Category: Occupational

People In Positions Of Power Are More Likely To Blame And Punish Others For Poor Performance

By Emily Reynolds

Having a “choice mindset” — believing, in short, that people’s behaviours are “choices”, or deliberate actions driven by their own motives and preferences — has multiple benefits. Those with a choice mindset feel as if they have control over their own destiny, for example, and see better outcomes in negotiations.

There are some drawbacks, however. Choice mindsets can lead to victim blaming, a lack of care about inequality, and a reduced interest in acts of social good. A new study in Social Psychological and Personality Science takes a closer look at these more troublesome impacts. Yidan Yin from UC San Diego and colleagues find that people in positions of power tend to adopt a choice mindset, which makes them more likely to blame others for mistakes.

Continue reading “People In Positions Of Power Are More Likely To Blame And Punish Others For Poor Performance”

Stressful Days At Work Leave Us Less Likely To Exercise

By Emily Reynolds

After an incredibly stressful day of work, which are you more likely to do: walk several miles home, or get on a bus straight to your door? While the first option certainly comes with increased health benefits — including, potentially, decreased stress — many of us would choose the second anyway.

A new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, seeks to understand why, even when we know how positive exercise can be, we often fail to be active after work. It could come down to how high-pressure your job is, according to Sascha Abdel Hadi from Justus-Liebig-University Giessen and team — and how much control you have over your work.

Continue reading “Stressful Days At Work Leave Us Less Likely To Exercise”

Self-Reflection Can Make You A Better Leader At Work

By Emily Reynolds

What does being a good leader mean to you? Having tonnes of charisma? Being intelligent? Encouraging fairness and participation in the workplace? Whatever combination of qualities you value, it’s likely that your vision of good leadership is different from your colleague’s or your manager’s, who themselves will have a highly personal vision of who they want to be at work.

A new study from Remy E. Jennings at the University of Florida and colleagues, published in Personnel Psychology, looks closely at this individualised idea of leadership — our “best possible leader self”. If we focus and reflect on this best possible self every morning, they find, it could help us behave more like a leader in the here and now.

Continue reading “Self-Reflection Can Make You A Better Leader At Work”

Good Time Management Seems To Have A Bigger Impact On Wellbeing Than Work Performance

By Emily Reynolds

As our lives have become busier, desire to do things quickly and efficiently has grown — something the rise of speed reading apps, lack of break-taking at work, and a general focus on “productivity” has shown. Good time management skills, therefore, are now highly prized both at work and at home.

But do such techniques actually work? In a meta-analysis published in PLOS One, Brad Aeon from Concordia University and colleagues find that they do — but perhaps not for the reasons you’d expect. While time management skills have become more important in evaluations of job performance since the 1990s, their biggest impact lies elsewhere: in personal wellbeing.

Continue reading “Good Time Management Seems To Have A Bigger Impact On Wellbeing Than Work Performance”

Companies’ Succession Announcements Can Inadvertently Make Work Life Harder For Incoming Female CEOs

By Emma Young

When an organisation appoints a new male CEO, the announcement will typically highlight his past achievements and the competencies that make him ideal for the job. What if the new CEO is a woman? The widely expected, gender-neutral thing to do is, of course, to make precisely the same type of announcement. However, according to the team behind a new paper in the Journal of Applied Psychology, this can make work life more difficult for her, and shorten the time that she spends in that role. Priyanka Dwiwedi at Texas A&M University and her colleagues base this striking conclusion on an extensive analysis of data on women who have been appointed to top positions in the US, as well as in-depth interviews with female executives.

Continue reading “Companies’ Succession Announcements Can Inadvertently Make Work Life Harder For Incoming Female CEOs”

Frequent Workplace Interruptions Are Annoying — But May Also Help You Feel That You Belong

By Emma Young

Workplace disturbances during the Covid-19 pandemic aren’t quite what they used to be. Now you’re more likely to be interrupted by a cat jumping on your keyboard or a partner trying to make a cup of tea while you’re in a meeting — but if you can cast your mind back to what it was like to work in an office, perhaps you can recall how annoying it was to be disturbed by colleagues dropping by with questions or comments. These “workplace intrusions” used to be common in offices, and no doubt will be again. There’s certainly plenty of evidence that they interfere with our ability to complete tasks, and that we can find them stressful. However, no one’s really considered potential benefits, note Harshad Puranik at the University of Illinois and colleagues. In their new paper in the Journal of Advanced Psychology, the team reports that though there is a dark side to these interruptions, there’s a bright side, too. 

Continue reading “Frequent Workplace Interruptions Are Annoying — But May Also Help You Feel That You Belong”

Longer Interview Shortlists Could Help Women Advance In Male-Dominated Industries

By Emily Reynolds

Despite many efforts to make workplaces more equitable, women are still frequently discriminated against at work. Companies run by women are judged more harshly on ethical failings, for instance, and women are more likely to be lied to in performance reviews. This discrimination doesn’t just happen in the workplace: it can happen before someone is even employed. A study from last year, for example, found that Black women with natural hair are seen as less competent and professional than their White counterparts when interviewing for jobs.

Now a new study, published in Nature Human Behaviour, has taken a look at what could be scuppering women’s chances even before they get to the interview stage. The team, led by Brian J Lucas from Cornell University, argues that in organisations where recruitment takes place on an informal basis, via colleague recommendations or other word-of-mouth networks, changes need to be made to the shortlisting process. When shortlists are longer, the results suggest, women are more likely to be seriously considered.

Continue reading “Longer Interview Shortlists Could Help Women Advance In Male-Dominated Industries”

Advocates Of Equality For All Are More Likely To Show Prejudice Against Older Adults At Work

By Emma Young

Social justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, have done huge amounts to address racism and sexism in our society. It’s now common for organisations to have diversity programmes, for example. As Ashley Martin at Stanford University and Michael S North at New York University note in their new paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Facebook has famously invested millions of dollars in increasing diversity. However — and this is a big however — the pair’s work reveals that people who are keenest to advocate for women and racial minorities harbour more prejudice against a group that reports almost as much US workplace discrimination as these two: older people. 

Continue reading “Advocates Of Equality For All Are More Likely To Show Prejudice Against Older Adults At Work”

Companies Undermine “Sacred” Values Like Environmentalism When Co-opting Them For Profit Or Prestige

By Emma Young

How important is it to you to protect our planet’s wildest places? Would you put a price on it — or is it the kind of goal that just can’t be subject to a cost-benefit analysis? If the latter, then for you, protecting Earth’s wilds is a “sacred value”. Patriotism, or the protection of human lives, or diversity in the workplace can be sacred values, too. So what happens when a for-profit organisation embraces such values — is the pursuit of social or environmental values and profit a “win-win”, as is often claimed?

A new paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, suggests not — and it’s the value that suffers, as it becomes less sacred. If this is right, then businesses that co-opt such values in their advertising (think no end of outdoor clothing companies that make a big deal about caring for the wilderness, as just one example) are degrading the very values that they claim to promote.

Continue reading “Companies Undermine “Sacred” Values Like Environmentalism When Co-opting Them For Profit Or Prestige”

Here’s How Personality Changes In Young Adulthood Can Lead To Greater Career Satisfaction

By Emily Reynolds

Personality traits were once thought to be fairly stable. But recent research has suggested that our personality can alter over time — whether that’s due to ageing or because we decide to change our traits ourselves. And as personality is linked to our behaviour, it follows that we might see different life outcomes as our personality shifts or grows.

In a new study in Psychological Science, Kevin A. Hoff and team look at the personality changes of teenagers as they move into adulthood. And they find that certain shifts in personality can result in real-world benefits during the early years of a career, suggesting that interventions that increase particular traits and skills could make all the difference at work.

Continue reading “Here’s How Personality Changes In Young Adulthood Can Lead To Greater Career Satisfaction”