The purpose of this article is to examine the relationships between absenteeism and presenteeism and employee well-being. Absenteeism is the failure to report for work as scheduled. Presenteeism is showing up to work when one is ill and the decrement in productivity that follows from this practice. On a continuum, presenteeism stands between full work engagement and absenteeism. This article considers how attendance dynamics are affected by employee well-being. It also considers how attendance dynamics might affect well-being, a less researched subject. It takes a broad stance on what constitutes well-being, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being and assuming that a positively evaluated work experience is conducive to employee well-being. It does not assume that the mere occurrence of either behavior somehow “speaks for itself” as an indicator of well-being.
Ensuring high levels of occupational health and safety remains a significant issue. Detailed accident analyses have highlighted the role played by front-line employees as well as the importance of organizational and managerial factors. The realization that organizational accidents occur within a cultural and social context has led to the rise in popularity of the concept of safety climate. Safety climate allows the individual to interpret organizational events and processes in relation to personal and organizational safety values and to determine the appropriateness of safety-related behavior. Although safety climate has been included as an element of the healthy work organization, the contribution that a positive safety climate can make to organizational health and well-being is little understood. Developing a fuller understanding of organizational safety climate has important theoretical and research implications, and also remains a significant issue for industry and wider society in terms of practical application.
Thomas N. Ingram, Raymond W. Laforge, and Charles H. Schwepker
This article considers the importance of job stress in the sales force to be an important management concern in many sales organizations. The complex business environment faces salespeople with escalating demands and expectations. There is continuous pressure to perform in the sales forces of most organizations. Stress is further compounded as salespeople regularly face non-routine situations, and often must work without the support that comes with supervision on a daily basis. The objective of this article is to examine the antecedents and consequences of job stress and to consider initiatives for reducing job stress among salespeople. While eliminating job stress in most sales organizations may be unfeasible, impractical, or even undesirable, the major negative effects of job stress require management initiatives to gain a reasonable level of control over salespeople's job stress. Finally, this article also develops a framework of salesperson job stress including antecedents, role stressors, and consequences.
J. Kevin Ford and Ruchi Sinha
Training evaluation is the systematic collection of descriptive and judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions. A key characteristic of a systematic approach to training evaluation is an emphasis on the continuous use of feedback. This process, which includes both formative and summative evaluation strategies, can aid in identifying, collecting, and providing information to make a variety of instructional decisions. This article reviews the progress which has been made in evaluation science that has particular relevance to workplace training programs. It first focuses on the implications of the changing nature of work for conducting effective training evaluation. Second, the article describes how the field of training evaluation has progressed in terms of criterion development, measurement issues, and methodology issues. Third, it discusses the key challenges that remain in the field which require additional theory development and research.
Postcolonialism provides theoretical resources that speak well to the concerns of critical diversity scholars, notably the interest in culture, power, and the construction of (human) differences. Yet, with notable exceptions, there is a paucity of research on workplace diversity underpinned by postcolonialism. This chapter seeks to animate and advance postcolonial scholarship in critical diversity studies, and responds to calls to revitalize this scholarly sub-field. Based on a review of critical diversity studies (including the few that have used postcolonial perspectives), two recommendations are made to advance postcolonial critiques. First, critical diversity scholars might undertake a closer engagement with psychoanalytic and discursive variants of postcolonial theory to generate complex understandings of the psychological dimensions of (post)colonial subjectivities and the persistence of racism in organizations. Second, scholars might also consider the merits of ‘Southern Theory’ in order to move beyond the noted Eurocentric limits of existing gender and diversity research.
Psychological testing probably touches more people more often than any other application of psychology. On-line testing has made tests more available and more accessible. This article considers the impact the development of the Web has had on employment testing. Its main focus is on the impact the use of remote forms of assessment has had on practice and on the development of new ways of managing the risks associated with assessment “at a distance,” especially in high-stakes situations. The use of the internet for assessment raises many other issues, such as the impact of remote assessment on applicant reactions, implications for the design of robust systems, the use of complex test forms, and on-line simulations, to name but a few.
Psychometrically, affective experience can be represented in two dimensional space. More specific affects cluster at points in this space. These two major dimensions are negative and positive affect. High negative affect relates to the more specific unpleasant affects of anxiety and anger. Its opposite is relaxation. High positive affect relates to more specific pleasant and high activation affects such as enthusiasm. Its opposite relates to the more specific affects of depression and boredom. Because of the pervasive nature of affect, organizational research has investigated many theoretical and applied issues. The topics of this article include: how cognitive processes influence affect; how cognitive processes regulate affective experience; how state affect influences cognitive processes; and the role of trait affect. There are organizational applications in each domain. The article concludes by highlighting directions for research.
Age is one of the major social identities by which people are categorized but it has received meagre attention within organization studies. Organizations, however, are one of the key contexts in which age identities—and the relations between them—are accomplished. Age also constitutes a special case of identity fluidity and temporality: people are expected to progress sequentially through age categories and the meanings attributed to physical change experienced over time trigger instability, threatening coherence and continuity of self. This chapter discusses the critical potential and challenges of age identity through a review of the literature organized around five main themes: generations and generational identity, age identity categories such as the ‘older worker’, the intersection of age with other social identities, the meanings and experiences of retirement, and finally, the identity changes associated with later life and its management. The author concludes by arguing that a focus on age identities can encourage broader critical reflection about the colonization by work and production across the whole of life.
Christine Coupland and Simona Spedale
Recent growth in interest in identities is linked to societal changes, including an unprecedented degree of freedom in the industrialized West (Bauman, 1988; Ritzer, 1999; Sennett, 1998). Choice suggests autonomy but it also burdens us with responsibility and anxiety. The aim of this chapter is to explore how the ‘capitalistic’ conception of freedom associated with agile identities affects life at work. Agility implies that individuals are able, indeed are deemed responsible for becoming—or failing to become—the ‘right’ type of employee/organization member. The notion of ‘agile identity’ proposed here, with its emphasis on the fragile obverse of the agility coin and its reminder that identity is not simply a linguistic phenomenon, but is fundamentally embodied, allows these tensions to be explored critically. The authors problematize the nature of current demands for agility at work, and invite reflection on issues of power and resistance. They ask, ‘How can the exploitative ideology of the new spirit of capitalism, surreptitiously operating through overtly benign and humanistic mantras such as “liberation management”, effectively be resisted?’ They suggest that the notion of identity—with its ambiguous and fluid character—has become the ideological prop of the new spirit of capitalism. Thus, scholars need to be vigilant in how they ‘talk’ about identity in scholarly debates and strive to articulate concepts that help understand the workplace while also supporting critique. ‘Agile identity’ is the authors’ contribution to these efforts.
Donald M. Truxillo, David M. Cadiz, and Jennifer R. Rineer
This article examines the implications of an aging workforce for human resource management (HRM). It first looks at research and theories relevant to understanding age-related changes at work, including lifespan development theories, changes in work outcomes such as motivation and performance, and the social context for age (e.g., age stereotyping). It then considers the ways that organizations can keep their employees-including those who are aging-satisfied, engaged, productive, and healthy in their jobs in terms of traditional HR practices like recruitment and selection, training, career development, and occupational safety and health. Finally, it offers suggestions on how HRM can take age differences into account and identifies a number of areas for future research.
Annette Risberg and Sine Nørholm Just
Taking as a starting point the assumption that ambiguity is a constitutive condition of organizational practices in general, and, more specifically, practices of diversity, this chapter offers a framework for exploring the practices and perceptions of three forms of ambiguous diversity: strategic ambiguity, contradiction, and ambivalence. Through an illustration of the framework’s empirical applicability, we find that while ambiguity as such is neither inherently good nor bad, the various forms of ambiguity have different potentials for promoting diversity in organizational settings. In particular, expressions of ambivalence seem to be well suited for fostering new and more inclusive practices of diversity.
This chapter starts with an exanimation of the emotion of nostalgia drawn from different fields, including psychology, politics, and organization studies and identifies some current points of agreement as well as disagreement. After a brief discussion of current conceptualizations of identity, especially in relation to emotions, the author looks at the literature that seeks to link nostalgia to identity both as a group phenomenon and as an individual experience. The chapter examines in turn nostalgia in relation to individual identity, organizational identities, and more broadly social and national identities. It is argued that nostalgia aims to maintain a sense of continuity in the face of discontinuity and disruption, both at the individual and group levels. It is an emotion that can strengthen communal bonds but can also assume aggressive forms against ‘othered’ social groups that are cast in the role of wreckers or disruptors. Within organizations, nostalgia can support employee resistance against modernizing forces, but can also be appropriated by modernizing management regimes to legitimize changes ostensibly aimed at restoring desirable qualities of the past. The chapter concludes by proposing that nostalgia can be viewed as an anchor to the past, one that stops identities from drifting or being overwhelmed or wrecked by a changing world and offers some reflections for future research.
Doyin Atewologun, Roxanne Kutzer, and Elena Doldor
In this chapter, the authors advance thinking on examining the key identity targets through which individuals derive a sense of self in the context of work. They focus on four organizationally situated targets or foci: ‘manager’, ‘leader’, ‘follower’, and ‘team’. These identity targets are examined along two axes: fluidity versus stability, and content versus context. Additionally, the authors advance scholarship on individual-level identity foci by advocating the value of an intersectional perspective and drawing on key notions from intersectionality literature. They define an intersectional perspective as an approach that pays conscious attention to multiple positionality and power in conceptualizing, theorizing, and analysing identities and identification. By drawing on exemplars from current studies and offering suggestions for future scholarship, they show how adopting an intersectional perspective prompts further questions and provides additional lenses for analysis and theorizing, ultimately deepening our understanding of the processes by which individuals make sense of themselves in the context of work.
Roy Suddaby, Majken Schultz, and Trevor Israelsen
Current theories of identity in organizations assume and valorize stability of identity over time. In this chapter the authors challenge this assumption by introducing contemporary understandings of the fluidity of time in the construction of autobiographical memory. They argue that, both in individual and organizational memory, narrative constructions of the self fluidly incorporate episodes from the past, present, and future in an ongoing effort to create a coherent autobiography. They elaborate the construct of autobiographical memory as constituted by autonoetic consciousness, life narrative, and collective memory and discuss the implications for identities in organizations.
Tatjana Schnell, Thomas Höge, and Wolfgang G. Weber
This chapter explores the connections between belonging, meaningful work, and the ability of people to fulfill their potential. Drawing on the nexus of two core human qualities, the social and the productive, it is proposed that meaningful work constitutes an arena of practice where this sense of belonging is evoked. Belonging can arise from being part of a group or team at work, where acknowledgment and recognition arise. Although psychological studies have not focused extensively on the construct of belonging, research has examined similar notions such as relatedness, social support, and psychological ownership. However, changes in the workplace such as the growing flexibilization of work and growing economism pose challenges to experiencing belonging and meaningfulness. The chapter outlines the potential “dark side” to belonging, such as the risk of over-identification, the propensity to unethical behaviors, and manipulative managerial strategies.
Between the Bridge and the Door: Exploring Liminal Spaces of Identity Formation Through Video Diaries
Mike Zundel, David Mackay, Robert MacIntosh, and Claire McKenzie
This chapter explores the liminal spaces of the identity work of individuals in organizations. Following the processual outline of rites of passages by anthropologist van Gennep, the authors draw on sociologist Georg Simmel’s elaboration of the ‘bridge and the door’ as modes of transition to analyse the liminal processes of a manager of a newly formed firm. Based on video diary entries collected over a four-month period the authors illustrate how rites of transition are enacted and how these change relational patterns—bridging, opening or closing off present, past, and future possibilities. Video diaries are helpful in indicating in particular the emotive aspects of such transitions and, therefore, the often hard to study personal processes that represent liminal spaces where there is neither a new beginning nor a completed process.
The boundaryless career type provides a model of career development that appears to have some advantages over traditional occupational or organizational models. In a changing environment, it encourages mobility, flexibility, the development of knowledge and networks, and the taking of responsibility for one's own career. The boundaryless career also resonates effectively with the temporary organization structures and “knowledge workers” becoming characteristic of the new century. It appears a particularly appropriate way of understanding careers in industries, such as film production and software development, that are based on temporary projects rather than permanent structures, but these industries may be merely extreme examples of a wider loosening and crossing of boundaries in the world of work. The organizational career is dead or dying, and boundaryless careers are representative not just of a creative elite of workers, but of the mainstream.
Chris Carter and Crawford Spence
This chapter explores what the conceptual artillery of Pierre Bourdieu might do for identity studies. Five key identity papers are read through the conceptual prism of Bourdieu in order to identify critical junctures where identity and Bourdieu might meet. Beyond this, new areas of methodological inquiry are identified for identity studies from a Bourdieusian perspective. Specifically, it is argued that identity studies could be enriched by methodological expansion both backwards into history and outwards towards the meso and macro levels of field and society. In practical terms, this implies that identity studies pay greater attention to three key issues: history, field, and class.
‘Identity’, Berger and Luckmann (1991: 195) maintained, ‘remains unintelligible unless it is located in a world’. In order to ‘locate’ identity, this chapter provides, first, a theoretical underpinning for an essentially social understanding of identity construction by conceptualizing identities as arising at the intersection of, and in the interaction between, people’s personal lifeworlds and environing social worlds. Second, it discusses the implications of such a view, summarizing the principles underpinning a social constructivist perspective in terms of five p’s: identity as positioning, performance, (co)production, process, and (an act or effect of) power. Third, it locates identity construction in four different worlds or social circuits where we might observe the interaction between self and sociality ‘in action’: (1) inner conversations (self-directed positioning), (2) self–other definitions (relational positioning), (3) situated interactions (reciprocal positioning), and (4) institutional dynamics (subject positioning). By sketching what to look for (the five p’s) and where to look (the four circuits), this chapter assists scholars in deploying identity as an analytical bridge between agency and structure.
Victor J. Callan and Sandra A. Lawrence
This article aims to outline the context in which engagement and retention crises have arisen in organizations today. It reviews what it means for an employee to be engaged in the workplace; how good levels of engagement result in better mental and physical health and improved job satisfaction; and what psychological conditions might shape engagement. In particular, while acknowledging that many facilitating agents and factors are at work in building employee engagement, this article argues that the transformational leadership behaviors of front-line supervisors play a critical role in determining various conditions that influence employee engagement, and in turn their health, satisfaction, and retention. Finally, this article discusses future directions and implications for employee engagement research, as well as the role of supervisors in shaping the workplace conditions that better meet the needs of workers.