Ethical Leadership and OCBs?

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/24/2011

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Topic: Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Ethics, Gender

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (DEC 2010)

Article: Fostering good citizenship through ethical leadership:  Exploring the moderating role of gender and organizational politics.

Authors:  Michele Kacmar, Daniel Bachrach, Kenneth Harris, and Suzanne Zivnuska

Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Images Kacmar, Bachrach, Harris, and Zivnuska (2010) sought to expand on ethical leadership research by examining its relationship with organizational citizenship behavior.  First, they examined the direct relationship between ethical leadership (honest, fair, and transparent leadership) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB- prosocial behavior at work such as helping fellow employees with difficult tasks).  The results of their blanket study indicated that the presence of ethical leadership in an organization led to higher rates of OCB.  This showed that when employees feel indebted to ethical leaders, they may seek to “repay” them with OCB.  If it were that simple it would be great- make sure leaders act ethically and you could create a positive, prosocial work environment just like that!  Things aren’t always so simple, as we find out in the latter parts of their study.

However straightforward the above findings are, they do not take into account various social and political factors that are present in most workplaces.  Here’s where things get interesting.  Employee gender roles and perceptions of organizational politics (POP- an employee’s perception of the political environment of their workplace, whereby high POP would indicate a politicized work environment where employees act selfishly and are motivated by self-interest) can influence the strength and direction of the above relationship.   In terms of gender roles, social role theory (SRT) suggests that men engage in OCBs in part to increase their status and further their careers.  In contrast, SRT would indicate that women engage in OCBs in part because of stronger social orientations and the desire to strengthen bonds with fellow coworkers.  

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Employee Burnout: Is It the Same for Men and Women?

Posted at 4:30 AM On 01/21/2011

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Topic: Burnout

Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (OCT 2010)

Article: Gender Differences in Burnout: A meta-analysis

Authors: R.K. Purvanova; J.P. Muros

Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

Images (1) Do both men and women experience burnout? Yes. Do men and women experience burnout differently? Yes. In a meta-analysis that includes the results of 183 studies, burnout appears to be an equal opportunity downer, but, sometimes, in different ways, for men and women. On the first burnout component, depersonalization, men are more likely to experience it than women (57% of men and 43% of women report feeling the need to shut-off and withdraw when stressed at work). On the second component of burnout, emotional exhaustion, women are slightly more likely to exhibit it (54% of women and 46% of men studied feel emotionally and physically depleted at work).

Why, then, do you hear the rumor that women experience burnout more? The problem is that depersonalization is often not recognized. Many of the measures of burnout tap only emotional exhaustion and therefore, identify burnout among women more. Men experiencing depersonalization may not be indicated as “burnt out”. Companies may not see the need to assist men with burnout, and the myth that burnout is a female experience is perpetuated. A lack of resources for helping both men and women cope with burnout results in its costly effects: decrease in performance, satisfaction, commitment, health and, ultimately, turnover. These outcomes can be avoided with the availability of resources for both male and female employees such as more respite time, flexible work scheduling, more support for child and elder care, and better healthcare alternatives to name a few.

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The Winning Team!

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/19/2011

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Topic: Teams

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

Team-building 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?  

The current study investigated the effects of two team composition variables: team members’ degree of self-management abilities (practicing self-job enrichment and engage in positive self-talk) and the degree of interpersonal cohesion (perceiving similarity between themselves and the other team members). The results revealed teams which consist of members who are more self-managing displayed higher levels of productivity. Additionally, teams with higher self-management abilities as well as higher levels of interpersonal cohesion showed additional productivity gains over teams with high self-management abilities but low interpersonal cohesion levels.

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Have innovative ideas that need implementing? Increase job embeddedness of mid- to late- career stage employees.

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/17/2011

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Topic: Performance

Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV-DEC, 2010)

Article: The impact of job embeddedness on innovation-related behaviors

Authors: T.W.H. Ng, D.C. Feldman

Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

Images In recent years, organizations have faced increased pressures to continually be innovative in order to survive in a competitive marketplace. New work by Ng and Feldman (2010) suggests that job embeddedness could be a potential strategy to bolster innovative behaviors by employees. Job embeddedness attempts to explain how employee fit (organization-employee match), links (personal relationships at work), and sacrifice (loss of rewards and benefits if turnover) keep employees with their current organizations even when other opportunities are available. Research consistently shows that highly embedded employees are increasingly motivated to perform well in their jobs because they feel committed and invested in the success of the organization. But are highly embedded employees also more likely to engage in innovative-related behaviors and is this consistent across all employees?

In short, the answer is yes. Highly embedded employees are more apt to engage in innovation-related behaviors. However, while they are not more likely to generate innovative ideas, they are more inclined to spread the innovative ideas throughout the organization and actually implement the ideas. But wait; before you run to implement new policies, the current article also suggests that this trend is not consistent across all employees. In fact, those highly embedded employees in their mid- to late-career stages are significantly more likely to spread and implement innovative ideas than those early in their career.

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Organizational Culture: Attracting Job Applicants by Advertising the “Softer Side”

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/14/2011

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Topic: Culture, Recruiting, Gender

Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (WINTER 2010)

Article: The impact of organizational culture on attraction and recruitment of job applicants

Authors: D. Catanzaro, H. Moore, T.R. Marshall

Reviewed By: Rebecca Eckart

Images As top talent becomes sparse but human capital continues to be a chief competitive advantage, the ability to recruit highly skilled applicants is paramount. Additionally, modern organizations have the added hurdle of attracting job applicants that also fit well with the values of the organization. Organizational culture is typically described as the collective set of values and norms shared by members of an organization. Recently, researchers have started to categorize organizational cultures as either being “supportive” or “competitive” in nature. Supportive cultures value collaboration, equality, supportiveness, and work-life balance, whereas organizations with a competitive culture typically value individualism, ambition, rewards, and a focus on one’s career.  

In a recent study, Catanzaro, Moore, and Marshall (2010) examined how beliefs about the organization’s culture impacts male and female applicants’ job pursuit, organizational preference, and organizational choice. They found that both men and women would rather pursue a job with a supportive organization, even if that meant accepting less compensation. However, when presented with a job in a competitive organizational culture, men are more likely than women to pursue the job.

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Organization-based self-esteem: – It’s good for me AND the bottom line.

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/12/2011

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Topic: Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Performance

Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (SEP 2010)

Article: A meta-analysis of the predictors and consequences of organization-based self esteem.

Authors: Bowling, N. A., Eschleman, K. J., Wang, Q., Kirkendall, C.,& Alarcon, G.

Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

Index Organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) is a role-specific type of self-esteem that describes employees’ beliefs about their value and competence as a member of an organization – “I’m valued around here!”  So, what predicts OBSE in employees and what are the outcomes of experiencing OBSE?

A meta-analysis by Bowling and colleagues found that OSBE is predicted by the dispositional,  “hard wired” traits of general self-esteem and self-efficacy (the belief a person has that he/she can achieve goals).  Additionally, job complexity, autonomy, perceived organizational support, and social support from managers and coworkers were work conditions that predicted OBSE in employees.

As for outcomes, the present study found that OBSE was positively related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job involvement, performance, and organizational citizenship behavior. 

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The Business Case: Benefits of Diversity Management Beyond High-Performance Work Systems

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/10/2011

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Topic: Diversity

Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2010)

Article:  The Impact Of Diversity And Equality Management On Firm Performance: Beyond High Performance Work Systems 

Authors: C. Armstrong, P. C. Flood, J. P. Guthrie, W. Liu, S. Maccurtain, and T.  Mkamwa

Reviewed By: Kerrin George

Images “What I need is the data, the evidence that diverse groups do better.”  Organizations may recognize the consequences of workplace discrimination, but when it comes to diversity management (e.g., practices that emphasize differences among employees as an asset if managed effectively), organizations need more convincing that the benefits will outweigh the costs. 

The advantages of high performance work systems (HPWS; i.e., integrated recruitment, selection, performance management, training and development practices) have robust effects on organizational performance beyond individual human resource practices.  However, effective diversity management is often considered a primary characteristic of high performing organizations.  Armstrong and colleagues (2010) investigated whether diversity and equality management systems (DEMS, e.g., diversity training, ensuring equal pay and promotion across all groups) would have additional benefits for organizational performance.  They found support that organizations that used HPWS had increased firm performance; however, those organizations that used DEMS or a combination of both systems demonstrated additional gains, such as increased productivity and innovation, and less voluntary turnover.

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Want to Accelerate Transition Into New Leadership Roles? Try this Five-Action Step Intervention

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/07/2011

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Topic: Coaching, Leadership, Teams

Publication: Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (MAR 2010)

Article: New leader assimilation process: Accelerating new role-related transitions.

Authors: I.M. Levin

Reviewed By: Jailza Pauly

Images The first 90 to 100 days are crucial for those moving into new leadership roles. But why is this period so important?  Leaders in new roles are more likely to make errors such as acting too quickly without the necessary information and failing to build relationships and credibility.  To ensure accelerated assimilation and effectiveness into new roles, organizations can help their new leaders experience successful role transitions.

Levin recently proposed a five step structured intervention that combines executive coaching and team development.  Its purpose is to address two tasks that are critical to success in new leadership roles: information seeking about the context and challenges of the new role and relationship building with the new team of direct reports and peers.

Step 1 – Launch

A contracting process between a qualified coach (e.g., Levin recommends a consulting psychologist), the new leader, and key stakeholders outlining substantive task-related and socio-emotional issues associated with the transition into the new role.

Step 2 – Leader Preparation and Team interviews

A parallel process of data collection through individual interviews with direct reports and peers, as well as ongoing analysis of responses (conducted by the consulting psychologist).

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Equality Versus Differentiation: Why Your Boss Shouldn’t Always Have the Stage

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/05/2011

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Topic: Conflict

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)

Article: Equality versus Differentiation: The Effects of Power Dispersion on Group Interaction

Authors: L.L. Greer, and G.A. van Kleef

Reviewed by: Holly Engler

Meeting1 It should be no surprise that power can shape an individual’s behavior.   Just think about politics, past employers, or even your parents.  The dispersion of such power may also shape behavior.  Current research proposes that there are important relationships among power, power dispersion, and conflict resolution.

Power refers to an individual’s capacity to modify others’ states (e.g., emotions, behaviors).  Not surprisingly, in organizational settings, power is most common amongst top management employees.  For jobs such as factory line workers or retail associates, employees generally experience low power as they are not as likely to be able to influence others’ and thus organizational decisions.  The dispersion of power, on the other hand, refers to the differences in the concentration of group members. Where there is high dispersion, one person is likely to influence the group; where there is low dispersion, power is equal among group members.

Research conducted by Greer and van Kleef suggests that this knowledge of power may have an effect on conflict resolution in the workplace.  

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Go Ahead, Take That Vacation – It’s Good For You…and Your Company!

Posted at 5:30 AM On 01/03/2011

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Topic: Burnout, Wellness, Work-Life Balance

Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2011)

Article: How long do you benefit from vacation? A closer look at the fade-out of vacation effects

Authors: J. Kuhnel and S. Sonnentag

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Images We all look forward to vacations and other extended breaks from our hectic work schedules, and fortunately, the case is building for the importance of these hiatuses from work.  Research suggests that because normal work demands drain our limited physical and mental resources, employees need sufficient time to recharge their batteries if they are to operate at full capacity on the job. 

Research by Kuhnel and Sonnentag (2011) shows that vacation time can positively impact employees’ psychological well-being when they return to the job.  In their study of German teachers, vacation time was favorably related to work engagement and burnout after returning to work.  In other words, after returning from vacation, teachers tended to report high levels of work engagement and low levels of burnout.  The benefits of vacation time, however, dropped off after about one month back on the job.

But why exactly do the benefits of vacations wear off over time?  The authors found that job demands (e.g., student behavior problems, time pressures in this particular study) counteract the positive benefits of vacation time over time.  Said another way, while vacations help us recharge our batteries, job demands begin to take their toll and drain our limited resources after some time back on the job.  However, the authors found that experiencing leisure time following vacation helps preserve the positive effects of vacation on employee well-being.

Results such as these highlight the importance of taking vacation time. 

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