Category Archives: Management

Can You Fire Someone for Attending a Rally of Racists?

Source: Jon Steingart, Daily Labor Report, August 14, 2017

A campaign to publicly identify participants in white supremacist rallies has been met with calls for employers to fire the protesters. That’s the dilemma Top Dogs in Berkeley, Calif., faced after Twitter user @YesYoureRacist shared a photo it said showed one of the hot dog restaurant’s employees at a demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. Participants carried torches and reportedly chanted “white lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” The next day, participants showed up carrying Nazi swastikas, Confederate battle flags, and insignia of white supremacist groups…..

When Building a Diverse Workforce, Hiring Is Just the Start

Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, Governing, May 4, 2017

Diversity has a lot of benefits, but achieving it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Related:
Diversity at the top: The King County story
Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, May 16, 2017

Our most recent Governing column looked at growing efforts to increase diversity in the workforce. Local governments and states increasingly work to make sure that their employees mirror the population and many have been successful. But there are far fewer governments that have achieved balanced representation in the top layers of management and salary.

King County has been setting aggressive goals for that top layer. It already has a workforce that generally mirrors the community, says Matias Valenzuela, director of the office of equity and social justice. Now, its aim is to also achieve diversity in its management leadership and staff.

How abusive bosses make themselves miserable

Source: Alisson Clark, Futurity, May 9, 2017

When leaders abuse their power over others, they end up feeling the negative effects, too, a new study suggests. …. Foulk and his fellow researchers found that leaders who acted abusively to colleagues had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected, and autonomous in the workplace. The findings, published in the Academy of Management Journal, stem from surveys of 116 leaders in fields including engineering, medicine, education, and banking over a three-week span. Rather than structural power—a leader’s position in the hierarchy—the study looked at psychological power, or how powerful a leader feels, which changes as they move through the workday. When leaders felt powerful, they were more likely to act abusively and perceive more incivility from their coworkers, which in turn harmed their own well-being.
Related:
Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown: An Actor-Centric Approach to Daily Psychological Power, Abusive Leader Behavior, and Perceived Incivility
Source: Trevor Foulk, Klodiana Lanaj, Min-Hsuan Tu, Amir Erez and Lindy Archambeau, Acaedmy of Management, Early View, Published online before print April 17, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Recognizing that powerholders operate in dynamic relational and interdependent work contexts, we posit that the effects of psychological power on powerholders are more complex than currently depicted in the literature. Although psychological power prompts behaviors and perceptions that harm the powerless, these reactions are not consequence-free for the actor. We integrate the social distance theory of power with consent-based theories of power to posit that although psychological power elicits negative behaviors and perceptions, these same reactions hurt leaders’ subsequent well-being. To explore this possibility, we conducted an experimental experience sampling study with a sample of managerial employees whom we surveyed for 10 consecutive workdays. We find that leaders enact more abusive behavior and perceive more incivility from others on days when they are exposed to psychological power compared to days when they are not. Leaders higher in agreeableness are less affected by psychological power. In turn, abusive behavior and perceived incivility harm leaders’ subsequent well-being as indicated by their reduced need fulfillment and ability to relax at home. We discuss theoretical implications for research on psychological power, abusive leadership, perceived incivility, and leader well-being, as well as practical implications for employees and their organizations.

Your Boss Is Not More Stressed Out Than You, Science Says

Source: Jordan Pearson, Motherboard, May 8, 2017

….According to their study, published on Friday in the Journals of Gerontology, people lower on the corporate ladder are, on average, more stressed than people higher up. Worse, according to the study, the elevated stress continues into retirement for average working people. …

…”Workers in lower status jobs tend to have more stressful working conditions—they have lower pay, poorer pension arrangements, less control over their work, and report more unsupportive colleagues and managers,” Tarani Chandola, a professor of medical sociology at the University of Manchester and one of the paper’s authors, wrote me in an email.

The researchers tracked levels of cortisol in British public sector throughout their workdays. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is elevated when people encounter stressful situations, but by the end of the day cortisol levels normally dip down. However, the researchers found that cortisol levels in people lower down the corporate ladder didn’t dip as far as people higher up—they were more stressed. ….
Related:
Retirement and Socioeconomic Differences in Diurnal Cortisol: Longitudinal Evidence From a Cohort of British Civil Servants
Tarani Chandola, Patrick Rouxel, Michael G. Marmot, Meena Kumari, Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, Published: 05 May 2017
(subscription required)

Managers’ Political Beliefs and Gender Inequality among Subordinates: Does His Ideology Matter More Than Hers?

Source: Seth Carnahan, Brad N. Greenwood, Administrative Science Quarterly, Online First, May 5, 2017

From the abstract:
To explore whether managers’ beliefs and attitudes influence gender inequality among their subordinates, we theorize about the relationship between managers’ political ideology, situated on a liberal–conservative continuum, and differences in the hiring, work team selection, and promotion of male versus female subordinates, as well as how a manager’s gender moderates this relationship. We analyze novel microdata from the U.S. legal industry from 2007 to 2012 and find that large law offices whose partners are more liberal hire a larger percentage of female associates, that more-liberal partners are more likely to select female associates to be members of their client teams, and that associates whose supervising partners are more liberal have greater gender parity in promotion rates. Further, we find that the ideology of male partners is significantly more influential than the ideology of female partners in affecting these differences. We find little evidence that sorting on the part of higher-quality female associates drives the results.

Employee Burnout Is a Problem with the Company, Not the Person

Source: Eric Garton, Harvard Business Review, April 6, 2017

Employee burnout is a common phenomenon, but it is one that companies tend to treat as a talent management or personal issue rather than a broader organizational challenge. That’s a mistake.

The psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees, which cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the U.S., are just the most obvious impacts. The true cost to business can be far greater, thanks to low productivity across organizations, high turnover, and the loss of the most capable talent. Executives need to own up to their role in creating the workplace stress that leads to burnout—heavy workloads, job insecurity, and frustrating work routines that include too many meetings and far too little time for creative work. Once executives confront the problem at an organizational level, they can use organizational measures to address it…..

Monitoring for Worker Quality

Source: Gautam Bose, Kevin Lang, Journal of Labor Economics, Ahead of Print, March 24, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Much nonmanagerial work is routine, with all workers having similar output most of the time. However, failure to address occasional challenges can be very costly, and consequently easily detected, while challenges handled well pass unnoticed. We analyze job assignment and worker monitoring for such “guardian” jobs. If monitoring costs are positive but small, monitoring is nonmonotonic in the firm’s belief about the probability that a worker is good. The model explains several empirical regularities regarding nonmanagerial internal labor markets: low use of performance pay, seniority pay, rare demotions, wage ceilings within grade, and wage jumps at promotion.

Can a Flexibility/Support Initiative Reduce Turnover Intentions and Exits? Results from the Work, Family, and Health Network

Source: Phyllis Moen, Erin L. Kelly, Shi-Rong Lee, J. Michael Oakes, Wen Fan, Jeremy Bray, David Almeida, Leslie Hammer, David Hurtado, Orfeu Buxton, Social Problems, Advance Access, First published online: 29 December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We draw on panel data from a randomized field experiment to assess the effects of a flexibility/supervisor support initiative called STAR on turnover intentions and voluntary turnover among professional technical workers in a large firm. An unanticipated exogenous shock—the announcement of an impending merger—occurred in the middle of data collection. Both organizational changes reflect an emerging employment contract characterized by increasing employee temporal flexibility even as employers wield greater flexibility in reorganizing their workforces. We theorized STAR would reduce turnover intentions and actual turnover by making it more attractive to stay with the current employer. We found being in a STAR team (versus a usual practice team) lowered turnover intentions 12 months later and reduced the risk of voluntary turnover over almost three years. We also examined potential mechanisms accounting for the effects of these two organizational changes; STAR effects on reducing turnover intentions are partially mediated by reducing work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, burnout, psychological distress, perceived stress, and increasing job satisfaction. The effect of learning about the merger on increasing turnover intentions is fully mediated by increased job insecurity. STAR also moderates the negative effects of learning about the merger on turnover intentions for different subgroups. Findings provide insights into the effectiveness of an organizational intervention, the dynamics of organizations, and how competing logics of two organizational changes affect employees’ labor market expectations and behavior.

How ancient wisdom can help managers give their employees better feedback

Source: Khatera Sahibzada, The Conversation, December 19, 2016

Giving feedback is unquestionably one of the most challenging tasks for any leader, as it can be painful to both the giver and receiver. It is nonetheless invaluable: Research has shown that employees recognize the importance of feedback – whether positive or negative – to their career development.

Many even welcome it, provided it’s given well. One study of nearly a thousand employees both in the U.S. and abroad found that 92 percent believed that negative feedback is effective at improving performance – “if delivered appropriately.”….

….In another example, a study conducted at New York University found that men and women received different evaluations after demonstrating the same altruistic behavior, such as volunteering to help a co-worker who was in a bind even though the employee would end up being late for another co-worker’s party.

The employees were then given performance evaluations and reward recommendations – that is whether they should get salary increases, promotions, high-profile projects or bonus pay. Women were consistently evaluated more harshly than their male counterparts and were penalized to a greater degree if they were unwilling to help…..