Employee Psychology

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If You Cut Employees Some Slack, Will They Innovate?

Giving people time and resources to pursue innovation projects can produce extraordinary outcomes — but only if you match your “slack strategy” to employee type. The authors found that different types of employees respond in different ways to slack innovation programs; that different kinds of slack resources are better suited to certain types of employees than others; and that different kinds of slack innovation programs produce different kinds of innovation.

The Impossibility of Focusing on Two Things at Once

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Neurological science has demonstrated that brains are not hardwired to focus simultaneously on day-to-day activities and long-term objectives. In the workplace, that presents a challenge: How can employees maximize individual performance while enhancing organizational success? Research into employee behavior underscores the need for organizations to help employees familiarize themselves with perspectives not readily available in their current roles.

How Emotion-Sensing Technology Can Reshape the Workplace

New emotion-sensing technologies can help employees make better decisions, improve concentration, alleviate stress, and adopt healthier and more productive work styles. But companies must address important privacy issues.

Rationalizing Yourself Out of a Promotion

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

Some women who feel like they won’t “fit” a stereotypical job description will talk themselves out of wanting it. This process of negatively evaluating promotional opportunities is due to a process called “job crafting.” As a result, managers who wish to employ female executives at the highest levels of their organizations should be especially careful of the signals they might be communicating to potential applicants.

Putting an End to Leaders’ Self-Serving Behavior

Business leaders are often selfish. They honestly think they are entitled to more resources than anyone else, and that they have earned the right to take more. Their self-serving behavior is usually enabled by their organizations. But three strategies can help: Organizations can choose leaders who tilt away from self-serving frameworks; create systems that reinforce fairer evaluations; and recognize the added complexities that arise on the global stage.

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The Upside of Being a Woman Among ‘Bros’

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

“Bro” culture in business and the institutional sexism it can breed are hot topics these days. But could there be situations where there is an advantage to being a woman in a workplace full of bros — men who form tight, in-group ties? New research on gender and leadership in the workplace looked at the willingness of managers to accept advice and feedback from subordinates. The findings: In certain circumstances, managers are actually more responsive to suggestions from the opposite gender.

The Missing Piece in Employee Development

In recent years, organizations have begun to prioritize processes for improving future performance over evaluating employees’ past efforts. Yearly development objectives and annual reviews are being replaced by real-time feedback delivered directly by line managers. Although this shift holds much promise, it risks bumping up against some hard realities — namely, the ability of line managers to help employees develop. In reality, many managers aren’t confident they can change employee behavior.

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How to Have Influence

The difference between effective and ineffective change makers is that the effective ones don’t rely on a single source of influence. They marshal several sources at once to get superior results.

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The Power of Moderation

Employees with deep motivation, strong commitment, unquestioned loyalty and widely shared values can have drawbacks. Much has been written about the upside of deep commitment, but employers need to be wary of workers who identify too much with the company. Overidentification, says the author, may lead to an ends-justifies-the-means outlook, unethical actions, substitution of personal needs for company goals and resentment when the company doesn’t meet employees’ expectations.

The Hidden Costs of Organizational Dishonesty

When companies act dishonestly, the psychological costs outweigh any short-term gains. Dishonesty ultimately decreases repeat business and increases worker turnover and employee theft. Degradation of a company’s reputation, adverse effects on employee values and increased surveillance of workers through expensive new systems eat at an organization’s health. The authors offer proof that honesty is still the best policy.

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