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career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

Filtering by Tag: performance

Employees are more engaged and proactive if they can use their strengths at work

Noemi Nagy

If companies give their employees opportunities to do what they are good at they enhance the engagement of workers, as researchers from the Netherlands found in their recent study. When employees are supported to engage in tasks that capitalize on their strengths they are more likely to achieve work-related goals, feel competent, and are more effective in coping with job demands.

van Woerkom, M., Oerlemans, W., & Bakker, A. B. (2015). Strengths use and work engagement: A weekly diary study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology25(3), 384-397.





How to overcome gender stereotype threat?

Anja Ghetta

Working as a woman in a male-dominated field can lead to stress due to gender stereotype threat and can thereby hinder success and participation at work. A Canadian study offers two promising interventions based on listening to quotes regarding social belonging and affirmation. The interventions eliminated grade point average differences between men and women, and resulted in a higher confidence of women in their abilities to cope with stressors as well as a more optimistic attitude regarding future success.


Walton, G. M., Logel, C., Peach, J. M., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2015). Two Brief Interventions to Mitigate a "Chilly Climate" Transform Women's Experience, Relationships, and Achievement in Engineering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 468-485, doi:10.1037/a0037461.

Craft your job to increase your performance

Noemi Nagy

Job crafting means actively altering one's job to better suit one's skills and interests. This type of proactive behavior  leads to higher levels of work engagement and to better job performance, according to a recent longitudinal study authored by researchers from the Netherlands. The results further showed that the effects are more pronounced regarding performance in core tasks than for more discretionary performance (e.g., providing social support at work).

Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2015). Job crafting and job performance: A longitudinal study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24(6), 914-928.



What drives team performance?

Noemi Nagy

A performance goal orientation is usually beneficial for job performance because it drives people to try to outperform others. Researchers from the Netherlands now investigated how the social context at work might influence this effect. They found that for people who highly identify with their team, performance goal orientation is beneficial for team performance. Conversely, for people who do not highly identify with their colleagues, a performance goal orientation motivates more individual performance. These findings imply that a strong individual performance goal orientation is only beneficial for team performance if the members of the team identify with each other.

Dietz, B., van Knippenberg, D., Hirst, G., & Restubog, S. L. D. (2015). Outperforming whom? A multilevel study of performance-prove goal orientation, performance, and the moderating role of shared team identification. Journal of Applied Psychology100(6), 1811-1824.

Interruptions at work can lead to lower satisfaction with one’s performance

Franziska Baumeler

Employees may experience lower satisfaction with their performance, increased feelings of irritability, more rumination about problems at work, and heightened distraction from work goals because of interruptions at work. According to a German study, some of the results could be explained by a higher level of time pressure and mental demands induced by interruptions. These findings caution against the frequent use of social-media during work hours or constant email checking that is prevalent among some employees.

Work & Stress

One overperformer in the right position can drive more positive outcomes than all the other team-members combined

Noemi Nagy

A single overperformer in a vital position can play a more important role in driving team processes and outcomes than the other team members combined, according to a recent study from Singapore. This research points to the importance of the strategically correct placement of specific employees and their influence on overall team outcomes.

Li, N., Zhao, H. H., Walter, S. L., Zhang, X. A., & Yu, J. (2015). Achieving more with less: Extra milers’ behavioral influences in teams. Journal of Applied Psychology100(4), 1025-1039.


You perform as old as you feel – not as old as you are

Noemi Nagy

Older employees who feel younger than their actual age have higher organizational performance outcomes, according to a study from Germany. The researchers conclude that subjective age - a psychological factor that can be influenced - plays a bigger part for a successful career than actual chronological age.

Kunze, F., Raes, A., & Bruch, H. (2014). Subjective Age in Organizations – Performance Consequences and Antecedents. In Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(1), 12006.

Hope influences motivation and performance

Domingo Valero

Young employees that describe themselves as hopeful are more motivated and perform better at work, according to a study among Swiss apprentices. The study suggests that hope can increase work motivation and motivation in turn to increases supervisor-rated performance. Being hopeful for your future can thus be an important psychological asset in the early career.

Journal of Career Development