On SAGE Insight: The link between superbugs and hospital outsourced cleaners

[The following post is re-blogged from SAGE Insight. Click here to view the original post.]

Article title: Superbugs versus outsourced cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Health Care–Associated Infections
From ILR Review

On any given ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgday, one in every 25 patients in U.S. hospitals has a health care–associated or hospital-acquired infection (HAI)—one of a handful of so-called superbugs that contribute to the deaths of 75,000 of these patients. Not surprisingly, health care practitioners and scholars have turned their attention to clinical and delivery-of-care factors that might account for HAIs. This article provides novel, quantitative, empirical evidence linking a specific type of employment arrangement—outsourcing—to patient safety. It shows that in addition to the more widely examined clinical culprits, the HAI challenges plaguing the U.S. health care system are also a function of the strategic employment choices that organizations make in relating to their nonclinical staff. The findings have important implications for health care scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.

 Abstract

On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients in the United States has a health care–associated infection (HAI) that the patient contracts as a direct result of his or her treatment. Fortunately, the spread of most HAIs can be halted through proper disinfection of surfaces and equipment. Consequently, cleaners—“environmental services” (EVS) in hospital parlance—must take on the important task of defending hospital patients (as well as staff and the broader community) from the spread of HAIs. Despite the importance of this task, hospitals frequently outsource this function, increasing the likelihood that these workers are under-rewarded, undertrained, and detached from the organization and the rest of the care team. As a result, the outsourcing of EVS workers could have the unintended consequence of increasing the incidence of HAIs. The authors demonstrate this relationship empirically, finding support for their theory by using a self-constructed data set that marries infection data to structural, organizational, and workforce features of California’s general acute care hospitals. The study thus advances the literature on nonstandard work arrangements—outsourcing in particular—while sounding a cautionary note to hospital administrators and health care policymakers.

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Article details
Superbugs versus outsourced cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Health Care–Associated Infections
Adam Seth Litwin, Ariel c. avgar, and Edmund E. Becker
ILR Review
May 2017
DOI: 10.1177/0019793916654482

For more of the latest research from ILR Review, be sure to visit the Table of Contents for the latest May issue.  Included in the newly released issue are papers that discuss the debate on the effects of minimum wage, recent labor market topics, employment effects of healthcare reform, and how underemployment will continue to affect labor market opportunities.

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Income Inequality and Subjective Well-Being: Assessing the Relationship

[We’re pleased to welcome author Ivana Katic of the Yale School of Management.  Katic recently published an article in Business & Society entitled, “Income Inequality and Subjective Well-Being: Toward an Understanding of the Relationship and Its Mechanisms,” co-authored by Paul Ingram of Columbia Business School. Below, Katic details the inspiration for the study:]

What inspired you to be interested in this topic? Inequality has always been a major topic in sociology. In the academic community and beyond, this interest in inequality simply exploded in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, as well as the Occupy protests around the world. Despite the amount of attention that income inequality has been receiving in empirical studies across psychology, sociology, economics as well as political science, my co-author Paul Ingram and I noticed that the literature was still quite mixed in regards to the effects of income inequality. In fact, extant studies had found positive, negative and neutral effects of income inequality on the subjective wellbeing and happiness levels of individuals. This lack of a consensus, we thought, was quite interesting, especially in contrast to the commonly held belief that inequality has exclusively negative consequences for individuals, as well as communities—ranging from lowered trust and health and increased crime levels to, ultimately, lower overall wellbeing. We decided that the time was ripe to pursue a comprehensive study that would allow us to better understand how income inequality affects subjective wellbeing (SWB). Such a study would also allow us to better understand the channels through which income inequality may affect SWB. We set out to answer these important, and particularly timely questions, by constructing a rich cross-country dataset including 65 countries from 1995 to 201B&S_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpg1.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?Given the common notion that income inequality is always detrimental to human flourishing, we were initially surprised to see that income inequality had a strong and very robust effect on SWB in our analysis. On the other hand, this was not the first time a study had found a positive effect—so there was clearly precedent for our finding in previous literature on the topic. However, to be quite certain, we threw everything we could at our results in a variety of robustness tests (including different operationalizations of our key independent variable and our dependent variable, as well as a series of different estimation techniques). Our results never budged.

How might one use the study’s main finding of a positive main effect of income inequality on SWB to create policy? While our main effect suggests that decreasing income inequality may not increase SWB, we caution against using our study as justification for lowering taxes and increasing inequality. First, our results do not necessarily indicate that income inequality is never a negative for a variety of other life outcomes. Second, we cannot rule out that income inequality may increase beyond the range studied in our paper, and we similarly cannot guarantee that it would not have negative effects beyond that range. Third, in a separate working paper, we find that any changes in the level of income inequality are uniquely damaging to SWB, suggesting that fluctuating levels of inequality may be particularly psychologically taxing for individuals to adjust to.

However, our study has another way forward for policy. A particularly important aspect of our study is that it sheds light on the mechanisms of income inequality’s relationship with SWB. Specifically, we found that income inequality has more positive effects on individuals who are relatively better off, those that perceive the income generation process to be fair, and surprisingly, those that do not perceive a lot of social mobility in their society. It is with these mechanisms in mind that we suggest constructing policies that focus on increasing perceptions of fairness and reducing social comparisons to the superrich.

In terms of future research, we hope that our study paves the way for other work that might further unravel the complexity of income inequality’s effects. In particular, future scholars should continue to investigate how income inequality may impact individuals differently depending on who they are, and where they live. Finally, the role of organizations in affecting levels of income inequality (and consequently, SWB) is also a very promising area of study. Given the complexity of this social phenomenon, as well as its highly significant implications for policy, future work on all of these topics is direly needed.

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Relying on Social Media to Assess Job Applicants: The Limitations

Recruiters rely heavily on technology and social media to promote new job openings, so then what happens when a promising candidate applies? Social media once again plays a role where the organization is tempted to locate the candidate’s profile on Facebook.com or other sites. Ultimately, the strategy creates an intercha5624177651_5393210133_z.jpgngeable lens from personnel  to personal selection.

The study, “Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment,” published in the Journal of Management examines how recruiters evaluate a candidate’s social media profile, and what those limitations are. The JOM study was also recently featured in an article from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, naming it one of the top 10 most significant studies with practical utility in 2016. Click here to view the original post from SIOP.

Below, please find the abstract to the article:

Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of organizations are using information from social media platforms such as Facebook.com to screen job applicants. Unfortunately, empirical research concerning the potential implications of this practice is extremely limited. We address the use of social media for selection by examining how recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles fare with respect to two important criteria on which selection procedures are evaluated: criterion-related validity and subgroup differences (which can lead to adverse impact). We captured Facebook profiles of college students who were applying for full-time jobs, and recruiters from various organizations reviewed the profiles and provided evaluations. We then followed up with applicants in their new jobs. Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance (rs = −.13 to –.04), turnover intentions (rs = −.05 to .00), and actual turnover (rs = −.01 to .01). In addition, Facebook ratings did not contribute to the prediction of these criteria beyond more traditional predictors, including cognitive ability, self-efficacy, and personality. Furthermore, there was evidence of subgroup difference in Facebook ratings that tended to favor female and White applicants. The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants.

The article is co-authored by Chad H. Van Iddekinge, Stephen E. Lanivich, Philip L. Roth, and Elliott Junco. It is currently free to read for a limited time, by clicking here.

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Facebook photo attributed to Pascal Paukner (CC).

 

Does using clickers in class help students engage and succeed?

With the growing technology advances and integration of new technology into classrooms, professors across the nation have adopted clickers as a means of participation in lectures. Of course, with new engagement strategies comes pros and cons, including how students must remember to bring the clickers, and if lost, will have to pay to replace the unit. The clickers can also prompt students to pay more attention in class, sinJME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgce clickers can be used to take quizzes, and in turn, keep an online record of attendance.

A recent article in the Journal of Marketing Education entitled “Using Clickers in a Large Business Class: Examining Use Behavior and Satisfaction,” analyzes the use of clickers in the classroom which yields overall positive responses in content engagement. Authors Nripendra P. Rana and Yogesh K. Dwivedi also provide data on the behavioral intentions of the students in their study. The abstract for their article is below:

As more and more institutions are integrating new technologies (e.g., audience response systems such as clickers) into their teaching and learning systems, it is becoming increasingly necessary to have a detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these advanced technologies and their outcomes on student learning perceptions. We proposed a conceptual model based on the technology acceptance model to understand students’ use behavior and satisfaction with clickers. The valid response from 138 second-year business students of Digital Marketing module taught in a British university, where clickers are extensively used in the teaching and learning process, made the basis for data analysis. The results provided a strong support for the proposed model with a reasonably adequate variance (i.e., adjusted R2) of 67% on behavioral intentions and sufficiently high variance on use behavior (i.e., 86%) and user satisfaction (i.e., 89%).

The article is free to read for a limited time, and don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the homepage so you never miss a new issue.

How Do New Theorizing and Shifts in Learning Emerge?

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Birgit Helene Jevnaker and Atle A. Raa of the Norwegian Business School, Oslo. They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled, “Circles of intellectual discovery in Cambridge and management learning: A discourse analysis of Joan Robinson’s The Economics of Imperfect Competition,”  Below, Jevnaker and Raa describe the inspiration for the study and key findings:]

We share an interest in how ideas in management learning can originate from early thinkers aJevnaker_teaser.jpgnd books.  For instance, we are interested in how classic economic thinking has influenced management learning and practice. In our article, we elaborate and discuss how Joan Robinson – in interaction with a circle of other Cambridge economists – developed a new theory of the firm in imperfect competition. In her opinion, imperfect competition was the normal market situation. It could be a limited number of firms that represented the total supply of a consumer product like carbonated soft drinks.

Joan Violet Robinson was a member of an informal group of a younger generation of economists in Cambridge, UK. Through her first book, The Economics of Imperfect Competition, she actually became an innovator of new ideas and comlqncepts. In this book, published in the wake of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, she explains new principles of how markets operate in different ways depending on the nature of the competition. By recognizing that some enterprises can affect prices and competition, this opened up for later, new thinking of how firms act and learn differently.

We were surprised by two things:

  • First, she became a transformer of earlier ideas of perfect competition into ideas of imperfect competition. It is remarkable that a young woman economist, without any formal position in the academy of Cambridge, could quickly synthetize new thinking of how markets are different.
  • Secondly, we noted that a younger generation of academics engaged collectively in critical and alternative theorizing. Robinson and her friend, the economist Richard F. Kahn, as well as other companions met regularly and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s arguments. We call this “epistemic interaction”. By this we understand mutual or reciprocal actions or influence in developing the grounds of knowledge and understanding among agents. In Greek, knowing and its possibility of understanding is episteme.

Through our discourse analysis of Robinson’s 1933-book and its emergence, we seek to explain our story beyond the perspective of a great economist finding new ideas by herself. Her book uncovers several important contributors; Robinson herself anchors her book in both established and new theorizing of firms and markets.

Joan Robinson points to the common existence of a limited number of firms with monopoly power over their offerings. Inspired by the 1930s reality as well as earlier writings, she offers new concepts, for example for exchange situations with only one buyer (monopsony). This is a situation where exploitation of labour can emerge, she points out. Robinson no doubt had a certain pedagogical style. She made many of the complicated economic ideas easier to understand by examples and metaphoric language. She claimed that the tool-users had been given “stones for bread” from the toolmakers (the economic thinkers). Still, she stressed that economics is one of the social sciences that study how society works.

From the circle of young economists’ debating in the 1930s, it is worth noting that firms and managers can be commonly acting within dissimilar or “imperfect” market conditions rather than principally “perfect” ones where firms are facing similar price mechanisms, often discussed in past economic literature. This critique and shift in understanding eventually opened up for management studies recognizing also fundamental differences in managerial knowledge, learning and strategizing. We think that more research on how earlier economic thinking has influenced management practice is a fruitful approach to the study of how management learning have developed through most of the 20th century up to our days. It is of general interest how new academic ideas come about.

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Aesthetic Rationality in Organizations

[We’re pleased to welcome author David Wasieleski of Duquesne University, USA. Wasieleski recently published an article in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science entitled, “Aesthetic Rationality in Organizations: Toward Developing a Sensitivity for Sustainability,” co-authored by Paul Shrivastava, Gunter Schumacher, and Marco Tasic. From Wasieleski:]

As a rationale for what inspired us to get interested in this topic was the realization that the environmental crisis is in part caused by the emotional disconnection between humanJABS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgs and nature. Art is a vehicle for emotional connection.  And, using art based values and methods we can emotionally reconnect people and organizations with nature.

Art influences the sustainability of companies through architecture, aesthetics of work-spaces, design of products and services, design of work and organizational systems, graphic art in advertising, and arts-based training methods. Self-expressiveness and authenticity that are hallmarks of art can also enhance organizational productivity and employee motivation. Sustainable organizations need arts to enhance employee creativity, innovation, attract creative workers, improve worker satisfaction, design eco-friendly and innovative products and services.   Arts also allows us to study those aspects of organizational sustainability which are a strength of aesthetics inquiry, such as sensory and emotional experiences often ignored in traditional management studies.
For more information, please see: ircase.org

The abstract for their article is below:

This article explains the coexistence and interaction of aesthetic experience and moral value systems of decision makers in organizations. For this purpose, we develop the concept of “aesthetic rationality,” which is described as a type of value-oriented rationality that serves to encourage sustainable behavior in organizations, and to complete the commonly held, “instrumentally rational” view of organizations. We show that organizations regularly exhibit not only an instrumental rationality but also an “aesthetic rationality,” which is manifested in their products and processes. We describe aesthetics, its underlying moral values, its evolutionary roots, and its links to virtue ethics as a basis for defining the concept of aesthetic rationality. We examine its links with human resources, organizational design, and other organizational elements. We examine these implications, identify how an aesthetic-driven ethic provides a potential for sustainable behavior in organizations, and suggest new directions for organizational research.

 

The full article is currently free to read for a limited time, by clicking here. Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts so you never miss the latest research.

Trustworthy Marketing Mixes: A Study of Forestland Owners

[We’re pleased to welcome author Kelley Dennings of the American Forest Foundation, Washington, D.C.. Dennings recently published an article in Social Marketing Quarterly entitled, “Research Into Woodland Owners’ Use of Sustainable Forest Management to Inform Campaign Marketing Mix,” co-authored by Jennifer Tabanico. From Dennings:]

The article titled “Research Into Woodland Owner’s Use of Sustainable Forest Management To Inform Campaign Marketing Mix” came about through a partnership between the American Forest Foundation and Action Research. The American Forest Foundation (AFF) works on-the-ground with families, teachers, and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect our nation’s forest heritage. When AFF embarqued on the creation of a social marketinsmqa_23_1.cover.pngg campaign they brought on Action Research to learn more about the barriers and benefits woodland owners encounter with sustainable forest management. Action Research specializes in changing human behavior through the application of traditional marketing activities blended with cutting edge research findings from the social and behavioral sciences including psychology, sociology, and economics.

This research is imperative as woodlands provide many environmental benefits such as clean air, clean water, recreational opportunities and wood products. However, keeping our forests healthy requires the support of private woodland owners that own the majority of America’s forests. The difficulty with this work is that harvesting trees without the advice of a forester can leave a landowner vulnerable. A forester ensures that the sustainable forest management actions meet the needs of the woodland owner as the forester makes recommendations depending on what the woodland owner wants to gain from their land.

What our findings showed is that trust is very important between a woodland owner and the forester. However, we found that advice from friends and family is highly trusted. Unfortunately this help may not always be the most accurate. This lack of trust is being addressed in the campaign’s marketing mix through peer networks and testimonials. Research into trust can help inform other campaigns outside of conservation and is very useful for those working in rural communities.

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