Business Briefs: Workplace Jerks, Cybersecurity & Remote Work, and Perks of Servant Leadership

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Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Why Jerks Exist

Workplace incivility has been the subject of research for decades. It would seem like the academic energy devoted to the subject would somehow generate a clear solution to the problem.   

And yet, workplace jerks still exist. 

Researchers collected the last 20 years of research on workplace incivility, targeting antecedents (sorta like causes) and consequences. Leveraging data from the 253 datasets published in 219 articles, the researchers came to some helpful conclusions:

  1. Gender is actually not related to workplace incivility. There’s a common assumption that incivility is more often experienced by women, but the research does not support this assumption.
  2. Further, workplace incivility also appears to have no relationship to socio-economic status either. It’s equally prevalent across demographic groups and income categories. 
  3. Workplace norms DO contribute to incivility. It’s more a matter of environmental conditions. 
  4. Incivility can impact professional performance, but it doesn’t always. It seems to lead to negative outcomes in medical fields, but not so much in education.
  5. When incivility occurrs, it’s more likely to negatively impact a person whose job is not public-facing. In those cases it led to decreased job satisfaction and burn-out. 

Given the take-aways, the authors recommend zero-tolerance politcies towards incivility; action from leadership is what creates healthy environmental norms. 

Read more here and here

A Meta-Analysis Integrating 20 Years of Workplace Incivility Research: Antecedents, Consequences, and Boundary Conditions – Harold Crystal, Kim Joseph, & Agolli Anastasii, Journal of Organizational Behavior

Remote Insecurity

Remote work opportunities allow businesses to recruit top talent from across the country. And while both businesses and employees welcomed this workplace evolution….cybersecurity systems are still playing catch-up. 

In a recent survey of 121 remote workers (three-quarters of whom were men), 48% said their company had a cybersecurity policy; 24% said their company had no such policy; 28% weren’t sure either way. In terms of compliance, 63% of the remote workers indicated that it’s easier to comply with cybersecurity protocols in traditional workplace formats.

Given the responses, the study’s authors recommend enhanced cybersecurity training for remote workers. 

Read more here

Cyber Security Compliance Among Remote Workers – Diana Adjei Nyarko and Rose Cheuk-wai Fong, Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications 

Unexpected Perks of Servant Leadership

Servant leadership has long been recognized as an effective path for managing a workforce. The idea is that the leader seeks first to support those within their sphere. In general, the approach produces a healthy work environment. Research suggests that servant leadership might also produce a more innovative workplace as well…

A recent study collected survey responses from 346 employees from eight companies. The questionnaires first assessed the type of leader they worked with, as well as employee trust, testing the truth of prompts such as “I trust my leader to treat me fairly.” Innovative tendencies were measured through responses to prompts such as “I always seek new technologies and methods.” 

Researchers found that managers who adopted a servant style of lead were more trusted, and their team members were more likely to exhibit innovative, future-forward behaviors. 

Read more here

The Impact of Servant Leadership on Employees’ Innovation: An Empirical Study Based on Hierarchical Regression Analysis – Tanghong Luo, Proceedings of the 2022 2nd International Conference on Management Science and Software Engineering