Leadership and Employee Work Passion: Propositions for Future Empirical Investigations

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Richard Egan of the University of Canberra, Mark Turner and Deborah Blackman of the University of New South Wales. They recently published an article in the Human Resource Development Review, entitled “Leadership and Employee Work Passion: Propositions for Future Empirical Investigations,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Egan reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpointIn what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

By measuring employee perceptions of their interpersonal experience with organizational leaders as well as employee affect and levels of intent, this study contributes to bridging the gap between the long-standing research base relating to organizational leadership and the emergent theory of employee work passion. Indeed, scholars such as Albrecht (2010) and Meyer, Gagné, and Parfyonova (2010) have called for research to integrate theories and evidence from adjacent fields. Such integration will allow Human Resource Development scholars and organizational practitioners to develop a deeper understanding of related psychological constructs that contribute to the development of work passion.

In terms of practical implications, by exploring theoretical links between leadership behavior, employee affect and work intentions, we develop and provide a relevant theoretical framework for future discussion, analysis and refinement. With a clearer understanding of how leadership impacts on employee affect and employee work intentions, HRD practitioners can measure the antecedents to and consequences of work passion accurately. Subsequently, appropriate behavioral interventions, such as training and coaching programs that aim to increase leader awareness and skills needed to build workplace environments where employees can choose to be passionate about their work, can be developed.

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Deconstructing Privilege and Equalizing Access to Employee Engagement

1118629691_d977a99f65_z[We’re pleased to welcome Brad Shuck of University of Louisville. Brad recently published an article in Human Resource Development Review with co-authors Joshua C. Collins, Tonette S. Rocco, and Raquel Diaz, entitled Deconstructing the Privilege and Power of Employee Engagement: Issues of Inequality for Management and Human Resource Development.” From Brad:]

We were inspired to write this article due to some experiences that each author had encountered in their own personal lives. In some situations, we found ourselves thinking about what work must be like for people we met in our daily lives, how they might be treated as an employee, and how their co-workers and leaders were experienced. I personally had a profound experience while traveling aboard, watching a man dig hundreds of small square holes in the blazing sun, with no break or water in long sleeves. Despite the conditions outside and what seemed to be the grueling nature of his work, he was smiling and seemed to be enjoying his duties. He moved from hole to hole with energy and presence, paying close attention to the details of the earth he was moving.

I wondered if it were possible for this man to be engaged when the conditions of his work seemed so tough. After some reflection, I realized that I needed to check my own privilege, realizing that I had a lot to learn about deconstructing issues related to privilege – and inherently power – when it came to exploring the idea of employee engagement. It was of course entirely possible for the man I met to be engaged – and for any person to be fully engaged in any work – and that so much of what I was assuming about his work – and again, the work of others – was wrapped in the ways individuals encountered experiences of privilege in their own work settings. It became important for us to explore these issues, as we suspected that both privilege and power potentially influenced experiences of engagement, although we knew very little about how and why this might happen.

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We were initially struck by the fact that almost universally, every organization wants higher levels of engagement, and despite decades worth of research and practice, the numbers on engagement have changed very little. Some have suggested that this is due in large part of the failure to win the hearts and minds of employees. We offer, however, that perhaps it is not a massive failure at all; rather for the many who go to work every day, organizational struggle is the norm due to encounters of privilege at play inside organizations. When employee engagement is a privilege only a select few employee’s experience, we agreed with scholars such as David Guest – who suggested that employee engagement is nothing more than a manufactured, normative, and exploitative overextension of work (our words, not his).

On the other hand, when organizations develop deeply inclusive cultures that foster engagement – when they support the conditions for engagement to flourish and all employees enjoy a positive psychological state of work—this leads to higher levels of performance, greater productivity, and experiences of higher levels of well-being. Because we define employee engagement as a psychological state dependent on an employees’ encounters with that organizational culture, the outcomes of employee engagement (i.e., higher performance) can be defined as a privilege for the organization. When an organization nurtures those conditions of engagement, employees are more likely to engage at higher levels and consequently perform better. Undoubtedly, higher levels of performance becomes an earned organizational asset that helps an organization advance and benefit over and at the expense of their competitors. The willingness to nurture the conditions for engagement develops as an authentic experience for the employee. From this perspective, employee engagement is not exploitative or overextending at all. It is transformational and positive, and it is a shared experience.

There is still so much to unpack and work through with this topic, and we hope that our work can inspire future research that might take up this perspective empirically, to test our propositions and better refine this still emerging theory. We also hope that those who read our ideas on this topic will think about their own engagement and how, if at all, their experiences with their own work have been influenced by encounters with privileged organizational structures and individuals, as well as what role they choose to play in that process and experience.

The abstract for the article:

The purpose of our work was to explore the job demands–resources model of engagement through the critical lens(es) of privilege and power. This deconstruction of the privilege and power of employee engagement was focused toward exploring four principal questions: Who (a) controls the context of work? (b) determines the experience of engagement? (c) defines the value of engagement? and (d) benefits from high levels of engagement? We conclude that organizations and employees both benefit from the outcomes associated with the heightened experience of employee engagement. We maintain, however, that the organization is uniquely positioned to influence systems of power and privilege that ultimately enable the conditions for engagement to flourish. Organizations desiring high levels of engagement have an obligation to confront manifestations of privilege such as unequal states of power, access, status, credibility, and normality.

You can read Deconstructing the Privilege and Power of Employee Engagement: Issues of Inequality for Management and Human Resource Development from Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Human Resource Development ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

Creative Problem Solving Training: What Works?

4769744435_1985998a32_z (3)[We’re pleased to welcome David Vernon of Cantebury Christ Church University. David recently published an article in Human Resource Development Review entitled “An Evidence-Based Review of Creative Problem Solving Tools: A Practitioner’s Resource” with co-authors Ian Hocking and Tresoi C. Tyler.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

My colleague, Dr Ian Hocking, and I were interested in the nature of creative problem solving and how, if at all, this could be facilitated or improved by using a structured thinking tool. With the help of Tresoi Tyler we began a systematic search of the literature to explore and identify the various tools that have been used to enhance some aspect of creative problem solving. We then focused our search to examine precisely which tools have some/any evidence to support their use. In essence, we wanted to know which tools have been shown to work.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes. I think the aspect of our work that surprised us all was the mismatch between the Current Issue Covernumber, availability and use of creative problem solving tools and their empirical basis. This gave rise to what we referred to as ‘the plethora and the paucity’ – which simply meant that the plethora of available tools was matched only by the paucity of research showing that they had any real benefit.

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

In terms of practice we hope this will have two effects. First, our review will provide practitioners with a clear understanding of which tools have been shown to benefit a particular stage of creative problem solving. In this sense, we hope that it will serve as a useful resource. Second, we hope that this encourages practitioners to ask what we consider to be an essential question when faced with using any creative problem solving tool: ‘What is the evidence that this works?’

In terms of future research, again there are two directions we think our work can have some impact. First, we have provided in the review an outline of which tools seem to work at the various stages within creative problem solving. However, this work needs to be continued to ascertain the broader benefits of using such tools. For instance, such tools can be explored using a variety of different problem types and levels of training, as well as looking at long-term benefits and transfer effects. Second, many tools have little or no empirical support. This doesn’t mean they don’t work, of course. It may reflect the fact that no one has looked. Moving forward, we would hope that our review stimulates researchers to examine the possible benefits these tools.

The abstract for the paper:

Creative problem solving (CPS) requires solutions to be useful and original. Typically, its operations span problem finding, idea generation, and critical evaluation. The benefits of training CPS have been extolled in education, industry, and government with evidence showing it can enhance performance. However, although such training schemes work, less is known about the specific tools used. Knowing whether a particular tool works or not would provide practitioners with a valuable resource, leading to more effective training schemes, and a better understanding of the processes involved. A comprehensive review was undertaken examining the empirical support of tools used within CPS. Despite the surprising lack of research focusing on the use and success of specific tools, some evidence exists to support the effectiveness of a small set. Such findings present practitioners with a potential resource that could be used in a stand-alone setting or possibly be combined to create more effective training programs.

You can read “An Evidence-Based Review of Creative Problem Solving Tools: A Practitioner’s Resource” from Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Human Resource Development ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Reilly Butler (CC)

New Podcast: Henriette Lundgren on Mezirow’s Theory and Its Operationalization

Podcast MicrophoneIn the latest podcast from Human Resource Development Review, Henriette Lundgren discusses the article she co-authored with Rob Poell entitled, “On Critical Reflection: A Review of Mezirow’s Theory and Its Operationalization,” which was recently published in the March 2016 issue of Human Resource Development Review.

You can find the podcast on the Human Resource Development Review website here, or click here to download the podcast. You can also read the full article free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

The abstract:

In this article, we review empirical studies that research critical reflection based on Mezirow’s definition. The concepts of content, process, and premise reflection have often been cited, and operationalizing Mezirow’s high-level transformative learning theory and its components has been the endeavorHRD.jpg of adult education and human resource development (HRD) researchers. By conducting a literature review, we distill 12 research studies on critical reflection that we dissect, analyze, and compare. Discovering different approaches, assessment processes, and outcomes leads us to the conclusion that there is little agreement on how to operationalize reflection. We suggest four improvements: (a) integrating different critical reflection traditions, (b) using multiple data collection pathways, (c) opting for thematic embedding, and (d) attending to feelings. By implementing these improvements, we hope to stimulate closer alignment of approaches in critical reflection research across adult education and HRD researchers.

Want to hear more podcast like this? Click here to browse more podcasts from Human Resource Development Review, and here to subscribe to the SAGE Management and Business podcast channel on iTunes. You can also sign up for e-alerts and get notifications of all the latest research from Human Resource Development Review sent directly to your inbox!


 

Henriette Lundgren is a workplace educator and an associated researcher with Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her main scholarly interests are learning in the workplace, the use of reflection instruments, and adult education theory.

 

Human Resource Development Review Now Indexed in Thomson Reuters!

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpointWe’re pleased to announce that Human Resource Development Review is now indexed in Thomson Reuters’ Social Science Citation Index! The journal will receive its first impact factor when they are released next June.

Human Resource Development Review is a theory development journal for scholars of human resource development and related disciplines. It publishes articles that make theoretical contributions in papers devoted to theory development, foundations of HRD, theory building methods, and integrative reviews of the literature. The journal provides new theoretical insights that can advance our understanding of human resource development, including new substantive theories, exploratory conceptual models, metatheory, and taxonomies and typologies developed as foundations for theory. The journal also addresses philosophies of HRD, historical foundations, definitions of the field, conceptual organization of the field, and ethical foundations. Human Resource Development Review takes a multi-paradigmatic view of theory building.

The journal is edited by Julia Storberg-Walker of the George Washington University.

In honor of this distinction, you can read the latest issue of Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks! Click here to access the Table of Contents.

You can have all the latest news and research from Human Resource Development Review sent directly to your inbox! Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!

julia-storberg-walkerJulia Storberg-Walker‘s research focuses on action learning, social capital, workforce development, and communities of practice as well as facilitation organizational learning through designing and implementing policies, practices, and structures that generate, capture, and distribute new knowledge.

Dr. Storberg-Walker works with a variety of research partners, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the JFK School of Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, the Office of Violence Against Women, the Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative (RCCC), and North Carolina State Administrative Office of the Courts.

Connect With Human Resource Development Review!

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpointEver wondered who’s behind the work at Human Resource Development Review (HRDR)? Or perhaps anticipate what will be in the next issue? Human Resource Development Review is excited to kick off its social media campaign and looks to build a community of colleagues by sharing most read, most cited, and award-winning research articles, as well as editorial review board, author and student spotlights. We know that Human Resource Development Review offers its readers a wealth of resources to our scholarly community, and connecting scholars, practitioners, and graduate students through social media is our next step in sharing these scholarly resources.

You can learn more about the journal at hrd.sagepub.com and sign up for e-alerts for the latest Table of Contents and other Human Resource Development Review news.

FB: www.facebook.com/HRDRJournal
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We look forward to connecting with you!

[You can click here to access the September issue of Human Resource Development Review, available to read FREE through the end of October!]

Introducing Human Resource Development Review’s New Editor!

StorbergWalkerPhotoSept2014We’re pleased to welcome the new Editor of Human Resource Development Review Julia Storberg-Walker of the George Washington University! Dr. Storberg-Walker kindly provided us with some information on her background:

Julia Storberg-Walker is Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Learning at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. After spending 13 years in various roles at Deloitte & Touche, LLP and Deloitte Consulting, she earned her PhD in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Since that time she served at North Carolina State University, first as an Assistant then an Associate Professor in NC State’s College of Education.

She’s a recognized scholar of theory building research, and has published and presented globally on theoretical and conceptual development for applied disciplines. She adopts a critical lens and incorporates a variety of qualitative research strategies to her work. She is also the recipient of multiple awards, including the Early Career Scholar Award (2011) from the Academy of Human Resource HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpointDevelopment (AHRD), the Outstanding Extension Service Award Winner (2012) from NC State, and the Global Innovation Award for Excellence-Corporate Category (2013) from the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL). Julia is the current Editor-in-Chief of Human Resource Development Review, and has served in a variety of academic and professional leadership positions including Senior Vice President of the Academy of Human Resource Development; Faculty Chairperson of NC State’s College of Education, Co-Host of the 2014 Advancing Theories of Women and Leadership Colloquium, and the International Leadership Association’s Women and Leadership Affinity Group’s Executive Leadership Team.

While at NC State, she brought in over $1 million dollars in funded projects as PI or Co-PI, served on a number of University committees, and consulted with a diverse array of organizations including the Office of Violence Against Women, the JFK School of Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, and North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Her current research is focused on the intersection between leadership, gender, and social entrepreneurship/social change. She is particularly interested in developing new leadership theories for women, and examining the role of social entrepreneurship on political engagement, sustainability, and enhancing social and economic equality.

Human Resource Development Review is a theory journal for scholars of human resource development and related disciplines. The journal publishes articles that make theoretical contributions to theory development, foundations of Human Resource Development, theory building methods, and integrative reviews of the literature, as well as addressing philosophies of Human Resource Development, historical foundations, definitions of the field, conceptual organization of the field, and ethical foundations. The September issue of Human Resource Development Review can be read for free for the next 14 days and can be found by clicking here.

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