Organizational Psychology Editor’s Choice articles January – March 2021

This is our second 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 beginning of 2021, are among the most widely read in the section and offer insights into how organizations are adapting to the new working realities in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Virtual Teams in Times of Pandemic: Factors That Influence Performance

By Victor Garro-Abarca, Pedro Palos-Sanchez and Mariano Aguayo-Camacho

Virtual work arrangements were considered an important benefit for employees as the internet created opportunities to fulfill jobs from home. However, the pandemic has shifted many employees’ views on the effectiveness of working remotely and has challenged employers to rethink company structures and workforce policies.

This article investigates 317 software development engineers’ perceptions of their work in virtual teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two findings are particularly thought-provoking. First, the ambiguity created by both virtuality and the pandemic-driven uncertainty led virtual team members to engage in higher levels of communication. Second, this study identified that the driving factor for team performance was mutual trust. While the impact of trust on interpersonal relations is not a unique finding, this study implies that organizational interventions designed to increase team leadership, cohesion, or member empowerment can enhance trust in virtual environments and improve performance.

COVID 19 and Pretentious Psychological Well-Being: A Threat to Educational Sustainability

By Hui Li, Hira Hafeez and Muhammad Asif Zaheer

The pandemic has altered routines not just in workspaces, but in our educational spaces as well. This article looks at the impact of COVID- specific stressors on the psychological well-being of college students. The results of this study indicate that financial uncertainty caused stress, anxiety, depression, and event-specific stress in students. Media exposure, future uncertainty, fear of infection, and inadequate information also had detrimental effects on various aspects of students’ well-being. The cumulative results paint a picture of students who are experiencing high levels of stress. The longer term impact of the pandemic on college students as they enter the job market remains to be seen. Will organizations be prepared enough to provide them with the psychological support and developmental training necessary to be successful employees?

Preparing Workplaces for Digital Transformation: An integrative Framework of Multi-Level Factors

By Brigid Trenerry, Samuel Chng, Yang Wang, Zainal Shah Suhaila, Sun Sun Lim, Han Yu Lu and Peng Ho Oh

The first two articles provided insights into the effects of the pandemic on the workplace and at college. It appears that the pandemic presented a tipping point for the integration of technology into the structures, procedures, and even the psychological contracts of organizations.  Survey data reveal that organizations are less likely to return to their old patterns of operation in the post-pandemic world. The last paper selected offers a conceptualization of how organizations can effectively assist this digital transformation. The authors offer considerations at the individual, group, and organizational level.

The three chosen articles are clearly an important contribution to the Organizational Psychology specialty section with a strong focus on the intersection of science and practical implications. In this time of post-pandemic uncertainty, these articles can provide valuable guidance to organizational decision-makers.