Implications of Work Effort and Discretion for Employee Well-Being and Career-Related Outcomes

Researchers and Authors Argyro Avgoustaki of ESCP Europe Business School and Hans T. W. Frankort of the University of London recently published in article in the ILR Review entitled, “Implications of Work Effort and Discretion for Employee Well-Being and Career-Related Outcomes: An Integrative Assessment,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below they discuss the motivations and findings of this research.

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

In an earlier study (Avgoustaki 2016), one of us examined factors predicting employee overtime. A natural follow-on question is how overtime relates to employee-level outcomes. Several reflections on this question motivated our current study. First, a broad and multidisciplinary literature shows that overtime predicts reduced well-being. The popular press often portrays this finding as signifying merely the kind of inconvenience that employees must endure to make headway in their careers. Yet, we were surprised to find no studies directly examining such folk wisdom, through systematic comparisons of the well-being and career-related implications of overtime. Second, while overtime is the type of work effort receiving most attention among practitioners and policy makers, employees often work at high speed or to tight deadlines and so they can also experience high levels of work intensity. We realized that little was known about the relative power of overtime versus work intensity in predicting employee outcomes. Thus, we set out to examine overtime and work intensity as predictors of both well-being and career-related outcomes in a representative sample of close to 52,000 European employees.

Were there any surprising findings?

First, we find that work effort broadly predicts unfavorable outcomes, both in terms of employee well-being and career-related implications. In other words, overtime and work intensity seem not to predict a balance of favorable and unfavorable outcomes, where career-related progress somehow makes up for decreased well-being.

Second, although both overtime and work intensity predict unfavorable outcomes, we find that work intensity is the stronger predictor in virtually all our analyses. Thus, one might ask whether the common concern of employers and policy makers with overtime and hours of work in some way misses the mark. Perhaps it is not the duration of work but its intensity that requires greater attention.

Third, we asked whether work effort predicts better outcomes in employees that have the discretion to decide how and when to perform their work. We find some such evidence, although we were surprised to observe that increased work effort remains associated with inferior outcomes even in employees with more discretion. Perhaps more surprisingly, work intensity in employees with discretion often remains a stronger predictor of unfavorable outcomes than overtime in employees without discretion.

How will this research have an impact?

We hope that our research will contribute towards a broader awareness of the possible adverse implications of excessive work effort, in general, and work intensity, in particular. Such awareness is important for employees, who must consider that the costs of excessive effort might outweigh its benefits. Greater awareness is important also for employers and policy makers interested in stimulating productive and sustainable effort. Beyond established initiatives to limit the duration of work, we believe strategies that limit the adverse implications of intensive work merit greater consideration.

Cited reference

Avgoustaki, Argyro. 2016. Work uncertainty and extensive work effort: The mediating role of human resource practices. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 69(3): 656-682.

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The Effect of Workplace Inspections on Worker Safety

Ling Li of the University of Wisconsin– Parkside and Perry Singleton of Syracuse University recently published in article in the ILR Review entitled, “The Effect of Workplace Inspections on Worker Safety,” which is free to read for a limited time. The abstract for the article is below:

ilra_71_4_coverThe US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces safety regulations through workplace inspections. The authors estimate the effect of inspections on worker safety by exploiting a feature of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting plan. The program targeted establishments for inspection if their baseline case rate exceeded a cutoff. This approach generated a discontinuous increase in inspections, which the authors exploit for identification. Using the fuzzy regression discontinuity model, they find that inspections decrease the rate of cases that involve days away from work, job restrictions, and job transfers in the calendar year immediately after the inspection cycle. They find no effect for other case rates or in subsequent years. Effects are most evident in manufacturing and less evident in health services, the largest two-digit industries represented in the data.

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Macro-Social Marketing and Gun Violence in America

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Traditionally marketing has focused on how to change individual’s behavior in order to buy a product. What media strategies can increase sales, and how to associate values with products? With the advent of the social marketing fields, analysis focused on how conventional marketing tools could be used to change behavior to improve one’s well being and address social problems. While there is a wealth of literature that looks at how government agencies can utilize marketing tools to effect individuals engaged in certain behavior, there has been little research on how NGO’s utilize the same tools to alter behavior and invoke policy changes.

Researchers and Authors Aimee Dinnin Huff, Michelle Barnhart, Brandon McAlexander, and Jim McAlexander perform a pertinent expansion of this field by  looking at how American Gun Violence Prevention groups (GVPGS) act as macro-social marketers.

They recently published in article in the Journal of Macromarketing entitled, “Addressing the Wicked Problem of American Gun Violence: Consumer Interest Groups as Macro-social Marketers,” which is free to read for a limited time. The abstract for the article is below:

Building on work on social and macro-social marketing, we provide an empirical account of ways in which American gun violence prevention groups (GVPGs) act as macro-social marketers as they address the wicked problem of gun violence, which they define as deaths and injuries with firearms. We find that, as a collective, GVPGs attempt to change the culture related to guns by targeting up-, mid-, and downstream agents. We contribute to theory by (1) expanding the concept of macro- social marketing beyond government entities to include consumer interest groups and collectives; (2) introducing internal marketing as a macro-social marketing tool critical for macro-social marketers dependent largely on volunteers; (3) elucidating ways that macro-social marketers can accomplish upstream changes indirectly, by encouraging consumers and citizens to influence policy makers; and (4) revealing marketing tactics that can be leveraged across up-, mid-, downstream, and internal efforts.

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A One of a Kind Scholar and a Macromarketer

Image result for Robert F luschWhat is the Market? Is it a physical space where people come to buy and sell goods and services? Is it an economic force that pushes businesses to compete? Or is it a social space where our mental models of society interact with strangers?

Macromarketer Robert F. Lusch worked from this third perspective, analyzing the market from a holistic approach and included various analyses from other social sciences. He was a prolific author with a long list of publications, who received various awards and honorary appointments. While his colleagues mourn his passing, they  reflect on his humble and confident personality, and his unique approach of combining Marketing and Ethics.

Mark Peterson recently published an article in the Journal of Macromarketing entitled “Robert F. Lusch –One of a Kind Scholar and a Macromarketer,” which is free to read for a limited time. The abstract for this article is below:

Robert FLusch spoke in a plenary session at the 2015 Macromarketing Conference in Chicago and shared four ideas he felt will have importance to macromarketing scholars in the future. His essay “The Long Macro View” follows. In it, he highlights humans’ innate propensity for 1) engaging in exchange, 2) creating technology, 3) encountering choices with unseen costs, and 4) developing institutions to coordinate interactions with each other. Four macromarketers offer their own comments on this essay: 1) Gene R. Laczniak (who also organized the set of commentaries on “The Long Macro View”), 2) Olga Kravets, 3) Clifford J. Shultz, II, and 4) Roger A. Layton. These commentaries were authored and edited shortly before Bob Lusch passed away.

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Photo of Robert F. Lusch attributed to the University of Arizona.

Breaking Bad Habits: How Marketing Incentives Can Lead to Healthy Food Choices

9153746729_9fb261fcdf_zThe rise of processed foods in the past century has brought with it a rising tide of health concerns. Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes have all been linked to diets high in fat, sodium, and sugar, leading many to seek out healthier alternatives. But making the switch from cookies and potato chips to broccoli and apples is easier said than done–so how can consumers start to make better food choices? A recent article from published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterlyentitled “McHealthy: How Marketing Incentives Influence Healthy Food Choices” delves into how certain marketing incentives can help consumers break their unhealthy habits and make better choices. Authors Elisa K. Chan, Robert Kwortnik, and Brian Wansink specifically compare the efficacy of behavioral rewards versus financial discounts in motivating individuals to change their eating habits. The abstract for the article:

Food choices are often habitual, which can perpetuate Current Issue Coverunhealthy behaviors; that is, selection of foods high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories. This article extends previous research by examining how marketing incentives can encourage healthy food choices. Building on research examining marketing incentives, temporal goals, and habitual behavior, this research shows that certain incentives (behavioral rewards vs. financial discounts) affect individuals with healthy and less healthy eating habits differently. A field study conducted at a corporate cafeteria and three lab studies converge on a consistent finding: The effects of marketing incentives on healthy food choice are particularly prominent for people who have less healthy eating habits. Results showed that behavioral rewards generated a 28.5% (vs. 5.5%) increase in salad sales; behavioral rewards also led to 2 pounds more weight loss for individuals with less healthy eating habits. The research offers important implications for scholars, the food industry, consumers, governments, and policy makers.

You can read “McHealthy: How Marketing Incentives Influence Healthy Food Choices” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Cornell Hospitality QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Sonny Abesamis (CC)

Identity and Entrepreneurship in California’s Medical Cannabis Industry

3410000930_95fc2866fa_zCalifornia’s medical cannabis industry operates in a legal gray area–while state law allows for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, federal laws still list cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. As a result of the complex legal context, the medical cannabis industry stands as a unique underground market in California, defined by an attitude of defiance and disregard for the prohibition of cannabis. In the recent Journal of Macromarketing paper entitled “Entrepreneurship, Identity, and the Transformation of Marketing Systems: Medical Cannabis in California,” author Kenji Klein analyzes how medical cannabis entrepreneurs, who perceive cannabis prohibition to be unfounded, are able to enact their value identities by challenging prohibition. The abstract for the paper:

This paper examines how entrepreneurs operating in underground markets come to see laws governing marketing systems as illegitimate and explores the role identity plays in motivating entrepreneurs to challenge existing institutions. Analysis of Current Issue Coverinterviews with 27 cannabis dispensary founders showed that entrepreneurs came to reject medical cannabis prohibition as illegitimate after direct experience with both cannabis and traditional medicines convinced them the factual basis upon which prohibition rested was flawed. Perception of prohibition’s illegitimacy fostered entrepreneur identification as a member of a superior in-group constrained by an illegitimate institution. Pursuing opportunities in illegal markets then became a vehicle for entrepreneurs to enact valued identities by challenging and undermining prohibition. This analysis extends work on informal economy entrepreneurship by showing that dis-identification with formal institutions does more than enable entrepreneurs to recognize economic opportunities ignored by those working within institutional boundaries; it also opens existing marketing systems to decay by providing economic and psychological resources for dismantling the laws that govern them.

You can read “Entrepreneurship, Identity, and the Transformation of Marketing Systems: Medical Cannabis in California” from Journal of Macromarketing free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of MacromarketingClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Medical marijuana sign image attributed to Chuck Coker (CC)

How Has Retailing Evolved?

antique-cash-register-1552352From general stores to department stores and superstores, retailing has undergone significant changes in the past two centuries. In their article “The Evolution of Retailing: A Meta Review of the Literature” from Journal of Macromarketing, authors Ellen McArthur, Scott Weaven, and Rajiv Dant review a wide range of literature detailing the progression of retailing throughout the years.

[Editor’s Note: We are saddened to report the passing of Rajiv Dant. Dr. Dant held the dual positions of Helen Robson Walton Centennial Chair in Marketing in the Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma and Professor of Marketing, Griffith University. He was a world-renowned scholar in the areas of distribution channels, supply chain management, and franchising.]

The abstract:

The evolution of retailing has interested academics across a range of disciplines including economics, history, JMMK_new C1 template.inddgeography, and marketing. Due to its interdisciplinary appeal, the corpus of knowledge on retailing is composed of many disparate variables of analysis – from transaction costs and entrepreneurs, to environmental factors and the dispersion of stores. In consequence, the literature that attempts to explain retailing evolution presents as a patchwork, and extant theories remain disconnected because of their narrowness of focus. This literature review applies a macro and systems theory approach to the multi-discipline literature, and links together bodies of work that, until now, have remained conceptually unconnected. This provides a meta typology of six factors that could explain change in retailing: economic efficiencies, cyclical patterns, power inequities, innovative behavior, environmental influences, and interdependent parts of the system in co-evolution.

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