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Article

Fred Zijlstra and Henny Mulders

People with disabilities have more problems in finding adequate employment than people without disabilities. In most countries, the law requires that people with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities to find a job. However, in the various stages of finding a job—selection and recruitment, hiring, and employment—there are hindrances that place people with disabilities in a disadvantaged position. There are various options in the application process (i.e. ‘open hiring’), or offering accommodations in the workplace that can help to overcome the barriers people with disabilities face. Making changes to the work processes and job design is a form of ‘workplace accommodations’ that can help to create a better fit between requirements of the job and the capabilities and competences of applicants with a disability. This generally works best if the focus is on human resources related problems and needs in organizations, and it is explored to what extent people with disabilities or chronic diseases can be part of the solution to these organizational human resources-related problems.

Article

Matti Vartiainen

“Telework” and “remote work” have both increased sharply in recent years during and after the pandemic. The basic difference between telework and remote work is that a teleworker uses personal electronic devices in addition to working physically remotely from a place other than an office or company premises, whereas remote work does not require visits to the main workplace or the use of electronic personal devices. “Mobile tele- and remote workers” use several other places in addition to home for working. “Digital online telework” is a global form of employment that uses online platforms to enable individuals, teams, and organizations to access other individuals or organizations to solve problems or to provide services in exchange for payment. Often tele- and remote workers cowork in virtual teams and projects. The prevalence of various types of tele- and remote working vary. Although there are conceptual challenges to operationalizing the concept, it is estimated that hundreds of millions—and possibly more—people today earn their living working at and from their home or other places using digital tools and platforms. In the future, it is expected that new hybrid modes of working will emerge enabled by digital technologies. These changes in working increase the complexity of job demands because of the increased variety of contextual job characteristics. The main benefits of these new ways of working are organizational flexibility and individual autonomy; at the same time, unclear social relations may increase feelings of isolation and challenge the work-life balance.

Article

Daniel J. Madigan, Andrew P. Hill, Sarah H. Mallinson-Howard, Thomas Curran, and Gareth E. Jowett

Perfectionism and performance have long been intertwined. The conceptual history of this relationship is best considered complex, with some theorists maintaining that perfectionism is likely to impair performance and others more recently suggesting that aspects of perfectionism may form part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. Recent studies on perfectionism and performance in sport, education, and the workplace provide us with evidence that perfectionism is indeed an important characteristic in achievement domains. However, this relationship is exceedingly complex. In examining this relationship empirically, researchers have distinguished between two dimensions of perfectionism. The first is perfectionistic strivings that comprise high personal standards and a self-oriented striving for perfection. The second is perfectionistic concerns that comprise a preoccupation with mistakes and negative reactions to imperfection. With regard to perfectionistic strivings, research has revealed that in certain circumstances they are related to better performance. Evidence for this is strongest in education but notably mixed in sport and the workplace. With regard to perfectionistic concerns, while there is evidence that they may not directly impair performance, there is also enough evidence that they may have a detrimental indirect influence on performance. Based on existing research, we argue that there is currently too little research and too many mixed findings to conclude perfectionistic strivings forms part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. In addition, the role of perfectionistic concerns for performance is likely to be more substantive than currently suggested.

Article

Organizational psychology represents an important theoretical and practical field of contemporary psychological science that studies mental and behavioral phenomena that take place in individuals and groups belonging to social organizations. From a historical point of view, the roots of this specialty can be traced to the psychological approaches to the world of industry and work that began to appear in the beginning of the 20th century. The discovery of the relevance of individual differences in both mental and behavioral processes paved the way to the creation of a scientific and technical knowledge that could maximize an adaptation of humans at work that would benefit industrial activities, would increase worker satisfaction, and bring progress and peace to all of society. Such specialized knowledge has evolved during the past century through a series of stages that permitted a growing theoretical complexity and more efficient technological interventions. This evolution of basic topics includes the study of the human operator; humankind’s capacities and abilities; the influence of social factors upon people in the workplace; and the structures of all sorts of organizations created to obtain desired and needed goals. The relevance of social powers influencing the world of labor have made possible the creation of a rigorous and complex body of scientific knowledge that continuously provides information, advice, and help to modern society in its economic, social, and political structures.

Article

MacKenna L. Perry and Leslie B. Hammer

Study of the intersection of work with nonwork components of individuals’ lives has most often focused on roles within nuclear and extended families but is increasingly focused on nonwork domains beyond family, such as roles within friendships, communities, leisure activities, and the self. In line with the focus of most existing literature on the family-specific domain within nonwork lives, the nonwork domain will generally be referred to here as “family.” One popular conceptualization of linking mechanisms between work and family differentiates between work-family conflict or stress, which occurs when a work role and a nonwork role are not fully compatible and results in some type of physical or psychological strain. Alternatively, work-family enrichment occurs when participation in one role benefits life in the other role. Concepts similar to work-family enrichment include work-family positive spillover and work-family facilitation; all emphasize the ways in which one role can positively impact another role. Additionally, the popular concept of work-family balance highlights either a state of low conflict and high enrichment or the presence of effectiveness and satisfaction in both roles. Broadly speaking, the links between work and family are bi-directional, such that the work domain can influence the family domain, the family domain can influence the work domain, and both can occur simultaneously. Work-family conflict and enrichment have been tied to important employee outcomes, including work (e.g., absenteeism), family (e.g., family satisfaction), and domain-unspecific outcomes (e.g., physical and psychological health), as well as to organizational outcomes (e.g., market performance). Working conditions contributing to work-family conflict and enrichment are frequently characteristic of lower wage jobs, such as low levels of control over work, high work demands, low levels of supervisor support, shift work, and temporary work that can lead to unpredictable schedules, high degrees of job insecurity, and increased health and safety hazards. Researchers are presented with unique challenges as the workplace continues to change, with more dual-earner couples, an increasingly aging workforce, and surges of technology that facilitates flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommuting). Nonetheless, researchers and organizations work to explore relationships between work and family roles, develop policies related to work and family (i.e., national, state or local, and organizational), and build evidence-based interventions to improve organizations’ abilities to meet employees’ needs.

Article

Anja H. Olafsen and Edward L. Deci

Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation that utilizes concepts essential for organizational psychology. Among the concepts are types and quality of motivation and basic (i.e., innate and universal) psychological needs. Further, the theory has specified social-environmental factors that affect both the satisfaction versus frustration of the basic psychological needs and the types of motivation. The social-environmental factors concern ways in which colleagues, employees’ immediate supervisors, and their higher-level managers create workplace conditions that are important determinants of the employees’ motivation, performance, and wellness. In addition, SDT highlights individual differences that also influence the degrees of basic need satisfaction and the types of motivation that the employees display. This theoretical framework has gained increasingly attention within the context of work the last 15 years, showcasing the importance of basic psychological needs and type of work motivation in explaining the relation from workplace factors to work behaviors, work attitudes and occupational health.

Article

David E. Guest

The quality of working life (QWL) is concerned with the conditions and practices in organizations that help to promote the well-being of the workforce. Interest in the subject grew during the second half of the 20th century, in the face of rising worker expectations and the challenges faced by organizations in attracting, motivating, and retaining staff in tight labor markets. Initial conceptual and empirical developments were provided by socio-technical systems theory and motivation theory. Much emphasis was placed on the design of jobs, often in autonomous work groups and in industrial democracy that provided workers with a role in the design of their work. However, a strength as well as a challenge for QWL advocacy is that it covers a wide range of topics relevant to worker well-being, such as fair pay, opportunities for development and growth, healthy working conditions, and work–life balance, as well as the core topic of work design to permit sufficient worker autonomy. In practice, the main focus of interventions addressed work design. For a few years, quality of working life became a “movement” that attracted the interest of industry and governments, providing opportunities for the wider application of the work of psychologists and other social scientists; however, changes in the economic circumstances and in labor markets led to a decline of interest. Nevertheless, relevant research on specific features of QWL continued to provide a strong evidence base. Entering the third decade of the 21st century, a rekindled interest in the topic has emerged among academics and policymakers, due to the advent of digitization, the growth of more precarious forms of employment, and increasing evidence about the adverse impact of poor quality work. Recent writing and research has offered a reconceptualized QWL designed to address the contemporary challenges of the workplace.

Article

Hannes Zacher

Action regulation theory is a meta-theory on the regulation of goal-directed behavior. The theory explains how workers regulate their behavior through cognitive processes, including goal development and selection, internal and external orientation, planning, monitoring of execution, and feedback processing. Moreover, action regulation theory focuses on the links between these cognitive processes, behavior, the objective environment, and objective outcomes. The action regulation process occurs on multiple levels of action regulation, including the sensorimotor or skill level, the level of flexible action patterns, the intellectual or conscious level, and the meta-cognitive heuristic level. These levels range from unconscious and automatized control of actions to conscious thought, and from muscular action to thought processes. Action regulation at lower levels in this hierarchy is more situation specific and requires less cognitive effort than action regulation at higher levels. Workers further develop action-oriented mental models that include long-term cognitive representations of input conditions, goals, plans, and expected and prescribed results of action, as well as knowledge about the boundary conditions of action and the transformation procedures that turn goals into expected results. The accuracy and level of detail of such action-oriented mental models is closely associated with the efficiency and effectiveness of action regulation. One of three foci can be in the foreground of action regulation: task, social context, or self. A task focus is most strongly associated with high efficiency and effectiveness of action regulation, because it links task-related goals with relevant plans, behavior, and feedback. Action regulation theory has been applied to understand several phenomena in the field of industrial, work, and organizational psychology, including proactive work behavior, work-related learning and error management, entrepreneurship, occupational strain and well-being, reciprocal influences between personality and work, innovation, teamwork, career development, and successful aging at work.

Article

Birgit Schyns, Susanne Braun, and Barbara Wisse

Dark Triad personality traits in the workplace comprise the traits narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. The Dark Triad, and its relationships with individual and organizational variables, has received increasing attention in organizational behavior research. These three traits share a lack of concern for others but also have idiosyncratic attributes. Narcissism is characterized by a sense of entitlement and self-absorption. Machiavellianism comprises a focus on instrumentality and willingness to engage in manipulation. Psychopathy, possibly the darkest of the three traits, renders individuals callous, impulsive, and displaying antisocial behavior. While Dark Triad traits may be adaptive in some regards (e.g., narcissism facilitates leadership emergence), the majority of empirical findings point to the damage that individuals high in those traits can do to other organizational members and effective organizational functioning.

Article

Dirk D. Steiner

Organizational justice refers to people’s perceptions of the fairness or unfairness of the treatment they receive in the organizations where they work. The ways authorities, such as supervisors and managers, make decisions and implement them are evaluated by employees in terms of their fairness. Other agents, such as coworkers and customers who interact with employees, also can generate judgments of fairness or unfairness at work. These fairness perceptions can be conceived according to four dimensions of organizational justice as well as in general terms. The four dimensions are distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational. Typically, distributive justice evaluates the equity of treatment, where people expect outcomes proportionate to their contributions. Workers also evaluate the fairness of procedures used to make decisions and the quality of their interpersonal relations with the various actors of the organization, including the information the actors communicate regarding decisions and the procedures followed to make them. When people perceive that they are treated fairly, positive consequences result for them and for their organizations. Thus, they tend to be more satisfied, evaluate their management more favorably, engage in more prosocial behaviors within their organizations, perform at higher levels, and remain in their employing organizations for longer periods. When people experience unfair treatment, negative consequences include stress and health-related concerns for employees, negative attitudes toward the organization, and counterproductive behaviors, such as theft, vandalism, or absenteeism. People react strongly to fair or unfair treatment for different reasons. They may believe that fair treatment will allow them to receive the rewards that they deserve, it may communicate that they are valued in a group, or fair treatment may be valued as an important and basic principle of human functioning. Research on organizational justice in 2020 focuses on understanding the mechanisms producing fairness judgments and their consequences and on the boundary conditions limiting the observed relations with their antecedents and outcomes.

Article

Rosalind H. Searle

Counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) can be a significant activity within workplaces. Psychological study outlines different perspectives as to why these arise. Traditional views position CWB as an individual factor that enables their detection and nonselection. While deviance may emanate from one person, if left unchallenged it can rapidly spread throughout a workplace, altering the prevailing values, norms, and behaviors, and in the process becoming more enduring and toxic. Alternatively, the source of CWB can emerge outside the individual with a context that depletes the individual’s own regulatory resources. Those engaging in CWB can be unaware of their behaviors, with moral disengagement mechanisms used to reframe cognitions about their activities, which leads to more pervasive collective moral decline. Inhibiting CWB requires active processes of both individual self-reflection and self-regulation, which can be easily derailed in stress-inducing contexts, but are constrained through self-reflection and also social and legal sanctions. However, through the means of selecting and shaping their environments, fear of social sanction can be diminished, actively assisted by colluding networks of silence, that protect and even embolden instigators, further muting their targets, and driving those willing to report out of the organization. In these ways prevailing norms become distorted. Increasingly, a traditional binary notion of “good” and “bad” people is being challenged as oversimplistic, with research showing CWB as a complex process. Its antecedents can be individual, but they may also be situational, or the result of prior “good” deeds. The exploration of four distinct approaches offers very different insights into the antecedents, processes, and outcomes, and potential means to more effectively intervene, and inhibit their occurrence.

Article

For the first half century of industrial, work, and organizational psychology’s (IWOP’s) existence, the role of culture has been ambiguous at best. Attention to culture in IWOP started to take form in the 1970s, and in the last 20 years culture has begun to be integrated into IWOP research more generally. This integration has led to explorations of culture in the workplace far beyond the initial focus on organizational management theories and practices to looking at cultures’ relationships with all aspects of organizational and employee experiences. Most cross-cultural studies in IWOP research clearly show the importance of understanding societal culture’s impact on organizations, institutions, work, and workers. Merely transferring existing theories and practices of IWOP to new contexts without a clear understanding of whether those theories and practices make sense across cultures is unlikely to be successful. Through globalization and the multiculturalization of workforces, employees are increasingly interacting with people of varying cultural backgrounds on a far more regular basis than in the past. This change has spurred attention to how culture has impacted theories, research, and practices in some key IWOP theoretical domains, including leadership; occupational safety, stress, and health; precarious and decent work; trust and trustworthiness; and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the multinational organization.

Article

James M. Diefendorff, Megan E. Kenworthy, Faith C. Lee, and Linh K. Nguyen

The topic of work motivation permeates industrial/organizational psychology literature due to its established connections with attitudes, affect, well-being, behavior, and performance. Work motivation refers to the direction, intensity, and persistence of job-related behaviors. The concept of goals is essential to understanding motivation because goals represent desired end states toward which motivated effort and persistence are directed. Goal-based processes can be conceptualized in two main phases: goal setting and goal striving. Goal setting involves the selection of a goal after consideration of the feasibility (i.e., expectancy) and desirability (i.e., valence) of potential goals, and goal striving involves planning for and engaging in goal pursuit through the expenditure of effort and other resources. Goals are hierarchically arranged with more specific, shorter term goals toward the bottom of the hierarchy and more abstract, longer term goals toward the top of the hierarchy. Lower level goals represent the means by which higher level goals are attained. Multiple goals naturally exist in most real-world situations, so there is the need to prioritize and balance goal pursuit, with research outlining a number of factors that can aid in this prioritization, including goal expectancies, affect, and distance from goal attainment. Goals differ in a number of ways that have implications for performance and well-being. Two key ways are especially relevant for the workplace: (a) goals focused on approaching desirable outcomes versus goals focused on avoiding undesirable outcomes and (b) goals emanating from the self versus coming from the environment. The implication is that not all goal pursuit is equally beneficial for individuals and organizations.

Article

Belgin Okay-Somerville, Eva Selenko, and Rosalind H. Searle

Young people (between ages 15 and 24 years) experience unique difficulties in access to work, compared to the rest of the working population. Young people are in the process of developing career competencies and therefore lack the necessary know-how, know-why and know-whom relevant for securing jobs and developing sustainable careers. Social disadvantage creates a major obstacle in the way of young people’s career competency development. Lifespan career development theories, with a focus on career competency development, explain young people’s struggle for access to work. When we are younger, we tend to have high growth needs relevant for achieving educational and occupational aspirations and becoming independent adults. These motives may be explained by lifespan theories of aging. Yet, there is a tendency to attribute young people’s work-related motives and behavior to generational differences. Generational perspectives are conceptually and operationally muddled and may serve to heighten age-related stereotypes at work. Psychological science can make further impactful contributions to improving youth employment, especially by taking the socioeconomic context into account.

Article

Adequately appreciating any area of applied ethics necessarily begins with indispensable foundations from moral philosophy and moral psychology, which are the bases for understanding normative ethical principles. (Otherwise, one could be reduced to the rote memorization of a near-infinite list of “dos and don’ts.”) Personal and social values also are critical as they shape people’s conceptions of ethics and morality. (For example, what constitutes a harm or a wrong? What is the right thing to do?) Traditionally in moral philosophy there have been three ways of answering those normative questions: from deontology (determining what is permissible based on absolutist ethical principles of right and wrong); consequentialism (assessing which alternative is best because it produces the greatest good [or least harm] for all those affected); and virtue theory (being virtuous). Yet, they have all been shown to have weaknesses. For example, what happens when principles are contradictory? What counts as a good? Who determines what is a virtue? And situations sometimes lend themselves more readily to one or another approach, so prudence suggests understanding and being prepared to use all. A person experiences an ethical problem when faced with a choice that challenges one or more of their ethical principles, with potential significant impact on the well-being of others. Professionals often experience ethical dilemmas, which entail having to make uncomfortable choices—choices one would rather not have to make at all. It helps to be able to recognize the form or structure of the dilemma (e.g., contemplating a self-serving act that will harm others). What makes the situation painful is that the person is motivated to some appreciable degree to “do the right thing” (otherwise they wouldn’t be experiencing a “dilemma”). Professionals such as work and organizational psychologists (WOPs) encounter a variety of ethical challenges in the different venues in which they work—as educators, researchers, practitioners, and administrators. Recent empirical survey data concerning ethical situations experienced and reported by WOPs have become available, illustrating that variety. The process of ethics education and training ought to entail becoming familiar with one or more of the several decision-making models for facilitating ethical reasoning that are available in the professional literature.

Article

Anja Van den Broeck and Sharon K. Parker

Job design or work design refers to the content, structure, and organization of tasks and activities. It is mostly studied in terms of job characteristics, such as autonomy, workload, role problems, and feedback. Throughout history, job design has moved away from a sole focus on efficiency and productivity to more motivational job designs, including the social approach toward work, Herzberg’s two-factor model, Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model, the job demand control model of Karasek, Warr’s vitamin model, and the job demands resources model of Bakker and Demerouti. The models make it clear that a variety of job characteristics make up the quality of job design that benefits employees and employers alike. Job design is crucial for a whole range of outcomes, including (a) employee health and well-being, (b) attitudes like job satisfaction and commitment, (c) employee cognitions and learning, and (d) behaviors like productivity, absenteeism, proactivity, and innovation. Employee personal characteristics play an important role in job design. They influence how employees themselves perceive and seek out particular job characteristics, help in understanding how job design exerts its influence, and have the potential to change the impact of job design.

Article

The sociotechnical approach, developed by psychologists at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in the 1950s, proposes that the design of work should seek to optimize both the social and the technical systems within organizations, offering a counter to ideas of technological determinism. It further suggests that organizations should be viewed as open systems, subject to sometimes unpredictable external and internal influences leading to a need for adaptability. The work group is viewed as the most relevant unit of analysis resulting in advocacy of autonomous work groups offering group members high levels of control over their work. Workers should participate in the design of their work and receive training and support to enable their involvement. This influential concept stimulated a large body of research in many countries. Despite some notable positive examples, outcomes were often mixed, reflecting the challenges of managing and sustaining significant change. The concept of joint optimization has also proved problematic, with psychologists tending to focus on the social system, while engineers give greater emphasis to the technical system. The advent of digital technologies is providing a new impetus to the need to design work to optimize both the social and technical systems, provoking renewed interest in the approach.

Article

Fangfang Zhang, Sabreen Kaur, and Sharon K. Parker

It is difficult and sometimes impossible for organizations to design jobs that fit all employees due to increased complexity and uncertainty in the workplace. Scholars have proposed that employees can make changes to their jobs themselves by engaging in job crafting. Job crafting is defined as self-initiated change that employees make in their work to better fit their abilities, needs, and preferences. Employees can craft their jobs individually and collaboratively, as a team. Two main theoretical perspectives have been proposed, which are distinct in how they define job crafting. The application of these two job crafting perspectives has brought some confusion about the construct of job crafting and how it is measured, and has resulted in some challenges in synthesizing empirical studies. To reduce this confusion, scholars have integrated the two distinct job crafting paper; we begin by introducing the definitions and measurements of individual job crafting and team job crafting. Specifically, theories of job crafting are reviewed from two perspectives using three distinct categorizations, with approach crafting versus avoidance crafting identified as the most important. A great number of empirical studies have been conducted to investigate the consequences of job crafting and factors that affect it. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown positive effects of approach job crafting for employees, such as increased job satisfaction, motivation, work engagement, organizational commitment, and job performance, and decreased strain and turnover intentions. However, avoidance crafting has been associated with burnout and lowered job performance. Organizational factors and individual factors that affect individual job crafting have been identified, including job autonomy, organizational support, leadership, proactive personality, self-efficacy, and regulatory focus. Beyond antecedents and outcomes of job crafting that have been systematically reviewed in the literature, studies on job crafting have also (a) empirically tested the interrelationships of different job crafting constructs, (b) uncovered new forms of job crafting, (c) unraveled the complicated effects of job crafting, (d) unpacked the influences of social context in job crafting process and outcomes, (e) considered job crafting in different populations and contexts, (f) investigated the effect of cultural differences on job crafting, and (g) investigated antecedents and outcomes of team job crafting. Finally, evidence has shown that job crafting behaviors can be trained: intervention studies show the effectiveness of job crafting interventions in stimulating job crafting behaviors and related positive outcomes such as well-being, engagement, and performance.

Article

Suzanne van Gils and Niels van Quaquebeke

Business scandals in the early 2000s gave renewed rise to the question of how companies can be led ethically. Correspondingly, research on ethical leadership focuses on leaders as moral persons—but even more so as moral managers. This focus came with a more general shift within many Western societies toward issues of sustainability, social justice, and well-being, and it has simultaneously given rise to the development of related constructs such as servant, respectful, and authentic leadership. In general, ethical leadership research has contributed to a necessary debate about leaders’ roles and responsibilities. Nonetheless, recent meta-analyses and critical reviews have criticized the minimal to nonexistent incremental value of the current operationalization of ethical leadership beyond other leadership concepts, underscored the philosophically all too simplistic notion of ethics underlying the concept, and highlighted its construct redundancy with the domain of follower-focused leadership. As such, there appear to be fruitful avenues for further honing the construct and its operationalization so that research can meaningfully inform leadership practice.

Article

Occupational health psychology is concerned with improving the quality of work life and protecting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of workers. Research and theoretical development in this area of psychology has focused on a number of core areas, particularly the study of workplace stress, health and safety at work, workplace aggression and bullying, work–life balance, and impact of the organization of work on health and well-being, including flexible work and new technology. Researchers have devoted attention to understanding the causes and mechanisms linking work design and organizational factors to health, safety, and well-being in the workplace, as well as developing interventions to improve work conditions and promote well-being. While much of this work has focused on alleviating negative effects (e.g., preventing disease and injury and reducing stress symptoms), positive psychology has influenced researchers to examine motivating effects that create the conditions for personal growth and learning (e.g., job crafting, thriving at work, and work engagement).