OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of business

Introverts could shape extroverted co-workers’ career success, OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Introverted employees are more likely to give low evaluations of job performance to extroverted co-workers, giving introverts a powerful role in workplaces that rely on peer-to-peer evaluation tools for awarding raises, bonuses or promotions, new research shows.

Introverts consistently rated extroverted co-workers as worse performers, and were less likely to give them credit for work performed or endorse them for advancement opportunities, according to two studies from researchers at Oregon State University, the University of Florida and University of Notre Dame.

“The magnitude with which introverts underrated performance of extroverts was surprising,” said Keith Leavitt, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Business and a co-author of the studies. “The results were very consistent across both studies.”

The research offers new understanding of the role personality traits play in the workplace, where these days employees can have significant influence on their colleagues’ careers, said Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior. For example, at Google, colleagues can award bonuses to peers. And on the networking site LinkedIn, employees have the opportunity to recommend or endorse their peers.

“That gives employees a tremendous amount of power to influence their peers’ career opportunities,” Leavitt said. “It’s something individuals and employers should be aware of.”

The researchers’ paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of “Academy of Management Journal” and is available online now. The lead author is Amir Erez of the University of Florida. Other co-authors include Pauline Schilpzand of Oregon State, Andrew H. Woolum of the University of Florida, and Timothy Judge of the University of Notre Dame.

There is already considerable research that shows how an individual’s personality traits might affect job performance, but there is little research that explores how one employee’s personality traits might affect another employee in the workplace, Leavitt said.

That spurred Leavitt and his co-authors to explore how personality traits of one employee might affect that person’s co-workers. They conducted two studies to test how co-workers’ personalities interact to influence their evaluations of one another.

One study involved 178 MBA students at a large southeastern university. Each student was assigned to a four- or five-person project team for the semester and midway through the term, participants completed questionnaires about their team members, team processes and their own personalities.

The results showed that introverted team members rated the performance of other introverts higher than that of extroverts. In contrast, ratings made by extroverts were not significantly influenced by the personalities of the team members they were rating.

In the second study, 143 students in a management program participated in a brief online game, lasting about 10 minutes, with three teammates. Unbeknownst to the participants, the teammates were all electronic confederates, and one target team member’s profiles and comments during the game were manipulated at random to highlight high introversion or extraversion, while their actual performance of the task was held constant.

The participants then evaluated their team members and made recommendations about promoting or awarding bonuses to their teammates. The results showed that introverts gave lower evaluations and smaller peer bonuses to the extroverted version of the targeted team member, even though all the versions of the confederate team member performed the same. Extraverted participants were largely unaffected by the interpersonal traits of their team members and awarded evaluations and bonuses based on merit.

“We found that introverted employees are especially sensitive to their co-workers’ interpersonal traits, in particular extraversion and disagreeableness,” Leavitt said. “They make judgments and evaluate performance of others with those traits in mind.”

Leavitt suggested that extroverted employees might need to use a “dimmer switch” when interacting with introverted peers, and employers or supervisors may need to consider that the personality traits of evaluators could bring a degree of bias into evaluations, bonus awards or other personnel decisions that rely on peer-to-peer feedback. Managers also may want to reconsider forcing interaction among employees or teams, he said.

In future studies, researchers hope to further explore how personality traits impact team effectiveness, including a closer examination of the line where personality issues affect team functionality, Leavitt said. 

Introversion and extroversion are not the best overall predictors of job performance, either, he said. Conscientiousness has shown to be the best trait for indicating how an employee will actually perform.

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Keith Leavitt, 206-245-5798, keith.leavitt@bus.oregonstate.edu

Expert to discuss startup business issues, patents

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A national expert on patents and startup businesses will speak in Corvallis on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

John Cabeca, director of the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office, will hold an interactive discussion on several topics related to startup businesses, including micro-entity filings, pro bono assistance, law school clinics and other topics.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Metolius Room of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute in Corvallis. It is located at 1110 N.E. Circle Blvd., and directions to the building can be found online at http://mbi-online.org/directions

The program is sponsored by the Oregon State University Advantage program and the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN-Corvallis.

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Tracy Elmshaeuser, 541-737-3888

OSU partnership forms new center for software development

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two organizations at Oregon State University have joined forces to create a new center offering expanded services in product testing, software development and hosting.

The Center for Applied Systems and Software in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was formed by the partnership of the Open Source Lab and the Business Solutions Group. For several years, both groups have been delivering products and services to clients while providing training opportunities for students on real-world projects.

“It’s a partnership that made sense and it was the right time to make the move,” said Carlos Jensen, director of the new center and associate professor of computer science at OSU. “We have an assertive, aggressive, optimistic view of the future that will drive innovation.”

Although the Open Source Lab and Business Solutions Group will retain their identity and function, their combined skills can provide clients with complete software solutions, including design, development, testing and hosting. They can take on a larger variety of projects that would have been beyond the scope of either one alone.

For instance, although neither group had previously created a mobile application, the first project undertaken by the new organization includes two iOS and Android apps for Oregon Sea Grant. “Oregon Catch” will be an app to help visitors buy fresh fish directly from ocean fishermen, and “Working Waterfronts” will provide educational information about industrial sites on the coast to tourists.

Beyond software services, the new center will provide clients an opportunity to develop working relationships with students for potential future employment. Industry representatives can gain quick and cost-effective access to students who will assist with projects, without the need to directly supervise them, as they would with a conventional internship.

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Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098

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Study: State, federal role in electric utilities’ labor issues should be reexamined

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Power outages have never been more costly. Electricity is critical to communication, transportation, commerce and national security systems, and wide-spread or prolonged outages have the potential to threaten public safety and cause millions, even billions, of dollars in damages.

“It doesn’t seem that dire until a storm hits, or somebody makes a mistake, and then you are risking a blackout,” said Inara Scott, an assistant professor in the College of Business at Oregon State University.

“You have to consider the magnitude of the potential harm to the public. Without power, you can’t pump gas. Cell phones may not work. Water systems are threatened. These are big problems.”

That’s why it may be time to re-examine the role of public utility commissions and the effect of the National Labor Relations Act in labor disputes regarding electric utilities, Scott suggests in a new study.

Public utility commissions have more authority than some existing court decisions suggest, but they tend to take a conservative approach and there is a strong presumption that they can’t get involved, Scott said. Modifying the NLRA to more clearly define the states’ powers might be needed to change that mindset, she said. The changes would affect both sides – labor and management – equally, she said.

“The current law does not reflect the times,” Scott said. “The courts need to look at these cases differently, because the role of electricity in our lives has changed.”

Many public utility commissions have concluded, based largely on court decisions under the NLRA, that they’re prohibited from intervening in labor disputes even when public safety is threatened, Scott said. PUCs are the state agencies that regulate public utilities.

That interpretation of the federal law does not reflect the critical role electricity plays in people’s lives and livelihoods today, said Scott, whose study of the issue was published this week in the “Energy Law Journal.”

“If workers strike or are locked out of their jobs during a labor dispute, a utility might operate just fine, or there could be a major problem,” said Scott, an attorney who spent 10 years practicing energy and regulatory law before joining the OSU faculty.

“The problems caused by an electrical outage are not easy to predict and the consequences can be severe,” said Scott, whose research focuses on the transformation of utility systems, clean energy, energy efficiency and utility regulation.

Scott began studying the National Labor Relations Act and the role of public utility commissions in labor disputes involving electric utilities after following a 2012 labor dispute involving Consolidated Edison of New York.

Con Edison management locked out more than 8,000 employees after labor negotiations broke down. Union members warned the move would leave the utility with inadequate safety monitoring, deferred maintenance and threats of unsafe conditions.

But the state’s public utility commission, the only regulatory agency with authority to oversee the safety and operation of Con Edison’s system, announced that it lacked jurisdiction to end the lockout or get involved in the negotiations.

As the lockout wore on and severe summer weather threatened the power grid, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo urged the New York Public Service Commission to get more involved.

The dispute was ultimately settled but the case underscored the high stakes of labor disputes involving electric utilities, as well as the potential danger to public safety and the need for clarification of the authority of state public utility commissions, Scott said.

Scott’s study was supported by OSU.

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Inara Scott, 541-737-4102, Inara.Scott@bus.oregonstate.edu

Top Oregon family businesses to be honored at Nov. 20 event

PORTLAND, Ore. – Several Oregon family businesses will be honored at the 2014 Excellence in Family Business Awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.

Bill Chambers, owner of Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc., and one of this year’s honorees, will speak at the event, which is sponsored by Oregon State University’s Austin Family Business Program. Chambers and his wife, Karla, of Corvallis, were selected as the Dean’s Family Business Leadership Award winners for 2014.

“We’re so fortunate that Bill will be joining us to share his advice and insights about three generations of enterprises in the Chambers family,” said Sherri Noxel, director of the Austin Family Business Program.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program at OSU is a family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach and research to support the success and survival of family businesses.

The Excellence in Family Business Awards recognize the achievements of family businesses in entrepreneurship, community involvement and multi-generational planning. More than 200 companies have been honored since the awards began in 1988.

This year’s awards feature new categories that reflect sound family business practices. Two of those categories honor winners from both established and emerging family businesses. Honorees are:

  • Family Harmony: Second Glance, Inc., of Corvallis, emerging family business; and Unger Farms, Inc. of Cornelius, established family business. Finalists in the category were Jag Forms of West Linn, emerging; and WSC Insurance of Forest Grove, established.
  • Generational Development: Glory Bee of Eugene, emerging family business. Finalists were Advanced Wealth Management, Portland, emerging; and Blue Raeven Farmstand, LLC, of Rickreall, established.
  • Business Renewal: Willamette Valley Pie Company, Salem. Viewpoint Construction Software of Portland was a finalist in the category.
  • Student Award: Jake Thompson of Thompson Timber.

The event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the program at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $85, or $25 for children ages 3-10. The hotel is located at 614 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland.

To reserve a seat, register online at http://bit.ly/1yVW32k or contact Melissa Elmore at Melissa.elmore@bus.oregonstate.edu or 1-800-859-7609. The deadline to register is Nov. 7.

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Sherri Noxel, 541-737-6019, Sherri.noxel@bus.oregonstate.edu

Intel ‘futurist’ to speak Oct. 28 at Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Brian David Johnson, the ‘futurist’ at Intel Corp., will speak at Oregon State University Oct. 28 as part of the College of Business Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series.

As Intel’s futurist, Johnson’s charge is to develop a 10- to 15-year vision for the future of technology. His work, called futurecasting, uses ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing.

In his lecture, “Humanity in the Machine: What Comes after Greed?” Johnson will explore the relationship between humanity and technology, and look at how technology reflects the mission and values of the societies that create it.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, jenn.casey@oregonstate.edu

Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator accepting applications

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program is seeking participants for its next cohort, which begins in January 2015 and runs for five months.

Applications from innovative and high-growth traded sector companies that produce goods and services used outside the region are encouraged. Eligibility information can be found on the website.

The program offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, connect with industry professionals, gain access to OSU venture development funds, and work with an advisory team to accelerate company development.

“We are taking advantage of the many resources available for clients, and thanks to the accelerator our business is now ready to take off,” said client Stan Baker, with Baker Seed Technologies. “The accelerator is a proven springboard to success.”

The five-month curriculum uses a proven methodology to guide emerging enterprises from infancy to independence, officials say. More information and an application is available on the website, at www.oregonstate.edu/accelerator, and applications will be followed by an interview with the co-directors and a formal presentation to the entrance committee.

Source: 

Betty Nickerson, 541-368-5205

Business ethics focus of May 7 lecture at Oregon State University

John Hall, owner and CEO of 16 Degree Advisory, will discuss the importance of business ethics at a free public lecture beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7, at Oregon State University.  

The event will be held in the Austin Auditorium at the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Hall’s talk, “Making Ethical Decisions When Success Is Defined by Profits,” is part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings business leaders from across the United States to Oregon State’s campus to address a variety of today’s most relevant business topics. The series is sponsored by the OSU College of Business.

Portland-based 16 Degree Advisory delivers a compass for forward-thinking business leaders who want to bring clarity to their organizational direction, who are seeking to get more from their employees and who are looking to bring increased stability and efficiency to all business functions. Taking a new approach as a “certified” ethics and compliance professional, Hall applies a servant leadership approach toward building and growing businesses.

Before launching 16 Degree Advisory, Hall was the co-founder and owner of EthicsPoint, Inc., which later became the $100 million software company NAVEX Global, where Hall was the chief ethics and compliance officer.

Source: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, Jenn.Casey@oregonstate.edu

Eric Allyn keynote speaker for Nov. 21 event honoring family businesses

PORTLAND, Ore. – A group of 12 Oregon family enterprises will be honored at the 2013 Excellence in Family Business Awards ceremony Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The awards are presented by Oregon State University’s Austin Family Business Program. More than 190 companies have been honored since 1988. The awards recognize the achievements of family businesses in entrepreneurship, community involvement and multi-generational planning.

A new feature this year is keynote speaker Eric Allyn, a fourth-generation member of medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn, Inc. Allyn serves on several family business boards and travels extensively to speak to groups of family business owners because of his strong belief that “family businesses should be and need to be more competitive.”

“Eric Allyn is a strong advocate for family business growth and is willing to share his experience transitioning to nonfamily management to continue Welch Allyn’s global success,” said Sherri Noxel, director of the Austin Family Business Program.

Companies are honored in four categories based on the size of the business.

Also recognized will be Cora Wahl of Wahl Ranches & Co., winner of the student award.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses.

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Sherri Noxel, 541-737-6019

OSU program to spur start-ups moves into downtown Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator has a new home in downtown Corvallis.

The Accelerator, created to spur the creation of new companies from Oregon State University-based research, will be located at 200 S.W. 4th St., less than a block from Corvallis City Hall. Mark Lieberman, co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator and chief startup officer, said his team will move into the building in October.

“The Accelerator facility will be a hub for creative and innovative thinking for technology start-ups,” he said. “We will offer essential networking events, as well as educational and leadership opportunities, including CEO roundtables, presentations and one-on-one meetings with successful entrepreneurs, investors, and venture capitalists.”

Lieberman, co-director John Turner, and program administrator Betty Nickerson, will have offices in the downtown facility. Turner said space for eight student interns, plus an entrepreneur-in-residence, will also be provided.

“We’re excited to be in the heart of downtown Corvallis. The Accelerator is focused on creating new companies and new jobs, and we see the city of Corvallis as an important partner in this goal," Turner said. "This gives us a place where we can all be together of course, and also gives us a public face so we can meet with researchers and companies from the community."

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon State University Advantage, an educational, research and commercialization initiative begun earlier this year. OSU’s Accelerator recently announced its first 13 clients.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is a component of the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN, which was made possible by recent legislative approval and funding.

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Mark Lieberman, 541-737-9016