Do This for Better Communication on Virtual Teams

If you’ve ever been on a conference call or worked remotely, you may have experienced being in the minority when it comes to making decisions on a virtual team. This scenario often results in majority members not wanting to address your concerns when you challenge the majority viewpoint. Whether your insights are radical or marginal, we know that contradictory opinions are needed to foster creativity and combat groupthink, which is a lack of individual creativity that may lead to harmful group consensus. What can organizations do to ensure virtual team members are open to everyone’s ideas? Researchers (Swaab, Phillips, & Schaerer, 2016) found that awareness of secret conversation opportunities can help.


Restrictive Work Policies: Gaining Employee Buy-In

In this day and age, many managers are finding themselves in the tough position of enforcing restrictive work policies on their employees. For example, a company may no longer allow vacation days to be taken during a busy week or on specific days of the week. This can be a tough position. Getting employee buy-in on restrictive work policies can prove quite challenging. Yet, the manager has to enforce what is best for the company, while at the same time keeping the employees content with their job. So, when enforcing a restrictive policy is necessary, how can managers simultaneously keep their employees happy?


Everyone On Board: Encouraging Employee Whistle-Blowing (IO Psychology)

With the prevalence of corporate scandals seemingly increasing in recent years, organizations are concerned with preventing unethical behavior like never before. One way some organizations may combat unethical behavior is through employee whistle-blowing programs, in which they encourage employees who witness unethical behavior to report it internally. In this way, organizations hope to find out about problematic behavior quickly, before the issue grows and becomes more damaging and difficult to deal with. However, whistle-blowing programs have an inherent drawback: they rely on employees to take the initiative to report unethical behavior, which many employees may be reluctant to do, especially if the unethical behavior involves their manager or another powerful figure.


My Ideas are an Extension of Me: Why Individuals Embrace or Resist Feedback (IO Psychology)

Topic:  Decision Making, Change Management
Publication:  Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAY 2012)
Article:  Blind in one eye:  How psychological ownership of ideas affects the types of suggestions people adopt
Authors:  M. Baer, G. Brown
Reviewed by:  Kecia Bingham

Remember that time your polite suggestion to your loving partner on how he/she could pare down their “funny story” was met with an exaggerated eye roll? Or perhaps there was a time you suggested to your partner that he/she add a certain ingredient to their signature recipe and to your surprise they did.  This study sought to understand why people at times seem open to feedback, while at other times seem to resist it.  The authors proposed that psychological ownership (feeling a material or non-material object, such as an idea, is yours and is part of your extended self) and the nature of the change attempt determines how people respond to suggestions for change.


Can You Hear Me Now? The Impact of Power on Advice-Taking (IO Psychology)

Topic: Evidence Based Management
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (JAN 2012)
Article: Power, Competitiveness, and Advice Taking: Why the Powerful Don’t Listen
Authors: Tost, L. P., Gino, F., & Larrick, R. P.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

It will come as no surprise to individuals working in IO psychology that people, when making decisions, often have the opportunity to seek advice from others about the choice they might make. Researchers have found that a variety of factors can influence whether or not an individual will listen to such advice, including the nature of the decision to be made, the “status” of the person giving the advice, relative to the decision maker, and individual-level characteristics of the decision maker. In a recent paper, Leigh Tost and colleagues assess the impact that one of these individual-level variables has on advice taking: the perceived power that the decision maker personally feels.


What’s the Time? The Role of Temporal Perspective in Justice Concerns (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Fairness, Human Resource Management
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (SEP 2011)
Article: Seeing the “Forest” or the “Trees” of Organizational Justice: Effects of Temporal Perspective on Employee Concerns about Unfair Treatment at Work
Authors: Cojuharenco, I., Patient, D., & Bashshur, M. R.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Concerns about employee’s perceptions of organizational justice have been a point of emphasis for practitioners working in IO psychology and human resource management in recent years. Organizational justice is typically divided into several types, including interactional, procedural, and distributive justice, but the same basic concept underlies them all: the concern that employees have for being treated fairly.


Tension at the Top: Why Women at the Executive Level May Not Welcome Other Women to the Club

Topic: Evidence-Based Management, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes (SEP 2011)
Article: Female Tokens in High-Prestige Work Groups: Catalysts or Inhibitors of Group Diversification?
Authors: Duguid, M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Workplace diversity is a goal that many (and hopefully most or all) organizations aspire to. In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on incorporating previously underrepresented groups, and especially women, into high-prestige work groups at the highest levels of the organization. Among the many benefits that might come from the addition of women to high-prestige groups, it is commonly believed that other women may be inspired by the level of authority and success that women in elite positions have achieved. However, a new paper by Michelle Duguid challenges this logic, suggesting that this “inspirational” role is one that women may embrace with some reservations.


Who Leads Diverse Teams to Less (More) Conflict?

Topic: Conflict, Diversity, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (JAN 2011)
Article: When team members’ values differ: The moderating role of team leadership
Authors: K.J. Klein, A.P., Knight, J.C. Ziegert, B.C., Lim, and J.L., Saltz
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The necessity of team-based work coupled with an increasingly diverse workforce makes team-based conflict not only possible, but likely.  A key question is what happens in teams when team members differ in their fundamental values.  Since individuals’ values shape their behaviors and beliefs about how others should behave (at work), value diversity among team members can be a bomb just waiting to explode. 


Hands-on practice increases creativity in teams

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

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


Perceived Prosocial Impact: The Burnout Antidote

Topic: Burnout
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2010)
Article: Doing good buffers against feeling bad: Prosocial impact compensates for negative task and self-evaluations.
Authors: A.M. Grant, and S. Sonnentag
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Employee burnout often manifests itself in the form of emotional exhaustion which has been found to lead to decreased job performance, increased withdrawal behaviors (e.g., turnover, absences) and even health problems.


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?


Key to Good Boss-Employee Relationships: First Impressions and Then Performance

Topic: Leadership, Personality, Performance
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2009)
Article: The development of leader–member exchanges: Exploring how personality and performance influence leader and member relationships over time.
Authors: Nahrgang, J.D., Morgeson, F.P., and Ilies, R.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

The relationships that form between leaders and their employees have been associated with a number of workplace outcomes including employee satisfaction, performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. However, little research has examined how these leader-member relationships develop over time. Nahrgang, Morgeson, and Ilies (2009) followed 330 leader-member dyads over an eight-week period of time to see how personality and performance impacts the quality of these relationships.


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.


Understanding the Ethical Leadership Waterfall

Topic: Ethics, Leadership
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Article: How low does ethical leadership flow? Test of a trickle-down model.
Author: D.M. Mayer, M. Kuenzi, R. Greenbaum, M. Bardes, R. Salvador
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Past research has shown that organizational leaders play a substantial role in influencing the behaviors of their subordinates (monkey see, monkey do). In fact, there is some evidence that leaders’ behaviors play an important role in predicting how likely employees engage in counterproductive or unethical behaviors.


The Best Things in Life are Free…Except Advice Apparently

Topic: Decision Making
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Article: Do we listen to advice just because we paid for it? The impact of advice cost on its use.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Now, presumably, expensive advise is really good advice, right? I mean, if a consultant charges big bucks, then she must know what she is doing, right?


Anything you can do, I can do better

Topic: Feedback, Decision Making
Publication:  Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Article: Use of absolute and comparative performance feedback in absolute and comparative judgments and decisions.
Blogger:  James Grand

Few people missed Michael Phelps’ performance during this past Summer Olympics—8 gold medals in 8 races, setting 7 world records in the process (the one race he didn’t get the world record? He only set the new Olympic record…slacker).