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bullying  cultural  diversity management  diversity  effects  human resource  human  management  new zealand  new  study  work  zealand 
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Preview: Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources current issue

Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources current issue

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Workplace bullying in New Zealand: A survey of employee perceptions and attitudes


Bullying at work, a severe form of anti-social behaviour, has become an issue of major concern to workers, organisations, unions and governments. It has also received considerable attention in organisational behaviour and human resource management research over the past 20+ years. Research has been conducted on the prevalence of bullying at work and factors which contribute to bullying, but less attention has been accorded to personal coping with bullying and organisational-level responses to counteract bullying. The present paper reports findings from a survey of over 1700 employees of 36 organisations in New Zealand. We describe the reported incidence of bullying at work, along with relevant work attitudes and experiences, including psychological strain, ratings of subjective well-being, and levels of commitment to the organisation. Personal experience of bullying was reported by 17.8% of respondents, and was significantly correlated with higher levels of strain, reduced well-being, reduced commitment to their organisation, and lower self-rated performance. Personal coping strategies were generally unrelated to these outcomes. On the other hand, the perceived effectiveness of organisational efforts to deal with bullying was considered an important contributor to both the occurrence of bullying and reduced negative effects of bullying. Overall, our findings illustrate the importance of developing organisational-level strategies to reduce the incidence of bullying and to counteract its negative impact, rather than expecting individuals to develop personal strategies to cope with this problem.

Employment rights disputes: What is the role of HR professionals?


This study explores the role of human resource specialists in the handling of employee grievances. Most studies of HRM devolution have drawn only on the perceptions of managers and have neglected the area of grievances. The research highlights the employee experience of grievances under different levels of HRM devolution. The progression of fourteen grievance cases was investigated, accessing the full set of parties to each one. Data were gathered using a triangulated method involving 70 interviews, direct observation and written submissions. The findings suggest grievance handling is not readily accommodated within devolved HR structures. The role of HR staff in grievance processes can beill-defined and shows wide variation, causing problems for both line managers and employees. This lack of definition can lead to negative outcomes and damage the credibility of the HR department. The insights from this study are intended to initiate debate concerning the potential roles of HR practitioners in grievance handling.

Senior-executive performance: Interrater reliability and rater effects in multi-source ratings


This article explores interrater reliability and rater effects in performance ratings at the senior-executive level. Studies have shown that substantial rater effects affect the validity of multi-source ratings, but it is unclear whether these effects hold true at the senior-executive level. We present a study of 189 senior executives in New Zealand and Australia, whose performance was rated by an average of 4.23 raters: superiors, peers, and subordinates. Intra-class correlation coefficients revealed strong rater effects, and a multi-trait multi-method analysis showed that those effects came from individual raters, rather than rater source (i.e. superior, peer, or subordinate). The findings suggest that it may be unwise to aggregate performance ratings at the senior-executive level, and to use such ratings, whether aggregated or single, to make critical decisions.

The incidence and impacts of diversity management: A survey of New Zealand employees


There have been few studies of how New Zealand employers manage the increasing diversity in their workplaces and how workers respond to these efforts. This paper reports a telephone survey of 500 New Zealand workers’ perceptions of, and responses to, diversity management activities. Conducted in 2010, the survey was designed to reflect the gender and ethnicity profile of the contemporary workforce, and enables us to compare responses across different types and sizes of organisation. While the use of formal diversity policies and support activities is higher in the public sector, we find widespread use of family-friendly employment practices and a general perception of a good climate for diversity. Employees who report higher levels of family-friendly and proactive EEO practices are more committed to their organisation, more satisfied in their jobs, and more trusting of their employer. This helps to underline the ‘employee case’ for diversity management.

Consequences of cultural satisfaction at work: A study of New Zealand Maori


To expand our understanding of indigenous workers and the importance of indigenous culture in the workplace, we tested the outcomes of cultural satisfaction at work using structural equation modelling with a sample of 174 Māori employees. We show that, consistent with social exchange theory, Māori who are more satisfied with the level of understanding of their cultural values in the workplace report better job outcomes. Cultural satisfaction at work directly predicted loyalty and organisational citizenship behaviours (OCBs). Furthermore, direct-effects and mediation models were tested, showing that loyalty fully mediated the influence of cultural satisfaction at work on OCBs. The implications for HRM are that indigenous workers who are more satisfied with the way their cultural beliefs are valued in the workplace are likely to be more loyal and may be superior performance. The findings highlight the importance for employers of having regard to the culture of their indigenous workers.

Generational cohorts' expectations in the workplace: A study of New Zealanders


It has been suggested in the media and popular press that there are differences between the generational cohorts (Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y) and that organisations need to manage people from each cohort differently. However, the evidence is largely anecdotal. This study investigates whether the popular characterisations of generational cohorts are valid, using qualitative and linear discriminant analysis. 164 participants completed a 69-item questionnaire developed from an independent sample of 64 repertory-grid interviews in which interviewees described their ideal job. More similarities than differences were found: only 8 of the 69 constructs provided a reasonable level of discrimination between generational cohorts. Our results challenge the popular depictions of generational cohorts.

Cultural diversity management in Australian manufacturing organisations


Australia has a high level of cultural diversity, particularly within the manufacturing sector. Yet the management of cultural diversity in Australia has only been mediocre. The aim of this study was to examine whether human resource diversity management practices in the Australian manufacturing sector have improved since the previous study by D’Netto and Sohal (1999). The intervening period has been characterised by the progression of diversity management research and practice from nascency to acceptance as a mature sub-field of management and human resource management. In addition, significant changes have occurred in the manufacturing sector. The results of our study of 119 manufacturing organisations indicated that positive changes in HR diversity management have occurred with the passage of time. The overall performance of manufacturing organisations in Australia, with respect to the use of human resource diversity management practices is no longer ‘mediocre’ and can now be classified as ‘above average’. While there is still considerable scope for improvement, especially in the area of recruitment, we found that employers in the Australian manufacturing sector value diversity and recognise the benefits of diversity. We explain the findings of our study and discuss the implications for future research.

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