The Pros and Cons of Being a Jerk at Work

At some point, we’ve all met a jerk at work. These people may have reckless abandon for the feelings of others. They may be loud, rude, obnoxious, tactless, crass, or forceful. On the other hand, we sometimes see or hear examples of jerks achieving renowned success in the business world. Successful jerks are oftentimes known for their originality and creativity, and for their entrepreneurial achievement. New research (Hunter & Cushenbery, 2015) explores whether being a jerk has certain advantages, or if the so-called benefits of being a jerk are really just a lot of hot air.


Territorial Marking Can Impact Workplace Creativity

Workplace creativity is undeniably important, yet still fairly elusive. Organizational leaders are still learning how to best identify and hire creative people and how to best inspire creativity among people already on the job. New research (Brown & Baer, 2015) focuses on the role of “territorial marking” in influencing the creative process. No, this has nothing to do with the behavior of wild animals. Territorial marking (or more specifically, control-oriented marking) means that people “mark” things that they own, in order to make sure that others don’t try to claim them for themselves. There are many ways that this is done. People put name labels on staplers, personal photos on desks, or write names on bologna sandwiches in the office refrigerator.



Transformational Leadership: Good for You and Good for Them

Transformational leadership is characterized by motivating, inspiring, and coaching employees to achieve change and innovation. As you can imagine, research has supported the benefits of this leadership style for the followers of such an inspirational leader. For example, research has found that followers of transformational leaders have greater job satisfaction and more creativity. But new research (Lanaj, Johnson, & Lee, 2015) has found that transformational leadership is also beneficial to the leader. How does that happen?


narcissistic leadership

Narcissistic Leaders Can Use Humility to Succeed

Are narcissistic leaders good for business? Are they good for employees? It’s a difficult question to answer, especially considering that research has found mixed results. Narcissistic people may be bold risk-takers with supreme confidence and unshakeable vision. This sounds like the kind of person we’d want leading, right? On the other hand, they have personal grandiosity, a feeling of superiority, and the constant need for admiration. Well, maybe we don’t want this person in charge. Fortunately, new research (Owens, Wallace, & Waldman, 2015) helps us resolve this dilemma. They found that narcissism can be good for leadership, but only when it’s tempered with a healthy dose of humility.



How is Personality Linked to Charismatic Leadership in Different Work Conditions?

When we think of charismatic leadership, we see someone who is energetic, inspiring, and likeable. Maybe famous CEOs like Jack Welch and politicians like Barack Obama come to mind. Charismatic leaders can be powerful agents of change by getting others on board to achieve their vision. In fact, research has shown that charismatic leaders tend to have more satisfied followers and better company performance.


Psychology of Unemployment

The Psychology of Unemployment: Can Personality Change?


What is behind the psychology of unemployment? As evidenced by personality psychology literature, individuals vary in their patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It is theorized that personality develops during the first 30 years of life, and then stabilizes during later adulthood. However, there is debate among personality psychologists on whether certain life events—like unemployment—can alter one’s personality later in life.


Proactive Employees

The Recipe for Creating Proactive Employees

Employers seek proactive employees – those who will initiate positive change in the organization. However, not much is known about how to build and sustain proactivity in the workplace. One perspective is that adaptability is important for being proactive later on. Adaptability is adjusting and changing your behavior when a change occurs. The current authors (Strauss, Griffin, Parker, & Mason, 2015) argue that adaptability is important for knowledge acquisition, increasing change-related self-efficacy, and maintaining positive relationships. Through these mechanisms, adaptability may lead to greater proactivity at a later time.



Working From Home: Telework Can Keep Employees Happy

Moving from the barriers of the cubicle to working from home, also called telework, is a technology-based advancement that is relatively new to the world of work. It is estimated that one in four Americans telework, which basically refers to working from home or another convenient location based on an employee’s residence. The increasing popularity of teleworking within the past three decades has lead to a plethora of research on the topic. This research reveals mixed findings on the employee-related outcomes of teleworking.

Several studies suggest that telework has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, work-family balance, stress reduction, autonomy, and reduced intention to turnover. However, teleworking can also lead to perceptions of professional isolation, exclusion from the workplace, family-to-work interference, and increased dissatisfaction among coworkers. Despite the mixed findings on the outcomes of teleworking, there has been limited research comparing how employees feel, or their affective well-being, when teleworking versus working from the office.



The Hidden Danger of Narcissistic Leaders

Narcissistic leaders can bring down an organization even when they are trying to build it up. Work by Galvin, Lange, and Ashforth (2015) uses extant organizational research findings to propose a new theory that may explain why this is so. They say that something called narcissistic organizational identification is to blame, and they demonstrate several ways that it happens and discuss how we can make sure this phenomenon doesn’t end up ruining businesses.


Goal orientation.FB

Goal Orientation: Helping Team Performance or My Own Performance?

Not all people are motivated by the same things, and goal orientation is one way that psychologists classify what makes people tick. You might think of goal orientation as the basic underlying goal that explains what you do and why you do it. New research (Dietz, van Knippenberg, Hirst, Restubog, 2015) shows how a certain type of goal orientation can only sometimes help performance, depending on the situation.


Toxic Work Relationships.fb

How to Survive Toxic Work Relationships by Thriving

How can we possibly survive toxic work relationships? After all, the workplace is replete with human interaction and relationships: employees actively communicate with coworkers and supervisors in both one-on-one and team settings to complete tasks and projects. However, not all workplace relationships are positive; some are downright de-energizing. A relationship is characterized as de-energizing when it is both negative and draining, and this type of relationship can have serious implications for employees.


Effective Negotiation.fb

Effective Negotiation: When Does Expressing Sadness Work?

People are always claiming to know what factors contribute to effective negotiation, but a new study shows that expressing sadness can work in certain situations. The authors begin with a really interesting anecdote to illustrate:



Manager Personality Can Lead to Organization-Wide Performance

Is personality related to job performance? This classic I-O psychology question is still debated today, and thanks to the latest research, clearer answers are emerging. A new study (Oh, Kim, & Iddekinge, 2015) shows that the manager personality is related to important organization-wide outcomes. This finding has clear implications for selection of organizational leaders.



Which Type of Personality Leads to Workplace Safety?

Workplace safety is a major concern for organizations. Accidents involving employees can jeopardize the safety of everyone at work, and be enormously costly for employers, in terms of lawsuits, insurance, and lost productivity. Research has long extolled the virtues of creating a safety climate, which means setting organizational policy to reflect the fact that safe behavior is important, expected, and will be rewarded. But there is another way to make sure that employees engage in safe practices on the job. We can hire “safer” people in the first place. The authors of the current study (Beus, Dhanani, & McCord, 2015) wanted to identify the personality traits that are associated with safe behavior.


How to Design a Resume That Will Get You Hired

How to Design a Resume That Will Get You Hired

When writing your resume, you probably thought about how potential employers might perceive you. Many articles and books give advice regarding what to include and how to design a resume, but many of those authors don’t actually agree on what method works best. A recent exploratory study discovered what personality traits people attribute to different parts of your resume, and how hirable they might make you appear.



Intelligence Testing: Is It Always the Smartest Thing to Do?

Smart employees tend to be better at doing their jobs. This is considered one of the most important findings in the history of I-O research. Meta-analysis, which is a method of compiling results from many different researchers and studies, has shown that intelligence (or general mental ability) is associated with better job performance for basically any job. But there are other important components that make organizations successful besides narrowly-defined task performance (parts of a job that are in the job description). New research (Gonzalez-Mulé, Mount, & Oh, 2014) investigates whether intelligence can also predict other measures of workplace success.


Proactive Employees Need Political Skills to Succeed

Proactive Employees Need Political Skills to Succeed

Employers assume that proactive employees are important for job success. Indeed past research shows that proactive employees, those who take initiative and champion change, perform better and earn more. However, proactive employees typically push the envelope, control their environment, and bring unexpected changes which may be viewed as threatening and distracting by others. A new study by Sun and van Emmerik (2014) introduces political skill as a factor that may reduce such concerns.



Death Anxiety is Related to Burnout and Other Organizational Problems

The typical workplace has many different personality types: Happy employees, charismatic employees, ambitious employees, egotistical employees, and many others. But have you ever thought much about employees who fear death? It’s not the kind of personality trait that you’d think has relevance in the workplace, but new research by Sliter, Sinclair, Yuan, and Mohr (2014) has shown that death anxiety has important implications on employee success.



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.


Employee Start Time: Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?

We have plenty of adages emphasizing the positive implications of starting the day early. Past research seems to suggest that elevated morning activity is seen as an indicator of being responsible, dutiful, and a hard worker.

In a series of three new studies, lead researcher Kai Chi Yam and his colleagues examine whether this pro-morning bias actually exists by examining how employee start time influences supervisor ratings of their job performance.


The Pitfalls of Inconsistent Leader Behavior

Bad boss alert! Let’s say your supervisor was incensed with the results of yesterday’s baseball or football game. As a result, today he’s been condescending, hypercritical, and an all-around sourpuss. Can he make up for it by being extra nice and helpful to you tomorrow?


Taking control back: Surviving an Abusive Supervisor

Abusive supervision is a serious issue, and much more prevalent than you might realize.

A lot of research has been done on this topic– partly because it is on the increase, but also because of its devastating effects on morale and productivity.

In looking at personality and the choice of coping strategies, new research reveals insights that can help employees maintain performance while surviving an abusive supervisor.


Can your personality affect how well you adapt to changes in the workplace?

The business world is always evolving, from technology to everyday work requirements. So being able to adapt to changes in the workplace quickly is incredibly valuable for employers.

Evolutionary theory has put forward certain personality traits as better predictors of effective adaptation in various areas of our lives. But the difficulty in evolving within the organizational environment lies in the fact that adaptation in a work setting isn’t about adjusting to a stable environment, but to one that is constantly changing.


Why Try to “Fit” In at Work? The Importance of Work Engagement and Person-Job Fit

Today’s workplace can be precarious, with the increasing prevalence of organizational restructuring and downsizing leading to tougher competition for jobs. As a result, ensuring each employees’ person-job fit has become crucial to organizations as they strive to hire and retain top performing employees and avoid turnover.

But this begs the question, how can organizations and their employees improve person-job fit? The answer lies not solely in the hands of organizations, but also in the hands of the employees themselves.


How Gender and Personality Contribute to the Wage Gap

Do you have a soft heart, take an interest in the well-being of others, or have a tendency to sympathize with the hardships of your friends? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it could be adversely affecting your income. It turns out that the old expression “nice guys finish last” may have some truth to it.


Genuine Leadership: How sincerity is the key to successful organizational leadership

By now surely everyone knows that the key to successful organizational leadership is sincerity. Genuine Leadership — that is, leadership by individuals who make an effort to be open and honest in their dealings — has become the gold standard for successful team building and a basic expectation for professional advancement. No one wants to work for someone who is cold or aloof. Master networkers and business leaders earn their titles by being authentic and real. However, there’s a fine line between being genuine, on the one hand, and over-sharing or talking about yourself in a self-deprecating manner, on the other. If you ever hope to be seen as a credible source, you want people to be able to trust in you and take you seriously. That means you must be able to walk a tightrope between the two extremes. Not an easy task. Fortunately, the authors, Rosh and Offerman (2013), have explored this issue and bring us new information regarding leadership psychology that provides some helpful tips and advice on how to balance along that line.


Step Aside Extroverts! Introverts and Neurotics Comin’ Through

Currently, the I/O community seems to be abuzz dispelling myths and commonly held misperceptions about individual differences as they relate to “the Big Five” personality dimensions. The recent release of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has now made it cooler than ever to be an introvert, and I/Os are stepping up their efforts to provide emperical proof that introverts indeed “have got it goin’ on.”

The present research by Bendersky & Shah (2013) not only builds on research regarding ‘the dark sides of extraversion,’ but also adds to existing literature on “the bright sides of neuroticism.” Yes. You read that correctly. For all of you highly emotional, anxious people out there, this one’s for you.


Emotional Labor: The True Cost of Service with a Smile

Talk about demanding work! In addition to their typical job duties, like waiting on tables, making sales, or assisting customers, customer service professionals must also perform emotional labor. When employees smile cheerfully at the end of a grueling shift, they are performing something called surface acting, which is a type of emotional labor. Research has shown that emotional labor can lead to psychological strain and fatigue. The current study (Beal, Trougakos, Weiss, & Dalal, 2013) has made advancements in this area of research by scrutinizing a new variable, called “affect spin”.


Conscientiousness and Job Performance: Is Conscientiousness Always King?

Conscientiousness is a predictor of job performance in many jobs, job levels, and industries. But does being conscientious still predict job performance as strongly when characteristics and requirements of the job change? Is conscientiousness the Holy Grail of employee traits?

To learn more about this, the authors conducted a meta-analysis across 53 research studies where conscientiousness was a predictor of job performance. They then rated the jobs that were included in these studies on a number of factors including the level of worker autonomy, how much of the work followed a routine, how much thought and mental ability was required, and so on.


When Reading Research Leads to a Brain Full of “What?!” (IO Psychology)

When you read scientific research, you should be left feeling as though you gained knowledge and/or have something new and shiny that can be applied to the real world. But once in a while you finish an article and there is nothing but unpoppable “What did I just read?!” bubbles floating in your brain.


Job performance and personality

Topic: Personality
Publication: Personnel Psychology (1991)
Article: The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis
Authors: Murray R. Barrick & Michael K. Mount
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

PR_035-_SI_-_28_06_12-066Personality and job performance are related, according to a study performed by Murray Barrick of Texas A & M University and Michael K. Mount of the University of Iowa. Those who are conscientious – which refers to, among other things, being punctual, orderly, detail oriented, and organized – performed their job better. This finding is particularly strong because, in terms of methodology, it was found through a process known as a meta-analysis in which the results of many studies – 117 in the case of this investigation that yielded a sample size of nearly 24,000 – are combined.


Your personality in 140 characters or less

Topic: Personality
Publication: 2011 IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk, and Trust, and IEEE International Conference on Social Computing
Article: Our twitter profiles, our selves: Predicting personality with Twitter
Authors: Daniele Quercia, Michal Kosinskii, David Stillwell, & Jon Crowcroft
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

PR_030-_SI_-_07_06_12-854When you use Twitter, you may be revealing even more of yourself than you know.

According to research by Daniele Quercia, Michal Kosinskii, David Stillwell, & Jon Crowcroft, Twitter users who are popular, which is determined by the number of followers that a user has, and users who are considered influential, which is calculated by determining the number of social contacts on Facebook and if a user’s tweets are clicked on, responded to, or retweeted, are both outgoing and unanxious, and populars are also creative, while influentials are also organized and detail oriented.


Could Your Facebook Persona Cost You a Job? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Personality, Recruiting

Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (MAY 2012)

Article: Social Networking Websites:  Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye?

Authors: D. H. Kluemper, P. A. Rosen, and K. W. Mossholder

Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Pr_31_-_TRP_-_28_05_10_-_164We are used to companies having candidates take personality tests.  Candidates answer a ton of seemingly annoying and repetitive questions about themselves, and poof!  They magically and accurately clue companies in to whether or not they will be a strong performer and/or a good fit.  (When I say “poof,” please envision the happy leprechaun opening his box of Lucky Charms and witnessing the jubilant rainbow explosion of marshmallows.  It will ensure you are in the right frame of mind.)  But have you heard of other people taking a personality test, answering the questions based on what they think YOUR personality is like?  Holy creepy, Batman.  And what if I told you the “other people” were complete strangers answering those questions about YOUR personality based on what they saw on YOUR Facebook page?  Holy switcheroo, Batman!


Can Personality Become a Better Predictor of Performance? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2012)
Article: Implicit motives, explicit traits, and task and contextual performance at work
Authors: Lang, J. W. B., Zettler, I., Ewen, C., and Hulsheger, U. R.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

In the world of selection, personality has often been looked at as a useful predictor of job performance. But what if current personality measures are missing an important part of someone’s personality and an opportunity to be a better predictor of performance? Some research suggests that the missing piece of the personality pie is our implicit motives, or our wishes and desires, which are typically boiled down to three main areas: affiliation, power, and achievement.


Not So Fast! Rethinking the Use of the Five-Factor Model of Personality When Studying Vocational Interests

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (OCT 2012)
Article: The HEXACO and Five-Factor Models of Personality in Relation to RIASEC Vocational Interests
Authors: Derek A. McKay & David M. Tokar
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

In human resource management, there is a longstanding interest in the relationship between personality traits and vocational interests. To date, most research has focused on the relationship between the five-factor model (FFM) of personality and Holland’s RIASEC job interests taxonomy. However, it is possible that this reliance on the FFM is unwarranted, and that a different personality model may show more substantial relationships with the RIASEC dimensions. This possibility was the motivation for a recent study conducted by Derek McKay and David Tokar, who evaluated relationships between the six-factor HEXACO model of personality and RIASEC interests.


A Breath of Fresh AER for Leadership Development! (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Coaching, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2012)
Article: A Quasi-Experimental Study of After-Event Reviews and Leadership
Authors: D.S. DeRue, J.D. Nahrgang, J.R. Hollenbeck, K. Workman
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

How can we train people to become better leaders? New research by DeRue, et al. (2012) has identified the benefits of a strategy called after-event reviews, or AERs. What are AERs, and when will they work best?


Making personality tests better for selection (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUTUMN 2012)
Article: A matter of context: A meta-analytic investigation of the relative validity of contextualized and noncontextualized personality measures
Authors: J. A. Shaffer & B. E. Postlethwaite
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Whether or not you agree with it, your organization likely uses personality assessments as part of the selection process. Personality assessments do appear to be valid predictors of job performance, but can we do anything to make them be even better predictors? Recent research indicates that the answer is yes.


Can’t we just get along? Team personality and conflict (IO Psychology)

Topics: Teams, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2012)
Article: Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to
improve performance.
Authors: Bret H. Bradley, Anthony C. Klotz, Bennett E. Postlethwaite, & Kenneth G. Brown
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier

Team members need to get along in order to perform well. Unfortunately, we’re all different people, so sometimes conflict arises. Often this conflict arises around different takes on the team’s task. However, scientific understanding of the relationship between task conflict and effective team performance has been inconclusive.


Say Cheese! How Smiling at Work Can Make You Happy (IO Psychology)

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEPT 2012)
Article: Why Does Service With a Smile Make Employees Happy? A Social Interaction Model
Authors: E. Kim, D.J. Yoon
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

If your job requires you to interact with customers, it’s probably a good idea to smile.  Nobody wants to do business with someone who looks annoyed, irritated, sad, or like they just found out that their hard drive crashed.  But did you know that smiling at customers can actually make you happier?


What You Need to Know About Ambition (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2012)
Article: On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition
Authors: T.A. Judge, J.D. Kammeyer-Mueller
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Are you striving for money than Donald Trump, more cars than Jay Leno, more medals than Michael Phelps, or an even louder stereo than the one my neighbor plays at 2am? If so, it sounds like you might be ambitious. But how exactly do we define ambition? And where does it come from? That’s trickier. Luckily, a recent study by Judge and Kammeyer-Mueller (2012) explains what ambition really is, where it comes from, and what it leads to.


Birds of a Feather: Studying Personality Similarity in Organizations and Occupations

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (2012)
Article: Homogeneity of Personality in Occupations and Organizations: A Comparison of Alternative Statistical Tests
Authors: Bradley-Geist, J. C., and Landis, R. S.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

You’ve probably heard the expression, “It takes a certain type of person to be a (fill in occupation),” but is this really true? According to the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) homogeneity hypothesis, it is. ASA says that organizations or occupations are likely to be made of people with similar personalities, attitudes, and values due to the “weeding-out” process of recruiting certain “types”, selecting certain “types”, and retaining certain “types.”


Predicting someone’s propensity to morally disengage (IO Psychology)

Topic: Assessment, Personality, Ethics, Counter-Productive Work Behavior, Workplace Deviance
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2012)
Article: Why employees do bad things: Moral disengagement and unethical organizational behavior
Authors: Celia Moore, James R. Detert, Linda Klebe Treviño, Vicki L. Baker, & David M. Mayer
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Organizations obviously want their employees to be ethical. While there are existing measures that are used to predict who will act immorally, the authors of this paper proposed a new construct that they called an individual’s propensity to morally disengage – an individual difference in how people think about ethical decisions and behavior that allows them to act unethically without feeling bad about it.


Does Asking For Help Lead to High Performance? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Learning, Personality, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: The Impact of Help Seeking on Individual Task Performance: The Moderating Effect of Help Seekers’ Logics of Action
Authors: D. Geller, P.A. Bamberger
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Help, I need somebody! When employees get stuck trying to complete a task, asking for help seems to be the surest way to solve the problem. But does asking for help lead to better job performance? According to Geller and Bamberger (2012), the answer is that it depends on who you are and why you are asking for help in the first place.


What Does Your Credit Score Say About You? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2012)
Article: An Empirical Investigation of Dispositional Antecedents and Performance-
Related Outcomes of Credit Scores
Authors: Bernerth, J.B., Taylor, S.G., Walker, H.J. and Whitman, D.S.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

You’ve no doubt heard the catchy jingles asking you to check your credit score. You may have also heard that a bad credit score could potentially cost you a new job, but have you wondered if companies should actually be looking at applicant credit scores? Recognizing that “60% of employers conduct credit checks of at least some of their new hires”, according to a recent SHRM poll, Bernerth and colleagues investigated if credit scores are indeed related to dispositional traits and job performance—as many organizations assume.


Predicting executives’ ability to think strategically (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Personality
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Winter 2011)
Article: Developing executive leaders: The relative contribution of cognitive ability, personality, and the accumulation of work experience in predicting strategic thinking competency.
Authors: Lisa Dragoni, In-Sue Oh, Paul Vankatwyk, & Paul E. Tesluk
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Effective leaders need to think strategically. So, if you’re looking to develop leaders or choose someone for a leadership position, it would help to know what predicts strategic thinking. In a recent study, Lisa Dragoni and her colleagues investigated how work experience, cognitive ability, and personality traits relate to executives’ ability to think strategically.


A New Weapon in the Fight Against Faking on Personality Tests (IO Psychology)

Topic: Faking, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Testing the efficacy of a new procedure for reducing faking on personality tests within selection contexts
Authors: Fan, J. Gao., D., Carroll, S.A., Lopez, F.J., Tian, T.S., & Meng, H.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Has your organization ever used, or ever considered using a personality test as part of their selection battery? Due to personality tests’ predictive validity and relatively low subgroup differences, you’re not alone. However, one controversial issue still plagues the use of personality tests in selecting applicants: faking. Faking is defined as the intentional distortion of responses to portray a more positive image, and it can negatively affect the validity of the selection device. Fortunately, Fan et al. have recently tested a new method for identifying and reducing faking on personality tests that uses a computer-based warning system.


How Guilt Leads to Organizational Commitment (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality, Organizational Commitment
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2012)
Article: When Feeling Bad Leads to Feeling Good: Guilt-Proneness and Affective Organizational Commitment
Authors: F.J. Flynn, R.L. Schaumberg
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Is it good to be guilty? If you have just been accused of being a lousy tipper, being a nosy neighbor, or stealing candy from an actual baby, then the answer is unequivocally no. But if instead we’re referring to a personality type that is generally prone to feeling guilty, then it may be good after all. New research by Flynn and Schaumberg (2012) has surprisingly found that guilt-prone people feel more organizational commitment.


Tips for Getting Tips (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Personality, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: Want a Tip? Service Performance as a Function of Emotion Regulation
and Extraversion
Authors: N. Chi, A.A. Grandey, J.A. Diamond, K.R. Krimmel
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your restaurant server is quite the professional!  He manages a genuine, warm smile despite his impending apartment eviction, recurring car-transmission problems, and the fact that his favorite football team just lost in the playoffs.  But to pull that off, your server had to perform something called emotional labor, a crucial topic of interest to IO Psychologists.  New research by Chi, Grandey, Diamond, and Krimmel (2011) has found that certain emotional labor strategies are more useful than others, and that sometimes it depends on the type of person using these strategies.


How Much Do Pronouns Matter Anyway? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality
Publication: Harvard Business Review
Article: Your use of pronouns reveals your personality
Author: Pennebaker, J.
Reviewed by: Liz Brashier

Do function words – words like pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions – matter? And if so, what do they tell us?  James Pennebaker, chair of the Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin, has spent a considerable amount of time investigating those exact questions.  In a recent Harvard Business Review IdeaWatch, we get to learn more about Pennebaker’s research, and what it might mean for us.


Leadership and the “dark side” of personality

The Predictive Power of Grit: How to Select Successful People

Topic: Leadership, Personality
Publication: The Leadership Quarterly (JUN 2011)
Article: Leader development and the dark side of personality
Authors: Harms, P. D., Spain, S. M., & Hannah, S. T.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Recent research suggests that some positive personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness) are related to leadership outcomes. But what about the “dark side” of personality? In other words, what about subclinical traits (traits that fall between “normal” and what would be considered a personality disorder)?


Predicting CWBs: Have We Been Measuring the Wrong Things?

Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior, Personality
Publication: Personnel Psychology, 64, 2 (Summer 2011)
Article: Reconsidering the Dispositional Basis of Counterproductive Work Behavior: The Role of Aberrant Personality
Authors: Wu, J. & Lebreton, J. M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rad

Counterproductive work behavior (CWB) remains a heavily-researched area in I-O psychology. CWBs can take a variety of forms, from relatively minor acts of workplace theft to dramatic outbursts of workplace violence. Regardless of who they target or how severe they might be, CWBs are always a negative phenomenon, and organizations have a vested interest in predicting the likelihood that employees (or applicants) might engage in these behaviors. Traditionally, work linking personality characteristics to CWBs has been done using common personality frameworks, such as the Big 5. However, previous research has generated mixed findings in terms of how well these “common” personality traits predict CWBs.  As such, Wu and Lebreton suggest that it may be more effective to attempt to predict an individual’s likelihood of engaging in CWBs by measuring aberrant personality profiles. In their paper, Wu and Lebreton theoretically examine the links between CWBs and a number of aberrant personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.


Who is More Likely to Change Careers?

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (2011)
Article:A longitudinal study of the determinants and outcomes of career change.
Authors: S. A. Carless & J. L. Arnup
Reviewed by: Charleen Maher

It’s no secret that we’re currently experiencing some rough economic times. Consequently, the job market is unstable and people are seeking additional education and training in an effort to prepare for career changes.  A career change is defined as moving to a different occupation or profession and often requires costly additional training and results in lost time and income. So what leads an individual down the path of a new career and what happens after a career change has occurred?


Waging WARS on Workplace Arrogance

Topic: Performance, Personality, Self Efficacy
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Acting superior but actually inferior?: Correlates and consequences of workplace arrogance
Authors: R.E. Johnson, S.B. Silverman, A. Shyamsunder, H-Y Swee, O.B. Rodopman, E. Cho, and J. Bauer
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger 

It’s probably safe to say that we’ve all had to work with an arrogant coworker or supervisor at one time in our careers.  It’s also probably safe to say that these run-ins have been unpleasant and disruptive to our work.  Yet, while we arm-chair our theories about the effects of arrogance in the workplace, very little research is available to confirm (or disconfirm) our assumptions and anecdotal evidence.  That is, surprisingly little is known about the consequences of workplace arrogance and its relationship with job performance.


Exhausted Employees? They May be Reacting to Your Goal-Oriented Leadership

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Culture, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: The Downside of Goal-Focused Leadership: The Role of Personality in Subordinate Exhaustion
Authors: S.J. Perry, L.A. Witt, L.M. Penney, and L. Atwater
Reviewed By: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor

The heart of goal-focused leadership (GFL) is to elicit goal-oriented behavior from employees by emphasizing goal achievement. In theory, GFL should contribute to employee’s resources for handling stress at work by clarifying goals, suggesting ways to achieve goals, structuring tasks and verifying attainment. However, depending on the employee’s personality, this emphasis on goal achievement may or may not be perceived as supportive.


Wanted: Employees with High Work Locus of Control

Topic: Personality, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2010)
Article: A Meta-Analytic Examination of Work and General Locus of Control
Authors: Wang, Q., Bowling, N. A. & Eschleman, K. J.
Reviewed By: Rachel Marsh

Locus of control is a personality trait that effects how a person views life. If a person has an internal locus of control; they believes their rewards and punishments occur because of choices they made.  If one has an external locus of control, they believe rewards and punishments are controlled by outside forces, people or fate.  General locus of control refers to one’s life, but people also have a work locus of control, and a person’s work locus of control has an effect on one’s attitude about one’s job.


Maximizing the Predictive Power of Personality Measures

Topic: Assessment, Personality
Publication: International Journal of Selection
and Assessment (JUN)
Article: Improving prediction of work
performance through frame-of-reference consistency: Empirical evidence using
openness to experience
Authors: V.L. Pace and M.T. Brannick
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Although measures of personality are fairly common in employee selection and assessment contexts, research suggests that measures of various personality characteristics tend to be less predictive of job performance than other common selection go-to’s (e.g., cognitive ability tests, technical work sample tests). Typically, items on personality measures ask job applicants/employees to report on how they are/act in general, across many different contexts (e.g., home, work, school).


When Job Satisfaction Does (Doesn’t) Matter for Performance

Topic: PerformancePersonality
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Effects of job satisfaction and conscientiousness on extra-role behaviors
Authors: N.A. Bowling
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It’s hard to overstate the importance of “extra-role behaviors” from an organizational perspective.  Extra-role behaviors are voluntary work behaviors (i.e., may not be explicitly required of employees), and they come in two basic flavors: organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). OCBs are intended to help the organization and/or its members (e.g., stay late to help a coworker), while CWBs are intended to harm the organization and/or its members (e.g., steal materials, sabotage another coworker).  As you might expect, both can have a big impact on the bottom line!


What Makes for a Successful Employee and Why?

Topic: Job Performance, Personality
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (MAR 2010)
ArticleHuman capital and objective indicators of career success: The mediating effects of cognitive ability and conscientiousness
Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Career success is important for determining an employee’s well-being, life satisfaction, and can also contribute to organizational success.  While it is well known that an employee’s level of education and work experience influences his/her career success, Ng and Feldman suggest that why this relationship exists is unclear.


Predicting Job Performance with Implicit Words Games?

Topic: PersonalityMeasurement, Job Performance
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
ArticleWe (sometimes) know not how we feel: Predicting job performance with an implicit measure of trait affectivity
Authors: R.E. Johnson, A.L. Tolentino, O.B., Rodopman, and E. Cho
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In the world of emotions, trait affect refers to the predisposition some people have to generally experience positive or negative emotions.

Trait affect is often broken up into Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA). While high levels of NA are associated with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, high levels of PA are associated with positive emotions such as excitement and joy.  It should not come as a surprise that PA tends to relate favorably to work performance whereas the opposite is true for NA.


Can Personality Lead to Better Performance?

Topic: Motivation, Personality, Job Performance
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (MAR 2009)
Article: Using a two-factor theory of achievement motivation to examine performance-based outcomes and self-regulatory processes.
Authors: Story, P.A., Hart, J.W., Stasson, M.F., & Mahoney, J.M.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Have you ever wondered why some employees seem to find it easier to achieve their organizational goals than others? Current research proposes that theories of achievement motivation can explain some of  these employee differences. Achievement motivation refers to the tendency to set and work toward personal goals and/or standards (Cassidy & Lynn, 1989). It can be broken down into two motivational factors: intrinsic achievement motivation (IAM) and extrinsic achievement motivation (EAM) (Ryan & Deci, 2000). While researchers agree that achievement motivation is a complicated concept, many disagree about how it differs amongst employees.


Key to Good Boss-Employee Relationships: First Impressions and Then Performance

Topic: Leadership, Personality, Performance
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2009)
Article: The development of leader–member exchanges: Exploring how personality and performance influence leader and member relationships over time.
Authors: Nahrgang, J.D., Morgeson, F.P., and Ilies, R.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

The relationships that form between leaders and their employees have been associated with a number of workplace outcomes including employee satisfaction, performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. However, little research has examined how these leader-member relationships develop over time. Nahrgang, Morgeson, and Ilies (2009) followed 330 leader-member dyads over an eight-week period of time to see how personality and performance impacts the quality of these relationships.


Which Employees Set the Bar Higher?

Topic: Personality, Motivation, Goals
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences (JAN 2010)
Article: Individual differences in reactions to goal-performance discrepancies over time.
Authors: P.D. Converse, E. Steinhauser, and J. Pathak
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

By nature, a goal creates a discrepancy between an employee’s current performance and some future state. For example, though I have only written one and half sentences, my goal is to write a full review. Thus, by setting this goal, I have created a goal-performance discrepancy for myself. Research suggests that goal-performance discrepancies motivate employees to modify their goals (either up or down) and/or efforts toward attaining those goals (slack off or try harder).


So Many Constraints…Just Let Me to be Conscientious!

Topic: Job Performance, Personality
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (NOV 2009)
Article: A meta-analytic investigation into the moderating effects of situational strength on the conscientiousness-performance relationship
Authors: R.D. Meyer, R.S. Dalal and S. Bonaccio
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Conscientiousness is a personality trait that predisposes employees to be well organized, attentive to detail, dependable, and goal/task-oriented. It’s not surprising then, that conscientious employees tend to perform well at work.  Despite the importance of conscientiousness for predicting job performance, Meyer, Dalal, and Bonaccio (2009) found that the relationship between  conscientiousness and job performance varies depending on the strength of the work situation (i.e., situational strength).


Which Employees Go Above and Beyond — and Why?

Topic: Personality, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Personality and Citizenship Behavior: The mediating role of job satisfaction
Authors: Ilies, R., Fulmer, I.S., Spitzmuller, M., & Johnson, M. D.
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs) are discretionary work behaviors that enhance the organizational environment and go above and beyond what is required (e.g., staying late to help a coworker).

OCBs are thought to be impacted by employees’ personalities.  This implies that some employees are generally more inclined to engage in OCBs than others.  But, what is unknown is “why” certain personality traits lead employees to engage in OCBs.


Cha Cha Cha Changes…in Selection and Training

Topic: Performance, Selection, Training
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Effects of selection and training on unit-level performance over time: A latent growth modeling approach  
Authors: C. H. Van Iddekinge, C. H. Ferris, P. L. Perrewe, A. A. Perryman, F. R. Blass, & T. D. Heetderks
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Recently, Van Iddekinge and colleagues conducted a study of the organizational impact of employee selection and training practices. They collected data from 861 business units of a large fast food organization in the U.S. Data (including profits) were collected on a monthly basis for a full calendar year.


Eyes on the prize

Topic: Leadership, Personality, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2009)
Article The role of goal-focused leadership in enabling the expression of conscientiousness
Authors: A.E. Colbert, L.A. Witt
Reviewed By: Larry Martinez

Colbert and Witt take the stance that goal-directed leadership tactics (being very directive about goals) creates an environment that allows highly conscientious employees to express their conscientiousness most effectively. In other words, this type of leadership can activate the conscientiousness that may be lying dormant (or at least unharnessed) in a leader’s employees. That is, if leaders can effectively communicate organizational goals to their employees in such a way as to create goal-alignment, conscientious individuals will be better able to achieve these goals than their less conscientious counterparts, and these conccientious employees will be more productive than they would be in a less goal-directed environment.


Beware of trait dominance in groups: Those people may be full of hot air!

Topic: PersonalityTeams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.). Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.
Author: C. Anderson, G. Kilduff
Featured by: LitDigger

While attitudes towards group projects run the gamut, most people would agree that one of the trickiest aspects of any group project has to do with how people interact with one another. Many of these interactions involve various perceptions, opinions, and beliefs about the competency of other group members.  And if theory suggests that groups give authority to members who offer the most expertise and experience related to the task at hand, then is there a particular type of personality that may naturally come off as “more competent” than others?


What Practitioners Need to Know about Personality Testing

Topic: Assessment, Personality, Selection
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Article: Personality testing and Industrial Organizational Psychology: A productive exchange and some future directions.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

In an overview of the current state of personality testing in organizations, Oswald and Hough (2008)  take on several perspectives and present some important ideas for research and practice in the area of personality testing.  Although their discussion involves many aspects of personality measurement, I will discuss two that are highly relevant for practice.


A limp handshake = no follow up calls

Topic: Assessment, Personality
Publication:  Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Exploring the Handshake in Employment Interviews.
Blogger: Rob Stilson

Stewart, Dustin, Barrick, & Darnold (2008) looked at the relationship between a person’s handshake  and the outcomes of an interview. They also looked at what information is conveyed with a handshake.  They were mainly concerned with what a person’s handshake said about their level of extraversion but also included measures for the five factor model (FFM) for exploratory purposes. One thing I really liked about the study was statistically controlling for the effects of the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype, which essentially says that since this person is good looking, they will be good at what they do (Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991). The researchers were also interested in how women would be evaluated via handshake as compared to men.


Crazy Leadership Findings

Topic: Emotions at Work, Leadership, Personality
Publication: Personality and Individual Differences
Article: The “dark” side of leadership personality and transformational leadership: an exploratory study.
Blogger: LitDigger

Are you tired of all the literature linking narcissism to leadership?

Ready for a new spin? Well, buckle your safety belts and whirl around with me. A recent article by Khoo and Burch (2008) found some evidence linking a histrionic/colorful personality dimension to positively predict transformational leadership (which could be described as motivating followers to develop, perform, and reach above and beyond their goals).  The authors used the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) in their analysis, and overlapped HDS’s personality themes with personality disorders in the DSM-IV.  That’s how they got the “histrionic/colorful” dimension and terminology (the first term is from the
DSM-IV, and the second is from the HDS).


Does Narcissism Lead to Ineffective Leadership? Depends on the Rater

Topic: Job PerformanceLeadership, Personality
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Narcissism in Organizations: A multisource appraisal reflects different perspectives.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Organizational researchers have identified a personality trait that consistently relates to immoral and ineffective leadership: narcissism. Narcissism involves an exaggerated sense of self-worth (I’m better than everyone else!), a need for admiration and power (Everyone should look up to me!), and a tendency to exploit others (They don’t even know I’m using them, HAHAHA). It’s not difficult to see how such a leader would fail to manage others effectively.