Role of Referrers in Hiring

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Jenna R. Pieper of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Charlie O. Trevor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ingo Weller of LMU Munich, and Dennis Duchon of University of Nebraska-Lincoln . They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “Referral Hire Presence Implications for Referrer Turnover and Job Performance,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Pieper discusses the events and circumstance that inspired this research:]

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This paper was motivated by a general curiosity about the critical role of referrers in referral hiring in organizational settings, and originated in a section of my doctoral dissertation. Referral hiring, or the practice of using recommendations of a current employee (referrer) to identify and hire a new employee (referral hire), often accounts for 30% to 50% of an organization’s filling of its job openings. To date, the attention of research and practice has focused primarily on the referral hires and their outcomes, leaving a glaring gap in our understanding of how referrers are impacted by the hiring of a friend or acquaintance. We were therefore interested in gaining insight into how the presence of a referral hire influences referrer performance and voluntary turnover.

Our findings, which are arguably the first to specifically examine how referral hiring impacts referrers, show that referrers are indeed impacted by the presence of their referral hire through a socially enriched workplace. In our study, employees with a referral hire present were 27% less likely to leave than employees without a referral hire present, and their performance improved by 5.1% when a referral hire was present. However, we found that job similarity (indicating heightened workplace exposure) between referrers and their referral hires, when compared to job dissimilarity, was associated with lower referrer job performance. Thus, it seems the costs, such as socialization and informal training, for referrers in similar jobs to their referral hires may offset the performance gains gleamed from the referral hire presence. Most important to our work is that we provide the only empirical evidence to date that referring enhances the social enrichment construct at the heart of referral hire discourse.

I think that future research on this topic should continue to consider the critical role of the referrer in referral hiring. My main advice for scholars would be to consider the interface between the various stakeholders in referral hiring, different referring pathways, the intricacies in how referring hiring unfolds over time, and the contingencies that affect its outcomes. A lot of fascinating contributions can still be made regarding referral hiring.

Finally, our work is important to practitioners. It demonstrates that the presence aspect is crucial. When coupled with the well-established benefits for the referral hire, referral hiring appears to be a value proposition for the firm because performance and retention gains emerge for both referrers and referral hires. Thus, our work would encourage continued practice of referral hiring. Practitioners can also take from our study that it is important to be aware of and work to prevent potential downsides associated with referral hiring.

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Understanding the Differential Effects of Anxiety and Anger

depression-2912404_1280[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Laurie J. Barclay of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Tina Kiefer of the University of Warwick. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “In the Aftermath of Unfair Events: Understanding the Differential Effects of Anxiety and Anger,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, the motivation for their research:]

JOM_42_5_Covers.inddWhat motivated you to pursue this research?
We were interested in how employees experience unfair events on a day-to-day basis and how they “live through” and actively navigate these experiences. We wanted to move away from the dominant perspective in the literature that examines how unfairness impacts employees through the “eyes” and interests of managers and organizations. Instead, we wanted to ground our investigation in employees’ experiences to understand how employees process and respond to these events and how this impacts their relationship with the organization.

Within the fairness literature, it is often assumed that negative emotions are detrimental. However, negative emotions can be functional for employees and hence organizations. One of our study’s most compelling findings is that employees who experience anxiety in reaction to the unfair event are motivated to engage in problem prevention behaviors, which are aimed at “fixing” the situation. Interestingly, employees who engage in these behaviors experienced a “rebound” in their fairness perceptions, such that the drop in perceived fairness due to the unfair event was corrected. By contrast, anger was functional by showing that the unfairness would not be tolerated but did not have the same positive impact on subsequent fairness perceptions. This raises important questions about how employees’ behaviors impact the aftermath of the unfair event and the importance of understanding how employees are experiencing these events to effectively manage these situations.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?
After decades of research, the fairness literature has become a mature and well-established domain of inquiry, with thousands of studies and dozens of theories. Although this wealth of empirical evidence and theoretical diversity has provided much richness, incoming researchers and doctoral students can find it a bit intimidating to dive into. Further, some scholars have also questioned whether the maturity of this literature will lead to stagnation. However, there are many opportunities to make significant, novel, and important discoveries in this domain by taking different and novel perspectives.

One way to continue to stimulate this literature is to identify and question its underlying assumptions. For example, in our research, we grounded our investigation in the experiences of employees which challenges the dominant perspective in the field. This approach created a number of insights regarding how employees actively navigate unfair events, including how employees can impact their own fairness perceptions through their emotional and behavioral responses as well as the functional nature of negative emotions.

We would encourage new scholars and incoming researchers to challenge assumptions in the literature and also consider how applying theories from other domains and perspectives to fairness can enhance our insights. Doing so will create exciting new opportunities to expand our understanding and ability to manage this important phenomenon. Given the pervasiveness and impact of unfairness, it is critical to provide employees and organizations with evidence-based practices that can help prevent these experiences, where possible, and effectively navigate unfairness when it does occur.

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Stress photo attributed to whoismargot. (CC)

 

Interactions Between Justice Levels and Trajectories Predicting Behavioral Reciprocity

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[We’re pleased to welcome authors Alex Rubenstein of the University of Memphis, David G. Allen of Texas Christian University, and Frank A. Bosco of the Virginia Commonwealth University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “What’s Past (and Present) Is Prologue: Interactions Between Justice Levels and Trajectories Predicting Behavioral Reciprocity,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Rubenstein discusses the events and circumstance that inspired his research:]

JOM_42_5_Covers.inddWe began this paper by considering the nature of how people experience fairness in the workplace. Certainly any instance of fair or unfair treatment can have an effect on employee’s attitudes and behavior in the future, but we were also interested in how the past can differently shape employee’s interpretation of the present. For instance, imagine two employees who think their organization is moderately fair. Previous studies would expect them to have similar attitudes and be equal organizational citizens in the future. However, we wondered whether past fairness experiences—specifically, the trajectory of experienced justice in the past, if has been getting better, worse, or staying the same—could color the interpretation of the present differently for these employees.

Our results, which are arguably the first that specifically examine how employees behaviorally reciprocate to this interactive pattern of past and present treatment, show that indeed the past is prologue when it comes to justice. We examined how present justice levels and trajectories over time interacted to predict helping behavior as well as future employee turnover behavior. That is, two employees who rate the exact same levels of current fairness at work may reciprocate differently (in terms of helping other employees and even their decision to remain a member of the organization) because of potentially different past trends of experienced justice. We found that the highest levels of helping, and the lowest levels of turnover were for those employees with high current levels of perceived fairness, along with a positive past trajectory. It seems that employees are most willing to reciprocate to their organizations when things are currently quite fair AND if things have been getting progressively better over time.

I think this research will spur new studies that consider the dynamic nature of organizational phenomena, and the value in looking at variables’ change over time. I feel the methodology of change modeling has only recently caught up to the theory, and a lot of fascinating contributions can be made regarding how growth and decline in phenomena (thoughts, feelings, behaviors) affect individuals, teams, and organizations as a whole.

I think new scholars looking at organizational justice can continue to take a dynamic look at its change over time, both in the short and long term. My main advice would be to brush up on research methods, such as latent growth modeling and structural equation modeling. We all have lots of questions, and its is important that researchers be equipped with the methodological tools to test those questions.

I think the most influential piece of scholarship I have read recently was Alvesson, M., & Sandberg, J. 2011. Generating research questions through problematization. Academy of Management Review, 36: 247–271. An important part of framing your study is not just “gap-filling”, but demonstrating how your study solves a problem, and this paper does a good job of explaining how to do this.

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Scales photo attributed to Artsybee. (CC)

 

Holocaust Education and Its Effect on UNESCO Policy Guides

Holocaust education- working towards cultivating global citizenship, promoting human rights, and developing a culture of peace and prevention of genocide

cme1.pngThe Holocaust as a topic of study is present to varying degrees in a substantial number of countries, notably European, as well as countries where victims of the Holocaust have sought refuge and others not directly affected.  A recent study by UNESCO and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research found that at least 65 countries specifically mention the genocide of Jews and other crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, in their secondary schools’ social sciences and history curricula. An additional 46 countries provide context (the Second World War and National Socialism) in which the Holocaust can be taught. Teaching about the Holocaust is encouraged by the United Nations, which emphasizes its historical significance and the importance of teaching this event as a fundamental consideration pertaining to the prevention of genocide.

Inspired by the Conference for International Holocaust Education organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in collaboration with the UNESCO in Washington, D.C., a distinguished journal ‘Contemporary Review of the Middle East by SAGE Publications has come out with a special issue on Holocaust Education. The issue aims to strengthen the history of Holocaust and the genocide through pedagogical means. It has contributions from most of the attendees of this conference. With contributions from eclectic mix of scholars, the issue emphasizes on the fact that Holocaust is not an exclusive Jewish, European, or Christian tragedy but a human calamity. This universal message cannot be understood by ‘uniquefing’ the Holocaust. Despite its unparalleled character and magnitude, its understanding cannot be done in isolation.

Supporting the effort to inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust and to prevent future genocides, UNESCO has created an educational programme dedicated to the history of Holocaust. To support this effort, it has recently laid down a policy guide for policy-makers who seek to implement or substantiate the study of the Holocaust within their education systems and, more broadly, the study of genocide and mass atrocities. It describes how and why teaching and learning about the Holocaust can support global policy priorities through education, including cultivating global citizenship, promoting human rights, and developing a culture of peace and prevention of genocide. Articles from the issue on Holocaust education from the journal ‘Contemporary review of the Middle East’ have been taken as one of the references for drafting this document. The articles focus essentially on education about the Holocaust and the decades of research, resources and pedagogical practices demonstrating its effectiveness. Thorough guidance is provided for setting clear, realistic and context-specific learning objectives that promote quality education on the occurrences and history of Holocaust.

The special issue is currently free to read for a limited time.

About the Journal:

Contemporary Review of the Middle East, peer-reviewed flagship journal from the Middle East Institute, New Delhi seeks to publish original research articles that analyse contemporary Middle Eastern developments in the fields of security, politics, economy and culture. Though the Journal’s primary focus would be on contemporary developments, it would consider persuasive contributions on the region’s contemporary diplomatic and international histories that have evident bearings on the present.

Editorial Board     |     Submit an article

 

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!

Fair Enough: How Managers Can Establish a Fair Identity

[2967379797_39f332f7ac_z (1)We’re pleased to welcome Terri Scandura of University of Miami, who co-authored an article in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Getting to ‘Fair’: Justice Interactions as Identity Negotiation” with Cecily Cooper of University of Miami.]

Fairness is a necessary condition for effective leadership (Scandura, 1999). But how does a manager negotiate a fair identity with followers and what do followers contribute to this identity?  How does this process unfold over time? How does having a fair identity benefit a manager? How does it lead to better relationship with followers? How do fair relationships benefit the organization?

We know that managers care about fairness and try to be fair (or at least appear fair) (Greenberg, 1988). Research on organizational justice has found that fairness issues are important to employees and link to performance withdrawal and counterproductive behavior (Conlon et al., 2005).  Given this importance, we were motivated to better understand the process of how managers come to be seen as “fair managers” by subordinates. We developed a model that considers both manager and subordinates as mutually influential on judgments of a manager’s fairness, rather than focusing solely on the subordinate’s perspective. Our model examines the emergence of a manager’s fair identity over time.

Our paper adopts a perspective from social psychology to better understand how JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointmanagers come to be viewed as fair called “identity negotiation” (Swann, 1987). This framework focuses on the interplay between self- and other-perceptions within leader-member relationships. This approach is particularly appropriate for informing justice research on the issue of justice perceptions of managers. People self-verify to increase their perception of predictability and control over their environment. Individuals desire to be seen “accurately” by others (i.e., they want others to see them as they see themselves). In the case of fairness, managers who care about being seen as fair by followers engage in a negotiation process with followers that results in a fair identity – “getting to fair,” just as negotiators engage in exchanges that result in “getting to yes.”

For managers, being seen as fair is central to building positive relationships with subordinates and achieving optimum functioning of the work unit. Our discussion, regarding how a general perception of fairness is formed, offers a number of key takeaways for attaining and maintaining a fair identity.

  1. By emphasizing the role of justice negotiation events, managers are more aware that subordinates may offer explicit feedback regarding fairness. Moreover, when explicit feedback is given, managers should be careful not to react defensively.
  2. Justice negotiation events should be seen as an opportunity to address fairness concerns and negotiate the preferred fairness identity. To capitalize on these discussions, managers would be wise to develop their conflict management skills.
  3. Managers should negotiate a positive fairness identity as early as possible in the relationship since entity perceptions will affect future events. Managers should also be cognizant of the fact that they are never completely “off the hook” when it comes to managing their fairness. Although perceptions can be formed early on, both parties continue to negotiate this fair identity throughout the entire working relationship. A pivotal justice negotiation event could impact perceptions of managerial fairness at any point in time.
  4. Organizations must be mindful that they often communicate the identities members are supposed to assume (Swann et al., 2009). Thus, if organizations emphasize certain attributes, which conflict or compete with the fairness identity (e.g., being efficient, powerful, or frugal), they may unwittingly undermine managerial efforts to establish fair identities.

In sum, a working understanding of how events develop into a reputation for being fair and how this must be managed over time is inherently useful and beneficial for managers and organizations. Our paper articulates the development of the fair identity, therefore making these implicit processes explicit so that managers can better understand how to optimize long-term manager-subordinate relationships.

References
Conlon, D., Meyer, C., & Nowakowski, J. (2005). How does organizational justice affect, performance, withdrawal, and counterproductive behavior? In J. Greenberg & J. Colquitt (Eds.), Handbook of Organizational Justice (pp. 301-327). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Greenberg, J. (1988). Cultivating an image of justice: Looking fair on the job.  Academy of Management Executive, 2(2), 155-157.
Scandura, T. A.  (1999). Rethinking Leader-member exchange: An organizational justice perspective.  The Leadership Quarterly, 10, 25-40.
Swann, W. (1987). Identity negotiation: Where two roads meet.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(6), 1038-1051.

You can read “Getting to ‘Fair’: Justice Interactions as Identity Negotiation” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational StudiesClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Discussion image credited to Mark Johnston (CC)

Are Authentic Leadership and Fairness Connected?

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Christa Kiersch of University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Dr. Kiersch recently collaborated with Zinta S. Byrne of Colorado State University on their article from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes.”]

Like many interested in leadership and organizational science, I often ask myself (and my perhaps less interested undergraduate students) what it means to be a great leader or to have great leadership. This seems to be a guiding question of much of the research in organizational leadership, and with good cause. If we can better understand what great leadership is, then we may be able to get more of it through improved selection assessments or training and development programs. To go one step further, if we can better understand why certain leadership skills or behaviors or other characteristics are effective, we can offer more precisely targeted recommendations for leaders hoping to make a positive impact (and be more specific regarding what the positive impact will be). This captures the underlying goal of this study, to inform actionable strategies for leaders to positively influence the people and goals of their organization or team.

In our research, we found that being an authentic leader (one based on honesty, self-awareness and transparency) often means being a fair leader, and that one way in which authentic leadership has a positive impact on team members and team outcomes is via perceptions of fair treatment among the team. While I had a hunch that this core relationship between authentic leadership and fairness would be supported in the study, I was intrigued by the complexities of our multi-level findings. I find it interesting that authentic leadership impacts individual perceptions and shared group perceptions (i.e., team climate) a bit differently, and that this impact also appears different depending on the outcome of interest (e.g., turnover intentions vs. employee well-being). I sincerely look forward to continued dialogue regarding these findings and more generally regarding the interesting ways in which leadership impacts (and is impacted by) individuals and groups.

You can read “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


ChristaChrista E. Kiersch is an assistant professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Her research interests include leadership, organizational justice, and social responsibility in the workplace.

Zinta S. Byrne is a professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University. Her current research interests focus on employee engagement, organizational justice, and computer-mediated exchanges.