Recruitment, Ostracism, and Brain Scans: Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior

Browse all the articles in the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Volume 4.

Recently, a lot of media attention has focused on how technology businesses recruit, and retain, members of disadvantaged groups.  In the turbulent wake of the immigration ban, there has been renewed discussion about hiring immigrants and those from other cultures.  I  was glad to see authors David Allen & James Vardaman addressing some of these issues in “Recruitment and Retention Across Cultures.”  The article looks at how companies recruit workers and how that process is affected by different cultures. They also discuss how these different cultures face the challenge of assembling a diverse workforce:

Firms tend to (sometimes unintentionally) create barriers in the recruitment process by emphasizing job requirements that disadvantage immigrants (e.g., local experience), making negative assumptions (e.g., assuming immigrants have greater family responsibilities), or failing to appreciate immigrant credentials and skills. Additional research is needed to assess how recruitment policies affect immigrant recruitment, evidence that recruitment firms are more open to recruiting immigrants, the efficacy of developing immigrant networks, and the possibility that perceived skills shortages are a function of undervaluing immigrant credentials and skills.

Other research focuses on how differences in national culture affect the implementation of diversity recruitment initiatives. For example, Moore (2015) suggests that managers and employees hold culturally based native categories as to appropriate work roles related to gender. Thus, in a case study, a diversity initiative driven by a German parent company to increase the recruitment of women factory workers did not export as intended to a British context. The author concluded that effective diversity recruitment across cultures requires not only a recognition that cultural differences exist, but also an understanding of how practices and their meanings are recontextualized from one cultural context to another.

I learned a lot of new things from “Comparing and Contrasting Workplace Ostracism and Incivility” by D. Lance Ferris, Meng Chen & Sandy Lim.  While I have read a lot about workplace harassment, I hadn’t seen research about incivility and ostracism before.

Workplace incivility has been defined as a subtype of workplace mistreatment that is characterized by low-intensity social interactions that violate workplace norms of respect and yet are ambiguous as to whether they are meant to harm the target of the incivility. As this definition implies, there are three important characteristics associated with uncivil behaviors: their violation of norms, their ambiguity with respect to the hostile intent, and their general low intensity. Typical examples of uncivil behaviors at work that meet these three criteria include making demeaning comments to another individual, interrupting someone, and not speaking to—or ostracizing—someone. Such behaviors are typically viewed as rude and falling short of people’s commonly held expectations for mutual respect at work.

The article also deals with ostracism, “which includes behaviors such as being avoided at work, being shut out of conversations, or having one’s greetings go unanswered at work.” That seems horrible and makes me even more appreciative of my work colleagues who make a point of saying hello even when I’m walking the hallways with my headphones on.

orgpsych-waldmanAnother article that sparked my imagination is “Neuroscience in Organizational Behavior” by David Waldman, MK Ward & William Becker, which made me wonder if team-building exercises would be more enjoyable if followed by a brain scan instead of a questionnaire.  It turns out that the interviews and questions aren’t giving the level of data that other options might:

following a team process, a common practice of researchers is to get team members’ impressions of what the team process was about. Aside from recollection challenges on the part of team members, such assessment assumes an overall quality regarding a team process, rather than allowing for fluid or momentary shifts. As Waldman et al. (2015b) have argued and shown, qEEG neurosensing methods allow for more precise, momentary assessment of team processes and emergent states. In contrast, survey methods are not highly practical for assessing shifts in team processes or emergent states because of the interruption that would be caused. Moreover, although observation could be feasible, it is questionable whether observers can accurately assess phenomena such as team arousal or engagement, whereas neurosensing methods may be able to overcome such challenges”

I’d love to hear what you found interesting in this volume—the comments are open!

Suzanne K. Moses is Annual Reviews’ Senior Electronic Content Coordinator. For 15+ years, she has played a central role in the publication of Annual Reviews’ online articles. Not a single page is posted online without first being proofed and quality checked by Suzanne.