Abusive supervision is detrimental to the workplace. While research has previously confirmed that abusive supervision can deplete an employee’s sense of self and—as a result—lead to acts of deviance in the workplace, there is no integrated approach to the behavioral outcomes of abusive supervision. A new study (Vogel & Mitchell, 2016) provides a unified perspective and examines what happens to employee behavior as a result of abusive supervision. […]
Workplace ostracism is a type of mistreatment that occurs when someone is made to feel excluded from the group of employees whom he or she works with. Past research seems to be conflicting on what we can expect when this happens. Sometimes, research shows that ostracized employees will become less interested in helping their organization and will cut back on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in response. This means that they will reduce activities that are not part of their formal job descriptions. On the other hand, some research shows that ostracized employees will increase pro-social behavior, meaning they will try harder to do things that will allow them to become accepted by the group. So which is it? Will ostracized employees do more or less to help others at work?
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:
With the increasing accessibility of technology and mobile connectivity, employees are no longer confined to their offices, and because of this, telecommuting is on the rise. Telecommuting—a term coined in the 1970s—has gained popularity over the decades and researchers and the scientific community have followed suit. A new article by Allen, Golden, and Shockley (2015) reviews the extant literature on telecommuting and clarifies what research supports regarding telecommuting. The authors define telecommuting as the practice of working away from a central location (usually at home) and relying on technology to interact and stay connected.
Leader decision making is an important topic that affects all organizational leaders. Leaders are often faced with unique challenges that test their abilities to manage diverse teams and situations. They are forced to make hard choices involving satisfying the needs of the organization and those of the employees, which can sometimes cause conflict.
Organizations have seen a drastic increase in the amount of workplace incivility that employees experience on a weekly basis. Way back in in 1998, research revealed that 25% of employees experienced rudeness in the workplace at least once a week. A decade later, nearly 50% of employees reported experiencing incivility in the workplace at least once per week. Incivility is formally defined as “insensitive behavior that displays a lack of regard for others” (Anderson & Pearson, 1999), and is very costly for organizations as it is related to decreased performance and creativity, as well as increased employee turnover.
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.
With the dawn of the technological age upon use, telecommuters are employees who are able to work in remote locations, such as home, outside of the traditional work setting. Rather than commute into work every day, technology enables people to work virtually and perform tasks while physically apart from their colleagues and supervisors.
We can probably agree that speaking up at work is a good idea when employees have constructive things to say. They might have insight into how something can be done more efficiently or an idea that leads to better results. Researchers in this study (Liu, Tangirala, Lam, Chen, Jia, Huang, 2015) focused on this type of speaking up—the kind that involves making productive suggestions—as opposed to criticism. Interestingly, they found that good moods go a long way in determining whether someone will speak up at work.
With the plethora of stories in the media about generational differences in the workplace, a new study provides evidence about what these generational changes may mean for employers. Given the demise of the traditional career path, employees’ career patterns have shifted over time. The current study (Lyons, Schweitzer, & Ng, 2015) analyzed data from the four generations currently in the workforce to provide a greater understanding of shifting career patterns, and how different generations are handling some of the changes that modern employees experience.
Workplace privacy is not something we think of often, but a new review by Congdon, Flynn, and Redman (2014) has highlighted this interesting and important topic. First, the review points to a growing percentage of US workers who are concerned about workplace privacy, say they can’t concentrate at their workstations, and don’t have access to quiet places where they can focus on getting work done. Why is this happening?
One of the reasons they suggest for this rise in the concern for privacy is social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. Large amounts of personal information are available on social media sites, which may make people feel vulnerable. Combine this with a workplace where there is no privacy, and employees may feel as if they are being watched the whole time. This may be causing people to crave more alone time.
The little stories that tend to get passed around an office on a daily basis can have a profound impact on life in the workplace. “Did you hear about Susie? She was fired just for fixing the boss’ coffee wrong. Right on the spot, just like that!”
A new study on retelling stories in organizations by Stephanie L. Dailey and Larry Browning seeks to understand the functions this sort of narrative repetition can have. Ultimately, the authors found storytelling in the workplace builds the foundation for a unique organizational culture.
Dealing with rude customers is a universal truth to working in service positions. We’ve all been there, standing awkwardly in the checkout lane as a red-faced customer furiously berates an employee for some perceived injustice or inconvenience. Intriguingly, how employees react to this rude behavior might be influenced by cultural values.
When it comes to problem solving at work, it doesn’t necessarily matter what you know as much as who you know.
Employees who work directly with products or customers have first-hand experience with some of their company’s biggest issues. But many don’t have the influence or resources to solve those problems without assistance from organizational leaders. Who they turn to for help is often more about their relationships with the various leaders than on the person’s position, or company protocol.
When we think of powerful leaders, we often imagine people who can get others to do what they wish. After all, power and leadership, by definition, involve the capacity to control or influence the behaviors of others. However, this study by Tost and Larrick shows that having more powerful leaders can actually harm team performance.
Much like finding a great deal online or getting out of a speeding ticket, designing a company culture that enables employees to do their best work is more of an art than a science. Managing internal and external demands to ensure that your people strategy aligns with your business strategy is not easy, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach that guarantees success.
However, Goffee and Jones (2013) provide some guidance for those looking to create and foster a work environment where employees do more than just achieve their given targets: they push the envelope, demonstrate thought leadership, exceed expectations, and thrive.
According to researchers Sonnentag & Grant, a positive mood that comes from helping someone is so powerful that it can last till bedtime. Firstly, when you believe that you have helped someone at work you feel good. Then, over the day, you think about it, reflecting on the positive features of the event. This reflection spills over into the rest of your day, leaving you feeling good all day long. Due to our tendency to be more engaged with positive emotions and to detach from negative ones, we improve the positive parts of these memories in our minds, giving them greater power to make us happy.
Envy. Since historic times, social comparisons has spurred many conflicts. Envy at work comes in many masks. Undermining someone socially. Not helping them. We can even allow our own job performance to suffer out of envy-driven resentment or spite. We all know how envy can have disastrous consequences. But is envy always bad?
Topics: Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (OCT 2012)
Article: Getting better and staying better: Assessing civility, incivility, distress, and job attitudes one year after a civility intervention.
Authors: Michael P. Leiter, Arla Day, Debra Gilin Oore, & Heather K. Spence Laschinger
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier
The demands of work can take a toll on employees. People get stressed when their psychological resources are stretched thin and might end up lashing out at fellow employees. Negative exchanges damage work relationships and impact the organizational bottom-line through burnout, stress, turnover, and reduced engagement. Negative exchanges are often reacted to with more negativity, resulting in even more workplace incivility.
Topic: Management, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2010)
Article: When Distress Hits Home: The Role of Contextual Factors and Psychological Distress in Predicting Employees’ Responses to Abusive Supervision
Authors: S.L.D. Restubog, K.L. Scott, T.J. Zagenczyk
Reviewed By: Ben Sher
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
Topic: Diversity, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)
Article: Profiles of mature job seekers: Connecting needs and desires to work characteristics
Authors: Yoshie Nakai, Boin Chang, Andrea F. Snell, and Chris D. Fluckinger
Reviewer: Kerrin George
With the difficult economy, organizations are facing the retention of an aging workforce that has unique needs, desires, and challenges. In an effort to explain the work characteristics of interest to workers over 40, Nakai and colleagues (2011) examined and identified 3 clusters of workers based on how they evaluated several dimensions that describe why one desire’s work: the Satisficers, the Free agents, and the Maximizers.
Topic: Wellness, Work Environment
Publication: Human Resource Management (JAN 2011)
Article: The effects of downsizing on labor productivity, the value of showing consideration for employees’ morale and welfare in high-performance work systems
Authors: R.D. Iverson, C.D. Zatzick
Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart
As economic conditions weaken, downsizing has become an increased reality for many organizations. Typically aimed at decreasing operational costs, often downsizing has the unintended consequence of also lowering employee productivity and morale.
Topic: Conflict, Work Environment, Workplace Deviance
Publication: Business Horizons
Article: Eating their cake and everyone else’s cake, too: Resources as the main ingredient to work place bullying
Authors: A.R. Wheeler, J.R.B. Halbesleben, and K. Shanine
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky
It is a basic tenet of economics that there are limited resources for infinite demand, and the workplace is no exception to this rule. Resources in the organizational context are thoworkse things that workers need in order to perform their jobs–social relationships, job-skill set match, and a positive environment in which to work among them. In order to attain these resources, workers sometimes act in a counterproductive manner, psychologically or physically abusing those co-workers that seem to have the resources in their possession. This behavior is also known as bullying, and it is a serious problem facing organizations the world over.
Publication: Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2010)
Article: Self-management competencies in self-managing teams: Their impact on multi-team system productivity
Authors: J. P. Millikin, P. W. Hom, C. C. Manz
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood
The emergence and increasing popularity of self-managed work teams in the past 25 years have lead many business leaders to claim that self-managed teams are the wave of the future. Indeed, self-managed teams have been shown to positively influence organizational outcomes such as customer service and productivity.
However, some research has contradicted these findings suggesting, in fact, that self-managed teams may be overall detrimental to organizational success. Differences in team composition may be the culprit of these varied results; so, which team member qualities contribute to effective self-managed teams within the larger, multi-team system and which hinder productivity?
Topic: Faking, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Willing and able to fake emotions: A closer examination of the link between emotional dissonance and employee well-being
Authors: S.D. Pugh, M. Groth & T. Hennig-Thurau
Reviewed By: Benjamin Lee Overstreet
Think about it: If you’re having a bad day, the last thing you want to do at work is put on a smile and say “How can I help you today?” When you have to fake a persona that is in direct conflict with your real emotions, you are experiencing what is called emotional dissonance.
Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: A little thanks goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior (JUN 2010)
Authors: A. M. Grant, and F. Gino
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague
In recent years, employees’ jobs and job tasks have become increasingly interconnected, necessitating an increase in teams and groups in the workplace. This integration means that employees must interact with many different people at work on a regular basis and places a high value on interpersonal skills, even for non-service jobs. Modern organizations need employees who can function well in teams and work together to help achieve a common goal. As such, it is important for these organizations to understand how to promote prosocial (helping) amongst their employees.
Topic: Work Environment, Burnout
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (March, 2010)
Article: Contextualizing emotional exhaustion and positive emotional display: The signaling effect of supervisors’ emotional exhaustion and service climate.
Authors: C.K. Lam, X. Huang, & O. Janssen
Reviewed By: Allison Gabriel
Employees are frequently encouraged to engage in pleasant behavior while suppressing negative emotions, despite how they actually feel. But, what happens when employees are too emotionally exhausted to go on?
Topic: Stress, Wellness, Work Environment
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Summer 2010)
Article: Psychological and physiological reactions to high workloads: Implications for well-being
Authors: R. Ilies, N. Dimotakis, and I.E. De Pater
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
In a rather unique study by Ilies, Dimotakis and De Pater (2010), the authors found that heavy workloads can have negative psychological (distress) and physiological (blood pressure) effects that fluctuate depending on an employee’s daily workload. The authors also investigated how daily changes in workload affect employees’ daily well-being when they get home from work.
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (MAR 2010)
Article: The Social and Economic Imperative of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Supportive Organizational Policies
Authors: E.B. King & J.M. Cortina
Selected commentary authors: Zickar, M.J. and Locke, E.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl
While the United States has implemented workplace legislation to protect employees from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and age, there has been no federal legislation enacted to protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual identities. King and Cortina (2010) believe that despite the lack of federal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) employees, organizations should enact their own LGBT-supportive policies.
Topic: Culture, Self Efficacy, Work Environment
Publication: Applied Psychology: An International Review (JAN 2010)
Article: A cross-national examination of self-efficacy as a moderator of autonomy/job
Authors: M.M. Nauta, C. Liu, and C. Li
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
In work settings, autonomy refers to the degree of control that employees have over their work. While research has generally shown that low levels of autonomy are stressful to employees (i.e., leads them to experience strain), this is not necessarily true for all employees. Indeed, employees who are confident in their ability to exercise control over their lives and work environments (i.e., high generalized self-efficacy) appear to be buffered from the negative effects of low autonomy. However, most of the research on this topic has been conducted in North America and it is unclear whether these findings are consistent across cultures.
Topic: Health & Safety
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2009)
Article: Changing to Daylight Saving Time cuts into sleep and increases workplace injuries
Authors: C.M. Barnes & D.T. Wagner
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
Although Daylight Saving Time was originally proposed to align the human sleep/wake cycle with the Earth’s rotation cycle (and to give us more day light to BBQ on those warm summer afternoons!), Barnes and Wagner wondered if these time changes have detrimental effects on human sleep patterns and workplace injuries.
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2009)
Article: Daily work stress and alcohol use: Testing the cross-level moderation effects of neuroticism and job involvement
Authors: S. Liu, M. Wang, Y. Zhan, and J. Shi
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
Many employees (perhaps as many as 92.5 million in the U.S. alone) use alcohol to cope with daily work stress. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an adult beverage after a long day of work, but research suggests that employees who use alcohol tend to have more health and work-related problems than those who do not.
Topic: Job Performance, Work Environment, Culture
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAY 2009)
Article: Overlooked but not untouched: How rudeness reduces onlookers’ on routine and creative tasks
Authors: Porath, C. L. and Erez, A.
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
Now here’s a topic that might make you ball your fists: Rudeness in the workplace. Have you ever been treated rudely by a coworker or supervisor? Have you ever seen rude behavior at work? If so, you are not alone. Perhaps as many as 25% of employees report witnessing rudeness on a daily basis (For some reason, the DMV crosses my mind).
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (JUN 2009)
Article: Interactive effects of growth need strength, work context, and job complexity on self-reported creative performance.
Authors: C.E. Shalley, L.L. Gilson, T.C. Blum
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger
A creative workforce can give an organization a unique competitive advantage over its “status quo” competition. But what factors influence creative performance? To provide an answer to this question, Shalley, Gilson, and Blum (2009) tested the role of growth need strength in predicting creative performance at work.
How do you know that you won’t trip on the telephone cord your coworker has stretched across the entryway of your cubicle? You don’t (until the inevitable happens). How do you know whether or not workplace safety behaviors are actually practiced in your organization? A study by Parboteeah and Kapp (2008) says that the company’s ethical climate may provide some clues.
Topic: Motivation, Organizational Performance, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Organizational Change Management
Article: Workplace Spirituality and Organizational Commitment: An Empirical Study.
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.
Publication: Environment & Behavior
Article: Anger and Stress: The Role of Landscape Posters in an Office Setting
Is there more to aesthetic beauty than, well, aesthetics? Office employees may think they’re enjoying art for art’s sake, but the benefits of art may be more complex than that. A study by Kweon, Ulrich, Walker, and Tassinary (2008) found that state anger and stress can be significantly reduced by the type of posters hanging in your office (or, for we more lowly servants, our cubicles). But there’s a catch here: differences in anger and stress were only significant for males (Sorry, ladies. Keep investing in those yoga classes).