How Do Individuals Judge Organizational Legitimacy?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Melanie Eichhorn of the ESCP Europe Business School. Eichhorn recently published an article in Business and Society entitled “How Do Individuals Judge Organizational Legitimacy? Effects of Attributed Motives and Credibility on Organizational Legitimacy,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Eichhorn reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:

 

BAS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

Almost all of the leading scholars in the field of organizational legitimacy perpetually emphasize the need for empirical studies that investigate how individuals judge whether or not organizations are legitimate, i.e. whether they are perceived to comply with social norms and values. The current lack of such studies creates an unpleasant situation. Our knowledge about what goes on in our minds when judging the legitimacy of corporate behavior basically rests on theoretical models. To close this gap there is hardly a way around insights from social psychology research. Social psychological reasoning does not only allow comprehending cognitive processes of individuals but also demonstrates how individuals influence institutions.

At the end of the day it was the match between the given research gap and our interest in psychological research that motivated us to work on this project.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

The belief-attitude approach applied in our study explains that collective and individual judgments are not necessarily congruent and that two individual beliefs—attributed motives and the perceived credibility of the organization—lead to a change in individuals’ legitimacy judgment.

Being cautiously optimistic we hope that our study will be only one out of many future studies that experimentally investigate individual legitimacy judgements in organizational research. Experimental vignette studies are a promising data collection technique because they combine the advantages of a laboratory experiment—high internal validity—with those of a field experiment—high external validity. Currently such studies are quite rare in business and society research. Hence, our study hopefully promotes the use of experiments in studies dealing with such issues. Thereby, legitimacy is only one out of many fascinating objects of research.

What is the most important/ influential piece of scholarship you’ve read in the last year?

We would like to seize this opportunity and highlight a recently published article by Finch et al. (2015). For our research area we regard this study as important. It deals with individual legitimacy judgements in regard to the oil sands industry in Canada. Even so the study was overlooked by recent reviews—we deem it the most promising approach to further explore how people judge organizational legitimacy.

The key element of their study is the definition of legitimacy as an attitude. This allows for applying an abundance of scholarly work from decades of social psychology research to the investigation of individual legitimacy judgments. These various existing insights on attitude formation and attitude change as well as those on belief building and belief adjustment provide several fruitful avenues for future research.

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New Articles from California Management Review

 

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Newly published research from California Management Review is now online! We invite you to view all of the Online First articles for CMR by clicking here, that hosts articles covering a variety of topics such as corporate misconduct, competitive strategy, and  benefits of minority stake strategies.

One article in particular, “Strategizing with Biases: Making Better Decisions Using the Mindspace Approach,” co-authored by Chengwei Liu, Ivo Vlaev, Christina Fang,
Jerker Denrell, and Nick Chater focuses on Mindspace when it is applied to strategic decision making. The complete abstract for the article is below:

This article introduces strategists to the Mindspace framework and explores its applications in strategic contexts. This framework consists of nine effective behavioral interventions that are grounded in public policy applications, and it focuses on how changing the context can be more effective than attempts to de-bias decision makers. Behavioral changes are likely when we follow rather than fight human nature. Better decisions can be achieved by engineering choice contexts to “engage a bias” to overcome a more damaging bias. This article illustrates how to engineer strategic contexts through two case studies and outlines directions and challenges when applying Mindspace to strategic decisions.

Visit the journal homepage and sign up for email alerts so you never miss the latest articles!

 

 

Strategies for coping with rejection in work-related circumstances

23391316560_d5a8565059_z.jpgCareer-related rejection is inevitable, since everyone faces this reality at some point in in his or her life. Your idea for approaching project management could be rejected, you could be passed up on a desired promotion, or you could simply not be offered that dream job you’ve wanted since high school.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, author Nancy Day of the University of Missouri illustrates how rejection affects faculty members and how it affect their publication performance. This rejection also proves to affect their interpersonal relationships, and Day aims to analyze the negative strains more in-depth. The paper, co-authored by Tracy Porter of Cleveland State University, is entitled “Lacerations of the Soul: Rejection-Sensitive Business School Faculty and Perceived Publication Performance,” is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Day describes her motivation to pursue this research:

I initially had the idea for this research from an essay I published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal. A couple of its reviewers mentioned that there was no research showing that academic researchers are negatively affected by rejection sensitivity, and their comments intrigued me. So I decided I would conduct the first research attempting to answer the question.

My hope in writing the essay and in this study is to stimulate university research administrators and to “normalize” rejections and consider its effects on faculty affect and performance. In my experience, it’s the “elephant in the room” that everyone wrestles with but few talk about.

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Rejection word block attributed to Topher McCulloch (CC).

Do Groups Make Better Decisions than Individuals?

Group projects are everywhere–whether you’re at school, at work, or even in your household. It’s customary to listen to each member of the group, and what he/she has to say about a strategy for approaching the project, or ways to improve the process in the future. Often,MTR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpg the ideas are compounded and morphed into a strategy that the group can agree on, but does that mean someone would choose not to offer an idea if it’s a different perspective than the “norm”?

A recent study in Management Teaching Review focuses on group decision making and how groups are more likely to accept a decision as “the best” when group members conform to social norms. Authors C. Melissa Fender and Lisa T. Stickney present the data for us in their article, “When Two Heads Aren’t Better Than One: Conformity in a Group Activity.” The article is currently free to read for a limited time; click here to view the full text.
The abstract for the article is below:

Group and team class decision-making activities often focus on demonstrating that “two heads are better than one.” Typically, students solve a problem or complete an assessment individually, then in a group. Generally, the group does better and that is what the students learn. However, if that is all such an activity conveys, then a significant teachable moment has been missed. It is often the case that a group member has one or more correct answers that the group did not use, or perhaps even outscores the group. The simple activity described here provides an opportunity to discuss a number of reasons that can cause such conformity to happen, integrating several areas of human psychology and behavior, and then segue into techniques to prevent it.

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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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How Can Employers Support Mentally Ill Employees?

12178605035_786bf7b47f_mPeople with mental illness often find it daunting to find a job, much less keep one. It may be difficult for a person  with a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, to balance their psychological needs with the stress and demands of a job. The challenge of balancing work and mental health often acts as a barrier to mentally ill people trying to find employment. However, the structure, stability, social exposure, and meaning that employment can provide means working is vital for mentally ill individuals. In addition to the challenges presented by mental illness itself, a significant facet of the issue is that employers may be unwilling to hire and accommodate them. In a recent SAGE Open article, “Employers’ Perspectives on Hiring and Accommodating Workers With Mental Illness,” authors Janki Shankar, Lili Liu, David Nicholas, Sharon Warren, Daniel Lai, Shawn Tan, Jennifer Couture, and Alexandra Sears demonstrate just how urgent it is that employers help to improve the employment rate of the mentally ill. The abstract for the paper:

Many individuals with mental illness want to return to work and stay in employment. Yet, there is little research that has examined the perspectives of employers on hiring and accommodating these workers and the kinds of supports employers need to SAGE Openfacilitate their reintegration into the workforce. The aim of the current research was to explore the challenges employers face and the support they need to hire and accommodate workers with mental illness (WWMI). A qualitative research design guided by a grounded theory approach was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with 28 employers selected from a wide range of industries in and around Edmonton, Canada. The employers were a mix of frontline managers, disability consultants, and human resource managers who had direct experience with hiring and supervising WWMI. Data were analyzed using the principles of grounded theory. The findings highlight several challenges that employers face when dealing with mental health issues of workers in the workplace. These challenges can act as barriers to hiring and accommodating WWMI.

You can read “Employers’ Perspectives on Hiring and Accommodating Workers With Mental Illness”  for free from SAGE Open. You can also find more open access content from SAGE Open, including articles on subjects like management, communication, education and more, by clicking here.

*Mental illness image attributed to Alachua County (CC)

Why Would You Choose to Revisit a Dissatisfying Restaurant?

02JSR13_Covers.inddWe’re pleased to welcome Dr. Gabriele Pizzi of the University of Bologna. Dr. Pizzi recently collaborated with Gian Luca Marzocchi, Chiara Orsingher and Alessandra Zammit on their paper published in the Journal of Service Research entitled “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction.”

A dirty plate at the restaurant where we were having a research meeting at lunch inspired the intuition behind the research idea portrayed in this work. Just upon the exit, we were so dissatisfied that we promised we would never come back to that restaurant. Interestingly, when choosing a restaurant some months later during another research meeting, one of us proposed THAT restaurant. After all, the atmosphere was pleasing and the room was quiet so that we could discuss about our research plans without being bothered. We started wondering why the evaluation of the restaurant had changed over time. Someone proposed that the details of the experience were forgotten: however, all of us perfectly remembered about the dirty plate. Presumably, over time the relevance of the dirty plate had decreased in our evaluations.

We explain this phenomenon through the lenses of Construal Level Theory, which posits that that individuals generate different mental representation of events that are placed at distinct points in the near rather than the distant future. For example, organizing a party for the next month is construed at a high level of abstraction, in terms of “having fun,” and “seeing friends.” A few days before the party, however, the same event is construed at a low level of abstraction, such as “buying food and drinks,” and “decorating the house.”

We show that construal mechanisms are activated also to reconstruct and evaluate past experiences. Basing on the results of two experiments and a field study, we find that the importance of the attributes driving satisfaction shifts over time, with concrete attributes of the experience ranking higher than abstract attributes in the evaluation of near-past experiences. The opposite happens for the evaluation of distant-past experiences. In addition, we show that overall satisfaction judgments shift over time as a function of the different performances of abstract and concrete attributes. Customers are more satisfied with a service experience featuring concrete positive and abstract negative attributes when they evaluate it in the near past. Conversely, they are more satisfied with a service experience featuring abstract positive and concrete negative attributes when they evaluate the experience in the distant past.

Our findings have several important implications for designing satisfaction surveys more effectively. We advise companies to design surveys that measure satisfaction repeatedly to obtain the whole spectrum of evaluations. Focusing on the so-called online evaluations (i.e., evaluation collected immediately after the service experience is over) may be misleading: Online satisfaction surveys might overemphasize (underemphasize) the impact of low-level negative (high-level positive) attributes on the overall satisfaction judgment. Additionally, the content and the wording of satisfaction surveys are relevant: if the content of the questionnaire and the construal level of the past experience are not correctly paired, it may be difficult to find an exhaustive explanation for the determinants of overall customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

In summary, our research shows that when consumers evaluate a service experience that has happened in the near-past (e.g., two days earlier) they rely on concrete service attributes, but they rely on abstract attributes when they evaluate the same experience in the distant-past (e.g., two months earlier). This is why a concrete attribute such as a dirty plate might have been discarded from our distant past satisfaction judgments about the restaurant. Eventually, we came back to that restaurant and we received an unexpected gift at the end of our lunch. But that’s another research project.

You can read “The Temporal Construal of Customer Satisfaction” from Journal of Service Research by clicking here. Want to have all the latest news and research from Journal of Service Research sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts.


pizziGabriele Pizzi is an Assistant Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. His research interests include customer satisfaction measurement, intertemporal choices, and inventory management. His work has appeared in the Journal of Retailing, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and the Journal of Economic Psychology.

gianGian Luca Marzocchi is a Professor of marketing and consumer behavior at the University of Bologna. His research specialties include customer satisfaction modeling, waiting perception in service settings, intertemporal choice, and the interplay between brand loyalty and community identification in brand communities. His refereed works have appeared in Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Economic Psychology, Psychology and Marketing, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, among others.

chiaraChiara Orsingher is an Associate Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include service recovery and complaint handling, meta-analysis, and referral reward programs. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Psychology & Marketing and the International Journal of Service Industry Management.

zammitAlessandra Zammit is an Assistant Professor of marketing at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include context effects, social influence, self-customization decisions and identity based consumption. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research and in the Service Industries Journal.