Students as Protégés: Factors That Lead to Success

[We’re pleased to welcome author Stephen Bear of  Fairleigh Dickenson University. Bear recently published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled “Students as Protégés: Factors That Lead to Success,” co-authored by Gwen Jones. Below, Bear outlines the importance of this study:]

26111521686_8aeaf7a60a_z.jpgWe have established, in our undergraduate curriculum, a practitioner-mentoring program for all business students in our sophomore-level organizational behavior course. The intent of the program is that, early in the students’ business education, they will begin to link and apply the theories of organizational behavior to actual workplace situations through regular interactions with their mentor throughout the semester.  For many students the mentoring program is the highlight of the course, while for others the mentoring program is just another required course assignment.  This range of reactions led us to wonder what factors encourage satisfaction with practitioner-student mentoring relationships?  The level of satisfaction with a mentor is important because dissatisfaction can prompt a protégé to spend less time with a mentor and can reduce the quality of mentoring exchanges and the overall effectiveness of the mentoring relationship (Ortiz-Walters, Eddleston & Simone, 2010).

In our study we examined five independent variables that we believed could affect satisfaction:  networking to find a mentor, trust in the mentor, self-disclosure to the mentor, role modelling by the mentor and mentoring program understanding.  While each variable was positively related to mentoring relationship satisfaction, the most surprising finding of the study was the importance of student networking to find a mentor.  Many students initially have difficulty finding a mentor, and we have debated whether faculty should step in to ensure that each student has a high quality mentor.  Our study showed that when student’s network to find their own mentors this is positively associated with mentoring relationship satisfaction.  Students who found their own mentors were more satisfied with their mentoring relationships than students who relied on the professor to match them with a mentor.  We believe this finding is very relevant to faculty and to staff that establish mentoring programs as it suggests that whenever possible, student protégés not faculty should play the key role in the selection of their mentor.  Finally the relationship between networking and mentoring relationship satisfaction is likely complex and should be explored further in future research. In our study, 77% of students were successful in finding their mentors through networking, and analysis indicated that there were no significant differences in finding a mentor, as based on age, gender, or race/ethnicity. An opportunity for future research is to determine whether socioeconomic class or a student’s first-generation college status would influence the ability to network to find a mentor, as these students might have fewer networking contacts.

Reference
Ortiz-Walters, R., Eddleston, K. A., & Simione, K. (2010). Satisfaction with mentoring

Student photo attributed to the University of the Fraser Valley (CC).

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How Great Leadership Communication Yields Positive Job Satisfaction Scores

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Julian Erben of the University of Koblenz-Landau and Frank Schneider of the University of Mannheim. Erben and Schneider recently published an article in the International Journal of Business Communication entitled “In the Ear of the Beholder: Self-Other Agreement in Leadership Communication and Its Relationship With Subordinates’ Job Satisfaction,” co-authored by Michaela Maier. From Erben and Schneider:]

There is no doubt that effective leadership communication is one of the key factors for an organization’s success. But how good is leadership communication in the reality of everyday business? To answer this question, it’s not enough to rely solely on leaders’ self-ratings. Armed with a new instrument to assess the perceived quality of a leaders’ communication from the leaders own perspective and the perspective of their respective subordinates, we 17124643767_c7e281926f_z.jpgwere curious to explore how the perception of leadership communication within a leader-subordinate dyad may differ, and how different perceptions are related to concrete organizational outcomes.

The findings in this study underline the importance of taking into consideration both leader and subordinate perceptions of leadership communication. Results show, that they may in fact differ, and whether they differ or not is substantially related to relevant outcomes. It particularly points out the desirability of congruent positive perceptions of leadership communication as it appears to be a clear indicator of high job satisfaction of subordinates.

This has practical implications for the teaching and training of leadership communication, especially the importance of developing supervisory training programs that enhance the communicative behaviors of leaders and at the same time make them more perceptive for how their subordinates see things.

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Image attributed to David Sanabria (CC)

Do Longer Working Hours Blur Work–Family Boundaries?

In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, o7817055290_8609020d49_z.jpgperating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries.

Sales is a key boundary-spanning function, which has central accountability in the organization and that is the reason why companies make huge investments on their sales force. Sales professionals are largely seen affected due to imbalances among individual, family and professional goals, which finally results in burnout. In addition, their work-related commitments require them to counter multiple demands from co-workers and customers, thereby resulting in role stress.

Work–family conflict is seen as having two distinct domains: work negatively affecting family, that is, WFC and family negatively affecting work, that is, FWC. Both WFC and FWC are bidirectional in nature and have distinct patterns of correlates. WFC is found to be far more rampant than FWC. The probable reason for the same could be that work boundaries are less permeable as compared to family boundaries which result in work negatively affecting family more as compared to family affecting work.

An article from the Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation aims to measure the ratio of work to family conflict (WFC) and family to work conflict (FWC) and also identify various demographic variables affecting the conflicts.

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Abstract

In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, operating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries. The sample for the current study are sales employees as they are required to respond to various demands from colleagues, customers and from their respective families as well, which finally leads to conflict from both work and family. Of importance to the research is work–family construct measurement. The study first validated the Netemeyer, Boles and McMurrian (1996) work–family conflict scale in Indian context using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. The results of the data analysis are in line with the indications in the literature. In addition, the current study attempted to investigate the role of demographic variables on work to family conflict (WFC) as well as family to work conflict (FWC). The sample consisted of 330 sales employees working across different service and manufacturing sectors in Mumbai, India. Results indicated that age, marital status, hierarchy, hours worked, number and ages of children are significantly associated with both WFC and FWC. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Click here to read Work–Family Conflict in India: Construct Validation and Current Status for free from the journal Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation.

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*Clock image attributed to Nick Wright. (CC)

Call for Papers: Compensation & Benefits Review!

PenCompensation & Benefits Reivew is currently accepting submissions for manuscripts that discuss the design, implementation, evaluation and communication of compensation and benefits policies and programs. The journal supports human resources and compensation and benefits specialists and academic experts with up-to-date analyses and information on salary and wage trends, labor markets, pay plans, incentive compensation, legal compliance, retirement programs, and health care benefits. Do you have a manuscript that would fit well in Compensation & Benefits ReviewClick here to read more about the journal’s submission guidelines, and click here to submit your manuscript!

To highlight the kind of content Compensation & Benefits Review publishes, here’s the abstract from a recent paper published in the journal from author John G. Kilgour, entitled “Unemployment Insurance and the Great Recession”:

The Unemployment Insurance system of the United States is a federal-state Current Issue Coverpartnership. It responded well to the usual frictional unemployment and to the several recessions since its creation in 1935. The recent Great Recession beginning 2008, however, was its most severe test. Numerous extended-benefit programs were called upon to aid the large number of unemployed men and women who had exhausted their benefits. This article examines the performance of the Unemployment Insurance program during that test with emphasis on coverage, benefits, funding, the Unemployment Trust Fund and the several Extended Benefit programs. In addition to the entire United States system, it focuses on the experience of the five largest states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas as a sample of the whole.

You can read “Unemployment Insurance and the Great Recession” from Compensation & Benefits Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Compensation & Benefits ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

Job Satisfaction Plays A Large Part in Employee Engagement

3911231181_6754709d83_z[We’re pleased to welcome Brad Shuck of University of Louisville. Brad recently published an article in Group & Organization Management entitled “Untangling the Predictive Nomological Validity of Employee Engagement: Decomposing Variance in Employee Engagement Using Job Attitude Measures” with co-authors Kim Nimon of University of Texas at Tyler and Drea Zigarmi of The Ken Blanchard Companies and the University of San Diego.]

Our interest in this work was driven by the need for practical understanding of the employee engagement construct in connection with precise theoretical positioning – we knew from growing citations in the literature that many scholars and practitioners are using employee engagement in their work, but there remained some level of confusion about what employee engagement was, and how it should be applied.

Of great interest to us was whether employee engagement was adding anything to the research literature or, if engagement was redundant as some scholars had suggested. We believed, based on our experience and understanding, that employee engagement did offer something unique from say, job satisfaction or organizational commitment, but beyond the primary use of bivariate relationships, no work had deconstructed the inner empirical makeup of the psychological construct. More, no one had graphed the theoretical structure of the relationships physically, so we took that task on. The purpose of our work was to examine the predictive nomological validity of employee engagement using a set of three job attitudes commonly linked to employee engagement – that, is we opened up the hood to explore its inner make-up.

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Roughly speaking, our findings suggested that that across two overall measures of engagement (the UWES and the JES), job satisfaction contributed the most unique variance to employee engagement, followed by job involvement, and organizational commitment. We were not surprised that job satisfaction contributed the most variance to employee engagement, but we were surprised that job involvement lacked almost any degree of emotion – rather, it functioned at a mostly cognitive level and was identify related, versus emotionally driven. The main finding from our work was that no 1st-order, 2nd-order, or 3rd-order commonality coefficients fully explained, stand-alone or in combination, all the variance in the two engagement measures. In fact, there remained a substantial amount of unexplained variance in each measurement (47% of the variance remained unexplained in the JES and 34% of the variance remains unexplained in the UWES-9). In short, this told us that engagement operated as a standalone construct and was not fully redundant with anyone job attitude or combination of job attitudes. We were not surprised by this finding, but we suspect that others might be.

Within this work, we see many possibilities for future research. First, there is no question that researchers will need to continually examine the underlying meaning and quality of measurement used in building the still emerging nomological network of engagement. We also see an opportunity to more fully explore the role of affect in the engagement construct and the job attitudes. For example, in our results, affect demonstrated noteworthy and interesting theoretical patterns. As such, one avenue for future research might focus toward disentangling affect as a common factor between like constructs and engagement. Research might fully examine how measures of affect (both positive and negative) operate in context with JS, JI, OC, and engagement and how indicators of performance might be connected. Finally – and what we think is one of the more novel outcomes of this work  – is the naming those spaces of joint common variance we uncovered. For example, in our work Coc.js explained the greatest amount of variance across both engagement scales, but what exactly is Coc.js? At present, research has not adequately explored such combinations and when paired together – such as the case with organizational commitment and job satisfaction – combined constructs might take on a new identity. For example, theoretically, when an employee is both satisfied with their work and committed to the organization, we might call that organizational contentment as the employee is both satiated and committed to the organization, making them more likely to express a state of overall organizational contentment. A construct called organizational contentment is all but absent in the research literature yet our results would indicate that this construct – whether we call it organizational contentment or something else – explains sizeable portions of variance in employee engagement.

As a final note, we hope or work brings about conversation and dialogue. This work has brought about many new questions for our team and, we know that only through dialogue and working together with other scholars can we really begin to understand what it means to be engaged and, how the experience of employee engagement unfolds overtime.

The abstract for the paper:

The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive nomological validity of employee engagement using a set of three job attitudes commonly linked to employee engagement. Prior research concerned with the nomological network of employee engagement has predominantly considered bivariate relationships, thus missing the opportunity to fully understand the intricate and interrelated relationship between employee engagement and job attitudes. Scale- and subscale-level correlations were obtained from a previously published set of survey responses (n = 1,580) to decompose employee engagement variance into orthogonal (i.e., non-overlapping) components associated with every possible combination of the three job attitude predictor set (2k − 1 = 7). Results suggested that across both overall measures, job satisfaction contributed the most unique variance to employee engagement, followed by job involvement and organizational commitment. Findings indicated that when applying employee engagement in both research and practice, care should be taken in scale selection across models—especially those involving such as constructs. This study provides evidence of the importance for considering a construct’s nomological network within the broader management and human resource–related literature. This research not only advances the theoretical and research understanding of employee engagement but also assists practitioners in deploying precise, well-crafted measures of engagement in the field.

You can read “Untangling the Predictive Nomological Validity of Employee Engagement: Decomposing Variance in Employee Engagement Using Job Attitude Measures” from Group & Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Office work image attributed to Carbon Tippy Toes (CC)

Do the Changing Characteristics of Jobs Impact Job Satisfaction?

15400504982_0b3fa842d1_zThe characteristics of jobs have evolved over the last handful of decades, but has the change in the nature of work impacted employee job satisfaction? A recent article published in Journal of Management, entitled “Placing Characteristics in Context: Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Changes in Job Characteristics Since 1975,” seeks to answer this question. Authors Lauren A. Wegman, Brian J. Hoffman, Nathan T. Carter, Jean M. Twenge, and Nigel Guenole studied changes in task identity, task significance, skill variety, autonomy, and feedback from the job to begin looking into the matter. The abstract for the paper:

Despite frequent references to “the changing nature of work,” little empirical research has investigated proposed changes in work context perceptions. To address this gap, this study uses a cross-temporal meta-analysis to examine changes in five core job characteristics (e.g., task identity, task significance, skill variety, autonomy, Current Issue Coverand feedback from the job) as well as changes in the relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction. An additional analysis of primary data is used to examine changes in two items related to interdependence. On average, workers perceived greater levels of skill variety and autonomy since 1975 and interdependence since 1985. In contrast, the results of a supplemental meta-analysis did not support significant changes in the association between the five core job characteristics and satisfaction over time. Thus, although there is some evidence for change in job characteristics, the findings do not support a change in the value placed on enriched work. Implications for researchers and organizations navigating the modern world of work are highlighted.

You can read “Placing Characteristics in Context: Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Changes in Job Characteristics Since 1975” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Working image attributed to Boris Baldinger (CC)

How Does a Management-to-Worker Wage Gap Impact Employee Performance?

The wage gap between the highest and lowest levels of an organization can serve as incentive for employees to work toward promotion, but does this motivation last in the long term? A new paper published in Journal of Managemententitled “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” from authors Brian L. Connelly, Katalin Takacs Haynes, Laszlo Tihanyi, Daniel L. Gamache, and Cynthia E. Devers delves into the performance implications of pay dispersion in an organization.

The abstract for the paper:

Management researchers have long been concerned with the antecedents and consequences of managerial compensation. More recently, scholarly and popular attention has turned to the gap in pay between workers at the highest and lowest levels of the organization, or “pay dispersion.” This study investigates the performance implications of pay dispersion on a longitudinal (10-year) sample of Current Issue Coverpublicly traded firms from multiple industries. We combine explanations based on tournament theory and equity theory to develop a model wherein pay dispersion has opposing effects on a firm’s short-term performance and their trend in performance over time. We also show that ownership is a key antecedent of pay dispersion. Specifically, transient institutional investors (who have short time horizons and equity stakes in a wide variety of firms) positively influence pay dispersion whereas dedicated institutional investors (who have longer investment time horizons and equity stakes in fewer firms) negatively influence pay dispersion. We discuss the wide-ranging implications of these findings for scholars, managers, and policy makers alike.

You can read “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!