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APA Journal of Applied Psychology

Moving beyond assumptions of deviance: The reconceptualization and measurement of workplace gossip.Open in a New Window

Despite decades of research from other academic fields arguing that gossip is an important and potentially functional behavior, organizational research has largely assumed that gossip is malicious talk. This has resulted in the proliferation of gossip items in deviance scales, effectively subsuming workplace gossip research into deviance research. In this paper, the authors argue that organizational research has traditionally considered only a very narrow subset of workplace gossip, focusing almost exclusively on extreme negative cases which are not reflective of typical workplace gossip behavior. Instead of being primarily malicious, typical workplace gossip can be either positive or negative in nature and may serve important functions. It is therefore recommended that workplace gossip be studied on its own, independent of deviance. To facilitate this, the authors reconceptualize the workplace gossip construct and then develop a series of general-purpose English- and Chinese-language workplace gossip scales. Using 8 samples (including qualitative, multisource, multiwave, and multicultural data), the authors demonstrate the construct validity, reliability, cross-cultural measurement invariance, and acceptable psychometric properties of the workplace gossip scales. Relationships are demonstrated between workplace gossip and a variety of other organizational variables and processes, including uncertainty, emotion validation, self-esteem, norm enforcement, networking, influence, organizational justice, performance, deviance, and turnover. Future directions in workplace gossip research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Deviance and exit: The organizational costs of job insecurity and moral disengagement.Open in a New Window

This study examines why and when employees might respond to job insecurity by engaging in workplace deviance and developing intentions to leave—2 activities that are costly for organizations. Drawing on social exchange theory and the theory of moral disengagement, we propose that job insecurity increases workplace deviance and intentions to leave by encouraging employees to morally disengage. We further propose that the strength of the positive association between job insecurity, moral disengagement, and these outcomes is contingent upon 2 aspects of the situation—employees’ perceived employment opportunities outside the organization and the quality of the exchange relationship they have developed with their supervisors (leader–member exchange, or LMX). Two time-lagged studies of Chinese workers provide support for the hypothesized 1st-stage moderated mediation model. Specifically, the indirect effect of job insecurity on organizational and interpersonal deviance and intentions to leave via moral disengagement was positive and significant when individuals had more employment opportunities or when LMX was lower but not when they had fewer employment opportunities or when LMX was higher. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


The effects of predictor method factors on selection outcomes: A modular approach to personnel selection procedures.Open in a New Window

Past reviews and meta-analyses typically conceptualized and examined selection procedures as holistic entities. We draw on the product design literature to propose a modular approach as a complementary perspective to conceptualizing selection procedures. A modular approach means that a product is broken down into its key underlying components. Therefore, we start by presenting a modular framework that identifies the important measurement components of selection procedures. Next, we adopt this modular lens for reviewing the available evidence regarding each of these components in terms of affecting validity, subgroup differences, and applicant perceptions, as well as for identifying new research directions. As a complement to the historical focus on holistic selection procedures, we posit that the theoretical contributions of a modular approach include improved insight into the isolated workings of the different components underlying selection procedures and greater theoretical connectivity among different selection procedures and their literatures. We also outline how organizations can put a modular approach into operation to increase the variety in selection procedures and to enhance the flexibility in designing them. Overall, we believe that a modular perspective on selection procedures will provide the impetus for programmatic and theory-driven research on the different measurement components of selection procedures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Help or hindrance? Day-level relationships between flextime use, work–nonwork boundaries, and affective well-being.Open in a New Window

Flexible working time arrangements are becoming increasingly popular around the globe, but do they actually benefit employees? To address this question, we take a differentiated look at employees’ day-specific use of flextime and its effect on the intersection of work and nonwork life. Specifically, we examined whether links between day-specific flextime use and affective well-being at work and at home can be explained by level of goal completion and the subjective boundaries around one’s work and private life domains (i.e., the strength of work–nonwork boundaries). During 2 consecutive workweeks, 150 bank employees from various functions (Study 1) and a heterogeneous sample of 608 employees (Study 2) reported their day-specific use of flextime, boundary strength at work and home, and affective well-being in the evening and the next day. Multilevel structural equation modeling of 2,223 (Study 1) and 3,164 (Study 2) observations revealed that flextime use was associated with stronger boundaries at home in both studies and stronger boundaries at work in Study 2. Stronger boundaries were, in turn, positively associated with affective well-being, both in the same evening and the next day. Study 2 further revealed that day-specific nonwork goal completion mediated the positive association between daily flextime use and boundary strength at work. However, whereas occasional flextime use had unequivocal positive consequences, chronic flextime use undermined the completion of work goals. Overall, findings suggest that flextime use benefits employees when used in moderation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Increasing pro-environmental behaviors by increasing self-concordance: Testing an intervention.Open in a New Window

Globally, there is a clear need to change our behavior to mitigate climate change. Many people, however, will not find the need for mitigation important enough to make their behavior more environmentally sustainable. Three studies supported the hypothesis that it is possible to overcome this issue by connecting these behaviors to goals that are important to people, even if such goals are unrelated to climate change or the environment in general. Study 1 (N = 305 working adults) showed that stronger self-concordance of behavior related to energy sustainability was related to a greater chance of signing a petition for increasing renewable energy sources. Next, 2 experimental studies (Study 2: N = 412 working and nonworking adults, and Study 3: N = 300 working adults) showed that increasing self-concordance of environmentally sustainable behaviors by asking people to cognitively connect either sustainable energy use (Study 2) or commuting behaviors (Study 3) to their personal goals increased intentions to engage in these behaviors compared to a control condition (Study 2 and Study 3) and compared to persuasion attempts based on climate change mitigation (Study 3). These findings occurred even after controlling for political orientation and environmental concerns. This research has significant practical implications for workplaces, particularly for those in which employees or managers place a low priority on environmental and climate change considerations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Helping employees sleep well: Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia on work outcomes.Open in a New Window

Drawing from recent research advances indicating the harmful effects of insomnia on negative affect, job satisfaction, self-control, organizational citizenship behavior, and interpersonal deviance, we hypothesized that treating insomnia with Internet based cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia would lead to improvements in these outcomes. In a field experiment with a randomized wait-list control group, we found that treatment had a beneficial direct effect on negative affect, job satisfaction, and self-control. Moreover, the effect of treatment on job satisfaction was mediated by negative affect. We were not able to detect a direct effect of treatment on organizational citizenship behavior or interpersonal deviance. However, treatment had a beneficial indirect effect on organizational citizenship behavior through the mediators of negative affect and job satisfaction, and a beneficial indirect effect on interpersonal deviance through the mediator of self-control. These results move the applied psychology literature on insomnia beyond simply pointing out problematic effects of employee insomnia to providing evidence of a partial solution to such effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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