Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
Cooperation is essential to a well-functioning organization. Punishment and partner choice are recognized as two mechanisms through which cooperation can be promoted within groups and organizations: People cooperate and are rewarded by further social connection, or fail to cooperate and incur social or material sanctions. While both punishment and partner choice can help promote cooperation, these mechanisms can also carry certain personal costs for the punisher or chooser and thus warrant further exploration. In this dissertation, I examine the reputational implications of punishment and partner choice behaviours. First, I examine the reputational consequences of punishing, and in particular I test whether the reputational consequences vary depending upon the punisher’s perceived motive for the punishment. Second, I examine the reputational consequences of choosing a partner who exhibits a willingness to cooperate over a partner who exhibits an ability to cooperate. I further test whether people are aware of the reputational benefits they are garnering as a result of their partner choice decisions, whether they change their partner choice decisions depending upon certain factors within their environment, and whether such reputational effects serve as honest signals. Altogether, I explore the reputational implications of individuals’ punishment behavior and their partner selection.
Interest in mindfulness in the workplace is nascent and booming. Early research has associated mindfulness with some indicators of work performance, but the relationship with numerous other performance indicators remains unexplored. Research to date also suffers from a paucity of studies that test whether mindfulness causally affects work performance, as well as the psychological mechanisms by which it does so. The present research seeks to fill these gaps by examining the effect of mindfulness on two key performance-related outcomes: (a) conflict avoidance, and (b) interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors. In so doing, it works within the framework of affective events theory and extends it by examining the role of affect regulation on work behavior. Building upon recent theorizing that mindfulness has a multi-faceted influence on affective experience, this research also seeks to test the effect of mindfulness on two broad types of affect regulation: (a) antecedent-focused, and (b) response-focused. On the one hand, this research posits that mindfulness can serve to enhance eudaimonic well-being and the positive affect it entails, thereby increasing interpersonal organizational citizenship behaviors; on the other, it contends that mindfulness increases emotion acceptance, thereby mitigating negative affect in the face of conflict and reducing the avoidance thereof. Across two series of three multi-methods studies each, this research seeks to test these and other hypotheses in the hope of enriching and expanding the literature on mindfulness in the workplace, and to do so in ways that are methodologically original, practically relevant, and theoretically meaningful. It concludes that mindfulness can indeed improve work performance, and that a key mechanism by which it does so is through its impact on affective experience.
Prior research has demonstrated that employees react toward injustice through engaging in sabotage. Most studies on the relationship between injustice and employee sabotage, however, have occurred in North America. It is not known if these findings generalize to other cultural settings. Taking a cross-cultural perspective, I conducted two field studies to (a) examine the role of cultural values and individual difference factors stemming from cultural values and religious beliefs in the link between justice and sabotage (Study 1); (b) explore whether employees in China react differently toward supervisory and customer injustice from employees in North America (Study 2); and (c) to the extent that differences in justice effects exist between countries, examine whether cultural values (e.g., individualism) explain (i.e., mediate) the between-country differences in the injustice-sabotage associations (Study 2). Surveys were administered to 418 front-line employees working in international hotels in China (Study 1) and 203 front-line employees working in one hotel chain in China and Canada (Study 2). Results of Study 1 revealed that the relationship between supervisory justice and sabotage toward supervisor differs as a function of vertical individualism. Moreover, the association between customer injustice and sabotage toward customer occurs as a function of horizontal individualism, negative reciprocity norm, and belief in ultimate justice. Results of Study 2 showed that the strength of the association between customer injustice and sabotage toward customer was significantly weaker among employees in China than in Canada. Three cultural values, namely individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance, accounted for these between-country differences, with individualism as the strongest mediatory factor. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Workplace incivility, defined as low-intensity deviant and aggressive behaviors that violate workplace norms for mutual respect (Andersson & Pearson, 1999) is a pervasive problem in organizations. To date, workplace incivility research has tended to focus on incivility within organizations, such as between co-workers, rather than incivility that crosses organizational boundaries. This dissertation extends the research by examining employee incivility by service employees with potential to harm customers. Examples of employee incivility include employees disrespecting and not listening to customers. The primary goal of this research is to explore why service employees can be uncivil toward customers, labeled employee incivility. Specifically, I focused on customers mistreating employees as a determinant of employee incivility such as asking aggressive questions and ignoring instructions. In addition, I examined five theoretically derived explanations for the relationship between customer incivility and employee incivility: employee negative affect, job boredom, organizational identification, organizational disidentification and emotional exhaustion. A secondary goal of this research was to investigate the relationship between uncivil employee behavior and service employee performance. In addition, this research examined uncivil events, rather than overall employee evaluations of incivility at work. Uncivil events, or specific occurrences of incivility by customers were argued to predict instances of uncivil behavior by employees towards customers. This dissertation is one of the first studies to examine workplace incivility at this level of analysis.Using a field study of contact center service employees and a recorded sample of their interactions with customers (N = 68 for employees, N = 641 for interactions) this study found that employee incivility was positively related to customer incivility in both interactions and across employees. Service employees who experience higher (vs. lower) levels of incivility from customers directed more uncivil behaviors toward customers. In addition, both employee job boredom and emotional exhaustion were positively related to uncivil employee behaviors towards customers. The proposed explanations (mediators) for the relationship between customer incivility and employee incivility were not supported. Finally, employee incivility was negatively related to service employee performance.
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) has been defined as employee behavior that is discretionary, not explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, yet contributes to the effective functioning of the organization (Organ, 1988). Although OCB contributes to positive outcomes at the organizational and team levels of analysis (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000), the results are mixed at the individual level (Podsakoff et al., 2000; Bolino, Turnley, Gilstrap, & Suazo, 2010). Also, a debate exists concerning whether discretion is an essential part of its definition. The present research examines whether perceived choice (i.e. role discretion) is a condition that influences the association between OCB and work engagement. Theoretical, research and practical implications are discussed.
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