Management has always been an eclectic area to research and practice. It collects and draws together theories and practices from sociology through to anthropology and even engineering. With is explicit focus on  the study of behaviour and mental processes, psychology often stands out, in most introductory management textbooks at least, as a key contributor to both the early thought and practices of management – but is this true today? Has psychology maintained its relevance let alone importance in the Twenty First century?

The third edition of Journal of Management & Organization (JMO) for 2017 examines these questions with nine papers, which each contribute a distinct view as to the direct link between human behaviour and organizational processes, operations and outcomes. What is revealed in this edition of JMO is that while these papers cover an enormous diversity and richness, the central theme of each of these contributions is that successful management lies in focussing on the human element, not on the work.

From the study by Jam, Donia, Raja, and Ling on the links between perceived organizational politics and overall satisfaction on job stress, interpersonal conflict, job performance, and creativity to Karatepe and Olugbade’s investigation of career adaptability and social support, the complex interplay between individual perception and workplace outcomes emerges as a consistent theme.

The fact that people do not always behave as expected also emerges and this theme is taken a step further with the paper by Ismail and Gali which explores the relationship between performance appraisal satisfaction, job stress and work-family conflict. What really stands out in this paper is the explicit message as to the important role non-work life plays for most of us.

The important role of these psychological notions of stress and satisfaction remain as important in explaining work in the Twenty First century as they were in the Twentieth. In particular they continue to provide understanding about the amazing human ability to deal with the negative. This is demonstrated in our fourth article where Bouckenooghe, Raja, Butt, Abbas, and Bilgrami explore the relationships of negative affectivity with both job performance and turnover intentions. Testing the conventional wisdom that negative affectivity is detrimental to both job performance and intentions to leave, the results reveal that there are also functional effects of negative affectivity. The challenge to conventional wisdom continues with Westerlake, Jordan, and Ramsay’s paper questioning the assumption of the psychological contract that both parties come to a mutual agreement about the expectations and obligations of a contract of employment.

Hayek, Randolph-Seng, Williams, and Ingram then take the ability of a psychological lens to provide a framework for looking at issues from multiple perspectives and suggest new ways of thinking to reveal interesting and sometimes unexpected relationships affective and continuance commitment, life satisfaction and political skill.

Drawing different theoretical lenses together is an underlying theme of this issue of Journal of Management & Organization. This emerges powerfully in our seventh paper where Brunetto, Teo, Shacklock, Farr-Wharton, and Shriberg accomplishes the task of uniting Positive Organizational Behaviour and Social Exchange Theory to examine the influence of supervisor–subordinate relationships and the personal resource of psychological capital upon police officers’ work outcomes (teamwork, training and affective commitment).

While the issues of ethics and morality were implicit in Brunetto et al.’s paper, they become the explicit focus in De Cremer and Vandekerckhove’s who offer a comprehensive insight into the value that people assign to ethics – as well as how it influences their actions and decisions. This conceptual paper will challenge your own views as to what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour.

The need for a management mindset which truly acknowledges the individual contribution and aligns them with strategic goals is the topic of our ninth and last paper. Here, Chowman, Pries, and Mann explore the relationships between human resource management practices and innovation outcomes at the workplace level. The findings indicate workplaces that set strategic goals related to innovation, that motivate their employees, that create opportunity for their employees to act and that make greater use of technology tend to be more persistent innovators.

Overall, the key theme in our collection of papers in this third issue of Journal of Management & Organization is that the human factor is the essence and core of management. The field of psychology continues to provide key frameworks, notions and concepts that guide relevant and insightful explorations of the world of work.

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