Organization OR Environment?

organization-enviroment[We’re pleased to welcome Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, Assistant Professor at Babson College in Organizational Behavior. Tosti-Kharas recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior for the Environment.” From Tosti-Kharas:]

The origin of this paper came from bridging two different research projects. My co-authors, Tom Thomas and Eric Lamm of SFSU, published a theoretical paper regarding how individuals develop attitudes toward organizational sustainability. Meanwhile, Eric and I have performed research on what motivates employees to perform sustainable behaviors. We look at what we term organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment ¬ OCB-Es for short ¬ which are voluntary actions at work that help conserve resources, things like recycling, printing double-sided, etc. This paper joined these two streams of inquiry to examine how the reasons why people think it is important to act sustainably at work relates to their performance of OCB-Es and we tested it empirically.

Most past research on this topic has used a measure of how important people think sustainability is in general, meaning for broad ecological reasons, but never contextualized within a work organization. In the paper we distinguish between believing sustainability is important in and of itself, what we term an ³eco-centric rationale,² and believing it is important as a means to an end, specifically a business end, which we term an ³organization-centric rationale.² We also differentiate employees¹ own rationales about why it is important for their companies to operate sustainably from their perceptions about why their organizations believe it is important. Perhaps the most surprising finding when we surveyed 489 working adults across a wide range of organizations and occupations was that people were more likely to perform OCB-Es when they believed their organizations valued sustainability, regardless of their own personal beliefs about the importance of sustainability. These findings held for both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales. This to us was surprising, as lots of research would lead us to predict that personal values would trump perceived organizational values. Yet, we find the opposite, which suggests that perhaps people perform voluntary sustainability behaviors at work not just because they think it¹s important, but because their company believes it is important. It is worth noting that we included in our OCB-E measure not only simple, everyday tasks, but also ³higher-level² behaviors, like collaborating with other employees or making suggestions to supervisors to increase organizational sustainability.

These findings raise several interesting and timely implications for organizational leaders looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors. Since employee perceptions of organizational rationales for sustainability were so important in motivating OCB-Es, we advise communicating corporate values around sustainability and resource conservation as clearly as possible. By contrast, trying to screen employees for pro-environmental values seemed to be less important in a company that clearly communicated these values, since even employees who didn’t buy in on their own behaved more sustainably when they believed their employers cared about the environment.

 

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Time for Some Course Corrections in Organizations

Blake Ashforth

 

[We’re pleased to welcome Blake Ashforth of Arizona State University, Tempe. Blake recently published an article entitled “Exploring Identity and Identification in Organizations: Time for Some Course Corrections,” published in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. From Blake:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

When individuals identify with their occupations and organizations, good things generally happen. They tend to perform more effectively, make decisions with the organization’s best interests in mind, and are better organizational citizens. However, after hundreds of studies on identity and identification in the workplace, I think it’s time for some course corrections. Specifically, I argue that we’ve drifted away from the core aspect of identification – that is, the definition of oneself in terms of a target – treating identification as just another attitudinal variable; that the most important target of identification is not the organization per se, but the occupation, relationships, and groups or teams; that there is an important dark side to identification; and that we need to consider perspectives of identity beyond social identity theory/self-categorization theory.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Identity and identification have been vital concepts in organizational studies for decades. My hope is that these “course corrections” will help keep these concepts as vital and generative in the future as they have been in the past.

 


An excerpt from the article:

JLO

Identity and identification remain very popular constructs for organizational scholars, regularly generating a bounty of provocative research. To help maintain the generativity of these root constructs, I suggest four “course corrections” for our explorations, namely, focusing more on (1) the core aspect of identification, that is, the definition of self in terms of a target; (2) other targets of identification aside from the organization; (3) the dark side of identification; and (4) perspectives of identity beyond social identity theory/self-categorization theory.

You can read the article “Exploring Identity and Identification in Organizations: Time for Some Course Corrections” from the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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Employees and the Environment: Promoting Eco-Friendly Behavior in the Workplace

blue-truck-recycle[We’re pleased to welcome Jennifer Tosti-Kharas of Babson College. Jennifer recently published an article in Organization & Environment with co-authors Eric Lamm and Tom E. Thomas entitled “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees’ Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior Toward the Environment.” From Jennifer:]

The origin of this paper came from bridging two different research projects. My co-authors, Tom Thomas and Eric Lamm of SFSU, published a theoretical paper regarding how individuals develop attitudes toward organizational sustainability. Meanwhile, Eric and I have performed research on what motivates employees to perform sustainable behaviors. We look at what we term organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment ­ OCB-Es for short ­ which are voluntary actions at work that help conserve resources, things like recycling, printing double-sided, etc. This paper joined these two streams of inquiry to examine how the reasons why people think it is important to act sustainably at work relates to their performance of OCB-Es and we tested it empirically.

Most past research on this topic has used a measure of how important people think O&E_Mar_2012_vol26_no1_Cover_Final.inddsustainability is in general, meaning for broad ecological reasons, but never contextualized within a work organization. In the paper we distinguish between believing sustainability is important in and of itself, what we term an ³eco-centric rationale,² and believing it is important as a means to an end, specifically a business end, which we term an ³organization-centric rationale.² We also differentiate employees¹ own rationales about why it is important for their companies to operate sustainably from their perceptions about why their organizations believe it is important. Perhaps the most surprising finding when we surveyed 489 working adults across a wide range of organizations and occupations was that people were more likely to perform OCB-Es when they believed their organizations valued sustainability, regardless of their own personal beliefs about the importance of sustainability. These findings held for both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales. This to us was surprising, as lots of research would lead us to predict that personal values would trump perceived organizational values. Yet, we find the opposite, which suggests that perhaps people perform voluntary sustainability behaviors at work not just because they think it¹s important, but because their company believes it is important. It is worth noting that we included in our OCB-E measure not only simple, everyday tasks, but also ³higher-level² behaviors, like collaborating with other employees or making suggestions to supervisors to increase organizational sustainability.

These findings raise several interesting and timely implications for organizational leaders looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors. Since employee perceptions of organizational rationales for sustainability were so important in motivating OCB-Es, we advise communicating corporate values around sustainability and resource conservation as clearly as possible. By contrast, trying to screen employees for pro-environmental values seemed to be less important in a company that clearly communicated these values, since even employees who didn¹t buy in on their own behaved more sustainably when they believed their employers cared about the environment.

The abstract for the article:

Scholars and managers have raised the question of how to encourage employees to perform discretionary pro-environmental behaviors at work, termed organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment (OCB-Es). This study examined how rationales for organizational sustainability relate to employees’ OCB-Es. We considered two rationales—eco-centric and organization-centric—and two sources—employees’ rationales and their perceptions of their employers’ rationales. Results from 489 working adults across a variety of organizations and occupations revealed that both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales at both individual and perceived organizational levels related to employees’ OCB-Es. Furthermore, we found interactive effects, such that employees’ perceptions of their organizations’ rationales were more important than their own rationales in determining OCB-Es. These findings contribute to a theoretical understanding of the complex and interrelated factors motivating employees to perform voluntary sustainability behaviors in organizations. In addition, our results are valuable for managers looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors.

You can read the article “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees’ Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior Toward the Environment” from Organization & Environment free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Truck image attributed to MIKI Yoshihito (CC)

Book Review: Secrecy at Work: The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life

Cover of Secrecy at Work by Jana Costas and Christopher Grey  Jana Costas, Christopher Grey : Secrecy at Work: The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016. 202 pp. $27.95, paper.

Blake E. Ashforth of Arizona State University Tempe recently contributed a book review in Administrative Science QuarterlyAn excerpt from the book review:

In their provocative new book, Jana Costas and Christopher Grey focus not on organizational secrets per se, the content that is concealed, but on organizational secrecy, “the processes through which secrets are kept” (p. 7). Note the plural in “processes,” as the dynamics and their ramifications can become quite complex. The authors’ goal, which they amply meet, is to bring secrecy out from the shadows, as it were, and convince the reader that it warrants far more scholarly Current Issue Coverattention as both an important topic in its own right and as a complement to management topics such as leadership, organizational change, and politics.

The book’s subtitle, “The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life,” speaks to their core argument: that secrecy explicitly and implicitly creates a compartmentalized structure linked by narrow corridors, a machinery for surveillance and monitoring, and organizational norms and professional ethics codes, all coupled with processes for sharing and not sharing information. “Like electricity or water in buildings, secret knowledge must always be penned in to proscribed places and forced to flow around prescribed routes” (p. 140).

You can read the rest of the book review from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research published by Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts! You can also follow the journal on Twitter–click here to read recent tweets from Administrative Science Quarterly!

You can also read additional blog content for Administrative Science Quarterly content from the ASQ Blog, as well as Editor Henrich Greve’s blog, Organizational Musings.

 

Unlimited Free Access to Unscripted Voices of 21st Century Workers “On the Front Line”

gears-94220_640[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Brook, one of the editors of Work, employment, society. All 10 articles in the On the Front Line (OTFL) collection are being made permanently free as part of Work, employment and society’s wider commitment to public sociology.]

These powerful testimonies of employees’ accounts of their working lives form a series of vivid, ‘behind the scenes’, portraits of the contemporary world of work. Each story is told frankly and all brim with a rich mixture of hope, despair, enjoyment and anger, revealing the hidden, often harsh, realities of work in the 21st century.

These popular and compelling stories are being increasingly used for university teaching but can now be taken-up by schools, colleges and others keen to get ‘under the skin’ of today’s world of work and employment. In doing so, we hope to introduce individuals and groups outside of the academy, especially young people, to the richness of what C. Wright Mills called the “sociological imagination”.

F1.mediumThe OTFL collection includes accounts of the indignities of working as a cleaner in a luxury hotel; an activist’s story during a protracted factory strike; the dangerous health consequences for a slimming club consultant striving to ‘look the part’; the unremitting time demands on a supermarket manager; the endemic abuse and violence suffered by a trainee haute cuisine chef in Michelin starred kitchens; and the personal struggles of a pioneer woman priest.

OTFL also offers first-hand accounts of major political-industrial events, such as working inside HBOS bank during the 2008 financial crisis; a pit supervisor’s experience of Britain’s miners’ strike of 1984-85; organising inside the factory occupation movement as part of the Argentinian anti-IMF uprising of 2001-02; and the disturbing account of work under hazardous conditions in a Scottish plastics factory shortly before a devastating explosion that killed nine workers in 2004.

Unlike standard research articles, OTFL contributions are co-authored by the worker and an academic/s. Each one is preceded by a brief scene-setting commentary written by the academic. If you would like to write an OTFL article, the Work, employment and society website has guidance. You can also contact us to discuss your ideas further.

Making OTFL free access is part of Work, employment and society’s wider commitment to public sociology. We want to encourage more scholars to work with workers and employees, especially the less powerful, to help give voice to their hidden experiences and unheard views. We also want to make our small contribution to ensuring that workers’ experiences, views and ideas will not be consigned to the “enormous condescension of posterity”, as E.P. Thompson famously claimed was the fate of earlier generations of workers.

Does Organizational Citizenship Behavior Increase Organizational Performance?

business-graphics-1428654-mIf an employee feels disempowered at work, they’ll soon find themselves struggling to stay motivated and productive. This disengagement is a lose-lose situation for everyone, causing unhappiness for employees and profit loss for companies. In the 1980’s, Edward E. Lawler III presented a possible solution to this problem by initiating a model which increased employee engagement and, as a result, organizational performance. But how well does this model hold up when put into practice and what behavioral components are needed for success? Mark A. Kizilos, Chailin Cummings, and Thomas G. Cummings explore this question on their article “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

The abstract:

Employee involvement is a popular approach to improve organization performance. It moves JABS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointdecision making downward in the organization so employees can make decisions and solve problems as quickly and close to their source as possible. One of the most developed and referenced approaches to involvement is Edward E. Lawler’s model of “high-involvement work processes” (HIWP). It describes organizational attributes that contribute to employee involvement and explains how they work together to increase organization performance. Although extensive attention has been paid to Lawler’s model in the literature, empirical tests of the model are still in a preliminary stage. Our study describes and tests a mechanism through which HIWP increases organization performance, organizational citizenship behavior. We find that organizational citizenship behavior mediates the relationship between HIWP and organization performance in a sample of 143 consumer-products organization units. Results also confirm that the HIWP attributes work together synergistically to create opportunities for employee involvement.

You can read “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Call for Papers on Organizations, Cosmopolitanism, and Sustainable Cities

sustainable-buildings-1156226-mOrganization and Environment is currently accepting papers for a special issue on Organizations, Cosmopolitanism, and Sustainable Cities. This issue will be dedicated to exploring the organizational drivers of sustainable (and smart) cities in emerging cosmopolitan contexts. The issue will be guested edited by Boyd Cohen of Universidad del Desarrollo, Jose M. Alcaraz-Barriga of Murdoch University, Pablo Muñoz of Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, and Katerina Nicolopoulou of University of Strathclyde.

The journal welcomes a wide range of articles dealing with the role of new and established businesses in shaping the smart and sustainable agenda in cities around the globe. Research building or testing theory is welcome. Empirical research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods is particularly encouraged. Submitting authors are advised to review relevant articles published in Organization and Environment and build on those works, as appropriate.

Some potential topics of interest include:

• How are organizations, cities and entrepreneurs fostering collaboration in order to provide innovative sustainability solutions to major environmental and/or socio-economic challenges?

• How are companies scaling solutions from one city to the next and are they utilizing sustainable city networks, such as ICLEI, C40 and Covenant of Mayors as a vehicle?oae cover

• How can theories on cosmopolitanism and civic mindsets stimulate insights regarding organizations and environment at a (g)local level?

• What is the role or contribution of rural areas in fostering sustainable development in cities? How can sustainable regions be fostered?

• What is driving corporate interest in sustainable cities?

• How are agency conflicts minimized between the private sector and local governments

• What factors drive place-based civic entrepreneurs to act (g)locally towards sustainability? To what extent can civic and sustainable entrepreneurship drive the development of smart cities?

• What are the new innovation models and potential relationships between sharing economy business models and environmental impact on an urban scale?

• What role do citizens (including those beyond Western-based urban cultures) play in enabling cosmopolitanism and city-based solutions around sustainability?

Deadline for submissions is October 1, 2015. First review decision is expected by February 1, 2016. More information on this call can be found by clicking here. Submissions should follow the formal submission guidelines of the Organization and Environment, which can be viewed by clicking here. The contributors should electronically submit the paper by clicking here.

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