Organization OR Environment?

organization-enviroment[We’re pleased to welcome Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, Assistant Professor at Babson College in Organizational Behavior. Tosti-Kharas recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior for the Environment.” From Tosti-Kharas:]

The origin of this paper came from bridging two different research projects. My co-authors, Tom Thomas and Eric Lamm of SFSU, published a theoretical paper regarding how individuals develop attitudes toward organizational sustainability. Meanwhile, Eric and I have performed research on what motivates employees to perform sustainable behaviors. We look at what we term organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment ¬ OCB-Es for short ¬ which are voluntary actions at work that help conserve resources, things like recycling, printing double-sided, etc. This paper joined these two streams of inquiry to examine how the reasons why people think it is important to act sustainably at work relates to their performance of OCB-Es and we tested it empirically.

Most past research on this topic has used a measure of how important people think sustainability is in general, meaning for broad ecological reasons, but never contextualized within a work organization. In the paper we distinguish between believing sustainability is important in and of itself, what we term an ³eco-centric rationale,² and believing it is important as a means to an end, specifically a business end, which we term an ³organization-centric rationale.² We also differentiate employees¹ own rationales about why it is important for their companies to operate sustainably from their perceptions about why their organizations believe it is important. Perhaps the most surprising finding when we surveyed 489 working adults across a wide range of organizations and occupations was that people were more likely to perform OCB-Es when they believed their organizations valued sustainability, regardless of their own personal beliefs about the importance of sustainability. These findings held for both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales. This to us was surprising, as lots of research would lead us to predict that personal values would trump perceived organizational values. Yet, we find the opposite, which suggests that perhaps people perform voluntary sustainability behaviors at work not just because they think it¹s important, but because their company believes it is important. It is worth noting that we included in our OCB-E measure not only simple, everyday tasks, but also ³higher-level² behaviors, like collaborating with other employees or making suggestions to supervisors to increase organizational sustainability.

These findings raise several interesting and timely implications for organizational leaders looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors. Since employee perceptions of organizational rationales for sustainability were so important in motivating OCB-Es, we advise communicating corporate values around sustainability and resource conservation as clearly as possible. By contrast, trying to screen employees for pro-environmental values seemed to be less important in a company that clearly communicated these values, since even employees who didn’t buy in on their own behaved more sustainably when they believed their employers cared about the environment.


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How to Promote More Inclusive and Equitable Ways of Managing


[We’re pleased to welcome Stephen Allen of the University of Hull, UK. Stephen recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Learning from Friends: Developing appreciations for unknowing in reflexive practice.”  From Stephen:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

The concept of ‘reflexivity’ (involving appreciating and exploring how our knowing about being in a world is situated historically, socially, culturally and materially) has been a key interest in my research over the past six years or so.  This article was developed around my interest in understanding more about what being reflexive can mean for our day-to-day practice.  From attending a Quaker meeting over the past four or so years I began to wonder how Quaker processes could be seen to offer images of what it means to practice reflexivity in how we conduct ourselves.  The potential to consider how the Quaker ‘Business Method’ can help us to embrace our inevitably limited view of the world, our unknowing, is fascinating.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

This is a conceptual paper so there are not really ‘findings’ as such.  However, through writing the paper I became increasingly surprised and impressed by the intellectual quality of Quaker ideas and processes for helping us to explore how we can better come together in the pursuit of equitable and democratic ways of working and living.  Understanding how we can interac
t with others in light of an awareness of our inevitably limited view of the world I see as a crucial challenge in how we go about organising ourselves.  The article hopefully offers some insight in this area.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

As mentioned the article is all about exploring reflexivity in practice.  It offers images of possible ways that we can hopefully make wise decisions together.  There are a lot of opportunities for future research in relation to Quaker processes – I mention some in the article – and so my hope is that these 350 year old ways of organising which have seen limited academic attention become more interesting to researchers.


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Do Longer Working Hours Blur Work–Family Boundaries?

In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, o7817055290_8609020d49_z.jpgperating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries.

Sales is a key boundary-spanning function, which has central accountability in the organization and that is the reason why companies make huge investments on their sales force. Sales professionals are largely seen affected due to imbalances among individual, family and professional goals, which finally results in burnout. In addition, their work-related commitments require them to counter multiple demands from co-workers and customers, thereby resulting in role stress.

Work–family conflict is seen as having two distinct domains: work negatively affecting family, that is, WFC and family negatively affecting work, that is, FWC. Both WFC and FWC are bidirectional in nature and have distinct patterns of correlates. WFC is found to be far more rampant than FWC. The probable reason for the same could be that work boundaries are less permeable as compared to family boundaries which result in work negatively affecting family more as compared to family affecting work.

An article from the Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation aims to measure the ratio of work to family conflict (WFC) and family to work conflict (FWC) and also identify various demographic variables affecting the conflicts.

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In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, operating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries. The sample for the current study are sales employees as they are required to respond to various demands from colleagues, customers and from their respective families as well, which finally leads to conflict from both work and family. Of importance to the research is work–family construct measurement. The study first validated the Netemeyer, Boles and McMurrian (1996) work–family conflict scale in Indian context using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. The results of the data analysis are in line with the indications in the literature. In addition, the current study attempted to investigate the role of demographic variables on work to family conflict (WFC) as well as family to work conflict (FWC). The sample consisted of 330 sales employees working across different service and manufacturing sectors in Mumbai, India. Results indicated that age, marital status, hierarchy, hours worked, number and ages of children are significantly associated with both WFC and FWC. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Click here to read Work–Family Conflict in India: Construct Validation and Current Status for free from the journal Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation.

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*Clock image attributed to Nick Wright. (CC)

Profiling Employee Time Bandits: Weasels, Mercenaries, Sandbaggers, and Parasites

8562416557_4eb71bbab7_zNothing is more counterproductive for organizations than when employees use work time to engage in non-task-related activities. That said, time banditry is widespread and sometimes difficult for organizations prevent. A recent article published in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, entitled “Time Banditry and Impression Management Behavior: Prediction and Profiling of Time Bandit Types,” authors Meagan E. Brock Baskin, Victoria McKee, and M. Ronald Buckley investigate the characteristics of time bandits. Their paper outlines situational and dispositional variables that can help predict the four time bandit types–the weasel, the mercenary, the sandbagger, and the parasite. The abstract for the article:

Time banditry recently has been introduced as a distinct construct in the JLOcounterproductive work behavior literature. Employees are engaged in time banditry when they pursue non–task-related activities during work time. We posit that they capitalize on the ambiguity in most work environments to manage impressions that their time banditry behavior really is productive and not counterproductive work behavior. In this investigation, two studies were conducted to explore variables that can be used to classify time bandits into four different categories. Discriminant function analysis was used to determine individual-level and job-level factors that classify time bandits. Results revealed that both situational and dispositional variables can be used to predict time bandit type. Suggestions for future research and implications for managing, reducing, and changing time banditry behaviors are discussed.

Interested in reading more and finding out what kind of time bandit you are? You can read “Time Banditry and Impression Management Behavior: Prediction and Profiling Time Bandit Types” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Post-it prank image attributed to Michael Arrighi (CC)

ILR Review Special Issue: Work and Employment Relations in Health Care

8639003804_2bd2b5f140_zThe August special issue of ILR Review is now available and open to access for the next 30 days! Included in the special issue on Work and Employment Relations in Health Care are papers that discuss the relationship between nurse unions and patient outcomes, the effect of electronic health record adoption on physician productivity, and the impact nurse staffing strategies have on patient satisfaction. In the introductory editorial essay, Ariel C. Avgar, Adrienne E. Eaton, Rebecca Kolins Givan, and Adam Seth Litwin outline the problems inherent in US health care, most notably the fact that despite outspending other countries on health care costs per capita, the US demonstrates above-average rates of medical errors and below-average life expectancies. As the health care system moves toward reform, the authors argue for careful consideration of how workplace dynamics impact the outcomes for everyone involved in health care. The editorial thus highlights the importance of research on work and employment relations in the health care industry:

This special issue of the ILR Review is designed to showcase the central role that work organization and employment relations play in shaping important outcomes such as the quality of care and organizational performance. Each of the articles included in this special issue makes an important contribution to our understanding of the large and rapidly changing health care sector. Specifically, these articles provide novel Current Issue Coverempirical evidence about the relationship between organizations, institutions, and work practices and a wide array of central outcomes across different levels of analysis. This breadth is especially important because the health care literature has largely neglected employment-related factors in explaining organizational and worker outcomes in this industry. Individually, these articles shed new light on the role that health information technologies play in affecting patient care and productivity (see Hitt and Tambe; Meyerhoefer et al.); the relationship between work practices and organizational reliability (Vogus and Iacobucci); staffing practices, processes, and outcomes (Kramer and Son; Hockenberry and Becker; Kossek et al.); health care unions’ effects on the quality of patient care (Arindrajit, Kaplan, and Thompson); and the relationship between the quality of jobs and the quality of care (Burns, Hyde, and Killet). Below, we position the articles in this special issue against the backdrop of the pressures and challenges facing the industry and the organizations operating within it. We highlight the implications that organizational responses to industry pressures have had for organizations, the patients they care for, and the employees who deliver this care.

You can read the special issue of ILR Review free for the next 30 days by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Nurse image attributed to COD Newsroom (CC)

The Stress of Cyber Incivility at Work

5630090047_5922a8afeb_zCyber bullying has been an emerging issue in recent years, and recent news, like the recent suicide of firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, have brought to light just how pervasive and harmful cyber bullying can be in the workplace. A recent article published in Journal of Management, entitled “Daily Cyber Incivility and Distress: The Moderating Roles of Resources at Work and Home” from authors YoungAh Park, Charlotte Fritz, and Steve M. Jex delves into the topic of cyber incivility, pinpointing how cyber incivility can cause lasting distress in employees. The abstract for the paper:

Given that many employees use e-mail for work communication on a daily basis, this study examined within-person relationships between day-level incivility via work e-mail (cyber incivility) and employee outcomes. Using resource-based theories, we Current Issue Coverexamined two resources (i.e., job control, psychological detachment from work) that may alleviate the effects of cyber incivility on distress. Daily survey data collected over 4 consecutive workdays from 96 employees were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling. Results showed that on days when employees experienced cyber incivility, they reported higher affective and physical distress at the end of the workday that, in turn, was associated with higher distress the next morning. Job control attenuated the concurrent relationships between cyber incivility and both types of distress at work, while psychological detachment from work in the evening weakened the lagged relationships between end-of-workday distress and distress the following morning. These findings shed light on cyber incivility as a daily stressor and on the importance of resources in both the work and home domains that can help reduce the incivility-related stress process. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

You can read “Daily Cyber Incivility and Distress: The Moderating Roles of Resources at Work and Home” 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!

*Image attributed to Mislav Marohnic (CC)

Do the Benefits of Work Engagement Extend Beyond the Office?

3925183530_4902bb6ae9_zStudies of work engagement and the associated positive outcomes tend to focus on the effects of engagement exclusively in the work realm, but do the benefits of work engagement extend beyond the office? In a recent Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies article entitled “The Work/Nonwork Spillover: The Enrichment Role of Work Engagement,” authors Liat Eldor, Itzhak Harpaz, and Mina Westman expand the scope of research on the effects of work engagement.

The abstract for the paper:

This study examines whether work engagement enriches employees beyond the JLOcontribution of the domain of work, focusing on satisfaction with life and community involvement. Moreover, the ambivalence of scholars about the added value of the work engagement concept compared with similar work-related attitudes prompted us to assess the benefits that work engagement offers with regard to improving one’s satisfaction with life and community involvement compared with the benefits of other, similar work-related attitudes such as job involvement and job satisfaction. Furthermore, given the studies indicating the impact of sector of employment (public vs. business) on understanding the work/nonwork nexus, the current study also investigates the effect of the sector of employment on this enrichment process. Utilizing multilevel modeling analysis techniques on data from 554 employees in public and business sector organizations, we obtained results consistent with our hypotheses. Work engagement and employees’ outcomes beyond work had positive and significant relationships. Moreover, the relationship between work engagement and community involvement was stronger in public sector employees than in business sector employees. The implications for organizational theory, research, and practice are discussed as possible leverage points for creating conditions that promote engagement at work and beyond.

You can read “The Work/Nonwork Spillover: The Enrichment Role of Work Engagement” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Picnic image attributed to Benson Kua (CC)