Professor Alexandra Gerbasi

Research Interests

Relational and Emergent Leadership

Civility and Incivility in the Workplace

Thriving and Well-Being

Positive and Negative Workplace interactions

Research Collaborations

Kristin Cullen-Lester - Center for Creative Leadership

Hannes Leroy - Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Christine Porath - Georgetown University

Sebastian Schorch - Los Andes University

Andrew Parker - University of Exeter Business School

Teaching

Currently teaching on the MBA.

Affiliations

Academy of Management (Executive Committee Member:  Program Developer Specialist, Organizational Behavior Group, (2015-present)

Association for Psychological Science

First International Network on Trust

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Centre for Leadership & Decision-Making Podcast Series

Episode 1 - Humour in the work place 

Episode 2 - Extroversion and Introversion in the work place

Episode 3: Social Networks and Employee Retention

Contact Me

E-mail:

My office hours

Semester 2: Friday 12-2 or By appointment

Publications

Journal articles

  • Parker A, Gerbasi AM. (2017) 'The Impact of Energizing Interactions on Voluntary and Involuntary Turnover'. Association International de Management Stratégique (AIMS) M@n@gement,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Chrobot-Mason D, Gerbasi AM, Cullen-Lester KL. (2016) 'Predicting leadership relationships: The importance of collective identity'. Elsevier Leadership Quarterly, 27 (2), pp. 298-311.
  • Cullen-Lester KL, Leroy H, Gerbasi AM, Nishii L. (2016) 'Energy’s Role in the Extraversion (Dis)advantage: How Energy Ties and Task Conflict Help Clarify the Relationship between Extraversion and Proactive Performance'. Wiley Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37, pp. 1003-1022.

    Abstract

    While academic and practitioner literatures have proposed that extraverts are at an advantage in team-based work, it remains unclear exactly what that advantage might be, how extraverts attain such an advantage, and under which conditions. Theory highlighting the importance of energy in the coordination of team efforts helps to answer these questions. We propose that extraverted individuals are able to develop more energizing relationships with their teammates and as a result are seen as proactively contributing to their team. However, problems in coordination (i.e., team task conflict) can reverse this extraversion advantage. We studied 27 project-based teams at their formation, peak performance, and after disbandment. Results suggest that when team task conflict is low, extraverts energize their teammates and are viewed by others as proactively contributing to the team. However, when team task conflict is high, extraverts develop energizing relationships with fewer of their teammates and are not viewed as proactively contributing to the team. Our findings regarding energizing relationships and team task conflict clarify why extraversion is related to proactive performance and in what way, how, and when extraverts may be at a (dis)advantage in team-based work.

  • Gerbasi AM. (2015) 'Does Civility Pay?'. Organizational Dynamics, 44 (4), pp. 281-286.

    Abstract

    Being nice may bring you friends, but does it help or harm you in your career? After all, research by Timothy Judge and colleagues shows a negative relationship between a person's agreeableness and income. Research by Amy Cuddy has shown that warm people are perceived to be less competent, which is likely to have negative career implications. People who buck social rules by treating people rudely and getting away with it tend to garner power. If you are civil you may be perceived as weak, and ignored or taken advantage. Being kind or considerate may be hazardous to your self-esteem, goal achievement, influence, career, and income. Over the last two decades we have studied the costs of incivility—and the benefits of civility. We’ve polled tens of thousands of workers across industries around the world about how they’re treated on the job and the effects. The costs of incivility are enormous. Organizations and their employees would be much more likely to thrive if employees treated each other respectfully. Many see civility as an investment and are skeptical about the potential returns. Porath surveyed of hundreds across organizations spanning more than 17 industries and found that a quarter believe that they will be less leader-like, and nearly 40 percent are afraid that they’ll be taken advantage of if they’re nice at work. Nearly half think that is better to flex your muscles to garner power. In network studies of a biotechnology firm and international MBAs, along with surveys, and experiments, we address whether civility pays. In this article we discuss our findings and propose recommendations for leaders and organizations.

  • Gerbasi AM, Porath CL, Parker A, Spreitzer G, Cross R. (2015) 'Destructive De-energizing Relationships: How Thriving Buffers their Effect on Performance'. American Psychological Association Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (5), pp. 1423-1433.
  • Porath CL, Gerbasi AM, Schorch SL. (2015) 'Effects of Civility on Advice, Leadership, and Performance'. American Psychological Association Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (5), pp. 1527-1541.

    Abstract

    Workplace incivility is rampant and on the rise—with costs to individuals and organizations. Despite the increased need for civility, little is known about potential individual benefits of civility, defined as behavior involving politeness and regard for others in the workplace, within workplace norms for respect (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). Recent research has suggested that being civil may be hazardous to influence, power, and income (see Forni, 2002; Judge et al., 2012).Yet, throughout history, civil behavior has been extolled because it paid dividends to the person who behaved well. The focus of this research is whether that holds true in organizations. Using social exchange theory, we developed hypotheses about how civility benefits people, and investigated this in 2 studies. First, in a 2-wave social network study of a research and development department (n = 31) of a biotechnology firm, we found that people who perceived a colleague as civil would be more likely to seek that person out for work advice and to see that person as a leader. The more the individual was perceived as civil by others in his or her network, the better his or her performance. Being sought out for work advice and being viewed as a leader mediated this effect. In the second experiment (n = 162), we extended our understanding of what drove these benefits. We found that people who are civil were perceived as warm and competent, and these positive perceptions, in turn, helped to explain the benefits garnered. We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

  • Oshri I, Gerbasi AM, Kotlarsky J. (2015) 'Strategic innovation through outsourcing: The role of relational and contractual governance'. Elsevier Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 24 (3), pp. 203-216.
  • Cullen KL, Gerbasi AM, Chrobot-Mason D. (2015) 'Thriving in Central Network Positions: The Role of Political Skill'. Journal Of Management,

    Abstract

    Theory suggests that thriving, the feeling of vitality and experience of learning, is in large part determined by the social environment of employees’ workplace. One important aspect of this social environment is the position of an individual in the communication network. Individuals who are sources of communication for many colleagues often receive benefits because other employees depend heavily on these individuals for information; however, there may also be drawbacks to this dependence. In particular, employees who are central in the communication network may experience more role overload and role ambiguity and, in turn, lower levels of workplace thriving. Individual differences are also likely to explain why some individuals are more likely to thrive. Relying on research that views organizations as political arenas, we identify political skill as an individual difference that is likely to enhance workplace thriving. Using a moderated-mediation analysis, we find support for the indirect cost of communication centrality on workplace thriving through role overload and role ambiguity. Furthermore, we identify both direct and moderating effects of political skill. Specifically, political skill mitigates the extent to which employees experience role ambiguity, but not role overload, associated with their position in the communication network, and these effects carry through to affect thriving. Star employees are often central in communication networks; with this in mind, we discuss the implications of our findings for employees and organizations.

  • Gerbasi AM, Latusek D. (2015) 'Trust-building in international business ventures'. Emerald Group Publishing Limited Baltic Journal of Management, 10 (1), pp. 30-51.
  • Parker A, Gerbasi AM, Porath CL. (2013) 'The Effects of De-energizing Ties in Organizations and How to Manage Them'. Elsevier Organizational Dynamics, 42 (2), pp. 110-118.

    Abstract

    Ask people whom they have worked with and most will recount stories of those who have motivated them, those who have made them laugh, and those with whom they have shared good times. Dig a little deeper and stories might be told about those colleagues who have brought an individual close to tears or rage due to their anger and frustration. For example, Mike, an executive vice president at an entertainment company, told us about his experience handling several layoffs with a general manager. As this VP broke the difficult news to this GM’s loyal employee, the GM sat with his feet perched up on the conference table, working away on his computer. He didn’t bother to look up from his computer screen, much less thank his direct report, or express his sympathy. The VP recounted that he was particularly upset, as he had gone to great lengths to try to coach the GM on leadership skills, after sensing employees’ frustrations with him. The VP indicated that he left the room feeling particularly de-energized by the whole encounter. There were also longer lasting effects for the GM: a number of negative interactions similar to this one pushed the VP to let him go several months later.

  • Cross R, Gray P, Gerbasi AM, Assimakopoulos D. (2012) 'Building engagement from the ground up: How top organizations leverage networks to drive employee engagement'. Organizational Dynamics, 41 (3), pp. 202-211.
  • Cowling C, Gerbasi AM, Gulas V. (2010) 'The Impact of Energy on Projects'. ASK Magazine - The NASA Source for Project Management and Engineering Excellence, 40, pp. 52-56.

    Abstract

    It’s no surprise that success in project-based organizations is driven by how well project teams perform. The quality of performance depends not only on the demands of the project but on the team makeup and dynamics. In fact, those human factors can have a much greater impact on results than the challenges of complexity and scope. Collaboration, communication, leadership, and effective knowledge sharing are vital to success, and the “spirit” of teams matters at least as much as their technical skill.

  • Cross R, Dowling C, Gerbasi AM, Gulas V, Thomas RJ. (2010) 'How Organizational Network Analysis Facilitated Transition from a Regional to a Global IT Function'. University of Minnesota Press MIS Quarterly Executive: a research journal dedicated to improving practice, 9 (3), pp. 133-145.
  • Cheshire C, Gerbasi AM, Cook KS. (2010) 'Trust and Transitions in Modes of Exchange'. Sage Social Psychology Quarterly, 73 (2), pp. 176-195.

Book chapters

  • Cullen-Lester KL, Gerbasi AM, White S. (2016) 'The Promise and Peril of Workplace Connections: Insights for Leaders about Workplace Networks and Well-being'. in Gentry WA, Clerkin C, Perrewé PL, Halbesleben RB, Rosen CC (eds.) The Role of Leadership in Occupational Stress Emerald Group Publishing Limited 14

    Abstract

    This chapter utilizes a network perspective to show how the totality of one’s social connections impacts well-being by providing access to resources (e.g., information, feedback, and support) and placing limits on autonomy. We provide a brief review of basic network concepts and explain the importance of understanding how the networks in which leaders are embedded may enhance or diminish their well-being. Further, with this greater understanding, we describe how leaders can help promote the well-being of their employees. In particular, we focus on four key aspects of workplace networks that are likely to impact well-being: centrality, structural holes, embeddedness, and negative ties. We not only discuss practical implications for leaders’ well-being and the well-being of their employees, but also suggest directions for future research.

  • Tornikoski E, Gerbasi AM, Molecke G. (2015) 'Personal Networks and Networking Behavior of Successful Small Business Owners-Managers: How to Make Networks Work for You'. in Newbert SL (ed.) Small Business in a Global Economy: Creating and Managing Successful Organizations Santa Barbara, California : ABC-CLIO Article number 10 , pp. 243-263.
  • Cook KS, Gerbasi AM. (2012) 'Social Exchange'. in Ramachandran VS (ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior 2nd Edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. : Academic Press , pp. 479-485.
  • Cook KS, Cheshire C, Gerbasi AM, Aven B. (2009) 'Assessing Trustworthiness in Online Goods and Services'. in Cook KS, Snijders C, Buskens V, Cheshire C (eds.) eTrust: Forming Relationships in the Online World New York : Russell Sage Foundation Article number 7 , pp. 189-214.

    Abstract

    Assessing the trustworthiness of others is an essential part of the daily interactions that take place between individuals in various social settings. The level of uncertainty and the nature of what is at stake affect the risks involved in a given interaction situation. Furthermore, the mechanisms that are put in place to help individuals assess the trustworthiness of others typically vary according to the levels of uncertainty and risk in the setting. As it becomes progressively more common to interact and engage in exchanges using computer-mediated communication systems such as the Internet, the anonymity of individuals and the reduction in available social cues increase the risks as well as the possibilities for misjudging trustworthiness and thus increase the possibilities for significant loss or even harm. In this chapter we examine the factors that individuals use when determining the trustworthiness of exchange partners who provide either goods or services in online environments. Following current theory and research, we argue that the competence and motivations of the exchange partner are two key bases of individuals’ inferences about trustworthiness, particularly when there are no third-party or credible institutional devices in place to reduce uncertainty and manage risk. However, we demonstrate that the effects of competence and motivation have different relative degrees of importance in online goods markets compared to online service markets. We present the results of an exploratory study designed to examine how individuals assess the trustworthiness of others in online markets for goods and services.

  • Cook KS, Gerbasi AM. (2009) 'Trust'. in Hedstrom P, Bearman P (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology Oxford University Press Article number 10

    Abstract

    During the past two decades trust has become a major object of study in the social sciences. Several writers have proposed various reasons for this focus of study. Sztompka (2006: 905–6) has recently identified two: (1) a shift in the social sciences from a major focus on the macro-societal level to closer analysis of the ‘microfoundations of social life’, and (2) ‘the changing quality of social structures and social processes in . . . later modernity’. Among the changes he lists as most relevant are: the shift to democracy in many sectors of the world and the concomitant increased role of human agency, globalization and the attendant uncertainty inherent in the ‘unfamiliar, non-transparent and distant’ linkages it entails, as well as increasingly rapid social change. Under such uncertainty, he argues, trust becomes problematic in ways unprecedented in human history, increasingly important in people’s everyday lives and thus to sociologists as a ‘hot’ topic of study. Others have echoed similar themes in their discussions of the rise of interest in the role of trust in society and in social life (e.g. Luhman 1979, 1988; Fukuyama 1995; Uslaner 1998, 2002; Putnam 2000; Warren 2006). Some of the macro-social factors that create conditions of uncertainty and an expansion of the types of risk individuals face include migration to urban centers, immigration, rapid social change, increasing inequality, political and economic transitions, violence, civil war, terrorist activity, and other forms of political unrest. In this chapter we address the question: What role does trust play as a determinant of cooperative behavior in social relations and social organizations, under what conditions? We argue that: (1) trust is only one mechanism by which we motivate cooperation and manage social order (there are significant alternatives, oftenmore important than trust—especially under increased uncertainty and risk), and (2) the role of trust in society has been radically oversold as a necessary and wholly positive force. Like social capital, it can lead to negative consequences that have been overlooked in current research. In fact, there are many situations in which distrust (not trust) is merited—thus it can’t be simply ‘good’ to trust or even generally good for a society to be more trusting despite macro-level claims by some authors to this effect (e.g. Fukuyama 1995).

  • Gerbasi AM, Cook KS. (2008) 'The Effect of Perceived Trustworthiness on Affect in Negotiated and Reciprocal Exchange'. in Clay-Warner J, Robinson DT (eds.) Social Structure and Emotion 1st edn.. Elsevier Article number 9 , pp. 141-165.
  • Cook KS, Cheshire C, Gerbasi AM. (2006) 'Power, Dependence and Social Exchange'. in Burke PJ (ed.) Contemporary Social Psychological Theories Stanford, California, U.S.A. : Stanford University Press Article number 9 , pp. 194-215.
  • Cook KS, Gerbasi AM. (2005) 'Trust in the Economy'. in Beckert J, Zafirovski M (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology Routledge , pp. 690-696.
  • Cook KS, Rice ERW, Gerbasi AM. (2004) 'The Emergence of Trust Networks under Uncertainty: The Case of Transitional Economies - Insights from Social Psychological Research'. in Rothstein B, Steinmo S, Kornai J, Rose-Ackerman S (eds.) Creating Social Trust in Post-Socialist Transition Palgrave Macmillan US Article number 10 , pp. 193-212.

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