Does your boss find you proactive…or pushy?

collection-business-3-1185569-m[We’re pleased to welcome Gerhard Blickle and Andreas Wihler, both of the University of Bonn. Drs. Blickle and Wihler, collaborated with B. Parker Ellen III, Wayne A. Hochwarter, and Gerald R. Ferris – all of Florida State University – on their article recently published in Journal of Management entitled “Personal Initiative and Job Performance Evaluations: Role of Political Skill in Opportunity Recognition and Capitalization.”]

Those wishing to prove themselves as “doers” must not only be hands-on and demonstrate proactive behavior but also have social acumen and a feel for favorable opportunities. Those who rely on personal initiative alone will quickly be standing there as an isolated troublemaker. This is what psychologists from the University of Bonn and their colleagues from Florida State University (USA) have discovered through surveying a variety of occupational categories. The results have been published online in Journal of Management.

jom coverQuickly write up the summary for the new project, solicit agreement from the business partners and then submit a proposed solution to the boss for the complicated financing for the project – anyone who wants to be a “doer” has to demonstrate personal initiative above all. This also becomes clear in job advertisements, because 87 percent of employers demand these proactive skills from their applicants. But personal initiative by itself is of no benefit – it has to be combined with social acumen in order to bring about success. We conducted a survey amongst employees, colleagues and their supervisors to come to this conclusion.

While personal initiative is an absolute requirement for a professional career for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs, employees are not always met with approval from the boss if they take the reins on their own. Anyone taking personal initiative should first make certain that one’s own activities are also actually desired. Anyone who doesn’t do this is frequently considered to be a troublemaker. But how will employees know whether their proactive behavior is welcome? And how can one influence whether one’s own actions will be received positively by the supervisor?

Our international team of researchers focused on these questions in a total of three studies. The first study involved 146 employees with their supervisors from a wide variety of fields. Standardized tests were used to survey the extent to which the employees themselves took the initiative for action and had social acumen: How well are colleagues’ emotions and plans perceived and classified? Is communication efficient? The questions also focused on the ability to react appropriately to the respective situation. Together, the employee and supervisor estimate how receptive the respective company is to proactive behavior. Result: An atmosphere conducive to personal initiative led to additional positive economic results only if the person has a marked degree of social acumen.

In the second study, a questionnaire was used to ask 143 employed participants about their skill in utilizing favorable opportunities for changes through carefully selected behaviors. In addition, personal initiative was assessed in turn and the employee’s performance was evaluated by the supervisor. Result: The personal initiative demonstrated led to better performance appraisals if the skill regarding correct behaviors was pronounced.

In the third iteration, the interaction of social acumen and a feel for the appropriate moment was recorded jointly by 219 employees. As before, the researchers again asked about the company’s receptiveness to proactive behavior and evaluated the personal initiative demonstrated in the test. Along with employees and supervisors, colleagues were also included in the survey this time. The result confirms the previous findings: A positive atmosphere for proactive behavior only leads to good performance appraisals if the participants demonstrated a high degree of personal initiative as well as social acumen and sensitivity to the right opportunity.

This consequently means that appropriate identification of favorable opportunities and the ability to adapt to the respective situation are important preconditions for skillfully putting personal initiative behaviors into place. Many companies wished for employees with personal initiative, for good reason. But this skill by itself has no impact. Organizations could strengthen their position by improving their employees’ social acumen through training measures and promoting an atmosphere of personal initiative.

You can read “Personal Initiative and Job Performance Evaluations: Role of Political Skill in Opportunity Recognition and Capitalization” from Journal of Management by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Journal of Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

wihler2_mAndreas Wihler received his doctorate in I&O-psychology at the University of Bonn, Germany. He received his MSc in Psychology in 2010 at the University of Bonn. His research focuses on personal initiative, leadership, and personality in organizations. He has published in peer reviewed journals such as Journal of Organizational Behavior and Leadership Quarterly.

3308449Gerhard Blickle, PhD, is a Professor of Work & Organizational Psychology at the University of Bonn, Germany. He received his PhD in Psychology in 1993 from the University of Heidelberg. He has published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Leadership Quarterly, and International Journal of Selection and Assessment.

ParkerEllen_mediumB. Parker Ellen III is a fourth year PhD Candidate in Business Administration at Florida State University. He researches and teaches topics in organizational behavior, primarily related to social influence. His areas of interest are leadership, organizational politics, accountability, and teams. This summer, he’ll be moving to Boston, Massachusetts to join the Management and Organizational Development faculty in Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Wayne-Hochwarter_smallWayne A. Hochwarter is a Jim Moran Professor of Management at Florida State University. He received a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Florida State University, and has been on the faculties at Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama. He has published articles in highly-regarded journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and the Journal of Vocational Behavior. He has also had research findings showcased in the BusinessWeek, Inc., MacLean’s, and Entrepreneur, as well as over 100 domestic and international newspapers.

Gerald-Ferris_smallGerald R. Ferris is the Francis Eppes Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the American Psychological Society. He founded and served as editor of the annual series Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management from its origin in 1981 until 2003. In 2001, he was the recipient of the Heneman Career Achievement Award, and in 2010 he received the Thomas A. Mahoney Mentoring Award, both from the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management.

Are Corporations Really as Green as They Say They Are?

recycle-1-917289-mMore and more, consumers are demanding “green” products. In response, many corporations are developing and marketing merchandise billed as environmentally friendly. But are these corporations choosing to ignore any negative ramifications these products may actually have? Organization and Environment Guest Editor Frances Bowen and Editor J. Alberto Aragon-Correa discuss in their editorial “Greenwashing in Corporate Environmentalism Research and Practice: The Importance of What We Say We Do.”

From the editorial:

Greenwashing is the selective disclosure of positive information without full disclosure of negative information so as to create an overly positive corporate image (Lyon & Maxwell, 2011). Greenwashing is a central empirical phenomenon oae coverwithin organizations’ interactions with the natural environment because it is hard for stakeholders to directly evaluate firms’ environmental performance. This leads to a reliance on firms to signal their environmental quality through environmental reports, advertising, corporate websites, or eco-certification schemes. Increased environmental disclosure without obvious substantive improvements in environmental impacts has fed justifiable skepticism about the gap between what firms say and do on environmental issues (e.g., Dauvergne & Lister 2010; Forbes & Jermier, 2012; Konefal, 2013). Increased environmental disclosure has also provided research questions and empirical data for scholars to analyze greenwashing behavior, its drivers, and its consequences (e.g., Delmas & Burbano, 2011; Du, 2014; Walker & Wan, 2012).

This editorial also introduces the most recent issue of Organization and Environment, which can be read for free for the next 30 days. Click here to view the Table of Contents and here to read “Greenwashing in Corporate Environmentalism Research and Practice: The Importance of What We Say We Do.” Want to know all the latest from Organization and Environment? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Does Peer Influence in Teens Affect Their Parents’ Purchase Decisions?

According to an article featured in the Wall Street Journal, peer influence in teens tends to peak around age fifteen as adolescents acquire an interest in seeking a new environment. The impact of a teenager’s peers can sway their opinions on everything from actions to social decisions and even what products to buy. A new study published in Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective entitled “Peer Interaction and Its Influence on Family Purchase Decision: A Study among Indian Teenagers” suggests that this influence by peers could also stretch to a teenager’s family when it comes to electronic purchase decisions.

The abstract:

F1.mediumThe paper aims to clarify the impact of Teenager–peer interaction and Enduring Product involvement (measured in terms of pleasure and sign associated with the possession of product) in the family purchase decision for the electronic items. It proposes that how the teenagers interaction with peer have an impact on family decision making process. The study aims to expand the domain of Consumer (family/Household) decision making by including a broader range of teenagers influence and the product involvement in day to day life.

The study is based on the teenagers influence in the family’s purchase decision making in the purchase of electronic items. The study was done in India. A sample of 230 students has been taken. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) has been used for analysis.

The paper provides a significant relationship among Teen-peer interaction and family purchase decision making process. As per the findings of this paper we conclude that the more the teenagers interact with peer, the more they contribute in the initiation stage of the family decision-making process. Similarly the teenager’s enduring involvement (measured in terms of pleasure) construct have a significant influence on the final decision making i.e. it significantly explains teen’s contribution to the purchase decision.

“Peer Interaction and Its Influence on Family Purchase Decision: A Study among Indian Teenagers” from Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective can be read for free by clicking here. Want to read all the latest from Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Are Consumers More Likely to Buy Green Products?

environment-1445492-mRecently, concern about the environment has become a crucial public issue. Increasing governmental regulations, intensifying consumer environmentalism and growing pressure from stakeholders have made firms decide to go green (Leonidou et al., 2011; Menon and Menon, 1997). There has been a rise in eco-friendly (EF) product preferences among consumers and firms are desperate to trap this new market opportunity. In turn, green marketing is becoming more important for firms (Chen et al., 2006). An article recently published in Global Business Review entitled “Linking Environmental Awareness and Perceived Brand Eco-friendliness to Brand Trust and Purchase Intention” analyzes the relationship among perceived brand ecofriendliness (PBE), Environmental Awareness (EA) and brand trust and the effect of brand trust on EF brand purchase intention.

The abstract:

The research examines the link among environmental awareness (EA), perceived brandhome_cover ecofriendliness (PBE) and brand trust and the subsequent effect on eco-friendly (EF) brand purchase intention. The article adopted structural equation modeling approach to test the hypotheses. Data were collected from 223 Indian consumers. The results show that there is a positive relationship between EA and PBE. Consumer’s EA and perception that a brand is eco-friendly, lead to trust in the brand. Findings support that higher brand trust leads to increasing purchase intention towards the EF brand. The article adds to the existing literature by dealing with consumer perception about brand ecofriendliness and its subsequent effect on purchase intention. Contribution of this study to the academic and practice is discussed.

Click here to read “Linking Environmental Awareness and Perceived Brand Eco-friendliness to Brand Trust and Purchase Intention” for free from Global Business Review! Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and be notified of all the latest research from Global Business Review!

Read Journal of Marketing Education’s Special Issue on Sales Education and Training for Free!

class-room-990536-mWhat factors influence undergraduate business students’ decision to pursue sales education? What’s the role of self-efficacy in sales education? Can an interactive computer simulation teach students sales ethics? Journal of Marketing Education‘s Special Issue on Sales Education and Training explores these topics and more!

James W. Peltier of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Andrea L. Dixon of Baylor University collaborated on the issue’s Editor Corner:

Welcome to this Journal of Marketing Education (JME) Special Issue on Sales Education and Training. We proposed this Special Issue as demand for college graduates with a sales degree/major/minor/emphasis/interest continues to escalate. In addition to being the most common career entry point for marketing students, a 2010 Georgetown University study found that sales is a top-ranked career for a number of disciplines outside of marketing. Interestingly, sales JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointranked second for students majoring in general business, economics, international business, and management. Sales ranked third for students majoring in finance, operations management, HR, and management information systems. Across campus, sales ranked second/third for students in the social, natural, and physical sciences and in liberal arts and communications.
While the demand for graduates to work in sales grows, there is a shortage of scholarly articles dealing specifically with sales curricula and sales pedagogy. In fact, the marketing education literature has been relatively slow in responding to changes in sales education and training. Of the over 800 articles published in JME’s history, only 27 papers deal with sales education (see Gray et al., 2012).
The absence of research in sales education is not due to a lack of activity or paucity of scholars in this area. According to DePaul’s Universities and Colleges Sales Education Landscape Survey, sales curricula grew from 44 U.S. programs in 2007 to 101 programs in 2011. As demand for sales-ready graduates grows, universities are trying to meet this demand by expanding curricular offerings, opening sales centers, and hiring sales faculty. We initiated this Special Issue with a goal of engaging scholars in this area and sparking additional research.
Journal of Marketing Education‘s Special Issue on Sales Education and Training includes sections focusing on recruiting and developing the student mindset, self efficacy and sales, and the classroom and teaching tools. Click here to access the table of contents and read the articles for free for the next 30 days! Make sure to click here to sign up for e-alerts and be notified about all the latest research from Journal of Marketing Education!

Do Technology and Educational Opportunities Boost Tradeshow Effectiveness?

[We’re pleased to welcome Rohit Verma who collaborated with HyunJeong (Spring) Han on their article “Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.]

Tradeshows remain more important than ever in the internet age. Our paper “Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” finds that people attend tradeshows for the classic reasons of making business contacts and gaining new knowledge. But technology and sustainability have added new elements to the tradeshow equation.

cqx coverThe paper outlines the reasons given by 2,527 exhibitors and attendees for their tradeshow participation and also examines some of the ways that technology and sustainability have augmented tradeshows. We found that exhibitors and attendees have quite different reasons for participating in a tradeshow. Exhibitors are focused on selling or demonstrating their products and meeting qualified buyers. On the other hand, attendees are seeking educational opportunities. Since product demonstrations are a part of that education process, the tradeshow can be an effective way to meet both sets of goals.

Technology is increasingly used to improve the efficiency of that meeting and education process. For example, many events have an app that allows participants to schedule meetings with each other or to connect people with common interests. And, of course, most tradeshows have wi-fi, video displays, an internet café, and mobile apps. In general, the participants appreciate the availability of technology that helps them make the most of the tradeshow.

Event organizers are aware of the push for sustainability in the hospitality industry, and many tradeshows have an on-site recycling program, virtual collateral to cut down the amount of paper flyers, and reusable and environmentally friendly display materials. In addition, many operate in LEED-certified facilities. While sustainability options at tradeshows does not increase the likelihood of attendance, it significantly improves customer satisfaction for those who do attend the event.


“Why Attend Tradeshows? A Comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly can be read for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!