Calling your bluff: Supervisors easily sniff out what drives a worker

March 05, 2015

Good supervisors aren't easily duped by the motives of underlings who go the extra mile - they know when an employee is sucking up to them because of personal ambition, or when such actions truly have what's best for the organization at heart. This is one of the insights from a study in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology, led by Magda Donia of the University of Ottawa in Canada.

Supervisors play an important role in making decisions about rewards and promotions within an organization. They should therefore be able to effectively distinguish between so-called "good soldiers" or "good actors," to ensure that workers receive the recognition they deserve. Members of both groups are able to participate in positive organizational citizenship behavior in the workplace that goes beyond the mere basics of their job description. Whereas the "soldiers" actions are selflessly motivated by helping the organization and colleagues, "actors" are more self-servingly focused on furthering themselves.

Donia, along with co-authors Gary Johns from Concordia University, and Usman Raja from Brock University, tested whether supervisors can indeed successfully spot a good actor from a good soldier. Their study was conducted in 21 branches of an English-speaking multinational bank in Pakistan. Surveys were completed by 197 bank tellers and cashiers, and their 47 immediate supervisors.

They found that supervisors know with relative accuracy when employees' organizational citizenship behavior is selflessly or self-servingly motivated. This dispels concerns that the wrong judgment by supervisors might lead to the unfair reward or punishment of their subordinates.

Previous findings show that supervisors tend to prefer good soldiers from good actors. This study builds on these conclusions by suggesting that supervisors may have good reason for doing so. This might be because selfless and self-serving workers differ in the quality of what they contribute to an organization.

In light of this, Donia advises that it might therefore be more effective and meaningful for their own long term advancement in a company if employees selflessly work within an organizational setting.

"Supervisors are able to accurately identify the motives behind their subordinates' organizational citizenship behavior, and they are not fooled by good actors," says Donia.
-end-
Reference: Donia, M. et al (2015). Good Soldier or Good Actor? Supervisor Accuracy in Distinguishing between Selfless and Self-Serving OCB Motives, Journal of Business and Psychology. DOI 10.1007/s10869-015-9397-6.

Springer Science+Business Media

Related Soldiers Articles from Brightsurf:

Machine learning algorithm could provide Soldiers feedback
A new machine learning algorithm, developed with Army funding, can isolate patterns in brain signals that relate to a specific behavior and then decode it, potentially providing Soldiers with behavioral-based feedback.

Soldiers benefit from psychological health research
Army scientists developed computer-based training to help Soldiers avoid unnecessary social conflict and mitigate anger-related outcomes.

Soldiers could teach future robots how to outperform humans
In the future, a Soldier and a game controller may be all that's needed to teach robots how to outdrive humans.

Parasitic worms have armies, and produce more soldiers when needed
In a new study published Feb. 26, 2020 in Biology Letters, the research team demonstrated for the first time that the number of soldiers in a trematode colony depends on the local invasion threat, showing that such societies produce greater standing armies in areas of greater threat.

Future soldiers may get improved helmet padding
Army researchers and industry partners recently published a study showing how they developed new materials and manufacturing methods to create higher performing helmet padding that reduces the likelihood of head injury in combat and recreational helmets.

Suicidal thoughts among US Army soldiers deployed to Afghanistan
Among nearly 4,000 US Army soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, 11.7% reported suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives, 3.0% within the past year and 1.9% within the past 30 days on questionnaires completed at the midpoint of their deployment in 2012.

Critically injured soldiers have high rates of mental health disorders
U.S. combat soldiers who suffered a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely than soldiers with other serious injuries to experience a range of mental health disorders, according to a new retrospective study by University of Massachusetts Amherst health services researchers.

Scientists help soldiers figure out what robots know
An Army-led research team developed new algorithms and filled in knowledge gaps about how robots contribute to teams and what robots know about their environment and teammates.

Engineered viruses could protect soldiers, fight antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a one of the world's most pressing public health problems.

New lithium battery design could mean lighter, safer batteries for Soldiers
Less expensive, lighter and safer batteries are a vital need for warfighters; a new Army project may offer a solution.

Read More: Soldiers News and Soldiers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.