How Superstitions May Impact Risky Behavior

Superstitions, particularly in Eastern cultures, often inform decisions, from the mundane to the life-changing. Existing research links a superstitious mindset to 544623640_258eaf528a_ba higher likelihood of engaging in riskier behaviors, such as gambling. A new Social Marketing Quarterly article seeks to explore different styles of superstition and the way in which these styles may impact a tendency towards risk. In their paper “Exploring Different Types of Superstitious Beliefs in Risk-Taking Behaviors: What We Can Learn From Thai Consumers,” authors Sydney Chinchanachokchai, Theeranuch Pusaksrikit, and Siwarit Pongsakornrungsilp examine differences between passive and proactive superstitious consumers. Passive superstition involves a strong belief in fate or destiny; these individuals feel that their luck is beyond their control. Proactive superstitious individuals, however, may practice certain rituals for to attract good luck or ward off evil forces. The researchers summarize:

The impact of superstitious beliefs on decision making and how they affect both business and consumers has been observed for several decades. Chinese consumers are willing to pay premium for something that contains number “8” and Thai consumers will do the same for number “9”. Those numbers are considered good luck and prosperity in the cultures. There are times that consumers make irrational decisions based on superstitious beliefs. Our paper explores different types of superstitious beliefs and how they affect risk-taking behaviors. We chose Thailand as a context because Thai consumers are known for their superstitions. We found that people who are “passive superstitious” (meaning that they believe in fate and generally do not take any superstitious action to control the situation) make riskier decisions when they received superstitious objects (e.g., lucky charms). These people do not usually go out and seek superstitious objects or practice superstitious rituals. As online gambling, online financial investments, and other risk-taking activities become more accessible to consumers, knowing that individuals may be either proactive or passive superstitious, the marketing campaigns for these types of products should be carefully monitored and regulated as some promotional tactics may trigger risky decisions.

So while passive superstitious consumers may be highly influenced by magical objects, proactive superstitious consumers are less likely to modify their behavior based on such an object.

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*Image attributed to Tiago Daniel. (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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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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The Normalization of Corruption and Wells Fargo’s 2 Million False Accounts

14040090880_7ba42ec582_z[We’re pleased to welcome J.S. Nelson, Senior Fellow at the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at Wharton, and an Advisor in the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Nelson recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “The Normalization of Corruption.” From Nelson:]

My paper in the Journal of Management Inquiry’s upcoming special issue on corruption describes how corruption becomes a new norm across individuals, companies, and then industries. Entitled “The Normalization of Corruption,” the paper relies on findings from law, organizational behavior, and surveys of the workplace to describe the norm in terms of behavioral ethics, how it reproduces, and how it grows.

The discussion focuses on how the normalization of corruption is built by individuals, spreads to companies, and then to industries. It further describes how the very normalization of the corruption protects individuals singled out for their misconduct from punishment by the legal system.

The specific examples in the paper are taken from the financial industry and the 2015-16 Volkswagen emissions scandal. This week’s headlines about widespread fraud at Wells Fargo follow the same patterns: cheating became the norm at Wells Fargo because of intense pressure from top executives; those top executives deny personal responsibility; and the legal system gives us few options to prosecute them for behavior that is otherwise widespread. Systemic fraud ensues.  Wells Fargo created over 2 million unauthorized accounts for customers, charged at least $1.5 million in unwarranted fees for those sham accounts, and over 5,300 employees were involved.

Similar to the social pressures that fueled the 2007-08 financial crisis, managers inside Wells Fargo pushed their employees to lie, cheat, steal, and to bend the rules in any imaginable way to satisfy sales goals and make profit. Employees were told to sign up their mothers, siblings, and friends; instructed to hunt for sales at bus stops and retirement homes;and often targeted elderly clients and people who did not speak English well.When employees protested that “This doesn’t make sense” and “Where are you getting these sales goals?”managers would answer, “No, you can do it”or “You’re negative”or “Oh, you’re not a team player.”Ethical employees who reported to hotlines and through the chain of command were fired for insubordination. Wells Fargo human resources personnel admit that the bank had a playbook for watching any employees who reported and then finding ways to fire them for another reason.

Now the bank faces the growing threat of a private class action lawsuit by ethical employees who were fired, and two top executives will have parts of their pay clawed back by the company’s disgraced board. But the rest of the legal system appears paralyzed to effectively enforce consequences on key individuals.

How did we arrive at this point of broadly corrupt norms? And more importantly, how do we turn around a system that has normalized corruption? The “Normalization of Corruption” JMI paper delves into these questions with immediate application for today.

[Please look for the follow-up entry this week on the origin of the paper, “The Normalization of Corruption.”]

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*Wells Fargo Image attributed to Mike Mozart (CC).

Who Does Referral-Based Hiring Help Most, and How?

9323706832_efbf0759ba_zReferral-based hiring is a commonplace practice for modern organizations, which holds considerable benefits for employees hired based upon a referral, including greater chances for upward mobility within the company. A recent paper published in ILR Review entitled “Lasting Effects? Referrals and Career Mobility of Demographic Groups in Organizations,” further studies the benefits of referral based hiring, and finds that the positive impact does not effect different demographic groups equally. Rather, authors Jennifer Merluzzi and Adina Sterling find that referral-based hiring provides the biggest increase in promotional opportunities for racial minorities. The abstract for the paper:

While prior research has suggested that network-based hiring in the form of referrals can lead to better career outcomes, few studies have tested whether such career advantages differ across demographic groups. Using archival data from a single organization for nearly 16,000 employees over an 11-year period, the authors examine the effect of hiring by referrals on the number of promotions employees receive and Current Issue Coverthe differences in this effect across demographic groups. Drawing on theories of referral-based hiring, inequality, and career mobility, they argue that referral-based hiring provides unique promotion advantages for minorities compared to those hired without a referral. Consistent with this argument, they find that referrals are positively associated with promotions for one minority group, blacks, even after controlling for individual and regional labor market differences. The authors explore the possible mechanism for this finding, with initial evidence pointing to referrals providing a signal of quality for black employees. These results suggest refinement to prior research that attests that referral-based hiring disadvantages racial minorities.

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*Image attributed to Cydcor (CC)

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)

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries

Cover for 

The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries

Candace Jones, Mark Lorenzen, Jonathan Sapsed , eds.: The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. 576 pp. $170.00, hardcover.

Santi Furnari of City University London recently published a book review for The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries in Administrative Science Quarterly. An excerpt from the review:

The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries is a comprehensive compendium of up-to-date scholarly works on the formation, dynamics, and outcomes of creative industries. Two distinctive strengths of this handbook are the breadth of topics covered and the diversity of disciplinary perspectives brought to bear to examine such topics. The volume puts together a unique collection of leading scholars from different disciplines (management, sociology, economics, law, psychology, urban planning, and public policy) covering the complete range of theoretical and practical issues that characterize the study of creative industries today…

These diverse contributions are elegantly framed by Current Issue Coverthe editors’ introduction to the volume, which not only works well in setting the stage for the other chapters but also provides a useful theoretical framework to organize the arguments and evidence presented in them. This framework identifies two conceptual dimensions of a creative product: semiotic codes (i.e., the relations among the symbolic elements embedded in a creative product) and the material base (i.e., the technologies and materials giving form to a creative product). Each of these dimensions may undergo change, either slow or fast, depending on four change drivers: demand, technology, policy, and globalization. The result of this conceptualization is a two-by-two typology classifying four types of change in the creative industries depending on the pace (fast vs. slow) and locus (semiotic codes vs. material bases) of change.

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