talent management

Fashion Forward Talent Management

How do luxury brands excel at talent management? If you’re anything like me, the words “luxury” and “brands” likely conjure up images of couture clothing. Maybe you think of models, or stiletto heels? A Harvard Business Review article by Shipilov and Godart (2015) outlines how the world’s most influential luxury groups have more than just an eye for design; they also have an eye for talent.


Future of Human Resources

The Future of Human Resources: Create Value

To understand the future of human resources, one must first know its past. HR emerged during the industrial revolution when there was a need to manage employees and overcome organizational challenges such as high turnover and low productivity. As a result of these human capital issues, scientific management began as a way to address organizational inefficiencies and it introduced job analysis to management practices.



The Future of HR: Bringing Human Resources into the 21st Century

What is the future of HR? A new article in Harvard Business Review (Cappelli, 2015) discusses some of the ways that HR can shed its bad reputation and prove itself a strategic business partner:


The Stress of Success: The Value of Time and Time Pressure

Topic: Stress, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Time is Tight: How Higher Economic Value of Time Increases Feelings of Time Pressure
Authors: DeVoe, S.E., & Pfeffer, J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day Like you’re always pressed for time? Well, you’re not alone. DeVoe and Pfeffer recently studied how the perception of time’s value can impact perceptions of time pressure-related work stress. They noted that it’s not just the number of hours or how we react to time pressure, but the economic value of our time that matters.


Do HRM Practices Lead to Satisfaction? Depends on Employee Entitlement

Topic: Fairness, Strategic HR, Job Satisfaction
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Trait Entitlement and Perceived Favorability of Human Resource Management Practices in the Prediction of Job Satisfaction
Authors: Z. S. Byrne, B. K. Miller, V. E. Pitts
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

The use of human resource management (HRM) practices has gained popularity within organizations due to their perceived success as a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining the most qualified individuals. Past research suggests that job satisfaction is a key outcome in this relationship. Specifically, favorable perceptions of the organization’s HRM practices tend to increase employee perceptions of job satisfaction.


Do Organizations Ask What They Shouldn’t Ask in Job Applications?

Topic: Fairness, Recruiting
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (DEC 2010)
Article: Science-practice gap in e-recruitment
Authors: A.L. Garcia-Izquierdo, H. Aguinis, and P.J. Ramos-Villagrasa
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The gap between the science of HR and its practice in actual organizations is well known.  Sometimes, the practice of HR outpaces the research (e.g., organizations implement systems that are “hot” in the popular press, but not well understood or under researched), while in other cases, the practice of HR lags well behind the research…and sometimes even the law!


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.


Maximizing the Benefits of Autonomy in Teams

Topic: Job Design, Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: The impact of autonomy and task uncertainty on team performance: A longitudinal field study (FEB 2010)
Author: J. L. Cordery, D. Morrison, B. M. Wright, & T. D. Wall
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Modern jobs are becoming more interconnected every year. Where once we worked alone in our cubicles, we are now more likely to be part of a team collectively working toward some common goal. Additionally, the nature of work is increasingly reliant on employees’ ability to adapt to new and challenging situations. As such, much effort has gone (and continues to go) into the study of team effectiveness. Giving teams autonomy (freedom over the process through which they achieve their goal) is argued to be key in maximizing performance. However, results in the current literature have been mixed. Mixed results typically indicate the presence of some third important moderating variable that helps to explain why the relationship is different across time, people, or situations.


Managing Assessors’ Workloads in Assessment Centers

Topic: Assessment, Staffing
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (SEP 2010)
Article: Do assessors have too much on their plates? The effects of simultaneously rating multiple assessment center candidates on rating quality
Authors: K.G. Melchers, M. Kleinmann, and M.A. Prinz
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Assessment centers (ACs) usually consist of several job-related exercises that tap competencies necessary for the job.  ACs are most often used by organizations to select, promote and develop their employees.  Like many employee selection and assessment methods (e.g., interviews), ACs require a scorer or assessor to provide an evaluation of candidates’ performance.  But here’s where it gets tricky.


How Important are First Impressions at the Job Interviews?

Topic: Interviewing, Recruiting, Staffing
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: Initial Evaluations in the Interview: Relationships with Subsequent Interviewer Evaluations and Employment Offers
Authors: M.R. Barrick, B.W. Swider, and G.L. Stewart
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

The answer:  Very!  And in today’s increasingly competitive job market, candidates are constantly trying to make themselves stand out as being the best of the bunch.  Considering the challenge in answering interview questions well, it’s easy for a candidate to forget about the impression that he or she makes during the first few minutes of small talk with the interviewer.  However, this seemingly idle chat might have more of an effect on employment decisions than one might think. 


How Might Trainers Be Contributing to the Transfer Problem?

Topic: Training
Publication: Human Resource Management (JUL/AUG 2010)
Article: A missing link in the transfer problem? Examining how trainers learn about training transfer
Authors: H.M. Hutchins, L.A. Burke, and A.M. Berthelsen
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

There are many reasons why employees often don’t transfer their training to the job.  At a high level, these reasons can include personal attributes of learners, characteristics of the work environment, and the level of supervisory support.  Hutchins et al. note, however, that trainers themselves play an important role in determining if employees transfer what they learn on the job. 

These authors speculate that the ways trainers learn about transfer may be a possible contributor to the transfer problem. 


Transformational Leadership and Innovative Behavior

Topic:  Leadership, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Transformational and transactional leadership and innovative behavior: The moderating role of psychological empowerment (MAY 2010)
Author: A. Nederveen Pieterse, D. van Knippenberg, M. Schippers, & D. Stam
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

In recent years, the role of creativity and innovation in the workplace has grown exponentially. Being innovative is often considered a competitive advantage in terms of both product outcomes (e.g. new designs) and people processes (e.g. employee recruitment). It has been argued that innovative behavior is more contingent on motivation rather than ability (Amabile, 1988). Assuming this is the case, leadership should play a pivotal role in fostering innovation. In particular, two types of leadership come into play.


If You Want to Prevent Exhaustion … Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Topic:  Stress, Burnout, Performance, Fairness, Compensation
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Emotional exhaustion and job performance: The moderating role of distributive justice and positive affect (AUG 2010)
Author: O. Janssen, C. K. Lam, & X. Huang
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Sometimes work is just exhausting; emotionally exhausting to be specific. Emotional exhaustion (EE) refers to feeling overwhelmed or drained at work. Not surprisingly, recent research has linked EE to decrements in performance through the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory. COR theory suggests that EE impairs performance because employees feel that they do not have the adequate resources to meet the current job demands, but is this always the case? When an employee begins to feel depleted, do they automatically attribute it to lack of personal resources? The authors of the current article suggest not.


In the Eye of the Follower: Leaders vs. Narcissists

Topic: Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (FALL 2010)
Article: Visionary communication qualities as mediators of the relationship between narcissism and attributes of leader charisma
Authors: B. M. Galvin, D. A. Waldman, P. Balthazrd
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

The relationship between leadership and narcissism has received much attention in the academic literature recently. Because narcissists share a variety of characteristics with charismatic leaders, some researchers question whether narcissistic leadership is really all that bad. Charismatic leaders are seen by followers as confident, energizing, and determined. And, apart from their self-centered perspective, narcissists are also regarded as confident, inspirational, and driven.  So are narcissistic traits necessarily detrimental to leaders?


When Helping Hurts: The Dark Side of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (AUG 2010)
Article: Citizenship under pressure: What’s a good soldier to do?
Author: M. C. Bolino, W. H. Turnley, J. B. Gilstrap, & M. M. Sauzo
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are defined as voluntary behaviors that facilitate organizational functioning but are not formally rewarded by the organization. The presence of these behaviors has consistently been shown to benefit both individual and organizational outcomes. In recent years, however, the accuracy of this definition has come into question as the degree to which employees engage in OCBs (or don’t) may actually be impacting the way they are evaluated by the organization. In the midst of the field’s infatuation with the impact of good deeds, the potentially dark side of OCBs has been largely neglected – a state of affairs that Bolino and colleagues intended to correct.


Can I Get You a Cup of Coffee, Boss? Landing a Job after an Internship

Topic: Selection, Recruiting, Mentoring
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (OCT 2010)
Article: Internship: A Recruitment and Selection Perspective
Authors: H. Zhao, R. C. Liden
Reviewed by: Holly Engler

Looking for a job? Internships are a great way to gain practical experience before entering the workforce, post graduation. In fact, many companies including J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs’ report that nearly 89% of new hires were previous interns. So, it is reasonable to assume that an internship opportunity is the guaranteed gateway to getting hired? Not quite.   Until now, however, little research has studied how interns can obtain job offers or how host organizations can convince interns to stick around.


Want teamwork? Then get pride – with fair treatment and leaders who demonstrate the right values

Topic: Fairness, Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Cooperating when “you” and “I” are treated fairly: The moderating role of leader prototypicality
Authors:  David De Cremer, Marius van Dijke, and David M. Mayer
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

More and more research is examining how teams work together to achieve common goals.  One aspect of teams that is important for successful outcomes is the extent to which team members engage in cooperative behavior (rather than self centered).   A new model presented by De Cremer, Van Duke, and Mayer (2010) indicates that cooperation amongst team members is highest when a) members feel that both they and their fellow members are receiving procedurally fair treatment from their leader, and b) the leader him/herself embodies the team’s values and norms.  While that may seem like a mouthful, listen up: this new research may just provide that extra piece that’s missing from your teamwork puzzle.


Are Higher Paying Jobs More Satisfying?

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (OCT 2010)
Article: The relationship between pay and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis of the literature
Authors: T.A. Judge, R.F. Piccolo, N.P. Podsakoff, J.C. Shaw, and B.L. Rich
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

We all want a job that pays well, right?  How many of us think things like “if I could only make that much more, I would be happy”?  Tempting to think such things isn’t it?  These questions, of course, address the old debate of whether pay leads to satisfaction.  We’ve all heard anecdotes about people who make lots of money and are miserable yet many of us can’t help but think that more money would make us more satisfied.


With Age Comes Wisdom…And Better Job Attitudes

Topic: Diversity, Job Attitudes
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2010)
Article: The relationships of age with job attitudes: A meta-analysis
Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Today, more than half of the American workforce is between the ages of 40 and 75.  This trend, known as the ageing workforce, has raised a number of important organizational issues of late, including the association between employee age and attitudes about work.  Employees’ job attitudes are particularly important from an organization’s perspective because of their link to engagement and performance on the job.


Liberty, Justice, and…an Equal Chance at a Promotion for All?

Topic: Gender, Mentoring
Publication: Harvard Business Review (SEP 2010)
Article: Why men still get more promotions than women
Author: H. Ibarra, N. M. Carter, and C. Silva
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

We’re constantly hearing about the advances that organizations are making in corporate gender diversity. Women are being promoted, paid well, and mentored in the workplace! Right? According to Ibarra, Carter, and Silva (2010), the answer might be closer to “yes and no.”


Status Inequality Within Teams? Could Be Trouble

Topic: Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: Beyond Status: Relating Status Inequality to Performance and Health in Teams
Authors: A.M. Christie, J. Barling
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Okay everyone, who’s excited about the new basketball season?  I/O Psychologists are!  In fact, Christie and Barling (2010) did a recent study that analyzed NBA players to determine if “status inequality” is related to lower performance.  They found a relationship if the low status players also exhibit uncooperative behavior.


How talent analytics – and I/O psychologists – can help organizations succeed

Topic: Business Strategy, Strategic HR, Talent Management
Publication: Harvard Business Review (OCT 2010)
Article: Competing on talent analytics
Authors: T. H. Davenport, J. Harris, J. Shapiro
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

How many times have you made a “people” decision based on gut instinct? Whether it’s deciding which department needs attention, selecting a customer population to target, or trying to determine our organization’s overall health, Davenport, Harris, and Shapiro (2010) encourage us to make these critical talent decisions based on analytics rather than “going with a gut instinct.” In an article rife with illustrations of organizations that effectively use analytics to save money, increase profits, and retain the best talent, the authors give us six types of analytics to use when addressing talent issues:


Minority Opinions: A Vital Role in Team Success

Topic: Teams, Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: A Multilevel Model of Minority Opinion Expression and Team Decision-Making Effectiveness
Authors: G. Park, R.P. DeShon
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Pop quiz, hot shot.  There’s a meeting in a conference room. Your team seems to reach quick consensus, but with a flash of independent thought, you see through the group’s flawed logic and are baffled by their oversights.  You must now decide if you should rock the boat and voice your minority opinion. What do you do?


Decreasing Turnover in your Organization

Topic: Turnover
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: Will they stay or will they go? The role of job embeddedness in predicting turnover in individualistic and collectivistic cultures.
Authors: A. Ramesh, M. J. Gelfand
Reviewed By: Rachel Marsh

Recent research has linked turnover with employee embeddedness.  Employee embededness is the extent to which an employee feels connected to the organization.  Employees who feel higher levels of embeddedness are less likely to leave their jobs willingly.  They also experience higher levels of job satisfaction, have more job commitment, and are less likely to search for alternative jobs. 

The current study examines how culture affects employee embeddedness by comparing employees in an individualistic culture (in which one’s individual needs are valued over the groups’ needs, e.g., United States, Western Europe) versus a collectivistic culture (in which the group’s needs are valued over the individual’s needs, e.g., India, China). 


Third-Party Reactions to Injustice at Work

Topic: Fairness
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: Dual processing and organizational justice: The role of rational versus experiential processing in third-party reactions to workplace mistreatment
Authors: Daniel Skarlicki and Deborah Rupp
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Any time an employee is a victim of mistreatment, there are a myriad of individuals who can become aware, including friends, co-workers, and even strangers.  And when it comes to justice in the workplace, even employees that are not directly mistreated can become motivated to inflict retribution.  This can happen even if they are completely unaffected by the event.  Why?  The deontic model of justice (Cropanzano, Goldman, & Folger, 2003) proposes that when people become aware of the mistreatment of others, they can experience very real and sometimes strong negative emotions.  It is proposed that this reaction is due to the violation of social and moral “norms” of behavior. 


Hiring Tools and Applicant Reactions

Topic: Staffing
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (SEP 2010)
Article: Applicant reactions in selection: Comprehensive meta-analysis into reaction generalization versus situational specificity
Authors: N. Anderson, J.F. Salgado and U.R. Hulsheger
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

While organizations should certainly be concerned about the ability of their selection tools to predict future performance on the job, they should also be concerned with job applicants’ perceptions of their experience during the hiring process. 


Task Conflict, Team Creativity and…Goldilocks?

Topic: Conflict, Creativity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: Task conflict and team creativity: A question of how much and when
Authors: Farh, J. L., Lee, C., & Farh, C. I.
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

The concept of team creativity has become more and more salient in recent years due to an increasing reliance on teams to enhance an organization’s competitiveness.  Team creativity is defined as the creation of new and helpful ideas concerning services, procedures, products, and processes by a team of individuals.  So while, yes, we all want our teams to be creative, what environmental factors will encourage this? 


What Does PHR Buy You?

Topic: Off The Wall
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (SEP 2010)
Article: The impact of passing the Professional in Human Resources Exam on early career success for undergraduate entering the human resources field
Authors: S.W. Lester, J. Mencl, C. Maranto, K.A. Bourne and T. Keaveny
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In an economy where jobs are hard to come by, voluntary professional certification can be a great way to separate oneself from the competition.  For professionals in our field (HR), the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is one way to go.  A recent study by Lester et al. (2010) explored the value of obtaining a PHR certification for recent students who have just entered the workforce.


Performance ratings are dynamic… now how do we rate them?

Topic: Performance Appraisal, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (2010)
Article: Understanding performance ratings: Dynamic performance, attributions, and rating purpose.
Authors: Jochen Reb and Gary Greguras
Reviewed By: Allison Gabriel

We all know that performance ratings are critical for employees; they determine promotions, raises, future developmental opportunities, and so forth. What makes ratings difficult lies in the fact that employees’ performance is dynamic and can change quite radically. Think about your own performance: how you perform this week, or even this day, may not be the same as it was a month ago. This presents quite the dilemma for raters (aka, supervisors): how do you combine multiple, changing aspects of work performance to get an accurate rating?


The Dissolution of Alliances: It’s Business, But It’s Also Social

Topic:Conflict, Trust
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Built to last but falling apart: Cohesion, friction, and withdrawl from interfirm alliances
Authors: H. R. Greve, J. A. C. Baum, H. Mitsuhashi, & T. J. Rowley
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Forming alliances between organizations is all well and good when the groups have a cohesive vision and sunny prospects, but sometimes the more interesting question is: how do alliances dissolve and why? In a study of transoceanic shipping companies, researchers assess these questions. Transoceanic shipping is an interesting situation in itself because firms often team up with others to share shipping routes. Multiple firms operate ships on the same route and single ships may carry cargo from multiple firms. Hence, there’s a lot of overlap and interdependence among allied firms.


I’ll Have What She’s Having … An Explanation for Inaccurate Group Decisions

Topic:  Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: Knowing others’ preferences degrades the quality of group decisions (MAY 2010)
Author: A. Mojzisch, S. Schulz-Hardt
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Not too long ago I wrote a review about a technique for generating ideas called “brainwriting.” According to Heslin (2009), asking individuals to generate ideas independently before pooling them with a group is likely to improve the final quality of ideas (compared with traditional group brainstorming) – largely because this independent initial process eliminates social pressures associated with group decisions. A recent article by Mojzisch and Schulz-Hardt (2010) provides some support for these ideas.


Are Femininity and Letters of Recommendation at Odds?

Topic: Gender, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Gender and Letters of Recommendation for Academia: Agentic and Communal Differences
Authors: J. M. Madera, M. R. Hebl, & R. C. Martin
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

To answer the question posed in the title: yes, they are. In a set of two studies, researchers have shown that women tend to be described with communal terms in letters of recommendation, while men tend to be described in agentic terms. Communal in this sense means using words like “helpful,” “kind,” and “agreeable.” Agentic refers to words like “assertive,” “confident,” and “independent.” Both sets of terms can be highly positive—we need both kinds of people—but it all goes down hill for the communal types when it comes to hireability.


Error Management Training: What’s Age Got to Do with It?

Topic: Training
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2010)
Article: The effectiveness of error management training with working-aged adults
Authors: M. Carter and M.E. Beier
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Two recent trends that have important implications for training and workforce development include: (1) the aging workforce and (2) the increase in learner-led, online training.  One intervention that has shown great potential is Error Management Training (EMT).  EMT is a fairly simple intervention that allows trainees to explore the learning environment and frames errors/mistakes as “good for learning” (during training at least).  In other words, in EMT, errors are not considered things that should be avoided, but rather opportunities to learn. 


When Mental Detachment from Work is a Must

Topic: Stress, Wellness, Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: Staying well and engaged when demands are high: The role of psychological detachment
Authors: S. Sonnentag, C. Binnewies, and E.J. Mojza
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

When we’re faced with high job demands at work, stress and emotional burnout often lurk right around the corner.  Regardless of the potentially harmful effects of high job demands, they’re a reality for many of us.  But before we  throw up our  hands in surrender when work piles up,  there are buffers against the dreaded consequences of excessive job demands.  One such buffer is known as psychological detachment, which is a fancy term for “leaving work at work” and devoting mental resources to non-work-related things while not on the clock. 


Feedback as the Driver of Successful Mentoring Relationships

Topic: Mentoring
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior
Article: Protégé anxiety attachment and feedback in mentoring relationships (APR 2010)
Author: T. D. Allen, K. M. Shockley, L. Poteat
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague


Many organizations have systems in place to help new hires transition smoothly into the workplace. This process is called socialization. One technique that has garnered increased attention and proven successful is mentoring. This process partners new hires (protégés) with experienced employees (mentors) who guide them through their transition to becoming full contributors to the organization.


Thank you! Why do these two words mean so much?

Topic:  Citizenship Behavior, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: A little thanks  goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior (JUN 2010)
Authors: A. M. Grant, and F. Gino
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague


In recent years, employees’ jobs and job tasks have become increasingly interconnected, necessitating an increase in teams and groups in the workplace. This integration means that employees must interact with many different people at work on a regular basis and places a high value on interpersonal skills, even for non-service jobs.  Modern organizations need employees who can function well in teams and work together to help achieve a common goal. As such, it is important for these organizations to understand how to promote prosocial (helping) amongst their employees.


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.


Creating “I-Deal” Jobs … Do Individual Redesign Negotiations Work?

Topic: Job DesignEmployee Satisfaction

Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior

Article: Beyond top-down and bottom-up work redesign: Customizing job content through idiosyncratic deals (FEB 2010)

Authors: S. Hornung, D. M. Rousseau, J. Glaser, P. Angerer, M. Weigl

Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

Job redesign efforts are undertaken on a daily basis in organizations world-wide. It involves re-evaluating a particular job to determine whether or not steps might be taken in order to improve various outcomes including employee job satisfaction and organizational productivity.


Giving Learners Control over Control

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: Trainee reactions to learner control: An important link in the e-learning equation
Authors: S.L. Fisher, M.E. Wasserman, and K.A. Orvis
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger


One of the most unique characteristics of e-learning is that it typically places trainees in the driver’s seat of their own learning by giving them control over important aspects of the training environment (e.g., the pace at which they progress, sequence of course materials).This key characteristic is known as learner control and there is a rich research literature comparing training programs that offer high degrees of learner control with training programs that offer less or no learner control (e.g., instructor-led classroom courses). To date, there is no definitive answer to the question of which approach is best (high learner control v. low learner control).

What is clear, however, is that some trainees benefit from high degrees of control in e-learning and some do not.


Who are we again? The Identity Crisis of I-O Psychologists

Topic: Professional Identity
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice
Article: Organizational Psychology and the Tipping Point of Professional Identity
Authors: Ann Marie Ryan and J. Kevin Ford
Selected Commentary Authors: Muchinsky, Shanock, Rogelberg, and Heggestad
Reviewed  By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

If someone asked you who I-O psychologists are, what would you say? In explaining this profession to another person, how would you distinguish the field of I-O psychology from management, human resources, and industrial relations? If you are having trouble explaining I-O psychology, don’t worry – so do a lot of other people. Ryan and Ford (2010) argue that organizational psychology has an identity problem and is at a critical ‘tipping point’ in terms of maintaining its distinctiveness as a field. They believe that several recent and ongoing debates about professional issues within the field of I-O psychology are symptoms of an identity problem: a lack of visibility to key decision makers in organizations (Rotolo, 2009), debates over the appropriateness of licensure (Macey, 2002), and concern over the lack of influence over public policy (Pulakos, 1999).


Implicit Assumptions and Organizational Context- A Recipe for Immoral Behavior?

Topic: Ethics
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Automatic ethics: The effects of implicit assumptions and contextual cues on moral behavior.
Authors: Reynolds, S. J., Leavitt, K., & DeCelles, K. A.
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

 In recent years, the news has been filled with stories about organizations committing gross violations against the environment, their stakeholders, and even the American public.  So it’s not a stretch to imagine that many people view business itself as inherently immoral.  What are the effects of such implicit assumptions about the moral nature of business?


Smarter Employees Perform Better, but Will They Stay?

Topic: Evidence Based Management, Talent Management, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (AUG 2010)
Article: A conceptual and empirical analysis of the cognitive ability-voluntary turnover relationship
Authors: M.A. Maltarich, A.J. Nyberg, and G. Reilly
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Cognitive ability is one of the best predictors of employee job performance across jobs, but there are other important organizational outcomes besides job performance that cognitive ability may not predict as favorably.  One such possibility is voluntary turnover. Unfortunately, previous attempts at linking cognitive ability to voluntary turnover have shown that the relationship is not as simple as “high cognitive ability employees are more likely to leave voluntarily than low cognitive ability employees”.

Maltarich et al. (2010) argue that this important relationship is better understood when the cognitive demands of employees’ jobs are considered.


Cheated Employees: Less Organizational Commitment and Less Creativity

Topic: Fairness Organizational Commitment Creativity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (July, 2010)
Article: Psychological Contract Breaches, Organizational Commitment, and Innovation-Related Behaviors: A Latent Growth Modeling Approach
Authors: T.W.H. Ng, D.C. Feldman, S.S.K. Lam
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Okay, here’s the deal. Employees make assumptions about what they owe their employers and what their employers owe them in return. This is called a psychological contract. According to Ng, Feldman, and Lam (2010), when employees think this psychological contract is being violated, they may feel less organizational commitment and become less innovative.


Another Shot at the Transfer Problem

Topic: Training
Publication: Journal of Management (JUL 2010)
Article: Transfer of training: A meta-analytic review
Authors: B.D. Blume, J.K. Ford, T.T. Baldwin, and J.L. Huang
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizations spend massive amounts of money on employee training and development every year with the expectation that what is learned in training will be transferred to and used on the job.  But there’s a problem: it has been well established that employees often do NOT transfer what they learn to the job.  In the continuing pursuit of solutions to this “transfer problem”, Blume et al. present a meta-analysis that explored predictors of transfer of training.


What Does Organizational Tenure Really Buy You?

Topic: Citizenship BehaviorsCounter-Productive Work BehaviorJob Performance

Publication: Journal of Management (SEP)

ArticleOrganizational tenure and job performance

Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It is often intuited that employees who remain in an organization longer gain more knowledge of their job and the organization and thus perform at a higher level than employees with less tenure. Indeed, it’s no secret that organizational tenure is common factor considered in administrative decisions such as offering promotions and awarding raises and other fringe benefits (e.g., pensions, vacation days).  For many of us, anecdotal evidence probably confirms the assumption that as tenure within the organization increases, so does performance. But what does the research say?


Customer Satisfaction Surveys: A Measure of Race and Gender. A Measure of Performance? Not So Much

Topic: FairnessDiversityPerformance Appraisal

Publication: Academy of Management Journal

Article: An examination of whether and how racial and gender biases influence customer satisfaction

Authors: D. R. Hekman, K. Aquino, B. P. Owens, T. R. Mitchell, P. Schilpzand, & K. Leavitt

Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

There’s this great line in the 1980 movie, 9 to 5, when Jane Fonda says to Dabney Coleman: “You’re a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” and he replies: “So I have a few faults; who doesn’t?” Keep that in mind when you think about the Average Joe on the street, filling out a survey. Untrained raters don’t rate accurately—that’s why they need training! Customer satisfaction surveys are the epitome of using untrained raters to measure employee performance.


Is Evidence-Based Management Actually Based on Evidence?

Topic:  Evidence Based Management

Publication: Academy of Management Perspectives

Article: What’s the evidence on evidence-based management? (NOV 2009)

Author: T. Reay, W. Berta, and M. K. Kohn

Reviewed by: Sarah Teague
Rapid In the last century, many significant advances have been made in the study and application of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and Organizational Behavior (OB). Unfortunately, there remains a substantial communication gap between researchers and practitioners. But research and practice do not have to be mutually exclusive – as evidenced by this very website!


Play Hard, Rest Hard and Maximize Your Performance

Topic: Work-Life Balance

Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JUN 2010)

Article: Recovery during the weekend and fluctuations in weekly job performance: A week-level study examining intra-individual relationships

Authors: C. Binnewies, S. Sonnentag, and E.J. Mojza

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

We all know that working hard during the work week is important. But a recent study by Binnewies et al. (2010) suggests that playing and resting hard over the weekend also plays an important part in determining employees’ performance at work.  Finally, research in support of my Friday afternoon naps and Saturday golf game!

In their study of white collar employees in Germany, Binnewies et al. explored factors that contribute to employees feeling mentally and physically refreshed after the weekend and how feeling refreshed affects subsequent job performance during the week.


Test Bias Analysis: New Thoughts on an Old Method

Topic: Selection

Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice

Article: Not Seeing Clearly With Cleary: What Test Bias Analyses Do and Do Not Tell Us

Authors: A.W. Meade and S. Tonidandel

Selected commentary authors: P.R. Sackett and P. Bobko

Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl


When practitioners use pre-employment tests for selection decisions, they must consider the potential biases that may result from the assessment. Using biased tests can lead to poor, ‘unfair’ hiring decisions. Not only can perceptions of unfairness negatively impact a company’s reputation and bottom line, but legal issues can arise if selection procedures are not free from bias (Allen v. Alabama State Board of Education, 2000).

Whether HR professionals are developing their own test or procedure, or
are purchasing a test from a vendor, an understanding of test bias is essential
to ensure there is no adverse impact to any candidate group.


Want more Bang For Your Training Buck? Then make sure your employees feel supported.

Topic: Training

Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment  (JUN 2010)

Article: Social support in the workplace and training transfer: a longitudinal analysis

Authors: D.S. Chiaburu, K. Van Dam, & H.M. Hutchins

Reviewed By: Jared Ferrell

With the extreme amount of money spent on training each
year, researchers are constantly working to understand how to increase the
transfer of the knowledge and skills learned during training back to the
job.  The authors here suggest that perceived organizational support (POS) and supervisor support will indirectly affect transfer of training through the effects it has on trainee perceived self efficacy, goal orientation, and motivation to transfer. 


Using Simulations to Study, Assess, and Grow Managers

Topic: Assessment, Training
Publication: American Psychologist
Article: Developing Managerial Talent
Through Simulation
Authors: G. C. Thornton, J. N. Cleveland
Reviewed By: Rachel Marsh

Simulations are replications of essential parts of a job and have been utilized by organizations for over 55 years. They are used to study, assess and develop talent, especially managerial talent, and offer more information about assessees than questionnaires. Job simulations can range from being low fidelity and very simple (e.g., asking employees what they would do in certain situations, to very high fidelity and quite complicated (e.g., behavioral simulations that include analyzing many different aspects of company information).


Is What We Think We Know, What We Actually Know?

Topic: Assessment, Training

Publication: Academy of Management Learning & Education (JUN 2010)

Article: Self-assessment of knowledge: A cognitive learning or affective measure?

Authors: T. Sitzmann, K.E. Ely, K.G. Brown and K.N. Bauer

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger


Evaluating the effectiveness of an organizational
training program is a necessary but expensive process.  Oftentimes, the success of a training program is evaluated by how much trainees learn or how much they know after completing the program. The classic post-training test/exam is a great way to do this.  But, because developing and administering well-constructed learning measures can be costly, one option is to simply ask trainees how much they have learned. 
But how “good” are trainees’ self-assessments of their learning/knowledge? That is, how well do self-assessments really measure actual learning/knowledge gain?


Assessment centers for personnel selection: strengths, inconsistencies, and best practices

Topic: Assessment

Publication: Human Resource Management Review (September, 2009)

Article: Validity of assessment centers for personnel selection

Authors: Thornton, G. C., & Gibbons, A.M.

Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Assessment centers (ACs) have been used to aid the process of external and internal selection of employees and high potentials, certification, and promotion for over 50 years.  At ACs, multiple assessors observe the behavior of assesses as they engage in organizational simulations designed to test their ability to perform new, relevant assignments.  Historically, overall assessment ratings (OARs) and dimensional scores have been shown to predict a range of relevant selection outcomes.


To Give Is To Get In Work Teams

Topic: Goals, Performance, Teams
Publication: Human Performance
Article: What you do for your team comesback to you: A cross-level investigation of individual goal specification,team-goal clarity, and individual performance
Authors: S. Sonnentag and J. Volmer
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Much of today’s work is done by workteams. Even if an employee’s work is self-contained, it is often combined with the work of other team members. Cleary then, individual performance is vital for determining the team’s level of overall performance. But how do employees’ inputs into the team impact their own performance?


Rushing Toward Goal Attainment

Topic: Goals
Publication: Applied Psychology: An International Review (JUN 2010)
Article: Velocity as a predictor of performance satisfaction, mental focus, and goal revision
Authors: J.D. Elicker, R.G. Lord, S.R. Ash, N.C. Kohari, B.J. Hruska, N.L McConnell and M.E. Medvedeff
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

We all know how great it feels to reach our goals.  But what about when we know we are approaching our goals quickly?   Goal setting is a process that creates discrepancies between one’s current performance and some future performance ideal.  One of the most obvious outcomes of goal attainment is satisfaction (Yes, I did it!), but in a recent study of college students’ academic goals over the course of a college semester, Elicker et al. (2010) found that the speed at which people believe they are reaching their goals, which is referred to as velocity, is also important in determining performance


How Important is The Store Manager?

Topic: Organizational Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2010)
Article: Store manager performance and satisfaction: Effects on store employee performance and satisfaction, store customer satisfaction, and store customer spending growth
Authors: R.G. Netemeyer, J.G. Maxham III, D.R. Lichtenstein
Reviewed By: Allison Gabriel

How many times do you frequently interact with a store manager when picking up your morning coffee? How about when you run to the store to grab some last minute groceries for dinner? The fact is, most of us are used to interacting with service employees, with the assumption that the store manager is in the background informing them of how to interact with customers. Research typically supports this view, believing that store manager’s actions impact their employees, and that these employees subsequently impact customer outcomes (e.g., customer satisfaction) and, ultimately the store’s performance. However, is it possible that store managers have their own impact on customers beyond that of their employees?


One Morally Bankrupt Apple Spoils the Bunch…

Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: The normalization of deviant
organizational practices: Wage arrears in Russia, 1991-98
Authors: Earle, Spicer, & Peter
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

…And by “apple,” I mean “organization”. Lately, have you found yourself wondering how they got away with it for so long (I’m lookin’ at you, Wall Street)? Have you wondered why corruption seems to be an industry norm instead of just one corrupt organization? Why didn’t anyone stop them? If it seems like all the organizations are in it together, you’re kind of right.


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).


Workplace Fairness: Crucial for Powerful Supervisors

Topic: Decision Making, Fairness, Trust

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (May, 2010)

Article: The Role of Authority Power in Explaining Procedural Fairness Effects

Authors: M. van Dijke, D. De Cremer, D.M. Mayer

Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Of course it always pays to be fair to your employees, right?  Not always, suggests research by van Dijke, De Cremer, and Mayer (2010).  They explain that there are distinct advantages to treating people fairly, but only if the supervisor possesses a high level of power.


Mercer asks 400 organizations about growth and talent management

Topic: Talent Management
Publication: The Financial
Article: Employers reshaping talent management programs as economy shifts toward growth
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

The success of an organization has proven to be largely contingent on the success of their employees. Indeed, the– see below for more info on this cornerstone article. A recent survey by Mercer sought to investigate the current status and practices of over 400 U.S. organizations.


When Performance Goals are a Must

Topic: Feedback, Goals, Performance
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Achievement goals, feedback, and task performance
Authors: A.M. Cianci, J.M. Schaubroeck, and G.A. McGill
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Although performance feedback is vital to effective job performance, employees can react differently to the same feedback. For example, while some employees give up in the face of negative feedback about their performance, others persevere and actually improve their performance over time. Alternatively, when presented with positive feedback, some employees coast while others maintain their high levels of performance.  Cianci et al. recently showed that the type of goals that are set for employees help explain how they react to positive and negative performance feedback.


The Pearls and Perils of Work Sample Exams

Topic: Assessment, Staffing
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2010)
Article: Work sample exams and gender adverse impact potential: The influence of self-concept, social skills, and written skills
Authors: P.L. Roth, M.A. Buster, and J. Barnes-Farrell
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Work sample exams are employee selection tools that represent actual or highly similar job task characteristics (i.e., writing a sample response email to a customer for a customer service job).  These selection tools are good predictors of job performance, and job applicants tend to respond favorably to them (largely because they are easily linked to the job).


Servant Leadership and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

Topic: Leadership, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2010)
Article: Servant leadership, procedural justice climate, service climate, employee attitudes, and organizational citizenship behavior: A cross-level investigation
Authors: F.O. Walumbwa, C.A. Hartnell, and A. Oke
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Raise your hand if you are a Servant Leader – anyone, anyone?

In the workplace, servant leadership basically refers to a leadership style in which leaders place the needs of their employees above their own self-interests (some particularly famous world leaders may come to mind).  In addition to acknowledging their obligation to their employees, servant leaders also recognize their moral obligation to the organization’s success.  And according to a study by Walumbwa et al. (2010), servant leadership facilitates organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) in the workplace. In their study, Walumbwa and colleagues reason that servant leaders create a climate of reciprocity among their employees: In response to their leaders’ selfless leadership style, employees may return the favor and engage in voluntary work behaviors that are beneficial to the organization and its members (OCBs).


Service with a Smile? But I’m Exhausted!

Topic: Work EnvironmentBurnout
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (March, 2010)
Article: Contextualizing emotional exhaustion and positive emotional display: The signaling effect of supervisors’ emotional exhaustion and service climate.
Authors: C.K. Lam, X. Huang, & O. Janssen
Reviewed By: Allison Gabriel

Employees are frequently encouraged to engage in pleasant behavior while suppressing negative emotions, despite how they actually feel. But, what happens when employees are too emotionally exhausted to go on?


The Good News about Structured Interviews

Topic: Staffing
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2010)
Article: Are highly structured job interviews resistant to demographic similarity effects?
Authors: J.M. McCarthy, D.H. Van Iddekinge, and M.A. Campion
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Interviews are by far one of the most commonly used personnel selection tools and for good reason: They work (at least when they’re structured)!

One potential problem with interviews is that irrelevant personal characteristics of interviewees (i.e., gender, race) may affect interview ratings; interviewees who are similar (race, gender) to interviewers will receive higher ratings in an interview than those who are dissimilar to the interviewers.  This can ultimately lead to illegal practices and failing to hire the best applicants. This potential problem is known as demographic similarity.  The underlying reason this may occur is that people view others who are similar to themselves more favorably than those who are different (e.g., She is just like me so she must also be awesome!).


Heavy Workloads: Much More Than Just a Nuisance

Topic: Stress, Wellness, Work Environment
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Summer 2010)
Article: Psychological and physiological reactions to high workloads: Implications for well-being
Authors: R. Ilies, N. Dimotakis, and I.E. De Pater
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In a rather unique study by Ilies, Dimotakis and De Pater (2010), the authors found that heavy workloads can have negative psychological (distress) and physiological (blood pressure) effects that fluctuate depending on an employee’s daily workload.  The authors also investigated how daily changes in workload affect employees’ daily well-being when they get home from work.


Are there cultural differences in the “Think Manager, Think Male” phenomenon?

Topic: Leadership, Gender, Culture
Publication: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Article: Causal Attributions About Feminine and Leadership Roles: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
Authors: R. Garcia-Retamero and E. López-Zafra
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Even though gender stereotypes have been changing recently, men are still perceived to be more characteristic of managers than are women (Eagly, 2007). However, little research has examined how these perceptions may differ depending on the traditional or progressive nature of different societies. Garcia-Retamero and López -Zafra (2009) examine the question of whether there are cultural differences in people’s causal attributions about male and female leaders in the workplace.


Does It Pay to Measure Emotional Intelligence During Selection?

Topic: Assessment, Emotional Intelligence, Staffing
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2010)
Article: Emotional intelligence in selection contexts: Measurement method, criterion-related validity, and vulnerability to response distortion
Authors: N.D. Christiansen, J.E. Janovics, and B.P. Siers
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a hot topic in both the personnel selection literature and the popular business press.  While there are many available measures of EI, approaches to its measurement can be organized into two general categories: (1) self-report questionnaires and (2) performance-based measures.  Self-report EI questionnaires are similar to personality measures in that they treat EI as non-cognitive traits and temperaments. Performance- or ability-based EI measures, on the other hand, treat EI as a largely ability-based trait that reflects how people process information related to their emotions and the emotions of others.


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!


Walking the “Diversity” Walk > Talking the “Diversity” Talk

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Establishing a diversity program is not enough: Exploring the determinants of diversity climate
Authors: A.O. Herdman and A. McMillan-Capehart
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Despite the growing need to recruit, select, and promote employees from diverse backgrounds, if, when and how diversity programs affect organizational-level outcomes is not well understood. One important organizational-level outcome of a diversity program is an organizational climate that values workplace diversity.  According to Herdman and McMillan-Capehart (2010), diversity climate refers to employees’ shared perceptions of the degree to which their organization supports workplace diversity. Indeed, they found that the effectiveness of diversity programs/initiatives, in terms of enhancing diversity climate, depended on the actual racioethnic diversity of the management team and the diversity-related values of management team members.


Oldies — but Goodies — in Complex Jobs

Topic: Performance, Goals
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (JUNE 2010)
Article: Focus on opportunities as a mediator of the relationships between age, job complexity and work performance
Authors: H. Zacher, S. Heusner, M. Schmitz, M.M., Zwierzanska, and M. Frese
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Despite there being many compelling arguments for why age should be related to work performance (e.g., younger employees are less experienced, older employees have less drive), there is little evidence that such a relationship exists (except that older employees tend to engage in more organizational citizenship behaviors!).  According to Zacher and colleagues (2010), these null findings may be due to several competing factors which lead older employees to outperform younger employees and vice versa. In their recent study, Zacher et al. explored an individual difference known as focus on opportunities which refers to employees’ perceptions of the availability of future work-related options and opportunities.  The authors found that older employees tend to have a weaker focus on opportunities than younger employees, possibly because older employees receive less career support and are more focused on retirement than future work-related opportunities.


Organizational Citizenship: more than a matter of “scratching backs

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Fairness
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Paying you back or paying me forward: Understanding rewarded and unrewarded organizational citizenship behavior
Authors: M.A. Korsgaard, B.M. Meglino, S.W. Lester, & S.S. Jeong
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

When employees go above and beyond at work (organizational citizenship behaviors), we like to imagine that they go that extra mile because of personal strength or drive.  For many years though, it was believed that employees displayed organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) because they expected some sort form of payback down the line (i.e., “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”).


The Overwhelming Effect of Job Demands on Spillover

Topic: Stress,Work-Life Balance
Publication:Journal of Vocational Behavior (JUN 2010)
Article: The costs of today’s jobs: Job characteristics and organizational supports as antecedents of negative spillover
Authors:A.R. Grotto and K.S. Lyness
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Negative work-to-nonwork spillover occurs when employees’ negative moods, behaviors, etc. from workspill over into other parts of their lives (e.g., family life).  Grotto and Lyness (2010) recently investigated several factors that lead employees to experience negative spillover, including job demands and the availability of organizational support.


Making offers they can’t refuse: Quick job offers yield higher acceptance rates

Topic: Staffing
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: The Effect of Job Offer Timing on Offer Acceptance, Performance, and Turnover
Authors: W.J. Becker, T. Connolly, J.E. Slaughter
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Congratulations, you’re hired!  … Wait, where’d you go?

Have you ever found that your extensive, meticulous, and rigorous process of filling positions identifies applicants who are no longer interested in working for you? If so, you are not alone.

Research by Becker, Connolly, and Slaughter (2010) suggests that applicants who receive job offers soon after their final interview are more likely to accept them than those who receive delayed offers.


Performance Ratings = More Than Just Performance

Topic: Performance Appraisal
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (MAY 2010)
ArticleThe impact of non-performance information on ratings of job performance: A
policy-capturing approach

Authors: J.R. Spence and L.M. Keeping
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Though they are intended to reflect employees’ performance on the job, performance appraisal ratings are well known to reflect things that are irrelevant to performance.  Even more troubling is the fact that the sources of irrelevant information that lead to inaccurate performance ratings are numerous.

Recently, Spence and Keeping (2010) identified three, often neglected, sources of performance rating inaccuracy:


Corporate Image, Attraction, and Top Talent

Topic: Recruiting
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
ArticleDoes image matter to different job applicants? The influences of corporate
image and applicant individual differences on organizational attractiveness

Authors: W-C. Tsai & I. W-F. Yang
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

From a recruitment perspective, an organization’scorporate imagerefers to job seekers’ shared beliefs about the organization’s characteristics (i.e., attributes). These beliefs basically serve as information about the potential “employment conditions” within an organization and thus its corporate image can play a big role in determining whether or not it attracts top talent.  Recently, Tsai and Yang (2010) have extended the research on corporate image by arguing that corporate image is comprised of as many as four dimensions: (1) product image, (2) service image, (3) citizenship image and (4) credibility image.


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.


Work Hard or Disengage in the Face of Job Insecurity?

Topic: Performance, Turnover
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: A model for the effects of job insecurity on performance, turnover intention, and absenteeism
Authors: T. Staufenbiel and C.J. König
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Job insecurity is in the air but how it affects performance is unclear. In a rather timely article on the role of job insecurity and predicting various workplace outcomes (job performance, turnover intentions and absenteeism), Staufenbiel and König (2010) collected data from 152 employees working for a German electronics wholesaler.


Do Situational Judgment Tests Work?… and more

Topic: Selection
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
ArticleSituational judgment tests: Constructs assessed and a meta-analysis of their
criterion-related validity

Authors: M.S. Christian, B.D. Edwards, and J.C. Bradley
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

A situational judgment test (STJs)
is a test which asks a person to evaluate a realistic work situation and identify the best option for handling it (e.g., “A customer is complaining that his phone is no longer working and wants a full refund even though the warranty ran out yesterday.  What do you do?”).  They garner a lot of attention in selection contexts because of their effectiveness for predicting job performance, their ability to measure many performance predictors (constructs) and their tendency to reduce sub-group differences that are often found with pure cognitive ability tests.  But some of the advantages of SJTs may also be disadvantages.


Do “Shocks” Lead to Positive Workplace Outcomes?

Topic:Performance, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (FEB 2010)
ArticleThe buffering effects of job embeddedness on negative shocks
Authors: J.P. Burton, B.C. Holtom, C.J. Sablynski, T.R. Mitchell, and T.W. Lee
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It’s probably safe to say that negative workplace events are inevitable.  Sooner or later, every employee will experience them.  The problem is that after experiencing such events, many employees engage in or think about engaging in withdrawal behaviors (e.g., turnover, absenteeism, lateness) or lash out via counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs).  But, this is not true for all employees!  In fact, some employees respond to unpleasant events in ways that benefit the organization.  So who are these employees?


Cheating on Unproctored Internet-Based Tests – is it a big deal?

Topic:  Personality Assessment
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2010)
ArticleThe magnitude and extent of cheating and response distortion effects on unproctored internet-based tests of cognitive ability and personality
Authors: W. Arthur, R.M. Glaze, A.J. Villado, and J.E. Taylor
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The future of employment testing is upon us and many organizations have turned to unproctored internet-based testing in lieu of proctored paper-and-pencil testing.

Among its many advantages, internet-based testing is often faster, more efficient, and more convenient than proctored paper-and-pencil methods (e.g., can be scored immediately, distributed to geographically dispersed applicants).  One concern, however, is that unproctored internet-based testing allows for cheating or response distortion (i.e., faking).  But is this a realistic concern?  Is cheating really more prevalent in unproctored internet-based settings?


The Employee Network: to Keep or Not to Keep Under the Radar

Topic: Organizational PerformanceChange Management
Publication: Harvard Business Review (MAR 2010)
Article: Harnessing your staff’s informal networks
Authors: R. McDermott, D. Archibald
Reviewed by: Liz Brashier

Communities of practice are voluntary, informal employee networks where experts
can share knowledge and information, and it’s in these groups that employees form innovative solutions to real organizational problems. While in the past, these informal networks have succeeded on their own, this is no longer the case; these networks function best when they have management on board. McDermott and Archibald (2010) examine the status of communities of practice at companies including Pfizer, Fluor, and Conoco Phillips, and have concrete directions for guiding the once under-the-radar employee network.


Should Organizations Implement LGBT-Supportive Policies?

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (MAR 2010)
Article: The Social and Economic Imperative of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Supportive Organizational Policies
Authors: E.B. King & J.M. Cortina
Selected commentary authors: Zickar, M.J. and Locke, E.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

While the United States has implemented workplace legislation to protect employees from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and age, there has been no federal legislation enacted to protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual identities. King and Cortina (2010) believe that despite the lack of federal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) employees, organizations should enact their own LGBT-supportive policies.


Hands-on practice increases creativity in teams

Topic: Creativity, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2010) Article: First, get your feet wet: The effects of learning from direct and indirect experience on team creativity
Authors: F. Gino, L. Argote, E. Miron-Spektor, G. Todorova
Reviewed By: Jared Ferrell

It is a widely accepted fact that experience leads to creativity, but the question posited by the authors in this study was whether a certain type of experience leads to more creativity. This study focused on differences in team creativity between teams who had direct task experience (learning by doing), indirect task experience (vicarious learning), or no task experience.


Culture Matters When it comes to Stressors and Strains

Topic:  Culture, Self Efficacy, Work Environment
Publication: Applied Psychology: An International Review (JAN 2010)
ArticleA cross-national examination of self-efficacy as a moderator of autonomy/job
strain relationships

Authors: M.M. Nauta, C. Liu, and C. Li
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In work settings, autonomy refers to the degree of control that employees have over their work.  While research has generally shown that low levels of autonomy are stressful to employees (i.e., leads them to experience strain), this is not necessarily true for all employees.  Indeed, employees who are confident in their ability to exercise control over their lives and work environments (i.e., high generalized self-efficacy) appear to be buffered from the negative effects of low autonomy.  However, most of the research on this topic has been conducted in North America and it is unclear whether these findings are consistent across cultures.


It’s Easier to Deceive via e-Mail

Topic: Workplace Deviance, Ethics
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
ArticleThe finer points of lying online: E-mail versus pen and paper
Authors: C.E. Naquin, T.R. Kurtzberg, and L.Y. Belkin
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

While lying and deception may come easily to some (certain politicians come to mind…), research suggests that generally, people find face-to-face deception to be more difficult than deception through a communication medium (telephone, letter, etc.).


Alcohol and Absenteeism: it’s the binge drinkers that cost you

Topic: Absenteeism
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Alcohol consumption and workplace absenteeism: The moderating effect of social support
Authors: S.B. Bacharach, P. Bamberger, and M. Biron
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Employee absenteeism is costly!  Past estimates have placed the aggregate cost of employee absenteeism to U.S. organizations at around $225 billion per year.  Yes, $225 billion!  One important factor that contributes to workplace absenteeism is employee alcohol usage.  Although this may seem like a no-brainer, according to Bachrach, Bamberger and Biron (2010), it is still somewhat unclear how alcohol usage relates to employee absenteeism.


Are Cultural Minorities Less (or More) Committed to their Organizations?

Topic: CultureJob Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (MAR 2010)
ArticleCommitment of cultural minorities in organizations: Effects of leadership and pressure to conform
Authors: J. Rupert, K.A. Jehn, M.L. van Engen, and R.S.M. de Reuver
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Several organizational theories suggest that cultural minorities (employees born in a country different from the country of the host organization) may have lower levels of commitment to their organizations than majority group members.  This also implies that cultural minorities may be less effective performers, more likely to quit, etc., than majority group employees. To provide a much-needed test of this general hypothesis, Rupert and colleagues (2010) surveyed 107 employees of a multinational corporation in the Netherlands.  About 21% of the participants were considered cultural minorities.  In addition to comparing the commitment of minority and majority group members, the authors also explored two factors (leadership and pressure to conform) that may help explain the degree of commitment cultural minorities tend to have to their organizations.


Why Work Group Satisfaction Matters

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
Article: Satisfaction, citizenship behaviors, and performance in work units: A meta-analysis of collective construct relations
Authors: D.S. Whitman, D.L. van Rooy, and C. Viswesvaran
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The happy worker is the productive worker, right?  Not necessarily.  Indeed, much of the past research on job satisfaction (which is extensive, to say the least) suggests that at the individual employee level, job satisfaction and performance are weakly related.  This finding, however, tends to go against common sense.  Doesn’t it seem reasonable to believe that employees who are satisfied at work perform better than those who are not as satisfied or dissatisfied at work?  It apparently does to many researchers and thus the search for clarification continues.


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.


Computer-Based Training Games: What You Need to Know!

Topic: Training
SIOP Presentation: A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games
Presenters: T. Sitzmann
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

In a SIOP session on “designing quality training games,” Traci Sitzmann presented the results of a recent meta-analysis that explored the effectiveness of simulation-based training games.

Today, many organizations use training games (aka “Serious Games”) to enhance the knowledge and skills of their employees.   The common problem, though, is that the use of this technology in practice has outpaced the research on its effectiveness.  So it is still unclear if (and when) training games work.


An Alternative to Forging Ahead: The Bold Retreat

Topic: Business Strategy, Marketing
Publication: Harvard Business Review (MAR 2010)
Article: Bold retreat: A new strategy for old technologies
Authors: R. Adner, D. C. Snow
Reviewed By: Liz Brashier

So your company specializes in – and relies on – a technology that is now being threatened by a new technology. Do you respond by trying to change your existing technology, or do you fight the new technology by improving what you have? Or, do you explore a third, and often ignored, option: making what Adner and Snow (2010) call a bold retreat into a niche market?


Evidence-Based Management: One Small Step for You, One Giant Leap for the Profession

Topic: Strategic HR
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: A Sticky, Leveraging, and Scalable Strategy for High-quality Connections between Organizational Practice and Science
Author: D. M. Rousseau
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

Have you ever participated in an EBM Collaboration? I’ll give you a hint… you’re participating right now! The term Evidence-Based Management (EBM) Collaboration refers to an effort to better inform practice with empirical findings and also to make stronger connections within our field; essentially bridging the gap between science and practice. A call from Rousseau (2007) lays out a framework for the potential tasks associated with such an effort and proposes specific benefits that our field might reap.


How Positive Feedback Helps Prevent Negative Outcomes

Topic: Feedback
Publication: Applied Psychology: An International Review (APR09)
Article: Consequences of positive and negative feedback: The impact on emotions and extra-role behaviors
Authors: F. D. Belschak, D. N. Den Hartog
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

Two recent studies conducted by Belschak and Den Hartog (2009) investigated the impact of positive and negative feedback on emotions and several important work outcomes. Not surprisingly, results suggest that positive feedback leads to more positive emotions, while negative feedback leads to more negative emotions. More importantly, they found that these negative emotions led to a decrease in both organizational commitment (feelings of attachment to one’s organization) and intent to perform organizational citizenship behaviors (voluntary actions that help the organization).  They also led to an an increase in counterproductive work behaviors (behaviors that hurt the organization) and turnover


What do Job Ads Say About Your Organizational Culture?

TopicCompensation, CultureMotivation, Rewards, Organizational Reputation
Publication: The International Journal of Human Resource Management
Article: Compensation as a Signal of Organizational Culture: The Effects of Advertising Individual or Collective Incentives
Author: K. Kuhn
Reviewed By: Lit Digger

It is commonly assumed that compensation and rewards systems reflect the cultures of the organizations that implement them, but what type of message is being received by your organization’s job applicants?

Kristine Kuhn (2009) conducted an experimental study to investigate how job advertisements’ simple statements about an organization’s compensation structure would affect applicant perceptions of organizational culture. In the same article, Kuhn conducted an additional study to see how job advertisement differences in compensation structure statements would affect applicants when they were forced to choose one organization over another. (Yes, this article was two-for-one – jam-packed with researchy goodness!)


The Organizational Benefits of Work Life Balance

Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: Business Horizons
Article: Embracing the whole individual: Advantages of a dual-centric perspective of work and life
Authors: Bourne, K.A., Wilson, F., Lester, S.W., & Kickul, J.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Researchers have found that 95% of employees rate their lives outside of work as equally or more important than their jobs (Bourne, Wilson, Lester, & Kickul, 2009). More than half of these survey respondents admitted to having a dual-centric perspective—equally prioritizing their non-work and work roles.


How Ethical Leadership Drives Performance

Topic: Ethics, Leadership, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (2010)
Article: The relationship between ethical leadership and core job characteristics
Authors: R.F. Piccolo, R. Greenbaum, D.N., Den Hartog, and R. Folger
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It has long been thought that the characteristics of an employees’ job affects their motivation and ultimately their work performance.  Indeed, job characteristics such as autonomy (degree of discretion employees have over their work) and task significance (degree to which work tasks have a meaningful impact on others) are well known to predict positive workplace outcomes such as employee satisfaction and performance.

Importantly, a recent study by Piccolo et al. (2010) suggests that ethical leadership is one factor that contributes to these job characteristics.


Perceived Prosocial Impact: The Burnout Antidote

Topic: Burnout
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2010)
Article: Doing good buffers against feeling bad: Prosocial impact compensates for negative task and self-evaluations.
Authors: A.M. Grant, and S. Sonnentag
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Employee burnout often manifests itself in the form of emotional exhaustion which has been found to lead to decreased job performance, increased withdrawal behaviors (e.g., turnover, absences) and even health problems.


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.


SJTs: They’re Not Perfect, but Gosh Darn it they Work!

Topic: Selection
Publication: Human Performance ( JAN 2010)
Article: Contextual effects on SJT responses: An examination of construct validity and mean differences across applicant and incumbent contexts
Authors: W.I. MacKenzie, R.E. Ployhart, J.A. Weekley, and C. Ehlers
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

A situational judgment test (SJT) is a commonly used employee selection tool which presents job applicants with realistic work situations. Job applicants are required to choose from several response options, which range in their effectiveness (as rated by subject matter experts).  While SJTs tend to predict future job performance rather well, there is still debate as to what SJTs actually measure (SJTs correlate with and likely measure cognitive ability, personality, job knowledge, and experience simultaneously) and how they operate in different contexts (e.g., job applicants vs. incumbents).