Does Practice Makes Perfect?

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/05/2011

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Topic: Development

Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)

Article: Sport-specific practice and the development of expert decision-making in team ball sports

Authors: J. Baker, J. Cote, & B. Abernethy

Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Images How long does an athlete need to practice before he or she becomes an expert?  In the 1970s, the amount was 10,000 hours, or, approximately 10 years (sound familiar to you “Outliers” fans?).  As of late, the theory has been refined to reflect the notion that quality is at least as important as the quantity of practice.  Deliberate practice, a high-quality type of practice that focuses on improving performance with a work-like fervor, has been shown to differentiate expert from non-expert athletes, academics, and artists.  

Though there has been research on the relationship between deliberate practice and athletes who play individual sports, such as golf and tennis, less research has been performed on the relationship between deliberate practice and athletes who play team sports, such as basketball.  In addressing this void, Baker, Cote, and Abernethy investigated if sport-specific practice (i.e., deliberate practice) differentiated expert from non-expert athletes in the team sports of basketball, netball, and field hockey.  It was found that the expert athletes had engaged in more deliberate practice than the non-expert athletes, with the expert athletes having practiced over 13 years and in excess of 4,000 hours since the age of 12. 



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Want to increase performance? Take a look at Psychological Capital

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/03/2011

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Topic: Performance, Talent Management

Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUM 2011)

Article: Psychological capital and employee performance: A latent growth modeling approach

Authors: Peterson, S. J., Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Zhang, Z.

Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

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

Over a period of seven months, the authors assessed 179 financial advisors’ levels of psychological capital along with objective and subjective measures of performance. They found that participants’ levels of psychological capital changed over time, providing further evidence that psychological capital can be developed. The level of psychological capital was also significantly related to both the objective and subjective measures of performance; that is, performance increased as psychological capital increased, and performance decreased as psychological capital decreased. The authors also found support for psychological capital influencing performance, as opposed to performance influencing psychological capital.



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Joining Teams and Going Overboard!

Posted at 5:30 AM On 08/01/2011

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Topic: Teams

Publication: Academy of Management Review

Article: Multiple team membership: A theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams

Authors: M.B. O’Leary, M. Mortensen & A.W. Woolley

Reviewed By: Jade Peters

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

A recent team membership model shows that the more teams an employee is on the more productive they are up until a point where too many teams become overwhelming and productivity decreases significantly.  On the other hand, the variety of teams an employee is on is important because the variety can really aid in the increase of learning within teams and employees.

Really understanding how team membership can affect productivity and learning will help managers and team leaders become more mindful of the number of teams they assign their employees too and the variety of the teams.  Managers are going to want a productive employee that gets the most learning experience out of the teams that they join.  Employees alike can really benefit from this as well.  Knowing when to join teams and resisting teams they know will overwhelm them can help increase their productivity while they still maintain an increase in learning. 

O'Leary, M.B., Mortensen, M., & Woolley, A.W. (2011). Multiple team membership: a theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams. Academy of management review, 2011(36), 461-478.



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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/27/2011

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Topic: Diversity

Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (MAY 2011)

Article: “What About Me? Perceptions of Exclusion and Whites’ Reactions to
Multiculturalism

Authors: Victoria C. Plaut, Flannery G. Garnett, Laura E. Buffardi, Jeffrey Sanchez-
Burks

Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

Images The support of White Americans is crucial for diversity efforts to be effective. The best model for designing diversity initiatives is the multiculturalism approach. This approach encourages the understanding and acceptance of different cultural backgrounds of
employees. It has been shown through research to be more effective than taking a color-blind approach (the other dominant framework). Color-blind programs ask participants to view everyone as the same, and don’t highlight or promote cultural differences.

Herein lies the problem that this research article is exploring: White
Americans are more likely to resist diversity initiatives based on multiculturalism
versus color-blindness. Why? This research suggests that their lack of support
for multiculturalism is due to perceptions of exclusion. How so? There is a basic,
psychological need to be included, to belong, and if multiculturalism is perceived
as “only for minorities” White Americans feel excluded. This perceived exclusion results
in “diversity resistance.”

So how did these researchers reach these conclusions? They conducted five studies
in simulated and actual work organizations that showed, first, that White Americans
do associate multiculturalism with exclusion. In the second study they found that this
association can be weakened by using subtle cuing (re: specifying both: inclusion of
all groups; and European Americans in wording of multiculturalism materials). A third
study examined the role that self-concept plays in employee reactions to diversity
initiatives. The extent to which multiculturalism fit respondents (using a Me/Not Me Self- association measure) was more important than actual group membership in prediction of support for diversity efforts. That is, feeling included was key.



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

Posted at 4:30 AM On 07/25/2011

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Topic: Teams, Job Performance

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)

Article: When Managers and Their Teams Disagree: A Longitudinal Look at the

Consequences of Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Support

Author: M.R. Bashshur, A. Hernandez, V. Gonzalez-Roma

Reviewed By: Ben Sher

928802-diverse-business-men-shaking-hands-in-a-corporate-environment--vertical Your manager likes Chinese food, classical music, Ohio State football, and is a lifelong Democrat.  You, on the other hand, love Mexican food, heavy metal, went to Michigan, and have a ten inch GOP tattoo across your back.  Will workplace productivity suffer?  Hopefully not.  But what if you believe your organization fails to adequately support your work team, while your manager thinks they’re doing a fine job?  According to research by Banshur, Hernandez, and Gonzalez-Roma (2011), this scenario could lead to poor productivity and poor attitudes.

Researchers extensively surveyed bank employees at well over a hundred bank branches and made several important findings about perceived organizational support, which is whether employees or managers believe that the organization is doing everything they can to ensure the success of the team.  This may include providing needed resources, additional training, or simply showing they care about the efforts and success of the team.  When teams perceive organizational support, they feel the need to reciprocate by increasing productivity, and will also experience “positive affect”, which basically means they will be in a good mood.  

But the authors found a problem.  When there is a discrepancy between the manager’s perception and the rest of the team’s shared perception of organizational support, negative consequences could occur.  Specifically, when managers think that organizational support is high, but team members feel it is low, this leads to lower productivity and generally bad moods.  This is because the manager may appear out of touch with reality, leading to frustration and tension for the employees.  When the scenario is reversed, and the manger thinks support is low while team members feel it is high, negative outcomes are also possible.  For example, the manager might proscribe unneeded additional training, which could also be a source of frustration.  Still, the effects are not as severe as in the first scenario. 



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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/22/2011

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Topic: Hodge-Podge

Publication: Academy of Management Review (APR 2011)

Article: From Blue Sky Research to Problem Solving: A Philosophy of Science Theory of New Knowledge Production

Authors: M. Kilduff, A. Mehra, & M. B. Dunn

Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

37725 I believe it is impossible not to take certain things for granted in our lives. Whether it be the jobs we hold while others are unemployed, the food we eat while others go hungry, or the spaces we live in while some live on the streets, I think it is a basic characteristic of human beings that we, at a certain point, take for granted those things that are familiar and consistent.

I think this same tendency catches up with us in our professional lives. We are trained, in school and on the job, in a certain way, we are involved in projects that encourage us to think a certain way, and over time, we may take for granted the underlying assumptions behind what we do and why. In some sense, we are asleep at the wheel. To this end, a new article by Martin Kilduff, Ajay Mehra, and Mary Dunn goes a long way towards re-awakening us from this accidental slumber, by encouraging readers to think about some of the basic philosophies that may guide scientific action and discovery.



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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/20/2011

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Topic: Job Attitudes, Turnover

Publication: Academy of Management Journal

Article: The Power of Momentum: A New Model of Dynamic Relationships Between Job
Satisfaction Change and Turnover Intentions

Authors: Chen, G., Ployhart, R.E., Cooper Thomas, H., Anderson, N., & Bliese, P.D

Reviewer: Neil Morelli

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

Chen et al. introduced the idea of “job satisfaction momentum”, or the systematic
change in job satisfaction over time, and tested if it would influence the nature of the JS
to turnover intention relationship. Their results indicated that JS change is negatively
related to turnover intention change; as JS increased (declined), turnover intention
declined (increased). In other words, it was the systematic change in JS that helped
determine the change in turnover intentions.



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Stretching: Not as Beneficial as You Might Think

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/18/2011

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Topic: Goals

Publication: Academy of Management Review (JUL 2011)

Article: The Paradox of Stretch Goals: Organizations in Pursuit of the Seemingly Impossible

Authors: S. B. Sitkin, K. E. See, C. C. Miller, M. W. Lawless, & A. M. Carton

Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

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

Sitkin and colleagues conclude that the organizations that are most likely to use stretch goals are also those that are least likely to reap the benefits of such goals. More specifically, organizations with poor recent performance and a lack of slack resources may be likely to attempt to use stretch goals in a dramatic attempt to turn things around; however, Sitkin and colleagues argue that the very conditions that cause such organizations to turn to stretch goals make it likely that negative outcomes will accompany the use of stretch goals (that is, there will be few to no improvements in organizational learning or performance).



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

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/15/2011

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Topic: Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology

Article: A Moderated Mediation Model of the Relationship Between Organizational
Citizenship Behaviors and Job Performance

Authors: Ozer, M.

Reviewed by: Neil Morelli

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

In an effort to continue building the theoretical bridge between OCBs and performance, Ozer (2011) discovered that the quality of coworker relationships (called team member exchange; TMX) mediates the OCB to performance relationship, but only for OCBs directed toward individuals like providing encouragement, extra help, or advice. Because this relationship depends on the amount of leeway an employee has to engage in these relationships, Ozer also discovered that task autonomy moderated the OCB to TMX to performance relationships.



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Do you care about human capital? You should!

Posted at 5:30 AM On 07/13/2011

Comments (2)

Topic: Organizational Performance, Talent Management, Strategic HR

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)

Article: Does human capital matter? A meta-analysis of the relationship between human capital and firm performance

Authors: Crook, T. R., Todd, S. Y., Combs, J. G., Woehr, D. J., & Ketchen, D. J.

Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

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

The authors found that human capital was positively related to firm performance, but that the relationship was moderated by the type of measure used and the type of human capital. The relationship was stronger when performance was measured with operational performance measures (e.g., customer service satisfaction or innovation), as opposed to global performance measures (e.g., returns on assets or returns on sales). The relationship between human capital and performance was also stronger when the human capital was firm-specific as opposed to being general human capital.



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