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.

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Assessing idiosyncratic deals (IO Psychology)

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.

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Blurring Work and Non-Work Boundaries: Two Sides to the Story (IO Psychology)

The rapid advancement of communication technologies (CTs) in recent years is widely believed to be one of the main drivers behind changes in work. The ease and availability of CTs allows employees unprecedented access to information, people, and most importantly, their work from anywhere and at anytime. While previous generations of workers “stopped the clock” at 5:00pm, many modern employees continue to check-in to work after traditional work hours – leading to blurry work-non-work boundaries. Researchers have predicted both positive and negative outcomes to result from this shift in working hours. Specifically, using CTs to check-in to work after hours, may be a sign of greater commitment to the organization, or high job involvement and ambition on the part of the employee. But, the negative side of greater time spent working is less time for non-work activities possibility resulting in work-family conflict.

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Do customers make you mad? You have permission to vent

Publication: Journal of Management (FEB 2013)
Article: Alleviating the burden of emotional labor: The role of social sharing
Authors: McCance, A. S., Nye, C. D., Wang, L., Jones, K. S., & Chiu, C.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

imagery_09_11_08_000183If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you know that some customers can be incredibly frustrating. You get angry, your blood pressure rises, you try really hard to hold your tongue, and then you complain to your coworkers later. And you feel better.

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When women don’t reach the C-suite as often as men, benevolent sexism may be to blame

Topic: Gender, Discrimination, Development
Publication: Journal of Management (NOV 2012)
Article: Benevolent sexism at work: Gender differences in the distribution of challenging developmental experiences
Authors: King, E. B., Botsford, W., Hebl, M. R., Kazama, S., Dawson, J. F., & Perkins, A.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

woman_working_on_laptopWomen are breaking the glass ceiling and entering higher levels of organizations. To be successful, women need to get the same developmental experiences as men, and both men and women seem to be getting about the same number of developmental experiences. But if this is the case, why then are there fewer women than men reaching the very highest levels of the organization?

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Whistle While You Work: The Importance of Work Enjoyment for Managers (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Motivation, Performance, Wellness
Publication: Journal of Management (SEP 2012)
Article: Driven to Work and Enjoyment of Work: Effects on Managers’ Outcomes
Authors: Laura Graves, Marian Ruderman, Patricia Ohlott, & Todd Weber
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Work motivation, a topic that is relevant to almost all employees in almost every organization, is a common research area in IO psychology. Within the vast motivation literature, two types of motivation that have emerged in recent years are the driven to work and enjoyment of work motives. The driven to work motive is based on the feeling that a person should work (they feel compelled to), while the enjoyment of work motive emphasizes intrinsic motivation and personal enjoyment of the work itself. Recently, Graves and colleagues conducted a study to identify the role that these two types of motivation might have on managers’ performance, career satisfaction, and psychological strain.

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A Crash Course in Adopting New Technology—It’s All About The Bandwagon

Topic: Business Strategy, Off the Wall
Publication: Journal of Management
Article: Closing the Technology Adoption–Use Divide: The Role of Contiguous User Bandwagon
Authors: G. Lanzolla & F. F. Suarez
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Did you ever buy something that was really expensive, but you could sort of justify the purchase because you were so sure you’d use it every single day and it would save you time and money? Come on, we all have. But, did your purchase end up sitting on a shelf somewhere? Well, if it was some new, cool technology for your organization that you purchased, then chances are actually pretty good that it did. A ridiculously large portion of new technology adopted by organizations never gets used by the employees. But, why? Here’s where I am going to totally rock your world—just because you invest in a new piece of technology, doesn’t mean you’ll use it.

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Need Ethics? Here, Take Mine (IO Psychology)

Topic: Ethics
Publication: Journal of Management (2012)
Article: The psychic cost of doing wrong: Ethical conflict, divestiture socialization, and emotional exhaustion
Authors: Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., Simon, L. S., & Rich, B. L.
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

It’s sweet, albeit naïve, to think that the ethical training we learned in pursuit of a degree or on the job during seemingly endless training sessions will do the trick. We will always be upstanding corporate citizens, ready to fight evil. But that’s not really what happens. It’s all well and good to make your employees take ethics training, but what about when their supervisor or even the organizational culture pushes them to break their ethical rules? Sure, we have a moral dilemma, but it goes deeper than that. Ethical lapses have an effect on the employees who make or see them.

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Mixed Messages: Gender Differences in Performance and Promotability Ratings (IO Psychology)

Topic: Gender, Performance Appraisal
Publication: Journal of Management (MAR 2012)
Article: A Meta-Analysis of Gender Group Differences for Measures of Job Performance in Field Studies
Authors: Roth, P. L., Purvis, K. L., & Bobko, P.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

In human resource management, we are often concerned with group-based differences in the measurement of performance, satisfaction, and other variables (for legal and ethical reasons). Previous meta-analytic studies (studies that look at data/findings across multiple studies) have examined the role of certain group characteristics, such as ethnicity, on performance, but gender differences have not been studied as frequently. In addition, as the authors of the current article note, previous meta-analyses that have assessed gender differences in performance have generally utilized various proxies for performance (e.g., absenteeism, satisfaction ) rather than actual performance measures (e.g., supervisor ratings). The goal, then, of this meta-analysis, was to examine gender differences on these realistic performance indices in field samples.

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Motivating GenY: Generational Differences in Work Values

Topic: Motivation
Publication: Journal of Management (SEP 2010)
Article: Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing
Authors: J. M. Twenge, S. M. Campbell, B. J. Hoffman, and C. E. Lance
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

The U.S. workforce is primarily comprised of 3 generations of workers – Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), GenX (1965-1981), and GenY (1982-1999). Although empirical research examining differences in generational work values is scarce, understanding differences between these 3 groups is important for organizations attempting to recruit and manage the youngest generation in the workforce – GenY.

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Another Shot at the Transfer Problem

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Management (JUL 2010)
Article: Transfer of training: A meta-analytic review
Authors: B.D. Blume, J.K. Ford, T.T. Baldwin, and J.L. Huang
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizations spend massive amounts of money on employee training and development every year with the expectation that what is learned in training will be transferred to and used on the job.  But there’s a problem: it has been well established that employees often do NOT transfer what they learn to the job.  In the continuing pursuit of solutions to this “transfer problem”, Blume et al. present a meta-analysis that explored predictors of transfer of training.

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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?

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Subconscious Goal Setting: Pursuing Goals Without Even Knowing It

Topic: Goals
Publication: Journal of Management (JAN 2010)
Article: The relevance and viability of subconscious goals in the workplace
Authors: G.P. Latham, A.D. Stajkovic, and E.A. Locke
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that goal-setting is an effective strategy for improving employee performance. What you might not know is that goal-setting research is moving outside of the boundaries of human consciousness.  That’s right, a new line of research has recently emerged on what is known as subconscious goal-setting. Remember the stories of movie theaters mixing frames of popcorn in their previews clips to get the audience to visit the concession stand?  Subconscious goal setting works a bit like that.  Although it may sound a little ‘out there’, support is building for its effectiveness in the workplace.

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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?

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Fair is Fair

Topic: Organizational Justice
Publication: Journal of Management
Article: Perceptions of discrimination: A multiple needs model perspective.
Blogger: James Grand

I know the saying goes “Life isn’t always fair – sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield.”

But in truth, things aren’t usually that black and white (or life and death, if you will). One theory of organizational justice (fairness) that has begun to grow in prominence within the research literature in recent years is that of Cropanzano et al.’s (2001) multiple needs model of justice.

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C’mon, you can trust me!

Topic: Organizational Justice, Job Performance, Trust
Publication
: Journal of Management
Article: The Relationship between being perceived as trustworthy and performance
Blogger: Larry Martinez

OK, so most of the research done on trustworthiness in the workplace has focused on whether or not you think that your coworkers and leaders are trustworthy and the related implications (if you don’t trust your boss you’ll be less likely to perform well for him or her).  But what about the other side of the coin?

Dirks and Skarlicki wanted to know how being perceived as trustworthy effects job performance – the idea being that if your coworkers think you are trustworthy, they’ll be more likely to offer you resources.

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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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Ten Years of Team Goodness

Topic: Teams
Publication: Journal of Management
ArticleTeam effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future (#34, 2008).
Blogger: Rob Stilson

In 1997, Cohen and Bailey assessed all research that had been done with teams up to that point. From that article, Cohen and Bailey recommended breaking down the team studies into five areas: group cognition, affect, mood, group potency, and collective self-efficacy. Virtual and global teams as well as environmental (institutional) factors into time. Ten years later, Mathieu and crew revisited the Cohen and Bailey article, following up on the results five areas.

The new study notes great progress in the areas of group cognition, group potency and collective self-efficacy, and virtual and global teams, but further research is needed in the areas of affect, mood and the final two mentioned.

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A Closer Look at the Role of Work Centrality in Work-Family Conflict

Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Management (2008)
Article: The moderating effect of work-family centrality on work family conflict, organizational attitudes, and turnover behavior.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Ever miss a child’s ball game for work? The conflict between an employee’s work role and family role is known as work-family conflict (WFC). When work interferes with the family role, this type of conflict is commonly referred to as WIF conflict (i.e., work is the originator of the conflict). Carr, Boyar, and Gregory (2008) present an article in the Journal of Management investigating the connection between WIF conflict and how much people value work versus family.

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