Harnessing Job Stress to Build Personal Resilience

Resilience means the ability to adapt to adversity. Within the workplace, resilience is beneficial in helping people adapt as organizations go through major changes, such as restructuring, adopting new technology, and mergers/acquisitions. On the day-to-day level, resilience also helps employees manage stress that comes from tight deadlines and changing expectations. Although avoiding stress may seem like a good strategy, resilience is not built by a lack of adversity, but by overcoming adversity. New research (Crane & Searle, 2016) investigates how certain types of workplace stressors make employees more resilient and less likely to experience psychological strain. […]

How Employees Develop Passion For Work

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.


Fantastic Feedback: How to Offer and Solicit Good Advice

The ability to effectively use feedback or advice is essential to success in all professional roles. Great leaders know that advice is more of an art than a science, and it’s a skill that can be honed and mastered over time and with experience. By opening your mind to alternative viewpoints and encouraging others to do the same, you can encourage smarter decision-making, more linear and logical thinking, and avoid personal and cognitive biases that derail team and organizational success.


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:


Sense of Calling Can Affect Career Decisions

How a Sense of Calling Can Affect Career Decisions

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.


Developmental Job Experience

Developmental Job Experience Might Not Be for Everyone

Organizations often give top performing employees developmental job experience in order to prepare them for the next level. These experiences are useful for enhancing managerial skills, and employees with a preference for learning new things are likely to reap more benefits from them. However, research on the benefits of developmental experience shows mixed results.


Why Organizations Should Invest in Executive Coaching

Executive coaching has received considerable attention in the academic world in recent years. Articles on this topic have more than tripled since 2006. But, in comparison to opinion articles, empirical studies have been rare, with few conducted in organizational settings. In his new research on the subject, Anthony M. Grant evaluated the effects of a coaching program in an international engineering consulting company that had recently gone through multiple disruptive organizational changes.


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.


How Organizations Can Fast-Track Transitioning Leaders

New job roles can be a daunting prospect for anyone. There are contrasts with old responsibilities, new expectations, and all sorts of surprises that pop up along the way. Adjusting quickly to the demands of a new position is important for productivity. But how can organizations fast-track transitioning leaders to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need?


It’s Not All About the Money? The Role of Career Values in the Engagement of Recent College Graduates

As many college seniors wrap up their final year of college and prepare to enter the “real world”, many of them panic at the frequently asked question, “what are your plans for after graduation?” This question, which subsequently implies “do you have a job lined up after graduation?” presents an almost existential challenge. After all, who are we without school or work?


Be in Charge of Your Workplace Well-being

As working professionals, the better part of our days are spent at the office. Naturally then, workplace well-being plays an important role in the overall well-being of a working professional. So what does workplace well-being really mean, and what are the factors that influence it?


Middle Skills Gap: Why are employers struggling to fill certain positions?

While Americans are searching high and low for work, knocking on every recruiter’s door, struggling to land a job, there are open positions right under their noses for which employers just can’t find enough qualified candidates. In fact, shortages of qualified applicants for “middle skills jobs” (jobs that require postsecondary technical training and education) are a growing problem the nation. Some companies have even resorted to contracting their work abroad – a solution with many logistical downsides.


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?


The New Deal at Work: Breaking Traditional Organizational Development Boundaries (IO Psychology)

Topic: Development, Organizational Commitment
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior
Article: Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitudes and Organizational Commitment: The Effects of Perceived Supervisor Support
Authors: K. Ovgu Cakmak-Otluoglu
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood, M.S.

150459The last few decades have brought many changes to the world of work. For vocational scholars, one shift in particular has gained much recent research attention – the introduction, adoption, and popularity of the boundaryless career. In years past, organizations and their employees bought into the traditional career model which stressed early organizational entry, retention, upward mobility primarily based on seniority, tall organizational hierarchies, and great behavioral control, in order to foster perceptions of organizational support, satisfaction and therefore decrease turnover. In contrast, the boundaryless career mentality (also generally referred to as protean career mentality) is characterized by altered career trajectories and boundaryless organizational relations which emphasize life-long learning and skill development while offering high performing employees the promise of ‘employability’ across organizations rather than continued employment within one company. Although this new mentality has lead to greater flexibility, costs in terms of low organizational commitment, and therefore, shortened organizational tenure may result.


Want increased performance? Provide social support (IO Psychology)

Topic: Development
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2009)
Article: An Intervention to Increase Social Support and Improve Performance
Authors: Paul Freeman, Tim Rees, and Lew Hardy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Can social support improve performance? According to Rees and Hardy, the four types of social support are emotional support, which refers to listening and talking things through; esteem support, such as emphasizing the positives; informational support, which includes advice and feedback; and tangible support, such as money and resources.


To Praise or Not to Praise (IO Psychology)

Topic: Development
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1998) Article: Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children’s Motivation and Performance
Authors: C. M. Mueller & C. S. Dweck
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Imagine that you are the head of a department and have nine employees that report to you. When one does well, do you praise him or her for performance or effort? Do you say, “Great work on closing that deal,” a type of praise focused on performance, or do you tell your employee, “Way to really work hard,” a praise focused more on effort.


Making the Most of an Internal Move (Job Performance)

Topic: Development, Job Performance
Publication: Harvard Business Review
Title: Get ready for your next assignment
Authors: K. S. Milway, A. G. Gregory, J. Davis-Peccoud, and K. Yazbak
Reviewed by: Liz Brashier

How do we make the most of an internal move? While most managers and executives know about internal role changes long before that actually take effect, few actually take advantage of their time leading up to the transition to prepare well. According to Milway, Gregory, Davis-Peccoud, and Yazbak (2011), this is a serious missed opportunity. Viewing role transitions as important steps in one’s career is essential to success in the new position – success that could have lasting impact, and building a knowledge base to help in these transitions is imperative. The authors identify three steps for building knowledge capital in order to thrive in new roles: phase zero, learning tour, and affinity groups.


Intelligence: What’s your mindset?

Topic: Development,human resource management
Publication: Child Development (2007)
Article: Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent
transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention
Authors: L. S. Blackwell, K. H. Trzesniewski, & C. S. Dweck
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Let’s take a test. Please indicate your level of agreement with these two statements from Carol Dweck’s Theory of Intelligence Scale. Statement 1: You have a certain amount of intelligence, and you can’t really do much to change it. Statement 2: No matter who you are, you can significantly change your intelligence level. If you mostly agreed with the first statement, you may have a fixed mindset; that is, you generally consider things to be fixed and unchangeable. If you mostly agreed with the second statement, you may have a fluid mindset, you tend to consider things to be fluid and changeable. You may be asking yourself, so what?


Does Practice Makes Perfect?

Topic: Teams, Development
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)

Article: Sport-specific practice and the development of expert decision-making in team ball sports
Authors: J. Baker, J. Cote, & B. Abernethy
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

How long does an athlete need to practice before he or she becomes an expert?  In the 1970s, the amount was 10,000 hours, or, approximately 10 years (sound familiar to you “Outliers” fans?).  As of late, the theory has been refined to reflect the notion that quality is at least as important as the quantity of practice.  Deliberate practice, a high-quality type of practice that focuses on improving performance with a work-like fervor, has been shown to differentiate expert from non-expert athletes, academics, and artists.  


Want to up your game? You’re more likely to with a little help from your friends.

Topic: Development, Sports Psychology
Publication: Journal of Sports Sciences (2007)
Article: Stressors, social support, and effects upon performance in golf
Authors: T. Rees, L. Hardy, & P. Freeman
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Does encouragement and other forms of social support affect the performance of athletes? Tim Rees, Lew Hardy, and Paul Freeman think so.  They hypothesized that social support would affect the performance of golfers.


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.


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?