Understanding the Differential Effects of Anxiety and Anger

depression-2912404_1280[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Laurie J. Barclay of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Tina Kiefer of the University of Warwick. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “In the Aftermath of Unfair Events: Understanding the Differential Effects of Anxiety and Anger,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, the motivation for their research:]

JOM_42_5_Covers.inddWhat motivated you to pursue this research?
We were interested in how employees experience unfair events on a day-to-day basis and how they “live through” and actively navigate these experiences. We wanted to move away from the dominant perspective in the literature that examines how unfairness impacts employees through the “eyes” and interests of managers and organizations. Instead, we wanted to ground our investigation in employees’ experiences to understand how employees process and respond to these events and how this impacts their relationship with the organization.

Within the fairness literature, it is often assumed that negative emotions are detrimental. However, negative emotions can be functional for employees and hence organizations. One of our study’s most compelling findings is that employees who experience anxiety in reaction to the unfair event are motivated to engage in problem prevention behaviors, which are aimed at “fixing” the situation. Interestingly, employees who engage in these behaviors experienced a “rebound” in their fairness perceptions, such that the drop in perceived fairness due to the unfair event was corrected. By contrast, anger was functional by showing that the unfairness would not be tolerated but did not have the same positive impact on subsequent fairness perceptions. This raises important questions about how employees’ behaviors impact the aftermath of the unfair event and the importance of understanding how employees are experiencing these events to effectively manage these situations.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?
After decades of research, the fairness literature has become a mature and well-established domain of inquiry, with thousands of studies and dozens of theories. Although this wealth of empirical evidence and theoretical diversity has provided much richness, incoming researchers and doctoral students can find it a bit intimidating to dive into. Further, some scholars have also questioned whether the maturity of this literature will lead to stagnation. However, there are many opportunities to make significant, novel, and important discoveries in this domain by taking different and novel perspectives.

One way to continue to stimulate this literature is to identify and question its underlying assumptions. For example, in our research, we grounded our investigation in the experiences of employees which challenges the dominant perspective in the field. This approach created a number of insights regarding how employees actively navigate unfair events, including how employees can impact their own fairness perceptions through their emotional and behavioral responses as well as the functional nature of negative emotions.

We would encourage new scholars and incoming researchers to challenge assumptions in the literature and also consider how applying theories from other domains and perspectives to fairness can enhance our insights. Doing so will create exciting new opportunities to expand our understanding and ability to manage this important phenomenon. Given the pervasiveness and impact of unfairness, it is critical to provide employees and organizations with evidence-based practices that can help prevent these experiences, where possible, and effectively navigate unfairness when it does occur.

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Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment

editedgroupHow can employees’ perceptions of fairness simultaneously fuel both personalized and depersonalized leader-member relations? In a recent article published in Group & Organization, entitled “Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment: Status Judgments and Leader-Member Exchange as Mediating Mechanisms,” author Amer A. Al-Atwi explores two psychological mechanisms through which the leader’s fair treatment encourages followers to define themselves in terms of a given role and group membership relationships. The abstract for the article:

By extracting insights from leader–member exchange (LMX) theory and social identity theory, this study predicted that a leader’s interactional justice is associated with followers’ multifoci identification by personalized and depersonalized mediating Current Issue Covermechanisms. Specifically, we hypothesized that a leader’s interactional justice affects (a) followers’ relational identification via the LMX as a personalized response and (b) followers’ work-group identification via status judgments (pride and respect) as a depersonalized response. The study’s constructs were measured on three separate occasions over an interval of 4 months, using data from a sample of 322 employees at a large public university. As predicted, we found that (a) LMX mediates the relationship between interactional justice and relational identification and (b) status judgments (pride and respect) mediate the relationships between interactional justice and work-group identification. Theoretical and practical implications for these findings are discussed.

You can read “Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment: Status Judgments and Leader-Member Exchange as Mediating Mechanisms” from Group & Organization free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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How Does a Management-to-Worker Wage Gap Impact Employee Performance?

The wage gap between the highest and lowest levels of an organization can serve as incentive for employees to work toward promotion, but does this motivation last in the long term? A new paper published in Journal of Managemententitled “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” from authors Brian L. Connelly, Katalin Takacs Haynes, Laszlo Tihanyi, Daniel L. Gamache, and Cynthia E. Devers delves into the performance implications of pay dispersion in an organization.

The abstract for the paper:

Management researchers have long been concerned with the antecedents and consequences of managerial compensation. More recently, scholarly and popular attention has turned to the gap in pay between workers at the highest and lowest levels of the organization, or “pay dispersion.” This study investigates the performance implications of pay dispersion on a longitudinal (10-year) sample of Current Issue Coverpublicly traded firms from multiple industries. We combine explanations based on tournament theory and equity theory to develop a model wherein pay dispersion has opposing effects on a firm’s short-term performance and their trend in performance over time. We also show that ownership is a key antecedent of pay dispersion. Specifically, transient institutional investors (who have short time horizons and equity stakes in a wide variety of firms) positively influence pay dispersion whereas dedicated institutional investors (who have longer investment time horizons and equity stakes in fewer firms) negatively influence pay dispersion. We discuss the wide-ranging implications of these findings for scholars, managers, and policy makers alike.

You can read “Minding the Gap: Antecedents and Consequences of Top Management-to-Worker Pay Dispersion” 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!

Is It Possible to Reduce Poverty and CO2 Emissions Simultaneously?

15489395937_f27a2e30e7_z[We’re pleased to welcome Denis Collins. Denis recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Managing the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox: The Case of China and EU” with co-author Chunfang Zheng.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We are greatly concerned about both the unhealthy amount of CO2 in the atmosphere contributing to climate change and poverty in developing nations. As a global community, we are quickly approaching an environmental tipping point that already contributes to social and political problems throughout the world, and threatens the human species. Also, as a global community, we need to do all that we can to help eradicate extreme poverty in developing nations. China has had tremendous success reducing poverty from 1990 to 2015, but in the process they have become, by far, the world’s largest CO2 emitter. This article examines the “Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox,” wherein reducing poverty through economic growth simultaneously increases carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from increased production and consumption, at a time in history when CO2 emissions must be reduced to avoid climate change catastrophes. Which is the lesser of two evils, people living in extreme poverty or catastrophic climate change impacts caused by increased CO2 emissions? How should the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox be managed at the national and international levels? These are the questions our article explores.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Key economic and environmental indicators tell a sad story. Economically, 1.0 billion people (14.5%) lived in extreme poverty in 2011, and India had Gross National Income per capita of only $1,610 in 2014. Environmentally, the 2001-2010 decade was the warmest on record, reflecting a 0.85°C (1.53°F) increase since 1880. Global CO2 emissions increased by 51% between 1990 and 2012, and CO2 atmospheric concentrations have increased from a steady level of 280 parts per million in the pre-industrial era to more than 400 ppm. Absent additional mitigations, preventative O&E_Mar_2012_vol26_no1_Cover_Final.indd2050 benchmarks will not be achieved. To put a human face on those impacted by this potential catastrophe, scholars and researchers need to look no further than the traditional undergraduate students we currently teach: they will be about 55 years old in 2050.

How do we escape this dangerous quagmire? A well-established alternative norm continually raised by China is that of fairness. Fairness claims have shaped Kyoto Protocol’s development and evolution. During the 1990s, it was considered fair to hold developed nations accountable for reducing their CO2 emissions, and to allow developing nations to use a carbon intensity, rather than an emission reduction, metric. Kyoto’s inability to generate international agreements that adequately limit carbon emissions is also rooted in fairness claims. All claims of unfairness and injustice associated the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox must be acknowledged and engaged, rather than ignored or discounted. Table 4 summarizes the major unfairness/injustice claims raised in this article.

Addressing the injustices associated the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox will entail international, regional, national, and sub-national regulatory engagement.    At the international level, the UN and WTO must become even more involved without threatening national sovereignties. Individuals tend to resist, or very slowly accept, externally imposed procedural processes and outcomes. Fairness and transparency are particularly essential because people employed in high-carbon industries and ancillary businesses will have to change their livelihoods, and those living high-carbon lifestyles must make adjustments. Regulatory policymakers must acknowledge the Table 4 injustices, empathize with those impacted, and commit to seeking justice. This process involves extensive dialogue within and between nations, wherein experiences are expressed and heard. Historically, this has been difficult to achieve due to tendencies toward autocratic abuse of political power and perceiving opposing viewpoints as threatening. Private party rule-making can be helpful input, even if often prone to participant biases.

The Kyoto Protocol, despite its defects, has fostered convergence between the EU and China’s environmental policies and processes. The challenge is resolving economic growth and environmental sustainability conflicts through win-win, integrative, and paradox approaches, rather than trade-off resolutions. Unfortunately, the behavioral outcomes to date are record high carbon emissions and temperatures. Incremental and drastic policy changes are required. Future economic successes in developing and developed nations are dependent on reducing CO2 emissions. Leadership from many societal sectors, including higher education, is essential.

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

The principle of fairness/justice is offered to guide efforts to resolve the paradox in a way that avoids irreversible climate changes projected to begin around 2050. Prominent stakeholder injustice claims are highlighted for future scholarship and policymaking considerations.

Even if affordable clean technologies were available to achieve low-carbon economic growth, integrative and 6558076321_81207b6dd7_z.jpgwin-win resolution approaches need to be undertaken to determine linkages among economic and environmental injustices to generate long-term justice benefits. Similarly, these resolution approaches need to be pursued to generate short-term justice benefits, such as protecting the poor from climate change related damages.

Business organizations have too often addressed the paradox between economic growth and the environment with a trade-off resolution approach strongly favoring economic growth to the detriment of the environment. More recently, some organizational leaders have been pursuing win-win opportunities. In the decades ahead, organizational leaders seeking competitive advantages will need to delve deeper into the tension points between profits and the environment, and develop integrative resolutions where their own economic growth and environmental performance are naturally balanced without favoring one over the other.

The regulatory rules and initiatives associated with the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox must happen quickly. India, with 24% of its population living in extreme poverty, is following China’s lead. Despite already having some of the most polluted cities in the world, India’s energy minister stated in 2014 that (Harris, 2014, November 17): “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future…The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.”

Researchers must determine how to care for the needs of the poor in a way that does not threaten life on Earth for future generations.

The abstract for the paper:

This article examines the “Poverty–CO2 (carbon dioxide) Reductions Paradox,” wherein reducing poverty through economic growth simultaneously increases CO2 emissions from increased production and consumption, at a time in history when CO2 emissions must be reduced to avoid climate change catastrophes. Paradox theory and integrative social contracts theory are applied to help understand the evolving behaviors of China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, and the European Union, a CO2 reduction leader, from 1990 to 2015 at the national and international levels. The environmental results of these activities have become species-threatening. The principle of fairness/justice is offered in order to guide efforts to resolve the paradox in a way that avoids irreversible climate changes projected to begin around 2050. Prominent stakeholder injustice claims are highlighted for future scholarship and policymaking considerations.

You can read “Managing the Poverty-CO2 Reductions Paradox: The Case of Chine and EU” from Organization & Environment free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Organization & EnvironmentClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Face mask image credited to Global Panorama (CC); Beijing smog image credited to egorgrebnev (CC)

Denis Collins (PhD, University of Pittsburgh) is a professor of management, Business School, Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin. His latest books—Business Ethics: How to Design and Manage Ethical Organizations (2012; John Wiley) and Essentials in Business Ethics: Creating an Organization of High Integrity and Superior Performance (2009; John Wiley)—provide practical “how-to” examples and best practices for improving an organization’s ethical performance. He has published many articles; conducted hundreds of business ethics workshops, talks, and consulting projects; and won several teaching and service awards.

Chunfang Zheng (PhD, Renmin University of China) is a professor of economics, Business College, Beijing Union University, Beijing, China. She is Second Director of the Department of International Economy and Trade, and teaches courses in macroeconomics and international economics and trade. Her research interests include international economics and trade, border tax adjustments, and sustainable development. She has published several articles and monographs in these areas, including Applicability and Application of Strategic Trade Policy in China’s Industries (2012; Economic Science Press).

 

Fair Enough: How Managers Can Establish a Fair Identity

[2967379797_39f332f7ac_z (1)We’re pleased to welcome Terri Scandura of University of Miami, who co-authored an article in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Getting to ‘Fair’: Justice Interactions as Identity Negotiation” with Cecily Cooper of University of Miami.]

Fairness is a necessary condition for effective leadership (Scandura, 1999). But how does a manager negotiate a fair identity with followers and what do followers contribute to this identity?  How does this process unfold over time? How does having a fair identity benefit a manager? How does it lead to better relationship with followers? How do fair relationships benefit the organization?

We know that managers care about fairness and try to be fair (or at least appear fair) (Greenberg, 1988). Research on organizational justice has found that fairness issues are important to employees and link to performance withdrawal and counterproductive behavior (Conlon et al., 2005).  Given this importance, we were motivated to better understand the process of how managers come to be seen as “fair managers” by subordinates. We developed a model that considers both manager and subordinates as mutually influential on judgments of a manager’s fairness, rather than focusing solely on the subordinate’s perspective. Our model examines the emergence of a manager’s fair identity over time.

Our paper adopts a perspective from social psychology to better understand how JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointmanagers come to be viewed as fair called “identity negotiation” (Swann, 1987). This framework focuses on the interplay between self- and other-perceptions within leader-member relationships. This approach is particularly appropriate for informing justice research on the issue of justice perceptions of managers. People self-verify to increase their perception of predictability and control over their environment. Individuals desire to be seen “accurately” by others (i.e., they want others to see them as they see themselves). In the case of fairness, managers who care about being seen as fair by followers engage in a negotiation process with followers that results in a fair identity – “getting to fair,” just as negotiators engage in exchanges that result in “getting to yes.”

For managers, being seen as fair is central to building positive relationships with subordinates and achieving optimum functioning of the work unit. Our discussion, regarding how a general perception of fairness is formed, offers a number of key takeaways for attaining and maintaining a fair identity.

  1. By emphasizing the role of justice negotiation events, managers are more aware that subordinates may offer explicit feedback regarding fairness. Moreover, when explicit feedback is given, managers should be careful not to react defensively.
  2. Justice negotiation events should be seen as an opportunity to address fairness concerns and negotiate the preferred fairness identity. To capitalize on these discussions, managers would be wise to develop their conflict management skills.
  3. Managers should negotiate a positive fairness identity as early as possible in the relationship since entity perceptions will affect future events. Managers should also be cognizant of the fact that they are never completely “off the hook” when it comes to managing their fairness. Although perceptions can be formed early on, both parties continue to negotiate this fair identity throughout the entire working relationship. A pivotal justice negotiation event could impact perceptions of managerial fairness at any point in time.
  4. Organizations must be mindful that they often communicate the identities members are supposed to assume (Swann et al., 2009). Thus, if organizations emphasize certain attributes, which conflict or compete with the fairness identity (e.g., being efficient, powerful, or frugal), they may unwittingly undermine managerial efforts to establish fair identities.

In sum, a working understanding of how events develop into a reputation for being fair and how this must be managed over time is inherently useful and beneficial for managers and organizations. Our paper articulates the development of the fair identity, therefore making these implicit processes explicit so that managers can better understand how to optimize long-term manager-subordinate relationships.

References
Conlon, D., Meyer, C., & Nowakowski, J. (2005). How does organizational justice affect, performance, withdrawal, and counterproductive behavior? In J. Greenberg & J. Colquitt (Eds.), Handbook of Organizational Justice (pp. 301-327). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Greenberg, J. (1988). Cultivating an image of justice: Looking fair on the job.  Academy of Management Executive, 2(2), 155-157.
Scandura, T. A.  (1999). Rethinking Leader-member exchange: An organizational justice perspective.  The Leadership Quarterly, 10, 25-40.
Swann, W. (1987). Identity negotiation: Where two roads meet.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(6), 1038-1051.

You can read “Getting to ‘Fair’: Justice Interactions as Identity Negotiation” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational StudiesClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Discussion image credited to Mark Johnston (CC)

Food Banking and Hunger in the United States

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Michael Elmes of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Professor Elmes published an article entitled “Food Banking, Ethical Sensemaking, and Social Innovation in an Era of Growing Hunger in the United States” with Karla Mendoza-Abarca and Robert Hersh in the Journal of Management Inquiry.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

For the past 10 years I have been very interested in food, and more recently hunger. Through my involvement with the Sustainable Food Systems Center at WPI founded by Bob Hersh (one of the authors of our paper), I became more interested in causes of hunger and the role that food banks are playing in trying to mitigate hunger. This led me to the area of food justice and how some food banks, including the Worcester County Food Bank, have started to experiment with food justice practices or social innovations, including mobile farmers markets to serve low income communities, partnerships with local farms, and engagement in educational activities, especially with inner city youth. The fact that hunger and food insecurity is an enormous and growing problem in the US is a shock to many people and is partly what motivated us to write the paper; that these experiments are happening in Worcester County and across the world is inspiring.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

It was surprising to learn hunger is a growing problem in the US and that food banks have become routine sources of food, rather than infrequent sources of emergency food assistance. It was also surprising that some food banks continue to use a food in/food out approach–that is, accruing as much donated food as possible and providing it to as many people as possible–rather than experimenting with more sustainable, regional approaches that”shorten the line” at food banks. I also found myself admiring food bank managers who live in both of these worlds–the world of food justice and experimentation with new approaches to solving hunger, and the world of providing donated food to as many people as need it. Working in the paradox of these competing processes is challenging.

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

I see this research as an effort to theorize under what conditions some leaders engage in ethical sensemaking, and how food banks can work effectively filling the short-term gaps in the emergency food system while building new practices that solve the problem of hunger at regional levels. The next step is conducting case studies at more innovative food banks across the US and understanding how they decided to engage in social innovation with an ethical orientation.

The abstract:

This article considers the critical role that food bank leaders play in sensemaking around the ethical and justice dimensions of hunger and food-related illnesses in the United States. It presents the discourses of industrial agriculture and food justice and, using an illustrative case study, proposes a preliminary model of ethical sensemaking. This model serves as a starting point for understanding how some (but not all) food bank leaders in the United States have been triggered to engage in ethical sensemaking and adopted a variety of innovative, sustainable, and just approaches to food banking that try to address the root causes of growing levels of hunger in the United States. The article concludes with an invitation to consider this investigation through the lens of Dewey’s moral imagination and Gergen’s forms of inquiry that generate practices to solve social problems and that invite researchers to participate in world-making.

You can read “Food Banking, Ethical Sensemaking, and Social Innovation in an Era of Growing Hunger in the United States” from Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Did you know that you can have all the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry sent directly to your inbox? Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!


Michael B. Elmes is a professor of organization studies and director of the New Michael ElmesZealand Project Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. His current research interests include social innovation and food systems, place in organization studies, sensemaking and organization change, and governance challenges in cooperative organizations. In 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, where he studied constructions of nature and biotechnology. His research has appeared in Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Human Relations, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Management Learning, Information and Organization, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Management Inquiry, and Journal of Organizational Change Management, among others. He is also the coeditor of Managing the Organizational Melting Pot: Dilemmas of Workplace Diversity (SAGE Publications, 1997) and is an associate editor for the Essays section of the Journal of Management Education. He teaches courses on leadership ethics and organizational change. When not teaching or writing, he can often be found in his garden.

Karla Mendoza-Abarca

Karla Mendoza-Abarca is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She obtained her PhD in marketing and entrepreneurship from Kent State University. Her research interests include social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial opportunities. Her work within social entrepreneurship focuses on the creation of social ventures and the strategies these organizations use to fulfill their social mission, achieve financial sustainability, and enable social innovation. She is also interested in how food-related organizations develop and implement social innovations to address food insecurity. Her research on entrepreneurial opportunities includes investigations regarding the use of creative cognitions in the opportunity identification process, cross-country studies about the role of human agency in opportunity recognition, and studies regarding the pursuit of multiple opportunities by new social ventures. Her work has been published in Journal of Business Venturing and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. She teaches courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, and social entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Robert Hersh

Robert Hersh, before coming to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2004, worked for a number of years as a fellow at Resources for the Future (http://www.rff.org/), a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research an d policy analysis on environmental quality and natural resources, and as the Brownfields Director at the Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO). At Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he directs the Center for Sustainable Food Systems. His broad substantive interests include regional food systems, contaminated site cleanup and revitalization, and community participation in environmental decision making. He has published extensively in the scholarly literature and has written reports for federal and state regulatory agencies. Research sponsors have included a range of foundations, think tanks, and federal agencies.

 

Trust and Justice in the Workplace

JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWBrian C. Holtz of Temple University published “Trust Primacy: A Model of the Reciprocal Relations Between Trust and Perceived Justice” on January 28, 2013 in the Journal of Management’s OnlineFirst section. The abstract:

Management scholars have historically framed trust as a consequence of organizational justice that develops slowly over time. However, theory and empirical research outside of the management literature suggest that trust is inevitably present prior to the initiation of exchange relationships. For instance, neuroscientific evidence suggests that the human brain has evolved mechanisms capable of automatically evaluating the trustworthiness of potential exchange partners without conscious deliberation. This article presents a new theoretical model suggesting that trust forms rapidly and exerts significant influence on employee perceptions of justice. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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