In my research, I focus on three key elements that often guide organizational and social interactions: TIME, which reflects when and for how long a phenomenon happens or is perceived to happen; ETHICS, which captures how individuals decide between right and wrong; and POWER, which reflects the degree to which individuals are or feel differentiated hierarchically. My research examines how these three elements come together, but also how they independently shape our behavior and the behavior of others.
TIME AND TEMPORAL CUES
Time is an essential part of every human experience. For instance, people use time to assess their progress or to schedule and coordinate tasks and activities. Apart from being an objective tool that organizes our days and our social interactions, time is also a subjective phenomenon that can be experienced differently by different individuals and in different contexts. Whereas we all have 24 hours in a day, we might experience those 24 hours as passing rather fast (hence the expression “time flies”) or slow. Moreover, the way we behave temporally can influence not only our own behavior, but also that of others. My current projects in this area are looking at temporal tradeoffs between work and leisure, perceptions of time allocation, and consistency of temporal cues (e.g., punctuality cues). In another line of work I focus on the role of timing for moral feedback and gratitude expressions in promoting prosocial behavior. Of particular interest to me is understanding how a person’s temporal cues shape others’ perceptions of them and interactions with them. Overall, the goal of this body of research is to bring time, objective and subjective, to the attention of organizational scholars and policy makers. A long-term goal of this body of research is to use science to help people be happy with how they allocate and spend one of their most precious resource: time.
TIME AS A CHANGE PROCESS
Time can also be used as a medium for capturing and explaining change in behaviors and experiences in the moment and over time. Of particular interest to me is understanding what drives daily and long-term behavioral change. Currently, I am involved in two projects that address dynamic processes. In one project, I study how daily changes in self-regulation resources (sleep quality, work stress) relate to daily changes in counterproductive work behavior. In another project, I address the question of whether and how structural power, as a fundamental and stable aspect of the organizational structure, helps or hinders organizational leaders grasp the temporal aspect of their daily decision-making.
ETHICS & POWER
Not a day goes by without some form of ethical scandal populating the news. The culprits for misbehaving are often individuals in leadership positions, who have large amounts of power. Reflecting such daily reality, a substantial body of research shows that the possession of power affects how individuals behave. However, apart from a few notable exceptions, such research suffers from one inherent limitation: the majority of past experimental work has focused on hypothetical power or recalled experience of power, rather than the actual exercise of power. In this area of research, I am particularly interested in understanding how the different conceptualizations of power can have different or similar effects on power holders. I am further interested in understanding how power could be used to advance common well-being.