Showing posts from April, 2017

And . . Grant Your Low-Level Employees Some Autonomy. You May Be Surprised by the Results.

In keeping with my earlier blog on autonomy in the workplace, another study has now found that, to innovate, large firms should let their employees choose how to do their jobs.

But we're not just talking managers. reports that companies that can quickly respond to external changes are more likely to achieve long-term success, and by this measure, small firms already  excel.

New research by New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) School of Management assistant professor Radoslaw Nowak suggests a fix for this drawback: empowering low-level employees, according to the website.

An organization’s capacity to absorb new information and to implement corresponding changes, known as “absorptive capacity,” declines as it gets bigger. In this sense, large companies are advised to take a cue from comparatively laid-back start-ups. “As they grow,” says Nowak, “organizations tend to become more political and bureaucratic. That creates structural barriers to communication.”

Have Some Control at Work? It's Better Than a Raise

It's no surprise.  Autonomy in the workplace makes us, well, feel better.

Now a new study is saying that having control over our jobs enhances our well-being and job satisfaction.  I've even read that it may help us to stay well!

I know you've probably read, like I have, how people who have to work under totally controlled situations (and sometimes at night) are more prone to frustration, anger, even cancer, in some cases.

The study, conducted by the University of Birmingham, reported that those working in management reported the highest levels of autonomy in their work, with 90% reporting ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of autonomy in the workplace.

Professionals surveyed report much less autonomy, particularly over the pace of work and over their working hours. For other employees, 40-to-50% of those surveyed experienced much lower autonomy while around half of lower-skilled employees experience no autonomy over working hours at all.

"The positive effects associated with in…

Are You About to Have an Epiphany? A New Study Says You Can Tell When Someone's Going To

I remember where I was exactly.  Waiting for my son to return from track in the rain and darkness, while all the other kids hopped into their parents' cars and took off.  I tend to be an alarmist, by nature (and also, by husband), so I started panicking and thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong to make him be so late to the car.

Was there a fight in school?  Did someone go after him in the locker room?  Was a teacher holding him hostage?  (I know, I know, I'm a bit dramatic.)

But having experienced some trauma in life, serious illness, childhood abuse, and always -- sadly -- expecting more, I couldn't help fearing something bad had happened to him.

And then I saw him sauntering out of the gym, and I realized, he can take care of himself.

It's not that I haven't stopped worrying.  But I had an "aha" moment, sitting in the car. And now researchers are saying that they can tell when you're about to have one.

According to, sci…

Wear Different Hats at Work? How You Think About Them May Just Affect Your Performance

Some days you're the manager.  Some days you're the employee.  And some days you just don't feel like coming in to work at all.

Sound like you?

A new study has found that struggling with those different identities at work may just affect your job performance.

According to, employees who believe their different identities enhance each other are more productive than others, the study found. But workers who feel their identities are in conflict see a hit to their performance.

 “We tend to think of our work role identities one at a time, as if they were completely separate,” says Steffanie Wilk, co-author of the study and associate professor of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “But this research shows that the interactions are important. The way we manage and think about our different roles could be affecting how well we do our jobs.”

People are familiar with the concept of identity conflict and enhance…

How Cancer Taught Me Gratefulness

I learned about gratefulness when I was diagnosed with cancer.  Not that I was grateful to have cancer!  But it opened my eyes to what was good about my life, and to celebrate it, because who knew what the future held?

I used to live only in the future.  Living in the present seemed like a nice idea, but I could never do it.  There was always that next project at work, or would my boyfriend ever marry me (he did), then dinner with my in-laws (with whom I did not get along).  Let me get through that first, and then I'll worry about the present, I thought.

But cancer's a funny thing.  When you're told you have it, you kind of don't want to live in the future anymore, because who knows what it holds?

I had a friend who was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cancer when I was going through treatment.  Friends and I would go sit with her when she was having chemo (I remember running hot water over her hands to try to get her veins to open up).   But what amazed me most was that s…

Different Cultures in the Office: Fight Fair But Not the Same

Let's face it.  No one likes conflict in the office. But did you know that different cultures have different ways of confronting people?

A major cultural difference between the West and the East is what’s commonly called “indirect” forms of confrontation. In the United States, one of the most “direct” nations in the world, directness during conflict resolution is a cardinal virtue, signifying efficiency, egalitarianism and professionalism, according to

But in East Asian nations like Japan, South Korea and parts of China, some of the more “indirect” nations in the world, direct action can be taken as fatally disrespectful because it does not allow the offender to recognize the problem and decide how to fix it.

Researchers argue that indirect conflict resolution is fundamentally misunderstood in the West — and the stakes are high, because research suggests that direct communicators who square off against an indirect conflict management style, for example in a…