Brief Exposure to Workplace Rudeness Can Hurt Job Performance

We all know that workplace rudeness can make the workplace unpleasant, but have you considered the effects on job performance? New research (Woolum, Foulk, Lanaj, & Erez, 2017) explores how even brief exposure to rudeness at the start of the day can hurt job performance throughout the entire day.


Getting Emotional at Work

Topic: Stress, Change Management
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (MAY 2011)
Article: Stability, change, and the stability of change in daily workplace affect
Authors: Beal, D. J., Ghandour, L.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Have you ever noticed how some people are just more emotionally volatile than others?  A coworker that comes to work happy as a clam one day and down in the dumps the next?  Researchers call this affect spin, which refers to an individual characteristic that reflects the extent to which people experience more than one emotion over time.  For example, in the picture above, each point represents one’s levels of positive and negative affect of any particular day (so four days in total).  So, since the points fall all on different parts of the circumplex, the figure represents someone with high affect spin, or several varying emotions on different days.  Beal and Ghandour (2001) examined this concept with positive and negative emotions and task motivation in the midst of a major natural disaster: Hurricane Ike.


Practical advice for designing a 360-degree feedback process

Topic: Feedback, Change Management
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: When does 360-degree feedback create behavior change? And how would we know it when it does?
Authors: Bracken, D. W., Rose, D. S.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Have you ever participated in a 360-degree feedback process that seemed pointless and didn’t appear to change anything at all? If so, you’re not alone. However, a 360-degree feedback process, when well designed, has the potential for lasting behavioral change. This article discusses critical design factors of a 360-degree feedback process used to create sustainable behavioral and organizational change. The authors also provide questions for future research and practical advice for making the process successful. Four critical design factors are discussed: relevant content, credible data, accountability, and census (organizationwide) participation.


Want CEO Success? Then Focus on Task and Performance

Topic: Leadership, Organizational Performance
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (FEB 2011)
Article: CEO leadership behaviors, organizational performance, and employee’s attitudes
Authors: Hui Wang, Anne S. Tsui, & Katherine R. Xin
Reviewed by: Chelsea Rowe

In a study of top and middle managers (CEOs, VPs, and senior managers) in 125 Chinese firms, Wang, Tsui, and Xin (2011) investigated the degree to which CEO leadership behavior influenced the performance of the firm.  They took this a step further, also looking at the degree to which employee perceptions of the CEO impacted firm performance.  Firm performance was measured in terms of profitability, asset & sales growth, market share, and competitive status within the industry.


Teams Behaving Badly: A Combination of the People and the Environment

Topic: Ethics, Teams, Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Thick as Thieves: The Effects of Ethical Orientation and Psychological
Safety on Unethical Team Behavior
Authors: M.J. Pearsall & A.P. Ellis
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Individuals faced with ethical dilemmas are always free to choose between their perceptions of right and wrong. But some situations are more complicated than that. What happens when an entire team must collectively decide what to do? What factors might sway the group decision in favor of acting unethically? According to research by Pearsall and Ellis (2011), certain types of groups are more prone to ethical violations than others.


Dysfunctional employees? It could be attachment issues.

Topic: Stress, Turnover, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Attachment at (Not to) Work: Applying Attachment Theory to Explain Individual Behavior in Organizations
Authors: D. A. Richards A.C.H. Schat
Reviewed By: Neil Morelli

People seem to inherently know that a job isn’t just about where you work, but also who you work with. Recent research has helped validate this feeling by studying how our behavior at work is partly determined by how attached, or unattached, we become to the people we work with. Specifically, attachment theory states that people are naturally motivated to associate with others in tough times, and the quantity and quality of this attachment is largely dependent on early life experiences.  For example, those who are “securely attached” tend to exhibit strong self worth and a trust of others.  At work, these attachment types help explain how we behave when presented with a challenging task or stressful moment.


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.


Co-ruminating with work friends by the water cooler?

Topic: Gender
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Co-Rumination in the Workplace: Adjustment Trade-offs for Men and Women
Who Engage in Excessive Discussion of Workplace Problems.
Authors: D.L. Haggard, C. Robert, A.J. Rose
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

Developmental psychology has long studied this phenomenon: when friends excessively discuss personal problems in an intense, repetitive and speculative manner(termed co-rumination), they experience a significant increase in the quality of theirfriendship, but also an increase in negative adjustment outcomes (e.g., depression). Recently, researchers have become interested in whether this trend also occurs in theworkplace. 


Can we select employees with a guarantee they will stay?

Topic: Selection, Staffing, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (APR 2011)
Article: Career decision status as a predictor of resignation behavior five years later
Authors: Joanne K. Earl, Amirali Minbashiana, Aun Sukijjakhamina and Jim E.H. Bright
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Every organization has faced the problem of losing a great employee too soon.  But what if there was a way to see if an employee is likely to resign within several years of beginning his or her career? 

A new study attempts to link resignation after five years with career decision status at the onset. 


Got a curious newcomer? That’s good – and the type of curiosity may tell you how good.

Topic: Selection, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Curiosity adapted by cat: the role of trait curiosity in newcomer adaptation.
Authors: S.H. Harrison, D.M. Sluss, B.E. Ashforth
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

With the current economy, it has become critical for recently hired employees to adapt to the organization as quickly as possible. Curiosity, or the “desire to know,” has recently been suggested as a possible individual difference that allows some newcomers to adapt more quickly to their new role. There are two commonly studied types of curiosity, typified by scope of exploration. First, specific curiosity is defined as a narrow and often direct form of exploration (i.e., seeking the password to the organization’s intranet). The second kind, diversive curiosity, is defined by broader and often more indirect forms of exploration (i.e., exploring posting on the companies intranet in free time, inquiring as to the reasons behind organizational processes and policies).


Who is More Likely to Change Careers?

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (2011)
Article:A longitudinal study of the determinants and outcomes of career change.
Authors: S. A. Carless & J. L. Arnup
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

It’s no secret that we’re currently experiencing some rough economic times. Consequently, the job market is unstable and people are seeking additional education and training in an effort to prepare for career changes.  A career change is defined as moving to a different occupation or profession and often requires costly additional training and results in lost time and income. So what leads an individual down the path of a new career and what happens after a career change has occurred?


Increasing part-time employees to reduce costs?

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.


Go Ahead, Take That Vacation – It’s Good For You…and Your Company!

Topic: Burnout, Wellness, Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article: How long do you benefit from vacation? A closer look at the fade-out of vacation effects
Authors: J. Kuhnel and S. Sonnentag
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

We all look forward to vacations and other extended breaks from our hectic work schedules, and fortunately, the case is building for the importance of these hiatuses from work.  Research suggests that because normal work demands drain our limited physical and mental resources, employees need sufficient time to recharge their batteries if they are to operate at full capacity on the job. 


What the ambivalent can teach us about change

Topic: Change Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Ambivalence toward imposed change: The conflict between dispositional resistance to change and the orientation toward the change agent (NOV 2010)
Authors:  Shaul Oreg and Noga Sverdlik
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

As a business grows or shrinks, evolves or adjusts, one thing is always certain – change! Unfortunately, organizational change can be one of the most difficult things to deal with firsthand.  Even within one individual employee, feelings towards change can run the gambit from fierce resistance to strong support.  To address the issue of conflicting feelings towards change, Oreg and Sverdlik (2010) sought determine employees’ feelings towards (1) the concept of change and (2) how the change agent influences their reactions to imposed organizational change. 


Bad mentoring relationships: Should I stay or should I go?

Topic: Mentoring
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (DEC 2010)
Article:What keeps people in mentoring relationships when bad things happen? A field study from the protégé’s perspective.
Authors: H. G. Burk, and L. T. Eby
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

We know that mentoring provides both mentors and protégés with benefits such as greater job satisfaction, greater organizational commitment, and lower turnover intentions.  But the fact is, not all mentoring relationships run smoothly.  So, why would someone stay in a mentoring relationship even when things go wrong? 


Transformational Leadership: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Topic: Leadership, Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Exploring the Dual-Level Effects of Transformational Leadership on Followers
Authors: X. Wang, J.M. Howell
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

So you want to be a transformational leader…  But what will it take?  Will you be the broad-thinking leader who rouses the group and inspires the masses?  Or will you be the focused, attentive leader who connects with individuals and brings out their best?


Feedback as the Driver of Successful Mentoring Relationships

Topic: Mentoring
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior
Article: Protégé anxiety attachment and feedback in mentoring relationships (APR 2010)
Author: T. D. Allen, K. M. Shockley, L. Poteat
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague


Many organizations have systems in place to help new hires transition smoothly into the workplace. This process is called socialization. One technique that has garnered increased attention and proven successful is mentoring. This process partners new hires (protégés) with experienced employees (mentors) who guide them through their transition to becoming full contributors to the organization.


Thank you! Why do these two words mean so much?

Topic:  Citizenship Behavior, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: A little thanks  goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior (JUN 2010)
Authors: A. M. Grant, and F. Gino
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague


In recent years, employees’ jobs and job tasks have become increasingly interconnected, necessitating an increase in teams and groups in the workplace. This integration means that employees must interact with many different people at work on a regular basis and places a high value on interpersonal skills, even for non-service jobs.  Modern organizations need employees who can function well in teams and work together to help achieve a common goal. As such, it is important for these organizations to understand how to promote prosocial (helping) amongst their employees.


Implicit Assumptions and Organizational Context- A Recipe for Immoral Behavior?

Topic: Ethics
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Automatic ethics: The effects of implicit assumptions and contextual cues on moral behavior.
Authors: Reynolds, S. J., Leavitt, K., & DeCelles, K. A.
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

 In recent years, the news has been filled with stories about organizations committing gross violations against the environment, their stakeholders, and even the American public.  So it’s not a stretch to imagine that many people view business itself as inherently immoral.  What are the effects of such implicit assumptions about the moral nature of business?


Work Hard or Disengage in the Face of Job Insecurity?

Topic: Performance, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: A model for the effects of job insecurity on performance, turnover intention, and absenteeism
Authors: T. Staufenbiel and C.J. König
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Job insecurity is in the air but how it affects performance is unclear. In a rather timely article on the role of job insecurity and predicting various workplace outcomes (job performance, turnover intentions and absenteeism), Staufenbiel and König (2010) collected data from 152 employees working for a German electronics wholesaler.


Alcohol and Absenteeism: it’s the binge drinkers that cost you

Topic: Absenteeism
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Alcohol consumption and workplace absenteeism: The moderating effect of social support
Authors: S.B. Bacharach, P. Bamberger, and M. Biron
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Employee absenteeism is costly!  Past estimates have placed the aggregate cost of employee absenteeism to U.S. organizations at around $225 billion per year.  Yes, $225 billion!  One important factor that contributes to workplace absenteeism is employee alcohol usage.  Although this may seem like a no-brainer, according to Bachrach, Bamberger and Biron (2010), it is still somewhat unclear how alcohol usage relates to employee absenteeism.


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.


Emotional Labor & Turnover…Fake It ‘Til You Make It?

Topic: Turnover
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (NOV 2009)
Article: A predictive study of emotional labor and turnover
Authors: S.L. Chau, J.J. Dahling, P.E. Levy, J.M. Diefendorff
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Good customer service may be causing workers to consider leaving their organization. Putting on a smile through a difficult interaction can deplete emotional resources—referred to as emotional labor —particularly when the employee does not fully subscribe to making the interaction positive.


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).


Organizational Politics: A Ubiquitous Evil

Topic: Organizational Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (DEC 2009)
Article: The relationship between perceptions of organizational politics and employee attitudes, strain and behavior: A meta-analytic examination.
Authors: C-H. Chang, C. C. Rosen, & P. E. Levy
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizational politics refer to activities that individuals engage in to gain resources for themselves and select individuals – and many such activities are not sanctioned by organizations. Although some political activity is necessary (e.g., for group or team formation), much of it comes at the cost of the organization or other employees within the organization.


Stressed at Work? Here’s a Drink on Me!

Topic: Stress
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2009)
Article: Daily work stress and alcohol use: Testing the cross-level moderation effects of neuroticism and job involvement
Authors: S. Liu, M. Wang, Y. Zhan, and J. Shi
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Many employees (perhaps as many as 92.5 million in the U.S. alone) use alcohol to cope with daily work stress. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an adult beverage after a long day of work, but research suggests that employees who use alcohol tend to have more health and work-related problems than those who do not.


Creativity by Committee

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

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


Eyes on the prize

Topic: Leadership, Personality, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2009)
Article The role of goal-focused leadership in enabling the expression of conscientiousness
Authors: A.E. Colbert, L.A. Witt
Reviewed By: Larry Martinez

Colbert and Witt take the stance that goal-directed leadership tactics (being very directive about goals) creates an environment that allows highly conscientious employees to express their conscientiousness most effectively. In other words, this type of leadership can activate the conscientiousness that may be lying dormant (or at least unharnessed) in a leader’s employees. That is, if leaders can effectively communicate organizational goals to their employees in such a way as to create goal-alignment, conscientious individuals will be better able to achieve these goals than their less conscientious counterparts, and these conccientious employees will be more productive than they would be in a less goal-directed environment.


Office Decorations…Keeping Males Calm?

Topic: Job Attitudes, Stress, Work Environment

Publication: Environment & Behavior

Article:  Anger and Stress: The Role of Landscape Posters in an Office Setting

Blogger: LitDigger

Is there more to aesthetic beauty than, well, aesthetics?  Office employees may think they’re enjoying art for art’s sake, but the benefits of art may be more complex than that.  A study by Kweon, Ulrich, Walker, and Tassinary (2008) found that state anger and stress can be significantly reduced by the type of posters hanging in your office (or, for we more lowly servants, our cubicles).  But there’s a catch here: differences in anger and stress were only significant for males (Sorry, ladies. Keep investing in those yoga classes).


Coffee Break, Anyone?

Topic: Wellness
Publication: Monitor on Psychology
Article: Caffeine’s wake-up call.
Blogger: Larry Martinez

We all have that one person in the office who just can’t function properly until they’ve had their cup of coffee in the morning (maybe it’s you).  And who doesn’t get a boost out of a candy bar and soda around mid-afternoon?  A short article in the APA Monitor synthesized some of the most relevant research on America’s favorite and most widely accepted drug: caffeine.