Research Update Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) 2016 www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/research/iwp
Welcome to IWP 2016 The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) comprises a group of enthusiastic work psychologists and organisational behaviour researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK. This update gives a very brief summary of our research activities over the previous year. Many of our investigations benefit greatly from collaboration with colleagues in other institutions and countries, and this update might suggest topics on which to work with us. You can learn more about particular themes which interest you by visiting the links in each story. The Institute of Work Psychology was founded in 1968 as the Social and Applied Psychology Unit and became the Institute of Work Psychology in 1994. As part of the very successful Sheffield University Management School, it is concerned to apply academic rigour to practical issues. The Schoolâ€™s Triple Crown accreditation places it in the top one per cent of business and management schools worldwide. IWP holds a biennial International Conference in Sheffield, with the fifth being held in June 2016, including four renowned keynote speakers, around 200 delegates from across the world, and a range of high-level research presentations in the areas of wellbeing, leadership and performance. We are also joint host for an ESRC seminar series examining the role of big data in employee wellbeing.
Wellbeing and identity In keeping with its strong history in research on wellbeing, this continues to be an important focus for IWP. PETER WARR has developed his vitamin framework to emphasize the importance to happiness and unhappiness of mental processes such as social comparisons, value preferences, adaptation and so on. An outline is available here. He has also expanded measures of happiness to include forms of personal flourishing such as feelings of self-worth. A specific application of the framework is investigating the values and wellbeing of people who are self-employed. Several data-sets have been examined to identify similarities and differences between self-employed individuals and others in paid jobs. Self-employed workers report significantly greater job satisfaction and feelings of self-worth,
but this contrast does not appear to extend to other forms of happiness. Using the Schwartz model, differences in personal values have been found in terms of stronger preferences for selfdirection and stimulating experiences among those who are self-employed. continued overleaf
Wellbeing and identity continued
MALCOLM PATTERSON continues his collaboration with colleagues at the Catholic University of Chile, Santiago – where he will shortly take up a visiting scholarship – to exploring psychological wellbeing/ affect, work conditions and behaviours. Recent work published in the Journal of Applied Psychology has described how differences in employee affect and rumination differences can explain employee silence (withholding ideas that might realise performance improvements).
Workplace creativity and innovation
“What do you do for a living?” is often one of the first questions people get asked when being introduced. Undoubtedly, what we do and who we are is closely related. In her research EVA SELENKO takes this notion a step further and explores what happens to identity if a job suddenly becomes insecure, and how that affects wellbeing and job performance. Together with researchers in Belgium, Finland and the UK she explores whether threatened identity could explain the link between job insecurity, wellbeing, workrelated and even political behaviour. Unfortunately, Eva will be leaving IWP in July for Loughborough, and we wish her the best of luck.
PICTURED BELOW: An ESRC Festival of Social Science 2015 one-day workshop for international development agencies including SightSavers International, World Wildlife Fund, Christian Aid, Water Aid and the VSO.
KAMAL BIRDI’s work on creativity and innovation continues across a variety of areas. He is leading a project on collaboration for innovation as part of the £3.9million EPSRC-funded Grand Challenge for Water TWENTY65 research programme. The aims of the five-year (2016-2020) project are to identify the factors influencing collaboration between various stakeholders in the water sector at different stages of the innovation process and to develop training and technology interventions to enhance these partnerships. Kamal’s CLEAR IDEAS (CI) innovation development model continues to widen its use by different sectors. The CI model was created in 2005 as a result of extensive research at IWP into factors influencing creativity and innovation in organisations. The CI approach trains participants in the skills needed to both generate more creative solutions and to plan for their implementation. Kamal has now run workshops for hundreds of participants from many types of organisations including the following events since January 2015: • A series of Thought Leadership Clubs bringing together water companies, suppliers, academics and policy-makers to identify major innovation and research needs in the water sector. • A one-day event (RAM2016) bringing together robotics researchers with mining companies to identify new areas for collaborative research projects. • As part of the NHS-funded Test Bed initiative, events enabling primary care health professionals to work with companies to choose and implement medical technologies to improve the lives of people with complex needs. • A creative thinking session as part of the Business In The Community 2015 Conference which helped delegates generate and assess creative sustainability solutions.
In 2015, we broke new digital frontiers for IWP by launching the CLEAR IDEAS app for iPad. The app interactively takes users through the steps needed to analyse a problem they have, generate and assess creative solutions and then help them formulate a strategy for effectively implementing that solution. We are now offering it for free on the App Store. Type in ‘CLEAR IDEAS’ to the App Store, or click here. Later this year, we are also launching the CLEAR IDEAS web portal which also contains an online version of the app accessible by any web-enabled device. This is free to use and can be accessed here. Kamal has also written a book chapter reviewing research into the types and effectiveness of creativity training. Click here.
Bullying in the workplace An expanding group of researchers within IWP, led by CHRISTINE SPRIGG and CAROLYN AXTELL, continues to focus on workplace bullying in its online and offline forms. DANIELLA MOHKTAR is investigating perseverative cognitions (e.g. rumination, mind wandering) as the casual link between experiencing traditional forms of bullying and employee mental health, while recently published research has examined the links between workplace cyberbullying and health outcomes. Given the ambiguous nature of cyber communications, Carolyn, SAM FARLEY and Christine are seeking to continue their work on how targets place blame for cyberbullying experiences. For instance, is blaming one’s organisation for cyberbullying experiences more harmful than blaming the perpetrator? The team are also revising a third paper on the cyberbullying measure development aspect of Sam’s PhD work. In addition, members of the team have spoken about our research at a number of external and internal events. Christine was an invited speaker on ‘workplace bullying and gender’ at an event organised on International Women’s Day by the Yorkshire & Humber Branch of the TUC. In addition, Christine spoke about own her bullying research, and Sam’s cyberbullying research for an internal University of Sheffield charity event; where staff lecture non-stop for 24 hours. Sam was part of a symposium at EAOHP in Athens and he spoke about cyberbullying alongside several other very well-known bullying researchers. Meanwhile, Daniella travelled to New Zealand to present her work at the biannual International Association of Workplace Bullying Conference.
Health and social care One major development in IWP recently has been the instigation of the Health and Social Care Research Group, bringing together research from different strands of IWP, and has also seen RACHAEL FINN and DIANE BURNS join the Institute from other parts of the Management School. Rachael recently presented a paper with David Hunter (Durham) on their Department of Health-funded evaluation of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) at the Health and Public Policy Network event held at the University of Manchester. This project is a national evaluation of the leadership role of HWBs in improving public health as part of the recent shift of public health function back to local government. She has also had funding to work in collaboration with RAND Europe on the evaluation of the Health Foundation’s Improving FLOW programme at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The programme aims to increase the service improvement capability and capacity of healthcare systems through coaching front-line staff. Diane and colleagues have recently published a paper in Industrial Labor Relations Review, examining how the financial cutbacks in elder residential care in the UK have affected job and care quality. Click here to download the paper for free. They also presented a research paper at the 10th International Organisational Behaviour in Healthcare Conference 2016 at Cardiff Business
School, assessing and explaining how the financial cutbacks in elder residential care in the UK have affected job and care quality. Diane is one of a group of authors who recently published a public interest report on the financing of care homes providing care to older people. Click here to access a copy of the report. JEREMY DAWSON is leading a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research on Measuring General Practice Productivity. Working together with The King’s Fund and the University of Leicester between June 2015 and November 2017, they are working with GPs, other health professionals and patients to develop and test an improved measure of productivity using the ProMES methodology. Click here to read more. Jeremy has also undertaken a study of factors associated with discrimination against NHS employees. This work, published by the King’s Fund in December 2015, highlights the very high levels of discrimination in parts of the service, with some groups considerably worse off than others. The full report is available here.
Leadership Research on leadership continues to play an increasingly important role within IWP – which is particularly appropriate as IWP runs an MSc in Leadership and Management (led by ANNA TOPAKAS), in addition to its long-standing MSc courses in Occupational Psychology and Work Psychology. One team of researchers (Kamal Birdi, Laura Dean, Sam Farley, Lyn Lanka, Mustafa Doruk Mutlu, Tobias Stadler, Anna Topakas and Peter Warr) have recently started working on a project investigating the role of leadership and identity in facilitating creativity and innovation in non-traditional teams, such as temporary multidisciplinary project teams. The research programme consists of various stages and involves developing a theoretical framework for the study of non-traditional teams and testing it in a series of studies using cutting edge methodological approaches. This project is still at initial stages and the team are interested in establishing national and international collaborations. On behalf of the NHS North West Leadership Academy, IMELDA MCCARTHY has conducted an evaluation to examined the impact and effectiveness the Academy’s Aspirant Talent Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting senior NHS leaders in their development to be ‘job-ready’ for Board and
Interested to find out more?
Get in touch: iwp-researchupdate@ sheffield.ac.uk Please check here for all of the cited supplementary material.
Governing Body level roles. The programme was designed to assess and support the development of the leadership qualities needed to lead in the new NHS, with the provision of mentorship, workshops, coaching and access to corporate experiences. Further details can be found here.
Also on the subject of leadership, PAUL BALWANT was awarded his PhD in January 2016. Paul’s thesis investigated leadership styles in university lecturers and their impact on students and he was supervised by Kamal Birdi, Anna Topakas and Ute Stephan.
Organisations in different sectors KAMAL BIRDI has published a paper summarising the first systematic literature review of knowledge sharing within and between police organisations. This arose from the EU-funded COMPOSITE programme on change in police organisations and involved co-ordinating input from research teams in ten European countries. The review highlighted the focus on intra-organisational knowledge sharing studies and the need for more boundary-spanning research. Practical recommendations arising from the review include having procedural clarity in systems, policies for sharing knowledge and developing the relevant knowledge, skills and motivation of police personnel through appropriate training. Click here to read more. Whether you’re an electric utility provider persuading people to use less energy or a supermarket stimulating more sustainable behaviours in their supply chains, businesses are increasingly playing a key role in driving positive social change (PSC). However, there is no single body of work on business-driven social change. Analysing and integrating comprehensive evidence covering the last 20 years, Malcolm Patterson and colleagues from Aston University and Loughborough University have developed a novel
multilevel conceptual framework that considers the mechanisms through which organisations create PSC. The framework specifies both surface- and deep-level PSC strategies incorporating distinct combinations of change mechanisms and enabling organisational practices. Their research advances research in many fields of management such as governance, strategic management, organizational change management, entrepreneurship and leadership. This has recently been published by the Journal of Management.
News from the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) at Sheffield University Management School, UK.