I recently attracted ARC funding to investigate wise proactivity. This project will define the construct and investigate its antecedents and consequences.
This project, conducted with colleagues at the University of New South Wales, focuses on silence amongst nurses (Parker, Hong, Johnson, Collins, et al.,). We focus on the particular scenario in which nurses believe doctors have made an error or omission, yet either fail to speak out or speak out in a guarded way. Our project investigates why these nurses are silent or guarded, as well as the consequences for mental health of this silence.
We have developed a measure of silence motives, and are currently preparing this work for publication (Parker, Bindl, VanDyne).
Leadership is one of the most important factors in our work life. But how - if at all - do proactive employees need to be led? What leadership style encourages proactivity or inhibits it? Do proactive people need to be told to be proactive? Or do leaders need to step back and take a more stimulating and inspiring role to encourage proactivity? We are investigating these and related questions in a number of projects.
What values do people who behave proactively hold? Do different values predict different types of proactive behavior? One would expect that values are important for proactive behavior because it is highly self-directed. It is not imposed or forced, but rather, it is self-initiated. So it would be surprising if values were not related to proactive behavior in some way. The current project uses Schwartz' value model to investigate this question.
Attachment style and proactivity
As a result of early interations with their parents, children develop an 'attachment style'. Children who are securely attached willingly explore novel environments compared to insecurely attached individuals. Evidence shows that attachment styles influence adult behavior as well. We are currently investigating how individual's attachment style influences their proactivity (Wu & Parker, under preparation).
Intervening to enhance proactivity
With Karoline Strauss, I am currently working on a study that involves comparing a traditional stress management intervention with a proactivity-oriented stress management intervention. The formal involves education employees about stress and encouraging their to cope with that stress. The latter involves encouraging a future-focus (identifying one's future work self), and then building employees' confidence to actively take charge of their work environments in order to obtain that future. We have compared these two interventions in police and health service contexts in the UK and are currently analyzing the findings (Strauss & Parker, in press).