I am the Class of 1965 Professor of Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
I am an organizational psychologist who studies work motivation, job design, and prosocial and proactive behaviors.
My Approach to Ethical Systems:
My research examines the forces that motivate employees to help others, and the implications of these behaviors for success and well-being. Although many employees do work that has a meaningful impact on others, all too often, they lack a vivid understanding of how their efforts make a difference. My studies demonstrate that employees work harder, smarter, longer, more generously, and more productively when they can see how their work affects others. Here are a few examples:
- University fundraising callers: a five-minute meeting with a single scholarship recipient is sufficient to increase the average caller’s weekly effort by 142% and weekly revenue by more than 400%.
- Lifeguards: reading four stories about other lifeguards saving drowning swimmers increased average monthly hours worked by 43% and helping behavior by 21%.
- Doctors and nurses: a sign with a reminder that hand hygiene will keep patients from getting sick increased soap and gel usage by more than 45% and hand hygiene behaviors by more than 10%.
With all of these groups, information about the personal benefits of the work failed to produce significant changes in behavior. The spikes in motivation are driven uniquely by an enriched appreciation of how one’s work benefits others.
My Ethical Systems Research Page: Personality & Personnel
My Major Relevant Publications:
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know (2021). Think Again examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life.
- Originals: How non-conformists move the world (2016). Originals is about the choice to battle conformity, buck outdated traditions, and champion ideas and values that go against the grain.
- Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (2013) (public library). In a rapidly changing world, our styles of interacting with other people are increasingly important drivers of success. This book is about why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom.
- Friends at Work? Not so much. The New York Times (2015).
- Women at Work: A four-part series of articles with Sheryl Sandberg published in The New York Times (2015).
- Professor works to change future of business ethics. The Today Show (2013).
- Is giving the secret to getting ahead? The New York Times (2013).
- Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture. McKinsey Quarterly (2013).
- How customers can rally your troops. Harvard Business Review (2011).
- “Taking Your Team Behind the Curtain: The Effects of Leader Feedback-Sharing and Feedback-Seeking on Team Psychological Safety,” article forthcoming in Organization Science (2021).
- “When putting work off pays off: The curvilinear relationship between procrastination and creativity,” article in Academy of Management Journal (2020).
- “Bored by interest: Intrinsic motivation in one task can reduce performance in other tasks,” article in Academy of Management Journal (2019)
- “The mixed effects of online diversity training,” article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019).
- “It’s not all about me: Motivating hospital hand hygiene by focusing on patients,” article in Psychological Science (2011).
- “Giving commitment: Employee support programs and the prosocial sensemaking process,” article in Academy of Management Journal (2008).
- “The significance of task significance: Job performance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions,” article in Journal of Applied Psychology (2008).
- “Impact and the art of motivation maintenance: The effects of contact with beneficiaries on persistence behavior,” article in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2007).