Happy Holidays from I/O at Work!

Thank you to all of our readers for our continued success in 2014, and we look forward to bringing you another year of fascinating content in 2015. Check back in early January to keep up with the latest-breaking I/O psychology research.

-The I/O at Work Team


Specific Cognitive Abilities Can Benefit Selection Programs

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Examining the incremental validity and relative importance of specific cognitive abilities in a training context.
Reviewed by: Andrew Morris

Organizations oftentimes use specific cognitive abilities to help select people for jobs. Selection itself is important because organizations can sometimes waste millions of dollars in training people who don’t have the right aptitude, aren’t motivated, or who don’t fit minimum requirements for the job. When an organization selects employees, it often uses an assessment process to try and find the “right people.” This assessment often involves tests of general cognitive ability, which is basically what we’d consider overall intelligence. What if organizations could fine tune these processes so that they were more successful in identifying those who may succeed in a training context or in a job? Recent research findings offer a possible way to do this.


Teamwork- How Team Personality Influences Individual Behaviors

In most work places, teamwork is a common feature that can have many benefits for organizational productivity and competitiveness.

But not all group dynamics are helpful or add value, so a fair bit of research has been done on the behaviors that produce desired outcomes. Much of it has looked at how someone’s personality affects whether they would be helpful or not. But few researchers have looked at the impact “team personality” has on individual actions.

The team of researchers behind a new study on teamwork and cooperation sought to examine the extent to which group dynamics ultimately influence individual behaviors.


Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – June 2014

Check out I/O AT WORK’s Top 5 most popular article reviews for June 2014 on Diversity, Stereotypes, Work Teams, Deceptive Candidates and more!


Are You Promoting Work Engagement, or Workaholism?

Publication: Social Behavior and Personality (November, 2013)
Article: The Differences Between Work Engagement and Workaholism, and Organizational Outcomes: An Integrative Model
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor, Ph.D.

All business organizations want their employees to be highly involved in their work (which is also known as Work Engagement), but not obsessive-compulsive about it (a.k.a. Workaholism).

Unchecked workaholism can eventually lead employees to burnout, inclinations to leave the company, and other behaviors that put good organizational citizenship at risk.

But how can organization leaders spot the difference between healthy and unhealthy levels of work engagement, and encourage employees towards the former? In “The Differences Between Work Engagement and Workaholism, and Organizational Outcomes: An Integrative Model,” author Youngkeun Choi offers some guidance.


How Power Distance Agreement Improves Performance in the Workplace

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, November 2013
Article: Leader–Team Congruence in Power Distance Values and Team Effectiveness: The Mediating Role of Procedural Justice Climate
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Research in I-O psychology suggests that, when leaders and their employees share similar attitudes about how work should be done, it creates positive outcomes in the workplace.


What’s Missing from the Research on Work-Family Balance?

Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (April, 2011)
Article: How Work-Family Research Can Finally Have An Impact on Organizations
Reviewed by: Nupur Deshpande

Although research on work–family balance has continued to grow and develop in recent years, there is a notable gap between what we know and what actually gets implemented in the workplace. Initially it was a field that focused on women and minorities as they began to join the workforce; however, in the modern era, work-family research has gone through quite a bit of evolution. As companies began to offer work-family related perks in an effort by human resource management to make their companies more attractive to employees, work-family balance began to become a vital part of any discussion regarding benefits and productivity. The term family now holds many more meanings than it did before, and the phrase work-family balance is being replaced in many discussions with work-life balance, so as to include a broader spectrum of non-work and personal roles held by employees at various stages of personal, social, and professional development.


Employee Behavior and Wearable Monitoring Devices

Publication: Harvard Business Review
Article: Wearables in the Workplace
Reviewed by: Megan Leasher

Is big brother watching you? Is he hiding in your clothes?

This article focuses on wearable computing and tracking devices that record the behaviors of employees. They both monitor and measure the speed of task completion, as well as any changes in the way tasks are completed. The goal of these wearable monitoring devices is to provide feedback on employee behaviors and task performance that can be used to better design work, improve the efficiency of task flow, and hold employees accountable to certain productivity standards.


Raise employee engagement with volunteerism

Publication: Personnel Psychology (2013)
Article: Win–win–win: The influence of company-sponsored volunteerism programs on employees, NGOs, and business units
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

In this study, learn how strong volunteer programs are a win for the NGO, a win for the employee who volunteers, and a win for the company that sponsors the volunteerism. To measure the actual benefits or drawbacks of company-sponsored volunteerism programs, Caligiuri, Mencin, and Jiang gathered responses from employees, NGO managers, and line managers.


Keeping Your Business Model Afloat Before It Goes Under Water

Publication: Harvard Business Review (Dec 2012)
Article: Surviving Disruption
Reviewed by: Susan Rosengarten

At some point in our lives we’ve all had that nagging worry of being replaced or displaced by someone younger, smarter, better looking, or more talented. Well, navigating the business world is much the same. You’ve got to be vigilant and constantly on the lookout for new products or services that come to market and threaten to steal your client base.