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Peter Bamberger

 
 
General Information
Prof. Bamberger joined the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management in 1993 as a Senior Lecturer.

Prof. Bamberger is one of the founders of the Smithers Institute for Alcohol-related Work Place Studies at Cornell University.

 
 
Research Summary
Prof. Bamberger's current research focuses on peer relations in the workplace and their impact on employee emotional well-being and industrial relations.

Prof. Bamberger's research explores the antecedents, consequences and nature of peer relations in the workplace. Peer relations refer to a wide range of co-worker interactions associated with helping, social support, mentoring and collective action. In their initial studies, Prof. Bamberger and his colleagues from the Smithers Institute at Cornell University adopted qualitative methods in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of peer relations. This research, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, examined the adoption and institutionalization of union-based member assistance programs as well as the actual dynamics of peer assistance. Applying micro-political and neo-institutional theory, Bamberger and his colleagues demonstrate that the overall nature of peer relations reflect the means-ends logics that individuals and groups bring to the workplace. Prof. Bamberger and his colleagues have also sought to demonstrate that these means-ends logics explain boundary-management in work-based interactions. Drawing on a sample of unionized flight attendants, they show that peer-relations in work teams are influenced by the way in which peers deal with highly uncertain, ambiguious, and therefore "problematic" inter-role relationships.

In addition to this research exploring the nature and antecedents of peer relations at both the micro and macro levels, Prof. Bamberger's research has also looked at the implications of peer relations for both individuals and the organizations in which they work. Specifically, this research explores the consequences of peer relations on three different organizational domains. At the individual level, Bamberger and his Cornell colleagues are examining the implications of peer support and assistance on employee emotional well-being. In a study Sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), data were collected from 5,000 unionized blue-collar workers in the United States. Of particular interest in this study is the way in which different types of peer relations can have both positive and negative consequences on employee emotional well-being. In a similar study (recently funded by the NIAAA), Bamberger and his colleagues will explore the role of peer relations in moderating the impact of the retirement process on the development and/or exacerbation of drinking problems.

At the work group level, Bamberger and Erev are conducting a number of studies exploring the social consequences of formalized peer-based feedback processes. Drawing from game theory, these studies attempt to examine the degree to which such contemporary human resource management practices as 360 Degree Feedback may either solve social dilemmas in work organizations, or in contrast, lead to the breakdown of informal, meta-norms of cooperation in work groups.

Finally, at the macro level of analysis, Bamberger has explored the implications of peer relations on a wide range of industrial relations outcomes. Much of this research has revolved around the issues of union-member relations, and specifically the determinants of union membership and workers' commitment to their union. For example, in a meta analysis of union commitment antecedents and consequences, Bamberger, Kluger and Suchard demonstrate that workers' union commitment is driven more by affective factors than ideological factors. Building on the results of this study as well as those cited above, Bacharach, Bamberger and Sonnensthul in their new book (Mutual Aid and Union Renewal) argue that the key to trade union survival in the post-industrial era will depend on the degree to which unions are able to re-establish traditions of mutual aid and peer assistance that were once the basis of union solidarity.

 
 
Current Research Projects
  • The retirement process and alcohol problems among blue-collar workers (with Samuel Bacharach, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Washington, D.C.)  


  • Retirement-Eligible But Not Retiring: Retirement-Eligible but not Retiring: A Longitudinal Study of the Organizational- and Job-related Factors Associated with the Retention of an Older Workforce.” (with Samuel Bacharach, sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation).

 
 
Selected Publications

 

You can access a number of my papers on the following websites:

Selected Recent Publications ( papers appearing in refereed journals since 2005):
Recent Book Chapters:
  • Peter Bamberger.  Peer Assessment: A Social Dilemmas Perspective   Pp. 31-54 in S. Reddy (ed.), Multi-Source Performance Assessments: Perspectives and Insights.  Hyderabad:  ICFAI Books. 2005
  • Paul R. Sackett, Peter Bamberger, and 20 international collaborators. (In Press).  Group differences, fair employment legislation, and personnel selection practices: An international comparison. In J. Farr and N. Tippins (Eds.). Handbook of Personnel Selection. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. 2008.
  • Galit Armon-Ben Yaacov & Peter Bamberger. “Challenges in Staffing Cross-cultural Virtual teams: Assessing the Efficacy of Alternative Modes of Team Member Selection.”   Pp. 61-89 in M.K. Mandal (ed.), In Search of the Right Personnel.  Delhi: Macmillan.  2008.
  • Maya Golan*, Yael Bacharach & Peter Bamberger, “Peer Assistance Programs in the Workplace: Social Support Theory and the Provision of Effective Assistance to Employees in Need.”   In Houdmont, J. & Leka, S. (Eds.), Perspectives on Occupational Health Psychology. London: Wiley-Blackwell. (In Press).


Edited Volumes:
  • Peter Bamberger, Miriam Erez and Samuel Bacharach (eds.), Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Special Issue on the Cross-cultural Analysis of Organizations. Greenwich, CN: JAI Press. 1996.

  • Peter Bamberger and William Sonnenstuhl (eds.), Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Special Issue on Deviance in and of Organizations. Greenwich, CN: JAI Press. 1998.

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