Companies use job competencies? Might want to jot these down.
Topic: Job Analysis, Organizational Development, Competency Modeling
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2011)
Article: Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling
Authors: Campion, M.A. Fink, A.A. Ruggeberg, B.J. Carr L. Phillips G.M. Odman R.B.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli
Campion and colleagues provided 20 best practices for competency modeling from an experiential standpoint. They organized their list around three topic areas: analyzing competencies, organizing competencies, and using competencies. Although a more thorough reading of each practice is highly recommended, a few practices have been highlighted as being especially important.
In analyzing/identifying competencies, Campion et al. suggested that the rigor of job analysis methodology should be applied to developing job competencies. Using multiple data collections, applying current survey methods, tying competencies to theory and literature, and validating competencies against organizational criteria were a few examples. In organizing/presenting competencies, it was suggested that different levels of proficiency be included to increase the range of uses for competency information. Lastly, in using competencies, Campion et al. suggested thinking of competencies as an organization-specific “theory” of job success. Thinking of competencies in this way allows them to help predict job success as well as inform judgments about job-related outcomes.
Hiring an Army of Me
Topic: Job Analysis
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2009)
Article: Using web-based frame-of-reference training to decrease biases in personality-based job analysis: An experimental field study
Author: H. Aguinis, M.D. Mazurkiewicz, E.D. Heggestad
Reviewed by: Katie Bachman
Job analysis is one of the cornerstones of Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the method for executing a job analysis is practically gospel. The New Testament of Job Analysis states: Thou shalt include personality measures in your study. While this is still controversial for the Old Testament adherents, including personality measures in job analysis has some face validity and, more importantly, some research to back it up. The problem, however, with implementing a personality-based job analysis (PBJA) comes down to the subject matter experts (SMEs) rating the importance of certain traits to their jobs.
Unlike job tasks, which are as impersonal as concrete, SMEs can base personality questions on something—themselves. That’s the problem. SMEs who see themselves as high on particular traits and see themselves as good performers are likely to determine that their personality profile makes for the best employee, even if that is not optimal. Instead, if you train your SMEs to not use themselves as a reference point (instead focusing on people in their job in general), you are likely to gather more accurate data in your PBJA. The danger of not training your SMEs properly is the possibility of having an army of slightly less effective personality clones.
Using frame-of-reference training to keep your SMEs from describing themselves on your PBJA allows you all the benefits of personality measurement with none of the egoism. Amen to that!
Job Demands are to “I can’t” as Job Resources are to “I won’t”
Topic: Burnout, Job Analysis, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (OCT 2009)
Article: How changes in job demands and resources predict burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism
Authors: W.B. Schaufeli, A.B. Bakker, W. Van Rhenen
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
There are many theories that explain the causes and effects of experiencing work strain and work engagement. Schaufeli and colleagues (2009) investigated one such theory known as the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) theory which focuses on what needs to be done on the job (i.e., job demands) and the social, psychological, physical resources that the job provides for the employees (i.e., job resources).
In their study of 201 managers in a telecommunications company, Schaufeli et al. examined how several specific types of job demands and job resources impact employee absenteeism, burnout, and work engagement. Surveys were distributed to participants at two time points one year apart.
Schaufeli et al. found that as job demands such as work overload and emotional demands increase over time, so does burnout. Alternatively, an increase in job resources such as job control, social support, and opportunities to learn tend to lead to decreased burnout. Moreover, these job resources also lead
to increased employee work engagement.
Interestingly, Schaufeli and colleagues’ results suggest that while burnout is related to involuntary absenteeism (e.g., illness), work engagement is related to voluntary absenteeism (e.g., low motivation). This implies that changes in job demands ultimately have an impact on employee health (“I can’t” go to work today) whereas job resources tend to relate more to motivation (“I won’t” go to work today). Finally, Schaufeli et al. found that work engagement and job resources have a reciprocal relationship and build on each other over time.
Ultimately, the authors note the important link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance. So, it’s not just in the interest of the employee to have reasonable demands and available resources – it’s good for the organization too.
Schaufeli, W.B., Bakker, A.B., & van Rhenen, W. (2009). How changes in job demands and resources predict burnout, work engagement, and sickness absenteeism. Journal
of Organizational Behavior, 30, 893-917.Schaufe
Job Descriptions: Lost in Translation?
I have never seen such a long article with no punch line. Taylor, Kan Shi, and Borman, armed with data from four different countries and elaborate theory-based hypotheses were at the beginning of a great rags-to-riches story (think the first 45 minutes of any Mighty Ducks movie). Unfortunately, the findings fell flat, at least in a world governed by the rule that p must be < .05. But that’s OK, the findings are still interesting!
The study examined cultural variables including power distance (the extent to which less powerful members of an organization not only expect but accept that power is distributed unequally) and collectivism (where the importance of the group supersedes the importance of the individual) in relation to importance ratings of job aspects (decision-making and interpersonal skills). They did find that for some jobs, employees in countries high in power distance and collectivism tended (remember, p > .05) to rate decision-making activities as lower in importance than employees in countries that are low in collectivism and power-distance.
The take-home message from this article is that the job
descriptions the authors used, which came from the O*NET, may not generalize to other countries . Read that last line again, because it’s important. Practitioners need to be wary of using measures and job descriptions developed in this country in other countries, even for the same jobs.