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)

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)

How Does Job Displacement Impact Heart Health?

[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Devereux of University College Dublin. Paul recently published an article in ILR Review entitled “Losing Heart? The Effects of Job Displacement on Health” with co-76765412_618a458105_zauthors Sandra E. Black of University of Texas, Austin and Kjell G. Salvanes of Norwegian School of Economics.]

The growth and decline of firms is a prevalent feature of market economies and it is important to understand the consequences for workers who are displaced. While a lot is known about earnings losses, less is understood about consequences for health. Norway provides an interesting laboratory in which to consider the effects of displacement on health because, due to the strong social safety net, the income losses from job displacement are much lower than in most other countries and so we can largely isolate the effects of stress and lower labor market participation. Job displacement increases stress, which is known to have negative effects on cardiovascular health, for instance through individual life-style changes (increased consumption of nicotine, alcohol and dietary changes), or changes in biological parameters (increase in cholesterol concentration and cortisol). ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointAdditionally, the lower employment rates post-displacement could have direct effects on health through affecting daily activities such as exercise or opportunities to smoke.

Consistent with our expectations of increased stress, we find that displaced workers are more likely to smoke than workers who maintain their employment. As a result, job displacement has a significant effect on markers for cardiovascular health. However, there is little evidence of effects of displacement on other measures of short-run health. Therefore, the results suggest that when the financial costs of displacement are very low, the health effects may also be muted. However, our smoking findings indicate that the psychic costs may still matter and may lead to unhealthy behaviors that are predicted to have adverse consequences on cardiovascular health in the long-run.

The abstract for the paper:

Job reallocation is considered a key characteristic of well-functioning labor markets, as more productive firms grow and less productive ones contract or close. Despite its potential benefits for the economy, however, costs that are borne by the displaced workers are significant. The authors study how job displacement in Norway affects cardiovascular health, using a sample of men and women who are predominantly in their early 40s. To do so, they merge survey data on health and health behaviors with register data on person and firm characteristics. The authors compare the health of displaced and non-displaced workers from five years before to seven years after displacement. Results show that job displacement leads to an increase in smoking behavior for both men and women but few other short-term health effects. These results are robust to a variety of specification checks.

You can read “Losing Heart? The Effects of Job Displacement on Health” from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Heart monitor image credited to brykmantra (CC)

Sandra E. BlackSandra E. Black holds the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs and is a Professor of Economics.  She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.  Since that time, she worked as an Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and an Assistant, Associate, and ultimately Professor in the Department of Economics at UCLA before arriving at the University of Texas, Austin in 2010. She currently is the Editor of the Journal of Human Resources, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a Research Affiliate at IZA.  Her research focuses on the role of early life experiences on the long-run outcomes of children, as well as issues of gender and discrimination. She is currently on leave to serve as a Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Kjell G. Salvanes is a Professor at the Norwegian School of Economics. He is Joint Managing Editor for The Economic Journal, as well as a research fellow with CEPR, Statistic Norway and director of Center for Empirical Labor Economics (CELE). His work has been published in journals like Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of the European Economic Association and Review of Economics and Statistics.

researcher

Paul J. Devereux is a Professor at the School of Economics, University College Dublin. Dr. Devereux did his PhD at Northwestern University and worked at UCLA before moving to UCD in 2005.

 

Top Five: Advances in Developing Human Resources

ADHR_72ppiRGB_powerpointWant to know all about the latest research in human resource development? Take a look at the top five most read articles from Advances in Developing Human Resources! This journal explores problems and solutions in an organizational setting and discusses concepts for the future allowing scholars and practitioners to work more effectively in human resource development. These articles are free for you to read for the next 30 days.

Brad Shuck and Kevin Rose
Reframing Employee Engagement Within the Context of Meaning and Purpose: Implications for HRD
November 2013 15: 341-355

Sehoon Kim and Gary N. McLean
Global Talent Management: Necessity, Challenges, and the Roles of HRD
November 2012 14: 566-585

Sunny L. Munn
Unveiling the Work–Life System: The Influence of Work–Life Balance on Meaningful Work
November 2013 15: 401-417

Kristopher J. Thomas
Workplace Technology and the Creation of Boundaries: The Role of VHRD in a 24/7 Work Environment
August 2014 16: 281-295

Judy O’Neil and Victoria J. Marsick
Action Learning Coaching
May 2014 16: 202-221

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Celebrate Labor Day with ILRReview!

gears-94220_640In celebration of Labor Day, we are pleased to provide you with the latest issue of ILRReview! This Special Issue on International Comparisons of Working Times includes articles on topics such as the 35-hour work week in France, the effect of the Great Recession on working times in Germany, work-life conflict in the lives of retail employees and more. The issue is available to read online for free for the next 30 days. You can access the Table of Contents by clicking here.

The introduction to the Special Issue entitled “Working-Time Configurations: A Framework for Analyzing Diversity across Countries” was written by Peter Berg of Michigan State University, Gerhard Bosch of the University Duisburg-essen, and Jean Charest of the University of Montreal.

When one looks beyond the United States, it becomes clear that very different realities about working time exist. Some emerging economies, such as Singapore and China, are not deregulating working time but are instead seeking greater regulation of the standard working week to protect their workers from extreme working hours and to introduce more efficient forms of work organization (Lee, McCann, and Messenger 2007; also see Cao and Rubin’s article in this issue). In other developed countries, standard working hours haveILR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint been reduced to less than 40 hours (Cabrita and Galli da Bino 2013); for example, France established a statutory workweek of 35 hours in 2000. In many European countries, workers possess the legal right to request variable work hours. Workers also have more choice across short working-time practices that provide prorated benefits and equal pay per hour. In some European countries, workers are able to take paid and unpaid leaves during certain phases of their work lives, and labor unions and employers alter working-time practices through negotiation. Countries with lower wage inequality and a smaller low-wage sector than the United States are associated with shorter working hours for workers across the income distribution (Bell and Freeman 2001). The main reason for this is the reduced pressure on low-wage workers to work more hours and the higher marginal tax rates for increasing work hours in countries with low wage inequality (Bosch and Lehndorff 2001).

The articles in this issue reflect the range of realities. They highlight the diversity of working-time practices across countries and the implications of these practices for workers and firms. The articles focus on a number of countries and are in some cases explicitly comparative. They examine a number of working-time practices including weekly working hours, flexible work schedules, and part-time work. In their analyses, the authors show how the institutional context can have differential effects on working-time practices and working-time outcomes. For example, annualized hours contracts and working-time accounts can be positive forms of flexibility for workers to vary work hours and to take time off when they need it. These practices, however, can also provide a means to shift risk to employees when they lack control over their schedules and cannot access time banked in their accounts.

Click here to read “Working-Time Configurations: A Framework for Analyzing Diversity across Countries” and here to access the Table of Contents of ILRReview‘s July issue. Want to get all the latest from ILRReview sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Using Creativity and Beauty to Find Solutions

boat-in-lake-1368014-mThe news isn’t always uplifting: declining home price growth, sinking big business profits, and rising gas prices can make for an economy that is less than reassuring. How can we even start to fix it? According to Nancy Adler there is hope if we allow our passions to lead us to creative solutions and we strive towards a sense of beauty in our leadership.

You can watch the video of Nancy Adler speaking on this topic by clicking here. Nancy Adler also published a paper on this topic entitled “Leading Beautifully: The Creative Economy and Beyond” in Journal of Management Inquiry.

The abstract:

“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty” asserts John O’Donohue.1 “In the hearts of people some natural ease has been broken. . . . Our trust in the future JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointhas lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen. . . . The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. At first, it sounds completely naïve to suggest that now might be the time to invoke beauty. Yet this is exactly what . . . [we claim]. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such a terrible crisis.”2

Twenty-first century society yearns for a leadership of possibility, a leadership based more on hope, aspiration, innovation, and beauty than on the replication of historical patterns of constrained pragmatism. Luckily, such a leadership is possible today. For the first time in history, leaders can work backward from their aspirations and imagination rather than forward from the past.3 “The gap between what people can imagine and what they can accomplish has never been smaller.”4

Responding to the challenges and yearnings of the twenty-first century demands anticipatory creativity. Designing options worthy of implementation calls for levels of inspiration, creativity, and a passionate commitment to beauty that, until recently, have been more the province of artists and artistic processes than the domain of most managers. The time is right for the artistic imagination of each of us to co-create the leadership that the world most needs and deserves.

The article “Leading Beautifully: The Creative Economy and Beyond” from Journal of Management Inquiry can be read for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest news and research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

How Should Businesses Respond to Bad Online Reviews?

paper-emotions---aggressive-1158072-mAccording to Forbes, 72% of people trust online reviews just as much as they would trust the opinion of a friend or family member. Furthermore, 4 out of 5 consumers admitted in a survey that they changed their mind about a purchase after reading online reviews. With statistics like these, it’s not surprising that many businesses have chosen to start responding to bad reviews in hopes of atoning for the customer’s bad experience. But how can businesses successfully respond to these reviews online? Authors Beverley A. Sparks and Graham L. Bradley recently explored this topic and developed a typology of managerial responses to negative online reviews in their article “A ‘Triple A’ Typology of Responding to Negative Consumer-Generated Online Reviews” from Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research.

The abstract:

Increasingly, consumers are posting online reviews about hotels, restaurants, and other tourism and hospitality providers. While some managers are responding to these reviews, little is2JHTR07_Covers.pdf known about how to respond and how to do so effectively. Drawing on the service recovery, justice, and electronic word-of-mouth literatures, we developed a typology of management responses to negative online reviews of hotel accommodation. An initial version of the typology was verified through interviews with eight industry experts. The final “Triple A” typology comprised 19 specific forms of managerial responses subsumed within the three higher-level categories of acknowledgements, accounts, and actions. The typology was tested on a sample of 150 conversations drawn from the website, TripAdvisor. Most responses included an acknowledgement of the dissatisfying event, an account (explanation) for its occurrence, and a reference to action taken. Responses differed between top- and bottom-ranked hotels. Propositions for extending this area of research are provided.

Click here to read “A ‘Triple A’ Typology of Responding to Negative Consumer-Generated Online Reviews” from Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research for free! Want to get notifications about all the latest research from Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research sent straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!