Researchers Find Powerful People Think They Are Taller Than They Really Are

Napoleon Bonaparte, the notoriously “short” French emperor, may have stood only 5 feet 6, but being a powerful military and political leader probably made him feel much taller, suggests a new study by an organizational behavior expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

Newswise — Napoleon Bonaparte, the notoriously “short” French emperor, may have stood only 5 feet 6, but being a powerful military and political leader probably made him feel much taller, suggests a new study by an organizational behavior expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Although a great deal of research has shown that more physically imposing individuals are more likely to acquire power, this work is the first to show that powerful people feel taller than they are,” says Michelle M. Duguid, PhD, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Olin Business School.

Duguid is co-author, with Jack Concalo, PhD, of Cornell University, of “Living Large: The Powerful Overestimate Their Own Height,” published in the current issue of the journalPsychological Science.

In a series of three experiments, the researchers found a definite correlation between feeling powerful and feeling tall, and even suggest that future research may want to examine whether employers should consider placing short high-ranking workers in higher offices to raise their psychological sense of power.

“Height is often used as a metaphor for power,” Duguid says. “Powerful people ‘feel like the big man on campus,’ and people ‘look up to them.’ We find that the psychological experience of power may cause individuals to feel taller than objective measurement indicates they really are.”

In the researcher’s first experiment, some participants were asked to recall an incident in which they had power over another individual while others were asked to recall an incident in which someone else had power over them.

They were then asked to estimate their size in relation to a pole that had been set precisely 20 inches taller than their actual heights.

Those who had been conditioned to feel ‘empowered’ thought the pole was nearer in height to them than those who’d been made to feel subordinate.

In the second experiment, two pairs of volunteers were asked to role play a scenario in which one was a manager and the other an ordinary worker.

They were then asked to give their exact heights in a questionnaire, with those having played the role of manager supplying exaggerated figures.

Finally, the participants were conditioned in the same way as they were in the first experiment, and then asked to choose an avatar in a second-life game that they thought best represented them. The more empowered volunteers consistently chose taller avatars.

“These findings may be a starting point for exploring the reciprocal relationship between the psychological and physical experiences of power,” Duguid says. “An interesting direction for future research would be to determine whether associations between power and size extend to other self-perceptions and self-categorization.”

Released: 1/17/2012

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/powerful-people-think-they-are-taller-than-they-really-are

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Imagine That: How You Envision Others Says a Lot About You in Real Life

Newswise — Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.

Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.

The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author.

Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.

“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.”

The study consisted of hundreds of working adults in a range of fields, Harms said. It specifically targeted their “psychological capital,” a cluster of personality characteristics associated with the ability to overcome obstacles and the tendency to actively pursue one’s goals.

After asking participants to conjure up imaginary workers in a series of hypothetical situations, they were then asked to make ratings of the individuals they imagined on a wide range of characteristics.

Those who envisioned workers as engaging in proactive behaviors or readily rebounding from failures were actually happier and more productive in their real-life work, the researchers found.

Researchers have long acknowledged the benefits of having a positive mindset, but getting an accurate assessment has always been difficult because people are typically unwilling or unable to make accurate self-appraisals, Harms said.

Through the use of projective storytelling, the UNL researchers were able to predict real-life work outcomes above and beyond other established measures.

“We’ve known that workplace relations are a self-fulfilling prophecy for some time,” Harms said. “If a manager believes that their workers are lazy and incompetent, they will elicit those patterns in their employees.

“It’s hard to be motivated and enthusiastic for someone you know doesn’t think of you very highly. But most people don’t want to disappoint someone who sincerely believes in them.”

The study, which will appear in a forthcoming edition of theJournal of Organizational Behavior, was co-authored by Fred Luthans, the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Management at UNL.

Released: 1/18/2012

Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/imagine-that-how-you-envision-others-says-a-lot-about-you-in-real-life

Workplace News….Employee Recognition Important during Holidays (And the Rest of the Year)

Newswise — Whether it’s a festive holiday party, an end-of-the-year bonus or a thoughtful gift, many employees can expect something from their employers during this holiday season.

Although giving gifts and parties can certainly be appreciated by employees, do they offer employers any long-term benefits?

It seems many organizations think they do.

A recent CareerBuilder survey of more than 4,000 workers and more than 2,600 employers shows organizations are more likely to provide holiday parties and perks this year. According to the survey, 40 percent of employers plan to give their employees holiday bonuses, up from 33 percent in 2010. Fifty-eight percent of employers are planning a holiday party for their employees, up from 52 percent, and 30 percent of employers plan to give holiday gifts to employees, up from 29 percent.

Research on employee recognition demonstrates that sincere, credible recognition is appreciated by employees and can enhance their motivation and performance, said Tom Becker, chair and professor in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Delaware.

“This is likely to be true whether the recognition is provided during the holidays or at other times,” Becker said.

Providing parties, bonuses and other forms of acknowledgement, including gifts, for employees’ work has symbolic value beyond the objective value that may be attached. “They send a message that the employment relationship is more than simply a transactional one. That message is especially important to convey if employees have endured a year of no raises, extra workloads, threats of layoff or many of the other conditions common in workplaces right now,” said Kimberly Merriman, an assistant professor of management and organization at Pennsylvania State University.

The key to gift giving and other forms of recognition around the holidays is being sincere, explained Robert Eisenberger, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Houston. He studies perceived organizational support—what makes employees feel supported and cared about—and has recently published a book titled “Perceived Organizational Support: Fostering Enthusiastic and Productive Employees.”

“What’s important is the genuineness of what you do,” he explained. “If the employer just goes through the motions of giving a gift that doesn’t really indicate they value employees, then it doesn’t count for much. What, really is important is a genuine indication of valuation and caring.”
What type of a gift or recognition will seem genuine to employees?

“One is the amount of time you are willing to spend on indicating you care about employees. For example, taking employees or subordinates out for a meal shows you really care about them, because it’s easy to give them a few dollars, but taking the time to treat employees to a meal involves effort and planning,” Eisenberger said,
It’s important to know employees’ needs and values, said Becker. “That’s a key principle of management. This allows managers and others to select a form of recognition or reward that employees will welcome. For some it might be money and for others a simple and sincere verbal acknowledgement of a job well done.”

Becker said non-monetary recognition can be just as effective as a bonus. “Forms of recognition besides money include written or verbal praise; symbolic rewards, such as plaques and certificates; small, meaningful gifts; or anything else that employees perceive as sincere recognition of their contributions and accomplishments,” he explained.

It’s important to be consistent, according to Merriman. If gift giving is eliminated after years of doing it without a credible explanation, employees are likely to be upset. “The motivational effects may be most obvious in the absence rather than presence of such recognition, since employees anticipate receiving something,” she explained. “For instance, one organization I know of experienced employee backlash when it stopped giving out holiday turkeys. The company wisely reinstated the tradition the following year.”

In order to manage employee entitlement perceptions, like the turkey example, organizations should separate financial rewards from the tradition of holiday recognition and instead provide a form of recognition that can be maintained each year, Merriman added.

“The trick is finding something that can be maintained—even in lean years—but still has value to employees. Here are two creative things a company might consider: providing free on-site car washes to employees for the day or providing free on-site gift wrapping. Of course, most employees would most value some extra paid time off during the holiday season if possible!”

Although general recognition such as parties and gifts can be expected to improve morale and help employees feel support from their organization, most of the benefits come in the form of positive assessment and appreciation, said Robert T. Brill, an associate professor psychology at Moravian College.

Because this show of holiday recognition is general and not tied to any one employee’s work, employers should not expect it to impact employees’ work habits, Brill said.
“It will go a long way toward morale and the worker’s sense of commitment and gratitude to the employer, but changing performance usually will require a more ongoing, systematic approach to performance feedback and management. A one-time reward for basically being a part of the organization does a great deal for attitude and emotional connection, but little for long-term performance change.”

Although many organizations may not have time for it during the hectic holidays, Brill said individual recognition—such as performance bonuses instead of blanket holiday bonuses—by employers would be most effective at improving motivation.

Eisenberger stressed that it is important for employees to feel supported all year, not just around the holidays.
“If people aren’t supported and card about the rest of the year and then a show of that is made just around holiday time, it isn’t taken very seriously,” he explained. “If you just do it on one occasion during the year, it’s not going to have much effect. It needs to be part of a pattern of indicating that employees are valued and cared about. It’s just like with relatives, you can’t be nice to relatives on the holiday and not be nice to them the rest of the year.”

Released: 12/12/2011

Source: The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/employee-recognition-important-during-holidays-and-the-rest-of-the-year

Worth Remembering As The New Year Approaches….Resolutions Are a Waste If You Don’t Plan to Achieve Them

Newswise — Those resolutions you promise yourself you will keep each year probably look a little like this — lose weight, exercise daily, quit smoking, save money, etc. Though these are great personal commitments to make, one University of Alabama at Birmingham expert says New Year’s resolutions are, for most, a waste of time.

“Many of us wind up making short-lived changes that rarely pan out. We resolve to be different or live better, and then spend a year not achieving these goals. We waste time making unmet resolutions yearly,” explains Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a UAB clinical psychologist and author of the book, Living SMART: Five Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever.

This is not an excuse to throw in the towel and get fat or lazy. Klapow says Jan. 1 is a great time to start living the way you want to be. But, you have to be serious about it and create a game plan so the resolutions are implemented and not squandered.

“Without a course of action, these changes will not fall into place. It’s not enough just to be inspired,” Klapow explains.

If you want to achieve it — say losing weight, for example — you have to be detailed about it. Klapow says you have to outline the days and times you will go the gym, the menu adjustments you will make and who in your circle can help keep you accountable for these goals.

But before your plans get too elaborate, Klapow advises you to do a gut-check.

“Ask yourself, ‘do I really want to do this?’ If your heart isn’t in it, it’s not going to happen. It’s better to be honest than to fail,” says Klapow.

Other tips while planning for the new you:
• Don’t bite off more than you can chew — shoot for success instead of the stars
• Make resolutions reasonable by setting short- and long-term goals
• Be prepared and willing to make adjustments to your resolutions

Once those resolutions are in place, and the New Year has begun, it’s time to implement them. Make promises for change that is life-long instead of temporary.

“Monitoring your progress is very important, but simply keeping a mental track will not cut it. If you are dieting, write down the foods you eat. If you want to spend less, write down your expenses. This will give you a visual account of what is working and what is not,” explains Klapow.

A written record also can help you with the three-day rule: If you’ve missed three days of your new habit, write down the reasons you stopped, pick an exact date to re-start and put this somewhere you will see it. Klapow says this is a way to return to good habits.

Noting the barriers that exist between you and your goal also is important.

“You have to arrange your life for success. Buying junk food for your family while you are trying to diet is not going to help. If you want to save money — stop carrying credit cards. Control what you can control to make your goals more easily achievable,” Klapow says.

Last, and most important, Klapow says you must have incentives to meet your resolutions.

“Treat yourself. You have to be good to yourself and your new behaviors. The principle is simple: Reward a good behavior, and it will happen again.”

Released: 12/8/2011

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/resolutions-are-a-waste-if-you-don-t-plan-to-achieve-them

Workplace News….New Research Finds Obesity Negatively Impacts Income, Especially for Women

Newswise — WASHINGTON – A new report from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ Department of Health Policy (GW) uncovered an overall wage differential between those of normal weight and those who are obese, especially when it comes to women. The research, released today, demonstrates the impact obesity may have on a person’s paycheck.

Examining years 2004 and 2008 in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) to quantify obesity-attributable wage gaps, the GW research team found the connection between obesity and reduced wages to be stronger and more persistent among females than males. In 2004, wages among the obese were $8,666 less for females and $4,772 lower for males. In 2008, wages were $5,826 less for obese females, a 14.6% penalty over normal weight females.

“This research broadens the growing body of evidence that shows that in addition to taxing health, obesity significantly affects personal finances,” said Christine Ferguson, J.D., Professor in the Department of Health Policy. “It also reinforces how prevalent stigma is when it comes to weight-related health issues.”

Additionally, the research shows that there are significant differences in wages dependent upon race. In 2004, Hispanic women who were obese earned $6,618 less than those who were normal weight. In 2008, the differential doubled for Hispanic men who were obese to earnings of $8,394 less than normal weight counterparts, while for women the gap narrowed slightly.

Other key findings from Gender and Race Wage Gaps Attributable to Obesity include:
• Both men and women who were obese experienced reduced wages compared to their normal weight counterparts.
• For both genders, and all racial categories, except Hispanic men, the wage differential narrowed between 2004 and 2008, despite the economy worsening.
• Caucasian women who are obese experienced a wage penalty in both 2004 and 2008 while Caucasian men only experienced a differential in 2004.
• Hispanic women who were obese experienced a wage differential in both 2004 and 2008; Hispanic men who were obese only experienced a wage differential in 2008.
• In both years, wages for African-American men who were obese were higher than their normal weight counterparts, while for African-American women, wages were similar between those who were obese and those who were normal weight.

The research builds upon findings discovered by GW last year, which raised the different ways that obesity impacts each gender. That report was focused on the individualized costs of obesity which outlined the overall, tangible, annual costs of being obese based on a series of measures including indirect costs, including lost productivity, and direct costs, such as obesity-related medical expenditures, to estimate the price tag of obesity at the individual level. On average, those costs are $4,879 for an obese woman and $2,646 for an obese man . The biggest difference among gender was wages, leading them to dive deeper in this focus area.

About the Methodology
The GW research team explored wage differentials more NLSY79 wave years 2004 and 2008 to further quantify obesity-attributable wage gaps. The NLSY79 provides detailed information about earnings, education, employment status, and employment characteristics, but also provides information about health and household characteristics. The NLSY79 follows the same panel of participants over time.

Released: 12/1/2011

Source: George Washington University

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/new-research-finds-obesity-negatively-impacts-income-especially-for-women

Workplace Research….Your Abusive Boss May Not be Good for Your Marriage

Newswise — Having an abusive boss not only causes problems at work but can lead to strained relationships at home, according to a Baylor University study published online in journal, Personnel Psychology. The study found that stress and tension caused by an abusive boss have an impact on the employee’s partner, which affects the marital relationship and subsequently the employee’s entire family.

The article is available using this link:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2011.01232.x/full
The study also found that more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee, and the longer the partner’s relationship, the less impact the abusive boss had on the family.

“These findings have important implications for organizations and their managers. The evidence highlights the need for organizations to send an unequivocal message to those in supervisory positions that these hostile and harmful behaviors will not be tolerated,” said Dawn Carlson, Ph.D., study author, professor of management and H. R. Gibson Chair of Organizational Development at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, Waco.

A supervisor’s abuse may include tantrums, rudeness, public criticism and inconsiderate action.

“It may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members,” said Merideth Ferguson, PH.D., study co-author and assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Baylor.

Organizations should encourage subordinates to seek support through their organization’s employee assistance program or other resources (e.g., counseling, stress management) so that the employee can identify tactics or mechanisms for buffering the effect of abuse on the family, according to the study.

The study included 280 full-time employees and their partners. Fifty-seven percent of the employees were male with an average of five years in their current job; 75 percent had children living with them. The average age for the employee and the partner was 36 years. The average length of their relationship was 10 years. Of the respondents, 46 percent supervised other employees in the workplace, 47 percent worked in a public organization, 40 percent worked in a private organization, nine percent worked for a non-profit organization and five percent were self-employed. Of the partner group, 43 percent were male with 78 percent of these individuals employed.

Workers filled out an online survey. When their portion of the survey was complete, their partner completed a separate survey that was linked back to the workers’. The partner entered a coordinating identification number to complete his/her portion of the survey. The combined responses from the initial contact and the partner constituted one complete response in the study database.

Questions in the employee survey included; “How often does your supervisor use the following behaviors with you?” with example items being “Tells me my thoughts or feelings are stupid,” “Expresses anger at me when he/she is mad for another reason,” “Puts me down in front of others,” and “Tells me I’m incompetent.”

Questions in the partner survey included; “During the past month, how often did you . . .” feel irritated or resentful about things your (husband/wife/partner) did or didn’t do” and “feel tense from fighting, arguing or disagreeing with your (husband/wife/partner).”

“Employers must take steps to prevent or stop the abuse and also to provide opportunities for subordinates to effectively manage the fallout of abuse and keep it from affecting their families. Abusive supervision is a workplace reality and this research expands our understanding of how this stressor plays out in the employee’s life beyond the workplace,” Carlson said.

The research was conducted with support from the Texas A & M Mays Business School Mini-Grant Program.
Other co-authors of the study are Pamela L. Perrewe of Florida State University and Dwayne Whitten of Texas A & M University.

Released: 11/28/2011

Source: Baylor University

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/your-abusive-boss-may-not-be-good-for-your-marriage-according-to-baylor-university-study

For Future Job Seekers, ‘Tis the Season to Network!

Newswise — While students look forward to the holidays as a chance to unwind, ’tis the season to “network before they need work,” advises Brett Woodard, director of the Career Development Center at Saint Joseph’s University. Students should use this time purposefully, he says, to “plant seeds” for their career search by deepening existing relationships and expanding their network with new contacts.

Look for opportunities to strike up conversations at holiday social functions, says Woodard, and consider whether personal contacts (perhaps a family friend) can bring you as a guest to professional associations or company parties. “Seize the opportunity to introduce yourself and engage others by asking about their career,” he adds. “Share a little about your own career goals, and watch your network multiply before your eyes.” While students shouldn’t expect an immediate internship offer or job lead, they are laying the groundwork and establishing rapport. The next steps? A brief ‘thank you’ note or email to express how much you enjoyed meeting them, then continuing to nurture these relationships by staying in touch in the new year.

This season of giving is a good time to remember that networking is not a one-way street, Woodard notes. “It can be as simple as taking the lead on referring one person to another, sharing an interesting article, or forwarding a job opportunity. A reciprocal approach will engender generosity as you cultivate a network of professionals who understand your goals, recognize your commitment to your career search, and become excited and invested in supporting you.”

Released: 11/22/2011

Source: Saint Joseph’s University

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/for-future-job-seekers-tis-the-season-to-network

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