About Me

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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sources of Aggression in the Workplace

Workplace aggression is defined as negative effects [that employees attempt to avoid] towards an organization and its employees (Neuman & Baron, 2005; Raver & Barling, 2007). Research on this topic has focused on its negative effects on performance, satisfaction and emotional well being. Investigators that focus on this topic specify that the negative behavior should induce stress or strain to be considered aggression. This may also impact how the employee views his/her job or the organization.

Hershcovis & Barling (2009) decide to research the topic utilizing a meta-analysis. The following hypothesizes were stated:
  1. Aggression from supervisors will have a greater impact on an individual than aggression from co-workers or outsiders.

  2. Aggression from co-workers will make an employee feel as though he/she is excluded from social groups.

  3. Supervisor aggression produces more stress than co-worker aggression as it can affect the resources (supplies, promotions, etc.) available.

Hershcovis and Barling collected research up to February of 2008. The research they included in the meta-analysis had to fulfill several requirements. These included:

  • The data had to focus on aggression that was experienced.

  • Correlations must be available.

  • The data must be used in only one study.

  • The perpetrator had to be clearly identified.

In the end, the researchers had compiled 66 sources of information. T-tests were utilized to compare supervisor aggression and co-worker aggression. They also used Z-Tests to evaluate aggression between co-workers and outsiders. Sub-analysis were used in cases where a study included data between coworker and supervisor aggression.

According to the researchers, results found that supervisors had the biggest impact, followed by co-workers than outsiders. It is suggested that there is a significant impact on job satisfaction, affective commitment, intent to turnover,general health, emotional exhaustion, depression, physical well being, interpersonal deviance, organizational deviance, and performance (Hershcovis & Barling, 2009). In regards to health, there was no variance between the source of aggression. However, when aggression originated from a company member, it negatively affects the employee's image of the organization. This is based on the fact that employees have a psychological contract that assumes the organization will keep them safe.

When evaluating their own study, Hershcovis and Barling (2009) state that the meta-analysis required a large amount of judgment. They were required to create a consistent scale among studies that used a variety of measurements.

My personal concern with the study is that I feel their correlations were rather weak to claim significance. There was only one variable that had a correlation greater than .05, which was Supervisor-directed deviance. All of the other variables were less than .35. I suggest that readers take this meta-analysis lightly as the findings may not be as significant as suggested. Luckily, this topic is becoming more common and therefore other studies can be found.

Work Cited

Hershcovis, M. S. and Barling, J. (2010), Towards a multi-foci approach to workplace aggression: A meta-analytic review of outcomes from different perpetrators. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31: 24–44. doi: 10.1002/job.621

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No company has the same vocabulary

All week, I have been participating in a nationwide training program and today the lesson was covering organizational design. The information covered the strategy and the design. However, I found myself absolutely annoyed! All the strategy tools seemed to be a form of mind-mapping but with restrictions. In addition, the instructor was using words I have never heard of to explain the structure. I finally approached the instructor and explained my perspective. Her response was,"No organization uses the same words and you just realized that you need to be able to identify what they are speaking of."

Wow! Something so simple.... yet so complex. We are creatures of habit and therefore when we learn a word or method, we like to stick with it. As a human capital expert, I must be able to enter an organization and quickly learn their lingo. In addition, I need to be able to explain my vocabulary to executives so that I do not come off too academic.

As you finish this article, be sure to engrain this in your brain. You may need to know it if you decide to enter the industry of consulting or decide to obtain a position at a new organization.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is your company's on-boarding working?

Does your company currently have an on-boarding process? If you answered "no", then this is a whole new issue that needs to be addressed! For those who answered "yes", do you feel your program is effective? On-boarding has a variety of definitions but the general idea is the same. It is intended to assist employees with the transition into a new organization. To evaluate how effective an on-boarding program is, I suggest considering the following questions:

  1. Does the program help new associates learn the culture of the organization?

  2. Do employees learn about the resources that are available to help them with their job?

  3. Do employees feel welcomed (not just by their manager but by their team)?

  4. Does the employee acquire the basic knowledge to be successful in his/her position?

  5. Do the employees get the opportunity to build relationships with their team?

  6. Do the employees learn about the mission and history of the company?

  7. Are employees walking out of on-boarding with a clear understanding of company policy?

Think about these questions for a minute. What is your answer? What proof do you have to backup your answers? If you have none then it is time to develop a survey asking employees their opinions of the company's on-boarding. It should be done immediately after new hire orientation and after 3 months of working. By conducting the survey twice, both the on-boarding and learning curve can be evaluated.

If you do not have on-boarding, then maybe its time that you and I talk!

A Consultant's Most Powerful Tool

As a consultant, one is required to enter an organization (if they are external) and address a problem. Some issues are straight forward while others may require extensive problem solving. When facing complex issues, consultants may need to look at problems from a different perspective. One way to achieve this is through mind mapping. Everyone has done mind-mapping at least once in their life. I remember being in elementary school and creating "webs" to help me compose a paper. This is identical to mind-mappping. It is an approach used to organize your thoughts.

How can a mind-map be used? It is pretty simple. Figure out what needs to be achieved and place it in the center of your writing space. From there, branch out anything that comes to mind when think of this goal. As you continue branching out, think of ways to achieve this goal. Eventually, you should reach a point that will create that "a-ha" moment. It is amazing how a simple exercise can help an individual reach a goal. An example can be seen below:
As a consultant, I have seen many models used by consulting firms. Most of these models are a form of mind mapping. They ask their personnel to break down the problem one step at a time. Start vague and work your way to specific. However, Mind-mapping (a similar approach) can be done by anyone!

There is an amazing amount of information on mind-mapping! Take a moment out of your day and research it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Most Powerful Person in a Corporation

Here is a question to ponder about: Who do you think is the most powerful person in your company? Who controls most of the resources?

Did you answer the CEO? HR? Stockholders? WRONG!

Believe it or not, the most powerful individual in your organization is the administrative assistant or executive assistant to the CEO. Whenever someone joins a company, this is the individual that he/she to get to know. Have this person on your good side has major advantages. Why? He/she knows everyone in the organization and is often the "go-to" person for every employee. If you need an introduction, this individual will most likely be able to help you.

Furthermore, the CEO's administrative assistant controls the CEO's schedule. If you are on this person's bad side, there is a good chance the CEO will not have any openings for you. However, if you have a strong relationship with the CEO's secretary, your probability of obtaining an appointment increase.

The administrative assistant also has dramatic influence on every employee in the organization and very few people are likely to be resistant to him/her. Therefore, having this bond can help you get appointments with influential people and help you grow in the organization.

HOWEVER.... It is important to differentiate between "sucking up" and building a relationship. No one likes a suck up because it is generally not sincere. Building relationships involves establishing a connection and getting to know one another. Here are some suggestions of how to develop a relationship:
  • Invite him/her to lunch.
  • Ask him/her for her feedback.
  • Stop by and say "hello" and ask how his/her day is.
  • Send a thank you note when he/she helps you.
Some things you should avoid doing include:
  • Sending gifts.
  • Only providing compliments when never having a conversation.
  • Being insincere or fake.

Make friends with the CEO's administrative assistant and I guarantee that your experiences in the organization will improve!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How distinct is your name?

Have you recently searched your name online? When I searched "Ian Mondrow" using Google, I learned that there is an additional Ian Mondrow in the world (possibly more!). He lived in Canada and was a successful lawyer. Coincidently, he is a distant cousin. However, having this cousin with an identical name could be a barrier for me if I was a jobseeker. Hiring companies will often research candidates on the internet and it can become confusing if their results reveal multiple individuals with the same name. As a candidate, one wants to stand out and be unique.

This situation can be overwhelming if an individual has a fairly common name, such as: James Hope, Jamie Brown, etc.

To overcome this obstacle, either add your name or your middle initial to all your materials. For instance, on my resume and cover letter, it now says, “Ian B. Mondrow." I guarantee that if you Google that, you will only find information about me. This will allow employers to differentiate me from other candidates or individuals that have the same name. It is such a minor tweak but it can be a huge advantage as a candidate because you are creating a unique identity shared by no one else.

If you are interested in knowing approximately how many people in the US share your name, please refer to this website: http://howmanyofme.com/