Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Jaclyn Piatak of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Piatak recently published a paper in Public Personnel Management entitled, “Sector Switching in Good Times and in Bad: Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Piatak reflects on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

PPM_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWhen working in the federal government (my first real job), I noticed the cubicle next to me was a revolving door of young people like me. I wondered what made people leave one federal agency for another, leave the federal government for a state or local government position, leave government work to work for a nonprofit organization (DC has many national headquarters), and above all leave public service to work in the for-profit sector.

As cliché as it may be, I entered public service to make a difference. This was my goal since being a political science undergrad through earning my graduate degrees to today, where I feel privileged as a professor to not only share my research and to serve the university and profession but also to train future government and nonprofit leaders.

I couldn’t help but wonder about people’s motivation for joining public service and how working in the government and nonprofit sectors affects them. This piece tackles one aspect, my original curiosity of the revolving cubicle: sector switching.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research? After earning my MPP, I entered the workforce in 2007 so I saw the influence of the Great Recession not only at the federal government level, but also across the state agencies we were responsible for overseeing. Building upon my motivation for this research, I wondered how the recession impacted people’s employment decisions and outcomes across job sectors.

Were there any surprising findings? Research often examines government employment as a whole with little attention paid to how employment and employee behavior may vary across levels of government—federal, state, and local. I found only federal government and nonprofit sector employees are more likely to move into the for-profit sector during times of economic instability. Considering the federal government finding, we should take a closer look at the government sector as there may be important differences across levels of government.

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Do Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Employee Turnover?

4329856959_d420346295_zHow can organization’s prevent employee turnover? The recent Public Personnel Management article “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from author James Gerard Caillier of University of Alabama suggests that the key to employee retention for an organization could be family-friendly programs. Programs like telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, employee assistance programs, and other similar programs not only attract new talent, but help companies retain long-standing employees. The abstract for the paper:

This article sought to understand the association between employee satisfaction with several family-friendly programs and turnover in U.S. federal agencies. It also built on previous cross-sectional studies that examined the relationship between these benefits and both attitudes and outcomes. More specifically, this article used social exchange theory to develop hypotheses regarding the effect of telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, elder care, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs on turnover. Furthermore, 4 years of panel data were Current Issue Coverobtained from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and FedScope to test the hypotheses. Consistent with social exchange theory, results from the balanced panel model indicate that satisfaction with family-friendly programs in general had a significant, negative effect on turnover. The results also indicate that telework, alternative work schedules, child care programs, and health and wellness programs reduced turnover. Telework, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs were significant at the .10 level. Elder care programs, on the other hand, were not found to have an impact on turnover. The implications the results have for theory and practice are discussed in the article.

You can read “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from Public Personnel Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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* Family image attributed to bniice (CC)

Are Authentic Leadership and Fairness Connected?

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Christa Kiersch of University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Dr. Kiersch recently collaborated with Zinta S. Byrne of Colorado State University on their article from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes.”]

Like many interested in leadership and organizational science, I often ask myself (and my perhaps less interested undergraduate students) what it means to be a great leader or to have great leadership. This seems to be a guiding question of much of the research in organizational leadership, and with good cause. If we can better understand what great leadership is, then we may be able to get more of it through improved selection assessments or training and development programs. To go one step further, if we can better understand why certain leadership skills or behaviors or other characteristics are effective, we can offer more precisely targeted recommendations for leaders hoping to make a positive impact (and be more specific regarding what the positive impact will be). This captures the underlying goal of this study, to inform actionable strategies for leaders to positively influence the people and goals of their organization or team.

In our research, we found that being an authentic leader (one based on honesty, self-awareness and transparency) often means being a fair leader, and that one way in which authentic leadership has a positive impact on team members and team outcomes is via perceptions of fair treatment among the team. While I had a hunch that this core relationship between authentic leadership and fairness would be supported in the study, I was intrigued by the complexities of our multi-level findings. I find it interesting that authentic leadership impacts individual perceptions and shared group perceptions (i.e., team climate) a bit differently, and that this impact also appears different depending on the outcome of interest (e.g., turnover intentions vs. employee well-being). I sincerely look forward to continued dialogue regarding these findings and more generally regarding the interesting ways in which leadership impacts (and is impacted by) individuals and groups.

You can read “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


ChristaChrista E. Kiersch is an assistant professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Her research interests include leadership, organizational justice, and social responsibility in the workplace.

Zinta S. Byrne is a professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University. Her current research interests focus on employee engagement, organizational justice, and computer-mediated exchanges.

Finding the Balance Between Greed and Altruism

yin-yang-1024035-mAre greedy managers or altruistic managers more successful? The answer may not be so black and white. According to Katalin Takacs Haynes, Matthew Josefy, and Michael A. Hitt, authors of “Tipping Point: Managers’ Self-Interest, Greed, and Altruism” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, harmony between the two characteristics is actually the most beneficial to firm performance.

The abstract:

We explore the potential effects of managers’ greed and altruism on their behaviors and firm outcomes. Greed represents extreme self-interest whereas altruism reflects concern for others. We argue that managerial greed leads to a focus on short-term decisions JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointand short-term firm performance. Alternatively, managerial altruism normally produces a focus on longer term decisions and long-term firm performance. Managerial greed is also more likely to produce wrongdoing, whereas managerial altruism produces greater corporate citizenship behaviors. Managerial greed is likely to lead to turnover for non-performance–related reasons whereas managerial altruism is more likely to produce managerial turnover for performance reasons. Overall, we conclude that measured self-interest keeps managers focused on the firm’s goals and measured altruism helps the firm to build and maintain strong human and social capital. The extremes of either greed or altruism likely will harm firm performance. Thus, balance between managerial self-interest and managerial altruism leads to the greatest success.

You can read “Tipping Point: Managers’ Self-Interest, Greed, and Altruism” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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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How Do Employers Handle Termination Documentation?

woman-writing-in-the-agenda-1182878-mOne only has to do a quick internet search on job termination practices to find pages upon pages of advice ranging from legal tips to breaking the bad news. But is there a set procedure that employers follow when it comes to the documentation of a termination? That’s what authors Mike Duncan and Jillian Hill set out to explore in their article “Termination Documentation” from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.

The abstract:

In this study, we examined 11 workplaces to determine how they handleBPCQ.indd termination documentation, an empirically unexplored area in technical communication and rhetoric. We found that the use of termination documentation is context dependent while following a basic pattern of infraction, investigation, intervention, and termination. Furthermore, the primary audience of the documentation is typically legal and regulatory bodies, not the employee. We also make observations about genre, collaboration, and authorship in these documents.

Click here to read “Termination Documentation” from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly for free. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and get notified of all the latest research from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly!

How Are Salespeople Viewed Around the World?

business-graphics-1428661-mHow do we view salespeople? Are they overly excited individuals selling us products that may or may not work for a quick buck or career oriented people who simply enjoy a challenge? How much does this perception differ around the globe? An article recently published in Journal of Marketing Education entitled “A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Stereotype for Salespeople: Professionalizing the Profession” explores these questions and more.

The abstract:

The purpose of this research is to investigate the image of salespeople and of the selling function as perceived by business students across cultures. Of the several empirical investigations that exist in the sales literature, most are based on a single-country sample. JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointThis study extends previous knowledge on single-country perception of salespeople by conducting a quantitative survey of business students in Cameroon, France, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Substantial differences and similarities are found across countries on salesperson’s image, feelings in the presence of a salesperson, as well as the perception of a career in sales. They all appear to be influenced by cultural values. Several practical strategic implications are suggested, including examining cultural values to identify the origin of negative images, careful gatekeeping to promote professional positions, and supporting mobility of both students and faculty. Finally, limitations to the findings are presented with suggested future research directions.

Click here to read “A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Stereotype for Salespeople: Professionalizing the Profession” from Journal of Marketing Education for free! Want to know about all the latest from Journal of Marketing Education? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!