Show Me the Money: The Influence of Money on Workplace Behavior

Different people view money in different ways, either as the root of all evil or the source of all things good. While you may fall squarely into either of these categories, few can deny that money has a psychological significance beyond its mere usefulness. But how does it affect your behavior? Can pursuit of money make you more selfish? Can it make you less cooperative? New research (Beus & Whitman, 2016) uses athletes from the NBA and NHL to explore how behavior is affected when money is on the line. […]

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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How Does Individual Employee Recognition Help the Team?

Individual employee recognition for a job well done is important. Many organizations have programs that formally recognize employees for their achievements, such as “employee of the month” or “star performer” awards. These awards typically focus on highlighting the performance of single employees. Given that most employees work within teams, how does singling out one team member impact the rest of the team? New Research (Li, Zheng, Harris, Liu, & Kirkman, 2016) explores the positive spillover effects that recognizing an individual team member can have on the rest of the team.

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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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Evaluate Leaders

Stigma-by-Association: How Follower Characteristics Influence Evaluation of Leaders

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.

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gamification in the workplace

What is Gamification and How Can It Improve Organizational Effectiveness?

Gamification refers to the use of game elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards in non-gaming contexts, for example the workplace or educational settings. Many organizations are turning to gamification to help improve employee motivation and performance. Previous studies have shown that gamification can be effective in motivating employees and increasing engagement–meaning the extent to which employees feel connected too and enthusiastic about their work. This particular study (Lieberoth, 2014) investigated how merely making a work activity seem like a game impacts employee engagement (rather than designing a complex gamification system).

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career setbacks

Back to the Drawing Board: Surviving Career Setbacks

Career setbacks can be pretty brutal. When everything seems to be going right, sometimes we are faced with unexpected challenges that change the course of our careers and our lives. So what do you do if you’re laid off, didn’t get promoted, or didn’t make the cut? A new article by Marks, Mirvis, and Ashkenas (2014) has highlighted three scientifically supported steps that you can take:

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How Corporate Social Performance Attracts Job Seekers

In recent years the topic of Corporate Social Performance (CSP) has become increasingly of interest to major corporations.

It’s becoming more important for organizations to have a social presence, display their dedication to the community and adopt positive practices that go beyond the company’s bottom line. Some may wonder just how important corporate social performance actually is to a company’s stakeholders.

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Is More Status Inherently Better? Investigating Performance After Status Loss

Most of us want the respect and benefits that come with high status positions and professions. But we seldom think of the costs associated with this status.

A recent study investigates how losing that status can have detrimental effects, highlighting the implications that even a slight decline in performance can have.

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Working Abroad- How to Help Employees Weather the Storm

More and more organizations these days are sending employees on international assignments. This can have many benefits for these organizations, and can be exciting for the individual.

But not everyone proves successful in integrating into foreign cultures, which affects their work and can ultimately lead to major losses for organizations.

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Can your personality affect how well you adapt to changes in the workplace?

The business world is always evolving, from technology to everyday work requirements. So being able to adapt to changes in the workplace quickly is incredibly valuable for employers.

Evolutionary theory has put forward certain personality traits as better predictors of effective adaptation in various areas of our lives. But the difficulty in evolving within the organizational environment lies in the fact that adaptation in a work setting isn’t about adjusting to a stable environment, but to one that is constantly changing.

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

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

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How to Better Motivate Employees? Try Categorizing Rewards and Incentives

In a novel research study carried out by S. Wiltermuth and F. Gino, a new link was explored between incentives and motivation. It is known that employees work towards achieving goals and targets, especially when they are aware of the rewards they are bound to receive for their efforts. However, the current research delves further into how incentives motivate employees and reveals that when rewards are divided into different categories, employees are even more highly motivated to reach rewards from each available category.

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IO Psychology – Talking about my generation: Exploration of the impact of generation on motivation

At my graduate school, the ages of my peers range from 24 to 64, and I myself am 28. Do you think that people from different generations differ in personality characteristics such as motivation? In other words, am I, a Millennial and representative of Generation Y, more or less motivated than the 60-year-old Boomer? According to Deal, Stawiski, Graves, Gentry, Weber, & Ruderman, the answer is no.

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Whistle While You Work: The Importance of Work Enjoyment for Managers (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Motivation, Performance, Wellness
Publication: Journal of Management (SEP 2012)
Article: Driven to Work and Enjoyment of Work: Effects on Managers’ Outcomes
Authors: Laura Graves, Marian Ruderman, Patricia Ohlott, & Todd Weber
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Work motivation, a topic that is relevant to almost all employees in almost every organization, is a common research area in IO psychology. Within the vast motivation literature, two types of motivation that have emerged in recent years are the driven to work and enjoyment of work motives. The driven to work motive is based on the feeling that a person should work (they feel compelled to), while the enjoyment of work motive emphasizes intrinsic motivation and personal enjoyment of the work itself. Recently, Graves and colleagues conducted a study to identify the role that these two types of motivation might have on managers’ performance, career satisfaction, and psychological strain.

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The Power of Imagination – A Study in Career Trajectories (IO Psychology)

Topic: Motivation
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2012)
Article: Future Work Selves: How Salient Hoped-For Identities Motivate Proactive Career Behaviors
Authors: Karoline Strauss, Mark A. Griffin, Sharon K. Parker
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood, M.S.

In the recent past, organizations were primarily responsible for managing their employees’ career trajectories. However, with changes to the psychological contract (i.e., the unwritten reciprocal relationship between an employer and employee), employees are taking the lead in defining and determining their own career paths. And, as a result, the increasing popularity of boundaryless careers, job hopping, and self-directed lateral moves have lead to a new norm of non-linear career trajectories in many industries.

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Employee Moods and Workplace Proactivity (IO Psychology)

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Motivation, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2012)
Article: Fuel of the Self-Starter: How Mood Relates to Proactive Goal Regulation
Authors: U.K. Bindl, S.K. Parker, P. Totterdell, G. Hagger-Johnson
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

What could go wrong when you are in a really bad mood? For starters, maybe nobody will like you and you will have no friends. Now that’s bad. But it gets worse: According to research by Bindl, Parker, Totterdell, and Hagger-Johnson (2012), you also may miss
out on opportunities to be proactive at work. Now that’s really bad.

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Increasing Training Transfer (I/O Psychology)

Topic: Training, Learning, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology EC 2011)
Article: Influencing learning states to enhance trainee motivation and improve training transfer
Authors: Weissbein, D. A., Huang, J. L., Ford, J. K., & Schmidt, A. M.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

How many times have you heard about or participated in a training program but the information or skills learned didn’t get retained or used after the training ended? This transfer of training problem is common and frustrating to those who develop or pay for training programs.

In this paper, Weissbein, Huang, Ford, and Schmidt (2011) conducted a study in which they gave undergraduates a pretraining intervention before the participants received interpersonal negotiation training.

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Human Resource Management: Motivating Your Workers to Create Value

Topic: Human Resource Management, Motivation
Publication: Academy of Management Review
Article: Heterogeneous Motives and the Collective Creation of Value
Authors: Bridoux, F., Coeurderoy, R., and Durand, R.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

In a world where resources are becoming scarcer, firms should be looking to boost any kind of competitive advantage they can. Bridoux, Coeurderoy, and Durand (2011) suggest that one such competitive advantage is having its individual members work cooperatively to create “collective value” (i.e., effectively using firm resources). In their theoretical summary, the authors pose that a firm can encourage collective value creation and outperform the competition by ensuring its mix of individual employees’ motives and its motivational system are aligned. This alignment must take place at both the between-individual and the within-individual level.

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Responding to Mistreatment of Others

Topic: Motivation, Human Resource Management, Ethics
Publication: Academy of Management Review
Article: A Model of Third Parties’ Morally Motivated Responses to Mistreatment in Organizations
Authors: O’Reilly, J. & Aquino, K.
Reviewer: Rachel Marsh

Have you ever noticed a college student being mistreated by someone else in the organization, be it peer, subordinate or superior? What actions did you take because of what you witnessed? According to O’Reilly and Aquino you have several choices. You could rally against the perpetrator, going to their superior to explain what happened. You also have the option of punishing the offender on your own, vigilante style. There is also the possibility that you could comfort the victim or you could just ignore the situation. The authors propose that your actions are determined by your moral identity, the perception of power, and your belief in your organization’s justice system.

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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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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.

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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?

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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.   

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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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Motivating GenY: Generational Differences in Work Values

Topic: Motivation
Publication: Journal of Management (SEP 2010)
Article: Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing
Authors: J. M. Twenge, S. M. Campbell, B. J. Hoffman, and C. E. Lance
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

The U.S. workforce is primarily comprised of 3 generations of workers – Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), GenX (1965-1981), and GenY (1982-1999). Although empirical research examining differences in generational work values is scarce, understanding differences between these 3 groups is important for organizations attempting to recruit and manage the youngest generation in the workforce – GenY.

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What do Job Ads Say About Your Organizational Culture?

TopicCompensation, CultureMotivation, Rewards, Organizational Reputation
Publication: The International Journal of Human Resource Management
Article: Compensation as a Signal of Organizational Culture: The Effects of Advertising Individual or Collective Incentives
Author: K. Kuhn
Reviewed By: Lit Digger

It is commonly assumed that compensation and rewards systems reflect the cultures of the organizations that implement them, but what type of message is being received by your organization’s job applicants?

Kristine Kuhn (2009) conducted an experimental study to investigate how job advertisements’ simple statements about an organization’s compensation structure would affect applicant perceptions of organizational culture. In the same article, Kuhn conducted an additional study to see how job advertisement differences in compensation structure statements would affect applicants when they were forced to choose one organization over another. (Yes, this article was two-for-one – jam-packed with researchy goodness!)

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Can Personality Lead to Better Performance?

Topic: Motivation, Personality, Job Performance
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (MAR 2009)
Article: Using a two-factor theory of achievement motivation to examine performance-based outcomes and self-regulatory processes.
Authors: Story, P.A., Hart, J.W., Stasson, M.F., & Mahoney, J.M.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Have you ever wondered why some employees seem to find it easier to achieve their organizational goals than others? Current research proposes that theories of achievement motivation can explain some of  these employee differences. Achievement motivation refers to the tendency to set and work toward personal goals and/or standards (Cassidy & Lynn, 1989). It can be broken down into two motivational factors: intrinsic achievement motivation (IAM) and extrinsic achievement motivation (EAM) (Ryan & Deci, 2000). While researchers agree that achievement motivation is a complicated concept, many disagree about how it differs amongst employees.

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Knowledge is Power: What Makes Employees Share It?

Topic: Job Design, Motivation
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2009)
Article: Encouraging knowledge sharing among employees: How job design matters
Authors: N.J. Foss, D.B. Minbaeva, T. Pedersen, and M. Reinholt
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It’s no secret that knowledge sharing among employees is an absolute necessity for many organizations.  So what can organizations do to facilitate knowledge sharing among its employees?

Foss and colleagues (2009) recently showed that several characteristics of employees’ jobs predict employee motivation to share knowledge. Foss et al. studied this phenomenon using a sample of 186 employees working in a large German manufacturing company.

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Which Employees Set the Bar Higher?

Topic: Personality, Motivation, Goals
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (JAN 2010)
Article: Individual differences in reactions to goal-performance discrepancies over time.
Authors: P.D. Converse, E. Steinhauser, and J. Pathak
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

By nature, a goal creates a discrepancy between an employee’s current performance and some future state. For example, though I have only written one and half sentences, my goal is to write a full review. Thus, by setting this goal, I have created a goal-performance discrepancy for myself. Research suggests that goal-performance discrepancies motivate employees to modify their goals (either up or down) and/or efforts toward attaining those goals (slack off or try harder).

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Beware the Turnover Bug: It’s Contagious!

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, MotivationTurnover
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (JUN 2009)
Article: Turnover contagion: How coworkers’ job embeddedness and job search behaviors influence quitting.
Author: W. Felps, T.R. Mitchell, D.R. Hekman, T.W. Lee, B.C. Holtman, W.S. Harman
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

There is a HUGE body of research literature on the predictors and causes of employee turnover (better grab two cups of coffee before reading all of these articles!). Most of the research has investigated either individual-level explanations (e.g., low job satisfaction) or economic and organizational-level explanations (e.g., unemployment rates and demand for jobs in certain industries) of employee turnover.

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A more personal “length of service award” makes a difference

Topic: Motivation, RewardsStrategic HR,
Publication: HR Magazine
ArticleLength-of-Service Awards Becoming More Personal.
Author: R.R. Hastings
Featured by: Sarah Bowen

Length-of-service awards (the small gold pin or certificate at the bottom of your junk drawer) can be truly rewarding when managed in the proper way. However, when carelessness is evident in such gestures, employees do not feel valued. So, how can we make these gestures count?

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Quarter past nine, I’m late again!

Topic: Compensation, MotivationRewardsStrategic HR
Publication: Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
Article: A Mathematical Model to Monitor Late Arrivals at Work
Author: S.A. Oke, T.M. Ezenachkwu
Featured by: Sarah Bowen

In their recent article, Oke and Ezenachukwu embark on an ambitious journey to prove that timeliness is improved through rewards and recognition in the workplace. The authors conduct their research in a beer and soft drink production company to test their model and assumptions. Educational commitments, monotony of work, and poor welfare provisions were three key reasons workers gave as reasons for their tardiness.

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Who is holding the glass ceiling in place?

Topic: CompensationOrganizational Justice, Motivation, Rewards
Publication: Journal of Human ResourcesArticle: Who is holding the glass
ceiling in place?
Author: N. Fortin
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Many 21st century women still earn less than their male counterparts.  However, this injustice may not be due fully to chauvinists and stereotypes. In her article, The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People , Nicole Fortin investigates influences that women themselves exhibit which may contribute to their smaller paychecks.  As women more often choose to volunteer with organizations that are altruistic in nature, and tend to place more importance on workplace success rather than rolling in the dough, it is easy to follow Fortin’s argument that such noncognitive factors inevitably influence the gender wage gap.

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What to do about the Failure-Focused Employee

Topic: Job Performance, Motivation
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Failure avoidance motivation in a goal-setting situation.
Author: S.R. Heimerdinger, V.B. Hinsz
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Although it is known that employees who set specific and difficult goals tend to outperform those who set broad and relatively easy goals, different employees have differing motivational mindsets when they set their goals. Some employees are motivated to learn and master skills. Others are motivated to demonstrate their competence to others. (“Those darn showoffs!”) Interestingly, though, some employees  are motivated, not by accomplishments, but to simply avoid failing. In other words, when some employees set personal goals, they are focused on NOT FAILING as opposed to succeeding (e.g., “My goal is to NOT completely bomb this presentation!”).

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Want to Maximize Transfer of Training? Get Leaders Involved!

Topic: Leadership, Motivation, Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: Leader influences on training effectiveness: Motivation and outcome expectations processes.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Delivering employee training is one of the most frequently utilized and important Human Resource functions. Although this is well-known, organizations often overlook the true goal of training.

So what is the TRUE goal of training? Ultimately, organizations expect (and often assume) that employees who engage in training will transfer the trained skills into the actual workplace. If employees don’t transfer the skills taught in training, then what good was the training?

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In the name of the cubicle, the computer, and the conference call, Amen.

Topic: Motivation, Organizational Performance, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Organizational Change Management
Article: Workplace Spirituality and Organizational Commitment: An Empirical Study.
Blogger: LitDigger

Much academic literature investigating workplace performance overlooks the element of employee spirituality, but Rego and Cunha (2008) recently dared to venture into this unfamiliar territory. They found that workplace spirituality is related to employees’ organizational commitment.

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Pay-for-performance: Helping those that help themselves?

Topic: Compensation, Motivation, Rewards
Publication: The Wall Street Journal
Article: When schools offer money as a motivator.
Blogger: James Grand

Long gone are the days when Mom and Dad would offer a few bucks for an “A” on your report card to buy some candy from the grocery store.  Now, the schools are starting to provide the incentives—and they aren’t just offering up bubble gum and lollipops.

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The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but the Confident Bird Gets Two

Topic: Motivation
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Self-efficacy and resource allocation: Support for a nonmonotonic, discontinuous model.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Imagine a football game in which you have the inside scoop on the competing teams’ overall self-efficacy for performing well in the upcoming game. Team A is highly confident that they will perform well and win the game, but Team B is not so confident. Who should you bet on?  Well, that’s a no brainer, right? Perhaps not!

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Don’t know what “it” is…but they’ve got it

Topic: Leadership, Motivation
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly
Article: Speech imagery and perceptions of charisma: The mediating role of positive affect
Blogger: James Grand

The qualities that define charismatic leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry Ford, and Winston Churchill have intrigued organizational scholars for years. Research such as that pursued by Naidoo and Lord in the latest volume of The Leadership Quarterly (2008, Vol. 19, Iss. 3) ensures that such efforts will continue.

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