My research interests have one central goal: To improve human well-being. I want people to be the best possible person they can become. I apply this through two substantive areas: worker well-being and teams. Further, I'm very interested in applying advanced quantitative methods to address my substantive questions. Below I highlight some of the my outstanding researcher questions that I currently working on.
What is worker well-being?
Flourishing, thriving, subjective well-being, happiness, psychological well-being, ill-being, hedonia, and eudaimonia are terms that, in some capacity, represent psychological health. Yet, research is often divergent in both the meaning and use of these terms. Hence, one of my main goals is to integrate the conceptualization of well-being - particularly applied to the context of work. As we spend the majority of our adult life at work, well-being at work should operate the same way as any other environment context. However, the concept of well-being has been placed in artificial silos. The conceptualization of well-being at work is often limited to construct such as job satisfaction, positive and negative affect, engagement and burnout. Well-Being is so much more than that.
Presently, I am leading the effort to deepen our conceptual understanding of worker well-being through a theoretical synthesis of the different domains. In the paper, worker well-being is conceptualized broadly of psychological (evaluation and emotion) and physical components (physiological and health outcomes). This is overlaid with organizationally-relevant perspectives including domain specificity (e.g., well-being at work, well-being at home), construct bandwidth (e.g., discrete emotions, general emotions), temporal dynamics (e.g., development of well-being overtime), and multilevel theory (e.g., individual, team, and organizational well-being).
Additionally, there are so many nuances to the work environment that could impact your propensity to flourish. How does flourishing operate in a team environment? Is the utility of flourishing the same at an individual level as it is at a team level? Or is it more nuanced than that? Another interesting area is how the line between work and home is slowly blurring. Consequently, I wonder about how this impacts the conceptualization and operationalization of well-being. Maybe a blended approach is best to answer this question.
What activities and processes facilitate well-being?
A person-centric approach to worker well-being suggests that well-being is more than just how an individuals feels at work. It also goes beyond the work activities and process that influence well-being. Hence, my research interest in the activities and processes that facilitate well-being include those that happen outside of the work environment. One of the primary streams of research focuses on the activities individuals engage in during Leisure. Leisure is essential for a worker's well-being. It provided the opportunity for the worker to psychologically detach and recover resources spent during the workday. I'm particularly interested in understand which activities facilitate well-being during leisure and if there needs to be a match between the leisure and job characteristics. For example, should physical activity during leisure facilitate worker well-being? Although physical activity should help workers psychologically detach from work-related thoughts, it is an inherently resource-intensive activity. In Wiese, Kuykendall, & Tay (2017), I conducted a meta-analysis that demonstrated that both positive affect and life satisfaction were positively associated with physically active leisure. Although there was no significant direct effect between negative affect and physically active leisure, there was evidence that suggested that this relationship may be moderated by some variable. This has led me to question whether there are certain condition under which different leisure activities facilitate well-being Specifically, I believe that well-being may be best facilitated under complimentary (e.g., sedentary job demands and active leisure) rather than supplementary (physical job demands and active leisure) conditions.
Further, I'm interested in how individuals allocate their resources and what affect that has on well-being. Self-control is one of the main factors that indicate how individuals allocate their resources. Self-control concerns how able an individual is in regulating their impulses when faced with temptations. These temptations will often improve well-being in the moment, but do so by sacrificing long-term well-being. Individuals who indulge in these impulses (i.e., have low self-control) often have lower well-being. Yet, it has also been suggested that it is possible to have too much self-control. That is, individuals with extreme levels of self-control may be sacrificing their own happiness in order to reach an unobtainable goal, creating a curvilinear relationship between self-control and well-being. I investigated this question in Wiese, Tay, Duckworth, D’Mello, Kuykendall, Hofmann, Baumeister, & Vohs (2017) - where we found across 6 studies, multiple different types of measures and analysis, that the relationship between self-control is largely linear. In the future, I will continue to investigate how virtues may have a non-monotonic relationship with well-being – especially within the workplace. For example, workers who are too optimistic may take on roles are projects they are unable to handle, eventually leading to burnout.
What is Team Learning?
Apart from well-being, I'm also interested in team dynamics - particularly team learning. Organizations tasks are increasingly complex and information-laden, leading them to depend on teams. Teams that can effectively learn are an essential resource to these organizations, yet, we are far from completely understanding this complex phenomenon. For one, team learning has been conceptualized in several ways. It could refer to behaviors that teams engage in, the cognitive shift that is the result of these behaviors, or the performance increases that were the result of this cognitive shift. Hence, there is a need to synthesize the current literature on team learning in order to better understand this phenomenon. Presently, I am focusing my efforts on team learning behaviors. Specifically, in Wiese, Burke, Hernandez, & Howell (finalizing) I conducted a meta-analysis to catalog what currently understand about team learning. This involves meta-analyses the direct effects and moderators between team learning behaviors and performance. I am currently expanding these efforts to a multilevel framework.
How do we detect non-linear effects?
One of my passions in quantitative methods is the investigation of non-linear effects. The predominant measurement approach in the psychological sciences assume a monotonic relationship between predictor and outcome, yet, this may not be reflective of their true relationship (e.g., stress-performance). The lack of prevalence of curvilinear findings within the organizational sciences is often argued to be a measurement bandwidth issue (i.e., the measure does not capture the full bandwidth of the construct); however, I believe that this is not the only limitation. In Wiese, Tay, and Samuel (in preparation), I integrate a variety of conceptual, methodological, and analytical challenges specific to detecting curvilinear relationships and how one might overcome these challenges. I seek to utilize this methodological knowledge to understanding and analyzing curvilinear relationships in future workplace research (e.g., Wiese, Tay, Duckworthet al., in press).