Improving Lives and How Organizations Can Help

OSSThe theme of this year’s Academy of Management conference is on improving lives and how organizations can help. Ahead of the conference, Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies, has selected a few papers from the journal considering these questions.

The Human Capital Hoax: Work, Debt and Insecurity in the Era of Uberization by Peter Fleming
Human capital theory is widely celebrated as a framework for explaining how organizations and societies can build skill, innovation and socio-economic wellbeing. This paper argues that it can result in the opposite. Human capital theory fundamentally individualizes people, placing the costs of economic activity onto the employee. Self-employment, on-demand business models, freelancing and what some term the Uberization of the workforce follow from the idea that people are ultimately responsible for their own economic fate. Instead of being freer and wealthier, human capitalists are just as likely to be mired in debt, insecure and dominated by authoritarian management systems.

Giving Meaning to Everyday Work After Terrorism Derin Kent
Global terrorism in the early 21st century appears to be an inevitable part of organizational life. Even among people not personally injured in an attack, the immediate aftermath can be a period of hardship, stress and sensemaking. This paper develops theory about how people give meaning to their work after terrorism. In contrast to views of everyday work as something that loses significance in times of such tragedy, this paper outlines the conditions under which individuals are also likely to find positive meaning in it.

Engaging and Misbehaving: How Dignity Affects Employee Work Behaviors
Kristen Lucas, Andrew S. Manikas, Shaunn Mattingly, Cole J. Crider

This paper explores the influence of workplace dignity on employee work behaviors that affect organizational performance. Framing our inquiry with Sharon Bolton’s yet-untested multidimensional theory of dignity, Randy Hodson’s content-coded ethnographic data is analyzed to reveal that increases in workplace dignity tend to predict increases in employee engagement, yet have mixed effects on counterproductive workplace behaviors. The authors identify the critical role of safe and secure working conditions in enabling and constraining employees’ ability to redress or resist workplace indignities with counterproductive workplace behaviors.

Legitimacy Struggles and Political Corporate Social Responsibility in International Settings: A Comparative Discursive Analysis of a Contested Investment in Latin America
Maria Joutsenvirta, Eero Vaara

This paper examines the discursive legitimation of controversial investment projects to provide a better understanding of the ways in which corporate social responsibility is constructed in international settings. The analysis helps to better understand how CSR involves discourse-ideological struggles, how CSR is embedded in international relations, and how CSR is mediatized in contemporary globalizing society. By so doing, this paper contributes to critical studies of CSR as well as research on legitimation more generally

Crystalline Empowerment: Negotiating Tensions in Refugee Resettlement
Tiffany A Dykstra-DeVette, Heather E Canary

As the number of forcibly displaced people continues to rise worldwide, humanitarian organizations are playing a growing role in finding solutions. This study investigates one of the world’s largest refugee resettlement organizations as it pilots innovative empowerment programs. With very little research regarding organizational rhetoric, discourse, and practices within resettlement agencies, there is great need for understanding the tensions that arise amid empowerment processes.

Translating Institutional Change to Local Communities: The Role of Linking Organizations
Kathryn L. Heinze, Sara Soderstrom, Justin E. Heinze
The authors examine the processes and mechanisms of translating broader field-level change to the local community, drawing on insights from the inhabited institutions perspective and community-based institutionalism. In particular, they develop the concept of linking organizations as key actors in institutional change that connect the broader field and community levels.

Congratulations to the Incoming Editor of Compensation and Benefits Review!

We’re pleased to congratulate Phillip Bryant of Columbus State University on his appointment as the Editor for Compensation and Benefits Review!

bryant_phillipDr. Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Management and Marketing at Columbus State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Management at the University of Memphis. His primary research, teaching and consulting activities are concentrated around human resource management and servant leadership.

Dr. Bryant’s research in managing employee turnover has won the Academy of Management Perspectives’ Best Paper Award (2010) and the Academy of Management’s Outstanding Practitioner-Oriented Publication Award (2011). His co-authored book, Managing Employee Turnover was published by Business Expert Press in 2012.

Dr. Bryant has extensive consulting, management and entrepreneurial experience with companies such as American Home Shield, Monogram Foods Solutions and SCB Computer Technology.

Most recently, he co-founded & co-edited Servant Leadership: Theory & Practice with colleague Steve Brown.


Where do you take your Peter Northouse Leadership book?

NH1Where do you take your Northouse Leadership book?

We want to know!

Do you have a copy of Peter Northouse’s Leadership: Theory and Practice, Eighth Edition?  We want to know: Where do you read your Northouse book? Take a picture with your new copy of Leadership, Eighth Edition in your office, at your school, in class or at your next travel destination and share on twitter with #MyNorthouse8e.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! We will share our favorite pictures on the @SAGEManagement Twitter channel.

Adopted at more than 1600 institutions in 89 countries and translated into 13 different languages, this market-leading text successfully combines an academically robust account of the major theories and models of leadership with an accessible style and special emphasis on how leadership theory can inform leadership practice. Leadership is a universally appealing topic, “in the popular press and academic research literature, much has been written about leadership. Despite the abundance of writing on the topic, leadership has presented a major challenge to practitioners and researchers interested in understanding the nature of leadership. It is a highly valued phenomenon that is very complex.” (Northouse, Chapter 1).

Peter G. Northouse uses a consistent structure for each chapter, allowing students to easily compare and contrast the various theories.  Case studies and questionnaires provide students with practical examples and opportunities to deepen their personal understanding of their own leadership style. Leadership: Theory and Practice, Eighth Edition provides readers with a user-friendly account of a wide range of leadership research in a clear, concise, and interesting manner.

Experience the new edition for yourself here with access to Chapter 7 Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Chapter 10 on Servant Leadership.

You can also learn more about the new edition, interactive leadership assessments, and instructor and student resources here.

To follow the adventure and see where Northouse fans take their books, visit @SAGEManagement.

We look forward to seeing where in the world you read Leadership, Eighth Edition!

How Do Senior Leaders Navigate the Need to Belong?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Jessy Zumaeta of the University of Chile and the London School of Economics. Dr. Zumaeta recently published an article in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies entitled “Lonely at the Top: How Do Senior Leaders Navigate the Need to Belong?” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Zumaeta speaks about the motivations, challenges, and findings of this research:]

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

I’m very interested in Leadership research and practice. Leaders may contribute to a great extent to organizations’ success or failure. They can make organizations and its people to thrive or, on the contrary, leaders may block employees’ and organizations’ progress. Due to the importance of their role, managers at the top echelons of organizations are usually highly pressured to deliver results. Among other things, I wanted to explore to what extent these pressures affected the person behind the professional mask.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research

Considering the abundant leadership literature, I wanted to look at it from a novel perspective, so I started to explore these kind of questions: How does it feel to be a senior leader? What are the main challenges? How do top managers experience their role? I did my research to shed light on leaders’ experiences in their role, going beyond the common view of the leader as a hero. My investigation focused on senior leaders as people with personal and social needs, as everyone else.

Were there any surprising findings?

In the interviews that I conducted, I could gather very personal accounts that may give the reader a good sense of what is like to perform a high-ranked leadership role in a corporate context on a daily basis. It was surprising to me the high degree of openness that the leaders showed during the interviews, which seem to contrast with the usual levels of authenticity that they are able to perform among other workers.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Organizations can be very difficult places, even for those that we all deem as super powerful. In consequence, I think we have to look at leadership phenomenon from different perspectives. It is a misleading message to think about top leaders as glamorous or highly desirable roles. Senior leaders have great responsibilities and setting them apart from the rest of people, it doesn’t seem to be helping organizations or leaders themselves. We need more workplaces centered on real people and their fundamental needs.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Congratulations to the Winners of the Douglas McGregor Award for Best Paper of 2017

We would like to congratulate authors, Laurence G. Weinzimmer of Bradley University and Candace A. Esken of Louisiana State University. Their article, “Learning From Mistakes: How Mistake Tolerance Positively Affects Organizational Learning and Performance”  published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, recently won the Douglas McGregor Award for Best Paper of 2017. Below is the abstract of the article, which will be free to read for a short time.

JAB_72ppiRGB_powerpointOrganizational learning has been shown to affect performance. This study offers a fine-grained view regarding different types of learning opportunities. Specifically, opportunities to learn from mistakes are examined. Using three separate samples, we first establish statistically reliable and unidimensional measures of both organizational learning and mistake tolerance. Second, we empirically demonstrate the mediating role of organizational learning on the mistake tolerance–performance relationship. Our results offer findings that will generalize to other organizational contexts. We conclude with a dialogue suggesting prescriptive advice for managers and provide a discussion of how learning from mistakes can be an important catalyst in organizational change. Using specific items from our survey, we stress that managers need to make a conscious effort to communicate to employees the value in learning from mistakes as an important part of improving and changing existing organizational practices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Do Gen X and Millennials Learn Differently?

visa_22_1_cover.pngResearch has shown that the current generation in higher education has significantly different learning characteristics than its predecessors.

It is essential to understand this generation’s learning attributes so that educators have useful guidance in designing teaching pedagogies for this generation. It has been found that Millennials do not prefer traditional lecture mode of teaching, traditional communication standards and have zero tolerance to delays.

Findings also suggest that Millennials have a collaborative learning style and enjoy working and learning in groups and teams. They like the use of technology, entertainment and excitement. They prefer structure and experimental activities and learn immediately from their mistakes.

The research in this article published in the journal ‘Vision’ also suggests that there are certain issues of concern with this generation that are particularly worrying such as Millennials demonstrating a lack of drive, motivation and accountability. This generation likes to choose what they learn, how they learn it and when they learn it. Researchers have also pointed out laxity towards their research sources, predisposition to believe peer opinion and public consensus and the absence of original ideas.

The findings also indicate that this generation significantly differs from the previous generation on the attributes of trust and competition. Millennials are found to be more competitive and less trusting than Gen X. This article ‘Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy’ addresses various other learning characteristics exhibited by this generation that are significantly different than those of its predecessor generations.

Click here to read Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy for free from Vision.

Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and be notified of all the latest research from Vision.

Identity, Mental Health and Work

[We’re pleased to welcome author Hadar Elraz of Cardiff University. Hadar Elraz recently published an article in the Human Relations entitled “Identity, mental health and work: How employees with mental health conditions recount stigma and the pejorative discourse of mental illness,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Hadar Elraz summarises the findings of her study:]

Experiences of mental health in the workplace

huma_71_2.coverThis article examines how identity is constructed for individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace. The study found that people with mental health conditions use their experiences to perform more effectively in the workplace. The same strategies that individuals put in place to manage their mental health can also be applied to prioritize workload effectively, promote mental health awareness and achieve work‒life balance.

In a series of 60 interviews, the study reveals how people with mental health conditions overcome stigma, judgement and discrimination to stay in employment and, in many cases, prosper in the contemporary workplace. Those who have experienced mental ill health have knowledge and expertise about the interface between work and their condition and ways to address them.

The findings shows how the individual sensitivity to these issues addresses all kinds of strategies to manage their mental health and working lives more effectively. The interviews revealed the following coping strategies used by the study participants to manage their mental health conditions:

Maintaining silence

Some respondents recalled how they would maintain silence, coping on their own against all the odds without requesting support. While anti-stigma campaigns and awareness training are not uncommon in many contemporary workplaces, interviewees still felt looked down upon and discriminated against. Non-disclosure might be one response to this type of hostile environment.
One respondent recalled how they “didn’t think people associated mental illness with people who are functioning in high-status jobs. [Instead,] people associate mental illness with people who can’t work.”

Sheer hard work

Others developed strategies to manage their mental health effectively alongside their responsibilities at work, to stay, cope and thrive in employment.

Doubling their efforts in this way led many respondents to reflect on how they have grown more resilient than their colleagues who have not experienced mental ill health.

One respondent said: “I am a strong character. [But,] I don’t think people realise how strong a character you are. They don’t have any reference, because they never suffered from it [mental health condition] themselves.”

Another referred to this as “sheer hard work”, adding: “I just absolutely feel like I’m working twice as hard as anyone else in the place to achieve the same level of output.”

Taking control

Study participants used self-taught and reflexive techniques as well as self-medicating to take control of their health and performance at work. Combining both soft skills and medical insight into their condition made many of the participants experts on managing their mental health conditions within and beyond the working environment.

One respondent said: “I have been doing that for years. I self-manage myself by taking mood stabilisers, anti-depressants […] finding one that works to get you up to a level where you can function.”

Public disclosure

While concealing mental ill health in the workplace was a key concern for many interview participants, some spoke of the positive outcomes associated with public disclosure.
Significantly, the interviewees that were more confident about the security of their employment found public disclosure raised awareness and improved mental health management. Motivated by a desire to share their experiences of mental ill health to encourage broader cultural change, these participants expressed eagerness to assist both employee wellbeing and organisational performance by openly disclosing their mental health experiences at work.

One respondent said: “I think it’s part of me. Why should I hide away? If I see other people, I think if I gave them a bit of insight and knowledge, maybe that’d save them from going through some of the things.”

Allaying their fear of stigma and discrimination, public disclosure represented a legitimisation of mental ill health within the working environment.

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