What It Takes to Lead in Life-Threatening Situations

[We’re pleased to welcome author Deirdre Dixon of the University of Tampa, Florida. Dixon recently published an article in the Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies entitled “Making Sense When It Matters Most: An Exploratory Study of Leadership In Extremis,” co-authored by Michael Weeks, Richard Boland, and Sheri Perelli. Below, Dixon explains the inspiration for conducting this research:]

I first became interested in leadership in dangerous environments as an Army officer serving in Iraq. I knew I wanted to help find out how we co3007805773_38716560d9_z.jpguld train our leaders in these difficult environments to become better.  I set out to discover how leaders make sense in these in extremis environments, and how did they give sense to their teams. This journey led me to interview 30 soldiers who had recently returned from conflict in the Middle East. As the US begins our 16th year with conflict in the Middle East, more and more leaders are faced with deploying overseas.  As our society changes and crises seem to be happening on US soil more frequently, more than just soldiers will have to understand leadership in crises environments.  This empirical study helps begin the dialogue.

The full abstract to the article is below:

Leading in in extremis situations, when lives are in peril, remains one of the least addressed areas of leadership research. Little is known about how leaders make sense in these dangerous situations and communicate these contexts to others. Because most of the literature on in extremis is theoretical, we sought empirical evidence of how sensemaking proceeds in practice. A qualitative study was conducted based on interviews with 30 Army leaders who had recently led teams in combat. Our findings suggest that during these life-threatening situations, sensemaking and sensegiving are actually occurring simultaneously, the type of training leaders receive is critical, and a sense of duty can influence a person’s role as a leader. Our findings have implications for both theory and practice since crisis leadership is now a coveted executive quality for leadership competency.

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Image attributed to the U.S. Army (CC)

Writing With Resonance

jmia_26_1-cover[We’re pleased to welcome Ninna Meier from Copenhagan Business School, and Charlotte Wegener from Aalborg University. Meier and Wegener recently published an article in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Writing with Resonance.” From Meier and Wegener:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?
    We started writing about resonance and practicing resonant writing in the spring of 2014. We wanted to understand why some texts have impact and others don’t; why some texts are a pleasure to read, why their messages linger. In short: we wanted to understand resonance as something which may happen between writer, text, and reader.  With writing being the primary mode of dissemination of research results for most academics, we wondered why this important topic was so poorly understood and received so little serious scholarly attention.
  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?
    As we started experimenting with our writing, academic and otherwise, we learnt that this is something you can offer through your writing, but never deliver. We also found valuable lessons in how to write this way from fiction writers.
  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?
    Based on our investigations and experiences we are now breaking grounds for a new research field and writing practice, as this way of writing, which we call Open Writing, in our view is obviously linked to calls for Open Science.

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An Argument for Compassionate Research Methods

9505520762_1ec974cdf1_z[We are pleased to welcome Hans Hansen of Texas Tech University. Hans recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods, entitled “This is Going to Hurt: Compassionate Research Methods” with co-author Christine Quinn Trank of Vanderbilt University.]

Compassionate research hopes to make the world a better place by reducing suffering, but it can also provide our field with new theories, which we desperately need. When you look at the world with a new lens, you see new things, things that other lenses could not reveal. We hope that a compassionate approach can not only reveal new aspects of existing phenomena, but entirely new phenomena as well, and lead to entirely new theories of organizing.

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The topic of compassion is making an impact in organizational studies, and interest continues to increase, so our aim was to provide a methodology for this burgeoning field. In addition to moving us in new directions, we also hope to increase compassionate research by clearing outlining a distinct method.

We hope to give the field a push, and just as grounded theory provided a clear method for inductive research, we hope compassionate methods become the guide for compassionate research, and be generative in providing new insights and theories.

The abstract for the paper:

As compassion has become established in the organizational literature as an important area of study, calls for increased compassion in our own work and research have increased. Compassion can take many forms in academic work, but in this article we propose a framework for compassionate research methods. Not only driven by caring for others and a desire for improving their lot, compassionate research methods actually immerse the researcher in compassionate work. We propose that compassionate research methods include three important elements: ethnography, aesthetics, and emotionality. Together, these provide opportunities for emergent theoretical experimentation that can lead to both the alleviation of suffering in the immediate research context and new theoretical insights. To show the possibilities of this method, we use empirical data from a unique setting—the first U.S. permanent death penalty defense team.

You can read “This is Going to Hurt: Compassionate Research Methods” from Organizational Research Methods free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Organizational Research MethodsClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Conversation image attributed to Andreas Bloch (CC)

Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models

6431785919_07c22823c6_z[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Bliese of University of South Carolina. Paul recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled “Understanding Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models: Coding Alternatives and Implications for Hypothesis Testing” with co-author Jonas W.B. Lang.]

Jonas and I became interested in the topic because we kept encountering “transition events” that could lead to discontinuous change and wondered how to statistically model the events.  For instance, a combat deployment represents a potential transition event in the career of a soldier.  Likewise, unexpectedly changing a complex task on a participant in a lab represents a transition event that could be frustrating and impede performance. As a final example, letting sleep deprived participants get a full night’s sleep is a positive transition event that should improve cognitive Current Issue Coverperformance (but may not do so equally for all participants). In all these examples, some pattern of responses is interrupted by the transition event; however, where the models are really useful is in trying to understand the patterns of change after the transition event because individuals rarely react in the same way.

When Jonas and I got into writing the manuscript we were really surprised by how some minor coding changes surrounding TIME could produce parameter estimates that had quite different meanings. In fact, I realized that if I had figured out all the details that went into the submission years ago, I probably would have specified and tested hypotheses differently in my own publications where I used the approach. My hope is that other researchers will use the manuscript as a resource to study other transition events and that the examples will help provide better specificity to the types of hypotheses researchers can propose.

The abstract for the paper:

Organizational researchers routinely have access to repeated measures from numerous time periods punctuated by one or more discontinuities. Discontinuities may be planned, such as when a researcher introduces an unexpected change in the context of a skill acquisition task. Alternatively, discontinuities may be unplanned, such as when a natural disaster or economic event occurs during an ongoing data collection. In this article, we build off the basic discontinuous growth model and illustrate how alternative specifications of time-related variables allow one to examine relative versus absolute change in transition and post-transition slopes. Our examples focus on interpreting time-varying covariates in a variety of situations (multiple discontinuities, linear and quadratic models, and models where discontinuities occur at different times). We show that the ability to test relative and absolute differences provides a high degree of precision in terms of specifying and testing hypotheses.

You can read “Understanding Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models: Coding Alternatives and Implications for Hypothesis Testing” from Organizational Research Methods free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all the latest research from Organizational Research Methods? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

 

Extreme-Team Research: An Approach to Overcoming Research Obstacles

3729394795_d267b3ef22_zResearching the performance and management of extreme teams, which work in unconventional environments on high-risk tasks, presents a number of unique challenges to researchers, including limitations on data collection and sample sizes. In a new article published in Journal of Managemententitled “An Approach for Conducting Actionable Research with Extreme Teams,” authors Suzanne T. Bell, David M. Fisher, Shanique G. Brown, and Kristin E. Mann set out to develop a research approach that addresses the unique challenges of extreme-team research and allows extreme-team research to be applied broadly across more traditional teams. The abstract for the paper:

Extreme teams complete their tasks in unconventional performance environments and have serious consequences associated with failure. Examples include disaster relief teams, special operations teams, and astronaut crews. The unconventional performance environments within which these teams operate require researchers to carefully consider the context during the research process. These environments may also create formidable challenges to the research process, including constraining data collection and sample sizes. Given the serious consequences associated with failure, however, the challenges must be navigated so that the management of extreme teams can be evidence based. We present an approach for conducting actionable Current Issue Coverresearch on extreme teams. Our approach is an extension of mixed-methods research that is particularly well suited for emphasizing context. The approach guides researchers on how to integrate the local context into the research process, which allows for actionable recommendations. At the same time, our approach applies an intentionally broad framework for organizing context, which can serve as a mechanism through which the results of research on extreme teams can be meaningfully accumulated and integrated across teams. Finally, our approach and description of steps address the unique challenges common in extreme-team research. While developed with extreme teams in mind, we view our general approach as applicable to more traditional teams when the features of the context that impinge on team functioning are not adequately represented by typical descriptions of context in the literature and the goal is actionable research for the teams in question.

You can read “An Approach for Conducting Actionable Research with Extreme Teams” 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!

*Shuttle launch image attributed to The U.S. Army (CC)

Moderation and Mediation in Strategic Management Research

304526237_6d1acf58bb_z[We’re pleased to welcome Herman Aguinis of George Washington University School of Business. Herman recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled, “Improving Our Understanding of Moderation and Meditation in Strategic Management Research” with co-authors Jeffrey R. Edwards and Kyle J. Bradley.]

Organizational strategy and structure are important variables in understanding firm outcomes, but does the strength of those relationships depend on contingency factors such as the uncertainty of the environment or the products and services offered by the firm? Questions such as this one require that we statistically examine the possible presence of contingency or moderating effects. Is the effect of the competitive environment on firm performance transmitted by firm strategy such that the environment influences strategic choices that in turn affect performance? Questions such as this one require that we statistically examine the possible presence of an intervening or mediating effects.

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For decades, questions and hypotheses that involve moderation and mediation have been central to strategic management research. Moreover, accurate answers to these questions have important implications for practice because knowledge about moderating effects (i.e., conditions under which an effect occurs) and mediating effects (i.e., reasons why an antecedent is related to an outcome) leads to more accurate decisions and allocation of resources that will enhance firm outcomes.

Our article published in Organizational Research Methods (ORM) titled “Improving Our Understanding of Moderation and Mediation in Strategic Management Research” reviews common impediments to the accurate and valid assessment of moderating and mediating effects. We reviewed articles published in Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science over the past 10 years and discovered the unfortunate and pervasive presence of these problems, which lead researchers to misleading conclusions about moderating and mediating effects. Our review of the 205 articles that assessed moderation revealed seven key problems. Overall, published articles demonstrated an average of 2.57 of the seven problems we identified, with only one article avoiding the problems entirely. In similar fashion, our review of the 62 articles that addressed mediation revealed six key problems and, on average, the articles exhibited 3.52 of the problems each, with none of the published articles being problem-free.

We believe that our ORM article describing these problems and their solutions will be useful for strategy researchers interested in examining moderation and mediation. Implementing these solutions will help improve the appropriateness and accuracy of tests of moderation and mediation. Our recommendations can be implemented by researchers and also used as guidelines for editors and reviewers who evaluate manuscripts reporting tests of moderation and mediation.  Our article also provides references to key methodological sources on moderation and mediation that readers can pursue for further details about the issues we discuss.

We look forward to the reactions that our article will generate and sincerely hope that it will serve as a catalyst to improve the assessment of moderation and mediation, which in turn will lead to more accurate results that will benefit theory and practice.

The abstract for the article:

We clarify differences among moderation, partial mediation, and full mediation and identify methodological problems related to moderation and mediation from a review of articles in Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science published from 2005 to 2014. Regarding moderation, we discuss measurement error, range restriction, and unequal sample sizes across moderator-based subgroups; insufficient statistical power; the artificial categorization of continuous variables; assumed negative consequences of correlations between product terms and its components (i.e., multicollinearity); and interpretation of first-order effects based on models excluding product terms. Regarding mediation, we discuss problems with the causal-steps procedure, inferences about mediation based on cross-sectional designs, whether a relation between the antecedent and the outcome is necessary for testing mediation, the routine inclusion of a direct path from the antecedent to the outcome, and consequences of measurement error. We also explain how integrating moderation and mediation can lead to important and useful insights for strategic management theory and practice. Finally, we offer specific and actionable recommendations for improving the appropriateness and accuracy of tests of moderation and mediation in strategic management research. Our recommendations can also be used as a checklist for editors and reviewers who evaluate manuscripts reporting tests of moderation and mediation.

You can read “Improving Our Understanding of Moderation and Meditation in Strategic Management Research” from Organizational Research Methods free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about the latest research from Organizational Research Methods? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Anssi Koskinen (CC)

Herman Aguinis is the Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Management at the George Washington University School of Business. His research interests span several human resource management, organizational behavior, and research methods and analysis topics. He has published five books and more than 130 articles in refereed journals. He is a fellow of the Academy of Management, past editor of Organizational Research Methods, and received the Academy of Management Research Methods Division Distinguished Career Award.

Jeffrey R. Edwards is the Belk Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina. He is past editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, past chair of the Research Methods Division of the Academy of Management, and a fellow of the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. His methodological research addresses difference scores, polynomial regression, moderation and mediation, structural equation modeling, construct validity, and the development and evaluation of theory.

Kyle J. Bradley is a doctoral candidate in organizational behavior and human resource management in the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. His scholarly interests include research methods, performance management, star performers, and the work-life interface. His work has appeared in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, Organizational Research Methods, and Organizational Dynamics and has been presented at the meetings of the Academy of Management and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Top Five Articles from Organizational Research Methods

JPG READINGSummer is just around the corner, bringing with it longer days and warmer weather. To celebrate the season, we present a list of most read articles from Organizational Research Methods to add to your summer reading list.

“Seeking Qualitative Rigor in Inductive Research: Notes on the Gioia Methodology” by Dennis A. Gioia, Kevin G. Corley, and Aimee Hamilton (January 2013)

For all its richness and potential for discovery, qualitative research has been critiqued as too often lacking in scholarly rigor. The authors summarize a systematic approach to new concept development and grounded theory articulation that is designed to
bring “qualitative rigor” to the conduct and presentation of inductive research.

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“Validation of a New General Self-Efficacy Scale” by Gilad Chen, Stanley M. Gully, and Dov Eden (January 2001)

Researchers have suggested that general self-efficacy (GSE)can substantially contribute to organizational theory, research, and practice. Unfortunately, the limited construct validity work conducted on commonly used GSE measures has highlighted such potential problems as low content validity and multidimensionality. The authors developed a new GSE (NGSE) scale and compared its psychometric properties and validity to that of the Sherer et al. General Self-Efficacy Scale (SGSE). Studies in two countries found that the NGSE scale has higher construct validity than the SGSE scale. Although shorter than the SGSE scale, the NGSE scale demonstrated high reliability, predicted specific self-efficacy (SSE) for a variety of tasks in various contexts, and moderated the influence of previous performance on subsequent SSE formation. Implications, limitations, and directions for future organizational research are discussed.

“Common Beliefs and Reality About PLS: Comments on Rönkkö and Evermann (2013)” by Jörg Henseler, Theo K. Dijkstra, Marko Sarstedt, Christian M. RingleAdamantios Diamantopoulos, Detmar W. Straub, David J. Ketchen Jr.Joseph F. Hair, G. Tomas M. Hult, and Roger J. Calantone (April 2014)

This article addresses Rönkkö and Evermann’s criticisms of the partial least squares (PLS) approach to structural equation modeling. We contend that the alleged shortcomings of PLS are not due to problems with the technique, but instead to three problems with Rönkkö and Evermann’s study: (a) the adherence to the common factor model, (b) a very limited simulation designs, and (c) overstretched generalizations of their findings. Whereas Rönkkö and Evermann claim to be dispelling myths about PLS, they have in reality created new myths that we, in turn, debunk. By examining their claims, our article contributes to reestablishing a constructive discussion of the PLS method and its properties. We show that PLS does offer advantages for exploratory research and that it is a viable estimator for composite factor models. This can pose an interesting alternative if the common factor model does not hold. Therefore, we can conclude that PLS should continue to be used as an important statistical tool for management and organizational research, as well as other social science disciplines.

“Using Generalized Estimating Equations for Longitudinal Data Analysis” by Gary A. Ballinger (April 2004)

The generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach of Zeger and Liang facilitates analysis of data collected in longitudinal, nested, or repeated measures designs. GEEs use the generalized linear model to estimate more efficient and unbiased regression parameters relative to ordinary least squares regression in part because they permit specification of a working correlation matrix that accounts for the form of within-subject correlation of responses on dependent variables of many different distributions, including normal, binomial, and Poisson. The author briefly explains the theory behind GEEs and their beneficial statistical properties and limitations and compares GEEs to suboptimal approaches for analyzing longitudinal data through use of two examples. The first demonstration applies GEEs to the analysis of data from a longitudinal lab study with a counted response variable; the second demonstration applies GEEs to analysis of data with a normally distributed response variable from subjects nested within branch offices ofan organization.

“Answers to 20 Questions About Interrater Reliability and Interrater Agreement” by James M. LeBreton and Jenell L. Senter (October 2008)

The use of interrater reliability (IRR) and interrater agreement (IRA) indices has increased dramatically during the past 20 years. This popularity is, at least in part, because of the increased role of multilevel modeling techniques (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling and multilevel structural equation modeling) in organizational research. IRR and IRA indices are often used to justify aggregating lower-level data used in composition models. The purpose of the current article is to expose researchers to the various issues surrounding the use of IRR and IRA indices often used in conjunction with multilevel models. To achieve this goal, the authors adopt a question-and-answer format and provide a tutorial in the appendices illustrating how these indices may be computed using the SPSS software.

All of the above articles from Organizational Research Methods will be free to access for the next two weeks. Want to know all about the latest research from Organizational Research Methods? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Reading image attributed to Herry Lawford (CC)