E-journal 5 de Asociación Europea de Psicología Organizacional y Laboral EWOP


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Quinta edición de EWOP con trabajos sobre la aplicación de la Psicología Laboral y Organizacional.

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E-journal 5 de Asociación Europea de Psicología Organizacional y Laboral EWOP

  1. 1. 1inEWOP PRACTICEEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practicee-journal of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP)ISSUE 5/2013
  2. 2. 2CONTENTEditorial ................................................................................. ................................................................. 3Mare Teichmann & Liina RandmannMyths among Personnel (HR) Professionals .................................................................................. 5Dr Kathryn Waddington & Julie ListerHuman Resource Management (HRM) strategies and academic engagementin UK universities: Reflections on an academic-practitioner study .......................................... 12Dr. Diana RusLeading for engagement and performance - EAWOP WorkLab 2012 .................................... 26Kimberley Breevaart & Arnold B. BakkerHow leaders influence their followers’ work engagement ........................................................ 31Velli Parts & Mare TeichmannDeveloping a model of Non-technical competences for engineers ....................................... 36Dr. Laura LiguoriAttachment theory: The relationship between Human Resources and organizations ...... 55ISSUE 5/2013Copyright information: copyright of articles published in EWOP in PRACTICE belongs to the author(s).EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  3. 3. 3Angela J. CarterHello readersWelcome to the 5th issue of EWOPin-PRACTICE with papers on the applicationof Work and Organizational Psychology.It has been a busy time for EAWOP sincethe previous edition of in-Practice. Wehave held the widely acclaimed 1st prac-titioner WorkLab, in Helsinki, and anothersuccessful Summer School and are aboutto enjoy our bi-annual congress in Mun-ster, Germany and WorkLab 2013 in Am-sterdam.This edition offers six excellent papersrepresenting a range of Work and Organi-zational Psychology (WOP) practice in Eu-rope. These papers follow a theme aboutthe quality of Human Resource Manage-ment (HRM) and development supportingleaders, managers and workers in organi-zations. Further, there is a strong reflexivecomponent to the articles encouraging usto spend time looking at our own profes-sional practice.The edition opens with an intriguing studyconducted by Mare Teichmann and LiinaRandmann examining the evidence-basefor HRM practices across Europe, and inparticular a knowledge-base comparisonbetween HR Practitioners and non-HRprofessional (such as book keepers andaccountants) in Estonian. This paper is fol-lowed by an excellent reflexive account ofa study of HRM strategies from six UK uni-versities written by Kathryn Waddingtonand Julie Lister. Next, Diana Rus exploressome of the content from the 1st practi-tioner WorkLab building on a workshopconducted by Professor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe. Diana examines leadership be-haviours that are likely to engage workersin difficult economic climates; and onesthat will not. Kimberley Breevaart and Ar-nold Bakker follow with a valuable pieceabout how leaders can influence theirfollowers’ work engagement. The themeof development is picked up in the nextpaper by Velli Parts and Mare Teichmannspecifically looking at Non-Technical Com-petencies for engineers. Finally, LauraLiguori offers us a valuable account of at-tachment theory applied to organizationallife and the role of the manager/leader aspotential care-giver. This paper, along withthe others will cause you to pause and re-flect on your own and others’ practice toconsider how you can add value to yourown workplace offerings and solutions. Iwould like to thank the authors for theirinsightful contributions to in-Practice andlook forward to further papers being pre-sented for our next edition.Hopefully these articles will inspire youand make you wish to comment and re-flect. Please contact the authors directlyby email to continue the discussion; or ad-dress your thoughts to myself; your editor.With the authors’ permission I will summa-EDITORIALEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  4. 4. 4rise these discussions for you in the nextedition of in-Practice.In-Practice is for you and also made byyou. Think about writing for the journalyourself. The philosophy of the journal isto publish papers about the practice ofWOP in Europe. We are interested in ar-ticles describing practices, procedures,tools, or even changes in organizationalprocedures stimulated by shifts in nationaleconomies and organizational processes.We want to know much more about pro-fessional activities across Europe, thus weare looking for a contribution from you.Are you an expert in Organizational De-velopment? Training? Work stress inter-ventions? Is there a successful projectthat you have led, or contributed to, thatyou would like to share with others? Hereyou can find the right place to present anddiscuss these types of experiences. As forlength, a two-three page contribution isperfectly OK; or more if you wish.The format for the papers is described inthe style guide associated with this page.If you would like to discuss your ideasfor a contribution or send me an outline Iwould be happy to comment on this andassist in its preparation.Would you like to comment on topics fromthe 1st WorkLab (see http://www.eawop.org/worklab-2012 for an account andcontributions) or look ahead to those of“The good, the bad and the ugly of lead-er behaviour” that form part of WorkLab2013 (http://eawop.org/news/2nd-eawop-worklab-2013). Or perhaps suggest topicsfor future WorkLabs? If you would like tomeet us and discuss these ideas in per-son we are holding a WorkLab reunionon Friday 24th May 2013 at the Munstercongress, in the entrance hall of the Mun-ster Palace at 18.00.Best wishes for spring; and some warmerweather. Enjoy in-Practice and … don’t for-get … I look forward to your contribution.Professor Angela CarterEditor EWOPinPRACTICEa.carter@shefieild.ac.ukEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  5. 5. 5About the authorsProfessor Mare Teichmann is Director ofInstitute of Industrial Psychology at Tal-linn University of Technology and the aca-demic leader of the Masters programmein Work and Organizational Psychology.Her research interests are in the field ofoccupational stress, work locus of con-trol and quality of life, including quality ofworking life.Liina Randmann is lecturer at the sameinstitute. She is an academic leader ofMasters programme in Personnel and De-velopment. Currently her priority is herdoctoral dissertation in the topic of psy-chological contracts, engagement andcommitment.AbstractIn this paper we share our experience andexamine some myths that exist amongpersonnel (HR) professionals. In order toget an overview how deep is the gap be-tween academic knowledge and everydaytruths regarding personnel managementwe carried out the study in two phases. Inthe first phase we interviewed outstand-ing Estonian personnel managers as anexpert group, and the second phase inter-viewed personnel professionals and non-HR professionals from different occupa-tions (engineers, bookkeepers, lawyers,civil servants, and teachers). We exploredissues of knowledge in the field by look-ing at the levels of agreement regardingthe quality of research evidence in Workand Organizational Psychology (WOP).The study revealed that the work donein many personnel management fields isbased on similar myths that exist amongnon-personnel professionals.BackgroundThe past decade has seen a divide de-velop between academic knowledge andeveryday truths regarding personnel man-agement, and as a result differences havedeveloped in the practical everyday workof human resource (HR) employees. Well-known publications of human resourcemanagement (HRM, such as Human Re-source Management and Human Re-source Magazine) act as a bridge betweenknowledge and practice. These journalsattempt to intermediate, reflect, and re-phrase major academic positions, basedon empirical studies and scientific fact, forthose working in the personnel field. Un-fortunately, these efforts sometimes endup looking like a fun-house mirror ratherthan a true reflection of the evidence thatthey are trying to represent. The afore-mentioned publications and personnelmanagement training textbooks andhandbooks fail to address some of the ac-ademic knowledge that is vital to HR work.Analysing the content of articles publishedover five years, researchers in the USAMYTHS AMONG PERSONNEL (HR) PROFESSIONALSMare Teichmann & Liina Randmannmare@pekonsult.ee Liina.Randmann@ttu.eeEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  6. 6. 6(Rynes, Giluk, & Brown, 2007) reachedthe conclusion that topics addressed inpublications and books that were gearedtowards practitioners addressed far lessacademic studies and literature. The au-thors’ describe that most of the materialconcerned rotating topics du jour (suchas emotional and social intelligence, 360°feedback) while knowledge necessaryto personnel work (such as employees’mental abilities, personalities, and settinggoals; topics that are directly tied to andinfluence work and productivity) were ad-dressed remarkably little. For example, therole of personality in choosing employeeswas addressed by three articles (0.4% ofall articles published) in Human ResourceMagazine and by two articles (1.2%) inHuman Resource Management. Anothernegative trend affecting practices in HR isthe quality of supporting evidence in arti-cles and books geared towards practition-ers. Many articles are based on individualexperiences of practitioners; which leadsto generalisations being made based onlimited evidence. As a result of this trend,divergent and incompatible knowledge iswidespread among personnel managersresulting in decisions being made basedon poor quality, or unproven knowledge.Current researchIn order to get an overview of the evi-dence-base used in WOP in Europeancountries, the European Network of Workand Organizational Psychology Professors(ENOP) carried out a study among the topspecialists in WOP in 14 countries (Guest& Zijlstra, 2012). This study explored lev-els of agreement on the quality of theresearch evidence base using a pan-European sample of 75 senior academicWOP psychologists. In Estonia this studywas broadened by adding 15 of most out-standing Estonian personnel managers tothe expert group. This work was the firstphase of the study that we describe in thisarticle.In the second part of our study we exam-ined two samples: a group of HR profes-sionals and a control group of profession-als from a variety of different occupations.We interviewed 63 HR professionals (58females, five males, with an average age32.4 years). The control group consists of64 non-HR professionals from different oc-cupations such as engineers, book-keep-ers, lawyers, civil servants, and teachers(56 females, eight males, with an averageage 31.9 years). We proposed the sameeight statements to both samples asking ifthey agreed or disagreed with each state-ment (e.g., “Money does not motivate anemployee to boost their productivity”).These statements were taken from themisunderstandings of research evidence(“myths”) that had vividly occurred in thefirst part of interview study. Both parts ofEstonian study were carried out by theDepartment of Industrial Psychology atTallinn University of Technology.ResultsOur study shows there were few differ-ences between the appreciations of re-search evidence between the two sam-ples. That is that both groups were likelyto make judgements based on a generalunderstanding of WOP than a specificknowledge-based known to their profes-sion. With reference to Table 1 below itis apparent that in accepting or rejectingproposed statements HR professionalsdid not use or did not have the profes-sional knowledge in their own field.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  7. 7. 7Table 1 shows that there are a number ofembedded attitudes (myths) that are notevidence-based. Four statements werejudged, by the majority in both samples,adequately:1. Money does not motivate an em-ployee to boost productivity (66.6%disagree HR; 85% disagree non-HR);6. Charismatic leaders are not as good(94.4% disagree HR; 100% disagreenon-HR);7. Labour unions conduct negotiationsabout wages instead of employees(86.1% disagree HR; 85% disagree non-HR);8. It is not possible to account and toprove the profitability of personnel se-lection (66.7% HR disagree; 65% disa-gree non-HR).In contrast there were three statements inwhich majority from both samples judgedinadequately:Sample1 HR group Sample2 Non-HRgroupStatements Agree(%)Disagree(%)Agree(%)Disagree(%)Money does not motivate an employee toboost their productivity.33.4 66.6 15* 85*It’s not possible to use a test to gauge anemployee’s integrity in order to help decidewhether to hire him or not.63.9 36.1 65 35Work stress is the primary reason for em-ployees falling ill.47.2 52.8 75* 25*Including employees in the decision-makingprocess is vital to improving work produc-tivity.83.3 16.7 95 5Satisfaction with one’s work guaranteesgreater productivity and more loyalty to anorganisation.94.4 5.6 85 15Charismatic leaders are not as good. 5.6 94.4 0 100Labour unions conduct negotiations aboutwages instead of employees.13.9 86.1 15 85It is not possible to account and to provethe profitability of personnel selection.33.3 66.7 35 65Table 1. Personnel professionals’ and non-personnel professionals’ judgements*Statistically different from the HR group (Sample 1) at p<0.05EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  8. 8. 82. It’s not possible to use a test togauge an employee’s integrity in orderto help decide whether to hire him ornot (36.1% disagree HR: 35% disagreenon-HR);4. Including employees in the decision-making process is vital to improvingwork productivity (16.7% disagree HR;5% disagree non-HR);5. Satisfaction with one’s work guaran-tees greater productivity and more loy-alty to an organisation (5.6% disagreeHR; 15% disagree non-HR).One statement did show a significant dif-ference (p<0.05) between the judgmentsof HR and non-HR samples:3. Work stress is the primary reason foremployees falling ill; (47.2% HR; 75%agree non-HR).The prevailing view among non-person-nel professionals was (incorrect) that workstress was the primary reason for employ-ees falling ill.DiscussionThe results of ENOP WO Psychologists’study shows that there were only sevenof the 24 core findings on which over 75%of the participants agreed that there wasgood-quality evidence (Guest & Zijlstra,2012). It is concluded, in agreement withBriner and Rousseau (2011), that there issome way to go before WO Psycholo-gists can begin to feel confident about thequality of much of their research evidence(Guest & Zijlstra, 2012).Based on results of the current study, fourstatements were judged in both samplesadequately, and there were three state-ments in which both samples judged inad-equately. One statement did show a sig-nificant difference (p<0.05) between thejudgments of HR and non-HR samples i.e.“Work stress is the primary reason for em-ployees falling ill”. We have to concludethat personnel professionals’ knowledgehas not progressed far as 37.5% of judg-ments made by personnel specialistswere not supported by evidence. Most in-triguing was the finding that there was notmuch difference between HR and non-HRsamples by their level of knowledge.Next we will examine, in turn, each of thestatements we used in the study.Myth 1 – Money does not motivate anemployee to boost their productivity.This statement can be found in just aboutevery HR management handbook or man-agement training course. Empirical stud-ies done in countries with a high standardof living confirm this statement. But, stud-ies that have been carried out in countriesthat do not have such a high standardof living and quality of life (for exampleEastern European countries) reveal thatmoney is actually a very strong motiva-tor. It seems that money loses its poweras a motivator when the standard of livingand quality of life are about equal to theemployee’s expectations. As long as thatbalance does not exist, money is an im-portant motivator in improving work pro-ductivity. Even in the USA, studies revealcontradictions in employees’ statementsregarding money as a motivator and theiractual behaviour – employees talk aboutmoney as the least important motivatorbut their actual decisions and choices tellEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  9. 9. 9a different story (Rynes, Gerhart, & Parks,2005; Rynes, Schwab, & Heneman, 1983).Myth 2 – It’s not possible to use a test togauge an employee’s integrity in order tohelp decide whether to hire him or not.Integrity tests are a type of personality testand can successfully predict whether aperson will start stealing, or missing workon false pretexts (Ones, Viswesvaran, &Schmidt, 1993; Ones, Viswesvaran, & Re-iss, 1996). In terms of their ability to predictwork productivity, integrity tests are onlyslightly less effective than tests of work-specific knowledge and trial assignments.To predict potential work motivators andwork behaviours, organisations don’t nec-essarily need to work out their own organ-isation-specific integrity tests. Even gen-eral integrity tests can reveal whether anemployee will behave in accordance withan organisation’s standards and interests.Myth 3 – Work stress is the primary rea-son for employees falling ill. Statistics onemployee illnesses do not support thisstatement in any European country. Workstress is directly related to an employee’sproductivity with companies likely to loose5-10% of their profit due to work stress(European Commission, 1999; Cooper,2011). Therefore, reducing work stresscan mean more productive work is beingdone; with fewer errors or sub-standardproducts being produced, and friendliercustomer service. The indirect role playedby work stress in psychosomatic illnessesin employees has been proven, but it isquite certain that work stress is not the pri-mary reason employees get sick. Peoplecan fall ill even when they feel no stress atall with common colds and ailments, andmusculo-skeletal injuries.Myth 4 – Including employees in the de-cision-making process is vital to improv-ing work productivity. Setting work-relat-ed goals and giving employees’ feedbackon their productivity are more necessaryand effective methods to improve produc-tivity than including them in the decision-making process (Locke, Feren, McCaleb,Shaw, & Denny, 1980; Locke & Latham,1990; Wagner, 1994). Work productivity isboosted by specific goals (with set dead-lines) that are meaningful and challenging(Latham, 2006). However, instructions to“work better” are actually more likely todecrease motivation and productivity.Myth 5 – Satisfaction with one’s workguarantees greater productivity andmore loyalty to an organisation. Sat-isfaction with one’s work does have apositive (but weak) correlation with pro-ductivity, but it is not the major factor thataffects performance. Work productivityindicators are actually more closely tiedto the relationship the employee has withtheir direct supervisor (Gerstner & Day,1997). When employees sense that theyare being treated fairly and relationshipsare positive and supportive, much betterwork results are seen (Greenberg, 1990).Myth 6 – Charismatic leaders are not asgood. There are clearly different viewson charisma, mainly due to the fact thatcharisma possesses a different meaningfor practitioners than it does in academicliterature. Practitioners relate charismawith charm and mystery and attribute all-powerful, superhero characteristics tocharismatic people. Academic literatureviews charisma more broadly and gen-erally sees such people as transformingleaders. The academic literature also dif-EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  10. 10. 10ferentiates two types of charismatic lead-ers: those who are self-centred or thosewho are more socially oriented. The for-mer are described as manipulative lead-ers who are trying to achieve their ownpersonal goals and who, in the long run,could be dangerous to an organisation(Howell & Shamir, 2005). Socially orient-ed leaders direct their efforts towardsachieving common goals and towardsprotecting the interests of the organisa-tion (and its employees) (Judge & Piccolo,2005).Myth 7 – Labour unions conduct nego-tiations about wages instead of employ-ees. According to the Estonian StatisticalOffice (2009) 6% of all organizations areunionised and13.3% of organizations haveWorks Councils elected by employees.Trade Union members make up only 7.7%of the whole Estonian workforce in 2010(Source: OECD Statistics). Therefore, it isusual for employees to represent them-selves without an intermediary; undertak-ing individual negotiations and enteringinto private agreements. Personal andsometime informal arrangements (so-called I-deals, Rousseau, 1995) are basedon the employee’s personal “value” forthe organization and ideally, satisfy theneeds of both parties in the employee-employer relationship. Therefore, wagesand working conditions may vary fromother colleagues who are performing thesame job. With the help of I-deals em-ployees have significantly greater oppor-tunity to determine their own wage andworking conditions.Myth 8 – It is not possible to account andto prove the profitability of personnel se-lection. Already decades ago there wasstrong scientific evidence to prove that aprofit of personnel selection is account-able and can be related to organizationalperformance (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998).In conclusion, the martyr syndrome is ram-pant among Estonian HR specialists; al-though it is hard to pinpoint the cause andthe effect here. HR textbooks, handbooks,and periodicals say that a personnel em-ployee’s ideal role within an organisationshould be that of a business partner. In re-ality this ambition is rarely met, and there-fore personnel professionals feel that theyare poor victims (“we are so small and thebosses are so big; they don’t listen, theyhurt our feelings”). Therefore, HR profes-sional feel the need to prove their worthwithin organizations. However, it wouldnever occur to non-HR professionals (suchas book-keepers, lawyers, and marketingspecialists) to try to prove their addedvalue in the company and be seen as abusiness partner. If it does become neces-sary to prove to management what kindof added value human resources brings, itwould be quite easy to reach a conclusionbased on evidence from facts, studies,and other knowledge. Our study in Esto-nia revealed that the work done in manyHR roles is based on similar myths thatexist among non-personnel professionals.Our results reveal that the knowledge ofHR in Estonia was marked by confusionand in majority cases were not based onscientific evidence.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  11. 11. 11EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticeReferencesBriner, R.B., & Rousseau, D.M. (2011). Evidence-based I-O psychology: Not there yet. Industrialand Organizational Psychology, 4(1), 3-22.Brockner, J., & Greenberg, J., (1990). The Impactof Layoffs on Survivors: An Organizational JusticePerspective, in J. Carroll (Ed.), Advances in AppliedSocial Psychology Business Settings, LawrenceErlbaum Associates, Hilisdale, NJ.Cooper, C.L. (2011). Enhancing mental capital andwell-being at work. Creating Value through Occu-pational Psychology, Annual Conference of TheBritish Psychological Society, Division of Occupa-tional Psychology.Gerstner, C.R., & Day, D.V. (1997). Meta-analyticreview of leader-member exchange theory: cor-relates and construct issues. Journal of AppliedPsychology, 82(6), 827 - 844.Greenberg, J. (1990). Employee theft as a reactionto underpayment inequity: The hidden cost of paycuts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75(5), 561-568.Guest, D., & Zijlstra, F. (2012). Academic percep-tions of the research evidence base in work andorganizational psychology: A European perspec-tive. Journal of Occupational and OrganizationalPsychology, 85(4), 542-555.Howell, J.M., & Shamir, B. (2005). The role of fol-lowers in the charismatic leadership process: Re-lationships and their consequences. Academy ofManagement Review, 30, 96–112.European Commission (1999). Guidance on work-related stress. “Spice of Life – or Kiss of Death?”Latham, G.P. (2006). Work motivation: History, the-ory, research and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.Locke, E., Feren, A., McCaleb, V.M., Shaw, K.N., &Denny, A.T. (1980). The relative effectiveness of fourmethods of motivating employee performance. InK. D. Duncan, M. M. Gruneberg, & D. Wallis (Eds.),Changes in working life. London: Wiley.Locke, E., & Latham, B.V. (1990). A theory of goal-setting and performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice Hall.Ones, D.S., Viswesvaran, C., & Schmidt, F.L. (1993).Comprehensive meta-analysis of integrity test va-lidities: Findings and implications for personnelselection and theories of job performance. Jour-nal of Applied Psychology, 78(4), 679–703.Ones, D.S., Viswesvaran, C., & Reiss, A.D. (1996).Role of social desirability in personality testing forpersonnel selection: The red herring. Journal ofApplied Psychology, 81(6), 660–679.Rousseau, D.M. (1995). Psychological Contractsin Organizations: Understanding Written and Un-written Agreements. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Rynes, S.L., Giluk, T.L., & Brown, K.G. (2007). Thevery separate worlds of academic and practition-er periodicals in human resource management:Implications for evidence-based management.Academy of Management Journal, 50(5), 987–1008.Rynes, S.L., Gerhart, B., & Parks, L. (2005). Person-nel psychology: Performance evaluation and pay-for-performance. In S. Fiske, D. L. Schacter, & A.Kasdin (Eds.), Annual Review of Psychology, 56,571– 600. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.Rynes, S.L., Schwab, D.P., & Heneman, H.G. (1983).The role of pay and market pay variability in jobapplication decisions. Organizational Behaviorand Human Performance, 31, 353–364.Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The Validityand Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psy-chology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of85 Years of Research Findings. Psychological Bul-letin, 124,(2), 267-274.Wagner (1994). Participation’s effect on perfor-mance and satisfaction: A reconsideration of theresearch evidence. Academy of Management Re-view, 19(2), 312–330.
  12. 12. 12HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (HRM) STRATEGIESAND ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT IN UK UNIVERSITIES:REFLECTIONS ON AN ACADEMIC-PRACTITIONER STUDYDr Kathryn WaddingtonCity University London, UKk.waddington@city.ac.ukEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticeJulie ListerUniversity of Westminster, UKj.lister@westminster.ac.uk&About the authorsKathryn Waddington is a Chartered Psy-chologist working in the field of appliedWork and Organizational Psychology,with a practitioner background in nursingand healthcare. Julie Lister provided theoriginal thinking behind the project whenshe was working as an HR practitioner instrategy and planning in a university, andis now a Lecturer in Management.AbstractIn this paper we present and discuss find-ings from a small-scale mixed methodsstudy exploring Human Resource Man-agement (HRM) strategies and academicengagement in six universities in England.A collaborative academic-practitionermodel of research was adopted, with theexplicit intention of generating researchfindings of interest and value to HR prac-titioners, managers, and researchers. Keyfindings included: a) some recognitionby HR directors that the profession hasbeen slow to provide metrics to evalu-ate/demonstrate HR ‘added value’; andb) a perception by academic staff of HRas part of ‘management armoury’, andthe means by which unpopular initiativesare implemented; rather than a strategicdriving force. Our identities and syner-gies as reflective practitioners and reflex-ive researchers are an important aspectof our academic-practitioner model. Wewill therefore reflect upon the meaning ofthese findings with regard to evidence-based HR practice. We argue that reflec-tive practice is important both for the roleof HRM in the management of toxic emo-tion in the workplace, and the potential forthe development of ethical HRM practiceand organizational compassion.Background to the studyThe initial impetus for our research wasGuest and Clinton’s (2007) study into HRMand university performance in the UK.Their study was carried out in the contextof two UK government-led initiatives. Thefirst was a financial incentive scheme, of-fered to universities if they could demon-strate progress in the development of anHR strategy. The second was a review ofemployee engagement, which also madethe case for establishing causal links be-tween high levels of employee engage-ment, individual well-being, and organi-zational performance (MacLeod & Clarke,2009).Through their HR strategies, developedunder the government’s financial incen-tives, many universities in the UK locatedthe leadership of staff development, en-gagement and organizational commit-ment initiatives in their HR departments.
  13. 13. 13In organizational performance terms, itwas crucial that HR departments ‘deliver’in terms of reaching the staff (the key driv-ers of organizational performance). Guestand Clinton’s research used survey andfocus group methods with a sample ofpredominantly HR Directors. They foundno direct association between measuresof HR activities and a variety of standardindicators of university performance suchas financial indicators, student satisfactionscores and research ratings.Our study examined Guest and Clinton’sfindings further with a sample of senioruniversity leaders, Heads of Department(HoDs), academics and researchers. Theresearch aims were to: a) explore the de-gree of engagement of academic staffwith universities’ HRM strategies and as-sociated HR-driven initiatives; and b) as-certain reasons for the levels of engage-ment reported.Theoretical and organizational contextThe organizational context of this studywas HRM in UK universities, where Ul-rich’s (1997) ‘business partner model’ hasgained prominence. HR business partner-ing is a process whereby HR profession-als work closely with business leadersand/or line managers to achieve sharedorganizational objectives. In particularthis involves designing and implement-ing HR systems and processes to supportstrategic business aims. This may involvethe formal designation of ‘HR businesspartners’; HR professionals embeddedwithin the business, sometimes as partof a wider process of restructuring of theHR function (CIPD, 2012). Ulrich’s modelrepresents a shift from an administrative-ly focused personnel function, to a morebusiness-like HR function and associatednotions of employee engagement (Al-fes, Truss, Soane, Rees, & Gatenby, 2010;Pynes, 2009).For the purposes of our study we initiallydefined engagement as the alignmentand ‘connectivity’ of HR function and ac-ademic functions relating to leadership,staff development, recognition and re-ward. However this functional, operationaldefinition is also located within a broadertheoretical context of employee engage-ment, which is gaining critical importance;particularly in the domain of positive or-ganizational psychology (POP) (e.g., Bak-ker & Leiter, 2010; Sweetman & Luthans,2010). The emphasis in POP is on posi-tively oriented human resource strengthsand psychological capacities that can bedeveloped and managed effectively. Alfeset al. (2010, p. 5) define engagement as:‘being positively present during the per-formance of work by willingly contributingintellectual effort, experiencing positiveemotions and meaningful connections toothers’. Ironically though, as Shuck andReio (2011) note, when practitioners turnto academic colleagues for strategies todevelop an engaged workforce, ‘they areincreasingly met with a gap in research tohelp guide their practice’ (p. 421).Academic-practitioner researchIn an attempt to bridge this gap in re-search a collaborative academic-practi-tioner approach was adopted in order todo research that would have practical rel-evance for HR practitioners and academ-ics. In Work and Organizational Psycholo-gy (WOP) the notion of a gap is often seento lie between academic scholars andpractitioners (Anderson, 2007; Gelpert,EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  14. 14. 142006). Our approach was slightly differ-ent. We took the view that individually weeach brought different and unique blendsof academic-practitioner skills and expe-rience. In other words we did not simplysee one of us as ‘the academic’ and theother as ‘the practitioner’. Our identitiesand synergies as reflective practitionersand reflexive researchers are importantaspects of our approach to academic-practitioner research, which we definefurther below.Reflective practice has many meanings,ranging from professionals engagingin individual introspection, to engage-ment in critical dialogue with others (Fin-lay, 2008). Reflexive research practice isabout attending to thoughts, values, feel-ings, actions and identity, and their effecton others. Being reflective and reflexive,and then describing it to others - as weare doing in this paper - is not necessar-ily easy. Waddington (2010, pp. 312-313,citing Cunliffe, 2003) identifies reflexiveprinciples, which we embedded into ouracademic-practitioner model:Acknowledging the constitutive na-ture of our research conversations;Adopting multi-perspective practic-es;Questioning and challenging ourown intellectual assumptions;Making sense of actions in practicaland responsive ways;Constructing emerging practicaltheories rather than objective truths.In practice, reflective and reflexive princi-ples were used in a cyclical manner, sum-marised below in Figure 1.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practicecritical reflectiveconversationsrevealing ourassumptions &valueschallenging ourassumptions &valuesexposing ourthinkingthinking & doing asacademic-practitionerresearchersFigure 1: Reflective and reflexive cycle
  15. 15. 15Study designThis was a small-scale descriptive re-search study that used a mixed-methodsapproach to collecting, analysing andintegrating qualitative and quantitativedata. Ethical approval was granted byCity University London, and data collec-tion took place between March and July2010 with a representative sample of sixuniversities. Kathryn interviewed six HRdirectors (HRDs) and Julie interviewed sixPro Vice-Chancellors (PVCs). In UK univer-sities PVCs provide academic leadershipin specific areas of strategy and policy(e.g., research and enterprise), and act asdeputies to the Vice-Chancellor (equiva-lent to the European title of Rector). In-terviews lasted 45-90 minutes and weredigitally recorded and transcribed usinghigh quality voice recognition software.Together, we carried out focus group in-terviews in five out of the six participatinguniversities, each lasting 60-90 minutesand typically involving six to ten academicand research staff. In addition, an on-linequantitative questionnaire survey (whichincluded opportunity for free text qualita-tive comment) was sent to 120 academicHoDs at the six research sites.The qualitative interviews and focusgroups took place during a field visit toeach of the participating institutions. Theonline survey drew on Guest and Clinton’s(2007) questionnaire, and qualitative find-ings from our fieldwork, reflecting HoDs’impressions and opinions of HRM func-tion and effectiveness. The survey wasadministered via email using the BristolOnline Survey tool (http://www.survey.bris.ac.uk), and consisted of a rating scaleof 56 statements and three opened-end-ed questions relating to: a) HR policiesand practices; b) HR effectiveness; andc) HR influence (see Waddington & Lister,2010). Template analysis was used as aframework to facilitate the integration ofqualitative and quantitative data. Briefly,template analysis is the process of or-ganising and analysing data according tothemes which are further refined as text isanalysed (see King, 2012).Summary of key findingsThe full research report and results can befound in Waddington and Lister (2010). Inthis paper we summarise and reflect uponkey findings and cross-cutting themes re-lating to: a) academic perceptions of HR;b) status, visibility and influence of HRstrategy; c) academic values; and d) aca-demic-practitioner crossover.Results from the quantitative survey withHoDs indicated that HR practices such asappraisal, recruitment and staff develop-ment were generally perceived as effec-tive. A notable exception was in the areaof managing poor performance (see Table1 on the next page).EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  16. 16. 16However HoDs’ perceptions of HR influ-ence upon university performance support-ed Guest and Clinton’s (2007) findings thatthere is little association between measuresof HR activity and standard indicators ofuniversity performance (see Table 2 below).EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticePlease give your opinion, as far as you are able to, of the effectiveness of the following broadrange of HR practices with regard to the way they are currently implemented in your univer-sityOptions were: not at all effective/not very effective/fairly effective/very effective/don’t know% overall not ef-fective% overall effec-tive% don’t knowRecruitment and selection of academic staff 16 81 3Ability to attract top quality staff 47 50 3Staff development for academic staff 19 78 3Academic leadership development 28 66 6University leadership development 31 53 16Appraisal 12 88 0Processes of employee involvement e.g. consulta-tion, staff surveys31 69 0Succession planning 56 31 13Reward systems 47 44 9Managing poor performance 72 22 6Discipline 53 38 9Attendance/absence management 37 50 13Ability to retain top quality staff 34 63 3Table 1: Perceptions of effectiveness of HR practicesPlease indicate the extent to which you consider the HR function in your university is able toinfluence the followingOptions were: no influence/small influence/sizeable influence/large influence/don’t know% overall littleinfluence% overalllarger influ-ence% don’t knowThe quality of teaching 84 13 3The quality of research 88 9 3The quality of senior university management andleadership63 34 3The ability to retain staff 59 38 3The university’s financial position 59 34 7The quality of the HR function 32 66 12The quality of student outcomes e.g. grades, com-pletion rates, employment rates94 3 3Table 2: Perceptions of HR influence upon university performance
  17. 17. 17The survey response rate was low, at27% (N= 32), which although disappoint-ing, was not entirely unexpected, as all ofthe universities in the study had indicatedthey were also undertaking a range of on-line staff surveys. More generally, surveyresponse rates are declining over time asa consequence of the increasing popu-larity and ease of electronic distributionof surveys (Anseel, Lievens, Schollaert, &Choragwicka, 2010).Key findings from the qualitative data in-cluded some recognition by HR directorsthat the profession has been slow to pro-vide metrics to evaluate or demonstrateHR ‘added value’ in core areas of univer-sity business. For example as one HR Di-rector (HRD) reflected:“I have been trying to provide a vehicleby which people become better lead-ers and managers but my knowledgeof the deliverables around what makesa better teacher is non-existent… Oneof the failures that I have got is theinability to demonstrate what works;there is no good evidence that I havemanaged to have a 10% improvementin X or Y, I can’t show that and that’s isa failure and a disappointment to me”.(HRD interview)Some senior academics expressed a de-gree of concern about HR departmentsbecoming populated by people who donot understand universities. For exam-ple during one interview, a PVC raisedconcerns about the relevance of Ulrich’s(1997) ‘business partner model’:“I have to say I have some concernsabout this [the Ulrich model] becauseI don’t think HR issues in academicdepartments are functionally equiva-lent to HR issues in the service areas.And, I have to say, that I’m not surethat enough people in HR have muchexperience of academic departmentsand how they operate… leading aca-demics is difficult for us as PVCs, andwe are academics”. (PVC interview)Focus group data and qualitative com-ment in the on-line survey suggest that ac-ademics perceive HR as part of ‘manage-ment armoury’, and the means by whichunpopular initiatives are implemented,rather than a strategic driving force. Therewas an underlying sense of disruption andthreat. For example:“I have heard people say that aca-demic staff are an endangered spe-cies here, they are seen as a problem…there is a view that academics havebecome some kind of beast that hasto be controlled by HR… and I think thereason for this is there was also a viewthat the HR function needed to be pro-fessionalised… and it now feels like HRis the tail wagging the dog… there’s abit of treading on toes, it feels like theyare muscling in on areas traditionallyheld by academics”. (Academic focusgroup)“HR is not perceived in a positive light.The organization has gone throughextensive change, which was not han-dled appropriately and proved to beextremely disruptive and has had anegative impact on how the organi-zation is perceived from within. HR isvaluable in as much as they provide asupportive/informative role, not a cen-EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  18. 18. 18tral role to the organization”. (HoD sur-vey comment)On the other hand, academics valued HRfor its advisory/support role:“HR has been my ‘saviour’ - I foundmyself managing a team that hadbeen cobbled together by somebodyelse and there were a lot of issuesand resistance in the team. I felt like Ihad been thrown in at the deep endbut every time I needed help and theywere there for me and enabled me tostay well and truly within the law”. (Aca-demic focus group)We also asked HRDs and PVCs about theextent of collaboration between the HRdepartment and academic HR specialistswithin their university. It appeared that col-laboration was very rare, and a variety ofreasons were given which included: aca-demics not being invited to contribute;academics being invited to contribute,but not wishing to participate; academ-ics interested in theory and not practice;HR not wishing to invite scrutiny whichwould delay implementation of pragmaticand timely solutions; academics considerit ‘unseemly’ to offer the advice within theinstitution that they may offer outside (toindustry and commerce, for example):“Indeed, when you have the leadingX professor in the UK working for youand you’re talking about the X positionof British institutions, you know, he cantell you whether you’re right or wrongin three minutes. Interestingly enough,they are not very often consulted byuniversities, their own experts, in thatsense”. (PVC interview)“There is no evidence to me that ‘Manage-ment’ or ‘Law’ are managed any betterbecause of their specialisation in manage-ment and law because of course they arespecialisations are in the theory of it ratherthan in the practice of it”. (HRD interview)There were some notable exceptions, forinstance where HR directors worked withand/or consulted with colleagues in HRrelated faculties/schools or vice versa.These collaborations tended to be basedupon existing relationships and informalnetworks:“There are some linkages so I knowthat I will phone somebody up in HRbut that’s more because I know thatperson and I have respect for themand I will say what do you think about?But I think I’m using her to test my idea… and there are a few people in there[the business school] that we use as asounding board because of their man-agement experience and one of thoseis from HR”. (HRD interview)As the analytic template developed it be-came clear that certain integrative cross-cutting themes seemed to pervade muchof the data. King (2012) suggests that oneway to conceptualise integrative themesis ‘as undercurrents running through par-ticipants’ accounts; often, perhaps, not ad-dressed explicitly but very apparent to acareful reader (p. 432, emphasis added).These themes and undercurrents becameapparent in reflective and reflexive con-versations (see Figure 1 above) that tookplace during data analysis. We also sharedour reflections with the research steeringgroup, and at conferences, as a means of‘exposing our thinking’.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  19. 19. 19There were two themes of particular in-terest to us as reflective practitioners andreflexive researchers working in univer-sities. First was the lack of engagementbetween academics who generate re-search-based evidence in HRM and theirpractitioner colleagues. Second was theunderlying notion of HR departments asrepositories of toxic emotion (see Gallos,2008). Therefore we now reflect upon themeaning of our findings with regard toevidence-based HR practice and the man-agement of toxic emotion at work.Reflecting upon findingsWe have reflected (and continue to reflect)upon our research at many points duringthe study. We have had critical conversa-tions about our engagement with eachother as collaborative researchers, aca-demics and practitioners, and about whatimpact the findings will have for HR practi-tioners. Our initial reflections at the begin-ning of the study were:Kathryn: The bridge between researchand practice should be strong enough tosupport two-way traffic and wide enoughto give academics and practitioners spaceto stop, look, listen, think and talk togeth-er, and create shared understandings andmeasures of effective collaboration.Julie: My primary interest is what researchon bridging the academic practitionerdivide can teach practitioners about thevalues and motivation of academic staffand the implications of this for leadershipand management in higher education.In our initial reflections we talked in termsof gaps and bridges, and this is mirroredin the literature (Anderson, 2007; Bar-tunek, 2007; Gray, Iles, & Watson, 2011).Nevertheless we also take the view (asdiscussed earlier in the paper) that individ-ually, we each bring different and uniqueblends of academic-practitioner skills andexperience. Looking out from our individ-ual perspectives, but looking together, wehave been able to synergise theory andpractice in: a) applied WOP, healthcareand nursing (Kathryn); and b) HRM, man-agement, strategy and planning (Julie).Notably, evidence-based practice is cen-tral to both healthcare and HRM, albeitarguably more fully articulated and devel-oped in the former (Guest & Zijlstra, 2012).Evidence-based management generally,and evidence-based HRM specifically, ischaracterised by four key features: a) useof the best available scientific evidencefrom peer-reviewed sources; b) system-atic gathering of organizational facts, indi-cators and metrics to better act on the evi-dence; c) practitioner judgment assistedby procedures, practices and frameworksthat reduce bias, improve decision qualityand create more valid learning over time;and d) ethical considerations weighingthe short- and long-term impacts of deci-sions on stakeholders and society (Rous-seau & Barends, 2011, p. 224, emphasisadded). We will not focus in depth or de-tail on the current debates and discoursesin the field of evidence-based HRM; noris it our intention to focus on similar de-bates in the field of WOP, as others haveaddressed these issues comprehensively(e.g., Briner & Rousseau, 2011; Guest & Zijl-stra, 2012). Instead, we reflect further uponthe insights, paradoxes and puzzles thathave emerged from exposing our think-ing, revealing, challenging and unsettlingour assumptions.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  20. 20. 20Reflecting furtherIn our reflections about reflective practiceit became apparent that we were comingfrom different perspectives and assump-tions. For Kathryn, as a healthcare pro-fessional and nurse, reflection is a coreaspect of her academic and researchpractice (e.g., see Molloy & Waddington,2011; Waddington, 2010). For Julie, as aHRM practitioner and academic, reflectionis a relevant, but less prominent aspect ofher practice. In order to try and articulatethe reality of ‘doing reflective practice’ wewill use the above points b) – systematicgathering of organizational facts, indica-tors and metrics to better act on the evi-dence; and c) – ethical considerations –as our starting points for further reflectionin this paper.Ethics and evidence in HRMBecause of the potential of HRM policyand practice to influence the lives andwell-being of organizational members, theprofession arguably has a special statuswhich elevates the desirability of ethical,evidence-based practice relative to thatof other managerial domains. A HoD re-ferred to perceptions of HR in the follow-ing terms: ‘HR is essentially used to imple-ment unpleasantness’. They went on totalk about senior management ‘taking HRout of the drawer’ when there was some-thing unpleasant to implement, then put-ting it away afterwards. This reflected anunderlying perception and sense of HR asa ‘tool in the management armoury’. Anarmoury is a supply of weapons for de-fence or attack, and this is a striking meta-phor with which to think about notions ofharm, minimizing harm, and ethical HRM.Wilcox (2012) considers the potential formoral agency in HRM practice, that is, anindividual’s ability to make moral judg-ments based on some commonly heldnotion of right and wrong. She concludesthat this ability to make moral judgementsis contingent upon ‘managers being ableto create for themselves relational spacesthat allow for critical reflection and con-versation’ (p. 95). Critically reflective con-versations are an important element ofprofessional/peer supervision (as distinctfrom managerial supervision), which Teh-rani (2010) suggests may be helpful onpromoting personal and professional de-velopment and growth.However, the sensitivity and confidential-ity of much that falls within the HRM remitmay also constrain opportunities for suchconversations. For example, as in a pre-vious study by Tehrani (2011) an AbsenceCo-ordinator comments:“Some managers do not see why I can-not tell them what is in a GP’s report,particularly where an absence is hav-ing an adverse impact on productivity,or there is a belief that the employee is“swinging the lead”. At times I feel to-tally alone, having to deal with difficultsituations which I cannot share withanyone”. Tehrani (2011, p. 55)Sensitivity of subject matter can meanthat conversations have to take place ‘up’the chain of command, where there is noformal supervision, or any other form ofexternal support. HR practitioners maybe reluctant to instigate such conversa-tions because of the potential for conflict.That is, the person who is a source of sup-port and guidance may also evaluate andjudge the HR practitioner’s potential andEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  21. 21. 21future career through appraisal and linemanagement responsibilities. Perhapsthis scenario implies a particular need forhigh-quality leadership and support withinHRM teams as, uniquely, HR practitionerscannot take their concerns externally.The potential for ethical and evidence-based HRM is dependent upon the organ-izational context. In other words the insti-tutional features, organizational values,climate and core business. The organiza-tional context of our study was universi-ties, all of whom had business schools/management faculties where HRM wastaught and researched. There was rec-ognition by HR directors that the profes-sion has been slow to provide metrics toevaluate/demonstrate HR ‘added value’.Historically, HR has been perceived ashaving ‘Cinderella’ status – in other wordsnot fully integrated into the core business(Pynes, 2009). Lack of power and influ-ence, together with perceptions of HR asa ‘tool in the management armoury’ mayalso conspire against the best efforts ofHR directors to implement what they knowto be evidence-based practice.HRM and toxic emotionThe undercurrent of some of the negativeperceptions of HRM and its role in ‘imple-menting unpleasantness’ is an aspect ofmanaging toxic emotions at work. In thecurrent climate of austerity, HR practition-ers are often ‘bearers of bad news’, andGallos (2008) cautions:“Handling strong emotions in the work-place—dealing over time with others’frustration, anger, and disappointmentresulting from organizational life in acompetitive world of scarce resourcesand nonstop change—can be hazard-ous to body and soul”. Gallos (2008, p.354)Frost (2003) used the term toxic emotionto describe the ways that organizations,during their day-to-day course of conduct-ing business, generate a certain amountof emotional pain or ‘toxicity’:“The word toxicity may sound overlydramatic applied to aspects of or-ganizational life, but in many ways it isuniquely appropriate. It suggests ele-ments that can poison, whether a per-son or an entire system; toxins spreadand seep, often undetected, in varyingdegrees”. Frost (2003, p. 5; emphasisin original)HR practitioners handle toxic emotion, andthis can come at a cost to their well-being.For example Tehrani (2010) examined theeffect that working with distressed em-ployees, clients and members of the pub-lic had upon practitioners working inHR, Occupational Health, Counselling andPolice Family Liaison. Two hundred andseventy-six professionals completed theGoldberg short-form anxiety and depres-sion questionnaire and the Carer BeliefInventory (CBI) (Goldberg et al., 1988; Teh-rani, 2007; cited in Tehrani, 2010). The CBImeasured four positive and nine negativeattitudes and beliefs, using a five-pointscale, with additional questions on super-vision, other sources of support and cop-ing strategies. Mean scores for positiveitems for the HR group were comparedwith the scores of the other groups ‘whichshowed that they had a statistically signifi-cantly lower level of positive growth com-pared with other groups’ (Tehrani, 2010,EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  22. 22. 22p. 134). The study concludes that it is im-portant to provide practitioners who dealwith distressed or traumatised clients withthe time and opportunity to reflect on theirexperiences: ‘This reflection through pro-fessional or peer supervision helps themto learn and become more competent intheir profession’ (p. 137). The implicationsfor practice are clear: meaningful reflec-tion is crucial in order to instil compassion– the antidote to toxic emotion – into HRMpractice.Strengths and limitations of the researchThis was a small-scale descriptive studyin six universities in the UK at a time ofturbulence in the higher education sec-tor caused by the economic downturnand cuts in public funding. Therefore, ourfindings may not be generalisable or ap-plicable to European counterparts. In ad-dition, the higher education landscape is arapidly changing one, and this study maysimply be a ‘snap shot in time’. The sam-ple was made up of HR directors, senioruniversity leaders, academics, research-ers and HoDs, and the voice and perspec-tive of frontline HR practitioners is absent.It was an exploratory study, and does notmake a significant contribution to meas-ures of employee engagement or metricsfor evidence-based HRM. Furthermore,some of the questions we needed to askin order to ‘get underneath’ Guest andClinton’s (2007) findings – that there waslittle evidence of a positive link betweenHRM and university performance – mightcause unease. Firstly, participants mighthave worried that they were exposing fis-sures between different groups in theiruniversity. Secondly, participation in thestudy could have been interpreted as aninvitation to criticise the HR function. Bothof these factors could have been poten-tially divisive, serving to reinforce notionsof an academic-practitioner divide.Nevertheless we contend that the studyhas given a worthwhile insight into theperception of HR departments within uni-versities. Participants raised some validand interesting questions on the appro-priateness of the Ulrich (1997) businesspartner model in universities, relating pri-marily to the nature of universities and thevariable nature of academic disciplinesand academics. We also suggest that ourcollaborative academic-practitioner ap-proach has great value and relevance forthe HRD agenda regarding role of ‘schol-ar-practitioner’ (Ruona & Gilley, 2009).This approach is also highly relevant inaddressing the ‘practitioner-researcherdivide’ in WOP and the incongruence be-tween strategic management researchundertaken by academics and that usedby practitioners (Anderson, 2007; Bar-tunek, 2007).Future directions for HR academic-prac-titioner researchWe asked HR directors for their viewsupon the potential value and applicationof a collaborative academic-practitionermodel, citing this study as one such exam-ple. Their views were unanimously posi-tive and favourable, for example:“I think it is a must ....if you don’t doit from that joint perspective, peoplewith different perspectives betweenthem and seeing what’s between themjoins up the whole I think is the way togo. I think part of my struggle is thatI am doing it [change management]from HR perspective not from that jointEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  23. 23. 23perspective and I think I would have alot more credibility if I had a joint per-spective”. (HRD interview)In particular, there is also potentially use-ful information within this paper that mightenable HR directors and practitioners to:Develop innovative interdisciplinary‘academic-HR practitioner partnerships’;Generate opportunities for researchand evaluation;Enable HR practitioners to contributeto developing the theory, scholarshipand evidence-base of HRM.Arguably our findings run counter to theemphasis on positively oriented humanresource strengths and psychological ca-pacities found in the POP and employeeengagement literature. On the other hand,our findings also reflect the realities ofHRM where practitioners are indeed the‘bearers of bad news’ and toxic emotionhandlers. There is thus a need to designHRM strategies and interventions that ad-dress these darker issues, and which alsoinstil compassion into HRM practice andresearch.Concluding reflectionsWe conclude the paper with some reflec-tions on the collaborative aspects of ourwork, and give a brief indication of thenext phase in the study:Kathryn: I think that one of the reasonsthe academic-practitioner approach tothis research has worked is because ofthe relationship we have establishedover time. We first worked together atCity University London when I was a HoDand Julie was working in HRM, so our col-laboration in this study has strong roots.We trust each other’s judgement, respecteach other’s perspective and experienceand, paradoxically, feel comfortable withthe discomfort of exposing our thinkingand revealing and challenging our as-sumptions.Julie: For me, this research is about con-necting HRM practitioner and academiccommunities. Thinking now as someonewith a presence in both of those commu-nities I can see how challenging it can befrom a practitioner perspective to haveone’s thinking exposed and subject toscrutiny. But it is crucial for practitionersand the wider HR profession to createtime and space for reflective practice andpeer supervision in order promote ethi-cal, compassionate and evidence-basedpractice.Finally, we remain curious about the lackof ‘academic-practitioner’ collaborationbetween university HR Departments andWOP, and HRM academics. There is a par-adox in that knowledge transfer in thesefields has an external engagement, toindustry and commerce for example, butthe same knowledge is not transferredand often fails to engage internally. Thisis the focus of the second phase of ourstudy, which involves exploration of thebarriers and enablers to academic-practi-tioner collaboration, and identification ofcase studies of good practice.AcknowledgementsWe would like to thank the LeadershipFoundation for Higher Education for fund-ing this small development project, TinaBuckle, Jose Chambers and AnthonyPryce who were our steering group, andall of the research participants.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  24. 24. 24ReferencesAlfes, K., Truss, C., Soane, E.C., Rees, C., & Gaten-by, M. (2010). Creating an Engaged Workforce.London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and De-velopment.Anderson, N. (2007). The practitioner–researcherdivide revisited: Strategic-level bridges and theroles of IWO psychologists. Journal of Occupa-tional and Organizational Psychology, 80, 175-183.Anseel, F., Lievens, F., Schollaert, E., & Chorag-wicka, B. (2010). Response rates in organizationalscience, 1995-2008: A meta-analytic review andguidelines for survey researchers. Journal of Busi-ness and Psychology, 25, 335-349.Bakker, A. E., & Leiter, M. P. (Eds.) (2010). Work en-gagement: A handbook of essential theory andresearch. Hove: Psychology Press.Bartunek, J. (2007). Academic-practitioner col-laboration need not require joint or relevant re-search: Toward a relational scholarship of integra-tion. Academy of Management Journal, 50(6),1323–1333.Briner, R. B. & Rousseau, D. M. (2011). Evidence-based I-O psychology: Not there yet. Industrialand Organizational Psychology, 4, 3-22.Chartered Institute of Personnel and Develop-ment (CIPD) (2012). HR and business partnering.Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/hr-business-partnering.aspxFinlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on ‘reflective practice’.PBPC Paper 52. The Open University. Available at:http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/resources/pbpl-resources/finlay-l-2008-reflecting-reflective-prac-tice-pbpl-paper-52Frost, P. J. (2003). Toxic emotion at work: Howcompassionate managers handle pain and con-flict. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Pub-lishing.Gallos, J. V. (2008). Learning from the toxic trench-es: The winding road to healthier organizations—and to healthy everyday leaders. Journal of Man-agement Inquiry, 17(4), 354 – 367.Gelpert, G. A. (2006). But what does it mean inpractice? The Journal of Occupational and Or-ganizational Psychology from a practitioner per-spective. Journal of Occupational and Organiza-tional Psychology, 79, 153-160.Gray, D. E., Iles, P., & Watson, S. (2011). Spanningthe HRD academic-practitioner divide: Bridgingthe gap through mode 2 research. Journal of Eu-ropean Industrial Training, 35(3), 247-263.Guest, D. E., & Clinton, M. (2007). Human re-source management and university performance.London: LFHE.Guest, D. E. & Zijlstra, F. R. H. (2012). Academicperceptions of the research evidence base inwork and organizational psychology: A Europeanperspective. Journal of Occupational and Organ-izational Psychology, 85, 542–555King, N. (2012). Doing template analysis. In C.Cassell & G. Symon (Eds.), Qualitative organiza-tional research: Core methods and current chal-lenges (pp. 426-450). London: Sage.MacLeod, D., & Clarke, N. (2009). Engaging forsuccess: Enhancing performance through em-ployee engagement. London: Office of PublicSector Information.Molloy, K., & Waddington, K. (2011). Learningabout leadership through critical reflection andpractitioner-academic co-inquiry, European Workand Organizational Psychology in Practice, 4, 18-30.Pynes, J. E. (2009). Human resources manage-ment for public and nonprofit organizations: Astrategic approach (3rd Ed). San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass.Rousseau, D. M. & Barends, E. G. R. (2011). Becom-ing an evidence-based HR practitioner. HumanResource Management Journal, 21(3), 221-235.Ruona, W. E. A., & Gilley, J. W. (2009). Practition-ers in applied professions: A model applied to hu-man resource development. Advances in Devel-oping Human Resources, 11(4), 438–453.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  25. 25. 25Shuck, B. & Reio, Jr., T. G. (2011). The employeeengagement landscape and HRD: How do we linktheory and scholarship to current practice? Ad-vances in Developing Human Resources, 13(4),419-428.Sweetman, D., & Luthans, F. (2010). The power ofpositive psychology: Psychological capital andwork engagement. In A. E. Bakker, & M. P. Leiter(Eds.), Work engagement: A handbook of essen-tial theory and research (pp. 54-68), Hove: Psy-chology Press.Tehrani, N. (2010). Compassion fatigue: Experi-ences in occupational health, human resources,counselling and police. Occupational Medicine,60,133-138.Tehrani, N. (2011). Compassion fatigue and hu-man resource professionals. In N. Tehrani (Ed.),Managing trauma in the workplace: Supportingworkers and organisations (pp. 51-62), Hove/NewYork: Routledge.Ulrich, D. (1997). Human resource champions.Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Waddington, K. (2010) ‘Organisational gossip,sense-making and the spookfish: A reflexive ac-count’. International Journal of ManagementConcepts and Philosophy, 4(2), 311-325.Waddington, K., & Lister, J. (2010). HRM Strategiesand Academic Engagement. London: LFHE. Avail-able at: http://www.lfhe.ac.uk/research/smallpro-jects/finalreportcity.pdf.Wilcox, T. (2012). Human resource managementin a compartmentalized world: Whither moralagency? Journal of Business Ethics, 111, 85-96.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  26. 26. 26LEADING FOR ENGAGEMENT AND PERFORMANCEEAWOP WORKLAB 2012Dr. Diana RusCreative Peas - The Netherlandsd.rus@creative-peas.comEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticeInformation about the authorDr. Diana Rus is an Organizational Psy-chologist who works with companies in-terested in steering the innovation pro-cess by creating innovation cultures thatdrive performance and engagement. Shealso conducts research on leadership andinnovation and teaches executive educa-tion programmes.AbstractThis article aims to open up a discussionon the role of leadership in organizationsbased on the contribution of ProfessorBeverly Alimo-Metcalfe at the first EAWOPWorkLab held in October 2012 in Helsinki.In this article, I examine some current or-ganizational and leadership challenges,introduce the concept of engaging lead-ership and discuss its role in creating andembedding an organizational culture ofengagement and high performance. I willconclude with some nudges for leadersinterested in developing their leadershipcapabilities.IntroductionThe first EAWOP WorkLab held in Octo-ber 2012 in Helsinki was successful inbringing together a mix of practitionersand scientists interested in furtheringtheir understanding of the current state ofthe art on leadership and decision-mak-ing in organizations. The talk of Profes-sor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe on engagingleadership was timely given the ever-increasing challenges organizations arefacing in the currently volatile economicenvironment. In this article I will examinesome current organizational and leader-ship challenges, introduce the concept ofengaging leadership, and, discuss its rolein creating and embedding a culture ofengagement and high performance. I willconclude with some nudges for leadersinterested in developing their leadershipcapabilities.Organizational and leadership challeng-esIn the current economic environmentmired by uncertainty, organizations arefaced with ever more complex challengesthat many are poorly equipped to handle.Judging by the popularity of news arti-cles, blogs and tweets on leadership, itappears that, at least in popular opinion,leadership is seen as being instrumentalin helping organizations deal with suchchallenges. Research on leadership tendsto confirm that leaders play a dispropor-tionate role in shaping the course of theirorganizations (e.g., Bono & Judge, 2004;Yukl, 2009). But what are some of thesechallenges that organizations are dealingwith and how does leadership come intoplay?Some typical examples of organizationalchallenges would be: a) finding ways toaccelerate the rate of innovation to cap-ture or create a greater market share in
  27. 27. 27an environment where competition isrelentless; b) finding ways to deal withdisruptive technologies; c) creating newbusiness models; and d) crafting and im-plementing strategies that will ensurethe organization’s long-term survival andprofitability. Adding to these challengesis the fact that many organizations haveseen their revenue shrinking. To cut costs,some have chosen massive restructuringprogrammes, while others have imple-mented a hiring stop, and yet many othershave cut budgets for everything rangingfrom the procurement of new IT systemsto employee development programmes.In short, a large number of companiesfeel pressured to maintain or increase ef-fectiveness with a dwindling amount ofresources. That is, they need to do morewith less.Adapting to these challenges does, how-ever, intensify the already existing pres-sures on employees and leaders alike.Employees are faced with increasingworkloads, changing job-demands, in-creased job uncertainty and a need toinnovate and react speedily to change.These added pressures are bound to un-doubtedly take a toll on their motivation,well-being and ultimately performance.For instance, the Global WorkforceStudy 2012, performed by Towers Wat-son among 32,000 employees across 30countries, provides a strong argument forthe link between engagement and organ-izational performance. One of the mainconclusions of the study was that: “Whenengagement starts to decline, companiesbecome vulnerable not only to a measur-able drop in productivity, but also to poor-er customer service and greater rates ofabsenteeism and turnover”(2012 GlobalWorkforce Study, p. 5). More importantly,in a separate analysis of 50 global com-panies, Towers Watson found that com-panies with low engagement scores hadan average one-year operating marginjust under 10%, whereas those with high“sustainable engagement” scores hadan average one-year operating margin of27%. These results are nothing short ofstaggering. Moreover, they mirror a stateof affairs we have more than once en-countered in our own work. For instance,a medium-sized manufacturing company,we were working with, was dealing withincreasing quality problems in its prod-ucts. In the months prior to these prob-lems occurring, the company had laid-offpart of its workforce and had increasedthe working hours of the remaining staff.Upon talking to a number of employees,it turned out that they felt disillusionedand disengaged from their jobs. One ofthe most common complaints centeredaround the increasing amount of stresson the job and the fact that their directsupervisors did not seem to acknowl-edge, let alone, show appreciation forgood performance; focusing instead onlyon the mistakes that had been made. Itshould come as no surprise that individu-al performance did indeed suffer.As a result, leaders face the critical taskof increasing effectiveness, while at thesame time sustaining employee motiva-tion, maintaining well-being and creatingthe conditions necessary for innovationand collective learning (e.g., Yukl, 2009).In other words, leaders need to be ableto find the sweet spot that allows themto get more out of their staff, while at thesame time, not damaging motivation oremployee well-being.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  28. 28. 28Unfortunately, many organizations seemto pursue increased effectiveness at thecost of employee motivation and well-being. Whereas this strategy may delivershort-term results, it will also ensure thatthese benefits are short-lived and, in fact,will wreak havoc in the long-term. To thisend, research has clearly demonstratedthat employee well-being is positively re-lated to commitment (Ryan & Deci, 2006),creativity and performance (Ilies, Morge-son, & Nahrgang, 2005), and negativelyrelated to absenteeism, and turnover(Wright & Bonnett, 2007).This current gloomy state of affairs rais-es serious questions about the nature ofleadership and the management of hu-man capital in organizations. I believethat there are ways in which organiza-tions can build leadership capacity thatwould enable them to craft a work-en-vironment in which employees not onlyperform better but also experience high-er levels of engagement and well-being.In the next section I will briefly introducethe concept of engaging leadership anddiscuss its role in creating organizationalcultures that drive engagement and per-formance.Engaging leadershipOver the past decade, an increasingnumber of leadership researchers (e.g.,Mintzberg, 1999; Tourish & Vatcha, 2005)have started to question the effective-ness of ‘established’ leadership modelssuch as those espoused by theories oftransformational/charismatic and trans-actional leadership. One of the mainpoints of criticism has rested on the pas-sive role afforded to followers in thesemodels. As such, followers have tendedto be seen as relatively powerless pawnson a stage where leaders pulled all thestrings.In contrast, more recent theories of leader-ship such as servant-leadership (e.g., Nui-jten, 2009) and engaging leadership (e.g.,Alimo-Metcalfe & Alban-Metcalfe, 2001)have shifted the focus from the leader asdistant hero to conceptualising leadershipas a dynamic, collective process whereinfluence and learning happen bi-direc-tionally. Importantly, in these models, lead-ership is intimately tied to learning andgrowth for the individuals involved (i.e.,leaders and followers) as well as for theorganization at large (e.g., Fletcher, 2004).One of the central tenets of these newerleadership models is that engagement iscrucial for performance. Whereas this maysound mundane to most practitioners, upuntil recently, leadership research hasbeen lagging in empirically establishingthis link between engagement and perfor-mance. More importantly, recent researchhas shown that the fundamental require-ment for engagement is meaningful work(e.g., Amabile & Kramer, 2011). That is, peo-ple that find their work to be meaningfuland see themselves making progress intheir work tend to be more engaged andas a result tend to perform better.Hence, one of the primary functions of theleader is to help employees find meaningin their work and assist them on their pathto becoming better at their jobs and togrow as individuals. An equally importantpoint that tends to often be overlooked isthat leaders should ‘first do no harm’. Inthis context, it means that leaders shouldrefrain from (inadvertently) stripping workEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  29. 29. 29of its meaning. For instance, managersthat ignore employee suggestions orideas, micro-manage, provide controllingfeedback or fail to keep people informedabout important changes, are reducingemployee influence and reduce mean-ing, thereby negatively influencing per-formance (e.g., Amabile & Kramer, 2011).According to Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2002; 2003) there are threekey principles to engaging leadershipthat help leaders imbue work with mean-ing and thereby, promote employee en-gagement. First, the focus is no longeron the leader being the heroic figure thatsaves the day, but rather on the leaderenabling others to develop and displayleadership themselves. Engaging typesof leaders are open, transparent indi-viduals that dare to be humble and vul-nerable. In short, leaders are seen asboth servants and partners (e.g., Nuijten,2009). Second, leadership is seen as asocial process that is distributed. Thedominant theme is one of collaboration,team-based working and connectedness.Engaging leaders are those that are ableto connect people and ideas through ashared vision and that empower othersto execute this vision. This requires thatleaders are willing and able to see theworld through the eyes of others and arewilling and able to take on board others’ideas and concerns. In short, they listento others and include others’ concernsin their decision-making. Third, engagingleaders encourage others to challengethe status quo and ensure that an envi-ronment is created in which these maver-icks are valued and their ideas are takeninto account. Hence, they serve as role-models in building a culture that supportslearning and development. This is a cul-ture in which failure is not a dirty word aslong as people learn from their mistakes.This is also a culture in which innovationand entrepreneurialism are desired andvalued.Importantly, empirical evidence suggeststhat engaging leader behaviours not onlyhave a positive effect on employee mo-rale and well-being, but also on long-termemployee productivity (e.g., Alimo-Met-calfe et al., 2007). Therefore, being hum-ble, listening to others and helping othersdevelop, does not only pay off in termsof so-called soft factors such as engage-ment and well-being, but also in terms ofactual performance.Nudges for developing leadership capa-bilitiesAs a leader interested in developing yourleadership capabilities what are someof the things you can do? Below I willlist some questions that you can use togauge your leadership behaviors againstthe framework of engaging leadership.In how far am I really listening tomy employees? (e.g., do I understandtheir point of view?)Am I really as accessible as I think Iam? (e.g., is my office door open; whenpeople come into my office do I keepglancing at my computer screen or doI really engage in a conversation?)In how far do I help my employeeslearn and develop on the job? (e.g., doI provide them opportunities forgrowth; do I ensure that they have theresources necessary to do their jobs?)In how far do I really encouragedissent? (e.g., how do I deal with peo-ple that disagree with me; do I followup on ideas provided by others?)EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  30. 30. 30In how far am I honest and open?(e.g., can I honestly admit mistakesand vulnerabilities?)Organizations that invest in developingengaging leaders who are focused notonly on the short-term bottom-line butalso on the long-term development oftheir employees are better positionedto craft high-performance work environ-ments that not only spur financial growthbut also imbue work with meaning. This inturn, can help them successfully weathercurrent challenges and be better pre-pared for any challenges the future maybring.ReferencesAlimo-Metcalfe, B. (2012). Engaging Leadership.Presentation held at the EAWOP WorkLab, Octo-ber 2012, Helsinki.Alimo-Metcalfe, B., & Alban-Metcalfe, R. J. (2001).The development of a new Transformational Lead-ership Questionnaire. Journal of Occupationaland Organizational Psychology, 74, 1–27.Alimo-Metcalfe, B., & Alban-Metcalfe, R. J. (2002).The great and the good. People Management, 8,32–34.Alimo-Metcalfe, B., & Alban-Metcalfe, R. J. (2003).Under the influence. People Management, 9, 32–35.Alimo-Metcalfe, B., Alban-Metcalfe, R. J., Bradley,M., Mariathasan, J., & Samele, C. (2007). The im-pact of leadership factors in implementing changein complex health and social care environments:NHS plan clinical priority for mental health crisisresolution teams (CRTs). Department of HealthNHS SDO, Project 22/2002.Amabile, T., & Kramer, S. (2011). The progress prin-ciple: Using small wins to ignite joy, engagement,and creativity at work. Boston: Harvard BusinessReview Press.Bono, J. E., & Judge, T. A. (2004). Personality andtransformational and transactional leadership: Ameta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89,901-910.Fletcher, J. (2004). The paradox of post heroicleadership: an essay on gender, power and trans-formational change. Leadership Quarterly, 15, 647-661.Ilies, R., Morgeson, F. P., & Nahrgang, J. D. (2005).Authentic leadership and eudaimonic well-being:Understanding leader-follower outcomes. Leader-ship Quarterly, 16, 373-394.Mintzberg, H. (1999). Managing quietly. Leader toLeader, 12, 24–30.Nuijten, I. (2009). Servant-Leadership: Paradox ordiamond in the rough? A multidimensional meas-ure and empirical evidence. Rotterdam: ErasmusResearch Institute of Management.Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2006). Self-regulationand the problem of human autonomy: Does psy-chology need choice, self-determination, and will?Journal of Personality, 74, 1557-1586.Towers Watson Global Workforce Study 2012:http://towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/2012-Towers-Watson-Global-Workforce-Study.pdfTourish, D., & Vatcha, N. (2005). Charismatic lead-ership and corporate cultism at Enron: The elimi-nation of dissent, the promotion of conformity andorganizational change. Leadership, 1, 455-480.Wright, T. A., & Bonett, D. G. (2007). Job satisfac-tion and psychological well-being as no additivepredictors of workplace turnover. Journal of Man-agement, 33, 141-160.Yukl, G. A. (2009). Leadership in organizations.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  31. 31. 31HOW LEADERS INFLUENCE THEIRFOLLOWERS’ WORK ENGAGEMENTKimberley Breevaart & Arnold B. BakkerDepartment of Work and Organizational Psychology,Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdambreevaart@fsw.eur.nlEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticeInformation about the authorKimberley Breevaart works a PhD studentat the Department of Work and Organi-zational Psychology at the Erasmus Uni-versity Rotterdam. The main focus of herPhD is how leadership affects followers’daily work engagement.Arnold B. Bakker is Professor of Work andOrganizational Psychology at ErasmusUniversity Rotterdam, and Adjunct Pro-fessor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.He is also the President of EAWOP. His re-search focuses on positive organizationalpsychology.AbstractBecause of the worldwide economic cri-sis, an increasing number of organiza-tions have to deal with financial problems.This has forced organizations to reorgan-ise their structures and processes, andhas led to a growing global competition.It seems evident that in such a situationemployee work engagement is crucial. Inthis article, we address the role of leadersin inspiring their employees. We specifi-cally focus on the impact of transforma-tional leadership on employees’ work en-vironment and work engagement. Usingspecific examples, we provide leadersand coaches with tools to enhance em-ployee work engagement within a shorttime period.Work EngagementWork engagement is a positive, work-related, motivational state of mind that ischaracterized by vigor, dedication and ab-sorption (Bakker & Leiter, 2010; Schaufeli& Bakker, 2004). Vigor refers to high en-ergy levels during work, and the mentalresilience to cope with difficult situations.Dedication refers to being enthusias-tic about work; engaged employees areproud of their work and inspired by theirdaily tasks. Finally, absorption refers toconcentration during work and immer-sion in work activities. Work engagementdiffers from job satisfaction, because thelatter is a less active state. Satisfied em-ployees are content with their situationand therefore do not feel the urge to actor change anything. In contrast, engagedemployees are very active and take theinitiative whenever necessary. This sug-gests that engagement may be of crucialimportance for organizations in the cur-rent, turbulent economic times.Importance of Work EngagementThere are several reasons why engagedemployees are important for organiza-tions. First, research has shown that en-gaged employees perform better com-pared to non-engaged employees. Forexample, a study by Xanthopoulou, Bak-ker, Demerouti, and Schaufeli (2009)
  32. 32. 32showed that financial returns were higheron days that employees were more en-gaged. Second, engaged employees havebetter health; both mentally and physical-ly. Research has shown that engaged em-ployees less often have a cold and reportfewer head- and back-aches comparedto non-engaged employees (Demerouti,Bakker, De Jonge, Janssen, & Schaufeli,2001). This means that engaged employ-ees can use all their energy during theirwork. Third, engaged employees are lessoften absent and are more committed tothe organization (Halbesleben & Wheeler,2008; Schaufeli, Bakker, & Van Rhenen,2009). Finally, work engagement is ofhigh importance to organizations becauseengaged employees influence the workatmosphere in a positive way – engage-ment is contagious. Engaged employeestransfer their enthusiasm to others; caus-ing colleagues to become engaged aswell and perform at a high level (Bakker &Xanthopoulou, 2009).Transformational Leadership and WorkEngagementThe leadership style used by leaderscan have a profound influence on em-ployee work engagement. Some leader-ship styles undermine employees’ moti-vation and well-being, while other stylescontribute to motivation and well-being(Einarsen, Aasland, & Skogstad, 2007).Here, we focus on transformational lead-ership, because this leadership style hasthe potential to influence employee workengagement. Transformational leadershipconsists of four dimensions: a) idealisedinfluence; b) inspirational motivation; c)intellectual stimulation; and d) individualattention (Bass, 1985). Idealised influencemeans that leaders are role models/men-tors to their employees and employeestrust and respect their leaders. Inspira-tional motivation refers to leaders inspir-ing their employees with their vision ofthe future. Leaders are optimistic aboutthe future and create a team spirit thattranscends employees’ self-interest. Ide-alised influence and inspirational motiva-tion together are also called charisma.Leaders, who use intellectual stimulation,encourage their employees to approachexisting problems in a different way andto come up with new ideas, even if theseideas differ from the leaders’ ideas. Thisis also promoted by providing employeeswith individual attention and by delegat-ing tasks that match employees’ needsand abilities. Finally, transformationalleaders acknowledge that every followeris unique, has specific needs, and needsattention. By using transformational lead-ership, leaders give meaning to the workand make employees feel that they con-tribute to the organization in an importantand meaningful way by performing theirwork well. This ensures that employeesare more dedicated to their work and per-form their work with more energy and en-thusiasm; in other words, they are moreengaged. Furthermore, transformationalleaders may influence their followers’work engagement because their own en-thusiasm, optimism and positive attitudemay cross over to the followers.Research has shown that transformationalleadership can be trained. In 1996, Bar-ling, Weber, and Kelloway developed atransformational leadership training thatconsists of two phases. Phase 1 consistsof a group session in which leaders areprovided with information about transfor-mational leadership and its consequenc-EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
  33. 33. 33es. This session is followed by phase two;which consists of four individual sessions.During these sessions, plans are devel-oped to use the learned behaviours inreal life; leaders receive feedback abouttheir leadership style and their progress ismonitored. An empirical evaluation of thetraining indicated that employees in theintervention group rated their leaders asmore intellectually stimulating, charismat-ic and as providing more individual atten-tion than employees in the control group(in which the leaders did not receive anytraining). Thus, leaders can be trained toshow transformational leadership behav-iour effectively and in a relatively shorttime period.Leadership, Resources and Work En-gagementBesides the direct effect of transforma-tional leadership on followers’ work en-gagement, leaders may also influencetheir followers’ work engagement throughtheir impact on the work environment (seeFigure 1). In their position of power and asrole models, leaders have an important in-fluence on the availability of resources atwork. Job resources are all aspects of ajob that: a) stimulate personal growth anddevelopment; b) contribute to the achieve-ment of work goals; and/or c) reduce theunfavorable impact of job demands (Bak-ker & Demerouti, 2013). Examples of jobresources are autonomy, opportunities fordevelopment, performance feedback, andskill variety. Research has shown that suchjob resources promote followers’ work en-gagement (e.g., Halbesleben, 2010). Jobresources are intrinsically motivating be-cause they stimulate employees’ personalgrowth and development. In addition, jobresources are extrinsically motivating be-cause they contribute to the achievementof goals. Job resources seem to fulfill im-portant psychological needs. Researchhas shown that people have three basicneeds that, when fulfilled, positively affectmotivation and well-being. These are: theneed for autonomy, competence and relat-edness (Deci & Ryan, 1985). For example,employees’ need for competence will befulfilled when they are provided with chal-lenging but feasible tasks that contributeto their development. Further, employees’need for relatedness will be fulfilled whenthey receive support from their supervisoror colleagues. Below, we give some ex-amples of how leaders can stimulate theavailability of specific job resources.Leaders may influence the available jobresources in the work environment in dif-ferent ways. For example, leaders can pro-vide their employees with social supportby means of a weekly, informal meeting.For example, leaders free up one hour oftheir time for a meeting that is not obliga-tory and the topic of the meeting is notpre-determined. Everyone attending themeeting is allowed to discuss the prob-lems they face in their work and ask forEWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in PracticeLeadership Work relatedresourcesFollower NeedfulfillmentFollower WorkengagementFigure 1. Overview of the effects of leadership on follower work engagement
  34. 34. 34advice about how to cope with these prob-lems. Leaders may also encourage theiremployees to work together to increasesocial support. For example, leaders maystimulate their followers to jointly dividethe tasks that need to be performed eachweek. In this way, followers can divide theworkload in such a way that those with alow workload can help their co-workerswith a high workload. Not only does thisincrease social support between employ-ees, it also creates an optimal workload.In a relatively simple way, social supportcan also be influenced by creating a placewhere colleagues can meet more private-ly to talk about the things that preoccupythem.A way in which leaders may influence theirfollowers’opportunitiesfordevelopmentisby delegating tasks that match the needsand abilities of employees. Furthermore,leaders can use employees’ potential fordevelopment by involving them in the de-cision-making process. Specific actions tocontribute to followers’ development canalso be taken. For example, employeeswho want to practice their presentationskill can be provided with the opportunityto practice these skills. This can start witha presentation for one or two colleaguesthat give feedback afterwards, followedby a presentation for a small group of col-leagues. Eventually, the leader may pro-vide the follower with more responsibilityand the opportunity to present in front ofthe entire team on a regular basis. Anotherexample is that employees’ organisationalskills can be developed by having themorganise a team-development day. Finally,leaders can present their followers with aproblem and give them the opportunity tocome up with and try different solutions tothis problem. Afterwards, followers reporton and discuss the effectiveness of theirsolutions with the leader. Hereby, leadersstimulate their followers to think different-ly and to use a variety of skills.Feedback provided to employees canbe influenced by the leader by organis-ing monthly meetings in which employ-ees discuss what they have been doing,what went well and what could have gonebetter and what could be done differentlyin the future. This can be discussed withthe leader, who may ask further questionsand give advice. These meetings can alsobe held with the entire team, in whichseveral cases are discussed. In this way,employees have to opportunity to learnfrom each other. What did someone elsedo differently and did it work? What werethe results of this approach and what canI learn from it?We have given an impression of whatleaders can do to enhance their followers’work engagement and create a resource-ful work environment. Importantly, everyprofession has its own specific job de-mands and resources. For example, socialsupport may be much more important fora nurse working at the oncology depart-ment compared to a painter creating art.Depending on the importance of specificjob resources for a certain profession,leaders can take several steps to promotethese resources.ReferencesBakker, A.B., & Demerouti, E. (2013). Job Demands– Resources theory. In C. Cooper, & P. Chen (Eds.),Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide. Chiches-ter: Wiley-Blackwell.EWOP PRACTICEinEuropean Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice