Profile of a Cyberloafer

Who are cyberloafers? We know that they waste time at work by checking Facebook, sending personal emails, and otherwise discreetly using the Web in ways that they shouldn’t.

But an article published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies finds they also share certain personality traits — and identifies ways that organizations may prevent the pervasive problem of cyberloafing:

JLOS_72ppiRGB_150pixWThe current study sought to expand prior research on cyberloafing by considering the impact of personality, as well as some previously unexplored situational factors. Specifically, we examined the impact of the Big Five personality factors, as well as the presence of an Internet usage policy and perceived work meaningfulness, on the amount of employee cyberloafing. Hierarchical regression analyses found that, controlling for gender and age, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and the presence of an Internet usage policy were all negatively related with cyberloafing whereas extroversion had a significant, positive relationship with cyberloafing. Implications of these findings for research and managerial practices are discussed.

Read the article in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, and sign up for e-alerts so you don’t miss new articles like this one.

‘Need For Arousal’: What Drives Adventure Travelers

Adventure travel, from camping and canoeing to scuba diving and safaris, is a growing market. Consumers who are willing and able to dash off on such adventures have a distinctive set of personality traits–one which tourism and marketing managers would do well to understand, according to a new article in the Journal of Travel Research. Paige P. Schneider of East Carolina University and Christine A. Vogt of Michigan State University published “Applying the 3M Model of Personality and Motivation to Adventure Travelers” in the November issue of JTR:

More than a decade has passed since the Travel Industry Association investigated adventure travel as a promising market. Despite growth in the adventure industry, studies of adventure travelers remain scarce, particularly in the identification of the psychological underpinnings of consumer adventurers. Mowen’s (2000) 3M Model of Motivation and Personality provided an organizing framework to explain the psychological roots of adventure tourism behavior. Self-administered questionnaires were mailed to a random sample (N = 1000) of National Geographic Adventure magazine subscribers with a response rate (n = 339) of 34%. Guttman Scaling Procedure was employed to categorize respondents in hard and soft adventure traveler categories as a context for understanding the demographic and travel behavior characteristics. The personality trait interest in cultural experiences was a consistent predictor of adventure travel propensity for hard and soft adventure traveler groups. The traits need for arousal and need for material resources were significant predictors for the hard adventure traveler group, while competitiveness was the other trait found to be a significant predictor for the soft adventure traveler group. Findings of this study enhance knowledge and understanding of the relationship between personality and tourism behavior.

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What Makes an Outstanding Leader?

In the latest podcast from the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, leadership expert, professor, and author Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve University talks with Editor Ken Thompson about his article “Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Intelligence and Personality as Predictors of Sales Leadership Performance,” co-authored by Darren Good of Pepperdine University and Raymond Massa of Vaudreuil-Dorion in Montreal. Click here to listen to the podcast and here to subscribe on iTunes. Dr. Boyatzis expands on the study’s investigation into the role of emotional and social intelligence (ESI) in effective leadership to answer the question: What are the characteristics of outstanding leaders?

Richard Boyatzis is Distinguished University Professor, professor in Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, Adjunct Professor at ESADE. Having authored more than 150 articles, his books include The Competent Manager, and two international best-sellers: Primal Leadership with Daniel Goleman & Annie McKee; and Resonant Leadership, with McKee.

Ken Thompson, Ph.D., is professor and the former chair of management at DePaul University, where he has been on staff since 1986. He has co-authored four books, contributed to six others, and has been published in a number of journals including the Academy of Management Executive, Organizational Dynamics, Journal of Social Psychology, Human Relations, and the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies where he is senior editor.

What is the Role of Emotional and Social Intelligence in Effective Leadership?

Richard E. Boyatzis, Case Western Reserve University, Darren Good, Christopher Newport University, and Raymond Massa, Vaudreuil-Dorion, publishedEmotional, Social, and Cognitive Intelligence and Personality as Predictors of Sales Leadership Performance” on February 1st, 2012 in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

Leaders of sales organizations must recruit and inspire salespeople to grow the organization. Skepticism remains about the role of emotional and social intelligence (ESI) in effective leadership. ESI is criticized as not providing distinctive variance in leadership performance beyond general intelligence and personality. This study assessed the role of the behavioral level of ESI competencies on leader performance. The number of new recruits was shown to predict new cash invested 6 years later. ESI significantly predicted leader performance (i.e., recruitment) whereas measures of generalized intelligence and personality did not. Adaptability and influence were two competencies distinctively predicting sales leadership performance.

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Recognizing Leadership at a Distance

Peter D. Harms, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Guohong Han and Huaiyu Chen, both of Youngstown State University, published “Recognizing Leadership at a Distance: A Study of Leader Effectiveness Across Cultures” on February 26th, 2012 in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here. Dr. Harms kindly provided the following thoughts on the article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Scientific curiosity.  We had seen some earlier research on evaluating faces and linking it to corporate performance, but those studies typically lacked important controls needed to make strong conclusions.  I thought the concept of being able to evaluate character using faces was fascinating and wanted to evaluate it for myself.  This research addresses two very interesting questions.  The first is whether or not you can determine someone’s personality with some accuracy based on a picture.  The second is whether the personality of a leader matters for firm performance. Showing both is really hard, but really exciting as well.  What we added to the mix was greater methodological rigor as well as putting an international spin on it.  Could individuals evaluate the personality of leaders from another country and would these evaluations still have enough validity to predict firm performance?

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Frankly, that the study worked at all was pretty amazing to me.  It is a pretty radical notion that one can make evaluations based on pictures of faces and that those evaluations can be used to predict patterns of behaviors that impact the outcomes of major companies and thousands of people.  In terms of the results themselves, what was most surprising was how well the results of using this method lined up with prior research using other traditional methods.

I think that this study is also a good illustration of how you can have both accuracy and bias in perceptions.  Our participants were able to somewhat accurately measure character traits based on pictures, but because they used their own stereotypes of what a leader should be like, they made inaccurate judgments about who would be an effective leader in another cultural context.

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

I think our hope is that this spurs interest in using alternative methods for collecting data on leaders.  So much research in the social sciences relies on self-report measures that it is really refreshing to try something new once in a while.  In terms of non-research outcomes, I also hope that this research makes people reconsider how they evaluate people in contexts that are foreign to them.  Our first impressions may be wrong because we carry so much cultural baggage around with us.  If we can set that aside, we have the opportunity to make more accurate perceptions and decisions.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

We would definitely try to replicate these findings in different cultural settings.  The Chinese-US comparison was convenient for us because there is so much research and interest in those two economies.  But I would love to see if these results hold for other countries.

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Perceptions of Trust in the Boardroom

Laura-Ann Migliore and Anshila Horton DeClouette published “Perceptions of Trust in the Boardroom: A Conceptual Model” in Online First in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. They have kindly shared some background information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience for this article is CEOs and Boards of Directors for any organization – for profit and non-profit – who’s leaders are interested in improving trust between the leading executive and members of the board, as well as increasing awareness of perceptions of trust among board members. Although not explicitly stated in the article, the authors see superintendents and school boards, as well as governing boards in the Higher Education Industry as a target audience.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We are inspired by the need to rebuild trust in corporate America, especially given the wide-spread exposure of several corporate scandals and related fraud cases of multinational companies and high-profile Wall Street executives. Given these effects, we see the current U.S. economic crisis and its impact in global markets as an alarming concern for the future prosperity of the U.S. In addition, we also see the need to strengthen the U.S. education system as an integral part towards providing competent leaders with the integrity to build trust and improve the country’s competitive position through innovation and performance excellence.

Our approach towards corporate governance and trust among executives is holistic. On the macro level, we recognize and acknowledge the various factors influencing the institutional, legal, and cultural aspects of corporate governance. However, at the micro and most fundamental level, we see the importance of cultivating trust among individual executive leaders. Our interest in perceptions of trust focus specifically on human intercognition and the influencing personal-level factors of personality traits, motivation, as influenced by cultural values, competence in general and specific skills, as well as interpersonal skills, and reliability in terms of communication, action, and performance outcomes. We also recognize and acknowledge the latent variable of human intuition and its role in one’s perception of trust towards another individual.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes, we found a case study example in the literature of past CEO, Joe Wilson and the trusting relationships he had with Xerox Corporation Board of Directors to apply to our Self-Leadership Trust Model. The explicit descriptions of Wilson’s leadership behaviors, expressions of personality, competence, and demonstrated reliability, fit extremely well with our trust model. In addition, and most delightful was the inspiration we, as authors, gained from Wilson, a leader truly ahead of his time, who demonstrated ideal perceptions in trust building with the ability to harmonize the spectrum of the Five-Factor Model (FFM) personality and Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions for greater appreciation of diversity and the building of inclusive organizational cultures.

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

We see a wonderful opportunity to fill a gap in the research by going deeper on an individual-to-individual analysis with our Self-Leadership Trust Model. As stated in our article:

“Our model presents a framework to help illuminate the black box of board member behaviors and provides explanation on perceptions of trust by individual board members based on the inter-relational influence of personality and national culture, as well as individual motivation, competence, and reliability.”

Our aspiration is to provide individual executive assessment on perceptions of trust towards self and others and synthesize the individual composite scores with the holistic influencing factors of organizational culture, legal, and institutional factors. The evaluations of this analysis and synthesis is aimed at providing customized feedback for improving trust, building effective working relationships, and achieving the desired performance outcomes. We see our research having the potential to help rebuild trust in corporate America, as well as the U.S. education system on the most fundamental level, by helping executive leaders understand their own intercognition as related to perceptions of trust towards self and others.

How does this study fit int your body of work/line of research?

This study represents the symbiotic expertises of two independent researchers who found greater appreciation in the diversity of our studies, and in doing so, were empowered to construct and apply the Self-Leadership Trust Model.

Dr. Laura-Ann Migliore specializes in the social sciences with focus on the inter-relational aspects of personality and culture, and its influence on leadership and organizational behavior. Dr. Anne DeClouette’s research focuses on accounting practices and corporate governance, specifically boards of directors. Together, the authors provide a holistic approach on both macro and micro levels, with relevant application towards strategic corporate governance and leadership effectiveness through the discipline and practice of building trusting relationships.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The reviewers’ challenged us to think deeper and improve the article to demonstrate a tighter link between our proposed model’s components and the supporting literature to the problems of boards and corporate governance. We explicitly addressed the level of analysis as individual-to-individual (i.e., the perception of trust on an individual level) and linked implications to board effectiveness and the overall organization, using the model to explain and support individual perceptions of trust. In addition, we theoretically demonstrate how the model could be used to explain CEO and board member trust, and we used Joe Wilson (past CEO of Xerox Corporation) as an example with literature to support our discussion.

What, if anything, would you do if you could go back and do this study again?

Nothing at this point in time, as our study presents a conceptual trust model. Our plan is to move forward and test the Self-Leadership Trust Model. The authors are looking to conduct a mix-methods study with CEOs and Boards of Directors and test the conceptual model and the survey instrument. We would also like to conduct the study with superintendents and school boards, as well as governing boards in the Higher Education Industry.

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Engagement, Leadership, & Personality

Andrew J. Wefald, Kansas State University, Rebecca J. Reichard and Shawn A. Serrano, both of Claremont Graduate University, recently published “Fitting Engagement into a Nomological Network: The Relationship of Engagement to Leadership and Personality” in Online First in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. Professor Wefald shared some background information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

I’d like to think this research applies to both practitioners and academics, but the real target audience is those who are interested in the concept of engagement. I believe there is a lot of interest on both sides about engagement and that there is little solid empirical evidence surrounding the concept.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

My major advisor first got interested in the concept of engagement. It actually mirrored my experience working for a large telecommunications company. I spent 6 years in a sales/customer service job and it started off great -stock options, Starbucks in the office, trips to Las Vegas, but over the years (and internet/economy crashes)it became a depressing place to work and I became disengaged and dissatisfied. So I was naturally interested in a concept that could inform my own experiences.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The strong connection between personality variables and engagement surprised me. Engagement is supposed to be more state-like, but my research suggests a more stable construct. Some other interesting findings from my other work include the significant overlap between engagement and job satisfaction (which I guess shouldn’t be surprising considering the similarity of many of the items).

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

My hope is that this research begins to place engagement in a nomological network and that other researchers can expand on that network. I also see a strong connection between workplace leadership/management and employee engagement. That connection makes sense, but research will tease out how and why that connection exists and how to improve it.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

My research focuses on job attitudes, personality, and leadership so this project really highlights the main focus of my research. My future projects include political skill and Machiavellianism. I’m interested in those topics and how they might relate to engagement, satisfaction, and leadership.

How did your paper change during the review process?

We actually found a lot of full mediations that we had not explored due to the reviewers’ comments so we were SUPER excited about that. The reviewers really challenged us and helped us improve the paper significantly.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

If I could get a second run of the survey to have a longitudinal study, then that would be great. And if I could have had performance data, that would have been great too.

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