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Merits, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2023) – 14 articles

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18 pages, 782 KiB  
Article
Validating Sustainable Career Indicators: A Case Study in a European Energy Company
by Carla Curado, Tiago Gonçalves and Cláudia Ribeiro
Merits 2023, 3(1), 230-247; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010014 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
The literature on careers is rapidly evolving, presenting relevant academic developments. Considering the volatility of the environment and the workforce and the search for sustainability, a new research avenue concerning sustainable careers is emerging. Sustainable careers are regarded as a complex mental schema [...] Read more.
The literature on careers is rapidly evolving, presenting relevant academic developments. Considering the volatility of the environment and the workforce and the search for sustainability, a new research avenue concerning sustainable careers is emerging. Sustainable careers are regarded as a complex mental schema represented by experiences and continuity patterns grounded on individual subjective evaluations, such as happiness, health and productivity. According to conceptual models, these are fundamental individual indicators that allow the attainment of a sustainable career. By following this theoretical proposal, the work tests the conceptual model using proxies for its indicators (job satisfaction, well-being and organizational citizenship behavior). We validate the use of these proxies by performing association, variance, and cluster analysis on data coming from a survey conducted on employees of a European energy company. The results corroborate our hypotheses and support the choice of the selected proxies as adequate operationalization of the indicators. This study contributes to theory and practice alike by validating measures to represent each indicator and their association with sustainable careers. The study contributes to the development of research on sustainable careers by providing a set of measures that can be used to profit from an existing theoretical model and operationalize it in future studies exploring its contribution to several other variables. There are managerial implications that arise from our results and may help human resources managers contribute to the sustainable careers of their employees. We acknowledge the study’s limitations at the end of the paper and offer future directions for research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Merits from Editorial Board Members)
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24 pages, 1330 KiB  
Article
Charting the Journey of Young Leaders: A New Model of Transferability of Skills
by Despoina Karagianni, Olga Lainidi and Anthony Montgomery
Merits 2023, 3(1), 206-229; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010013 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2968
Abstract
Globally, adolescents and young adults are calling for action from governments on global humanitarian crises, taking on leadership roles that have contributed to redefining leadership in terms of behavior and action rather than qualities and status. However, there is a significant gap with [...] Read more.
Globally, adolescents and young adults are calling for action from governments on global humanitarian crises, taking on leadership roles that have contributed to redefining leadership in terms of behavior and action rather than qualities and status. However, there is a significant gap with regard to the conceptual and theoretical understanding of how adolescents and young adults experience leadership. In this paper, we present the results of two qualitative studies that examined the phenomenon of leadership among adolescents and young adults. Study 1 involved interviews with young adult leaders to analyze the fit between traditional leadership theories and their experience of leadership. Following this, Study 2 utilized the results from Study 1 to design a diary study of adolescents attending a leadership program. Both studies revealed that leadership is experienced as a pathway that involves three mechanisms of transferability: sensemaking, action and reflection. The findings of the studies are contrasted with traditional models of leadership that underrepresent the developmental nature of leadership and the transferability of leadership skills across different environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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20 pages, 1252 KiB  
Article
What If Moms Quiet Quit? The Role of Maternity Leave Policy in Working Mothers’ Quiet Quitting Behaviors
by Tingting Zhang and Chloe Rodrigue
Merits 2023, 3(1), 186-205; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010012 - 06 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4314
Abstract
This study aims to examine the effects of various maternity leave support on the quiet quitting behaviors and mental health conditions of working mothers across industries during the post-pandemic period. Through an empirical survey method of 310 valid responses from a panel data, [...] Read more.
This study aims to examine the effects of various maternity leave support on the quiet quitting behaviors and mental health conditions of working mothers across industries during the post-pandemic period. Through an empirical survey method of 310 valid responses from a panel data, the study results indicated that working mothers who took maternity leave were less likely to adopt quiet quitting behaviors when they returned to work after childbirth and showed better mental health at work compared to their peers who did not take maternity leave because of childbirth and/or childcare. Additionally, paid maternity leave was not found to have a significant effect on quiet quitting behaviors and mental health of working mothers across industries, but the duration of maternity leave was found as a significant factor in impacting working mothers’ quiet quitting behaviors and their mental health conditions. Moreover, peer workers’ quiet quitting behaviors and supervisors’ support for childcare (e.g., flexible work schedule) were found significantly to improve working mothers’ quiet quitting tendencies at work. Lastly, there exist significant differences in age and race in the working mothers’ quiet quitting behaviors at work. Full article
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19 pages, 305 KiB  
Article
The Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Work: Career Advancement Challenges
by Sara McPhee Lafkas, Marin Christensen and Susan R. Madsen
Merits 2023, 3(1), 167-185; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010011 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3716
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic upended countless lives all over the world. Considerable research has shown that women’s career progression has been more negatively impacted by the pandemic than men’s, especially in the wake of school closures and increased childcare responsibilities. In order to understand [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic upended countless lives all over the world. Considerable research has shown that women’s career progression has been more negatively impacted by the pandemic than men’s, especially in the wake of school closures and increased childcare responsibilities. In order to understand more deeply the impact of the pandemic on women’s careers, a large mixed-method survey was conducted in Utah, a western state in the United States. This article reports on the responses of 2564 respondents to one of three open-ended questions taken from the overall survey, namely: “How has the pandemic impacted your career advancement experiences and opportunities over the short term and longer term?” The article frames the findings of this question by outlining workplace conditions and structures that contributed to women not advancing prior to the pandemic and applies the lenses of identity theory and systems psychodynamic theory to illustrate tendencies for workers and organizations to maintain the gendered dynamics that impede women’s career advancement. Findings included 59.1 percent of respondents who described a negative effect on their career advancement caused by the pandemic. Overarching themes and sub-themes were identified from these negative effects. Overarching themes included: (1) “Everything is on hold”; (2) “Lost or relinquished opportunity”; (3) “Reevaluation of Career”; and (4) “Experiences by Characteristics.” The latter theme highlighted unique experiences women faced versus men and manifested the gendered dynamics identified by identity and psychodynamic theories. Findings highlighted the importance of making workplace changes such as more flexible work and/or hybrid work arrangements, improved leave policies, the provision of childcare and other support services, and government policies that eliminate gendered barriers to women’s career advancement. Full article
16 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Digging into “Zoom Fatigue”: A Qualitative Exploration of Remote Work Challenges and Virtual Meeting Stressors
by Svea Luebstorf, Joseph A. Allen, Emilee Eden, William S. Kramer, Roni Reiter-Palmon and Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock
Merits 2023, 3(1), 151-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010010 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4384
Abstract
Purpose: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees suddenly had to work remotely and realize all work-related social interaction in virtual formats. The sudden shift to the virtual format came with new workplace stressors. To understand the stressors of remote work and [...] Read more.
Purpose: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees suddenly had to work remotely and realize all work-related social interaction in virtual formats. The sudden shift to the virtual format came with new workplace stressors. To understand the stressors of remote work and videoconferences, we present two qualitative studies. The aim of this study is to better understand the stress associated with remote work and videoconferencing, with an emphasis on how workers cope with the added stress. Methodology: We applied thematic analysis to open-ended survey data from employees in the US (n = 349) and in-depth telephone interviews of 50 meeting leaders from the US and Germany. Findings: We identified the work–home interface, technology, and communication issues as key challenges of remote work. Further, we found camera usage, early meeting phases, and multitasking to be central stressors of videoconferences. Finally, we identified individual- and team-level coping strategies to reduce the impacts of virtual meeting stressors on employees. Originality: Our research contributes to the emerging field studying the effects of virtual work and videoconferences on employees. We provide an overview of the challenges of remote work at the early stages of the pandemic, and we present an overview of the stressors that emerge in virtual meeting environments. We discuss insights into why videoconferences may fatigue employees. Including German and US samples, our research allows a cross-cultural comparison of videoconferencing stressors. Finally, we present actionable practical recommendations to improve videoconferences. Full article
18 pages, 1165 KiB  
Article
Key Factors That Contribute to the Development of Resilience in Successful Women Leaders Who Experience Disrespect and the Importance of Respect in the Post-Pandemic Workplace
by Carrie Spell-Hansson
Merits 2023, 3(1), 133-150; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010009 - 01 Feb 2023
Viewed by 3214
Abstract
Extrinsic structural inequities, such as historical biases against women in certain professions, their delegation to lower-paying jobs, gender, racial, and other discrimination, and additional systemic factors have been extensively studied as barriers to women entering and advancing in leadership positions in the workplace. [...] Read more.
Extrinsic structural inequities, such as historical biases against women in certain professions, their delegation to lower-paying jobs, gender, racial, and other discrimination, and additional systemic factors have been extensively studied as barriers to women entering and advancing in leadership positions in the workplace. Yet, the intrinsic individual characteristics of successful women leaders, including self-awareness, self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-acceptance, and resilience, that have facilitated their success in obtaining and retaining leadership positions despite these barriers have received far less attention in the literature. Resilience, in particular, is an important intrinsic characteristic that facilitates women’s ability to navigate the often-difficult terrain of organizations, including facing disrespect by supervisors and colleagues. This study investigated the critical factors that contributed to the development of resilience among 24 successful women leaders in the United States which allowed them to be effective when experiencing disrespect in the workplace. Participants identified four categories of disrespect commonly experienced in the workplace, including: (1) not being listened to; (2) not being respected; (3) not being acknowledged; and (4) condescension. Factors that helped them develop the resilience to succeed despite these experiences included early developmental influences, circumstances they successfully overcame in life, and experiences in their youth that shaped how they responded as adults to disrespect or a lack of respect from their supervisors and colleagues. Participants also highlighted the importance of respect, the flip side of disrespect, in motivating them and enhancing their engagement in their work. The reported study is significant in that it identified factors that can be inculcated in women to help them develop resilience, and it highlighted the critical importance of creating a post-pandemic workplace that fosters mutual respect and does not tolerate disrespect. Full article
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2 pages, 152 KiB  
Editorial
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Merits in 2022
by Merits Editorial Office
Merits 2023, 3(1), 131-132; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010008 - 18 Jan 2023
Viewed by 852
Abstract
High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...] Full article
16 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
The Construction of the “Older Worker”
by Hannes Zacher and Cort W. Rudolph
Merits 2023, 3(1), 115-130; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010007 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2304
Abstract
The notion of the “older worker” is frequently used in the organizational literature, in organizational practice, and in society, but so far, no research has investigated why people consider someone to be an older worker at a certain age. In the qualitative part [...] Read more.
The notion of the “older worker” is frequently used in the organizational literature, in organizational practice, and in society, but so far, no research has investigated why people consider someone to be an older worker at a certain age. In the qualitative part of this study, we examined potential reasons for considering workers to be “older” at a certain age. In the quantitative part of this study, we investigated demographic characteristics (i.e., age, sex, education), job characteristics (i.e., job level, typical age in a job), and beliefs (i.e., perceived remaining time at work, motivation to continue working after retirement, positive and negative age stereotypes) as predictors of people’s conceptions of “older worker age”.” Data were provided by 269 employees from various jobs and organizations. The mean age at which participants considered someone to be an “older worker” was approximately 55 years. The most frequently stated reasons for considering workers to be “older” at a certain age were retirement age and age-related decline. Results of a regression analysis showed that participants’ age, sex, and perceived remaining time predicted “older worker age”. These findings provide first insights into the psychological construction of the “older worker”. Full article
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19 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
The Impact of COVID-19 on Working Women with Caring Responsibilities: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis
by Randal Joy Thompson
Merits 2023, 3(1), 96-114; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010006 - 09 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1878
Abstract
Working women forced to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown often faced additional unpaid care responsibilities, requiring a “second or even a third shift”, such as educating their children in addition to caring for them while working. The purpose of this study was [...] Read more.
Working women forced to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown often faced additional unpaid care responsibilities, requiring a “second or even a third shift”, such as educating their children in addition to caring for them while working. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of a sample of working women with care responsibilities in order to derive recommendations for post-COVID working structures and arrangements. The study explored the unique experiences of four women from the United States, Latin America, and Africa, across a range of personal and organizational contexts. The study employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to understand and interpret the lived experiences and meaning-making of these women during the pandemic lockdown. The IPA was supplemented by the visual data gathering techniques of “a special object” and “the River of Experience” to give voice to participants’ more metaphoric thinking. The study concluded that participants’ experiences reflected the superordinate themes of: (1) a deep sense of loss of “the normal”; (2) psychological reboot and seeing the world with new eyes; (3) emerging women’s community and connection; and (4) redefining the world of work for women. Each superordinate theme was supported by several subthemes. Recognizing that the 9-to-5 work world has been remodeled to a certain extent, the participants recommended more flexible work arrangements and more support for human needs by employers and society as essential elements of the postpandemic workplace. Full article
19 pages, 1132 KiB  
Article
New Public Management in Abu Dhabi: Effects on Employee Loyalty, Organizational Citizenship Behaviors, and Work–Life Balance
by Ahmed Al Hebsi and Stephen Wilkins
Merits 2023, 3(1), 77-95; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010005 - 29 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2813
Abstract
Encouraged by the perceived success of new public management (NPM) in other nations globally, the Abu Dhabi government adopted this system of management after 2010. To date, limited research has investigated the advantages and disadvantages of NPM for both the organization and the [...] Read more.
Encouraged by the perceived success of new public management (NPM) in other nations globally, the Abu Dhabi government adopted this system of management after 2010. To date, limited research has investigated the advantages and disadvantages of NPM for both the organization and the employee. Thus, the purpose of this study is to assess the extent to which NPM influences employee behaviors, particularly focusing on any possible negative effects of NPM on employee work–life balance. An exploratory, inductive, qualitative research method was adopted, which involved a total of 42 semi-structured interviews, conducted in two rounds with 21 public sector managers in Abu Dhabi. It was found that the strategic objective of maximizing customer satisfaction increased the workload of most managers, and one-third of our research participants perceive that their work–life balance has deteriorated since NPM was adopted. However, removing levels from organizational hierarchies and increasing individual responsibilities were generally reported as motivating. Although studies undertaken in other countries have suggested a link between NPM and worsening employee work–life balance, this link does not always hold true among our participants. Indeed, most individuals reported high levels of loyalty toward their organization and high levels of organizational citizenship behaviors. The reasons for these positive outcomes are explained. Full article
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26 pages, 378 KiB  
Article
Accommodating Employees with Impairments and Health Problems: The Role of Flexible Employment Schemes in Europe
by Eleftherios Giovanis and Oznur Ozdamar
Merits 2023, 3(1), 51-76; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010004 - 27 Dec 2022
Viewed by 3487
Abstract
Over the past 30 years, the workplace has witnessed significant changes. The fast growth in the use of information and communication technologies and changes in working hours and agreements radically changed the nature of the job. One such change is flexible employment schemes, [...] Read more.
Over the past 30 years, the workplace has witnessed significant changes. The fast growth in the use of information and communication technologies and changes in working hours and agreements radically changed the nature of the job. One such change is flexible employment schemes, which can provide alternatives for employees with disabilities and health problems, giving incentives to increase their productivity and job satisfaction. This study examines the relationship between those schemes and labour outcomes, such as job satisfaction, job quality and absenteeism in this group of people. Furthermore, the objective is to explore the role of flexible employment for carers of people with impairments. The empirical analysis relies on the European Working Conditions Survey from 2000 to 2015. The findings show that employees with disabilities and health problems working under flexible employment schemes are more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction and lower absenteeism rates than their counterparts working under fixed employment schemes. Moreover, carers’ job satisfaction and organisational loyalty are significantly improved when flexible employment schemes are in place. The policy implications suggest efficient implementation at the state and corporate levels of flexible employment systems that can promote job satisfaction, reduce turnover intentions and, thus, increase productivity. Full article
14 pages, 899 KiB  
Article
An Empirical Examination of the Genesis of Psychological Ownership
by Donald G. Gardner, Jon L. Pierce and Feng Lv
Merits 2023, 3(1), 37-50; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010003 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1605
Abstract
While there are many empirical studies of psychological ownership, there are few that examine the origins of it. Why do people develop feelings of ownership over various entities in their lives? In this investigation we empirically explore the role played by basic psychological [...] Read more.
While there are many empirical studies of psychological ownership, there are few that examine the origins of it. Why do people develop feelings of ownership over various entities in their lives? In this investigation we empirically explore the role played by basic psychological needs as motives for the development of job-based psychological ownership. Specifically, we hypothesize that person-job fit is positively related to job-based psychological ownership through three major routes (experienced control, intimate knowing, and/or investment of the self). Further, based on extant theory but not previously studied, we hypothesized that self-identity needs and effectance motivation act as first stage moderators of these mediated relationships. Based on data from 308 employees in China, and employing a time-lagged design, we observed a significant positive relationship between person-job fit and psychological ownership through the three routes. Most of these mediated relationships were moderated by the need for self-identity and effectance motivation, such that the positive effects became stronger as the motivational needs strengthened. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. Full article
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16 pages, 630 KiB  
Article
Dimensionality of the Causes of Churning: A Multivariate Statistical Analysis
by Olga Alexandra Chinita Pirrolas and Pedro Miguel Alves Ribeiro Correia
Merits 2023, 3(1), 21-36; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010002 - 26 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1608
Abstract
The present study was conducted in Portugal and had, as its object of study, workers from Portuguese companies belonging to several sectors of activity. The main goal of this study was the identification of the dimensions related to the causes of churning and [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted in Portugal and had, as its object of study, workers from Portuguese companies belonging to several sectors of activity. The main goal of this study was the identification of the dimensions related to the causes of churning and to analyse its applicability in the management of human resources to promote individual and corporate welfare. Its specific targets were (a) to make a sociographic characterisation of the workers; (b) to make their professional characterisation; (c) to analyse the perception workers had in relation to the selected dimensions under study. Through the gathering of data per questionnaire, a sample consisting of 801 answers was considered. First, we resorted to a multivariate statistical analysis through the application of an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) that allowed for the selection of the most relevant dimensions, followed by a descriptive statistical analysis on the collected sample and used items. Finally, we resorted to a TwoStep Cluster analysis that allowed for the identification of two Clusters of workers with a differentiated probability for the occurrence of churning. Full article
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20 pages, 392 KiB  
Hypothesis
Meaning, Needs, and Workplace Spirituality
by Elisabeth Nöhammer
Merits 2023, 3(1), 1-20; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010001 - 20 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2987
Abstract
Human resource management and leadership are often required to create, sustain, and manage meaning in the workplace. Spirituality in the workplace is a focal idea in this context but lacks conceptual clarity. This article examines the general logic of the concept by analyzing [...] Read more.
Human resource management and leadership are often required to create, sustain, and manage meaning in the workplace. Spirituality in the workplace is a focal idea in this context but lacks conceptual clarity. This article examines the general logic of the concept by analyzing its prevalent definitions and their implications, investigating its legitimization, examining links to the psychological contract and examining potential outcomes. Inherent paradoxes and ethical and practical issues are shown that call for a re-evaluation of the concept, for which alternative routes are outlined. Practical and philosophical questions requiring further investigation are highlighted to structure future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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