Compassion at Work: Part 3 of 3

In conclusion of our series this week, we’re pleased to present three good reasons why managers and scholars will benefit from making compassionate organizing a part of their lives.

Jane E. Dutton and Kristina M. Workman, experts on compassion, organizations, and leadership from the University of Michigan, published a commentary on the classic article by the late Peter J. Frost of the University of British Columbia, “Why Compassion Counts!,” in the Journal of Management Inquiry:

UntitledWe approach this essay with three goals in mind, all focused on elaborating how compassion is a generative force. By generative, we mean that compassion as an idea opens up new vistas, expands resources, and creates new insights. It is a force in the sense that it propels and motivates action. Given these definitions, we hope this essay achieves three goals. First, we aspire to celebrate the generative capacity of compassion by illustrating the wisdom and insight contained in compassion stories, and in particular in one of Peter’s compassion stories. Second, we invite reflection on the meaning of being a compassionate scholar JMI_72ppiRGB_150pixwthrough immersion in stories about Peter left by his colleagues after he died. Third, we discuss how compassion alters our focus, our work, and our imagination in organizational studies. Together, we hope all three angles on how compassion counts celebrate the contribution that Peter’s article is continuing to make in our field and in our lives.

Click here to read “Commentary on ‘Why Compassion Counts!’: Compassion as a Generative Force” in the Journal of Management Inquiry, and here to read the original essay by Peter J. Frost.

Compassion at Work: Part 2 of 3

Capitalism and compassion: are they  incompatible? In a society devastated by unemployment, in which the richest 1% of Americans own nearly half of the country’s wealth, can compassionate organizing succeed?

In her guest editorial “Compassion and Capitalism: Implications for Organizational Studies,” forthcoming in the Journal of Management and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section, Dr. Jennifer George of Rice University seeks answers:

Untitled…[A] growing body of literature focuses on compassion in organizations, primarily at the individual and group level of analysis. However, the current economic system under which the U.S. economy operates might create a fundamental tension in this regard. That is, the tenets of American corporate capitalism (ACC) might be in contradiction to compassionate organizing. ACC is an ideology that emphasizes, among other things, the pursuit of self-interest, competition, market exchange, consumerism, and using a profit/loss criterion to make decisions in organizations. Members of a society in which ACC is dominant may come to internalize the beliefs and values underlying ACC, which may be at odds with compassionate organizing. Indeed, management scholarship has tended to be dominated by a concern with economic performance and JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWefficiency. In addition to this focus on efficiency and competitiveness as ultimate outcomes of interest, perhaps management scholars should also focus on social problems and social welfare concerns. Consistent with contemporary interest in compassion, key to advancing our knowledge in this area would be identifying the conditions under which organizations inflict the least harm and alleviate the most suffering.

Click here to read Dr. George’s editorial, including directions for future research, and follow the Journal of Management by signing up for e-alerts bringing you the latest findings in the field of management.

Compassion at Work: Part 1 of 3

I believe that at every level of society – familial, tribal, national and international – the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. – The Dalai Lama

Compassion: simply put, it is wanting others to be free from suffering. We know what it means, but how many of us put it into practice in the workplace and in our daily lives?

UntitledThis week in a three-part series, we’ll explore the meaning of compassion and its relevance and importance in the field of business and management. In Buddhism, compassion is a fundamental concept that means much more than simply experiencing sympathy for others and reacting to their pain. It is about understanding one’s connection with others, having the opportunity to empower them and to create mutual well-being that benefits all. An article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science June issue by Richard E. Boyatzis, Melvin L. Smith, and ‘Alim J. Beveridge of Case Western Reserve University, “Coaching With Compassion: Inspiring Health, Well-Being, and Development in Organizations,” illustrates the positive effects of compassion in the context of coaching:

JABS_72ppiRGB_150pixwCompassion within the Buddhist tradition is a response to dukkha, a Pali word that has often been translated as suffering. However, many scholars of Buddhism have pointed out that the translation is inaccurate. The original term encompasses a range of experience, from pain and suffering to unease and disquietude…

Compassion involves noticing another’s need, empathizing, and acting to enhance their well-being. In response to another’s pain, the motivation is to increase hedonic well-being or the absence of pain. In response to another’s desire to grow, the motivation is to increase eudaimonic well-being or helping them develop. We argue that compassion includes both. Our expanded view suggests that coaching with compassion will lead to desired change, enhanced health, and well-being. We propose a model saying coaching with compassion invokes a psychophysiological state that enables a person to be open to new possibilities and learning. In contrast, coaching for compliance (i.e., toward how the coach or the organization believe the person should act) and deficiency-based coaching invoke the opposite state—resulting in a person being defensive, reducing cognitive functioning. We theorize how coaching with compassion can enhance adaptability of the organization through creating norms and relationships of caring and development.

Click here to read the article, and be sure to review our recent podcast with Dr. Boyatzis, an expert in emotional intelligence, behavior change, and competence.

Challenges in Leadership: Part 3 of 3

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” —Thomas Jefferson

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on the challenges of leadership. Today’s post is all about leadership and ethics — and with Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week coming up next Monday, be sure to tune in for more related research and insights.

JABS_72ppiRGB_150pixwIn their article “The Role of Moral Values in Instigating Morally Responsible Decisions(Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, March 2013), Richard P. Bagozzi, Leslie E. Sekerka, Vanessa Hill, and Francesco Sguera warn of “the distance between espoused values and values in action” in leaders that can block “the virtuous self”:

If we want leaders to model this competency and build ethical organizations, we must provide them with the tools to understand their values at a root level and how to act accordingly. Putting expectations into action for virtuous human systems means helping people understand how their values may serve as guides to behavioral choices. Without focused awareness and commitment to right action, these values can dissipate. [Read more]

jomIn “Someone to Look Up To: Executive-Follower Ethical Reasoning and Perceptions of Ethical Leadership” (Journal of Management, March 2013), Jennifer Jordan, Michael E. Brown, Linda K. Treviño, and Sydney Finkelstein look into what makes ethical leaders tick:

Despite a business environment that highlights the importance of executives’ ethical leadership, the individual antecedents of ethical leadership remain largely unknown. In this study, the authors propose that follower perceptions of ethical leadership depend on the executive leader’s cognitive moral development (CMD) and, more importantly, on the relationship between executive leader and follower CMD. [Read more]

leadershipAnd in his article “Leading questions: Leadership, ethics, and administrative evil” (Leadership, May 2012), George E. Reed warns of modern organizations’ “diffusion of information” and “fragmentation of responsibility,” noting:

The result is the very real possibility that well-intentioned people who conscientiously perform their jobs will unintentionally participate in systems and processes that produce great harm. Some may not even be aware that they are doing anything wrong; they certainly intend no great harm, and furthermore, those around them would likely agree at the time that they are simply acting in consonance with accepted professional roles and practices. They may also play a crucial part in a larger process that perpetrates harm. [Read more]

Challenges in Leadership: Part 2 of 3

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” —John C. Maxwell (author, speaker, and pastor)

In 1978, James MacGregor Burns defined transformational leaders as those “who engaged with their followers in such a way that each was raised to a higher level of morality and motivation.” How are employee engagement and leadership related? Does innovation and creativity increase when employees feel they can personally identify with their leader? How can leaders meet the challenge of enhancing their employees’ well-being as well as their performance on the job?

GOM_72ppiRGB_150pixwIn their article “Examining the Role of Personal Identification With the Leader in Leadership Effectiveness: A Partial Nomological Network” (Group & Organization Management, February 2013, Weichun Zhu, Gang Wang, Xiaoming Zheng, Taoxiong Liu, and Qing Miao found that:

…transformational leadership was positively related to personal identification with the leader, which was significantly associated with followers’ innovativeness, affective organizational commitment, and turnover intention. [Read more]

HRDR_72ppiRGB_150pixWIn “Employee Engagement and Leadership: Exploring the Convergence of Two Frameworks and Implications for Leadership Development in HRD” (Human Resource Development Review, June 2012), Brad Shuck and Ann Mogan Herd write:

…leadership starts with the self. Leaders who are looking to build engaging climates should be encouraged to develop in the four domains of emotional intelligence, especially the domain of self-awareness. As the foundational domain for which the other three are developed, self-awareness is the conceptual cornerstone of emotional intelligence and in many ways of leadership that promotes the development of engagement. [Read more]

JLOS_72ppiRGB_150pixWAnd Fred Luthans, Carolyn M. Youssef, David S. Sweetman, and Peter D. Harms, in their paper “Meeting the Leadership Challenge of Employee Well-Being Through Relationship PsyCap and Health PsyCap” (Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies February 2013), write:

Increasing recognition is being given to the role that employee overall well-being plays in desired outcomes of today’s organizations. To help organizational leaders searching for understanding and answers, we propose that the positive core construct of psychological capital (or simply PsyCap), consisting of the positive psychological resources of hope, efficacy, resiliency, and optimism can be extended into the well-being domain. [Read more]

Challenges in Leadership: Part 1 of 3


Is a narcissistic boss good or bad for the company? (Narcissus, via Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: This week, we are pleased to present a three-part series highlighting current research on key challenges facing leaders in the workplace.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” —Jim Rohn (American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker)

Leaders are only human–and some of the most successful bosses out there can be arrogant, egotistical, and manipulative. Just how does this self-serving behavior positively or negatively affect employees, managers, and organizations?

asqIn their award-winning article “Executive Personality, Capability Cues, and Risk Taking: How Narcissistic CEOs React to Their Successes and Stumbles”  (Administrative Science Quarterly, June 2011), Arijit Chatterjee and Donald C. Hambrick find that narcissistic bosses may be more effective risk-takers:

At the core of an executive’s subjective assessment of risk is his or her sense of confidence. Compared with gamblers, who cannot influence whether their bets will work out, business executives may believe that their personal talents, as well as the capabilities of their organizations, can greatly affect whether their risky initiatives will bear fruit. [Read more]

Update: Wolf-Christian Gerstner, Andreas König, Albrecht Enders, and Donald C. Hambrick have a brand-new article in ASQ, “CEO Narcissism, Audience Engagement, and Organizational Adoption of Technological Discontinuities,” which highlights “the role of narcissism in the context of radical organizational change, the influence of audience engagement on executive behavior, and the effect of executive personality on managerial attention.” Click here to read the article in ASQ’s OnlineFirst section.

humOn the other hand, Wayne A. Hochwarter and Katina W. Thompson in their article  “Mirror, mirror on my boss’s wall: Engaged enactment’s moderating role on the relationship between perceived narcissistic supervision and work outcomes” (Human Relations, March 2012) document the threats that selfish bosses pose to employee well-being:

Defined as an ego-defensive response to interruptions in goal attainment (Rosenzweig, 1944), frustration has been identified as an outcome of threatening social cues including perceived politics (Rosen et al., 2009), injustice (Lillis et al., 2007), and coworker counterproductive work behaviors (Fox and Spector, 1999). Supervisor ego-nurturing behavior, when persistent and focused, provokes frustration because it introduces bias that affects subsequent interactions and reward decisions (Emmons, 1984). [Read more]

jomAnd an article published this month in the Journal of Management’s OnlineFirst section by Frank D. Belschak, Deanne N. Den Hartog, and Karianne Kalshoven, “Leading Machiavellians: How to Translate Machiavellians’ Selfishness Into Pro-Organizational Behavior,” finds manipulative leaders may offer desirable results for organizations:

Machiavellians are said to be manipulative people who reduce the social capital of the organization. Yet some authors note that Machiavellians are also highly adaptive individuals who are able to contribute, cooperate, and use pro-social strategies when it is advantageous to them. Here we study whether transformational leader behavior can stimulate Machiavellian followers to engage in organizationally desirable behaviors such as challenging organizational citizenship behavior. [Read more]

Do you know a leader who is particularly self-interested or overly demanding? Does this serve to increase their leadership effectiveness, or does it do more harm than good?

What Makes High-Performance Organizations Tick?

What are high performance work systems, and why do they matter to human resource researchers and practitioners today? A new article in the Journal of Management takes a closer look:

High Performance Work Systems are designed to enhance organizational performance by improving employee capability, commitment, and productivity. Yet there is very little consensus about the structure of these systems and the practices therein. The lack of structure may be inhibiting the growth of knowledge in this field and the degree to which organizations adopt these systems.

jomRead “A High Performance Work Practices Taxonomy: Integrating the Literature and Directing Future Research” by Richard A. Posthuma of the University of Texas at El Paso, Michael C. Campion of the University of South Carolina, and Malika Masimova and Michael A. Campion, both of Purdue University, published in the Journal of Management.

To help further the dialogue on this important topic, SAGE is pleased to open access to key articles on high performance work systems through April 11:

human_relationsEnriched job design, high involvement management and organizational performance: The mediating roles of job satisfaction and well-being,” published in Human Relations by Stephen Wood of the University of Leicester, UK; Marc Van Veldhoven and Marcel Croon, both of Tilburg University, The Netherlands; and Lilian M de Menezes of Cass Business School, City University London, UK

wesEmployee responses to ‘high performance work system’ practices: an empirical test of the disciplined worker thesis,” published in Work, Employment & Society by Bill Harley and Leisa Sargent, both of the University of Melbourne, and Belinda Allen of Monash University

jomHigh-Performance Work Systems and Job Control: Consequences for Anxiety, Role Overload, and Turnover Intentions,” published in the Journal of Management by Jaclyn M. Jensen of George Washington University, Pankaj C. Patel of Ball State University, and Jake G. Messersmith of the University of Nebraska-Kearney

isbjEntrepreneurial orientation and performance in young firms: The role of human resource management,” published in the International Small Business Journal by Jake G. Messersmith of the University of Nebraska at Kearney and William J. Wales of James Madison University

fbrFounding-Family Ownership and Firm Performance The Role of High-Performance Work Systems,” published in Family Business Review by Chiung-Wen Tsao of Tajen University and Shyh-Jer Chen, Chiou-Shiu Lin, and William Hyde of  National Sun Yat-Sen University

cqEmployment Modes, High-Performance Work Practices, and Organizational Performance in the Hospitality Industry,” published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly by Tsai Cheng-Hua of National Cheng Kung University, Chen Shyh-Jer of National Sun Yat-Sen University, and Fang Shih-Chien of National Cheng Kung University