Applied Psychology

  • How Colleagues Can Support Each Other's Needs and Motivation: An Intervention on Employee Work Motivation

    Organisations have flattened and increasingly rely on teamwork. Therefore, colleagues play an increasingly important role in stimulating employee motivation. Adopting Self-Determination Theory as a guiding framework, the aim of this field experiment was to examine whether team members can be trained in supporting each other’s basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness and, hence, increase each other’s need satisfaction and autonomous motivation, while decreasing controlled motivation. We delivered training to 146 participants nested in 26 participating teams and assessed basic need satisfaction and autonomous and controlled motivation before and after the intervention. Multilevel regression analyses indicated that employees in the experimental (i.e. intervention) condition had a stronger increase in need satisfaction and autonomous motivation than employees did in the control condition, and that the increase in autonomous motivation was mediated by an increase in need satisfaction. This study provides added value for theory on need satisfaction and demonstrates that a relatively brief intervention among team members may be effective in creating employee need support and increasing autonomous motivation.

  • Does a Tired Mind Help Avoid a Decision Bias? The Effect of Ego Depletion on Escalation of Commitment

    In this research, we investigated the effect of ego depletion on escalation of commitment. Specifically, we conducted two laboratory experiments and obtained evidence that ego depletion decreases escalation of commitment. In Study 1, we found that individuals were less susceptible to escalation of commitment after completing an ego depletion task. In Study 2, we confirmed the effect observed in Study 1 using a different manipulation of ego depletion and a different subject pool. Contrary to the fundamental assumption of bounded rationality that people have a tendency to make decision errors when mental resources are scarce, the findings of this research show that a tired mind can help reduce escalation bias.

  • An Investigation of Entrepreneurs' Venture Persistence Decision: The Contingency Effect of Psychological Ownership and Adversity

    We incorporate psychological ownership theory and adversity literature to examine the joint effect of psychological ownership and adversity on entrepreneurs’ persistence decision. The results of two experiments and one survey show that both low adversity and high psychological ownership for the venture increase entrepreneurs’ likelihood of persistence. We also identify the moderating effect of adversity. Psychological ownership is more relevant to the likelihood of persistence when adversity is high than when it is low. Our research contributes to psychological ownership theory and the entrepreneurial persistence literature and has practical implications for entrepreneurs.

  • Are Attention Check Questions a Threat to Scale Validity?

    Attention checks have become increasingly popular in survey research as a means to filter out careless respondents. Despite their widespread use, little research has empirically tested the impact of attention checks on scale validity. In fact, because attention checks can induce a more deliberative mindset in survey respondents, they may change the way respondents answer survey questions, posing a threat to scale validity. In two studies, we tested this hypothesis (N = 816). We examined whether common attention checks—instructed-response items (Study 1) and an instructional manipulation check (Study 2)—impact responses to a well-validated management scale. Results showed no evidence that they affect scale validity, both in reported scale means and tests of measurement invariance. These findings allow researchers to justify the use of attention checks without compromising scale validity and encourage future research to examine other survey characteristic-respondent dynamics to advance our use of survey methods.

  • Issue Information
  • Leading to Stimulate Employees' Ideas: A Quantitative Review of Leader–Member Exchange, Employee Voice, Creativity, and Innovative Behavior

    Through social exchange, leaders can offer relational support or resources to facilitate employees’ proactive attempts to bring positive change (voice) or novel ideas (creativity) and behaviors (innovative behavior) to their work. We consider these three outcomes under the same nomological network as they all represent employees’ idea contribution to the organisation. The present paper thus meta-analytically reviews the findings of research relating leader–member exchange (LMX) to voice (37 samples), creativity (53 samples), and innovative behavior (29 samples). Results show that LMX positively predicts voice, creativity, and innovative behavior. Moreover, LMX is more strongly related with creativity than with voice or innovative behavior, a significant difference maintained even after controlling for study characteristics that may act as confounding variables. Implications of our findings and directions for future research are also discussed.

  • How Learning Goal Orientation Fosters Leadership Recognition in Self-Managed Teams: A Two-Stage Mediation Model

    Defined as a mental framework for how individuals interpret and respond to achievement situations, learning goal orientation (LGO) has received increasing attention in organisational research. However, its effect on leadership, especially in contexts absent of formal leadership, remains understudied. Drawing on social exchange theory, we propose and test an individual-level two-stage process model of generalised exchange linking LGO and leadership recognition in self-managed teams. Specifically, we posit that learning-oriented individuals will tend to feel safer in self-managed teams, which will enable and sustain their engagement in contextual role behavior. Such behavior, in turn, will be reciprocated with recognition of these individuals as leaders. We use a multiphase, multi-informant approach (n = 287), and we find that felt safety mediates the effect of LGO on contextual role behavior, but that contextual role behavior alone does not mediate the effect of LGO on leadership recognition. LGO has an indirect effect on leadership recognition through the joint mediation of felt safety and contextual role behavior. Our results offer insight on the link between LGO and leadership, with practical implications for people working in self-managed teams.

  • Preventing School Bullying: Investigation of the Link between Anti-Bullying Strategies, Prevention Ownership, Prevention Climate, and Prevention Leadership

    School bullying has been a major health and safety concern for teachers and students, which calls for effective strategies to address the issue. In this study, we explored individual and organisational factors that improve the effects of teachers’ use of anti-bullying strategies in reducing or preventing student bullying. Specifically, we examined the moderating role of teachers’ psychological ownership of their school’s anti-bullying system in the relationship between teacher-reported use of anti-bullying strategies and student-reported bullying incidents. We also investigated how principals’ bullying prevention leadership, rated by a group of directors who are the immediate subordinates of these principals, inspires teachers’ psychological ownership of their school’s anti-bullying system through building teachers’ shared perceptions of a bullying prevention climate. Results of multilevel analyses of multisource data from 2,123 teachers, 407 directors, and 15,967 students in 110 junior and senior high schools indicated that the impact of teacher-reported use of anti-bullying strategies on student-reported bullying incidents was strengthened when teachers have a high level of psychological ownership of their school’s anti-bullying system. Further, principals’ bullying prevention leadership was significantly positively related to teachers’ psychological ownership of their school’s anti-bullying system through teachers’ shared perceptions of a bullying prevention climate.

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