Personnel Psychology

  • Helping others or helping oneself? An episodic examination of the behavioral consequences of helping at work


    Scholars have paid an increasing amount of attention to organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), with a particular emphasis on helping others at work. In addition, recent empirical work has focused on how OCB is an intraindividual phenomenon, such that employees vary daily in the extent to which they help others. However, one limitation of this research has been an overemphasis on well-being consequences associated with daily helping (e.g., changes in affect and mental depletion) and far less attention on behavioral outcomes. In this study, we develop a self-regulatory framework that articulates how helping others at work is a depleting experience that can lead to a reduction in subsequent acts of helping others, and an increase in behaviors aimed at helping oneself (i.e., engaging in political acts). We further theorize how two individual differences—prevention focus and political skill—serve as cross-level moderators of these relations. In an experience sampling study of 91 full-time employees across 10 consecutive workdays, our results illustrate that helping is a depleting act that makes individuals more likely to engage in self-serving acts and less likely to help others. Moreover, the relation of helping acts with depletion is strengthened for employees who have higher levels of prevention focus.

  • Accidents happen: Psychological empowerment as a moderator of accident involvement and its outcomes


    Research in the occupational safety realm has tended to develop and test models aimed at predicting accident involvement in the workplace, with studies treating accident involvement as the starting point and examining its outcomes being more rare. In this study, we examine the relationship between accident involvement and a series of outcomes drawing upon a learned helplessness theory perspective. Specifically, we predicted that psychological empowerment would moderate the relationship between prior accident involvement and outcomes. We tested our hypotheses on a sample of 392 employees and their 66 supervisors working in an iron and steel manufacturing firm in Southern Turkey, using data collected from employees and their supervisors via four separate surveys. Results suggest that accident involvement was positively related to supervisor-rated employee withdrawal, production deviance, and sabotage only when psychological empowerment was low. The results illustrate that workplace accidents have indirect costs in the form of higher withdrawal and maladaptive behaviors, and organizations may inoculate employees against some of these outcomes via higher psychological empowerment.

  • Surveying the forest: A meta-analysis, moderator investigation, and future-oriented discussion of the antecedents of voluntary employee turnover


    Recent narrative reviews (e.g., Hom, Mitchell, Lee, and Griffeth, 2012; Hom, Lee, Shaw, and Hausknecht, 2017) advise that it is timely to assess the progress made in research on voluntary employee turnover so as to guide future work. To provide this assessment, we employed a three-step approach. First, we conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of turnover predictors, updating existing effect sizes and examining multiple new antecedents. Second, guided by theory, we developed and tested a set of substantive moderators, considering factors that might exacerbate or mitigate zero-order meta-analytic effects. Third, we examined the holistic pattern of results in order to highlight the most pressing needs for future turnover research. The results of Step 1 reveal multiple newer predictors and updated effect sizes of more traditional predictors, which have received substantially greater study. The results of Step 2 provide insight into the context-dependent nature of many antecedent–turnover relationships. In Step 3, our discussion takes a bird’s-eye view of the turnover “forest” and considers the theoretical and practical implications of the results. We offer several research recommendations that break from the traditional turnover paradigm, as a means of guiding future study.

  • Do your high potentials have potential? The impact of individual differences and designation on leader success


    We propose an integrated model of leadership potential, the high-potential designation process, and leader success that is intended to clarify the theoretical and practical relationships among these concepts. Drawing on research in the areas of social judgment and cognition, cognitive abilities, personality, leadership development, and motivation and on practice-oriented observations and writings, we propose a process model of potential, the designation of individuals as high potential, and the antecedent and moderating variables that combine to impact success. We conclude that by using this model we can understand better the individual, social, and organizational factors that impact potential and the high-potential identification process, and help develop more successful leaders and organizations.

  • Commuting stress process and self-regulation at work: Moderating roles of daily task significance, family interference with work, and commuting means efficacy


    Based on self-regulation theories of stress processes, this study proposed a model to examine the within-person mediation relationship between morning commuting stressors and self-regulation at work via morning commuting strain. In addition, the study examined the moderating roles of daily task significance, daily family interference with work, and commuting means efficacy in this mediation model. Results from 45 bus commuters’ daily diary data over a period of 15 workdays indicated that the amount of morning commuting stressors experienced by the bus commuters was positively related to their morning commuting strain, which, in turn, had a negative impact on self-regulation at work. At the within-person level, daily task significance buffered the negative indirect relationship between morning commuting stressors and self-regulation at work via morning commuting strain, whereas daily family interference with work in the morning exacerbated this negative indirect relationship. Further, at the between-person level, commuting means efficacy buffered this negative indirect relationship such that the negative indirect effect was weaker for workers with higher (vs. lower) commuting means efficacy. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

  • Are Supervisors and Coworkers Likely to Witness Employee Counterproductive Work Behavior? An Investigation of Observability and Self–Observer Convergence

    Supervisor and coworker ratings (i.e., “observer ratings”) remain a common manner of measuring counterproductive work behavior (CWB) despite long-standing doubts that observers have the opportunity to witness the work behaviors they are expected to rate. We conducted 2 studies that evaluated the observability of CWB items and consequences of observability. First, we show that many CWBs are unlikely to be witnessed by supervisors or coworkers—specifically, behaviors such as “spends too much time fantasizing or daydreaming instead of working” and “discussed confidential company information with an unauthorized person” were found to be lowest in observability, whereas “cursed at someone at work” or “acted rudely toward someone at work” were relatively higher in observability (though observability was generally low). Second, a meta-analysis revealed variability in item-level relationships (correlations and mean differences) between self-ratings and observer ratings for specific CWB scale items (i.e., items from Bennett & Robinson, 2,000). Important, this variability was partially explained by observability—behaviors with low self–observer convergence tend to have low levels of observability, whereas behaviors with higher levels of convergence tend to have higher levels of observability. This study demonstrates that supervisor and coworker ratings of CWB may be susceptible to an observability bias resulting from rating behaviors they have not likely witnessed.

  • Help Yourself by Helping Others: The Joint Impact of Group Member Organizational Citizenship Behaviors and Group Cohesiveness on Group Member Objective Task Performance Change

    This paper examines how a group member’s individual-targeted citizenship behavior (OCBI) and organization-targeted citizenship behavior (OCBO) interact with a salient group-level contextual variable, group cohesiveness, to foster positive change for that group member, starting with job self-efficacy change, and followed by objective task performance change. Over a span of 6 months, we engaged in multilevel, multisource, multistage data collection and surveyed 587 members in 83 work groups. Our results indicate that a group member’s OCBI, in comparison with OCBO, is more positively related to his or her job self-efficacy change. Group cohesiveness was found to attenuate the relationship between a group member’s OCBI and job self-efficacy change, and conversely, to accentuate the relationship between a group member’s OCBO and job self-efficacy change. Furthermore, a group member’s job self-efficacy change mediated the interactive effects of the group member’s OCBI and group cohesiveness (as well as the group member’s OCBO and group cohesiveness) on his or her objective task performance change.

  • Feeling Bad and Doing Good: The Effect of Customer Mistreatment on Service Employee's Daily Display of Helping Behaviors

    Mistreatment by customers is a common occurrence for many frontline service employees. Although some evidence suggests that employees engage in dysfunctional workplace behaviors as a result of mistreatment, others studies have suggested that employees may cope with such negative experiences by helping others. Drawing on negative state relief theory, we conducted 2 studies to test these relationships and examine whether service employees cope with negative emotions arising from such daily customer mistreatment by engaging in helping others. In Study 1, daily surveys from 70 restaurant employees showed that daily customer mistreatment predicted the experience of negative moods the next morning, which, in turn, led to higher levels of coworker helping the next day. In Study 2, daily surveys from 54 retail employees showed that daily customer mistreatment led to higher customer helping the next day, but only when customer orientation was high. Our results further show that helping behavior was associated with elevated positive affective experiences and that the proposed relationships differ depending on whether customer mistreatment is measured at a daily or a cumulative perspective. Specifically, cumulative customer mistreatment over time decreased general helping. These findings are discussed in relation to employees’ coping strategies towards acute and cumulative mistreatment.

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