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SIOP Members in the News

Clif Boutelle

The news media has found SIOP members to be credible sources of information for their workplace related stories. And no wonder! SIOP members have a diverse range of expertise as evidenced by the listings in Media Resources on the SIOP web site (www.siop.org). There are more than 110 different workplace topics with nearly 2,000 SIOP members who can serve as resources to the news media.  

SIOP members who are willing to talk with reporters about their research interests and specialties are encouraged to list themselves in Media Resources. It can easily be done online. It is important, though, that in listing themselves, members include a brief description of their expertise. That is what reporters look at and a well-worded description can often lead the reporter to call.

      Also connecting with reporters and editors is important as a way to increase I-O’s (and SIOPs) visibility and influence. Every mention in the media is helpful to that mission.

It is a good idea for members to periodically check and update their Media Resources information.

Following are some of the press mentions that have occurred in the recent months:

Marcus Crede of Iowa State University was interviewed in the August 11 Education Next Journal, which provides opinion and research on education policy, on the topic of grit, which is part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which incorporates “non-academic” factors such as grit in the way states define what it means to be a successful school. Crede has conducted a study on grit and he challenges much of the popular narrative. He says grit is barely distinct from other personality traits and that standardized test scores, attendance and study habits are much better predictors of long-term success than grit.
Research by Sung Soo Kim of the University of Denver was reported in the August 11 issue of Business News Daily. The study found that employees who feel their jobs are threatened are more likely to engage in “facades of conformity” to cope with job insecurity. However, that “can have an adverse impact on one’s feeling of attachment to the organization” and affect their job performance and possibly even lead them to quit.
The August 4 issue of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News had an article featuring the work of Ute R. Hulsheger of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The fast changing pace of technology creates increasing pressure on employees, which can lead to various psychological symptoms, including burnout and sleep problems, she said. Hulsheger’s research on mindfulness offers the potential for creating systems and tools that will help employees cope with the changing workplace. 
Mindy Bergman of Texas A&M University, was an August 9 guest on a radio program on KPCC in Los Angeles discussing inclusive workplaces. During the interview she outlined various strategies to offset exclusionary practices and make them more welcoming to employees.
      When it becomes necessary for managers to deliver bad news to employees there are ways to make the situation a little easier, according to an August 3 article in Fast Company. One way, of course, is being totally honest and don’t sugarcoat the news. Stuart Sidle of the University of New Haven said transparency is equally important. If the company and managers are not transparent, then the bad news can foster a cynical climate. “Once cynicism infects the work environment, employees are much less likely to be understanding or cooperative in the face of bad news,” he said.

Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City wrote a blog in the August 1 Harvard Business Review suggesting that corporations could gain valuable information about their own organization as well as their industry and competitors by interviewing people who had declined an employment offer. Although it is common for companies to conduct exit interviews with departing employees, it is less common to gather feedback from candidates who received offers but did not accept them, he wrote.  “Declined offer interviews and feedback can also provide advance warning about factors that may cause turned down offers, enabling you to take proactive steps to prevent it from happening,” he wrote. He also suggested that collecting feedback via a third party might produce more candid results.

      In a June 21 HBR post, Dattner wrote about the challenging task for managers of writing and delivering performance reviews. An effective review is often a delicate, complex balancing act and starts with setting goals and objectives. Ideally, by striving for balance, approaching the exercise in an open, mindful manner and getting feedback about the review before and after it happen, managers can provide productive assessments that improve individual, team, and organizational performance, he wrote.

      A story in the July 30 issue of New Yorker focused on what makes people feel upbeat at work and extensively quoted Alicia Grandey of Penn State.  The story cited several organizations that mandate positive work environments in their employee manuals. “It sounds really nice…like they are creating a civil workplace,” said Grandey. She cautioned that is difficult to impose positivity from the top and actually exert a positive effect. “When anything feels forced or externally controlled, it doesn’t tend to be beneficial as when it’s coming from the self,” she said. “The irony is, when you are trying to get people to do something positive, you can’t do it. Once it’s required, it’s fake and forced. What you create instead is a negative backlash.”

Matt Paese of Development Dimensions International (DDI) authored a piece in the July 28 issue of Smart Business about getting leaders ready to lead. Although there is a lot of information and training to help people learn how to lead, there’s not enough emphasis upon growth, he wrote. There is a critical difference between learning and growth. Learning happens when you acquire new knowledge or skill and growth happens when you use it consistently. Training or coaching or any other formal learning only matters when leaders take what they have learned and use it to address the challenges they are facing in the workplace, he said.

Job hunters have a much better chance of being hired with in-person job interviews versus those conducted over the phone, according to research by George Washington University I-O psychologists. The researchers reviewed 12 studies of professional interviews—both informational and sit downs for specific positions—focusing on those that included at least one face-to-face meeting and one conducted over the phone, video, or computer voice-chat program. They found that regardless of the interview type, the in-person interviews were the most productive for both the organization and the interviewee. “Many times, the candidate does not have a choice in the format of the interview,” said Nikki Blacksmith, the lead author. “However, the organization does have a choice and if they are not consistent with the type of interviews they use across all candidates, it could result in fairness issues.” The study was reported in July 26 New York Magazine.

At a time when new parents may find themselves overwhelmed, a growing number of companies are making efforts to help them through the transition to parenthood by providing coaching sessions, either in person or by the phone. Leslie Hammer of Portland State University contributed to a July 22 New York Times story on this trend, which organizations hope will retain more women by helping through a stressful time, while eventually improving gender diversity among their senior employees. “When we train supervisors about how to be supportive, we see bottom line effects for the company,” Hammer said.

Joyce E. A. Russell of Villanova University School of Business writes a regular Career Coaching column for the Washington Post. In her July 21 article, Russell noted that many in this country feel that political correctness has been carried to the extreme and is a societal problem. Yet, looking at dictionary definitions of political correctness and being polite, she doesn’t see that much difference. Treating each other with respect and dignity is simply being polite, which is something we all have been taught at schools and at work, she wrote.
Her June 3 article was about the importance of staying calm under pressure and for leaders to take decisive action in a calm and professional manner. One survey she mentioned found that 90% of top performers were able to manage their emotions in times of stress and stay calm and in control.

Not taking all your vacation leave is an unfortunate mistake, said Matthew Grawitch of Saint Louis University in a July 18 NPR Morning Edition interview. He responded to an NPR survey that found that among people who work 50-plus hours a week, half of them said their workload made it difficult to take a vacation, and 42% said they don’t take all the paid vacation they earn because of their workload. “When workers come back from vacation they have more energy, they tend to be more replenished and feel more engaged in their work,” Grawitch said. Companies have to actively encourage employees to take their vacation and to take advantage of wellness programs, he said.

A July 6 American Bar Association publication carried a story about research by Lori Berman of Hogan Lovells US, LLP in Bethesda, MD; Juliet Aiken of the University of Maryland; and Heather Bock showing how individual success can be achieved in law firms. Their work suggests that skills, mindset and approach to work provide a more compelling picture of who succeeds in law firms than pedigree alone. Their research examines the factors, competencies, and attitudes that allow some lawyers to flourish and make partner while others struggle.
A story on building resilience skills to effectively navigate an increasingly stressful worklife in the June 27 Harvard Business Review cited research by Erik Dane of Rice University and Bradley Brummel of the University of Tulsa. The business world is increasingly turning its attention to mental training practices associated with mindfulness. Research has shown that mindfulness can predict judgment accuracy and insight-related problem solving as well as enhancing cognitive flexibility. Dane and Brummel’s work found that mindfulness facilitates job performance.
One popular idea in corporate America is that women are not supportive of each other—that “queen bees” have a negative impact on other women trying to climb professional ranks. That isn’t true, says Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and co-writer Sheryl Sandberg, CEO at Facebook, in a June 23 piece in the New York Times. As women advance in the workplace, the queen bees will go the way of the fax machine. Surveys show that women are being mentored by women and that high-potential women who received support paid if forward by mentoring other women. There is growing evidence that women are indeed supportive of each other, they wrote.   
Also, in June, LinkedIn’s publishing hub, Pulse, listed 10 top thought leaders in a variety of areas important to entrepreneurs. The article urged that those interested in work psychology follow Adam Grant as a major influencer in the field. In addition to being a bestselling author and writer for the New York Times, he writes on LinkedIn about a broad range of topics, including creativity, generosity, career advice, gender bias, and leadership.  

Ken Shultz of California State University San Bernadino contributed to a June 22 Reuters story about a study showing life after retirement is more enjoyable for people. Overall the enjoyment ratings were associated with well-being and better sleep quality compared to preretirement levels. Even participants who continued to work part time reported their enjoyment increased substantially. “People have a different experience when working after retirement and they don’t have to deal with the pressure of a career job and people tend to not be emotionally invested in it,” he said.

Helping colleagues at work too much could put the helper’s career in jeopardy was among the findings of a study by Russell Johnson of Michigan State University, Mo Wang and Klodiana Lanaj, both of the University of Florida. The draining effects of helping may be especially high for employees who have high prosocial motivation, said Johnson. The results of the study showed that employees should be careful when deciding to assist coworkers, because, in the end, doing so may leave the helpers worn out and not as successful with their own work. The study was reported in the June 15 issue of Business News Daily.

A Psychology Today post about common emotions with uncommon names by Ronald Riggio of Claremont (CA) McKenna College was mentioned in a June 13 column in Inc Magazine. The emotions he listed included chrysalism (a sense of warmth, peace, and tranquility), adronitis (a sense of frustration experienced when meeting a new and interesting person), enouement (the desire to wish you could go back in time and tell your past self about the future), and exulansis (frustration experienced when you realize people are unable to understand or relate to something you are talking about).

A story in the Clarksville (TN) newspaper assisted Fred Mael of Mael Consulting and Coaching in Baltimore with research he is conducting on what makes military veterans successful on the job after their transition from the service. The paper ran an article noting that Mael is seeking volunteers to interview for his study, which will also look into how spouses play a role in the transition.
The June 10 issue of Upstate Business Journal in South Carolina included a column by Robert Sinclair of Clemson University about the importance of organizations helping their employees during difficult times, especially those dealing with finances. He listed several steps employers can take to assist employees manage their financial stress, including offering a financial consulting/education program. He also pointed out the benefits of organizations being proactive in helping employees. Research, he said, shows that employees who feel their supervisor and co-workers care about their well-being are more engaged and committed.
Kevin Love of Central Michigan University and Timothy Munyon of the University of Tennessee were featured in a June 9 story about office secrets on the website iMeet Central. Love said that his research has found that organizations that keep more internal secrets have more barriers in profitability and sustainability. “The fact that you have a culture that allows secrecy at various levels, especially at the top, automatically mitigates potential. Secrecy in and of itself is the antithesis of team orientation and teamwork.” Love said.  On the importance of transparency, Munyon noted “a lack of transparency can turn people into naïve psychologists who may reach the wrong conclusion, including egregious or inaccurate assessments.” He added that middle managers are the most important in shaping culture because they have the power to shape the work environment of their employees.
Tomas Chammoro Premuzic of Hogan Assessment Systems authored an article in the June 8 issue of Fast Company on ways to correct bad habits that people may not know they have. He said “many of us don’t see the flaws in ourselves that other people do. Step 1 is finding out what you are overlooking. It starts with getting honest, critical feedback from as many sources as possible. Habits take a long time to form, which makes them hard to change. But even if it takes more effort to break them, it isn’t impossible to do so. The secret is to really want to change,” he wrote.
Sometimes new employees have a tendency to say “yes” to every request, which points to the need to set clear goals, objectives, and activities at the start of a new job, said Michael Woodward of Human Capital Integrated in Jersey City, NJ, in the June 3 issue of Business News Daily. “The proliferation of mobile technology and social media has changed our expectations about availability, particularly when it comes to work and kids,” he said. “It’s up to you to take responsibility, set boundaries and unplug when you are with your family,” he said. Otherwise, one faces the real possibility of burning out.

An April 25 Chief Learning Officer magazine story by Evan Sinar and DDI colleague Richard Wellins pointed out the impact soft skills development has on producing better leaders. Those soft skills include interacting with employees and empathy, which may be the most fundamental of soft skills. When it comes to leadership development, we are learning there are compelling reasons to develop soft skills so that our leaders can be their best, they wrote.

Please let us know if you, or a SIOP colleague, have contributed to a news story. We would like to include that mention in SIOP Members in the News.

Send copies of the article to SIOP at boutelle@siop.org or fax to 419-352-2645 or mail to SIOP, 440 East Poe Road, Suite 101, Bowling Green, OH 43402.

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