1. Study looks at pros and cons of workday interruptions

    May 25, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Baylor University press release:

    Consider these scenarios.

    You’re focused on an important project at work and your phone rings. It’s your spouse.

    You’ve just finished dinner with your family and you’re cleaning up the table. Your phone buzzes. An email from your boss.

    Are these interruptions of your work and family time harmful or helpful?

    Yes and no, according to a new study from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. The study, published in the Journal of Management, analyzed daily diaries kept by 121 employees, who agreed to log their activities for 10 days as part of the research. Each participant worked at least 35 hours per week during traditional business hours, such as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and was in a committed relationship, living with a spouse or partner.

    “Our results demonstrate that the effect of interruptions in the work and home domains are twofold: On one hand, they may lead to unwelcome consequences, including obstruction of goals, negative affect, decreased satisfaction with investment in work and family and work-family conflict,” researchers wrote. “On the other, greater integration of work and family may afford workers increased positive affect, as these interruptions help them meet certain work or family goals.”

    Emily Hunter, Ph.D., associate professor of management in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, served as lead author on the study. She said technology is blurring the boundaries between work and family, and this can have daily consequences on workers.

    “When you give to one domain, you must take from the other. There are only so many hours in the day,” Hunter said. “Interruptions from family ‘take’ from work in the form of work goal obstructions, negative emotions and lower satisfaction with investment in work.”

    She said that proper planning could turn these interruptions into benefits that help employees meet work and family goals.

    The study shows that boundary violations at work were relatively common, and the researchers suggest managers and employees seek strategies to actively manage work and family boundaries.

    “For example, employees could set aside specific times in their workday when they invite and initiate communication with family, such as lunch time or a midafternoon break when their children arrive home from school,” researchers wrote. “In this way, they allow their work boundary to be permeable to family violations at certain times while setting limits on family interruptions that would otherwise interfere with workflow. Not only does this minimize work goal obstruction, but it also may generate positive outcomes for their family members.”

    When work invades family time, employees can use that to their advantage as well, Hunter said.

    “Workers who work from home in off-job hours can also benefit from managing co-worker expectations about availability after hours, setting aside time after children go to bed to accomplish work tasks with minimal obstruction to their family role and setting limits on hours of smartphone use for work purposes,” she said.

    In the study, researchers suggest workers request that coworkers or supervisors contact them after hours using communication mediums with varying levels of urgency: emergencies only by phone call or text message whereas matters that can wait until morning via email.


  2. Study looks at effect of bad advice about workplace bullying

    by Ashley

    From the Iowa State University press release:

    Targets of workplace bullying get plenty of advice from coworkers and family on how to respond to the situation and make it stop. While well intentioned, much of the advice victims receive is impractical or only makes their situation worse, said Stacy Tye-Williams, an assistant professor of communication studies and English at Iowa State University.

    “If you haven’t experienced bullying, you don’t understand it and it is hard to imagine what you actually would do in the situation,” Tye-Williams said.

    Still, that doesn’t stop people from offering advice. Friends and family do so because they want to be helpful, Tye-Williams said. In a paper published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Tye-Williams and Kathleen Krone, a co-author and professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, interviewed nearly 50 employees who were being bullied at the time or had been bullied in the past. The most common advice the employees received — quit your job.

    Tye-Williams says not only is quitting an unreasonable option financially, but several targets of bullying felt they had done nothing wrong and should not have to leave a job they enjoy. They expressed a “sense of moral justification” and were willing to take the abuse, not to let the bully win. Choosing to suffer silently rarely improved the situation for the target, Tye-Williams said.

    In the paper, researchers shared the following response from a woman who had invested 20 years in her job and was the target of bullying.

    “I’ve worked really, really hard, and why should I have to give up a job that I was good in because of…the unprofessional way that somebody else was behaving? I just didn’t feel it was fair,” the woman told researchers.

    Researchers found some common themes among the advice victims received. These were the top five recommendations:

    • Quit or get out of the situation — 27 percent
    • Ignore it or blow it off — 23 percent
    • Fight or stand up to the bully — 17 percent
    • Stay calm — 10 percent
    • Report the bullying — 10 percent

    A small percentage of victims were also told to “punch the bully” or to “quit making things up.”

    Victims would offer same bad advice

    Many victims feared retaliation or further humiliation if they directly confronted the bully, and lacking a better option, they did nothing about the abuse. Despite the bad advice, most victims said they would tell others in their situation to do the same thing. This was initially puzzling to researchers, but Tye-Williams says it soon became clear that victims lacked insight into strategies that were helpful for dealing with workplace bullies.

    “Targets really felt stuck and didn’t know what to do about the bullying. They repeated the same advice even though they felt it would not have worked for them, or if they did follow the advice it made the situation worse,” Tye-Williams said. “It became clear how important it is to help targets understand alternative approaches to addressing bullying.”

    Developing a method or model for responding to workplace bullying must start with an open dialogue, in which people can share what has worked for them and brainstorm creative or different solutions, Tye-Williams said. An important start is to develop advice that is more useful, and disseminate stories in which targets successfully managed their situation. The best thing family members, friends, and colleagues can do is to simply listen without judgment to help targets work through available options, she said.

    Dismissing emotion causes more harm

    Employees shared very emotional accounts of the bullying they suffered, and strongly reacted when coworkers or friends told them not to cry or get upset. Telling a victim to calm down or conceal their emotion minimizes the experience and is not helpful, Tye-Williams said. She describes it as “really strange advice” given how some of these people were treated.

    “To me it would be abnormal for someone to be treated in this way and have no emotional reaction,” Tye-Williams said. “Telling victims to calm down does a lot of damage. When we’re talking about traumatic work experiences, it’s important to allow people to have a space to express their very normal emotions.”

    Researchers found that some victims, when told to calm down, tended to shut down and stop talking about the abuse and suffer silently. That’s why it’s necessary to provide victims with a safe space to openly talk about the situation and feel that their voice is being heard, Tye-Williams said. Through this research, she found going to a supervisor or human resources manager did not guarantee victims were taken seriously and the problem would be corrected.

    Tye-Williams says the lack of managerial response or resolution is another example of the complexity in handling workplace bullying. Part of the complexity is trying to develop a rational, logical response to what is often an irrational situation. In many cases, managers expected employees to resolve the situation on their own, which was not a reasonable expectation, she said.

    “Management is not always good about helping people navigate a conflict to reach a resolution. They don’t want to get involved, they expect employees to figure it out or that it’ll blow over,” Tye-Williams said. “It’s not that managers don’t want to be helpful, they often just don’t know how to be helpful.”

    Understanding that common pieces of advice to combat workplace bullying often don’t work may help managers, coworkers, family members and friends move beyond “canned advice” and develop more appropriate alternatives to addressing bullying, she added.


  3. Study suggests helping co-workers in the morning can be mentally fatiguing

    May 23, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Michigan State University press release:

    If you show up at work tired, you may want to focus strictly on your own tasks. New research suggests helping coworkers in the morning can lead to mental exhaustion and self-serving behavior in the afternoon that ultimately can create a toxic work environment.

    The study builds on the previous work of Michigan State University’s Russell Johnson and colleagues that found helping others at work can be mentally fatiguing for employees.

    Turns out, that helping behavior can be particularly harmful when it’s done in the morning hours.

    “The increase in mental fatigue from helping coworkers in the morning led employees to reduce their helping behaviors in the afternoon and, perhaps more interestingly, they engaged in more self-serving political behaviors in the afternoon as well,” said Johnson, associate professor of management in MSU’s Broad College of Business. “They switched from being other-oriented in the morning to being selfish in the afternoon.”

    Johnson and colleagues studied 91 full-time employees over 10 consecutive workdays (participants completed two surveys a day — morning and afternoon — on their workplace experiences). While previous research has noted the “dark side” of helping others on an individual’s well-being and performance implications, Johnson said, this study is the first to explore the downstream effect on political behavior.

    Helping others may not only harm the well-being of the individual, but through the subsequent increase in political behavior may harm others in the office as well, the study says.

    “Although we did not identify the consequences of these political behaviors, research has established that political acts from employees can culminate into a toxic work environment with negative well-being and performance consequences.”

    The authors aren’t suggesting workers never help their colleagues in the morning, of course, but that they show discretion, particularly when they start the day already tired or mentally fatigued. When they do help coworkers in such circumstances, employers can make sure they get work breaks and lunch periods to help them recover.

    If breaks aren’t possible, managers should make sure they encourage proper separation from work once employees return home.


  4. Study suggests even negative attention is better than being ignored

    May 22, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Basel press release:

    After experiencing social exclusion, a minimum of attention suffices to reduce individuals’ negative emotions. Even rejection or unkind comments are better for well-being than being ignored by other people. This finding has important implications for the treatment of applicants during selection processes, report psychologists from the University of Basel and Purdue University in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

    If there is more than one applicant for a job opening, all but one candidate must inevitably be rejected. This rejection, which is comparable to social exclusion, often arouses negative emotions in the unsuccessful applicants.

    Previous research has shown that individuals are very sensitive to even the smallest sign of social exclusion, as this endangers fundamental human needs such as the needs for belonging, self-esteem and control. It also threatens a person’s own sense of being significant to others.

    As few studies have been dedicated to investigating which factors can improve negative emotions after social exclusion, psychologists from the University of Basel and Purdue University (USA) investigated factors that can make such situations more bearable.

    Any form of recognition helps

    The researchers analyzed how people feel after being socially excluded and then reintegrated, and how receiving a small amount of attention affects the excluded persons. To do this, they carried out experiments in which the participants played a virtual ball-throwing game. However, participants did not receive the ball from the other players and were thus excluded them from the game. In other experiments, participants took part in a fictitious search for an apartment. Here, the minimal attention was simulated via a neutral, pleasant or unfriendly message that participants received together with the rejection.

    All the experiments showed that even small indications of integration and attention reduced the distress of social exclusion. Although people react quickly and sensitively to exclusion, they are also influenced by signs of reintegration and attention. This is the case no matter whether the attention they receive is positive or negative.

    The bright side of rejection and negative criticism

    The research findings emphasize the importance of granting minimal attention during selection processes. “To make these as stress-free as possible, HR managers, universities and landlords should pay rejected candidates a minimum of attention via a letter or email, for example,” says Dr. Selma Rudert, the study’s author from the University of Basel.

    Even when it comes to justified criticism in the workplace, employees may be more satisfied when they receive negative feedback than if they receive no feedback at all in the long term. Consultancies that deal with workplace or school bullying should pay more attention to whether people are being ignored by others, as social rejection can have psychological consequences as negative as those of active aggression or bullying.


  5. Abusing power hurts leaders too

    May 14, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Florida press release:

    We know that power can corrupt, making people act in ways that harm others. But new research from the University of Florida shows that when the powerful misbehave, they hurt themselves, too.

    “We always think those who have power are better off, but having power is not universally or exclusively good for the power holder,” said Trevor Foulk, who led the research as a doctoral student at UF’s Warrington College of Business and will start as an assistant professor in the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in June.

    Foulk and fellow Warrington researchers Klodiana Lanaj, Min-Hsuan Tu, Amir Erez and Lindy Archambeau found that leaders who acted abusively to colleagues had trouble relaxing after work and were less likely to feel competent, respected and autonomous in the workplace. The findings, published in the Academy of Management Journal, stemmed from surveys of 116 leaders in fields including engineering, medicine, education and banking over a three-week span.

    Rather than structural power – a leader’s position in the hierarchy – the study looked at psychological power, or how powerful a leader feels, which changes as they move through the workday. When leaders felt powerful, they were more likely to act abusively and perceive more incivility from their coworkers, which in turn harmed their own well-being.

    “This flips the script on abusive leadership,” Foulk said. “We tend to assume that powerful people just go around and abuse and they’re totally fine with it, but the effect of power on the power holder is more complex than that.”

    Side-stepping the negative effects of power might require us to rethink the qualities we look for in a leader. Foulk’s study suggests that agreeable leaders – those who value social closeness, positive relationships and workplace harmony – may be less susceptible to the misbehavior brought on by psychological power.

    It’s also possible that, over time, the consequences of psychological power are self-correcting. If a leader acts abusively, then goes home and feels bad about it, he or she might come back to work the next day feeling less powerful and behave better – a phenomenon Foulk is studying for a future paper.

    Although a boss who yells, curses or belittles might not seem to deserve our sympathy, “they’re suffering, too,” Foulk says. “Even though your boss may seem like a jerk, they’re reacting to a situation in a way many of us would if we were in power. It’s not necessarily that they’re monsters.”


  6. Autonomy in the workplace has positive effects on well-being and job satisfaction

    May 1, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Birmingham press release:

    New research into workplace culture has found that employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their overall well-being and higher levels of job satisfaction.

    Researchers at the University of Birmingham, Business School examined changes in reported well-being relative to levels of autonomy using two separate years of data for 20,000 employees from the Understanding Society survey.

    The research, published in the journal Work and Occupations, found that levels of autonomy differed considerably between occupations and by gender.

    Those working in management reported the highest levels of autonomy in their work, with 90% reporting ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of autonomy in the workplace.

    Professionals report much less autonomy, particularly over the pace of work and over their working hours. For other employees, 40-to-50% of those surveyed experienced much lower autonomy while around half of lower skilled employees experience no autonomy over working hours at all.

    Dr Daniel Wheatley, University of Birmingham Business School said, ‘Greater levels of control over work tasks and schedule have the potential to generate significant benefits for the employee, which was found to be evident in the levels of reported well-being.

    ‘The positive effects associated with informal flexibility and working at home, offer further support to the suggestion that schedule control is highly valued and important to employees “enjoying” work.’

    The study found compelling evidence to suggest that men and women were affected in different ways by the type of autonomy they experienced.

    For women, flexibility over the timing and location of their work appeared to be more beneficial allowing them to balance other tasks such as family commitments.

    Dr Wheatley added: ‘The manner of work and control over work schedule was found to be more relevant to the well-being of female employees.

    ‘Flexibility in work location, specifically homeworking, benefitted women with caring responsibilities allowing them to better manage paid work alongside the household.’

    Men were found to be more impacted by job tasks, pace of work, and task order.

    The research also highlighted that despite the reported increased levels of well-being, in many cases managers remain unwilling to offer employees greater levels of autonomy and the associated benefits, because their primary role remains one of ‘control and effort extraction.’


  7. Can dealing with emotional exhaustion enhance happiness?

    April 19, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of East Anglia press release:

    The study examined when and how dealing with emotional exhaustion can enhance happiness in a work environment. The research was focused on the role of perceived supervisor support (PSS) — the workers’ view of their manager’s level of supportiveness, caring and appreciation for their efforts — in stimulating ways to cope with exhaustion.

    The research was conducted by Carlos Ferreira Peralta of UEA’s Norwich Business School and Maria Francisca Saldanha of Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. They found that perceiving low supervisor support stimulates the employee’s engagement in developing an action plan which, when paired with what the researchers call instrumental social support — the activity of searching for advice, support or information from others — boosts happiness.

    Low PSS enhanced the relationship between emotional exhaustion and planning activities; whereas searching for instrumental social support enhanced the relationship between planning and happiness.

    This new study is thought to be one of the first to investigate how the negative relationship between emotional exhaustion and happiness can be reversed. Previous studies have highlighted the harmful consequences of emotional exhaustion, such as poorer performance and depression, and that PSS can prevent the emergence of emotional exhaustion.

    However, little was known about how people could overcome emotional exhaustion and experience positive outcomes in its aftermath, and about the role of PSS once employees experience emotional exhaustion. The findings are published in the journal Work & Stress.

    Dr Peralta, a lecturer in organisational behaviour, said: “Perceived supervisor support appears to be a double-edge sword, on the one hand preventing the emergence of emotional exhaustion but on the other hand diminishing the likelihood that employees will engage in planning to deal with the emotional exhaustion they are experiencing.

    “It is important to note that it is not emotional exhaustion per se, but rather how people cope with it, that is beneficial for individuals. Our findings suggest that the activities people engage in have a key role in building happiness from an internally stressful experience and that emotional exhaustion can have a silver lining.”

    Dr Peralta added: “This research contributes to a greater understanding of whether benefits can be gained by individuals as they cope with emotional exhaustion. The findings help clarify the role of social support in dealing with and becoming happy after emotional exhaustion.”

    The researchers suggest that managers would probably help their employees by being attentive to their experiences and could benefit from training that differentiates between the actions that can prevent employees’ emotional exhaustion and those that can support employees’ efforts to cope with emotional exhaustion.

    “Providing support may prevent the emergence of emotional exhaustion in employees,” said Dr Peralta. “However, when an employee is experiencing emotional exhaustion it might be useful to just provide support when and if requested. Otherwise, the employee may not engage or delay the engagement in coping activities that can enhance their happiness. This is particularly relevant as caring supervisors might be tempted to increase the support they provide when an employee is showing signals of emotional exhaustion.”

    The findings suggest that emotionally exhausted employees may benefit from an individually developed action plan enriched with instrumental social support, such as a focused and directed search for potentially useful information, in order to increase happiness after emotional exhaustion.

    The researchers conducted three complementary studies involving a total of 500 employees in Portugal and the United States. They worked in multiple occupations including management, architecture and engineering, computer and mathematical, business and financial operations, as well as office and administration support, sales, education and healthcare. The studies used different measures of emotional exhaustion, happiness and PSS and the participants were asked to complete questionnaires.


  8. Struggling with different work identities? Your work may suffer

    April 16, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Ohio State University press release:

    Few people are just one person at work. You may be both a manager and an employee. Or you may be a salesperson who represents two very different brands.

    Now a new study suggests that how you juggle those different work identities may affect your job performance.

    Employees who believe their different identities enhance each other are more productive than others, the study found. But workers who feel their identities are in conflict see a hit to their performance.

    “We tend to think of our work role identities one at a time, as if they were completely separate,” said Steffanie Wilk, co-author of the study and associate professor of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

    “But this research shows that the interactions are important. The way we manage and think about our different roles could be affecting how well we do our jobs.”

    Wilk conducted the study with Lakshmi Ramarajan of Harvard University and Nancy Rothbard at the University of Pennsylvania. Their results were published in a recent issue of the Academy of Management Journal.

    People are familiar with the concept of identity conflict and enhancement. There’s been a lot written about the tensions between the roles of women who are both mothers and employees, for example.

    But this research suggests that people can have issues dealing with different identities within the workplace, Wilk said. Companies need to be more attuned to what roles they ask their employees to take on.

    “If your employees feel they have to make trade-offs between different role identities in the workplace, they may not do as good a job,” she said.

    That’s what the researchers found when they studied 763 employees of a company that managed customer service for credit cards associated with a number of well-known brands in retail and financial services, among others.

    In this case, employees had to juggle their identities representing very different brands.

    Was being a representative for a particular clothing company’s credit card opposed to — or compatible with — the work they had to do for particular bank’s credit card?

    The researchers had a very good way to answer that question. Part of each employee’s job was to sell additional products and services to customers on calls. So the question was: Would identity conflict hurt their sales — and would compatibility help?

    Employees were asked in a survey to name the two brands they worked with most. They then rated how much they agreed with a variety of statements. These statements measured if their identification with the two brands was in conflict (“Life would be easier if I represented only one of these brands and not another”) or if working with both brands enhanced each other (“I am a better representative of one brand because I am also a representative for the other brand”).

    Results showed that employees whose responses implied identity conflict between their two brands had lower-than-average sales for the four months after they took the survey, while those who indicated their brands enhanced each other had better-than-average sales.

    “There are real-world effects for not being able to successfully juggle your identities,” Wilk said. “Your performance can suffer, as we found in this call center.”

    The researchers conducted two experimental studies that replicated many of the same results, and gave additional insight into how identity conflict or enhancement might work to affect performance.

    The studies showed that participants who thought their identities enhanced each other showed more intrinsic motivation. In the first study, for example, they were more likely to agree with statements like “I work at this job because I think it is interesting.” And intrinsic motivation, in turn, improved sales.

    The researchers also looked at how identity enhancement and conflict related to perspective-taking by participants, which was the extent to which they took on a customer’s point of view.

    Perspective-taking had an effect that surprised the researchers, at least at first — it actually reduced sales in the first study. After additional studies, the researchers think they better understand why.

    “We believe if you put yourself into your customers’ shoes too much, you may start to wonder if they really want or need what you’re selling,” Wilk said. “That can hurt performance.”

    The bottom line is that companies need to help their employees find common elements between their different identities, Wilk said.

    “There needs to be connections between the identities that make sense to your employees. If there is conflict, your employees will ruminate, take up their mental energy, and struggle with their jobs. But if the connections are there, it can help.”


  9. Negotiations work best when both sides have matching personality traits

    April 7, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Georgia press release:

    Negotiations work best when both sides have matching personality traits — even if they’re both disagreeable — according to research from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business.

    Conventional wisdom would suggest that people who are outgoing and accommodating are better suited to negotiate, but a study co-authored by assistant professor of management Fadel Matta found two sides can reach accord through their common discord.

    “Normally, you would consider agreeableness — that you’re cooperative and kind — to be a good thing. And being disagreeable — being cold — to be a bad thing,” Matta said.

    “But with negotiations we find that’s not necessarily true. The same thing goes for someone who is extroverted. It’s not always a good thing when you’re entering negotiations.”

    At their core, negotiations are about a relationship. And like a relationship, they work best when both parties approach it the same way, he said. “If you’re a jerk and I’m a jerk, then it might seem like we’ll never get anywhere in negotiations, but it’s actually more useful to put two similarly minded people together,” Matta said.

    Matta and his co-authors based their research on the “Big Five” personality traits from psychological literature — conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extroversion. The study in the Journal of Applied Psychology focused on agreeableness and extroversion because of their interpersonal nature.

    “A lot of the research on personality shows that it has less of an effect than you would expect in negotiations, but that research has looked only at an individual’s personality,” Matta said. “We decided to look at the combination of personalities between two negotiators.”

    The authors surveyed more than 200 individuals about their personalities then randomly assigned them a role in a mock negotiation between two companies. After reading background information, participants negotiated against each other in order to arrive at a settlement on seven issues related to human resource management and compensation. After a settlement was reached, participants were surveyed about their perceptions of the process and their partner.

    They found that while one person’s personality could not predict outcomes, the combination of both personalities led to consistent results. Negotiations between individuals with similar scores on agreeableness and extroversion tended to go more smoothly, finish more quickly and leave both parties with better impressions of the other than negotiations between dissimilar individuals, Matta said. Researchers attributed the results to more positive emotional displays, which occur when both negotiators have similar personalities.

    “The takeaway when entering negotiations is to consider both parties’ personalities and how they might mesh, instead of just deciding to send in a really well-liked and agreeable person,” Matta said. “It’s the combination of the two people that will determine how well the negotiations proceed.”

    The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.


  10. Effect of social media humour on the recruitment process

    April 2, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Inderscience press release:

    Can humour on social media help managers find the most appropriate candidates for the job vacancies they hope to fill? Writing in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, researchers from Finland, suggest that humorous recruitment campaigns can increase exposure for a given job ad but conversely the approach might lead to flippant applications at which point it might be difficult to separate the serious candidate from an inappropriate one. The team also suggests that choosing a particular social media channel over another may skew the type of applicants they receive for a given job, for better or worse.

    Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen of Oulu Business School and Jaakko Sinisalo of Oulu University of Applied Sciences have carried out a case study of the social media recruitment campaign of a high-profile company operating in the architecture industry. The campaign used amusing text and graphics to entice people to apply for a specific vacancy and to differentiate the company from others in the market for job applicants.

    The use of humour in consumer marketing is well known, indeed humour in marketing is probably as old as selling itself. However, in marketing an employment vacancy has been little used and advertising of jobs tends to be a rather dry affair. The team points out that where it has been used little research has been done to track the pros and cons. There is the potential, as with any marketing, for humour to be a double edged sword, the team suggests, with it having the potential to harm a company’s credibility and reputation if the humour is misplaced or causes offence.

    Conversely, the humorous campaign can backfire if a responsive candidate is found and yet the work environment does not fit the jocular image projected. Moreover, some serious candidates perfectly suitable for the job may be put off from applying by the flippant nature of the campaign.