A Snapshot of SIOP 2016 (Pt. 1) – Employee Success

Last month, I-O Psychologists met in California to share the latest cutting-edge research. The 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success. We’ve partnered with numerous SIOP presenters, and they’ve provided us with the nitty-gritty on some of the very best presentations, which we now offer to you in a multi-part series.

Rapport Building on Job Interviews: How Much Does It Matter?

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?

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Does Rude Treatment by Interviewers Affect Job Searching Motivation?

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.

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Fairness During Recruitment Can Affect Job Offer Acceptance

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.

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Stereotypes and Employment Discrimination Against Cancer Survivors

Employment discrimination harmfully affects many types of people, and new research indicates that cancer survivors may be among the victims. This is especially troubling, because after a cancer diagnosis, people must overcome many challenging obstacles to enter and remain in remission. Yet, these same individuals may also have a more difficult time obtaining employment. A recent study (Martinez, White, Shapiro, & Hebl, 2016) examined the stereotypes associated with cancer survivors and the workplace-related implications of these stereotypes for both individuals and organizations.

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Layoffs Make You More Likely to Quit Your Next Job

New research indicates that employees who have experienced past layoffs are more likely to leave their subsequent jobs. Researchers (Davis, Trevor, & Feng, 2015) found that people are 56% more likely to leave a job voluntarily when their career history includes one layoff, and their likelihood to leave a job increases by 39% for each additional layoff. For instance, employees who have experienced six layoffs are about six times more likely to quit compared to employees who have not experienced any layoffs. However, the rate of voluntarily quitting appears to plateau once the number of layoffs is greater than six instances. In other words, individuals are no more likely to quit a job if they have been laid off seven times than if they have been laid off twelve times.

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Team Building: Encouraging Your Team to Eat Together is a Recipe for Success

Organizations are constantly looking for new ways to foster trust, respect, and team building among employees, and new research (Kniffin, Wansink, Devine, & Sobal, 2015) suggests a relationship between eating behavior and team performance. The researchers surveyed a group of 395 firefighting officers from 13 American firehouses.

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What Can We Learn from 10 Years of Virtual Team Research?

With over two thirds of global organizations using virtual teams, and that number expected to grow with continuing advances in technology, it is critical for practitioners to know the research on virtual teams. The authors of a new research review (Gilson, Maynard, Jones Young, Vartiainen, & Hakonen, 2015) summarize the last ten years of virtual team research, reviewing approximately 450 articles and focusing on 243 empirical studies. These are their key findings:

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Can Work Breaks Increase Employee Productivity?

Companies often explore new ways to increase employee productivity and job satisfaction. They don’t generally consider work breaks a good way to make that happen. But breaks from work, such as evenings, weekends, and vacations, can help reduce burnout, increase job performance, and lower blood pressure. On the other hand, work fatigue can lead to serious deficits in productivity and is linked to serious health issues and burnout. New research by Hunter & Wu (2015) explores the impact of work breaks on recovering from resource depletion, which is when resources such as energy or attention get used up.

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talent management

Fashion Forward Talent Management

How do luxury brands excel at talent management? If you’re anything like me, the words “luxury” and “brands” likely conjure up images of couture clothing. Maybe you think of models, or stiletto heels? A Harvard Business Review article by Shipilov and Godart (2015) outlines how the world’s most influential luxury groups have more than just an eye for design; they also have an eye for talent.

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Why Would People Stigmatize Employees Who Volunteer?

What happens to employees who volunteer? After all, with the advent of social media, the activities employees engage in off-the-clock can affect their reputation at work. Coworkers and supervisors may make judgments about an employee based on the non work-related activities that he or she pursues. With this in mind, individuals may be motivated to discuss the positive activities that they dedicate time to outside of work, such as volunteering. But, is it possible that colleagues can perceive volunteering negatively? Are there times when volunteering would in fact be stigmatized or looked down upon? These important questions are the focus of a recent research study that investigated perceptions of volunteering (Rodell & Lynch, 2015).

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Ethnic and Gender Discrimination When Reviewing Job Resumes

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.

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Future of Human Resources

The Future of Human Resources: Create Value

To understand the future of human resources, one must first know its past. HR emerged during the industrial revolution when there was a need to manage employees and overcome organizational challenges such as high turnover and low productivity. As a result of these human capital issues, scientific management began as a way to address organizational inefficiencies and it introduced job analysis to management practices.

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Role of HR

The Role of HR as a Strategic Partner: Forming the G3

What is the role of HR in the modern workplace? The world of work has changed a great deal over the last few decades, but there is one truth that continues to stand the test of time; people are a firm’s greatest asset. Human capital, or the knowledge and collective intelligence inherent in a company’s workforce, can be a businesses’ strongest competitive advantage, and also its greatest source of risk. It is incumbent upon CEOs and CHROs, or Chief Human Resources Officers, to work together to manage their firm’s people assets, and to unlock the potential in every employee. The authors of the current article suggest that organizational decision making can be enhanced through open dialogue and discussion among the “G3” or the CEO, the CFO, and the CHRO.

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Job Security Affect Job Performance

When Does Job Security Affect Job Performance?

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.

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Working From Home: Telework Can Keep Employees Happy

Moving from the barriers of the cubicle to working from home, also called telework, is a technology-based advancement that is relatively new to the world of work. It is estimated that one in four Americans telework, which basically refers to working from home or another convenient location based on an employee’s residence. The increasing popularity of teleworking within the past three decades has lead to a plethora of research on the topic. This research reveals mixed findings on the employee-related outcomes of teleworking.

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Leveraging Human Capital: Are Your Employees Getting Enough Sleep?

Human capital refers to specific employee characteristics that can make a business successful. Traditionally, industrial-organizational psychologists have used the acronym “KSAO”, which stands for knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics, to classify an employee’s work-related capabilities. When these KSAOs are useful for an organization’s overall economic outcomes, they are considered human capital.

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The Future of HR: Bringing Human Resources into the 21st Century

What is the future of HR? A new article in Harvard Business Review (Cappelli, 2015) discusses some of the ways that HR can shed its bad reputation and prove itself a strategic business partner:

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How to Survive Toxic Work Relationships by Thriving

How can we possibly survive toxic work relationships? After all, the workplace is replete with human interaction and relationships: employees actively communicate with coworkers and supervisors in both one-on-one and team settings to complete tasks and projects. However, not all workplace relationships are positive; some are downright de-energizing. A relationship is characterized as de-energizing when it is both negative and draining, and this type of relationship can have serious implications for employees.

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Organizational Newcomers: Conflict Can Lead to Worse Performance

Organizational newcomers are those employees who are “just off the boat” and are still trying to figure out how work is done at their new organization. Sure, HR-led orientations may be useful for some things, but there are certainly job-related specifics that require more detailed information from people already doing the job. A newcomer’s ability to acquire this information may be the difference between good and bad job performance. New research (Nifadkar & Bauer, 2015) helps us understand what can go wrong in this process.

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Recruitment Tips: Highlight Person-Organization Fit

One way organizations can make recruitment more successful is by stressing person-organization fit. Person-organization fit is a term that I-O psychologists use to describe how compatible employees are with the organizations that employ them. If an organization and a specific employee share values or ideas of how work ought to be done, or if they fulfill each other’s work-related needs, then we might say that there is a high degree of person-organization fit. It’s easy to imagine some of the ways that this would be beneficial to the organization, and past research has indeed supported this idea. New research (Swider, Zimmerman, & Barrick, 2015) took a novel approach by measuring how the perception of person-organization fit fluctuates over time, specifically during the recruitment process.

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Obesity in the Workplace: Discrimination Against Employees and Customers in a Retail Setting

Obesity in the workplace continues to be a pressing issue because obesity rates continue to rise across the United States. This creates concerns for the two-thirds of the adult population that can be considered obese or overweight, as well as the organizations that employ them. In addition to the physical consequences of being overweight, heavy individuals may also be the victims of stigmatization and prejudice. Common stereotypes associated with heavy individuals purport that they are less hardworking, less conscientious, and less happy than non-heavy individuals are. Because weight is not a protected class under federal discrimination law, obese individuals may also feel that their weight affects their work experiences through both formal (i.e., overt) and informal (i.e., subtle) discrimination.

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The Strange Story Behind Situational Judgment Tests: What Do They Really Measure?

Situational judgment tests are often used during employee selection. They present the job applicant with a series of situations that may be encountered on the job. For example, one situation might include an anecdote about a co-worker encouraging you to steal. For each situation, several different responses are listed. Applicants simply choose the response that seems most appropriate. Because these tests are (hopefully) designed by I-O psychologists or other highly trained experts, certain answers are designed to reflect behavior that is consistent with good job performance. The more the applicant choses these “good” answers, the more certain we are that the applicant will succeed on the job if hired.

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Feedback and Organizations: The Importance of a Feedback-Friendly Culture

Feedback has long been considered a focal point for employee development and advancement within organizations. But why is it so important, and how can creating a feedback-friendly culture benefit the organization as well as the individual?

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There to Serve: Servant Leadership and Team Success

Topic: Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Antecedents of Team Potency and Team Effectiveness: An Examination of Goal and Process Clarity and Servant Leadership
Authors: Hu, J. & Liden, R. C.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Teams are used in a wide variety of organizations for a wide variety of purposes. While teams can be useful to organizations in many ways, there are risks as well. By forming individuals into collective teams, organizations must risk conflict and competition amongst group members. Generally, it is also necessary to have one or more individuals lead a team. In essence, teams can yield very positive results, but they must be designed and managed thoughtfully. A new article by Jia Hu and Robert Liden addresses how a particular type of leadership – servant leadership – might be especially useful in guiding teams to success.

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Predicting Burnout: Playing Well With Others Can Go a Long Way!

Topic: Burnout, Engagement
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (SUMMER 2011)
Article: Social strategies during university studies predict early career work burnout and engagement: 18-year longitudinal study
Authors: Salmela-Aro, K., Tolvanen, A., Nurmi, J. E.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Sure, there are days when we just don’t want to go to work.  In these times, the very thought of going in to the office can make one cringe…we feel like we need a long, isolated vacation.  In short, we’re burned out.  This is a big problem for companies, who rely on employees to be actively engaged and energetic at work.  However, it may be that some people are more or less intrinsically susceptible to burnout and disengagement at work.  That is, some people just have burnout-prone personality characteristics and thus may be unwise investments for employers.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure out who these people are likely to be?  Salmela-Aro and her colleagues (2011) address this issue directly.

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Is Bureaucracy Bad for Creativity? That Depends on You

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: How does bureaucracy impact individual creativity? A cross-level investigation of team contextual influences on goal orientation-creativity relationships
Authors: Giles Hirst, Daan Van Knippenberg, Chin-Hui Chen, & Claudia A. Sacramento
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Bureaucracy and creativity. They might seem like mortal enemies—we often think of red tape and paper work as the killer of creative thinking—but it doesn’t have to be! Really, it depends on your employees. When we talk about goal orientation (why people do what they do), we usually take about three types of people. First, you have your learning-oriented workers. These are the ones who do what they do for sheer enjoyment of the work. They are intrinsically motivated. Second, you have your performance-prove-oriented employees. These workers want to show you how good they are. Third and finally, you have your performance-avoid workers. These are your risk-adverse employees—the rule followers. They all respond to bureaucracy differently, particularly when it comes to creativity.

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Increase generic human capital to increase unit-specific human capital

Topic: Organizational Performance, Talent Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (APR 2011)
Article: Acquiring and developing human capital in service contexts: The interconnectedness of human capital resources
Authors: Ployhart, R. E., Van Iddekinge, C. H., & MacKenzie, W. I.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is widely acknowledged that human capital is important, but does it matter whether the capital is generic (transferable to other organizations) or unit-specific (valuable to that particular work unit and not to others)? In this article, Ployhart, Van Iddekinge, and MacKenzie (2011) assessed both generic and unit-specific human capital in a large fast-food organization. They created and tested a model for how the two kinds of human capital relate to each other and to performance and effectiveness outcomes.

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Career success? The differences are Black and White

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (online pre-publication)
Article: Evaluating career success of African American males: It’s what you know and who you are that matters.
Authors: Johnson, C. D. & Eby, L. T.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Little research has specifically examined what makes African American males successful.  This research has been done with respect to Caucasian workers, but are the things that are related to success for Caucasians also related to success for African Americans?  Are there other things that might be related to success for African Americans in particular that has not been examined with respect to Caucasians?  These questions formed the basis of research by Johnson and Eby (in press).

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Life Isn’t Always Fair: Using Inducements & Contributions to Predict Employee Satisfaction

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Evidence-Based Management, Rewards
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Promised and Delivered Inducements and Contributions: An Integrated View of Psychological Contract Appraisal
Authors: Lambert, L. S.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

One of the most common complaints an employee may have with their employing organization is that they are not be fairly or adequately compensated for the contributions that they are putting into the company. A complaint of this type gets down to the concept of a psychological contract, which consists of inducements and contributions. Both of these come in two “varieties,” promised and delivered. Promised inducements or contributions are commitments that an organization or an employee, respectively, commit to providing to the other. Delivered inducements or contributions are what the organization or employee actually provide to the other, which may deviate from the promised inducement or contribution.

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The Curious Case of Recruiters

Topic: Interviewing, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2011)
Article: How Accurate are Recruiters’ First Impressions of Applicants in Employment Interviews?
Authors: Mast, M. S., Bangerter, A., Bulliard, C., & Aerni, G.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Recruiters are still used by a variety of organizations to evaluate applicants and identify candidates that exhibit the potential to become successful employees in the organization. Recruiters typically have a relatively long time in which to form a first impression of a candidate; the authors of the current study, Marianne Mast and colleagues, were interested in knowing if recruiters are able to more accurately (compared to a layperson) assess the personality of job applicants if they have a shorter amount of time in which to make their assessment. Does this shorter time frame inhibit their ability to make accurate assessments about others?

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Supervisor support can tip work/family balance into equilibrium

Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (online pre-publication)
Article: A comparison of types of social support for lower-skill workers: Evidence for the importance of family supportive supervisors.
Authors: Muse, L. A., Pichler, S.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Most of what we know from organizational research is based off of samples of either convenience samples (mostly college students) or white-collar employees (e.g., nurses, accountants, managers).  Most research does not specifically target blue-collar or lower level employees, despite the fact that the majority of jobs are at lower levels. 

This is especially true in work/family balance literature. In addition, few studies examine simultaneously how work interferes with family AND how family interferes with work.  However, Muse and Pichler (in press) focused on these issues directly. 

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What are the performance implications of your organization’s culture?

Topic: Culture, Human Resources, Organizational Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JULY 2011)
Article: Organizational Culture and Organizational Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Competing Values Framework’s Theoretical Suppositions
Authors: Hartnell, C.A., Ou, A.Y., & Kinicki, A.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Try to define your organization’s culture in one word… The word you came up with may be a predictor of how your organization is performing. Although organizational culture is assumed to be a key component of organizational effectiveness, the theoretical connection between these two important concepts remains fuzzy. Hartnell, Ou, and Kinicki conducted a meta-analysis to explore how a prolific taxonomy of organizational cultures, called the competing values framework (CVF), may help connect our understanding of organizational culture to organizational effectiveness.

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Human Resources Management: For Some, The Grass is Always Greener

Topic: Turnover, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (online pre-publication)
Article: Is the past prologue for some more than others? The hobo syndrome and job complexity.
Authors: Becton, J. B., Carr, J. C., Judge, T. A.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez


The fact is that employees are more mobile today than in decades past.  The former ideal of finding one company and staying there for one’s entire career has been replace by the reality of increased job movement for today’s workers. 

But are some workers more likely to get the itch to leave than others?  And more importantly, is there anything that organizations can do to make these wayward workers want to stay?  The results of a study by Becton and colleagues (in press) directly inform these questions.

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If you’re trying to cut costs, don’t cut the engagement survey

Topic: Engagement, Job Satisfaction, Surveys
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Measuring employee engagement during a financial downturn: Business imperative or nuisance?
Authors: Van Rooy, D. L., Whitman, D. S., Hart, D., & Caleo, S.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

In these difficult economic times, organizations have been forced to cut costs. One way in which organizations are saving money is by reducing the use of employee surveys, but Van Rooy et al. (2011) contend that these surveys are valuable and should not be cut. The authors argue that measuring engagement is important because engagement has been shown to be related to many important business outcomes, such as turnover, efficiency, and performance. By researching engagement, an organization can better protect its current talent and prepare itself to attract talent that may leave other organizations.

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Thinking about Building the Box: Practical Intelligence & Entrepreneurs

TopicJob PerformancePotentialTalent Management

Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2011)

Article: The Practical Intelligence of Entrepreneurs: Antecedents and a Link With New Venture Growth

Authors: Baum, J. R., Bird, B. J., & Singh, S.

Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although general intelligence has been found to be a good predictor of potential success in a job, recent research suggests that other, more specific forms of intelligence may also be useful in predicting job success. One aspect of these other intelligence constructs that is particularly encouraging is that they can be developed. As such, if a particular type of intelligence were demonstrated to have an especially positive impact on individuals’ success in a given field, then education and training in this field could emphasize cultivating this form of intelligence in the people studying it.

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Put a Frame on It! Goal Framing to Improve Performance

Topic: Motivation, Organizational Performance, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Managing joint production motivation: The role of goal framing and governance mechanisms.
Authors: S. Lindenberg, N. J. Foss
Reviewer: Rachel Marsh

Organizations often have many goals. The organization has a goal, the department has goals and each individual has their own goals. But how often to those goals align? Lindenberg and Foss argue that to get the most out of your employees you need to align all these goals, and set up governance mechanisms that support the alignment of goals. They suggest you can do this by utilizing goal framing theory.

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The Stress of Success: The Value of Time and Time Pressure

Topic: Stress, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Time is Tight: How Higher Economic Value of Time Increases Feelings of Time Pressure
Authors: DeVoe, S.E., & Pfeffer, J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day Like you’re always pressed for time? Well, you’re not alone. DeVoe and Pfeffer recently studied how the perception of time’s value can impact perceptions of time pressure-related work stress. They noted that it’s not just the number of hours or how we react to time pressure, but the economic value of our time that matters.

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You’re an Inspiration: Leaders, Followers, and OCB

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Leading by Example: The Case of Leader OCB
Authors: T. Yaffe & R. Kark
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although many definitions of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) define such behavior as “extra” behavior that falls outside of the formal job description, most organizations want, and may even expect, employees to engage in OCB. This may be especially true for leaders of teams, who are generally expected to set the example of what is expected from all members of the team.

As such, organizations have an interest in knowing if leaders’ OCB can serve as inspiration or motivation for other employees to engage in OCB, particularly at the group level (i.e. would OCB be more prevalent, or viewed as more important, in a group led by an individual who engaged in frequent OCB, compared to a group led by a leader who did not frequently engage in OCB).

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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.  

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Want to increase performance? Take a look at Psychological Capital

Topic: Performance, Talent Management, Human Resource Management
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2011)
Article: Psychological capital and employee performance: A latent growth modeling approach
Authors: Peterson, S. J., Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Zhang, Z.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You’ve probably heard about human capital being related to performance, but what about psychological capital? Human capital refers to the skills and knowledge that employees possess which are relevant to the organization. Psychological capital, however, is a higher-order construct consisting of efficacy (confidence), hope, optimism, and resilience. The study described in this article explores the variability of psychological capital within individuals and the relationship between psychological capital and performance.

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Joining Teams and Going Overboard!

Topic: Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Review
Article: Multiple team membership: A theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams
Authors: M.B. O’Leary, M. Mortensen & A.W. Woolley
Reviewed By: Jade Peters

A team is a set of individuals, bound to work together towards a shared goal or outcome. The number of teams an employee is involved in and the variety of the teams are important factors when addressing the employee’s learning and productivity

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Are Whites’ Perceptions of Exclusion Driving Their Negative Reaction to Diversity Initiatives?

Topic: Diversity, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: “What About Me? Perceptions of Exclusion and Whites’ Reactions to
Multiculturalism
Authors: Victoria C. Plaut, Flannery G. Garnett, Laura E. Buffardi, Jeffrey Sanchez-
Burks
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.

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Do We Have Organizational Support? Let’s Not Agree to Disagree

Topic: Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: When Managers and Their Teams Disagree: A Longitudinal Look at the
Consequences of Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Support
Author: M.R. Bashshur, A. Hernandez, V. Gonzalez-Roma
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your manager likes Chinese food, classical music, Ohio State football, and is a lifelong Democrat.  You, on the other hand, love Mexican food, heavy metal, went to Michigan, and have a ten inch GOP tattoo across your back.  Will workplace productivity suffer?  Hopefully not.  But what if you believe your organization fails to adequately support your work team, while your manager thinks they’re doing a fine job?  According to research by Banshur, Hernandez, and Gonzalez-Roma (2011), this scenario could lead to poor productivity and poor attitudes.

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The Philosophy of I/O: Which Tradition(s) Shall Guide Us?

Topic: Hodge-Podge
Publication: Academy of Management Review (APR 2011)
Article: From Blue Sky Research to Problem Solving: A Philosophy of Science Theory of New Knowledge Production
Authors: M. Kilduff, A. Mehra, & M. B. Dunn
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

I believe it is impossible not to take certain things for granted in our lives. Whether it be the jobs we hold while others are unemployed, the food we eat while others go hungry, or the spaces we live in while some live on the streets, I think it is a basic characteristic of human beings that we, at a certain point, take for granted those things that are familiar and consistent.

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Job Satisfaction and Turnover…Now That’s Change We Can Believe In

Topic: Job Attitudes, Turnover
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: The Power of Momentum: A New Model of Dynamic Relationships Between Job
Satisfaction Change and Turnover Intentions
Authors: Chen, G., Ployhart, R.E., Cooper Thomas, H., Anderson, N., & Bliese, P.D
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Let’s say you’re interested in using a job satisfaction (JS) survey to help predict turnover. Which would you say is more important, the absolute value of JS or the change in JS from time 1 to time 2? After proposing that JS is especially salient to an employee when it has deviated from an earlier reference point, Chen et al. (2011) argued the latter.

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Stretching: Not as Beneficial as You Might Think

Topic: Goals
Publication: Academy of Management Review (JUL 2011)
Article: The Paradox of Stretch Goals: Organizations in Pursuit of the Seemingly Impossible
Authors: S. B. Sitkin, K. E. See, C. C. Miller, M. W. Lawless, & A. M. Carton
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

In today’s ever-changing business and economic climate, organizations may be increasingly likely to looks towards unconventional methods of change to obtain results and achieve their goals. One way in which organizations can attempt to create major change is through the use of stretch goals. Stretch goals are goals that are essentially viewed as impossible, at least for a particular organization at the time that the goal is set. When used most effectively, a stretch goal forces an organization’s employees to be creative, question the status quo, and find new ways to address challenges. While stretch goals are often thought to be effective in a variety of scenarios, a new paper by Sim Sitkin and colleagues questions this notion. Specifically, they propose a model that explains how both the likelihood of using stretch goals, and the potential for success in using such goals, might be linked to recent organizational performance and the presence (or absence) of slack (extra) resources in the organization.

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One Plank at a Time: Building the Bridge from OCBs to Performance

Topic: Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: A Moderated Mediation Model of the Relationship Between Organizational Citizenship Behaviors and Job Performance
Authors: Ozer, M.
Reviewed by: Neil Morelli

What do employers ultimately care about when considering employee behavior? Performance. Understanding organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have been an important part of understanding job performance. OCBs are defined as actions employees take to go “above and beyond” their regular job to help meet the needs of coworkers and company.

[…]

Do you care about human capital? You should!

Topic: Organizational Performance, Talent Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: Does human capital matter? A meta-analysis of the relationship between human capital and firm performance
Authors: Crook, T. R., Todd, S. Y., Combs, J. G., Woehr, D. J., & Ketchen, D. J.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It is often assumed that human capital is related to organizational performance, but the research literature provides mixed support for that assumption. In this article, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of 66 studies to clarify the seemingly contradictory research on the relationship between human capital and firm performance.

[…]

Gender Bending Depends on Friends’ Intentions

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (In press)
Article: Trans-parency in the workplace: How the experiences of transsexual employees can be improved
Authors: Law, C. L., Martinez, L. R., Ruggs, E. N., Hebl, M. R., & Akers, E. 
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

The demographic characteristics of the US workforce have been becoming more and more diverse in the past several decades.  In a world where differences are protected and often celebrated, many employees find themselves in close, daily proximity with people they wouldn’t normally hang around with.  This can lead to tense or awkward social interactions in an environment where everyone is supposed to be focused on their work.  Law and colleagues (in press) examined these sorts of interactions – and how to make them less awkward – in an especially rare sample of diverse employees: transsexuals. 

[…]

Putting U in Unique in Selection Interviews: Understanding how being unique will give you the Better Advantage

Topic: Selection, Interviewing
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: The uniqueness effect in selection interviews
Authors: N. Roulin, A. Bangerter, & E. Yerly
Reviewed By: Jade Peters

The absence of past and present interview selection literature revolving around the Uniqueness Effect is shocking.  The Uniqueness Effect is when an applicant gives unique or individual answers to traditional interview questions that are different than what is expected in the interview and the interviewer sees this as a good quality.  This is entirely different from the contrast effect in which a poor interviewee performance can make the next interviewee look even better than it should to the interviewer (the two concepts are often confused). 

[…]

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.

[…]

Building successful and sustainable HR interventions

Topic: Change Management, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: HR interventions that go viral
Authors: Yost, P. R., McLellan, J. R., Ecker, D. L., Chang, G. C., Hereford, J. M., Roenicke, C. C., Town, J. B., & Winberg, Y. L.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Why do some HR interventions fail while others succeed? In this article, Yost et al. (2011) attempt to answer that question by using three different methods: a literature review, a case study, and interviews with senior I/O and HR professionals. The authors provided a case study of a successful HR intervention. They noted five important characteristics of the intervention:

[…]

Effective leadership: I was born (and made) this way!

Topic: Leadership, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Great man or great myth? A quantitative review of the relationship between individual differences and leader effectiveness
Authors: Hoffman, B. J., Woehr, D. J., Maldagen-Youngjohn, R., Lyons, B. D.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

How many times have you heard or considered the following question: Are leaders born or made? The general consensus is that leaders are both born and made, but which do you think is more influential? This article delves into that issue by comparing many individual differences that could potentially predict leadership effectiveness.

[…]

Test Order Can Matter: A New Application of Order of Operations

Topic: Assessment
Publication: European Journal of Psychological Assessment (SPRING 2011)
Article: Context Effects on Test Performance: What about Test Order?
Authors: L. Khorramdel & M. Frebort
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Many people are familiar with the mathematical concept of order of operations. Sometimes shortened to the acronym PEMDAS, order of operations instructs us to solve in parentheses (P) before we deal with exponents (E), to multiply (M) before we divide (D), etc. The reason for working through math problems in this way is to lead us to the correct answer; if we solve the problem in any other order, we run the risk of coming up with an incorrect answer. It now appears that this same principle might apply to test administration. Previous studies have assessed how the order of items in a single test might impact individuals’ responses to the items. Now, a new study by Lale Khorramdel and Martina Frebort suggests that the order in which multiple tests in a testing battery are administered may impact individuals’ responses on the tests.

[…]

You Look Good in Those Genes!

Topic: Surveys, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (APR 2011)
Article: Genetic underpinnings of survey response
Authors: Thompson, L. F., Zhang, Z., & Arvey, R. D.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

Not many people like surveys.  Employees and participants don’t like taking them and survey administrators (if they are at all like me) don’t like bothering people with them.  Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that organizational practitioners and researchers alike live and breathe on data obtained through surveys.  And no matter how we try to coax people into taking our surveys, it is virtually impossible to obtain that coveted 100% voluntary response rate on any given survey.

A lot of research has been done to try and determine what factors are related to whether someone will respond to a survey and both environmental and personality characteristics have been identified.  However, Thompson and colleagues (2011) go even deeper for an explanation, into our genes.

[…]

Using performance management practices to drive employee engagement

Topic: Engagement, Job Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (JUN 2011)
Article: Performance management at the wheel: Driving employee engagement in organizations
Authors: Mone, E., Eisinger, C., Guggenheim, K., Price, B., Stine, C.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You’ve probably heard quite a bit about employee engagement lately, and you know that you want engaged employees. However, what can you do to increase levels of employee engagement? This article discusses ways in which performance management practices can be used to drive employee engagement and provides suggestions for future research.

[…]

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.

[…]

Hard work trumps talent: An exploration of the predictors of academic achievement

Topic: Selection
Publication: Psychological Science (DEC 2005)
Article: Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents
Authors: A. L. Duckworth & M. E. P. Seligman
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

What predicts academic achievement? Is it intellectual ability or hard work and self-discipline? Though much research has examined the relationship between intellectual ability (e.g., IQ) and academic achievement, significantly less research has investigated the relationship between self-discipline and academic achievement.

[…]

When Turnover Strikes: The (Possible) Cost of Pay Dispersion

Topic: Compensation, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: Executive turnover: The influence of dispersion and other pay system characteristics
Authors: J. G. Messersmith, J. P. Guthrie, Y.-Y. Ji, & J.-Y. Lee
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

It is probably not much of an exaggeration to say that being paid a fair wage or salary is one of the highest priorities of all employees in any organization. Therefore, it is not surprising that compensation is one of many factors in the workplace that can have an impact on employee turnover decisions. The current study, by Messersmith and colleagues, addresses how turnover at the highest level of an organization (the top management team, or TMT) might be impacted by pay dispersion (the size of the pay differences between different employees in the TMT).

[…]

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.

[…]

How I See Me Affects How I See the Boss

Topic: Leadership, Human Resources
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (APR 2011)
Article: More than meets the eye: The role of subordinates’ self-perceptions in leader categorization processes
Authors: van Quaquebeke, N., van Knippenberg, D., Brodbeck, F. C.
Reviewed by: Chelsea Rowe

First, list qualities that describe your current boss. Now, list the qualities that make a great leader or boss. This latter list represents your “ideal leader prototype.” This comparison to leader prototypes is a major premise of the Implicit Leadership Theory (ILT), whereby the degree to which a leader does (or does not) match up with our prototype forms the basis of how we rate that leader’s performance.

[…]

Do you have what it takes? An examination of the psychological characteristics that predict success in athletes.

Topic: Selection
Publication: The Sport Psychologist (2009)
Article: Why some make it and others do not: Identifying psychological factors that
predict career success in professional adult soccer
Authors: N. Van Yperen
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Why do some aspiring soccer players reach the professional ranks and others do not? Though some previous research has focused on the psychological characteristics of athletes that are already successful, little research has been conducted on the psychological characteristics that enable aspiring athletes to succeed.

[…]

Less Isn’t More: Structure in Employment Interviews

 

Interviews remain one of the most common methods that organizations use to select new employees. Additionally, one of the most consistent recommendations in I/O psychology is that structuring interviews improves their ability to improve the selection process and make successful hires. Although the strength of structured interviews over unstructured interviews is well-documented, previous research has been inconsistent in identifying how different methods of adding structure to interviews may relate to one another. A new study by Melchers and colleagues begins to address this issue.

[…]

Employee engagement: Wild goose chase or golden egg?

Topic: Job Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Work engagement: A quantitative review and test of its relations with task and contextual performance
Authors: Christian, M.S. Garza, A.S., Slaughter, J.E.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Try this: pick your favorite search engine and type in the phrase “employee engagement.” A quick glance at the results would tell you that you’ve searched a phrase that has been on many of the minds in the business and HR worlds. Despite employee “engagement” becoming a popular buzz word with organizations, some important questions still remain: What is it? Is it substantively different from other work attitudes? Does it help us predict employee performance above and beyond other, more well-established constructs?

[…]

Companies use job competencies? Might want to jot these down.

Topic: Job Analysis, Organizational Development, Competency Modeling
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling
Authors: Campion, M.A. Fink, A.A. Ruggeberg, B.J. Carr L. Phillips G.M. Odman R.B.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Campion and colleagues provided 20 best practices for competency modeling from an experiential standpoint. They organized their list around three topic areas: analyzing competencies, organizing competencies, and using competencies. Although a more thorough reading of each practice is highly recommended, a few practices have been highlighted as being especially important.

[…]

Predicting and developing leaders: Traits or behaviors?

Topic: Human Resources, Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and meta-analytic test of their relative validity
Authors: D. S. DeRue, J. D. Nahrgang, N. Wellman, S. E. Humphrey
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

You want to hire the best potential leaders for your organization, but how do you know whom to choose? Do you pick the most extraverted applicant? The most intelligent? The most charismatic? The literature on what makes for an effective leader is fragmented, so this article is an attempt to integrate the literature on trait and behavioral theories of leadership and determine their relative importance.

[…]

Organizational Change: The Good, the Bad, the Ambivalent

Topic: Change Management, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Ambivalence Toward Imposed Change: The Conflict Between Dispositional Resistance to Change and the Orientation Toward the Change Agent
Authors: S. Oreg, N. Sverdlik
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

Change management has become a buzz word of business leaders and academics alike, and the reason is simple: organizations are undergoing changes at a faster rate today than ever before. Despite these increases in change frequency and a growing body of research dedicated to understanding organizational initiatives, the vast majority of planned organizational changes still fail. But, why? According to Oreg and Sverdlik, the answer is a little complicated.

[…]

The Best Leadership Style: Depends on Leader Status

Topic: Leadership, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: Taking the Reins: The Effects of New Leader Status and Leadership Style on Team Performance
Author: S.J. Sauer
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

You’re the new team leader and it’s your first day on the job! So, what type of management style will you try out? Will you crack the whip and exercise your authority, or might it be better to let your guard down and allow your employees to participate in the management process? According to research by Sauer (2011), you should choose wisely, because depending on who you are, one method will work much better than the other.

[…]

Stop Burnout, Increase Engagement & Improve Safety…by Providing Supportive Environment?

Topic: Health and Safety, Motivation, Human Resources
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Safety at Work: A Meta-analytic Investigation of the Link Between Job Demands, Job Resources, Burnout, Engagement, and Safety Outcomes
Authors: Jennifer D. Nahrgang, Frederick P. Morgeson, David A. Hofmann
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

These days, the workplace is generally quite demanding! This study used a meta-analysis approach, with 203 independent samples, to assess how detrimental job demands are, and how helpful job resources are, in terms of burnout, engagement and safety outcomes. These researchers wanted to know how well the job demand-resources theory (JD-R) by Bakker & Demerouti (2007) explains these relationships.

[…]

Should I stay or should I go? Re-conceptualizing turnover

Topic: Human Resources, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (APR 2011)
Article: Examining the job search-turnover relationship: The role of embeddedness, job satisfaction, and available alternatives
Authors:  Swider, B. W., Boswell, W. R., & Zimmerman, R. D.
Reviewed by: Larry Martinez

It’s not uncommon that a bad day at work can send you to the classifieds section (or today’s technology-boosted equivalent) to see what alternative employment you might be able to drum up.  Most of the time, we’ll browse for a bit, decide that our job isn’t that bad, or that it would be too inconvenient for us to leave, or that there aren’t any better jobs out there for us anyway and forget about the whole thing. 

Sometimes, though, this job search results in actually leaving one’s job.  Swider and colleagues (2011) examine what influences whether people stay or leave, given the fact that they are looking.

[…]

Help the Organization and…Help Yourself!!!

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Interviewing, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews.
Authors: N. P. Podsakoff, S. W. Whiting, P. M. Podsakoff, & P. Mishra
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are behaviors an employee may engage in that have a positive impact on the work environment. Recent research has found that OCBs can have an important impact on productivity, turnover, and other outcomes that organizations value. In an effort to hire individuals who are likely to engage in OCBs, research has been devoted to finding ways to assess the tendency of job applicants to engage in these behaviors. However, little research has assessed how knowledge of an applicant’s tendency to engage (or not engage) in OCBs might impact selection decisions concerning that individual – until now.

[…]

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.

[…]

Learning to learn: aim high and believe in yourself!

Topic: Training, Goals, Learning
Publication: Psychological Bulletin (MAR 2011)
Article: A meta-analysis of self-regulated learning in work-related training and educational attainment: What we know and where we need to go
Authors: T. Sitzmann, K. Ely
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

When people self-regulate, they monitor their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in order to obtain some sort of goal. Self-regulated learning refers to when people attempt to monitor and control their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in order to attain a learning or achievement outcome. The authors of this article reviewed numerous theories of self-regulated learning and conducted a meta-analysis to better understand the extent to which self-regulated learning processes affect learning.

[…]

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.

[…]

As with Fine Wines, Motivation Matures with Age

Topic: Motivation, Strategic HR
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article: Age and work-related motives: Results of a meta-analysis
Authors: D.T. Kooij, A.H. De Lange, P.G. Jansen, R. Kanfer, J.S. Dikkers
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

You’ve most likely read the following headline, “The US workforce is aging.” Whether organizations like it or not this change is coming and with it comes the possibility of skilled labor shortages and “brain drain”. To prevent this, companies have often turned to offering financial or other economic incentives to persuade employees to stay on.Does this work? What job qualities motivate a maturing employee?

[…]

Do HRM Practices Lead to Satisfaction? Depends on Employee Entitlement

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.

[…]

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. 

[…]

Critical Leadership Competencies for Every Manager, Regardless of Culture

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: A Convergence/Divergence Perspective of Leadership Competencies Managers Believe are Most Important for Success in Organizations: A Cross-Cultural Multilevel Analysis of 40 Countries
Authors: W.A. Gentry, T.E. Sparks
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

With an increasing amount of employees working in global and multinational environments, it is critical for organizations to understand and develop the competencies deemed most important for success. In a recent study, Gentry and Sparks (2011) investigated if four leadership competencies (Resourcefulness, Change Management, Building and Mending Relationships, and Balancing Personal Life and Work) are valued as important for managerial success across cultures or just in some countries. 

[…]

Time for Teamwork: When Aspects of Collectivism are Most Beneficial

Topic: Goals, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (March, 2011)
Article: The power of “we”: effects of psychological collectivism on team
performance over time
Authors: Erich C. Dierdorff, Suzanne T. Bell, and James A. Belohlav
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Collectivism, in essence, is the orientation of a group’s members toward a similar set of goals and for their mutual wellbeing as a team.  A group composed of collectivistic members should be more cooperative and will likely show a higher degree of citizenship behavior amongst its team members.  However, can certain aspects of collectivism be damaging?  The authors of this study set out to determine the interplay of psychological collectivism and team performance over the course of time.

[…]

Work-Life Spillover has a Positive Side?

Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: Meta-Analytic Review of the Consequences Associated with Work-Family Enrichment
Authors: L. A. McNall, J. M. Nicklin, A. D. Masuda
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

With the increasing number of dual-income earning couples, organizations are taking more of an interest in work-life balance practices. Much research on work-family conflict has linked high conflict to low job satisfaction, low life satisfaction, high stress levels, increased health complaints, and greater turnover intentions.

However, a smaller body of research has taken a spin to work-life balance by examining the potential, positive effects of work-family spillover know as work-family enrichment (e.g., improving the quality of work or family experiences).

[…]

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. 

[…]

Does Being Proactive in Your Job Positively Relate to Your Performance, Satisfaction, and Commitment? Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Topic:  Job Performance, Organizational Commitment
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JUNE 2010)
Article:Employee proactivity in organizations: A comparative meta-analysis of emergent proactive constructs
Authors: Jeffrey P. Thomas, Daniel S. Whitman, and Chockalingam Viswesvaran
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

Given the dynamic nature of the work environment, being proactive has become necessary for today’s leaders and managers. What does that mean? More specifically, what is Employee Proactivity and what does it lead to? Measuring Employee Proactivity has varied from measuring “proactive personality”, which is considered a steady, natural propensity to direct or control circumstances and dynamically provoke change, to measuring “voice” which measures the tendency to constructively discuss change. Two other ways of measuring it are the self-explanatory variables “personal initiative” and “taking charge”.

[…]

Organizational Attraction – It’s more than the Money!

Topic: Staffing, Culture, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2010)
Article: Fit with What? The Influence of Multiple Self-Concept Images on Organizational Attraction
Authors: K. P. Nolan, C. M. Harold
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

What attracts a potential employee to a specific organization – salary, benefits, promotion opportunities? Yes, in part, but attraction also stems from something deeper – an employee’s own self-image. Self-image consists primarily of two parts: the actual self (or the compilation of traits and attributes that an individual believes him or herself to possess) and the ideal self (or the collection of traits and attributes that an individual would like to acquire).

[…]

Beware of “Where I used to work, we ….” — It may be a sign of poor fit, low motivation.

Topic: Staffing, Selection, Recruiting, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (83)
Article: Disengagement in Work-Role Transitions
Authors: C. Niessen, C. Binnewies, J. Rank
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

Employees are no longer linked to an organization for life, and as a result, there has been an increase in job change in recent years. Researchers studying employees’ adjustment to a job change have suggested that in order to succeed, the new employee must detach or disengage from the previous job and organization.  This is especially critical when the employee is psychologically attached to their previous work place and/or work role as is typically the case when the employee has worked in their previous role for a long period of time.   

[…]

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).

[…]

Perceived similarities make it easier for newbies to adjust. But how?…

Topic: Diversity, Work Environment, Culture, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (APR 2011)
Article:Perceived similarity, proactive adjustment, and organizational socialization
Authors: J. D. Kammeyer-Mueller, B. A. Livingston, & H. Liau
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

Organizational newcomers carry the stress of adjusting to their new jobs, working with new people, and learning the ins and outs of a new organization. Previous research has shown that when organizational newcomers engage in proactive adjustment behaviors (e.g. feedback seeking, relationship building), they are more likely to be committed to their new organizations and are more likely to be accepted by their coworkers.

[…]

Political skill in a highly political environment: Does it help?

Topic: Performance, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article:Politics perceptions as moderator of the political skill – job performance relationship: A two-study, cross-national, constructive replication
Authors: I. Kapoutsis, A. Papalexandris, A. Nikolopoulos, W. A. Hochwarter, & G. R. Ferris
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

A highly political work environment can be chaotic, ambiguous, and even threatening. Working in this type of environment distracts employees from achieving work-related goals and interferes with employee job performance.  One employee resource related to improved job performance is political skill, described as the capacity to understand the people and situations at work in order to accomplish job-related goals. In a highly political work environment, what happens when politically skilled individuals work to reach their job-related goals?

[…]

Does Helping Hurt the ‘I’ in Team?

Topic: Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (DEC 2010)
Article:  Why Seeking Help From Teammates Is a Blessing and a Curse: A Theory of Help Seeking and Individual Creativity in Team Contexts
Authors: Jennifer S. Mueller & Dishan Kamdar
Reviewed By:  Kerrin George

Increased information sharing among individuals can harness unique perspectives that will create new ideas.  One way that information is shared within teams is through seeking help and helping fellow teammates.  Often overlooked, however, is the question of whether this increased demand of helping within teams may come with potential negative consequences with respect to creativity.  

Mueller and Kamdar (2010) investigated the impact of helping behaviors among teammates on creativity (defined as the creation of new ideas that may feed innovation).  Specifically, they examined the impact of employees’ help-seeking behaviors on their individual creativity, and whether reciprocation of help may diminish this creativity.

[…]

Are Women at a Loss in the Workplace due to Breadwinning at Home?

Topic: Gender
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (WINTER 2011)
Article:  A Woman’s Place and a Man’s Duty:  How Gender Role Incongruence in One’s Family Life Can Result in Home-Related Spillover Discrimination at Work
Author:  Marıa del Carmen Triana
Reviewed By:  Kerrin George

The lack of adherance to stereotypical gender is one source of gender discrimination in the workplace.  In light of the increasing yet still minority number of women who are becoming the primary earners in dual-earner, heterosexual couples, a question arises:  Does this change from the traditional expectation that males should be the breadwinners lead to discrimination at work against the men and women in these relationships ?

[…]

Line managers adopting coaching behaviors? It could improve your organization’s performance.

Topic: Coaching
Publication: International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring (FEB 2011)
Article: How does the adoption of coaching behaviors by line managers contribute to the achievement of organizational goals?
Authors: L. Wheeler
Reviewed By: Jailza Pauly

Providing excellent customer service is critical to succeeding in today’s competitive environment.  Interestingly, line managers who rely on facilitative and empowering techniques in their interactions with front-line staff, as opposed to directive and prescriptive ones, might be better positioned to help their reports improve performance against organizational goals.

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The need for ethical leadership in a global and capitalist world

Topic: Ethics, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics (2010)
Article: Ethical leadership and global citizenship: Considerations for a just and sustainable future
Authors:  Deborah C. Poff
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

In a scathing critique of global capitalism and its effects on social, economic, and environmental justice, Poff (2010) lays out the argument for a realignment of values.  The problems associated with global capitalism, Poff argues, are numerous.  It threatens the environment in order to support the massive production of material goods, its problems are being used by charismatic extremists to win over the populations of developing nations, and the tenets of consumerism are distorting values towards possession of material goods over quality relationships and meaningful pursuits.  How, then, is the world to shift away from such a destructive course?  Through a massive realignment of values; championed by ethical leaders in business, education, and government.

[…]

Creativity at Work…Through Increased Workplace Structure?

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Stress
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2010)
Article: Does Structuring of Human Resource Management Process Enhance Employee Creativity? The Mediating Role of Psychological Availability
Authors: G. Binyamin, A. Carmeli
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

The environment of the modern workplace is increasingly becoming more dynamic and unstable leading employees to perceive high levels of work-related stress. To battle this increased uncertainty in the external environment and provide a sense of stability to employees, organizations are looking internally at the way human resources processes are designed. Structuring of HRM processes consists of 7 essential dimensions: strategic alignment with organizational goals, managerial engagement, employee job functions structured and evaluated based on a job analysis, clarity of HRM policies and evaluation criteria, planning, flexibility, and internal consistency or synergy of all processes. Structuring HR around these 7 dimensions was shown to help alleviate employee stress perceptions by decreasing feelings of uncertainty.  

[…]

Role stressors and organizational citizenship behavior: Don’t stress those workers out

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Stress
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Relationships of role stressors with organizational citizenship behavior: A meta-analysis
Authors: Erin Eatough, Chu-Hsiang Chang, Stephanie Miloslavic, and Russell Johnson
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Job performance is not only evaluated by looking at an employee’s formal tasks but also through extra-role behaviors like organizational citizenship behavior (OCB, or behavior that goes beyond job requirements to support and benefit the workplace).  However, while researchers have looked at a myriad of predictors of formal performance, much less attention has been awarded to predictors of OCB.  To address this, Eatough, Chang, Miloslavic, and Johnson (2011) conducted a meta-analysis to determine the effects of occupational role stressors on OCB.

[…]

Trading Voice for Service: The Impact of Perceived Voice on Organizational Commitment During Periods of Change

Topic: Change Management, Organizational Commitment, Potential, Trust
Publication: Human Resource Management (JAN 2011)
Article: The influence of perceived employee voice on organizational commitment: An exchange perspective
Authors: E. Farndale, J. Van Ruiten, C. Kelliher, and V. Hope-Hailey
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Everyone likes to feel important on occasion, whether through achieving a major goal or being recognized for an accomplishment.  The workplace is no exception to this rule, as employees like to feel as though their decisions impact the actions their organizations take.  During major corporate change, leadership and culture can be shaken up dramatically and as a result, previous levels of perceived employee impact (“I make a difference”) might not remain intact.  What benefits does an organization reap if employees feel they have a voice, and how is this impacted through the change process?  This article attempts to answer these questions.

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Thinking about age in employee engAGEment…

Topic: Job Attitudes, Diversity, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article:Predicting employee engagement in an age-diverse workforce.
Authors: J. B. James, S. McKechnie, & J. Swanberg
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

A large portion of today’s working population consists of the Baby Boomer population. Although these individuals are becoming eligible for retirement, many remain employed for various reasons. As a result, research has picked up on the importance of examining job attitudes of older workers.

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The Waning Voices of Senior Employees: Does Tenure Reduce Impact Levels?

Topic: Potential, Staffing, Training, Turnover
Publication: Human Resource Management (JAN 2011)
Article: Does voice go flat? How tenure diminishes the impact of voice
Authors: D. Avery, P. McKay, D. Wilson, S. Volpone, and E. Killham
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

In this line of research, voice refers to the ability to provide suggestions to the organization and feel that one’s input has some sort of effect.  When little control is perceived, the employee will work hard to gain control and the use of voice is one possible means of achieving this goal.  However, if an employee has been around for many years and feels his sense of control is compromised, to what extent does he continue to use his voice to impact the organization?

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