Organizational Psychology Editor’s Choice articles – October to December 2020

This is our first selection of Editor’s Choice articles from Frontiers in Psychology’s Organizational Psychology specialty section chosen by the Specialty Chief Editor, Professor Darren Treadway. These set of articles, published at the end of 2020, are among the most widely read in the section and offer insights into improving leadership effectiveness in these difficult times.

The Effect of Stress, Anxiety and Burnout Levels of Healthcare Professionals Caring for COVID-19 Patients on Their Quality of Life
By Nuriye Çelmeçe and Mustafa Menekay, 23 November 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has rightfully shifted public views of healthcare workers, from often stigmatized to fully essential. Faced with increased uncertainty, risk, and work hours, healthcare workers around the world have performed heroically during the crisis. Çelmeçe and Menekay looked specifically at healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in their article “The Effect of Stress, Anxiety and Burnout Levels of Healthcare Professionals Caring for COVID-19 Patients on Their Quality of Life”. Interestingly, their study found female employees were experiencing greater levels of stress and anxiety, but also indicated females were enjoying a higher quality of life than their male counterparts. Perhaps echoing the increased demands placed on parents during the pandemic, quality of life was also lower for employees that had children at home. This article effectively demonstrates the way Frontiers can help researchers bridge the gap between science and practice by ensuring that topical, high-quality research is available to decision and policymakers in a timely fashion.

E-Leadership and Teleworking in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond: What We Know and Where Do We Go
By Francoise Contreras, Elif Baykal and Ghulam Abid, 11 December 2020

Our second Editor’s Choice article focuses on leadership challenges and opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The events of 2020 led to an increase in remote work around the globe and the overwhelming majority of executives believe these off-site work arrangements are here to stay . In “E-Leadership and Teleworking in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond: What we Know and Where Do We Go”, Contreras et al. integrate the teleworking and e-leadership knowledge bases to offer insights into the virtual context of working during the pandemic. While lacking a coherent theory, e-leadership recognizes that when leader-member relations are moved to a virtual context, traditional notions of leadership and the skills that support effectiveness within those notions are increasingly obsolete. The authors contend that leading in the new virtual frontier will require further study to answer the basic questions of who will become the most effective leaders, how will they go about leading, and what leadership skills will be most important in organizations dominated by virtual relationships.

Leader Humor and Employee Job Crafting: The Role of Employee-Perceived Organizational Support and Work Engagement
By Ling Tan, Yongli Wang, Wenjing Qian and Hailing Lu, 08 October 2020

An advantage of remote working relationships is an increased opportunity to engage in job crafting. Job crafting occurs when an employee attempts to meet their own personal needs and goals by seeking extra-role resources and challenges and reducing task-related demands. Ling Tan et al.’s two-study article, “Leader Humor and Employee Job Crafting: The Role of Employee-Perceived Organizational Support and Work Engagement” shows that a leader’s use of humor in the workplace improves employee perceptions of organizational support and engagement, which in turn enhances their job crafting behavior. Given that previous work has found job crafting promoted job satisfaction and performance, and decreased intentions to quit, apparently a good laugh may be just what followers need from their leaders.

After reading these three articles it is clear why they were among the most viewed over the last quarter in our Organizational Psychology section. They offer high-quality evaluations of the most important topics not just in academic circles, but in society at large.

The truly global nature of Frontiers allows for and ensures that critical dialog is achieved at the intersection of academic and practitioner, local and global. Indeed, the editorial board for Organizational Psychology is represented by associate editors from 19 countries. In 2020, we published over 650 articles with authors from more than 20 countries, and launched 37 Research Topics – with 9 specifically related to the Covid-19 pandemic.