Are Voluntary Agreements Better? Evidence from Baseball Arbitration

[We’re pleased to welcome author John W. Budd of the University of Minnesota. Budd recently published an article in the ILR Review entitled “Are Voluntary Agreements Better? Evidence from Baseball Arbitration,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Budd reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

Coaches Umpires Pre-game Meeting BaseballThink of a dispute you’ve had with a person or entity that you have an ongoing relationship with, like a business, employer, co-worker, or neighbor. Was that dispute resolved between the two of you, or did it involve a third-party determination by a judge, arbitrator, superior, or some other authority? Do you think it mattered how the dispute was resolved? Would your behavior have changed if it was resolved differently?

Conflict resolution professionals and academics have long believed that voluntarily-negotiated agreements produce better long-run relationships than third-party imposed resolutions. This is because the participants can control their own destiny, tailor agreements to their liking, and feel greater ownership in the process and the outcome. Sounds sensible. But there is very little evidence beyond the parties feeling satisfied immediately after resolution. Maybe a formal procedure like a courtroom or arbitration hearing provides greater levels of due process, or the process doesn’t really matter for a long-term relationship because people forget what happened. The motivation for our research in “Are Voluntary Agreements Better? Evidence from Baseball Arbitration” is to provide evidence on this conventional wisdom, and to hopefully spur others to rigorously analyze this important issue in other settings.

Perhaps one reason why there is not much evidence on the long-term effects of dispute resolution mechanisms is that it’s challenging to find research settings in which the same type of dispute is resolved in different ways and in which the long-term effects can be consistently measured. We identified Major League Baseball as a compelling setting for these analyses because individual performance is well measured, the possibility of relationship breakdown is quite real, the negotiation and arbitration events are uniform and comparable across players, and both voluntary and imposed resolutions are routinely observed. Baseball players with between three (sometimes two) and six years of service are eligible for salary arbitration with their current team. In any given year, some go to arbitration while many settle voluntarily. If voluntarily-negotiated agreements are meaningfully better, then in the following season we would expect to see better on-field performance and more lasting relationships for those who voluntarily reached a salary agreement compared to those who went to arbitration and had a new salary imposed on them.

Using 24 years of data comparing players who arbitrated with those who settled just before arbitrating, we find partial support for the conventional wisdom. We find that relationships are more durable when the player and club negotiate a new salary rather than having a salary imposed by an arbitrator. Specifically, arbitration nearly doubles the likelihood of a player not being with the same team at the end of the season. But there are no statistically significant differences in on-field performance between players who go to arbitration and those who settle voluntarily. This might be due to longer-term career concerns. Most arbitration-eligible players are early in their careers and their on-field performance is visible to other clubs. So they have incentives to set aside any residual feelings from the dispute-resolution process and to perform at a high level in order to position themselves for a lucrative, subsequent contract.

This pattern of results is consistent with scenarios in which the arbitration process harms the player-club relationship and negatively affects player behaviors that are hard to observe (e.g., clubhouse attitude, loyalty to the team), but career concerns and/or loyalty to teammates and fans causes a player to continue to publicly perform at his usual level. Such a scenario can be generalized into an hypothesis that could be applied to other settings—that is, the effect of a dispute resolution procedure will be smaller on dimensions of performance that are valued and easily observed by potential, future partners and larger where performance is harder for future potential partners to observe.

While the data come from the context of professional baseball, these results are important for dispute resolution researchers and practitioners with implications beyond professional baseball. The claimed superiority of voluntary dispute resolution procedures is neither uniformly rejected nor supported. Additional research and perhaps some re-thinking of longstanding assumptions are therefore needed.

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Work and Family- Are these two becoming antagonist poles?

dfgsModern day workplace is characterized by long working hours, shorter deadlines, higher competition, lesser holidays and leaves, frequent tours and job transfers. Similarly, family–work conflict (FWC) arises out of inter-role conflicts between family and work and results in lower life satisfaction and greater internal conflict within the family unit.

Conceptually, conflict between work and family is bi-directional. Studies differentiate between WFC and FWC. WFC occurs when experiences at work interfere with family life, such as asymmetrical or rigid work hours, work overload and other forms of job stress, interpersonal conflict at work, extensive travel, career transitions, unaccommodating supervisor or organization. FWC occurs when experiences in the family impede with work life such as presence of young kids, elder care responsibilities, interpersonal divergence within the family entity, uncooperative family members.

An article from the Global business Review highlights different forms of Conflicts: (a) time-based conflict, (b) strain-based conflict and (c) behaviour-based conflict. Time-based conflict occurs when the amount of time spent in one role takes away from the amount of time available for the other role. Work-related time conflict is typically based on the number of hours that an individual spends at work, inclusive of the time spent in commuting, over time and shift work. Family-related time conflict involves the amount of time spent with family or dealing with family members detracting from time that could be spent at work . Strain-based conflict occurs when the strain (or stressors) experienced in one role, makes it difficult to effectively and efficiently perform the other role. Work-related strain is related to strenuous events at work, resulting in fatigue or depression, role ambiguity etc. Family-based strain conflict primarily occurs when spousal career and family expectations are not in congruence. Each of these three forms of WFC has two directions: (a) conflict due to work interfering with family and (b) conflict due to family interfering with work.

There are numerous negative outcomes associated with these conflicts: domestic violence, poor physical activity, poor eating habits, poor emotional health, excessive drinking, substance abuse among women, decreased marital satisfaction, decreased emotional well-being and neuroticism. Conflict between work and family is associated with increased occupational stress and burnout, intention to quit the organization, lower health and job performance, low job satisfaction and performance, high absenteeism rates, reduced career commitment, increased psychological distress, increased parental conflict and marital distress, increase in child behaviour problems and poor parenting styles and lower satisfaction with parenting.

The negative spillover of family and work into each other is an area of major concern and needs attention at both the ends, i.e, both by family and by associated colleagues of corporate world.

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Click here to read Work–family Conflict, Family–work Conflict and Intention to Leave the Organization: Evidences Across Five Industry Sectors in India for free from Global Business review

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Group decision making: Are you the bully?

[We’re please to welcome author David Dryden Henningsen of Northern Illinois University. Henningsen recently published an article in the International Journal of Business Communication entitled, “Nuanced Aggression in Group Decision Making” co-authored by Mary Lynn Miller Henningsen, also of Northern Illinois University. The article is currently free to read for a limited time. From D. Henningsen:]

IJBC_v51n1_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWhat inspired you to be interested in this topic? Reflecting on our experiences in meetings, my co-author and I both noted the presence of people who rely on bullying or whining as their preferred influence style. It occurred to us that this is likely a common experience. Everyone probably knows a whiner and/or a bully. Examining the literature on group decision-making revealed that this is an area that has been largely unaddressed by scholars. We decided to conduct this study as a preliminary test of the effects of whining and bullying in organizations. It was the insights of one of the reviewers which helped us to frame both bullying and whining as aggressive behavior, but that offers an intriguing perspective on how submissive behaviors (i.e., whining) need not be passive behaviors.

Were there findings that were surprising to you? The findings were largely consistent with our belief that whining and bullying would be detrimental in the workplace. There is an interesting sex difference that emerges with regard to effectiveness. Whereas women tend to feel effectiveness is hurt by the presence of whining, bullying, or both, men tend to feel effectiveness is really only hurt when both whining and bullying occur.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice Although this is an exploratory study, it provides important insights into the use of aggressive tactics to gain influence. There is a lot of research on informational and normative influence. However, we suspect that non-rational forms of influence are fairly common in the workplace. We hope to further explore how those tactics may offset more rational approaches.

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Call for Papers: ILR Review

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This is your last week to submit to ILR Review‘s special issue call for papers: Conflict and its resolution in the changing world of work.

Click here to view the complete submission guidelines.

ILR Review publishes research on important issues—globalization, capital and labor mobility, inequality, wage setting, unemployment, labor market dynamics, international migration, work organization and technology, human resource management and personnel economics, demographic and ethnic differences in labor markets, workplace conflicts, alternative forms of representation, and labor regulation.

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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)

Read the New Virtual Special Issues from The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science!

We’re pleased to announce six new virtual special issues from The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science! Compiled by The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science associate editors Jean M. Bartunek and Jean E. Neumann, these research collections include titles such as “Action Research,” “Planned Change,” “Paradox and Contradictions” among others. Each collection contains a generous number of articles exploring group dynamics, organization development, and social change.

The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science editor William Pasmore introduced these collections:

We are very pleased to launch virtual collections of articles on themes JABS_72ppiRGB_powerpointthat have defined what JABS has stood for as a journal devoted to change for the past fifty years. Having these outstanding contributions in one location will enhance access to the ideas they present and hopefully, inspire continued scholarship of similar quality and purpose. In the future, we will be curating virtual collections on specific topics related to change, such as change readiness and factors that influence the success of change efforts. We hope you will look forward to examining these virtual collections. They are one more way that JABS can contribute to the advancement of science and practice in the arena of organizational and societal change.

You can click here to view all six of the virtual special issues from The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Like what you read? You can sign up to have all the latest news and research from The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science sent right to your inbox. Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Unlimited Free Access to Unscripted Voices of 21st Century Workers “On the Front Line”

gears-94220_640[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Brook, one of the editors of Work, employment, society. All 10 articles in the On the Front Line (OTFL) collection are being made permanently free as part of Work, employment and society’s wider commitment to public sociology.]

These powerful testimonies of employees’ accounts of their working lives form a series of vivid, ‘behind the scenes’, portraits of the contemporary world of work. Each story is told frankly and all brim with a rich mixture of hope, despair, enjoyment and anger, revealing the hidden, often harsh, realities of work in the 21st century.

These popular and compelling stories are being increasingly used for university teaching but can now be taken-up by schools, colleges and others keen to get ‘under the skin’ of today’s world of work and employment. In doing so, we hope to introduce individuals and groups outside of the academy, especially young people, to the richness of what C. Wright Mills called the “sociological imagination”.

F1.mediumThe OTFL collection includes accounts of the indignities of working as a cleaner in a luxury hotel; an activist’s story during a protracted factory strike; the dangerous health consequences for a slimming club consultant striving to ‘look the part’; the unremitting time demands on a supermarket manager; the endemic abuse and violence suffered by a trainee haute cuisine chef in Michelin starred kitchens; and the personal struggles of a pioneer woman priest.

OTFL also offers first-hand accounts of major political-industrial events, such as working inside HBOS bank during the 2008 financial crisis; a pit supervisor’s experience of Britain’s miners’ strike of 1984-85; organising inside the factory occupation movement as part of the Argentinian anti-IMF uprising of 2001-02; and the disturbing account of work under hazardous conditions in a Scottish plastics factory shortly before a devastating explosion that killed nine workers in 2004.

Unlike standard research articles, OTFL contributions are co-authored by the worker and an academic/s. Each one is preceded by a brief scene-setting commentary written by the academic. If you would like to write an OTFL article, the Work, employment and society website has guidance. You can also contact us to discuss your ideas further.

Making OTFL free access is part of Work, employment and society’s wider commitment to public sociology. We want to encourage more scholars to work with workers and employees, especially the less powerful, to help give voice to their hidden experiences and unheard views. We also want to make our small contribution to ensuring that workers’ experiences, views and ideas will not be consigned to the “enormous condescension of posterity”, as E.P. Thompson famously claimed was the fate of earlier generations of workers.