My research can be divided into three main streams. In the first, I study the relationship between the distances people consider (e.g., when working remotely) and important work outcomes, including creativity, exploratory learning, and interpersonal influence. I test my theories using laboratory experiments and studies based on archival data. In particular, I am interested in the analysis of language as a means of measuring cognitive dimensions.

In another line of research, I am looking for methods to reduce aggression against frontline employees. Certain professions, such as ER doctors and nurses, suffer from chronic mistreatment from patients and outsiders. I am working with a research team in Israel to find practical ways to reduce such aggression. Work in this research area includes field interventions and laboratory experiments.

Finally, I conduct research on the relationships between cognition and negotiation performance. I want to contribute to research that finds practical ways to help people negotiate better. I am also interested in exploring methods to increase negotiation in the workplace, which I believe is key to effective collaboration. In this stream, I mainly collect simulation data and conduct studies with archival data.

Published Papers

When the Medium Massages Perceptions: Personal (vs. Public) Displays of Information Reduce Crowding Perceptions and Outsider Mistreatment of Frontline Staff

Crowded waiting areas are volatile environments, where seemingly ordinary people often get frustrated and mistreat frontline staff. Given that crowding is an exogenous factor in many industries (e.g., retail, healthcare), we suggest an intervention that can “massage” outsiders’ perceptions of crowding and reduce the mistreatment of frontline staff. We theorize that providing information for outsiders to read while they wait on a personal medium (e.g. a leaflet, a smartphone) reduces their crowding perceptions and mistreatment of frontline staff, compared to providing the same information on a public medium (e.g., poster, wall sign). We report two studies that confirm our theory: a field experiment in Emergency Departments (n= 939) and an online experiment simulating a coffee shop (n= 246). Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

Reyt, J.N., Treister, D., Altman, D., Rafaeli, A. (2021), The Medium Massages Perceptions: Personal (vs. Public)  displays of information reduce crowding perceptions and outsider mistreatment of frontline staff, Accepted for publication by Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

Construal Level Theory in Organizational Research

Construal level theory (CLT) offers a rich and rigorous conceptual model of how the context shapes mental representations and subsequent outcomes. The theory has generated new understanding of cognitions and behaviors such as prediction, evaluation, and decision making in the fields of psychology and consumer behavior. Recently, management and organizational scholars have begun to leverage CLT to derive novel insights regarding organizational phenomena. This article describes CLT and its theoretical underpinnings, provides a focused and integrated review of organizational research incorporating CLT, and offers an agenda for future work in which CLT opens the door to new avenues of inquiry in organizational research and reinvigorates scholarly interest in cognition in organizations.

Wiesenfeld, B. M., Reyt, J. N., Brockner, J., & Trope, Y. (2017). Construal level theory in organizational research. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior4, 367-400.

Big Picture Is Better: The Social Implications of Construal Level for Advice Taking

Advice taking is of growing interest to organizational scholars because it is a critical pathway for knowledge transfer and learning. Based on construal level theory, we hypothesize that high construal advisors are viewed as experts and, in turn, others are more likely to take their advice. In a field study of an online community of programmers and a laboratory experiment measuring psychological mechanisms, we find that signaling higher construal by communicating more abstractly is positively associated with expert reputation, which in turn explains others’ advice-taking behavior. Implications for research on the social consequences of construal level and novel antecedents of perceived expertise and advice taking are discussed.

Reyt, J. N., Wiesenfeld, B. M., & Trope, Y. (2016). Big picture is better: The social implications of construal level for advice taking. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes135, 22-31.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Exploratory Learning, Mobile Technology, and Knowledge Workers’ Role Integration Behaviors

Role integration is the new workplace reality for many employees. The prevalence of mobile technologies (e.g., laptops, smartphones, tablets) that are increasingly wearable and nearly always “on” makes it difficult to keep role boundaries separate and distinct. We draw upon boundary theory and construal level theory to hypothesize that role integration behaviors shift people from thinking concretely to thinking more abstractly about their work. The results of an archival study of Enron executives’ emails, two experiments, and a multi-wave field study of knowledge workers provide evidence of positive associations between role integration behaviors, higher construal level, and more exploratory learning activities.

Reyt, J. N., & Wiesenfeld, B. M. (2015). Seeing the forest for the trees: Exploratory learning, mobile technology, and knowledge workers’ role integration behaviors. Academy of Management Journal, 58(3), 739-762.

Work In Progress

  • Reyt, J.N., Rothman, N. Abstract language and engagement with ideas
  • Reyt, J.N., Top executives’ abstraction level and analyst bias
  • Reyt, J.N., Rubineau, B., Wiesenfeld, B. M., Abstraction and candidate evaluation
  • Reyt, J.N., Dey, S., Construal level and social network activation.

Research Workshops

In 2018, I founded Distances in Organizations (DIO), a network of behavioral scientists who study distances and construal levels in organizational contexts. We hold a research workshop every year in May.