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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/29/2011

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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

Images 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.

Together, the balance, or lack thereof, between these four components determines the overall quality of the psychological contract between an employee and the organization they work for. The current study, by Lisa Schurer Lambert, addresses a gap in the psychological contract literature: the comparison, by employees, of inducements to contributions, particularly with respect to the weight that employees give to each component.

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The Curious Case of Recruiters

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/26/2011

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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

Index 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?

Participants in this study came from one of two groups: recruiters, and students. The students acted as a sort of control group, with their performance thought to be representative of how laypeople might perform on the assessment task. Participants viewed videotapes of mock job applicants; compared to a typical job interview, the videos were much shorter, exposing participants to each applicant for an average of only two minutes. Participants then assessed each applicant’s personality (the assessment utilized the Big 5 personality components). The accuracy of the participants’ assessments were measure against self-assessments completed by the applicants, as well as peer assessments completed by two friends of each applicant. The researchers found that students were able to accurately assess more personality traits (openness, extraversion, and conscientiousness) than the recruiters were (openness only), while recruiters were better able to assess the complete personality profile of each applicant.

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Supervisor support can tip work/family balance into equilibrium

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/24/2011

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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

Worklifebalance 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. 

Lower skilled workers may be especially prone to not being able to utilize public and/or organizational policies that could help relieve stress between work and family obligations because they often face lower job stability and less bargaining power than highly skilled workers.  However, the results of this study suggest that these types of support are also critical for lower skilled workers. 

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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/22/2011

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Topic: Culture, 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

Index 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.

Briefly, the CVF arranges organizational cultures into four categories: clan (internal
focus on human capital and membership), adhocracy (external focus on adapting
through creativity, innovation, and gathering of resources), market (external focus
on competitiveness and aggressiveness to meet customer demands), and hierarchy
(internal focus on maintain predictability and performance through precise control and
clearly defined roles).

After examining 84 studies across three dimensions of organizational effectiveness
(employee attitudes, operational effectiveness, and financial effectiveness), the authors
found that clan cultures were more positively associated with job satisfaction than were
adhocracy cultures, subjective innovation was more strongly related to market cultures
than adhocracy cultures, and market cultures had stronger positive relationships with
financial effectiveness criteria than were clan or adhocracy cultures.

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For Some, The Grass is Always Greener

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/19/2011

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Topic: Turnover

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

 Cow 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.

Based on a sample of 393 employees, these authors found that in general, those employees who had a history of changing jobs frequently (as assessed using biodata) were more likely to turnover in subsequent jobs.  However, this relationship was affected (moderated) by the complexity of the job (as measured by O*Net ratings).  This means that, theoretically, some people are more likely to want to leave their organizations (as evidenced by previous job mobility) and this pattern was even stronger for those in increasingly complex jobs. 

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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/17/2011

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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

Images 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.

The authors provide advice for practitioners who want to measure engagement but are looking to save money. Re-administering a survey without making changes from the previous administration will reduce costs, though it will present challenges if edits need to be made. Items should be directly actionable, so that responses to the items can be used to make real changes.

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Thinking about Building the Box: Practical Intelligence & Entrepreneurs

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/15/2011

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Topic: Job Performance, Potential, Talent 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

Images 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. The current study, by J. Robert Baum and colleagues, examined one of these specific forms of intelligence, practical intelligence (PI), and its impact on the success of entrepreneurs. The authors focused on entrepreneurial success primarily because of the impact that entrepreneurs can have on business growth and job creation, qualities that are particularly important in light of current economic conditions.

PI emphasizes the application of knowledge to novel problems or situations. In this sense, PI, although it is a distinct construct, can be roughly equated to common sense. The authors proposed a model in which the positive relationship between PI and industry experience, and PI and venture experience, are enhanced by two modes of learning: concrete experience and active experimentation.

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Put a Frame on It! Goal Framing to Improve Performance

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/12/2011

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Topic: Motivation, Organizational Performance

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology

Article: Managing joint production motivation: The role of goal framing and governance

Authors: S. Lindenberg, N. J. Foss

Reviewer: Rachel Marsh

Images 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.

There are three main elements of goal-framing theory, the normative, hedonic and
gain. When framing goals through the normative view, one thinks of the ‘we’ first, and
what is better for the group (this person is focused on benefitting the organization).
The hedonic goal applies when a person is trying to improve their current situation.
The focus is on the ‘now’ (in the workplace this person wants to have fun avoid difficult
tasks). The gain goal is when someone tries to improve the resources they have (in the
workplace this person is looking to increase their status or income).

By understanding that people have these three types of goals and utilizing that
understanding to the company’s advantage, an organization can improve the
performance of its employees. Organizations need to ensure that the normative goal
is the supraorbital goal, or the goal in the forefront of their employees’ minds.

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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/10/2011

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Topic: Stress

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology

Article: Time is Tight: How Higher Economic Value of Time Increases Feelings of Time

Authors: DeVoe, S.E., & Pfeffer, J.

Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Index 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.

Turning the value to scarcity heuristic on its head, DeVoe and Pfeffer built upon the
idea that the more valuable an object is the more scarce it appears. They specifically
hypothesized that the economic value of time would be positively related to greater
feelings of time pressure, that time value would be positively related to impatient
behavior, and that these relationships would seem stronger when the monetary value of time was made salient.

These hypotheses were supported across a combination of 5 studies (1 longitudinal
survey and 4 experimental), demonstrating that the higher the perceived value of time
the greater the perception of time pressure. In other words, higher incomes, higher
billable rates for time, and feeling richer (all proxies for having a perception of greater
time value) were related to greater time pressure and less patient behavior.

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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/08/2011

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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

Index 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). A new study by Tal Yaffe and Ronit Kark addresses this issue, examining the relationship between leader and follower OCB, and potential moderators and mediators of the relationship between the two types of OCB.

The authors collected survey data from over 60 work units in a large Israeli organization. Among the authors’ hypotheses, they believed that higher levels of leader OCB would be associated with higher levels of group OCB, as well as stronger group beliefs about the worthiness of OCB. They also hypothesized that leader (physical) distance, and group perceptions of the leader, would have an impact on the degree to which leader OCB facilitated group OCB.

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