Tuesday, 11 March 2014

‘We are All in This Together’? The Hidden Costs of Poverty, Recession and Austerity Policies on Britain's Poorest Children

an article by Tess Ridge (University of Bath, Bath, UK) published in Children & Society Volume 27 Issue 5 (September 2013)


In 2010, in the UK a new Coalition government inherited an ailing economy at a time of economic uncertainty and recession. Their response was to institute a fundamental revision and retrenchment of government spending accompanied by unprecedented cuts in welfare services and social security provision.

This article explores the nature and meaning of these changes from a child-centred perspective, to understand how and in what ways policy change and welfare retrenchment may uniquely impinge on low-income children's lives. It reveals that recent cuts and welfare changes have threatened to overlook their needs and exacerbate their deepest concerns.

Towards an understanding of identity and technology in the workplace

an article by Mari-Klara Stein, Robert D Galliers and M Lynne Markus (Bentley University, Waltham, MA, USA) published in Journal of Information Technology Volume 28 Issue 3 (September 2013)


Despite the ubiquitous presence of information technology (IT) in the workplace and the continued computerisation of all kinds of work practices, investigations into how IT artefacts play a role in professional identity construction remain rare. Existing studies tend to emphasise sense-making and discourses around IT.

This study attempts to fill some of this gap by offering an empirical investigation of how IT artefacts play a role in professional identity enactment at a back office of a Big 4 accounting firm. Building on the socio-technical school of thought and the concept of self as storied, the paper offers a complementary perspective to existing views on the role of IT in identity formation.

Our findings reveal that IT artefacts become part of professional identity performances by acting as landmarks in individuals’ self-narratives around which the self and others are positioned and a preferred professional identity is enacted. The findings also indicate that different types of preferred selves may be expressed in specific patterns of technology use. As such, our study contributes to a better understanding of professional identity construction, workplace behaviour and ongoing use or non-use of IT at work.

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High-Performance Work Systems and Job Control: Consequences for Anxiety, Role Overload, and Turnover Intentions

an article by Jaclyn M Jensen (George Washington University), Pankaj C Patel (Ball State University)and Jake G Messersmith (University of Nebraska-Kearney) published in Journal of Management Volume 39 Number 6 (September 2013)


This study examines relationships among high-performance work systems (HPWS), job control, employee anxiety, role overload, and turnover intentions.

Building on theory that challenges the rhetoric versus reality of HPWS, the authors explore a potential “dark side” of HPWS that suggests that HPWS, which are aimed at creating a competitive advantage for organisations, do so at the expense of workers, thus resulting in negative consequences for individual employees. However, the authors argue that these consequences may be tempered when HPWS are also implemented with a sufficient amount of job control, or discretion given to employees in determining how to implement job responsibilities.

The authors draw on job demands–control theory and the stress literatures to hypothesise moderated-mediation relationships relating the interaction of HPWS utilisation and job control to anxiety and role overload, with subsequent effects on turnover intentions. The authors examine these relationships in a multilevel sample of 1,592 government workers nested in 87 departments from the country of Wales.

Results support their hypotheses, which highlight several negative consequences when HPWS are implemented with low levels of job control. They discuss their findings in light of the critique in the literature toward the utilization of HPWS in organizations and offer suggestions for future research directions.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Non-financial employment commitment: some correlates and a cross-national comparison

an article by Raphael Snir, (School of Management and Economics, The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Tel-Aviv, Israel) published in Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal Volume 21 Issue 1 (2014)


To further explore the nature of non-monetary motivation for working, this study aims to present correlates of non-financial employment commitment (NFEC) and a cross-national comparison.

Data gathered from representative national samples of the adult population (i.e. employed and unemployed individuals) in 31 countries (n=43,440), among them Nordic (e.g. Sweden and Norway), Western-European (e.g. Spain and France), Anglo-Saxon (e.g. the USA and Britain), former Communist (e.g. Russia and Hungary), Asian (e.g. Japan and South Korea), Latin-American (Mexico and the Dominican Republic), and African (South Africa). The source of the data is the 2005 International Social Survey Programme module on work orientation.

NFEC proves positively correlated with intrinsic job characteristics, education level, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Administrators, managers, and professionals have higher NFEC than blue-collar workers, clerks, service workers, and sales workers. Respondents currently working for pay have higher NFEC than those currently not working for pay. Respondents trying to improve job skills during the previous 12 months have higher NFEC than those not trying to do so. NFEC is higher in member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development than in non-member countries. NFEC is also higher in countries where self-expression values are important than in countries where survival values are important.

Practical implications
By assessing NFEC decision makers may be assisted in their selection and advancement decisions.

This study conducts the most comprehensive cross-national comparison of NFEC to date, and its findings have high external validity. It is unlikely that the findings are biased by social desirability.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fostering the human infrastructure of e-research

Rob Procter and Marzieh Asgari-Targhi (Manchester eResearch Centre, Manchester University, UK) and Alex Voss (St Andrews University, UK) published in Information, Communication & Society Volume 16 Issue 10 (2013)


Findings from an in-depth study of problems faced by the UK e-Research community – researchers, institutionally-based support services and national e-Infrastructure service providers – as they struggle with the challenges of widening the adoption of e-Infrastructure, exploiting its potential benefits and embedding it into everyday research practices are presented.

The findings show that e-Infrastructure is often seen by users (both current and potential) as complex and challenging. It is also clear that current users often experience frustrations, while potential users may be unaware of its benefits and of how to take the first steps towards exploiting them.

The findings highlight the scale of problems arising from the failure of the human infrastructure – the networks (both formal and informal) of actors essential to effective exploitation of innovations – to develop and keep pace with the technical infrastructure.

The article concludes by discussing a number of interventions that the e-Research community might make in order to re-align the capabilities of the human infrastructure with those of the technical infrastructure.

Workplace bullying and incivility: a systematic review of interventions

an article by Margaret Hodgins, (National University of Ireland, Galway) and Sarah MacCurtain and Patricia Mannix-McNamara (University of Limerick, Ireland) published in International Journal of Workplace Health Management Volume 7 Issue 1 (2014)


Workplace mistreatment has a negative impact on the health and well-being of approximately 20 per cent of workers. Despite this, few interventions have been evaluated and published. The purpose of this paper is to address the question “what interventions designed to reduce workplace bullying or incivility are effective and what can be learnt from evaluated interventions for future practice?”

A systematic review was undertaken in which 11 electronic databases were searched, yielding 5,364 records. Following screening on abstract and title, 31 papers were retained for detailed review and quality assessment. Subsequently, 12 interventions to address workplace bullying or incivility were critically appraised.

The papers spanned a wide range of approaches to and assumptions about resolving the problem of bullying and/or incivility. Half the studies focused on changing individual behaviours or knowledge about bullying or incivility, and duration of intervention ranged from two hours to two years. Only four studies were controlled before-after studies. Only three studies were classed as “moderate” in terms of quality, two of which were effective and one of which was partially effective.

A final synthesis of results of the review indicate that multi-component, organisational level interventions appear to have a positive effect on levels of incivility, and should be considered as a basis for developing interventions to address workplace bullying.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The stress potential of social media in the workplace

an article by Eliane Bucher, Christian Fieseler and Anne Suphan (University of St. Gallen, Institute for Media and Communications Managment, Switzerland) published Information, Communication & Society Volume 16 Issue 10 (2013)


Social media have enriched the communication profession with new and immediate ways of stakeholder interaction. Along with new possibilities also come challenges – as professionals are engaging in real-time conversations with their audiences on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the like, they have to learn to mentally cope with an oversupply of possibly relevant information, with an invasion of work matters into the private domain and with changing work contents and structures.

This paper proposes a measurement routed in the technostress and overload research to assess these challenges brought to communication workforces by social media. These data were collected in a quantitative survey among 2,579 marketing and communication professionals. Based on an exploratory factor analysis, we demonstrate that being literate in an age of social media encompasses not only knowing how to retrieve and process information appropriately in various social settings, but also – and maybe more importantly – to mentally cope with overload, invasion and uncertainty.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Skills anticipation—The future of work and education

an article by Rob Wilson (University of Warwick, UK) published in International Journal of Educational Research Volume 61 (2013)

  • Skills are key to improving economic performance at individual and macro levels.
  • Education and training is the key to improving skills.
  • Projections can help ensure education and training delivers the right skills.
  • Systematic anticipation of the future can help inform career choices and decisions.
  • But education is not just about preparing people for work.

Skills are frequently advocated as a panacea for economic and social ills, and anticipation of changing skill needs is seen as playing a key role in ensuring education and training delivers the right skills. Although mechanistic “manpower planning” of education and training systems from the top down is not a practical possibility in free market economies systematic efforts to peer into the future can help both policy makers and individuals to make better informed choices.

There are huge uncertainties, but many trends and patterns are robust. Education is not just about preparing people for work but also about changing the path of economic development.

Decisions about education by both policy makers and individuals will influence how the future will unfold.

Physical activity barriers in the workplace: An exploration of factors contributing to non-participation in a UK workplace physical activity intervention

an article by Sarah Edmunds, (Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, UK) and Louise Hurst and Kate Harvey, (Centre for Workplace Health, St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK) published in International Journal of Workplace Health and Management Volume 6 Issue 3 (2013)


The purpose of this paper is to explore factors contributing to non-participation in a workplace physical activity (PA) intervention in a large UK call centre.

In total, 16 inactive individuals (nine male/seven female), aged 27±9 years, who had not taken part in the intervention were interviewed to explore their perceptions of PA, the intervention and factors which contributed to their non-participation. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.

Six superordinate themes were identified: self-efficacy for exercise; attitudes towards PA; lack of time and energy; facilities and the physical environment; response to the PA programme and PA culture. Barriers occurred at multiple levels of influence, and support the use of ecological or multilevel models to help guide future programme design/delivery.

Research limitations/implications
The 16 participants were not selected to be representative of the workplace gender or structure. Future intentions relating to PA participation were not considered and participants may have withheld negative opinions about the workplace or intervention despite use of an external researcher.

Practical implications
In this group of employees education about the importance of PA for young adults and providing opportunities to gain social benefits from PA would increase perceived benefits and reduce perceived costs of PA. Workplace cultural norms with respect to PA must also be addressed to create a shift in PA participation.

Employees’ reasons for non-participation in workplace interventions remain poorly understood and infrequently studied. The study considers a relatively under-studied population of employed young adults, providing practical recommendations for future interventions.