindfulness at work.
Using surveys to assess the job satisfaction of employees is widely understood to be a vital part of successful management and employee retention. However, not all employees respond to these surveys. Gauging the job satisfaction of employees who don’t respond to a survey is at least as important as gauging the satisfaction of those who do respond. But how can survey nonresponse be accurately assessed? A recent study conducted by Fauth and his colleagues aimed to answer this question.
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.
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.
When people are being hired or negotiating the terms of their employment, they often make idiosyncratic deals, also known as i-deals. I-deals are informal, nonstandard agreements between the employee and the employer that lead to beneficial outcomes for both parties. For example, they might negotiate compensation or work hours.
In a recent series of studies, Christopher Rosen and his colleagues set out to determine what exactly i-deals are, develop a measure of i-deals, and then establish that measure’s validity.
Topic: Job Attitudes, Organizational Commitment, Job Satisfaction, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (in press)
Article: Generational differences in work-related attitudes: A Meta-analysis
Authors: D. P. Costanza, J. M. Badger, R. L. Fraswer, J. B. Severt, & P. A. Gade
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin
Do generational differences predict work-related attitudes, like job satisfaction and commitment? Although many organizations base training programs and interventions on the belief that there are generational differences, research has found mixed results. David Costanza and his colleagues recently conducted a meta-analysis using the available research findings to determine if there really are generational differences in work-related attitudes.
Topic: Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP/OCT, 2011)
Article: Antecedents and Consequences of Psychological and Team Empowerment in
Organizations: A Meta-Analytic Review
Authors: Scott E. Seibert, Gang Wang, and Stephen H. Courtright
Reviewed By: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor, Ph.D.
Are you a manager or an HR professional who thinks that your workplace is a pretty good place to work for your employees? Think that your employees are empowered? Well, see how well your organization measures up against 30 years of research into what empowerment looks like!
Topic: Engagement, Job Satisfaction, Surveys
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Measuring employee engagement during a financial downturn: Business imperative or nuisance?
Authors: Van Rooy, D. L., Whitman, D. S., Hart, D., & Caleo, S.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin
In these difficult economic times, organizations have been forced to cut costs. One way in which organizations are saving money is by reducing the use of employee surveys, but Van Rooy et al. (2011) contend that these surveys are valuable and should not be cut. The authors argue that measuring engagement is important because engagement has been shown to be related to many important business outcomes, such as turnover, efficiency, and performance. By researching engagement, an organization can better protect its current talent and prepare itself to attract talent that may leave other organizations.
Topic: Fairness, Strategic HR, Job Satisfaction
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Trait Entitlement and Perceived Favorability of Human Resource Management Practices in the Prediction of Job Satisfaction
Authors: Z. S. Byrne, B. K. Miller, V. E. Pitts
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood
The use of human resource management (HRM) practices has gained popularity within organizations due to their perceived success as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining the most qualified individuals. Past research suggests that job satisfaction is a key outcome in this relationship. Specifically, favorable perceptions of the organization’s HRM practices tend to increase employee perceptions of job satisfaction.
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”.
Topic: Leadership, Teams, Emotional Intelligence, Job Satisfaction
Publication: Small Group Research (JAN 2011)
Article: Managers’ Trait Emotional Intelligence and Group Outcomes: The Case of Group Job Satisfaction
Authors: L. Zampetakis & V. Moustakis
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky
Regardless of the nature of an organization’s end goals, it is in any organization’s best interests to have employees that are satisfied with their jobs. Individual job satisfaction has been linked to increased performance and higher organizational loyalty, amongst other positive implications. It has been found in the past that individual job satisfaction and trait emotional intelligence, or one’s emotional self-awareness, are linked, as being able to identify and regulate one’s emotions has had positive effects on job satisfaction.
Topic: Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article: Effects of scheduling perceptions on attitudes and mobility in different part-time employee types
Authors: J.L.S. Wittmer, J.E. Martin
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart
Is your organization increasing the amount of part-time employees so as to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and remain competitive? If so, then you are not alone. However, emerging evidence suggests that the growing population of part-time employees may have important behavioral and attitude differences than full-time employees. Part-time employees commonly work nonstandard schedules, including the less desirable days (e.g., weekends) and hours (e.g., evenings and nights). This leads to increased negative work attitudes, more work-family conflict, and higher turnover.
Topic: Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Performance
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article:A meta-analysis of the predictors and consequences of organization-based self esteem.
Authors: Bowling, N. A., Eschleman, K. J., Wang, Q., Kirkendall, C.,& Alarcon, G.
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher
Organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) is a role-specific type of self-esteem that describes employees’ beliefs about their value and competence as a member of an organization – “I’m valued around here!” So, what predicts OBSE in employees and what are the outcomes of experiencing OBSE?
A meta-analysis by Bowling and colleagues found that OSBE is predicted by the dispositional, “hard wired” traits of general self-esteem and self-efficacy (the belief a person has that he/she can achieve goals). Additionally, job complexity, autonomy, perceived organizational support, and social support from managers and coworkers were work conditions that predicted OBSE in employees.