BPS Occupational Digest

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185 posts · 96,394 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. It is funded by the Division of Occupational Psychology and is intended for occupational psychology practitioners together with a wider audience who care about putting psychology to work, including HR professionals, occupational psychologists, managers, consultants, and students. The site will initially focus on providing clear reports on recent research findings, and will evolve from this to the needs of its audience.

Alex Fradera
185 posts

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  • March 28, 2014
  • 10:17 AM
  • 190 views

Wellbeing is shaped by your day's little highlights, not merely its mishaps

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Wellbeing research has tended to model work-life as a default state punctuated by negative events such as conflicts, mistakes, or unwelcome change. In this way, it follows the broader model of psychological health research that focuses on harmful interruption to normal functioning , a model that Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi were contesting in 2000 when they launched the Positive Psychology movement. In a new paper, Joyce Bono and colleagues further this tradition by drawing attent........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2014
  • 07:12 AM
  • 215 views

Never the earner, always the bride: How male breadwinners view women in the workplace

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Across a series of studies, a new article demonstrates that married men who have a more traditional 'breadwinner role' at home tend to have more negative views on women in the workplace. Across their studies, Sreedhari Desai, Dolly Chugh and Arthur Brief defined traditional marriages as those where the wife was not employed, contrasted with couples that were dual-earning.  Firstly they employed data from US national surveys. In the first data set - 282 married men in 1996 - those in more tr........ Read more »

  • March 20, 2014
  • 11:46 AM
  • 196 views

The toll we take from caring for our elders

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

'Just as there was a postwar baby boom, society is now in the midst of a senior boom.' While all organisations offer parental support at or beyond that mandated by the state, provision for employees involved in eldercare is far more hit and miss. In the article that provides our lead quote, Lisa Calvano of West Chester University takes us through the literature on the psychological impact of eldercare.Calvano’s literature review reveals a clear consensus on one point: psychological strain is s........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2014
  • 06:41 AM
  • 213 views

Gamers find it easier to relax and detach from work

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

A new study suggests digital gaming during leisure time is associated with better recovery from working stresses, particularly when that gaming involves online interaction with other people. Contrary to prior research, time spent gaming is not an influential factor upon the findings. This suggests that rather than game play steadily replenishing personal resources, the act – or mere availability – of gaming can be beneficial in a range of forms, from a quick zap to longer immersive sessions......... Read more »

  • March 10, 2014
  • 08:32 AM
  • 213 views

How the green-eyed monster colours our perceptions

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

The flush of envy - pain at another's good fortune - is a common experience in many a workplace. This emotion can disrupt wellbeing, heighten turnover, and contribute to poorer group performance. John Veiga and colleagues felt that existing models for evaluating workplace emotions give an incomplete account of envy, which is intimately linked to cognition and social standing. In a new article, they propose a new take on the green-eyed monster.Veiga's model begins with a felt appraisal triggered ........ Read more »

Veiga, J., Baldridge, D., & Markóczy, L. (2014) Toward greater understanding of the pernicious effects of workplace envy. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.877057  

  • January 13, 2014
  • 04:38 AM
  • 216 views

What does volunteering say about how much your job means to you, and how well you perform in it?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

What motivates someone to volunteer? This question lies at the heart of Jessica Rodell's dissertation research, now published in the Academy of Management Journal. Rodell looked at two differing perspectives on why we take on meaningful activities outside of a paying job. Are we after something we can't get from our nine to five? Or is it that the meaning we taste in our job makes us hungry - voracious, even - for more?Rodell's first study surveyed 208 people, three quarters of whom were women, ........ Read more »

  • December 24, 2013
  • 06:46 AM
  • 270 views

Rebooting Organisational Citizenship Behaviour for the 21st Century

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Fans of comics are well acquainted with franchises being 'rebooted', and aficionados of TV and film may have experienced this with the Battlestar Galactica series or Star Trek movies. What seems cutting edge and on-the-nose in one era can begin to look dated and out of touch in another, so a deft hand is needed to sharpen things up. But did you ever consider that psychological concepts get rebooted too? Just like TV media, what makes sense in one era can be anachronistic in another. So, here's a........ Read more »

  • December 20, 2013
  • 10:10 AM
  • 227 views

If you love to multitask, you better have the aptitude to back it up

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Over a typical working day, I'll juggle all manner of tasks, some important, some urgent, all competing for attention. Multitasking, in this sense, is common to many a modern workplace, and it's been known for some time that people differ in their enjoyment of it.Over the last decade, studies have confirmed that people vary also in their ability to multitask. A new study by Kristin Sanderson and colleagues suggests that to understand someone's fit to a multitasking role, it's critical to look at........ Read more »

Kristin R. Sanderson, Valentina Bruk-Lee, Chockalingam Viswesvaran, Sara Gutierrez, & Tracy Kantrowitz. (2013) Multitasking: Do preference and ability interact to predict performance at work? . Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 556-563. DOI: 10.1111/joop.12025  

  • December 18, 2013
  • 06:13 AM
  • 309 views

Why we flirt at work: the performance perspective

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

When we think about sexual behaviour in the workplace, it's easy to conjure up the Christmas-party fling or the clandestine affair; or, if we're in a more sober mood, we might turn to the topic of sexual harassment. Harassment and office romance are also the focus of most of the research in this area. Yet workplace sexual behaviour comes in many flavours, according to a new paper by Marla Baskerville Watkins and colleagues.The article is interested in how the workplace contains sexual performanc........ Read more »

Marla Baskerville Watkins, Alexis Nicole Smith, & Karl Aquino. (2013) The Use and Consequences of Strategic Sexual Performances. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 27(3), 173-186. DOI: 10.5465/amp.2010.0109  

  • December 13, 2013
  • 08:38 AM
  • 218 views

Want a spate of good deeds? Confront the ne'er do wells...

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Discovering you are racking up more work misdemeanours than the organisation considers acceptable can lead people to perform reparation behaviours to compensate for their misdeeds. The study that reports this new finding did not rely on public or interpersonal shaming for its effect; anonymous feedback that the individual had committed an above-average amount of counterproductive work actions was enough to provoke guilt, and through that, altruism.On day one of Remus Ilies's survey-based study, ........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2013
  • 06:42 AM
  • 230 views

How space and time collide for self-employed teleworkers

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

I'm self-employed and often need to get work done in a variety of locations. In theory, I should be most productive at home, with everything at my fingertips, but sometimes the exact reverse is true (which explains why I'm writing this from a cafe). So it was a treat to read a recent article by Mona Mustafa and Michael Gold on managing 'temporal and physical boundaries among self-employed teleworkers.' The article reports on a number of practices that may be useful to anyone in this situation.Th........ Read more »

Mona Mustafa, & Michael Gold. (2013) ‘Chained to my work’? Strategies to manage temporal and physical boundaries among self-employed teleworkers . Human Resource Management Journal, 23(4), 413-429. info:/

  • December 2, 2013
  • 11:11 AM
  • 303 views

Transformational leaders craft the right emotional states. Positive people are already in them

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

At their best, leaders get something from their workforce that would have been impossible otherwise. Research on this 'transformational leadership' style suggests that it can inspire employees to more creative performance - such as coming up with new and useful products – as well as encouraging helping behaviours. However, these benefits aren't seen across every study. A new paper suggests one reason is that some people simply don't need what the transformational leader has to offer.Phillip Gi........ Read more »

  • November 28, 2013
  • 07:39 AM
  • 251 views

Not getting much out of meetings? You may be masking your feelings too much

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Organisations invest up to 15 per cent of their personnel budget on meetings, yet their ubiquity is a common source of frustration, partly validated by evidence that as many as a third of meetings simply aren't productive. As research catches on to the importance of this area, we are beginning to understand how practical factors like agendas and refreshments influence meeting quality. So what about the emotional side to meetings? According to a new study, meeting attendees who feel the need to m........ Read more »

Linda R. Shanock, Joseph A. Allen, Alexandra M. Dunn, Benjamin E. Baran, Cliff W. Scott, & Steven G. Rogelberg. (2013) Less acting, more doing: How surface acting relates to perceived meeting effectiveness and other employee outcomes . Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 457-476. DOI: 10.1111/joop.12037  

  • November 25, 2013
  • 05:14 AM
  • 236 views

Autocratic people dampen group collaboration... when the group lets them

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

New research suggests that formal leaders with a strong sense of personal power have a negative impact on the performance of their team. The work by Leigh Tost and colleagues outlines how feeling powerful leads to a sense of entitlement within group discussions that can crowd out other voices and lead to less valuable information-sharing. This happens only when the powerful-feeling person has a formal leadership role; if they don’t, other group members don't allow the domination and therefore ........ Read more »

  • November 20, 2013
  • 10:12 AM
  • 283 views

Situations shape personality, just as personality shapes situations

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

It’s easy to think of ways that personality affects how we approach situations. But a new study looks at the other side of the coin: how situations alter our personality. This research suggests that while our personality at work has a stable, predictable quality, experience of meaningful events produces ‘personality states’ that deviate from our baseline traits.Timothy Judge’s team recruited 122 participants in full employment into this online study, measuring their general personality t........ Read more »

  • November 11, 2013
  • 06:59 AM
  • 283 views

Organisational newcomers respond to ebbing support by making less effort to fit in

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

New research about the experience of new entrants into an organisation, suggests that early support from co-workers and supervisors tails off across the first 100 days. The study shows this to matter at two levels:  week on week, support influences the newcomer's state of mind and how much effort they make to settle into the workplace. And across those 100 days and beyond, it can influence successful integration as well as efforts put back into the organisation. Typically, research on organ........ Read more »

John Kammeyer-Mueller, Connie Wanberg, Alex Rubenstein, & Zhaoli Song. (2013) Support, Undermining and Newcomer Socialization: Fitting in During the First 90 Days . Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), 1104-1124. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2010.0791  

  • November 7, 2013
  • 07:00 AM
  • 263 views

The Family Innovator's Dilemma: how family firms approach discontinuous technologies

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

The unique properties of family firms are often characterised by four Cs. Continuity, their commitment to longevity; Command, concentrating power within leadership, not across the organisation or with shareholders; Community, the organisation in some ways resembling an actual family; and Connections, with close relationships to suppliers and stakeholders. In a recent theoretical paper, Andreas König and colleagues consider the impact such qualities have on the uptake of discontinuous technologi........ Read more »

Andreas König, Nadine Kammerlander, & Albrecht Enders. (2013) The Family Innovator's Dilemma: How Family Influence Affects The Adoption of Discontinuous Technologies by Incumbent Firms . Academy of Management Review, 38(3), 418-441. info:/

  • October 31, 2013
  • 11:11 AM
  • 322 views

What makes ill feeling between work colleagues shift faster?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

An instance of personal friction with a colleague can create angry feelings that are slow to abate. Paradoxically, when the prickly day also involves a specific work-related dispute, bad moods don’t linger so long. This counter-intuitive finding may reflect our willingness to seek a benign explanation for unpleasant situations, blaming the context rather than the person.The research, from a team led by Laurenz Meier, looked at day-to-day swings in ratings of anger. This longitudinal study aske........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2013
  • 12:32 PM
  • 273 views

Writing your way to a new career: a look at the literature on narrative career learning

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Are you ever unsure about what you want from your working life? If so, you may find writing about it will help. A new paper proposes that the act of writing can help develop career narratives and make sense of ourselves. Here's the big idea, and some approaches you can take to become a ball-point explorer. Over the last few decades some career counsellors have begun to move from what psychometrics offer - fixed snapshots of current capabilities and interests - to begin exploring the value of ........ Read more »

  • October 17, 2013
  • 11:19 AM
  • 318 views

Do conscientious people speak out to improve the workplace?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Conscientiousness – describing those who strive, invest effort, and are reliable – is the personality trait most associated with positive work outcomes, from punctuality to the quality of work. Conscientious people also tend to exceed the core demands of the job, and are likely to engage in citizenship behaviours such as helping others and advocacy for the organisation. Another citizenship behaviour is expressing challenging but constructive opinions, often termed ‘voice’. Voice is good ........ Read more »

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