Newsroom

Photo of In-Sue Oh
In-Sue Oh

Research by a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that good vibes in the workplace, unfortunately, might be good for nothing.

Dr. In-Sue Oh’s research into organizational behavior and human resources found that organizational cynicism has a greater tendency to impact an employee’s job performance than does organizational trust.

Oh’s research is featured within a co-authored paper, titled, “Antecedents and Consequences of Employee Organizational Cynicism: A Meta-Analysis,” which was published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior and featured in Human Resource Executive Online.

So in this installment of the age-old battle good vs. bad, bad likely wins out.

“Organizational cynicism and organizational trust should be the opposite of each other, but what we found is that is not the case,” said Oh, an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management. “You may trust in your organization, but that does not mean you have a lot of positive experiences or that your job performance will improve, whereas organizational cynicism is almost always based upon tangible negative experiences and will lead to a reduction in effort and harming one’s job performance.”

Before reaching that conclusion, Oh and his co-authors had to delve into the two variables at play.

Organizational trust, Oh said, is “often based upon the lack of negative experiences at work, but not necessarily based upon the presence of positive experiences.” That is almost a complete juxtaposition of their definition of organizational cynicism, which is based solely upon negative experiences.

From there, Oh and his co-authors analyzed the responses of 9,186 employees of 34 organizations, within studies conducted between 1998-2011.

“What we found was mixed,” Oh said, “in that in predicting organizational commitment or an intent to leave the organization, organizational trust is more important than organizational cynicism. Good wins out, whereas in predicting job performance, the opposite was found.”

Another interesting finding, Oh said, was uncovered in a bid to determine whether cynical people are born or made. “They’re both born and made, we found,” Oh said, “but organizational mistreatment such as injustice and lack of support has a bigger influence on organizational cynicism than individual differences like cynical personality.”

Oh suggests companies adhere to careful hiring practices, in order to screen out cynical individuals who have negative and critical tendencies.

“However, perhaps what’s more important is the need to treat employees in a fair manner and to offer them proper support,” Oh said, “because the fact remains that cynical people can develop into nice people in the organization in which they work.”

Oh co-authored the paper with Dan S. Chiaburu and Laura C. Lomeli, of Texas A&M University; Ann C. Peng, of Michigan State University; and George C. Banks, of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ask people to describe the quintessential leader and it’s unlikely you will hear the word “passive.”

One reason that passivity and leadership are not equated is that a passive manager can cause a host of problems. According to researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, one such problem is the increase of workplace incivility, with docile managers at the root of these occurrences.

In their paper, “The Effects of Passive Leadership on Workplace Incivility,” Assistant Professor and Cigna Research Fellow Crystal Harold and Assistant Professor Brian Holtz write that passive managers both directly and indirectly influence the amount of workplace incivility employees will experience.

“We were interested in studying workplace incivility and, more specifically, factors that might promote the occurrence of incivility,” Harold said, “because, let’s face it – just about everyone has either been treated rudely at work, treated someone else rudely at work, or both. There are people out there who likely think that these sorts of behaviors are fairly innocuous, but available data would suggest otherwise.”

Harold and Holtz’s research has broad implications. A recent poll, conducted by Georgetown University researchers Christine Porath and Christine Pearson in a 2013 article, “The Price of Incivility,” suggests that 98 percent of North American employees have experienced incivility in the workplace. Incivility covers behaviors ranging from eye-rolling to checking emails during a meeting, and while these behaviors may seem innocuous, incivility in the workplace takes a toll.

Prior incivility research, upon which Harold and Holtz drew for their paper, which is in press at the Journal of Organizational Behavior, indicates that those who experience incivility have intentionally decreased their work effort and the quality of their work. Incivility has been shown to have a negative impact on job satisfaction, physical and mental well-being and turnover.

It is not only employees who are impacted by incivility. Managers of Fortune 1000 companies report spending 13 percent of their time addressing the consequences of instances of incivility, according to the paper by Porath and Pearson.

“Because incivility has negative psychological and physical effects on victims and is costly for organizations, it is important that we begin to understand why incivility occurs in the first place. What conditions foster an uncivil work environment?” Holtz said. “It made sense to us that leadership would be an important and significant variable to consider.”

Harold and Holtz conducted two studies in which they surveyed employees, as well as their co-workers and supervisors, to determine the role played by passive management in workplace incivility. The studies found a positive relationship between passive leadership and experienced incivility. In addition, the results indicate that employees who experience incivility are more likely to behave indecently themselves.

“We found that the experience of being treated with incivility coupled with working for a passive manager significantly increased the likelihood that an employee would both behave with incivility, as well as engage in withdrawal behaviors such as showing up to work late, or even calling out when not actually sick,” Holtz said. “The bottom line is that in the process of doing nothing, these types of managers are actually doing a lot of damage.”

Since those who experience incivility in the workplace display increased levels of behavioral incivility, Harold and Holtz found that passive managers may indirectly foster a workplace culture where employees feel that it is okay to behave rudely toward co-workers. In light of their findings, the research paper’s co-authors offered advice to organizations that wish to diminish instances of workplace incivility.

“First, you have to educate your employees and management that these seemingly harmless behaviors are anything but,” Harold said. “Training employees, and importantly managers, to recognize what incivility is, is an important first step.”

Added Holtz: “Make clear which behaviors constitute incivility, clarify the consequences for engaging in these behaviors, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy. This is where managerial training comes into play. Managers must learn to intervene when employees are behaving badly toward one another and quickly take punitive action against offenders.”

The responsibility rests with the manager to set a good example, according to Harold. Employees frequently take behavioral cues from supervisors and therefore, a manager’s actions can have unintended consequences.

“A company’s efforts to curb rudeness will be for naught if the manager is the one instigating the incivility,” Harold concluded.

Dr. Paul A Pavlou, the Chief Research Officer and Associate Dean of Research at the Fox School of Business, recently earned recognition as a world leader in scientific research.

Pavlou was named one of Thomson Reuters’ 2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, which published its list of honorees in June. Pavlou earned the distinction from the Intellectual Property and Science business branch of Thomson Reuters for citations of his work in a 10-year period, between 2002-2012.

The Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy at the Fox School, Pavlou joined more than 3,000 fellow scholars across 21 fields of study for being among the world’s most-highly cited researchers in his or her specialty. Pavlou’s papers registered more than 12,000 citations over the last decade, as he became one of 95 researchers honored by Thomson Reuters in the field of Economics & Business.

“I do research for my own personal motivation, because I like to discover new things,” Pavlou said, “but it is a great recognition that others rely on your work and cite your work.”

This is not the first such recognition of Pavlou’s research. In 2011, he was rated as the world’s most-productive researcher by top management information systems journals MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research, according to an analysis by the Association of Information Systems for the period 2010-2012.

Pavlou said he anticipates that his latest personal accolade, from Thomson Reuters, will render a double-edged impact at the Fox School. One of Pavlou’s goals, he said, is to continue to build Fox’s sterling reputation through highly cited, published papers from its students.

“I like to push the mentality that it’s not only (important) to get published, but to get published in well-read, well-respected journals,” he said. “Getting published by itself is not easy. Some may say, ‘It got published. I don’t care if nobody cites it. It’s there.’ But if you can take it to the next level and say, ‘This is something people will read, publish, cite,’ that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Analytics has rapidly integrated into the sport industry to optimize scheduling, assist with resource allocation, and examine the legal environment within sports organizations.

A new report from the Temple University Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), based at the Fox School of Business, examines the history and current state of analytics and Big Data in sports.

The report focuses on two main areas. The first is analysis of competition, which includes player evaluation and strategy and game management. The second is analytics that aid management of business and financial issues — this can include marketing, but that is simply a narrow part of the whole.

The paper is co-authored by Associate Professors Joris Drayer and Joel Maxcy, both faculty in Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. The report begins with the history of sports analytics and the founding of Sabermetrics, pioneered by Bill James. Sabermetrics produced cutting-edge statistical evaluations of sports players’ performance, starting with baseball.

Today, Major League Baseball (MLB) employs the most analytics professionals, with 97 percent of teams employing these professionals. Eighty percent of National Basketball Association (NBA) teams employ analytics professionals, as 56 percent of the National Football League (NFL) and 23 percent of the National Hockey League (NHL) do.

The report also includes two case studies. One explores the dynamic pricing of sports tickets, and the second discusses a system for combining GPS technology with highly sophisticated analytics to monitor athletes under game and practice conditions.

According to the report, the San Francisco Giants, along with technology partner Qcue, introduced dynamic ticket pricing (DTP) in 2009. The Giants were alone in their venture as recently as 2010, but now most MLB teams use some form of DTP. NBA and NHL teams are also rapidly implementing these strategies.

Determinants of ticket price are related to variables including: season ticket price, secondary market price, seat location, team performance, individual players’ performance, time and day of game, and game broadcasting.

The use of dynamic pricing has also spread to restaurants, movie theaters and the performing arts.

Catapult, based in Australia, developed the GPS system and data analysis algorithms in 2006. As of 2013, their client list includes more than 300 sports organizations globally.

“The system’s primary function is to monitor players’ movements and effort to ensure each player is optimally fit and trained without being overworked,” the report states.

A system such Catapult derives its analysis from three categories: performance analysis, injury analysis and tactical analysis. It works by attaching a small monitoring device to the back of a player’s jersey. Then the performance parameters are wirelessly uploaded to mobile computing devices or cloud-based software.

“The neat thing about this topic is that it’s of interest to any sports fan,” Drayer said. “Fantasy sports fans, for instance, are into numbers, and the rise of analytics gives fans access to more information.”

Though the report is of interest of sports fans and admirers, the basic premise of the applications mentioned is relevant to the general business community.

The full report is available at http://ibit.temple.edu/blog/2014/04/13/sports-analytics-advancing-decision-making-through-technology-and-data-2/