Alex Fradera

185 posts · 153,270 views

The British Psychology Society's Occupational Digest is a blog dedicated to how psychology matters in the workplace. It follows the success of the award-winning BPS Research Digest which reports on psychology of every flavour. The Occupational Digest continues this spirit of reporting what matters, but keeps its sights firmly on what matters at work. This extends beyond academic findings to knowledge gathered through case studies and expert testimony. The purpose is to share evidence to help us understand work and make the most of it.

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  • October 7, 2013
  • 11:24 AM

When do negative emotions give you an edge in negotiations?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

I’m sat in negotiations for a coveted deal. As time goes on, the person across the table looks pained, shifts in their seat, and tells me how disappointed they feel about my approach to the negotiation. How am I likely to adjust my style - would I go easy on them, or go in for the kill? New research by Gert-Jan Lelieveld and colleagues suggests it depends on whether I feel guilty about it - and that’s a question of social context. In a first experiment, students were requested to engage in a........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2013
  • 09:00 AM

Subgroups in teams: when two is the worst number

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Every team contains the seed of the subgroup – a group that forms within a group. Common interests, background, or habits may lead some people to interact in their own specific dynamic. There isn't yet a research consensus on the consequences of subgroups, but happily a new paper by Andrew Carton and Jonathon Cummings helps us understand the context in which there can be benefits or burdens.One area that researchers agree on is the disruptive nature of especially strong fault lines: deep diffe........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2013
  • 04:28 AM

Reshape your job to get more of what you want

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

It's possible to proactively shape our job to get more of what we want , but harder to shed the hassles we don't. So suggests a new study on job crafting, the process of realigning your own work duties and environment to be better for you. The study looked at two elements of work – demands and resources – which we've discussed before . Demands are twofold: unhelpful and costly hindrances like emotionally tiring activities; and challenges such as high workload, which can be beneficial by ramp........ Read more »

Tims M, Bakker AB, & Derks D. (2013) The impact of job crafting on job demands, job resources, and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 18(2), 230-40. PMID: 23506549  

  • September 23, 2013
  • 03:39 AM

A non-native accent makes it harder to get hired or funded

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

One in 33 people work in a country other than their birth country. In most cases, these people's communications carry a mark of their foreignness, in the form of a non-native accent. In a new  study, Laura Huang, Marcia Frideger and Jone Pearce investigate how accent amounts to a glass ceiling for high performing non-natives that prevents them from obtaining elite positions.In a first experiment , 179 principally White and Asian students were asked to listen to audio recordings of a candida........ Read more »

  • September 20, 2013
  • 04:45 AM

Business travel strain is higher for destinations very different from home

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Anyone who's done a reasonable amount of business travel knows the strain it can put you under. According to a recent paper, that strain increases when the norms and beliefs of the travel destination are very different from those at home.In the International Journal of Stress Management, Jase Ramsey details a newly developed instrument for measuring 'Institutional Distance' for business travellers. Institutional theory sees any environment as composed of three elements: the regulatory rules and ........ Read more »

  • September 18, 2013
  • 09:32 AM

Advice taking is influenced by how you feel, and who you're feeling it toward

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Work presents us with many sources of advice, from managers, coaches and consultants, to our colleagues and friends. Advice often leads to better decisions, but we're not always prepared to take it. Recent research has suggested a role for emotion: for instance, feeling angry makes us less likely to follow advice. Now a new study by Ilona de Hooge, Peeter Verlegh and Stefanie Tzioti suggests that this comes down to two emotional properties: yes, positive or negative valence is crucial, but its i........ Read more »

ILONA E. DE HOOGE, PEETER W. J. VERLEGH, & STEFANIE C. TZIOTI. (2013) Emotions in Advice Taking: The Roles of Agency and Valence . Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. DOI: 10.1002/bdm.1801  

  • September 13, 2013
  • 08:59 AM

A positive mindset on joining a group boosts your longer-term status

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Status: a formal feature of many workplaces, an informal part of every workplace. We form pecking orders that influence who calls the shots, who gets heard, and who gets applauded or rewarded. Essentially a matter of perception, status can be influenced by rank, demographic, background, as well as race, gender, and age. A new article suggests that status is also influenced by style of behaviour when we join a group, and that these behaviours can be activated by a simple change in mindset. Resear........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2013
  • 06:52 AM

Racial slurs: who suffers and who speaks out against them

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

A recent article investigates racial slurs in the workplace, an important issue that is under-researched. Across a series of studies, Ashley Rosette and colleagues presents data from US samples that show different quantities of racial slurs experienced by white and black people, how gender and race interact with producing them, and how these factors influence willingness to speak up when a slur is witnessed. Tying this all together is a theoretical model based around who benefits when a workplac........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2013
  • 04:59 AM

How do you avoid your problems? Different strategies, different outcomes

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Is it a good idea to disengage from things that stress you?  In occupational psychology, it it seems to depend on who you ask. The work coping literature describes Avoidance Coping as a generally counter-productive strategy. Yet literature in the field of work recovery has shown that taking steps to detach from stress can be helpful and health. To dig deeper, Bonnie Cheng and Julie McCarthy have published a study looking at how disengagement affects the negative impact of inter-role conflic........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2013
  • 06:19 AM

How do we get the science of occupational psychology right?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

How trustworthy is the scientific literature about psychology in the workplace? In a recent position piece, Sven Kepes and Michael McDaniel note that higher-profile controversies over social priming, practical intelligence, and a range of social psychology effects may reflect wider credibility issues in psychology, including in our neck of the woods, occupational or industrial-organisational (I-O) psychology.Their case begins with the fact that hypotheses in psychology articles, including I-O on........ Read more »

Kepes, Sven, & McDaniel, Michael A. (2013) How trustworthy is the scientific literature in I-O psychology? . Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 6(3), 252-268. DOI: 10.1111/iops.12045  

  • August 23, 2013
  • 04:54 AM

The supposed benefits of open-plan offices do not outweigh the costs

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

(This post is courtesy of Christian Jarrett at the Research Digest, and is also found at that site.)The worlds of business, office design and psychology really need to get their heads together. Large open-plan offices have become the norm across modern cities despite a sizeable literature documenting the disadvantages, including increased distraction and diminished worker satisfaction.Open-plan offices are favoured by companies largely because of economic factors - more employees can be hous........ Read more »

  • August 20, 2013
  • 05:33 AM

Introducing workplace support can free us to develop ourselves and our organisation

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

New research suggests that when job support improves working conditions, the benefits are invested in different ways dependent on the individual's current thoughts and feelings.  The study looked at night shift performance of junior doctors and focused on structural support, meaning a part of the workplace designed-in to help employees. Research on organisational support tends to focus on perceptions of support, such as 'My manager helps me through tough times'. This can make it difficult t........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2013
  • 09:51 AM

Hostility increases unemployment, unemployment increases hostility

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

We know that unemployment is self-perpetuating, due to reasons including stigma and skill loss. Now new research suggests a further component to this vicious circle: hostile people are more likely to be without work, but periods without work also seem to raise levels of hostility, at least in the short-term. The research team, led by Christian Hakulinen, made use of a large Finnish longitudinal data set beginning in 1980 with the recruitment of children and adolescents. From this set, data was a........ Read more »

Christian Hakulinen, Markus Jokela, Mirka Hintsanen, Laura Pulkki-Råback, Marko Elovainio, Taina Hintsa, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Jorma Viikari, Olli T. Raitakari, & Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen. (2013) Hostility and unemployment: A two-way relationship? . Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 153-160. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2013.04.003  

  • August 5, 2013
  • 05:42 AM

A team's goals determine whether diversity helps or hinders

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Diversity offers an informational resource to any group, each perspective bringing something different to the table. Yet this isn't always fully leveraged. And diversity can  also disrupt team performance, due to the easier formation of in- and out-groups, where people trust information when it comes from those similar to them, and are slower to share information with those who are different. A new study suggests that one factor that can tip the balance from benefit to harm is how team memb........ Read more »

Anne Nederveen Pieterse, Daan van Knippenberg, & Dirk van Dierendonck. (2013) Cultural Diversity and Team Performance: The Role of Team Member Goal Orientation. Academy of Management Journal, 56(3), 782-804. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2010.0992  

  • August 1, 2013
  • 06:21 AM

Who feels treated unfairly after taking an assessment?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Applicant reactions are the feelings people have about taking a given set of assessments in order to secure employment. We know that assessment design matters: applicants are happiest when given scope to show their capability through relevant challenges that did not demand inappropriate information. Applicant factors matter too - obviously passing or failing the assessment can colour their perception, as can their 'attributional style' - but up to now there has been no consistent effect of appli........ Read more »

Laura Honkaniemi, Taru Feldt, Riitta-Leena Metsäpelto, & Asko Tolvanen. (2013) Personality Types and Applicant Reactions in Real-life Selection . International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 21(1), 32-45. DOI: 10.1111/ijsa.12015  

  • July 25, 2013
  • 09:38 AM

Implementation is the issue when standing up to bullying

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Workplace bullying has been estimated to cost the UK £13.75 billion annually. As a consequence, more and more organisations are putting into place anti-bullying policies to protect their employees and themselves. However, recent research explores potential gaps between policy and implementation in organisations, using a case study that digs beneath the official position. Chris Woodrow and David Guest investigated a London-based hospital, high performing with strong clinical results. Analysis of........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2013
  • 10:54 AM

Is it better to enter negotiations with a team? It depends on your culture

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Research suggests that negotiating parties tend to benefit when fielding a team rather than an individual. Generally, more heads are better than one, providing more ideas, helping to synthesise new information, correct each others biases and keep each other on target. Evidence suggests that even a single team operating in a negotiation (versus a solo counterpart) is sufficient to produce outcomes better for both parties. However, a research team led by Michele Gelfand has explored how universal ........ Read more »

Michele J. Gelfand, Jeanne Brett, Brian C. Gunia, Lynn Imai, Tsai-Jung Huang, & Bi-Fen Hsu. (2013) Toward a Culture-by-Context Perspective on Negotiation: Negotiating Teams in the United States and Taiwan . Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(3), 504-513. DOI: 10.1037/a0031908  

  • July 9, 2013
  • 09:42 AM

Women leaders don't get a free pass for acting tentatively - but men do

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Women seeking leadership have historically been hampered by stereotypical beliefs that they don't - and shouldn't - behave actively, confidently, with agency. Leaders need to be agentic, shaping an organisation toward a desired vision. But traditional gender roles demand that women take a more nurturing, passive stance, and when they do not, as copious research from the 1980s and 1990s found, they are met with disapproval. However, society has changed over the decades, to the extent that agency ........ Read more »

  • July 4, 2013
  • 07:34 AM

When is it better to be a directive or an empowering leader?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; direction: ltr; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); }P.western { font-family: "Liberation Serif","Times New Roman",serif; font-size: 12pt; }P.cjk { font-family: "WenQuanYi Micro Hei"; font-size: 12pt; }P.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Hindi"; font-size: 12pt; } In its early existence, a team led with a clear, directive approach outperforms one with a leader who is hands-off and emphasises empowerment. Over time, however, the empowered team forges insights and patterns of working that lea........ Read more »

  • July 2, 2013
  • 11:45 AM

Employers benefit when members don't only identify with them

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Where does our work allegiance lie? At first blush, probably with the employer organisation that pays our wages and paints a vision of why we are doing what we do. We identify as National Trust people, or as part of Rummidge General Hospital. Identification with an organisation helps it meet objectives and lines employees up towards common goals, such as meeting hospital targets. But perhaps we also identify as a member of the medical profession: two identities, not one. And for in-sourced emplo........ Read more »

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