Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Foundation: Best Dissertation Award for Dr. Benjamin Korman

Dr. Benjamin Korman has received the KLU Dissertation Award 2021 sponsored by the Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Foundation. In his three-part dissertation, Korman examines behavioral patterns among leaders and their subordinate team members. The focus is on social comparison processes and paradoxical behaviors in the workplace, as well as the evolutionary bases of emotions. Dr. Korman accepted the award, which is endowed with 1,000 euros, at the graduation ceremony on September 17.

"This work was motivated by a desire to better understand human emotions. With this understanding, we gain both insight into our evolutionary past as well as predictive validity regarding our future," said Dr. Korman.

Harmful leadership and how teams react

The first publication shows that people who are favoured by their manager are more likely to leave the company than those who are treated as badly as their direct colleagues. Dr. Korman found that being treated better leads individuals to fear social exclusion from their coworkers which, in turn, results in feelings of shame. These findings were subsequently reported in media outlets such as Business Insider and Harvard Business Manager.

In his second study, Dr. Korman shows that a better relationship with the supervisor can lead to both positive and negative interpersonal consequences at work. He explains this through his novel focus on authentic and hubristic pride.

The third study is about employees who observe a fellow coworker stand up to an abusive supervisor. Dr. Korman’s results suggest that these observers can be motivated to subsequently engage in more helping behaviors towards both the victims, and perpetrators, of abusive supervision.

Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Foundation promotes young science

Andreas Jansen, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Foundation: "In his research, Dr. Korman deals with new approaches to leadership that create a change in perspective and question existing thought patterns. From our point of view, his dissertation is very innovative and, moreover, has been prepared in a first-class manner. We are pleased to be able to honor such a special achievement.“

Original approach: Emotion research & leadership

The jury praised the innovative approach to explaining leadership through aspects of emotion research: "Benjamin Korman was able to uncover surprising phenomena that had not been documented before." The work was supervised by Dr. Christian Tröster, Associate Professor for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations and Dr. Steffen R. Giessner, Professor of Organizational Behavior and Change.

Dr. Korman successfully completed his Ph.D. in collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has published articles in journals such as "Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies" and "Frontiers in Neuroinformatics". Since November 2020, Dr. Korman has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Cluster of Excellence "Politics of Inequality" at the University of Konstanz, investigating the interplay of migration and organizational outcomes.

More information:

  • Profiles Benjamin Korman: University of Konstanz , Researchgate
  • Press release, 6 April, 2021: Paradox: Being spared abuse motivates employees to quit
  • Ph.D. publications:
    Korman, B.A., Tröster C., Giessner, S.R. (2021). The consequences of incongruent abusive supervision: Anticipation of social exclusion, shame, and turnover intentions. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.
    Korman, B.A., Tröster C., Giessner, S.R. (2020). LMXSC and paradoxical coworker-directed behaviors: A dual path mediation model involving pride. Proceedings of the 2020 Academy of Management Meeting.
    Askren, M.K., McAllister-Day, T.K., Koh, N., Mestre, Z., Dines, J.N., Korman, B.A., Melhorn, S.J., Peterson, D.J., Peverill, M., Quin, X., Rane, S.D., Reilly, M.A., Reiter, M.A., Sambrook, K.A., Woelfer, K.A., Grabowski, T.J., Madhyastha, T.M. (2016). Using Make for Reproducible and Parallel Neuroimaging Workflow and Quality. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics.
  • Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich Foundation