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Dr. Susan Mohammed Interviewed by New York Magazine Blog

Dr. Susan Mohammed was recently interviewed by New York Magazine's blog, Science of Us, regarding her opinion on a commonly used method of bringing groups of people together for the first time, icebreakers. Apparently, they can be ineffective if not done properly.

“Icebreakers are generally a first step and they can be valuable in … getting people to know each other,” she says. “But in terms of group cohesion or deep levels of trust or psychological safety or an open climate, it’s just not going to be enough.”

In this interview, she offers strategies for making icebreakers more effective.

And one way to make people a little more engaged, Mohammed says, is to outline right off the bat what they’ll be doing, explain the goal of the icebreaker — are they there to build trust? learn something new about a person? figure out roles for a team? — and to reiterate those same points again once it’s all done.


Dr. Susan Mohammed's Invited Talk at APS 2016

Dr. Susan Mohammed was invited to present her work on temporal orientations and how that affects team performance at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) this past May. Click here for a write up in the APS Observer on the session as well as highlights from what she discussed. Great job Susan!

Dr. Alicia Grandey Interviewed by The New Yorker

Dr. Grandey was recently interviewed by The New Yorker magazine about her research on emotional labor as well as other factors that influence work environments.

Even more salient, Grandey argues, is the feeling of inauthenticity that enforced emotional displays create. In her research, she has found that putting on an emotional mask at work—conforming to a certain image that doesn’t necessarily correspond to how you feel or who you are—drains you of energy that can only be replenished if you then have an opportunity to be yourself. “You have to be able to be real,” she told me. “If we’re expecting people to be super happy and positive to people you’re expected to be positive with as part of your job”—to smile and act upbeat with clients and customers—“if you can’t turn around and be real with co-workers, you are amplifying emotional labor. And you have a real problem on your hands.

Click here for the full story. Congrats!

NSF Workshop on Emotions, Creativity, and Work Climate Hosted at Penn State

Last month, Dr. Alicia Grandey organized an NSF workshop on emotions, creativity, and work climate that brought together researchers in psychology, organizational behavior, and engineering from across the campus as well as around the world.

Click the link below for an overview of the workshop.

Dr. Alicia Grandey's NPR podcast: McDonald's and Emotion Norms in Russia

Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently interviewed as part of the NPR's podcast Invisibilia about emotional labor and how McDonald's is changing emotion norms in Russia!   

Click here for more information on the interview:

Click here to access the full podcast:

Dr. Sam Hunter: Being a jerk does not lead to more original ideas

Dr. Hunter's award winning paper (see below) has been featured in various news outlets, including Fortune, Business Insider, and The research, entitled, Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas, found that disagreeableness did not influence the originality of the ideas produced, but did influence the extent to which the ideas were employed by team members. Hunter and Cushenbery also found that disagreeableness influenced idea originality only in contexts where new ideas were discouraged and original ideas were proposed by other team members.

Click on the links below to access the news articles!

Fortune magazine

Business Insider

Daily Mail


Hunter, S. T., & Cushenbery, L. (2015). Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas. Journal of Business and Psychology30(4), 621–639.

Dr. Susan Mohammed’s Invited Session on Time at APS

Dr. Susan Mohammed will be giving an invited talk on how individual differences in time perceptions affect work behavior at this year’s Association for Psychological Science conference. It will be part of a cross-cutting themes program that features talks from different areas of psychology in order to inform us of multiple approaches to understanding a single topic. The conference will be held from May 26-29th, 2016 in Chicago, IL.

Congratulations Dr. Mohammed! Click here for more information.

Penn State I/O Faculty and Student Alumni Win Editor Commendation Awards at the Journal of Business and Psychology

Congratulations are in order for Drs. Alicia Grandey, Sam Hunter, and James LeBreton, as well as some of our graduate and undergraduate student alumni (Allison Gabriel, Jennifer Diamond Acosta, and Lily Cushenberry)!

The editorial board of the Journal of Business and Psychology selected their best papers of 2015 for the Editor Commendation award. Over 500 papers were considered for this honor, and of the 9 selected, 3 were awarded to Penn State I/O's own faculty and student alumni! 

Check out their papers below (Faculty,  *doctoral students, **undergraduates): 

Gabriel**, A. S., Acosta*, J. D., & Grandey, A. A. (2015). The Value of a Smile: Does Emotional Performance Matter More in Familiar or Unfamiliar Exchanges? Journal of Business and Psychology30(1), 37–50.

Hunter, S. T., & Cushenbery*, L. (2015). Is Being a Jerk Necessary for Originality? Examining the Role of Disagreeableness in the Sharing and Utilization of Original Ideas.Journal of Business and Psychology30(4), 621–639.

Tonidandel, S., & LeBreton, J. M. (2015). RWA Web: A Free, Comprehensive, Web-Based, and User-Friendly Tool for Relative Weight Analyses. Journal of Business and Psychology30(2), 207–216.

Dr. Alicia Grandey's NPR Podcast Interview

Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently interviewed by the NPR Actuality podcast. She discussed service with a smile and the toll that emotional labor takes on service employees. Click here to listen!

Dr. Alicia Grandey: Why enforced ‘service with a smile’ should be banned

Our own Dr. Alicia Grandey was recently featured in ScienceNews' Culture Beaker blog:

As a customer, you may find this relentless cheer uplifting or annoying (I err on the latter; please stop asking me about my day and just make my coffee). In the service industry, this “emotional labor,” to use the academic parlance, is typically a job requirement that’s enforced by management. Yet a large body of research suggests that emotional labor comes at a cost and one that’s primarily paid by the employee. I can’t speak to sales at Pret A Manger, but research also finds little evidence that the practice increases store profits.

“It’s sort of an invisible form of work,” says Penn State organizational psychologist Alicia Grandey, who has studied emotional labor for years. “But it has a real cost. We really want management to think about this: If this is really important to you as a company, if you value it, then you should train for it, and compensate for it. And you should create an environment that is supportive for the employee.”

Click here to read the full story!

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