Negotiating with Nothing Holds Surprise Benefits
Negotiators are thought to bolster their power when they come to the table with viable alternatives, no matter how weak. But research from an international team of psychological scientists suggests that powerlessness can sometimes be an advantage.
Office Holiday Parties Leave Some Employees Out in the Cold
The end of the year is prime time for office parties. From the company picnic to the annual holiday party, office social gatherings are intended to foster team building and camaraderie between coworkers. By providing employees a low-key chance to bond over cookies and punch, managers may believe they’re giving their employees an opportunity to strengthen relationships that will ultimately lead to a more effective workplace. However, research recently published in the journal Organization Science suggests that office shindigs may actually have serious unintended consequences.
Being Able to Personalize Your Workspace May Have Psychological Benefits
Several studies have found that open office layouts can negatively impact employee performance. Environmental noise and interruptions can become distracting, impairing workers’ productivity. Employees in open offices have also been found to have higher levels of stress, lower levels of concentration and motivation, and they even seem to take more sick leave. In another strike against open offices, a recent study finds that employees who lack privacy may suffer from higher levels of emotional exhaustion compared to those who have an office with four opaque walls and a door. Psychological scientists Gregory A. Laurence, Yitzhak Fried, and Linda H.
Studying Office Social Networks to Improve Teamwork
The perception that an organization’s rules and policies are fair may be particularly important for people who work closely together in teams. When people perceive that they are being treated fairly by their organization, having a sense of what’s called “procedural justice,” they perform better as a team and show more positive behavior as individuals. But when the boss plays favorites, trust between teammates can plummet. In a recent study, psychological scientists Dong Liu (Georgia Institute of Technology), Morela Hernandez (University of Washington), and Lei Wang (Xi’an Jiaotong University) utilized a novel social network approach to studying teams.
Leaders Who Can Laugh at Themselves Get a Thumbs Up
Humor in the workplace can foster a positive atmosphere that helps coworkers bond, but jokes in the office can also fall flat, hurt feelings, and can even lead to lawsuits. A new study finds that leaders who strike the right balance, laughing at themselves but not their colleagues or underlings, may be seen as more likable, trustworthy, and caring. Researchers Colette Hoption (Seattle University), Julian Barling (Queen’s University), and Nick Turner (University of Manitoba) hypothesized that, regardless of whether people actually thought a leader was funny, self-deprecating jokes would be seen as an expression of a leader’s values and concern for others.
Positive Perceptions of Women May Empower Female Leaders
Women in leadership roles can feel like they’re in a bind. As leaders, they’re expected to be strong and decisive. As women, they’re often expected to be nice, nurturing, and cooperative. While a male leader may be praised for a take-charge attitude, a woman may be called bossy or abrasive for the same behavior. It’s no surprise that many women in leadership roles feel that the expectations for their behavior in these two roles are often at odds. However, a recent study from psychological scientists Natalia Karelaia of INSEAD and Laura Guillén of the European School of Management and Technology found that female leaders may benefit from holding positive perceptions of themselves as women.