Paper accepted for publication in JOHP

Title: The Role of Punishment and Reward Sensitivity in the Emotional Labor Process: A Within-Person Perspective

Author team: Bert Schreurs, Hannes Guenter, Ute Hülsheger, IJ. Hetty van Emmerik

Abstract: In this diary study, we tested the possibility that dispositional reward and punishment sensitivity, two central constructs of reinforcement sensitivity theory, would modify the relationship between emotional labor and job-related well-being (i.e., work engagement, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization).  Specifically, based on a social functional account of emotion, we hypothesized that surface acting entails the risk of social disapproval and therefore may be more detrimental for high than for low punishment-sensitive individuals.  In contrast, deep acting is hypothesized to hold the promise of social approval and therefore may be more beneficial for high than for low reward-sensitive individuals.  Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 237 service workers (N=1584 daily reports) who completed a general survey and daily surveys over the course of ten working days.  Multilevel analyses showed that surface acting was detrimental to well-being, and more strongly so for high than for low punishment-sensitive individuals.  The results are consistent with the idea that heightened sensitivity to social disapproval aggravates the negative effects of surface acting.


Pay-Level Satisfaction and Employee Outcomes: The Moderating Effect of Employee-Involvement Climate

The present study examined employee-involvement climate (i.e., information-sharing and decision-making climate) as a moderator of the relationship between pay-level satisfaction and employee outcomes (i.e., job satisfaction, affective commitment, and turnover intention). Survey data were collected from 22,662 Belgian employees, representing 134 organizations. The hypotheses derived from distributive justice theory and from research on the meaning of pay received partial support. Multilevel analyses revealed that a decision-making climate buffered the negative effects of low pay-level satisfaction, and that an information-sharing climate exacerbated the negative effects of low pay-level satisfaction. Theoretical and practical implications of this differential moderating effect are discussed.

The benefits of gossip

Posted on January 18, 2012 by in Psychology

Spreading rumors – always a bad thing? Researchers of the University of California, Berkeley, investigated the existence  and dynamics of prosocial gossip and found evidence that it “plays a critical role in the maintenance of social order” and can even be therapeutic.

According to the researchers, prosocial gossip has the function of warning others about untrustworthy or dishonest people, and must not be confused with chitchat about celebrities. To test the positive outcomes of prosocial gossip participants were asked to observe a game – while connected to heart rate monitors – in which one of the players was gaining money while cheating. After noticing the cheating behavior the heart rates of the participants started to rise. In response, most of them tried to warn a new player by passing a “gossip note”. Successfull spreading the information about the cheater tempered the increase in their heart rates.

Overall, the findings indicate that gossip can have social and psychologic benefits: helping us detect bad behavior, saving others from exploitation and by lowering stress. “When we observe someone behave in an immoral way, we get frustrated,” said Rob Willer, coauthor of the study. “But being able to communicate this information to others who could be helped makes us feel better.”

Source: Feinberg, M., Willer, R., Stellar, J., & Keltner, D. 2012. The virtues of gossip: reputational information sharing as prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102: 1015-1030.

HRM should focus on employees’ life stages rather than age


Bert Schreurs, Anja Van den Broeck, Guy Notelaers, Beate Van der Heijden, & Hans De Witte

Published in Gedrag & Organisatie

Drawing on the Selection-Optimization-Compensation theory and the Job Demands-Resources model this study addresses the following research questions: (1) are there mean differences in the perceived levels of particular job characteristics between employees from different age groups; and (2) to what extent does the relationship between job characteristics and work outcomes (i.e., job strain and work enjoyment) differ across age groups? Data were collected from a sample of 15,464 employees, of which 3,850 were younger than 35 (young group), 7,273 were between 36 and 45 (middle group), and 4,341 were older than 45 (old group). Significant age differences were found in the levels of job characteristics: Young employees are most positive about their relationships with their colleagues and direct supervisor, and report to have the lowest levels of workload; employees from the middle group report to have the highest levels of role conflict; employees from the oldest age group perceive to have the highest levels of autonomy, and perceive more than other employees to be confronted with hindering changes at work. In addition, the strength of the relationship between job characteristics and work outcomes differed across age groups, although differences were rather small. From this we conclude that HR management should focus on creating high-quality jobs for all employees, young and old.

CARMA courses during the 2012 EURAM conference

CARMA is proud to be hosting a series of courses as a pre-conference event for the 2012 EURAM conference.

Short Course Topics and Instructors

  • “Qualitative Research Methods for Cross-Cultural Research” – Dr. Tine Köhler, University of Melbourne
  • “Introduction to Structural Equation Methods” – Dr. Larry Williams, Wayne State University
  • “Scale Development” – Dr. Jeremy Dawson, University of Sheffield
  • “Multilevel Analysis with R” – Dr. Hetty van Emmerik, Dr. Hannes Günter, and Dr. Bert Schreurs, Maastricht University

Short Course Outlines

Click here for detailed Course Outlines and Instructor Biographies

Advanced Registration Deadline & Registration Information

The advanced registration deadline is May 4, 2012. Please note that a $60 late fee will be added to the total price after this date.

To register, you must be a CARMA Website User. Becoming a CARMA Website User is free of charge. To become a CARMA Website User, please click here.

To register for CARMA Short Courses in Rotterdam, The Netherlands click here.

Prices per Course: *All prices are in US Dollars (USD)

  • Faculty/Professional: $640.00
  • Students: $480.00
  • CARMA Members Faculty/Professional: $320.00
  • CARMA Members Students: $240.00

Job insecurity fluctuates within persons


Bert Schreurs, Hetty van Emmerik, Hannes Guenter, & Filip Germeys

published in Human Resource Management 

In this article, the authors used a within-person design to examine the relationship between job insecurity and employee in-role and extra-role performance, and the buffering role of time-varying work-based support (i.e., supervisor and colleague support) in this relationship. Weekly diary data gathered over the course of three weeks from 56 employees confronted with organizational restructuring and analyzed with a hierarchical linear modeling approach showed that weekly fl uctuations in job insecurity negatively predicted week-level in-role performance. As predicted, supervisor support moderated the intra-individual relationship between job insecurity and in-role performance, so that employees’ in-role performance suffered less from feeling job insecurity during weeks in which they received more support from their supervisor. No relationship between job insecurity and extra-role performance was observed. This within-person study contributes to research on job insecurity that has primarily focused on inter-individual differences in job insecurity and their associations with job performance. Theoretical and practical implications for human resource management are discussed.