Ongoing Research

Effects of Attachment Processes on Workplace Bullying

Affiliated Faculty: Jacqueline Hood, Kathryn Jacobson, & Ryan Jacobson

This project explores the extent to which early attachment processes in human development can predict: (a) the likelihood of being the perpetrator of bullying activity in organizations, (b) employee reactions to a coworker being bullied, and (c) an employee’s reaction to being the target of bullying.


Preferences for Revealing Sensitive Information

Affiliated Faculty: Matt Pickard & Catherine Roster

In this study, we are examining whether people reveal more sensitive information to 1) a human interviewer, 2) an avatar (i.e., computer-driver virtual human), or 3) a voice. The results have important implications for collecting sensitive data in contexts such as marketing, fraud investigations, and audits.


Psychological Mechanisms of Normative Social Influence

Affiliated Faculty: Ryan Jacobson & Kathryn Jacobson

This project investigates the processes through which norms of social obligation (i.e., injunctive norms) and norms of typicality/prevalence (i.e., descriptive norms) influence behavior. Theory and past research suggest that the two norm types capitalize on different underlying psychological mechanisms. Ongoing research is investigating the extent to which capacities/processes like empathy, self-construal, and self-conscious emotions mediate the effects of social norms on behavior.


Customer Discrimination Against Organizations with High Levels of Diversity

Affiliated Faculty: Sabrina Volpone

This project explores the extent to which customers discriminate against service-oriented organizations with diverse employee profiles.


Social Norms as Predictors of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors and Counterproductive Work Behaviors

Affiliated Faculty: Ryan Jacobson, Kathryn Jacobson, & Jacqueline Hood

This project explores the extent to which a variety of positive and negative workplace behaviors are influenced by perceptions of the social norms for those behaviors among peers.


Anthropomorphism of Organizations

Affiliated Faculty: Ryan Jacobson

Organizations are often described in anthropomorphic terms (e.g., “organizational health”, “organizational pathology”, “neurotic organizations”, “the firm must behave…”). This project explores the possibility that this phenomenon reflects more than just a human penchant for metaphor. Like the tendency to anthropomorphize non-human animals (e.g.,”My dog is so proud of herself!) and inanimate objects, humans may also attribute human-like qualities to groups of people (e.g., organizations)—which may lead to biased attitudes as well as decision-making errors. This tendency may, however subtly, affect a range of outcomes relevant to modern organizations: including investor decisions, prospective employee recruitment, and employee attitudes.


Effects of Machismo Values on Gender Discrimination

Affiliated Faculty: Ryan Jacobson, Kathryn Jacobson, & Robert DelCampo

The cultural values construct of “machismo” has been described as including an emphasis on relatively traditional gender roles. This suggests that those endorsing machismo may be more likely to experience prejudiced attitudes toward people in organizational roles that do not match stereotyped expectations (e.g., male administrative assistant, female CEO). This may then lead to discrimination against these individuals. Ongoing research investigates these possibilities, as well as examining situational variables (e.g., organizational culture) that may moderate the effect of machismo values on gender discrimination.


Gossip as a Conduit for Social Influence in Organizations

Affiliated Faculty: Ryan Jacobson & Kathryn Jacobson

Past research suggests that a large proportion of human conversation consists of gossip—discussing a third party when that person is not present. This project investigates the extent to which participating in gossip in organizations may lead to both (a) intended and (b) unintended social influence.