Fischer is currently engaged in projects concerning the regulation of emotion at work, computer-mediated leadership and the future of executive education.
The regulation of emotion at work
The implications for research on job satisfaction and engagement are potentially far reaching. It is generally accepted that people work more effectively and are more engaged when job satisfaction is high and emotion is positive. In this project, Fischer is investigating the dynamic processes that underlie the regulation of emotions in the workplace and the relationship between emotions, job satisfaction and engagement with work.
Engagement and satisfaction should be viewed as a dynamic process involving the regulation of emotions and should not be reduced to single verbal measurements of how happy someone is with their job.
Verbal measures of job satisfaction tend to yield positive results. Respondents often report a surprisingly high degree of job satisfaction, given the conditions under which they work. This could be because people tend to adopt mildly positive emotions throughout the day: it easier to process information when one is contented. So negative emotions get shifted towards the positive end of the spectrum, and unexpectedly, extremely positive emotions are dampened.
Fischer, O., Fischer, L., & Meyenschein, K. (2011, September). Emotion Regulation at Work. Paper presented at Success & Well-Being, Basel, Switzerland.
Leadership research often tacitly assumes a situation in which leader and follower interact face-to-face. In reality, a significant part of communication – job-related as well as private – takes place over the phone or via email, Facebook and other communication media.
We argue that media-based communication may make it harder to achieve common ground because of the lack of non-verbal and other contextual cues. However, the use of such media can increase perceptions of leader charisma and boost social identity and group coherence. This is because the absence of information about the individual (especially non-verbal signals that communicate emotion and status) gives more weight to cues related to the group and therefore makes social identity more important.
Fischer, O. & Heracleous, L. 2012. A counter-intuitive view of the role of the communication medium in leadership and change. Forthcoming, Research in Organizational Change and Development.
Fischer, O. (2008). Theorie der Media Richness. (Media Richness Theory). In N. C. Krämer, S. Schwan, D. Unz, & M. Suckfüll, (Eds.), Medienpsychologie. Schlüsselbegriffe und Konzepte. (Media psychology. Key words and concepts). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
The future of executive education
This project explores the characteristics that determine the long-term success of executive education activities. We argue that intense collaboration is needed with individual participants, teams and organisations before, during and after an intervention. This shows the importance of a long-term relationship, as opposed to the mere short-term provision of expert information. In addition, it is essential to understand the wider context that has led to the need for executive education. From an organisation’s perspective, executive education is likely to be more successful when it is seen as an integral element of strategy formulation, communication and implementation.
Fischer’s research interests also include theories of charismatic leadership - what makes a leader charismatic and to what extent followers’ perceptions of charisma determine whether the leader represents group norms.
As part of his work in employee engagement and talent management, Fischer is interested in the social identify of groups and how belonging to a group, such as a team, and being different from other groups, helps sustain a positive sense of identity, distinctiveness and self-esteem.
Fischer also has an interest in consumer behaviour and specifically how it can inform user-centric innovation in creating new products and services.