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.

In Conversation with Barry M. Staw, of Berkeley-Haas

Barry M. Staw, Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, talks to Frederick P. Morgeson, Professor at the Eli Broad College of Management at Michigan State University and Editor of the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior.

In this conversation, Dr. Staw discusses the inspiration behind his work on escalation of commitment, a construct he formulated based in part on his family history and, later, studying the nature of the U.S.’ engagement in the Vietnam war. He also gives advice to younger researchers, from where to find inspiration for research and staying grounded in reality to preserving a unique voice in research articles.

Watch the video series here.

Leader and Leadership Development

We now know that leaders are mostly made, not born.

As organizations worldwide put a growing emphasis on finding, developing, and keeping leaders, leadership development has drawn from decades of research to become a discrete scholarly field of organizational psychology.

Establishing a framework for this field can help individuals and organizations create and expand their capabilities for effective leadership.

In their article “Leadership Development: An Outcome-Oriented Review Based on Time and Levels of Analyses,” David Day and Lisa Dragoni outline this framework and review the current knowledge to set up a theoretical foundation for future research.

“Leader development” implies a focus on individual leaders to identify short-term indicators that the work will bring about positive long-term outcomes. In this first video, Dr. Day, of the University of Western Australia, tells us more:

Once these indicators are established, Dr. Day goes on to explain that effectiveness of leadership should not be the goal of research and intervention. Instead, the goal should be to expand and enhance a leader’s capacity to be effective:

Beyond the individual, there are things organizations can do to foster leadership. In this video, Dr. Dragoni discusses the conditions that support leadership development. These include interpersonal comfort among team members, their expertise, and a shared mindset:

Lastly, Dr. Dragoni presents new avenues of research for leadership development. She insists that it is important to be very clear about the definition of the terms in order to advance this science.

Read the article in the 2015 Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, with our compliments. 

Group Affect

We always think of emotions as an internal feelings. Research, however, shows that emotions are contagious, and can spread quickly amongst co-workers.

Studies have even demonstrated that shared positive and negative emotions influence productivity. So how does emotional contagion help maintain group cohesiveness in a professional environment, and how can leaders cultivate positive affect for better results?

Sigal Barsade and Andrew Knight discuss their work in their article on group affect and its accompanying animated video:

Group Affect from Annual Reviews on Vimeo.