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PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

Job Titles as Identity Badges: How Self-Reflective Titles can Reduce Emotional Exhaustion Seminar

Time:
16:00 - 17:00
Date:
10 October 2013
Venue:
Building 44 (Shackleton) Room 3035 University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 599645 or email A.Marchi@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Job titles help organizations manage their human capital and have far-reaching implications for employees' identities. Because titles do not always reflect the unique value that employees bring to their jobs, some organizations have recently experimented with encouraging employees to create their own job titles. To explore the psychological implications of self-reflective job titles, we conducted field research combining inductive qualitative and deductive experimental methods.

Job titles help organizations manage their human capital and have far-reaching implications for employees' identities. Because titles do not always reflect the unique value that employees bring to their jobs, some organizations have recently experimented with encouraging employees to create their own job titles. To explore the psychological implications of self-reflective job titles, we conducted field research combining inductive qualitative and deductive experimental methods.

In Study 1, a qualitative study at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we were surprised to learn that employees experienced self-reflective job titles as reducing their emotional exhaustion. We triangulated interviews, observations, and archival documents to identify three explanatory mechanisms through which self-reflective job titles may operate: self-verification, psychological safety, and external rapport.

In Study 2, a field quasi-experiment within a healthcare system, we found that employees who created self-reflective job titles experienced less emotional exhaustion five weeks later, whereas employees in two control groups did not. These effects were mediated by increases in self-verification and psychological safety, but not external rapport. Our research suggests that self-reflective job titles can be important vehicles for identity expression and stress reduction, offering meaningful implications for research on job titles, identity, and emotional exhaustion.

Speaker information

Professor Dan Cable, London Business School. Author of Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce, Dan’s consulting and teaching focuses on employee engagement, organizational change, organizational culture and its effects on sustained competitive advantage, leadership development, and the linkage between brands and employee behaviors. Recent clients include Danone, Man, McDonalds, Novant Health, pwc, Royal Bank of Scotland, Twinings, and the U.S. Navy.

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