Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management: Volume 27


Table of contents

(13 chapters)
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I am pleased to present Volume 27 of Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management that contains seven interesting chapters. These chapters are interesting and thought provoking because each one establishes a strong case for bringing somewhat understudied topics into the research mainstream of the human resources management field, brings to our attention the need to critically examine conventional, conceptual and methodological approaches used in HRM research, or builds creative paths in our thinking about commonly studied topics. Some of you may find one or more chapters to step outside convention, and this is by design. I encourage authors to challenge convention in order to stimulate healthy debates and discussions between HRM researchers.

This chapter discusses why employees keep their knowledge to themselves. Despite managers’ best efforts, many employees tend to hoard knowledge or are reluctant to share their expertise with coworkers or managers. Although many firms have introduced specialized initiatives to encourage a broader dissemination of ideas and knowledge among organizational members, these initiatives often fail. This chapter provides reasons as to why this is so. Instead of focusing on why individuals might share their knowledge, however, we explain why individuals keep their knowledge to themselves. Multiple perspectives are offered, including social exchange, norms of secrecy, and territorial behaviors.

The design of work has been shown to influence a host of attitudinal, behavioral, cognitive, well-being, and organizational outcomes. Despite its clear importance, scholarly interest in the topic has diminished over the past 20 years. Fortunately, a recent body of research has sought to reenergize research into work design by expanding our view of work design from a narrow set of motivational work features to one that incorporates broader social and contextual elements. In this chapter we seek to review the literature on work design and develop a framework that integrates both job and team design research. We begin by briefly reviewing the history of work design in order to provide needed historical context and illustrate the evolution of job and team design. We then define work design, particularly as it relates to incorporating job and team design elements and transitioning from a view of jobs to one of roles. Following this, we identify a comprehensive set of work design outcomes that provide the basis for understanding the impact that different work characteristics can have on individuals and teams. We then offer an extended discussion of our integrative model of work design, which includes three sources of work characteristics (task, social, and contextual) and the worker characteristics implied by these characteristics. Having defined the range of work and worker characteristics, we then discuss some of the fit and composition issues that arise when designing work, as well as discuss the mechanisms through which the work characteristics have their impact on outcomes. Finally, we discuss research into informal forms of work design.

We review previous research on intergenerational conflict, focusing on the practical implications of this research for organizational leaders. We explain how the interaction between the interpersonal and intertemporal dimensions of intergenerational decisions creates the unique psychology of intergenerational decision-making behavior. In addition, we review the boundary conditions that have characterized much of the previous research in this area, and we examine the potential effects of loosening these constraints. Our proposals for future research include examination of the effect of intra-generational decision making on intergenerational beneficence, consideration of the role of third parties and linkage issues, investigation of the effects of intergenerational communications and negotiation when generations can interact, examination of the role of social power in influencing intergenerational interactions, investigation of the interaction between temporal construal and immortality striving, and exploration of the ways in which present decision makers detect and define the intergenerational dilemmas in their social environments.

This chapter develops a theoretical model using the equifinality perspective to connect multiple systems of HR practices to alternative organizational structure types. We argue that firms following an exploitation strategy maintain competitive advantage through high levels of efficiency and reliability in production and delivery of existing products or services. Firms following an exploration strategy maintain a competitive advantage through continuous innovation and knowledge exchange and combination. Hence, organizations are more likely to successfully execute either strategy by implementing an HR system that would create the organizational structural characteristics that support the workforce requirements of the chosen strategy.

Accountability is ubiquitous in social systems, and its necessity is magnified in formal organizations, whose purpose has been argued to predict and control behavior. The very notion of organizing necessitates answering to others, and this feature implies an interface of work and social enterprises, the individuals comprising them, and subunits from dyads to divisions. Because the nature of workplace accountability is multi-level as well as interactive, single-level conceptualizations of the phenomenon are incomplete and inherently misleading. In response, this chapter sets forth a meso-level conceptualization of accountability, which develops a more comprehensive understanding of this pervasive and imperative phenomenon. The meso model presented integrates contemporary theory and research, and extends our perspectives beyond individual, group, unit, or organizational perspectives toward a unitary whole. Following this is a description of challenges and opportunities facing scholars conducting accountability research (e.g., data collection and analysis and non-traditional conceptualizations of workplace phenomenon). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, as are directions for future research.

Intentional negative behaviors, under their various conceptualizations, have developed into a major area of study in the literature. Previous research has provided many interesting and valuable examinations of this phenomenon, examining a variety of factors such as individual differences, exogenous influences and affective and cognitive reactions to experienced events. Most of these approaches, however, have been limited by relatively static conceptualizations of intentional negative behaviors and their antecedents. After reviewing the previous literature, we offer an alternative, dynamic view of discrete episodes of said behaviors, and outline the ways in which this approach could help advance the field and address some of the limitations of previous research.

This chapter briefly reviews findings from recent socialization research to provide an updated view of the socialization literature. To help advance the literature, this chapter then takes an instructional system approach, viewing socialization fundamentally as a process of learning about a new or changed role and the environment surrounding that role. As such, attention will first be given to further understanding exactly what needs to be learned during socialization. In doing so, an expanded socialization content typology is presented. In addition, two other components are added to this typology to reflect the fact that (a) each of those content dimensions needs to be learned relative to different organizational levels (e.g., job, work group, unit, organization) and (b) socialization occurs over several months and there are temporal considerations relating to the different socialization content dimensions. This chapter then examines how to best facilitate the learning of that expanded socialization content. The Gagné-Briggs theory of instruction is used in connecting socialization content with the means of learning that content. The socialization and orienting activities commonly used by organizations to help new employees in the adjustment process are also identified and then mapped onto the learning outcomes they could best help facilitate. Finally, the conceptual, measurement, and research needs suggested by these extensions to the socialization literature are identified.

Susan Brodt (PhD, Stanford University) is E. Marie Shantz associate professor of organizational behavior and associate professor of psychology at Queen's University. Her research examines aspects of effective work relationships and how psychological and organizational processes help or hinder their development. She is currently studying the dynamics of interpersonal trust – trust building, violation, and repair – and how factors external to a work relationship (e.g., personal blogs) can facilitate trust development and repair. Her work has been published in numerous scholarly as well as practitioner-oriented journals. Susan has served on Editorial Review Boards of several scholarly journals and has held leadership positions in both the Academy of Management (Program and Division Chair, Conflict Management Division) and the International Association for Conflict Management (Program Chair, Board of Directors). She is also an experienced executive educator and consultant on such topics as negotiation, executive leadership, interpersonal trust, and managing global teams.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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