Research shows that job applicants with criminal records can increase potential job offers through apologies or justification, while avoiding excuses.
People with disabilities are often harmfully stereotyped, making it difficult for them to be hired.
We’ve partnered with numerous SIOP presenters, and they’ve provided us with the nitty-gritty on some of the very best presentations, offered to you in a multi-part series.
Delivering bad news at work may be one of the hardest things to do. Even the most positive, motivational, supportive leader must sometimes deliver news that is soul-crushing. Whether it’s announcing layoffs or a less-than-stellar progress report, delivery of bad news may cause enormous anxiety for the deliverer, and devastation for the receiver. To ease the difficulty of these common situations, researchers (Richter, König, Koppermann, & Schilling, 2016) have developed something called “bad news training.” A combination of lessons from I-O Psychology as well as the health-care industry, how did this new training fair when put to the test? […]
Rapport building is usually the first step of a job interview. Even when ensuing interview questions are standardized and job-relevant, it’s typical to start with a few questions that seek to ease tension and establish a friendly connection between the interviewer and interviewee. But questions remain: what is the purpose of this, and how does this affect how the interviewee is rated? On one hand, ability to establish good rapport may be indicative of a socially-competent candidate. On the other hand, if the interviewer forms a strong intuitive opinion about an applicant, it may color subsequent scores on the actual job interview questions. So, is rapport building good or bad? Should the practice be continued or phased out?
Job searching can be filled with rejection and disappointment. Despite these difficulties, job seekers must persist in their endeavor in order to secure gainful employment. In this study, the researchers (Ali, Ryan, Lyons, Ehrhart, & Wessel, 2016) investigated whether the motivation of job seekers changes if they experience rude behavior. In previous studies, researchers have explored whether individual differences can influence the job search process. The authors of this study expanded on this by considering how environmental factors can also affect one’s behavior during a job search.
Ensuring your organization has the right people in the right roles is important, and this outcome is largely affected by the recruitment process. Recruiters spend a long time sifting through job applicants before they decide whom they want to hire. Unfortunately, applicants don’t always accept their offers. What factors make a job applicant more likely to accept (or reject) a job offer? To find out, new research (Harold, Holtz, Griepentrog, Brewer, & Marsh, 2016) studied roughly 3,000 job applicants who had all been given offers to join the US Military.
Discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately still a problem that needs a solution. There is inescapable evidence that many types of people experience discrimination at various decision points in a career. For example, selection, salary negotiation, and promotions, are all decision points that provide an opportunity for measurable discrimination to appear. New research (Milkman, Akinola, & Chugh, 2015) focuses instead on career “pathways,” or the process that leads up to obtaining a job. If someone has a clear pathway to a job, they may be more likely to be hired when the selection decision is made. However, a pathway can be blocked with obstacles (such as discrimination) that make it difficult for a person to succeed at a later decision point.
Employee voice refers to the feedback provided by employees to improve organizational functioning. You might also think of it simply as “speaking up.” Not only is it critical for organizational improvement and success, but the extent to which employees speak up can affect the way they are evaluated by their managers. In a fair workplace, the employees who speak up the most would get the most credit. However, not all employees are recognized for their input equally.
Mindfulness is a psychological state that occurs when a person is completely in-the-moment and experiences a heightened sense of focus and awareness. When people find themselves in this state, they are less likely to take things personally or react automatically without thinking. Organizations are becoming interested in mindfulness because it has been shown to help boost self-control (e.g. people might be less reactionary towards that trying co-worker) and because it leads to increased performance. In light of this, the authors of this study (Long & Christian, 2015) explored whether mindfulness helps employees thwart the desire to “get back” at others when they felt wronged. This is important because employee retaliation can be costly to an organization and detrimental to smooth functioning.
Job resumes are essential in making hiring decisions as they provide necessary information about applicants during the initial screening stages. However, resume screening is highly susceptible to psychological biases, and raters or screeners may rely on mental shortcuts that lead to inaccurate assessments, especially when relevant applicant information appears to be lacking. New research (Derous, Ryan & Serlie, 2015) explored how characteristics of the job and rater attitudes (ethnic prejudice, sexism) combine to influence the decisions of recruiters when limited information was provided in resumes.
Leader decision making is an important topic that affects all organizational leaders. Leaders are often faced with unique challenges that test their abilities to manage diverse teams and situations. They are forced to make hard choices involving satisfying the needs of the organization and those of the employees, which can sometimes cause conflict.
Job security has rapidly decreased as a result of the global economic downturn and financial crisis. In a recent survey, employees ranked job security as the greatest contributing factor to job satisfaction. However, because job insecurity is unavoidable in the current situation, organizations need to understand the conditions under which employees can remain engaged at work and how negative responses to job insecurity can be reduced.
Evaluation of leaders is becoming an increasingly important workplace topic. This is especially so, because some research suggests that racial disparities within the US workforce have increased over the last decade, as some minority groups are greatly underrepresented in positions of management. There may be a number of reasons for this, but new research (Hernandez, Avery, Tonidandel, Hebl, Smith, & McKay, 2015) suggest that one reason could be biased appraisals of leaders (i.e. evaluations of performance, value and competence) that occur due to characteristics of individuals in the group. This means that the racial composition of the leader’s group, influences opinions of that leader’s effectiveness.
Intelligence testing in selection is often critical because intelligence allows employees to innovate and problem solve. This article (Agnello, Ryan, & Yusko, 2015) reviews the most up-to-date perspectives for conceptualizing and measuring intelligence.
What are the negative organizational effects of hypocritical leaders? Late author Stephen Covey once said, “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” A recent study (Greenbaum, Bardes, Mawritz, & Piccolo, 2015) shows that these are more than mere words of advice, but rather a warning to managers and organizations about the importance of leaders “walking the talk.”
Effective organizational leaders role-model appropriate workplace behavior; however, some leaders do not always practice what they preach. This increases the possibility that employees will experience negative workplace outcomes. That is, when leaders themselves engage in behavior that subordinates are not supposed to mimic, subordinates may perceive the leader as hypocritical, leading to an increased likelihood of job turnover.
Whether we like it or not, emotions can be a powerful force when it comes to making workplace decisions. This tendency can be exploited when an argument is framed in emotional terms in order to persuade listeners. While this fact has been recognized for centuries, recent research has been investigating how emotional expression can shape or change others’ attitudes. For example, think of a disgruntled colleague expressing anger at a new policy change within the organization. Would this display of strong emotion affect your attitude and opinions? Recent research (Van Kleef, van der Berg & Heerdink, 2014) explored how emotional expressions influence attitude formation, and helped determine under which circumstances this could happen.
How powerful is feedback in the workplace? Did you know that it can affect the behavior of those in charge? In organizations, there are those who allocate resources and those who must accept what is allocated to them, be it office space, work assignments, or money. Past research paints a rather negative view of how those in charge (or “power-holders”) balance their self-interest with the interests of their subordinates. Previous research also seemed to show that those on the receiving end have little ability to affect outcomes.
A common belief in the workplace is that if managers make decisions in a fair way (procedural justice), then employees will be happier and organizational outcomes will be positive. Both the research literature and common sense indicate that managers should be fair, but a recent study by Khan, Quratulain, and Bell (2014) suggests that being fair may not be enough. It appears that fairness doesn’t always lead to good behavior by employees.
Stereotypes are quite common, but they are not always bad. Sometimes, we can stereotype someone in a positive way, and sometimes stereotypes are helpful because they reduce the amount of critical thinking a person has to do. The danger is when stereotypes are inaccurate or negative. This can lead to discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Organizations spend large sums of money every year on reducing stereotyping with training that aims to raise awareness and minimize their negative effects. A recent study by Duguid and Thomas-Hunt (2014) investigated whether creating greater awareness of stereotyping and encouraging resistance to them was the best way of curbing their harmful effects.
Research that investigates perceptions of fairness and justice-related behavior has normally focused on recipients. We still know relatively little about how justice affects the actors, for example the cost of being consistently fair to employees for those in leadership roles. Acting justly has always been considered beneficial but it is important to realize that this may come at a price for some people.
Using cognitive tests as part of an employee selection process will generally help more than various other methods (such as interviews) to ensure the selection of better performing individuals. There are some methods that are slightly better predictors of performance, but cognitive tests have proven to be a mainstay.
Unfortunately, the use of such tests can lead to discriminatory hiring practices against minority groups, who often score below their white counterparts due to a variety of factors.
Stress is an inevitable part of working life within any organization. Every employee encounters different types of stressful situations, which ultimately shape our attitudes towards, and perceptions of, the organization we work for. The authors of “It’s Not Fair….Or Is It? The Role Of Justice And Leadership In Explaining Work Stressor-Job Performance Relationships” proposed that people encounter two types of stress in the workplace, which includes challenge stressors and hindrance stressors.
There are very few areas of our lives that have not been affected by technological innovations. A vast number of people these days use their phones for virtually everything, from staying in contact with friends and family, to navigating a busy city center, to booking flights.
So it doesn’t seem out of the question that mobile phones might one day be used as a medium by which organizations could assess job applicants. And it appears as if that day may have already come.
Prospective employees have been subjected to interviews as long as there have been jobs to hire them for. But the question of how to properly conduct an employment interview remains the object of discussion and debate.
In “The Structured Employment Interview,” authors J. Levashina, C. J. Hartwell, F. P. Morgeson and M. A. Campion examine how these interviews should be conducted for maximum benefit. When structured properly, a job interview can help predict various aspects of employee performance even better than cognitive and personality tests, while simultaneously reducing group differences and bias.
That being said, the structured employment interview is not devoid of pitfalls.
New research by Tse, Lam, Lawrence, and Huang (2013) has discovered what happens when leaders have better relationships with some employees and worse relationships with others. The results are discouraging. When leaders do not treat employees equally, many problems arise, and ultimately job performance may suffer.
When employees appear destined for top-level management but are never actually chosen, they are said to suffer from the “glass ceiling effect”. Traditionally, research has documented a glass ceiling effect for women, but other groups are similarly discriminated against. Although research has shown that people speaking with a foreign accent are subject to discrimination, little is known about why this occurs. New research by Huang, Frideger, and Pearce (2013) seeks to explain why.
Topic: Fairness, Organizational Justice, Organizational Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Fairness at the collective level: A meta-analytic examination of the
consequences and boundary conditions of organizational justice climate.
Authors: Whitman, D. S., Caleo, S., Carpenter, N. C., Horner, M. T., and Bernerth, J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli
Organizational justice, or how fairly an organization treats its workers, is a big deal to employees. To an individual employee, organizational justice helps determine his or her attitude about the job and as well as his or her productivity. But this perception doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Because this perception is often shared with co-workers and team members, called justice climate, Whitman and his co-authors conducted a meta-analysis to summarize and clarify how organizational justice climate exists at the team (unit) level and can influence team effectiveness.
Topic: Engagement, Fairness
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2012)
Article: Applying Uncertainty Management Theory to Employee Voice Behavior: An Integrative Investigation
Authors: Riki Takeuchi, Zhijun Chen, & Siu Yin Cheung
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada
In recent years, IO psychology has taken note of the desire that many organizations have for their employees to make creative suggestions to improve the organization. The importance of these contributions (collectively known as employee voice behavior) appears to be increasing, particularly as organizations try to “innovate from within,” as opposed to relying as much on external sources for their innovative ideas. However, this desire for employee voice comes with a challenge: employees may be reluctant to share ideas, particularly if they challenge the status quo in the organization or their workgroup. Therefore, if employees are going to use their “voice,” it is important that employees feel they can trust their bosses and the management of the organization.
Topic: Health & Safety, Organizational Justice, Fairness, Burnout, Stress
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2012)
Article: Perceived Unfairness and Employee Health: A Meta-Analytic Integration
Authors: Robbins, Jordan M.; Ford, Michael T.; Tetrick, Lois E.
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood, M.S.
Practitioners and employers alike have expressed concern around the effects of poor employee heath. When employees are not well, the organization can not only incurs costs due to direct medical expenses, but can also pay for poor employee health in the form of absenteeism, decreased productivity and moral, and even turnover.
Topic: Interviewing, Fairness
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: Discrimination Against Facially Stigmatized Applicants in Interviews:
An Eye-Tracking and Face-to-Face Investigation
Authors: J.M. Madera, M.R. Hebl
Reviewed By: Ben Sher
It’s easy to imagine reasons why a job interviewer might be distracted: Workplace politics, trouble at home, unnecessarily detailed fantasies of winning the lottery, March Madness. But according to troubling new research by Madera and Hebl (2012), we can add one more thing to that list. If the person interviewing for the job has a facial scar, it could be enough to distract the interviewer and cause negative outcomes.
Topic: Organizational Justice, Fairness, Interviewing, Assessment, Selection
Publication: Personnel Psychology (WINTER 2011)
Article: Status and organizational entry: How organizational and individual status affect justice perceptions of hiring systems
Authors: Sumanth, J. J., & Cable, D. M.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin
It is well known in the field of IO psychology that cognitive ability tests are very predictive of employee performance. However, applicants often see them as unfair and do not like taking them; more informal and much less valid methods (like informal interviews) tend to be preferred by applicants. In this study, Sumanth and Cable (2011) investigated the effect that the status of the organization and the career status of the applicant would have on applicants’ perceptions of the selection system’s fairness.
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Justice as a Dynamic Construct: Effects of Individual Trajectories on Distal Work Outcomes
Authors: Hausknecht, J. P., Sturman, M. C., & Roberson, Q. M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada
Organizational justice continues to play a prominent role in the science and practice of IO psychology. Many readers are probably familiar with some of the basic types of organizational justice, such as procedural, interactional, and distributive justice. However, although much research on justice (and injustice) in organizations has been conducted, the interactive effect of time and justice perceptions on important employee outcomes has not been addressed. In a recent paper, John Hausknecht and colleagues begin to address this gap in the literature.
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.
Topic: Diversity, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: “What About Me? Perceptions of Exclusion and Whites’ Reactions to
Authors: Victoria C. Plaut, Flannery G. Garnett, Laura E. Buffardi, Jeffrey Sanchez-
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor
The support of White Americans is crucial for diversity efforts to be effective. The best model for designing diversity initiatives is the multiculturalism approach. This approach encourages the understanding and acceptance of different cultural backgrounds of employees. It has been shown through research to be more effective than taking a color-blind approach (the other dominant framework). Color-blind programs ask participants to view everyone as the same, and don’t highlight or promote cultural differences.
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: Fairness, Gender, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: When It Comes to Pay, Do the Thin Win? The Effect of Weight on Pay for Men and Women
Authors: T.A. Judge, D.M. Cable
Reviewed By: Ben Sher
Does career success have anything to do with what you look like? According to a recent study by Judge and Cable (2011), the answer is yes.
Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior, Fairness, Trust, Workplace Deviance
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (WINTER 2010)
Article: Psychological contracts and counterproductive work behaviors: employee responses to transactional and relational breach
Authors: J.M. Jensen, R.A. Opland, and A.M. Ryan
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky
Counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) are those actions undertaken by the employee that are detrimental to the overall work environment. The reasons for engaging in such behaviors and the means of expressing them differ from situation to situation, and as a result it can be difficult for organizations to pinpoint exactly what the causes of CWBs may be. This article seeks to find antecedents for CWBs in organizational breaches of the psychological contract, or the employee’s inherent expectations about how the reciprocal relationship between employer and employee ought to be. In other words, does deviant workplace behavior result from perceived organizational injustices and mistreatment?
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Equality versus Differentiation: The Effects of Power Dispersion on Group Interaction
Authors: L.L. Greer, and G.A. van Kleef
Reviewed by: Holly Engler
It should be no surprise that power can shape an individual’s behavior. Just think about politics, past employers, or even your parents. The dispersion of such power may also shape behavior. Current research proposes that there are important relationships among power, power dispersion, and conflict resolution.
Topic: Fairness, Recruiting
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2010)
Article: Science-practice gap in e-recruitment
Authors: A.L. Garcia-Izquierdo, H. Aguinis, and P.J. Ramos-Villagrasa
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
The gap between the science of HR and its practice in actual organizations is well known. Sometimes, the practice of HR outpaces the research (e.g., organizations implement systems that are “hot” in the popular press, but not well understood or under researched), while in other cases, the practice of HR lags well behind the research…and sometimes even the law!
Topic: Stress, Burnout, Performance, Fairness, Compensation
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Emotional exhaustion and job performance: The moderating role of distributive justice and positive affect (AUG 2010)
Author: O. Janssen, C. K. Lam, & X. Huang
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague
Sometimes work is just exhausting; emotionally exhausting to be specific. Emotional exhaustion (EE) refers to feeling overwhelmed or drained at work. Not surprisingly, recent research has linked EE to decrements in performance through the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory. COR theory suggests that EE impairs performance because employees feel that they do not have the adequate resources to meet the current job demands, but is this always the case? When an employee begins to feel depleted, do they automatically attribute it to lack of personal resources? The authors of the current article suggest not.
Topic: Fairness, Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Cooperating when “you” and “I” are treated fairly: The moderating role of leader prototypicality
Authors: David De Cremer, Marius van Dijke, and David M. Mayer
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock
More and more research is examining how teams work together to achieve common goals. One aspect of teams that is important for successful outcomes is the extent to which team members engage in cooperative behavior (rather than self centered). A new model presented by De Cremer, Van Duke, and Mayer (2010) indicates that cooperation amongst team members is highest when a) members feel that both they and their fellow members are receiving procedurally fair treatment from their leader, and b) the leader him/herself embodies the team’s values and norms. While that may seem like a mouthful, listen up: this new research may just provide that extra piece that’s missing from your teamwork puzzle.
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: Dual processing and organizational justice: The role of rational versus experiential processing in third-party reactions to workplace mistreatment
Authors: Daniel Skarlicki and Deborah Rupp
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock
Any time an employee is a victim of mistreatment, there are a myriad of individuals who can become aware, including friends, co-workers, and even strangers. And when it comes to justice in the workplace, even employees that are not directly mistreated can become motivated to inflict retribution. This can happen even if they are completely unaffected by the event. Why? The deontic model of justice (Cropanzano, Goldman, & Folger, 2003) proposes that when people become aware of the mistreatment of others, they can experience very real and sometimes strong negative emotions. It is proposed that this reaction is due to the violation of social and moral “norms” of behavior.
Topic: Fairness Organizational Commitment Creativity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (July, 2010)
Article: Psychological Contract Breaches, Organizational Commitment, and Innovation-Related Behaviors: A Latent Growth Modeling Approach
Authors: T.W.H. Ng, D.C. Feldman, S.S.K. Lam
Reviewed By: Ben Sher
Okay, here’s the deal. Employees make assumptions about what they owe their employers and what their employers owe them in return. This is called a psychological contract. According to Ng, Feldman, and Lam (2010), when employees think this psychological contract is being violated, they may feel less organizational commitment and become less innovative.
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: An examination of whether and how racial and gender biases influence customer satisfaction
Authors: D. R. Hekman, K. Aquino, B. P. Owens, T. R. Mitchell, P. Schilpzand, & K. Leavitt
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman
There’s this great line in the 1980 movie, 9 to 5, when Jane Fonda says to Dabney Coleman: “You’re a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” and he replies: “So I have a few faults; who doesn’t?” Keep that in mind when you think about the Average Joe on the street, filling out a survey. Untrained raters don’t rate accurately—that’s why they need training! Customer satisfaction surveys are the epitome of using untrained raters to measure employee performance.
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (May, 2010)
Article: The Role of Authority Power in Explaining Procedural Fairness Effects
Authors: M. van Dijke, D. De Cremer, D.M. Mayer
Reviewed By: Ben Sher
Of course it always pays to be fair to your employees, right? Not always, suggests research by van Dijke, De Cremer, and Mayer (2010). They explain that there are distinct advantages to treating people fairly, but only if the supervisor possesses a high level of power.
Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Fairness
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Paying you back or paying me forward: Understanding rewarded and unrewarded organizational citizenship behavior
Authors: M.A. Korsgaard, B.M. Meglino, S.W. Lester, & S.S. Jeong
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock
When employees go above and beyond at work (organizational citizenship behaviors), we like to imagine that they go that extra mile because of personal strength or drive. For many years though, it was believed that employees displayed organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) because they expected some sort form of payback down the line (i.e., “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”).
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (MAR 2010)
Article: The Social and Economic Imperative of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Supportive Organizational Policies
Authors: E.B. King & J.M. Cortina
Selected commentary authors: Zickar, M.J. and Locke, E.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl
While the United States has implemented workplace legislation to protect employees from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and age, there has been no federal legislation enacted to protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual identities. King and Cortina (2010) believe that despite the lack of federal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) employees, organizations should enact their own LGBT-supportive policies.
Topic: Counterproductive Work Behavior
Publication: Applied Psychology: An International Review (JAN 2010)
Article: Illegitimate tasks and counterproductive work behavior
Authors: N.K. Semmer, F. Tschan, L.L. Meier, S. Facchin, & N. Jacobshagen
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
The research on counterproductive work behavior (CWB) suggests that it often represents a form of retaliation in response to unfairness. In other words, when employees perceive unfairness in the workplace, they get even by engaging in behaviors that damage the organization or its employees.