Imperial College London

Dr Laura J. Noval

Business School

Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour



+44 (0)20 7594 6296l.noval CV




Business School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

7 results found

Hafenbrack AC, Cameron LD, Spreitzer GM, Zhang C, Noval LJ, Shaffakat Set al., 2020, Helping people by being in the present: Mindfulness increases prosocial behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol: 159, Pages: 21-38, ISSN: 0749-5978

The present research tested whether mindfulness, a state characterized by focused, nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, increases prosocial behavior in the workplace or work-related contexts. Study 1a was a longitudinal field experiment at a US insurance company. Compared to workers under waitlist control, employees who were assigned to a daily mindfulness training reported more helping behaviors over a five day period both in quantitative surveys and qualitative daily diaries. Study 1b, conducted in a large consulting company in India, extends these findings with a field experiment in which co-workers rated the prosocial behavior of teammates in a round robin design. Moving from devoting time to devoting money, in Studies 2a and 2b we find that individuals randomly assigned to engage in a focused breathing meditation were more financially generous. To understand the mechanisms of mindfulness’ effects on prosocial behavior, Study 3 found support for empathy and moderate support for perspective taking as mediators. This study also examined the effects of induced state mindfulness via two different mindfulness inductions, focused breathing and loving kindness meditation. Our results indicate that secular state mindfulness can make people more other-oriented and helpful. This benefit holds even in the workplace, where being helpful toward others might face constraints but is nevertheless of great importance.

Journal article

Noval LJ, Hernandez M, 2019, The Unwitting Accomplice: How Organizations Enable Motivated Reasoning and Self-Serving Behavior, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol: 157, Pages: 699-713, ISSN: 0167-4544

In this article, we demonstrate that individuals use motivated reasoning to convince themselves that their self-serving behavior is justified, which in turn affects the distribution of resources in business situations. Specifically, we explore how ambiguous contextual cues and individual beliefs can jointly form motivated reasoning. Across two experimental studies, we find that whereas individual ideologies that endorse status hierarchies (i.e., social dominance orientation) can strengthen the relationship between contextual ambiguity and motivated reasoning, individual beliefs rooted in fairness and equality (i.e., moral identity) can weaken it. Our findings contribute to person–situation theories of business ethics and provide evidence that two ubiquitous factors in business organizations—contextual ambiguity and social dominance orientation—give rise to motivated reasoning, enabling decision makers to engage in self-serving distributions of resources.

Journal article

Noval LJ, Molinsky A, Stahl G, 2018, Motivated dissimilarity construal and self-serving behavior: How we distance ourselves from those we harm, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol: 148, Pages: 145-158, ISSN: 0749-5978

It is well established that people are more likely to act in a self-serving manner towards those dissimilar to themselves. Less well understood is how people actively shape perceptions of dissimilarity towards victims in order to minimize their own discomfort. In this paper, we introduce the concept of Motivated Dissimilarity Construal (MDC) – the act of purposely and proactively distancing oneself psychologically from the victim of one’s own self-serving behavior. In doing so, we challenge the notion that potential victims of self-serving acts are perceived objectively and independently of a decision maker’s motivation, as traditional rationalist models of decision making might suggest. Across three experiments, we demonstrate how, why and when MDC is likely to occur, and discuss implications of these findings for theory and research on behavioral ethics and interpersonal similarity.

Journal article

Noval LJ, Stahl GK, 2017, Accounting for proscriptive and prescriptive morality in the workplace: the double-edged sword effect of mood on managerial ethical decision making, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol: 142, Pages: 589-602, ISSN: 0167-4544

This article provides a conceptual framework for studying the influence of mood on managerial ethical decision making. We draw on mood-congruency theory and the affect infusion model to propose that mood influences managerial ethical decision making through deliberate and conscious assessments of the moral intensity of an ethical issue. By accounting for proscriptive and prescriptive morality—i.e., harmful and prosocial behavior, respectively—we demonstrate that positive and negative mood may have asymmetrical and paradoxical effects on ethical decision making. Specifically, our analysis suggests that individuals in a positive mood will be more likely to engage in prosocial behavior but less likely to refrain from activities that have harmful consequences for others, whereas individuals in a negative mood will be more likely to avoid activities that put others at risk or harm but at the same time less prone to engaging in activities that have positive consequences for others. Importantly, we account for the context within which managers make their decisions by examining how situational strength may moderate the influence of mood on managerial ethical decision making. Finally, we discuss how organizations can leverage the double-edged sword effect of mood on ethical decision making and prevent, control and manage the risk of unethical decision making on the part of managers.Ethical management and corporate social responsibility have emerged as major themes in both academic and practical management discourse. As the world is recovering from the effects of a major economic crisis and, some have argued, crisis of management ethics, many practices formerly considered ‘business as usual’ are coming into public scrutiny. Highly publicized instances of managerial wrongdoing have eroded public faith and brought to the forefront the recognition that corporate managers and executives may be acting irresponsibly more often than previously thought (Brown

Journal article

Stahl GK, Miska C, Noval LJ, Patock VJet al., 2016, The challenge of responsible global leadership, .), Readings and Cases in International HRM (6th Edition)., Editors: Reiche, Mendenhall, Oddou, Stahl

Book chapter

Noval LJ, 2016, On the misguided pursuit of happiness and ethical decision making: The roles of focalism and the impact bias in unethical and selfish behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol: 133, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0749-5978

An important body of research in the field of behavioral ethics argues that individuals behave unethically and selfishly because they want to obtain desired outcomes, such as career advancement and monetary rewards. Concurrently, a large body of literature in social psychology has shown that the subjective value of an outcome is determined by its anticipated emotional impact. Such impact has been consistently found to be overestimated both in its intensity and in its duration (i.e. impact bias) due to focalism (i.e. excessive focus on the desired outcome). Across four empirical studies, this investigation demonstrates that reducing focalism and thereby attenuating the impact bias in regards to desired outcomes decreases people’s tendency to engage in both unethical and selfish behavior to obtain those outcomes.

Journal article

Hernandez M, Noval LJ, Wade-Benzoni KA, 2015, How leaders can create intergenerational systems to promote organizational sustainability, ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS, Vol: 44, Pages: 104-111, ISSN: 0090-2616

Journal article

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