Category Archives: Management

Every Executive Should Be Focusing on Culture Change Now

Source: Rose Hollister, Kathryn Tecosky, Michael Watkins, and Cindy Wolpert, MIT Sloan Management Review, August 10, 2021
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To make transformation a reality in their businesses post-pandemic, leaders must build a strong culture to support it.

…As the global community emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders must lay the foundation for their organizations to thrive in a very different world. The pandemic accelerated three interlinked types of transformation affecting every industry: the adoption of digital technologies, the development of new business models, and the implementation of new ways of working. Most companies are now engaged in one or more of these types of transformation. Businesses that aren’t — whether because they have ignored the signals or have failed to adapt quickly enough — risk becoming obsolete. …

What You’re Getting Wrong About Burnout

Source: Liz Fosslien, MIT Sloan Management Review, August 26, 2021
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The burnout crisis is here, but many managers are failing to address the root causes of stress for employees.

…As an expert on emotions at work and head of content at Humu, a company focused on workplace behavioral change, I help leaders and managers improve well-being within their teams. Over the past year, burnout has become a top concern within organizations, and for good reason. In 2020, 71% of employees experienced burnout at least once. Across Humu’s enterprise customers, 62% of employees have reported feeling overwhelmed by work responsibilities, and 32% have said they are emotionally drained. And research from Qualtrics shows that stress and burnout are the main reasons people are thinking of leaving their jobs in the coming months and year — a time economists have already dubbed “The Great Resignation.”

In response, many leaders have started offering additional vacation time, established “no meeting” blocks on the calendar to give employees a break from back-to-back video calls, and encouraged people to take breaks throughout the day.

These are all helpful measures, but on their own, they’re usually not enough to turn things around for exhausted employees. That’s because work overload is only one cause of burnout. Too often, organizations fail to acknowledge — let alone address — other dimensions. The Maslach Burnout Inventory, the first clinically based measure of burnout, also measures cynicism and feeling ineffective at your job. And our research at Humu shows that lacking a sense of meaning and not receiving the emotional support you need to thrive are also strongly related to feeling stretched too thin….

The Future of Work: Exploring the Post-Pandemic Workplace from an Employment Law and Human Resources Perspective

Source: Isaac Mamaysky, UC Davis Business Law Journal, Forthcoming, 2021

From the abstract:
In March of 2017, when we were blissfully ignorant of what was to come in that same month a few years later, an associate professor of political science named Robert Kelly was being interviewed on BBC from his home office in South Korea. About a minute into the interview, his four year old daughter pranced into the room, in the most literal sense of the word, followed by her little brother in a baby walker and, shortly thereafter, Kelly’s horrified spouse, Kim Jung-A, who scrambled to collect the kids and close the office door.

That viral BBC interview, which now has tens of millions of views on YouTube, took place long before our collective experiment in working from home. While Kelly’s experience was truly novel in 2017, it feels like just another day at the office in 2020. If we have not personally had a kid “bust down the door,” as my toddlers like to say, during a Zoom call, then we have seen someone else’s kid do the same. While Kelly’s interview may have still gone viral if it had happened today—this was live on BBC, after all—the whole thing feels far more familiar than it once did.

COVID-19 has upended the workplace as we know it. Employment experts widely speculate that certain industries have fast-forwarded in the direction of working remotely by years. If the future of work for many employees is primarily virtual, what challenges does this entail for employers? What new rights might employees have coming out of the pandemic? In industries that continue operating in person, how should employers accommodate vulnerable employees who request to work remotely? What about non-vulnerable employees who are simply afraid to come in?

While analyzing these and related questions, this article explores the arguments for and against remote work. It goes on to show that the “hybrid workplace,” in which more people work from home more of the time, is our likely future. The article considers the new challenges this raises for employers and the new rights that it bestows on employees. The article concludes by arguing that giving employees choice about their work location is a mechanism for employers to avoid potential liability while boosting workplace morale and increasing productivity; creating a win-win for employees and employers alike.

The Dark Side of Leadership and Workplace Mistreatment: A review of Creativity and Innovation

Source: Vahid Mehraein, Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, no. 1, 2021

From the abstract:
The critical role of social influence in determining creativity and innovation is undisputed in the scientific circles of organizational behavior. Research has typically tended to focus on positive leader behaviors and positive social influences on creativity and innovation and has generally concluded that such behaviors promote these often-desired outcomes. In contrast, our work takes an unorthodox approach by bringing together research on the dark side of leadership and workplace mistreatment to join the conversation of creativity and innovation with darker perspectives of leadership and organization. In this study, we begin by defining the dark side of leadership and then provide a comprehensive systematic review of 163 empirical studies that address this topic. These studies address 35 leadership and workplace variables (abusive supervision, authoritarian leadership, aversive leadership, close monitoring, coercive power, conflict with co-worker, controlling supervision, counterproductive work behavior, defensive silence, despotic leadership, destructive leadership, directive leadership, hubristic leadership, incivility, jeer pressure, knowledge hiding, laissez-faire leadership, linguistic ostracism, Machiavellian leadership, management by exception (active), management-by-exception, management-by-exception (passive), mobbing, narcissistic leadership, organizational politics, ostracism, overconfident leadership, passive leadership, psychopathic leadership, relationship conflict, self-serving leadership, sexual harassment, supervisor undermining, workplace bullying, workplace deviant behavior) known to predict negative employee and organizational outcomes. This paper reports the main effects but also summarizes the results of mediating and moderating variables and provides useful taxonomies. Finally, recommendations for future research directions provide insights into areas worth considering.

Abusive Supervision and Employee Empowerment: The Moderating Role of Resilience and Workplace Friendship

Source: Ayesha Arshad, Peter Y. T. Sun, Fabrice Desmarais, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, March 30, 2021
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From the abstract:
Several studies have explored why employees leave their organization in the face of abusive supervision. However, there is a lack of research on what makes employees continue with employment despite being affected by abusive supervision. This study responds to the calls made to analyze multiple mechanisms that employees use to cope with abusive supervision. It addresses this gap by examining employees’ psychological and social resources that can mitigate the effects of abusive supervision. We specifically consider employee psychological and structural empowerment, as well as resilience and workplace friendship. This is a time-lagged study using a sample of 146 postgraduate students who have a minimum of 2 years of work experience. Utilizing the tenets of conservation of resources theory, we find that damage to psychological empowerment plays a significant role in diminishing the work engagement and creativity of employees, as compared to structural empowerment. We also find that workplace friendship plays a significant role in weakening the damaging effects of abusive supervision on structural empowerment. Future studies should consider other psychological and social mechanisms that can mitigate the effects of abusive supervision. Moreover, organizations should work toward developing a culture of sharing and support between coworkers.

Abusive supervision and workplace deviance: the role of negative reciprocity

Source: Guglielmo Faldetta, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Volume 29 Issue 4, July 2021
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From the abstract:
This study aims to explore the process that, from abusive supervision, leads to the different kinds of workplace deviant behaviors, using the norm of negative reciprocity as the main mechanism that can trigger this process.

This study is based on a literature review from organizational behavior and reciprocity fields and builds a theoretical model on the relationship between abusive supervision and workplace deviance within organizations.

This study develops a theoretical model where abusive supervision causes a feeling of injustice, which can motivate employees to seek revenge in the form of workplace deviant behaviors. Moreover, negative direct balanced reciprocity will moderate the relationship between the desire for revenge and minor interpersonal workplace deviance; negative direct non-balanced reciprocity will moderate the relationship between the desire for revenge and severe interpersonal workplace deviance; negative generalized balanced reciprocity will moderate the relationship between the desire for revenge and minor organizational workplace deviance; negative generalized non-balanced reciprocity will moderate the relationship between the desire for revenge and severe organizational workplace deviance.

Previous studies have used negative reciprocity as a moderator, but for the first time, it is split in direct and generalized and in balanced and non-balanced. In particular, when direct negative reciprocity is present, the revenge will take the form of interpersonal workplace deviance; when generalized negative reciprocity is present, the revenge will take the form of organizational workplace deviance. On the other side, when balanced reciprocity is present, revenge will take the form of minor workplace deviance, while when non-balanced reciprocity is present, revenge will take the form of severe workplace deviance.

The EEOC Confirms Employers Can Mandate a Vaccine, But Should They?

Source: Barbara E. Hoey and Alison Frimmel, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 47 no. 1, July 2021
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This article reviews the highlights of the guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after COVID-19 vaccines were approved and offers practical advice for employers considering rolling out a mandatory vaccination program for their employees.

Research: How Companies Committed to Diverse Hiring Still Fail

Source: Judd Kessler and Corinne Low, Harvard Business Review, February 11, 2021
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Even if your company is committed to diversity inclusion, you might have hidden biases in your hiring strategies. According to recent research on the hiring practices at several prestigious firms, this can take several forms. For example, you might view unpaid internships more favorably than other types of summer jobs, which introduces socioeconomic bias. And you might think that minority and female candidates are less likely to accept a job if offered because so many other firms are also interested in hiring them (something, incidentally, the research doesn’t bear out); because of this, you might be less likely to pursue those candidates. So, if you’re truly committed to diversifying your organization, take a hard look at your hiring processes and face up the fact that they might not be as effective in practice as they are in intention.

Why Putting On Blinders Can Help Us See More Clearly

Source: Sean Fath, Richard P. Larrick, Jack B. Soll, and Susan Zhu, MIT Sloan Management Review, June 8, 2021

Even if your organization doesn’t have a “blinding” policy for hiring and other people evaluations, it’s possible to reap some of the benefits.

Would you decide which job candidates to interview based on their names — or which ventures to fund based on entrepreneurs’ gender or physical attractiveness? Few managers would admit doing so, even to themselves. But research shows that decision makers are in fact susceptible to exactly this type of bias. Identical resumes sent in response to job postings are less likely to generate a callback for an interview if the name at the top suggests the candidate is Black.1 And female entrepreneurs face harsher questions from potential investors and are less likely to have their ideas funded than men (particularly attractive men).

Generally, this body of research demonstrates that the fairness of social evaluations — such as whom to hire, invest in, or promote — can be adversely affected by irrelevant and seemingly innocuous attributes, like name or appearance, because of the biases they evoke. How might these judgments be made more equitably? One way to reduce the potential for bias and increase objectivity is to adopt a decision-making strategy called blinding — that is, limiting the information that can be considered in an evaluation. The logic is straightforward: An evaluator cannot be biased by irrelevant information about a target of evaluation (for instance, a job candidate’s name) if that information is hidden from view. It is for this reason that Justice is typically depicted wearing a blindfold: The blindfold ensures the impartiality of her decision-making.