Do This for Better Communication on Virtual Teams

If you’ve ever been on a conference call or worked remotely, you may have experienced being in the minority when it comes to making decisions on a virtual team. This scenario often results in majority members not wanting to address your concerns when you challenge the majority viewpoint. Whether your insights are radical or marginal, we know that contradictory opinions are needed to foster creativity and combat groupthink, which is a lack of individual creativity that may lead to harmful group consensus. What can organizations do to ensure virtual team members are open to everyone’s ideas? Researchers (Swaab, Phillips, & Schaerer, 2016) found that awareness of secret conversation opportunities can help.


What Makes People Succeed on Virtual Teams?

Does virtual teamwork require a different set of competencies from those needed in traditional teamwork? Researchers found that there are some knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that are more important in virtual teams than traditional teams. This study provides insight into the competencies needed to be a more effective team player in a virtual setting.

Empowering Leadership Leads to Success for Virtual Teams

The recent increase in virtual teams—or teams of geographically dispersed members—is likely due to advances in technology, the ability to hire irrespective of location, and the cost savings associated with needing less office space. With the growing pervasiveness of virtual teams, there is also a growing need to understand the leadership styles that promote virtual collaboration and successfully manage remote workers. […]

A Snapshot of SIOP 2016 (Pt. 1) – Employee Success

Last month, I-O Psychologists met in California to share the latest cutting-edge research. The 31st annual conference of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) was a huge success. We’ve partnered with numerous SIOP presenters, and they’ve provided us with the nitty-gritty on some of the very best presentations, which we now offer to you in a multi-part series.

Cognitive Abilities

Specific Cognitive Abilities Can Benefit Selection Programs

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


Teamwork- How Team Personality Influences Individual Behaviors

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

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

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


Are You Promoting Work Engagement, or Workaholism?

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

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

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


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

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


Employee Behavior and Wearable Monitoring Devices

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

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


Raise employee engagement with volunteerism

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


Keeping Your Business Model Afloat Before It Goes Under Water

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


Hold on tight: How to prevent choking under pressure

Topic: Performance
Publication: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (2012)
Article: Preventing motor skill failure through hemisphere-specific priming: Cases from choking under pressure
Authors: Jürgen Beckmann, Peter Gröpel, and Felix Ehrlenspiel
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Cropped_view_football_player_1In 2012, soccer players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – two of the best in the game – missed penalty kicks that would have sent their respective teams to the final of the UEFA Champions League.  To those unfamiliar with soccer, Messi and Ronaldo’s misses are akin to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant missing an open layup.


Maximum vs. typical performance: Is there really a difference? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Performance
Publication: Human Performance (NOV 2012)
Article: The relationship between typical and maximum performance: A meta-analytic examination
Authors: Beus, J.M., & Whitman, D. S.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

130315Think about how hard you work when nobody is around. Now, think about how hard you work when your boss is looking over your shoulder. Is there a difference? Research suggests that typical performance (how hard you work day-to-day) and maximum performance (your performance when you put in maximum effort) are probably not the same, but findings regarding the extent of that relationship have been mixed.

In a recent meta-analysis, Jeremy Beus and Daniel Whitman investigated the extent of the typical/maximum performance relationship as well as what other variables might affect that relationship.


Conflict Cultures: That’s How We Roll (IO Psychology)

Topic: Conflict, Culture, Leadership, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2012)
Article: Conflict Cultures in Organizations: How Leaders Shape Conflict Cultures
and Their Organizational-Level Consequences
Authors: M.J. Gelfand, L.M. Leslie, K. Keller, C. de Dreu
Reviewed By: Ben Sher, M.A.

Conflict happens in all workplaces.  That’s why we talk about managing conflict instead of preventing it.  Traditionally, research has explored how individuals or small teams deal with conflict.  New research by Gelfand, et al. (2012) has shown that entire organizations have conflict cultures.  This is when people who work together share a common style toward dealing with conflict.

In a study of close to 100 bank branches, the authors found three distinct conflict culture styles: Dominating, collaborating, and avoiding.


Coaches: Who, What, and Where

Topic: Coaching
Publication: Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice (2012)
Article: The nature and focus of coaching in the UK today: a UK survey report
Authors: Linda Jenkins, Jonathan Passmore, Stephen Palmer & Emma Short
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

In taking the pulse of the current state of coaching in the UK, the authors conducted a survey in 2010 and 2011.  The results provided information on who coaches are, what they do, and where they tend to work.  So, here we go:


Lost Sleep Equals Lost Productivity (IO Psychology)

Topic: Counter-Productive Work Behavior
Journal: Journal of Applied Psychology (2012)
Article: Lost Sleep and Cyberloafing: Evidence From the Laboratory and a Daylight Saving Time Quasi-Experiment
Authors: David T. Wagner, Christopher M. Barnes, Vivien K. G. Lim, D. Lance Ferris
Reviewed By: Isaac Sabat

New research shows that for every lost hour of uninterrupted sleep, employees are engaging in 12 additional minutes per hour of cyberloafing (using company time to check personal emails and visit non-work related websites).

This lost time can be very costly to organizations seeking to maximize employee productivity.


Job Do-ers and Job Watchers Aren’t Interchangeable (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Analysis, Measurement

Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (SEP 2012)

Article: Only Incumbent Raters in O*NET?  Oh Yes!  Oh No!

Authors: P. T. Walmsley, M. W. Natali, and J. P. Campbell

Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

The Department of Labor hosts and updates a massive database for a growing number of occupations. This web-based database, O*NET, is available for free to the public and serves as the nation’s leading resource (and my personal nerd playground) for job information.


5 Challenges to Overcome When Searching for a Job

Topic: Recruiting, Unemployment
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: Navigating the black hole: Explicating layers of job search context and
adaptational responses
Authors: Wanberg, C., Basbug, G., Van Hooft, E.A.J., & Samtani, A.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Researchers have typically studied the job search process by focusing on how hard someone is trying, what method they are using, or how their personality predicts the former.

Instead, Wanberg et al. recently defined the contextual variables, or situational demands, that affect a person’s job search by categorizing interviews with over 70 white-collar job seekers.


Workplace humor: Keep it nice

Topic: Personality, Leadership, Fairness
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Winter 2012)
Article: Am I the only one this supervisor is laughing at? Effects of aggressive humor on employee strain and addictive behaviors
Authors: Huo, Y., Lam, W., & Chen, Z.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

It’s nice to have a supervisor with a sense of humor, right? It makes work much more pleasant. However, have you ever witnessed a supervisor who thought he was being funny but he was just being mean? If so, that aggressive humor probably had pretty unpleasant consequences.

In a recent study, Yuanyuan Huo and her colleagues examined how a supervisor’s aggressive humor can affect employees’ strain at work and addictive behaviors.


Methods Minute: Why Organizational Science Should Consider Bayesian Methods

Topic: Research Methodology, Statistics
Publication: Organizational Research Methods
Article: The time has come: Bayesian methods for data analysis in the organizational sciences
Authors: Kruschke, J. K., Aguinis, H., and Joo, H.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard grumbling about the limitations with traditional null hypothesis significance testing (NHST). Or, if you’re like me, you’ve probably grumbled about it yourself.

Kruschke, Aguinis, and Joo say you’re not alone and argue that organizational science should adopt Bayesian methods instead of NHST for data analysis. (Unfortunately, organizational science has yet to jump on the bandwagon; out of 10,000 articles published over a 10 year period, only 42 used Bayesian methods!)


Still Human: What Biases Remain in Virtual Interviews?

Topic: Staffing, Interviewing
Publication: Computers in Human Behavior
Article: The effects of avatar appearance on interviewer ratings in virtual employment interviews
Authors: Behrend, T., Toaddy, S., Thompson, L.F., Sharek, D.J.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

On the morning of your big interview you get up extra early to make sure the hair is perfect and the clothes are pressed because let’s face it, first impressions are everything. But what do you do if your interview is online?

In the effort to save time and money on selecting the best candidate, companies have been increasingly turning to new voice and text technologies for conducting interviews. However, the amount of social information that can be exchanged via phone or text is low, so some companies have experimented with the use of online avatars during computer-mediated interviews to help humanize these systems. But, do interviewers regard avatars similarly as real people, and do avatars elicit the same interviewer biases?


What does it take to make the grade?

Topic: Selection
Publication: Perspectives on Psychological Science (2011)
Article: The hungry mind: Intellectual curiosity is the third pillar of academic performance
Authors: Sophie von Stumm, Benedikt Hell, and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

What predicts academic performance? Previous research has shown that both intelligence and effort do. Anything else? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

In addition to intelligence and effort, von Stumm, Hell, and Chamorro-Premuzic found that curiosity also forecasted academic achievement.


Emotional Intelligence: Is it Always Good? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Emotional Intelligence, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2012)
Article: Emotional Intelligence, Teamwork Effectiveness, and Job Performance:
The Moderating Role of Job Context
Authors: C.I.C.C. Farh, M. Seo, P.E. Tesluk
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Are you in touch with your inner feelings about emotional intelligence? Do you love the idea? Hate the idea? Does it make you angry? In any case, there is good news.

New research by Farh, Seo, and Tesluk (2012) helps bolster our understanding of emotional intelligence by identifying situations in which it is useful and situations in which it may be detrimental.


The Caution of Credit Scores: They May Do More Harm than Good (IO Psychology)

Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2012)
Article: Demographic Variables and Credit Scores: An Empirical Study of a Controversial Selection Tool
Authors: Jeremy B. Bernerth
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

IO psychologists and human resources practitioners who are frequent visitors of I/O at Work may recall a recent post that reviewed an article examining the use of social networking sites (SNWs) as a screening and selection tool. This article concluded that although they may at times contribute useful information, the risks associated with using SNWs in the hiring process currently outweigh the benefits.

However, the use of SNWs is not the only controversial selection tool that has attracted research attention in recent years. The current review focuses on another of these controversial selection tools: credit scores (cue scary organ music).


What Do You Need to Create an Innovative Workforce? (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Creativity, Selection, Business Strategy
Publication: Human Resource Management Review
Article: Hiring an innovative workforce: A necessary yet uniquely challenging endeavor
Authors: Hunter, S.T., Cushenbery, L., & Friedrich, T.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Apple. Google. Facebook. Some companies are synonymous with innovation—and their success demonstrates how important innovation is in today’s fast-changing marketplace.

In Hunter, Cushenberry, and Friedrich’s recent review article, innovation is defined as successfully implemented creativity that is both novel and useful.


Predicting the Future with Situational Judgment Tests (IO Psychology)

Topic: Job Performance, Assessment, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: The Validity of Interpersonal Skills Assessment Via Situational JudgmentTests
for Predicting Academic Success and Job Performance
Authors: F. Lievens, P.R. Sackett
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

You’re a newly minted doctor. Your overly-anxious patient just spent an evening on Google. Now he thinks that his medical knowledge rivals yours despite your decade-plus of rigorous training. Naturally, he refuses to accept your proscribed treatment and questions your credentials. How would you handle the situation? Tough one, isn’t it? Well, don’t worry; it’s only a test—a situational judgment test.

According to new research by Lievens and Sackett (2012), when these tests are given to medical school applicants, they can predict job performance many years later.


Go with the Flow or Buck the Trend? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Change Management, Culture, Decision Making
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Fools breaking out: The role of symbolic and material immunity in explaining institutional non-conformity
Authors: J. M. W. N. Lepoutre & M. Valente
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

How do those innovative companies do it? They stay on the cutting edge, seem invulnerable to the status quo, and break out of the doldrums of regular old marketplace goings on. We’re getting a few steps closer to understanding how an organization can embrace a culture of change and innovation and it comes from this article using a sample of organizations from the Flemish ornamental horticulture sector. Go figure.

“I’m not involved in Flemish ornamental horticulture,” says you. “No, wait, listen. It gets good,” says I. This research used a very traditional market (an institution, really) that has recently been presented with changes reflecting the global movement toward eco-friendliness.


Getting applicants to answer biodata items more truthfully (IO Psychology)

Topic: Selection, Faking
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SUMMER 2012)
Article: Tell me some more: Exploring how verbal ability and item verifiability influence responses to biodata questions in a high-stakes selection context
Authors: Julia Levashina, Frederick P. Morgeson, & Michael A. Campion
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

In the process of employee selection, applicants are often asked to answer questions about themselves. Such questions are often assessing biodata, or biographical data about the applicant. Biodata items ask about various life experiences, such as past interactions with others, experience demonstrating initiative, or leadership experience.

A potential problem with these types of questions is that applicants may fake their responses to appear better than they are, which could affect who is hired for the position.

In a recent study, Julia Levashina and her colleagues investigated the effect that required elaboration would have on response inflation for biodata items.


How to Keep Things Stable Along Group Faultlines (IO Psychology)

Topic: Teams, Performance, Diversity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: Bridging Team Faultlines by Combining Task Role Assignment and Goal
Structure Strategies
Authors: R. Rico, M. Sanchez-Manzanares, M. Antino, D. Lau
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Group faultlines occur when different categories of people exist within a group. This causes team members to lose cohesiveness. Similar to fault lines that lie in the ground, group fault lines can be the source of great upheaval. What can IO psychologists do to make sure faultlines don’t wreak havoc on groups?

New research by Rico, Sanchez- Manzanares, Antino, and Lau (2012) has provided an interesting and practical solution to this problem.


Matching the diversity of your people with the diversity of your customers (IO Psychology)

Topic: Diversity, Organizational Performance
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Spring 2012)
Article: Is there method to the madness? Examining how racioethnic matching influences retail store productivity
Authors: Derek R. Avery, Patrick F. McKay, Scott Tonidandel, Sabrina D. Volpone, & Mark A. Morris
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Does employee diversity lead to better organizational performance? In a recent article, Derek Avery and his colleagues argue that it can, but it’s not quite that simple. What is important isn’t so much the diversity, but the employees’ racioethnic representativeness of the customer base.


I Don’t See It That Way: The Role of Individual Differences in Perceptions of Fairness (IO Psychology)

Topic: Fairness
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAY 2012)
Article: In the Eyes of the Beholder? The Role of Dispositional Trust in Judgments of Procedural and Interactional Fairness
Authors: Bianchi, E. C., & Brockner, J.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Scholars and practitioners in IO psychology have known for some time that organizational fairness, in all its forms (i.e. procedural fairness, interactional fairness, etc.), is relevant in the study of a wide array of organizational phenomena, including employee engagement, turnover, and performance.

However, studies of the factors that impact fairness perceptions have typically been limited to environmental or organizational factors. That is, the role of employees’ characteristics has been neglected in the study of organizational fairness; as a result, differences in individuals’ perceptions of fairness have primarily been ascribed to environmental or organizational influences.


Success Written All Over Your Face (IO Psychology)

Topic: Off the Wall
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2012)
Article: The Hierarchical Face: Higher Rankings Lead to Less Cooperative Looks
Authors: P. Chen, C.G. Myers, S. Kopelman, S.M. Garcia
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Can you tell which people are important by looking at their faces? Sounds crazy, right? But don’t worry, we didn’t suddenly become Pseudoscience-at-Work, and no, you still cannot run your workplace with a perpetual motion machine. Strange as it seems, we’re talking about serious research in a serious publication.

Chen, Myers, Kopelman, and Garcia (2012) found that people react differently to high-status individuals after merely looking at their faces.


How leaders may affect followers’ resistance to change (IO Psychology)

Topic: Leadership, Change Management
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2011)
Article: Leadership and employees’ reactions to change: The role of leaders’ personal attributes and transformational leadership style Authors: Oreg, S., & Berson, Y.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Does your organization go through change? I’d be willing to bet that it does, so you may be interested in what kind of impact leaders have on their followers’ intentions to resist organizational change. The authors of this study investigated how the traits, values, and behaviors of leaders explain their followers’ resistance intentions.


Goals for Groups (IO Psychology)

Topic: Goals, Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: The Effect of Goal Setting on Group Performance: A Meta-Analysis
Authors: A. Kleingeld, H. van Mierlo, L. Arends
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

He shoots, he scores! No, not those kind of goals. We’re talking about workplace goals—the kind that are used to help improve performance. And while past research has shown that goals do improve performance for individuals, a new meta-analysis by Kleingeld, van Mierlo, and Arends (2011) confirms that goals can help groups as well.


Anger In The Workplace (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Work Environment, Creativity, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2011)
Article: Others’ Anger Makes People Work Harder Not Smarter: The Effect of Observing Anger and Sarcasm on Creative and Analytic Thinking
Authors: E. Miron-Spektor, D. Efrat-Treister, A. Rafaeli, O. Schwarz-Cohen
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Sometimes people are happy at work, and sometimes they resort to shouting, snarling, teeth-gnashing, and hair-pulling. Okay, hopefully not hair-pulling, but we’ve all witnessed anger in the workplace. What effect will displays of anger have on employees who witness it? Will their work improve or decline? Research by Spektor, et al. (2011) answers this question, and explains that it depends on the type of work the employees need to do.


I/O Psychology: Credit and Blame

Topic: Book Review
Title: The Blame Game
Author: Ben Dattner, PhD
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Brashier

When we do an excellent job at work, we want to receive credit. When a team member screws something up, we want to know that he or she will be chastised – and that we won’t. These basic human instincts – workplace survival instincts, some would argue – are at the core of Ben Dattner’s new book, The Blame Game. Dattner, an I/O psychologist, has witnessed his fair share of issues related to credit and blame in his consulting work, and he brings a wealth of personal experience and scientific knowledge to his book.


The polls are open!!

SIOP members: it is time to vote for SIOP’s next slate of elected officers.  President-elect candidates are: Rob Silzer, Managing Director, HR Assessment and Development & I-O Doctoral Faculty, Baruch/CUNY James L. Outtz, President of Outtz & Associates Deirdre J. Knapp, Vice President and Director of Assessment, Training, and Policy Studies Division at HumRRO Talya[…]

Unconscious Stereotyping in Selection

Topic: Discrimination, Selection, Human Resource Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: The Role of Automatic Obesity Stereotypes in Real Hiring Discrimination
Authors: J. Agerstrom, D.O. Rooth
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Research by Agerstrom and Rooth (2011) has shown that if hiring managers harbor negative stereotypes about obese people, they will also be more likely to actually discriminate against them. What makes this study interesting is that these stereotypes were held unconsciously.


Improve service climate to retain customers and increase profitability

Topic: Organizational Performance, Strategic HR
Publication: Human Resource Management (MAY/JUNE 2011)
Article: The service climate-firm performance chain: The role of customer retention
Authors: Towler, A., Lezotte, D. V., & Burke, M. J.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

When an organization wants to improve customer retention and therefore its profitability, it will often turn to marketing. But could HR provide another option? In this study, Towler, Lezotte, and Burke (2011) tested a model of the way in which service climate (conceptualized and measured by concern for employees and concern for customers) affects profitability.


You’re an Inspiration: Leaders, Followers, and OCB

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Leading by Example: The Case of Leader OCB
Authors: T. Yaffe & R. Kark
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Although many definitions of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) define such behavior as “extra” behavior that falls outside of the formal job description, most organizations want, and may even expect, employees to engage in OCB. This may be especially true for leaders of teams, who are generally expected to set the example of what is expected from all members of the team.

As such, organizations have an interest in knowing if leaders’ OCB can serve as inspiration or motivation for other employees to engage in OCB, particularly at the group level (i.e. would OCB be more prevalent, or viewed as more important, in a group led by an individual who engaged in frequent OCB, compared to a group led by a leader who did not frequently engage in OCB).


What the ambivalent can teach us about change

Topic: Change Management
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Ambivalence toward imposed change: The conflict between dispositional resistance to change and the orientation toward the change agent (NOV 2010)
Authors:  Shaul Oreg and Noga Sverdlik
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

As a business grows or shrinks, evolves or adjusts, one thing is always certain – change! Unfortunately, organizational change can be one of the most difficult things to deal with firsthand.  Even within one individual employee, feelings towards change can run the gambit from fierce resistance to strong support.  To address the issue of conflicting feelings towards change, Oreg and Sverdlik (2010) sought determine employees’ feelings towards (1) the concept of change and (2) how the change agent influences their reactions to imposed organizational change. 


Good News for IO Psychologists!

The Wall Street Journal mentioned I-O psychology in its recent article on “Hot Jobs of 2018.”  The article talks about the Department of Labor’s 10-year forecast for demand, pay and competition for jobs. According to the report “Psychologists will be in demand, but growth will be fastest in industrial and organizational psychology.” Here’s the link[…]

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:


A New Flavor in Training: Learner Control over Intelligent Agents

Topic: Training
SIOP Presentation: Trainee-trainer similarity in e-learning: Effects with computerized trainers
Presenters: T.S. Behrend and L.F. Thompson
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Despite its disadvantages, e-learning is becoming more and more popular in organizational and educational settings and thus the task is for researchers to explore ways that can help trainees benefit from all of e-learning’s many advantages.

In a paper presented by Behrend and Thompson, one avenue for helping trainees get the most out of e-learning is the use of intelligent agents which act as virtual tutors to trainees (think of the Microsoft paper clip except human!).  When intelligent agents are created to posses human attributes, they are known as animated pedagogical agents (APAs).


Employee Pay Range Matters, but How?

Topic: Compensation, Job Performance
Publication: Personnel Psychology (AUTUMN 2009)
Article: Contingencies in the effects of pay range on organizational effectiveness
Authors: S. Kepes, J. Delery, and N. Gupta
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

While pay variability among employees may signal to the workforce that the organization values and rewards good performance; it may also signal inequity and unfairness. From an economic perspective, it makes sense to pay for performance, but from a justice perspective, pay differentials may signal unfairness, which can lead to competition, decreased commitment, and dissatisfaction.

So which is it: Does pay variability among employees enhance or damage performance? A recent study by Kepes, Delery and Gupta (2009) suggests that the reason for the pay variability helps clear these muddy waters.


Can we Predict Lenient Performance Raters with Personality?

Topic: Performance Appraisals, Personality
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (SEP 2009)
Article: Rating level and accuracy as a function of rater personality
Author: H.J. Bernardin, C.L. Tyler, & P. Villanova
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

Believe it or not, one of the common problems with performance appraisal ratings is that they are often too lenient! This tendency toward generally high ratings is referred to as the leniency bias .

There is substantial evidence that the leniency bias really occurs. But surely this does not occur all the time, right? (We wish it did!). So can we predict which raters are going to be more lenient in their performance ratings? Bernardin, Tyler, and Villanova (2009) suggest that indeed we can.


What’s Plaguing E-learning?

Topic: Training
Publication: International Journal of Training and Development
Article: Electronic human resource management: Organizational responses to role conflicts created by e-learning.
Author: E. Oiry
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Originally, e-learning (which includes web-based or computer-based training) was introduced to overcome certain disadvantages of traditional face-to-face training programs such as securing a physical training cite, paying a trainer, etc. While an effective method of delivering information, e-learning has its imperfections too.

In a recent article published in the International Journal of Training and Development, Ewan Oiry (2009) describes his investigation into one such imperfection: role conflict. In his article, Oiry explains that when trainees are put through e-learning courses at work, there is the potential for conflicts to arise.


If You’re Thinking of Quitting, Just Do It!

Topic: TurnoverWellness
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Article: Job mobility as predictor of health and burnout.
Author: L. Liljegrin & K. Ekberg
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Do all employees who think about quitting or transferring, actually leave? Probably not! So, what happens to employees that want to quit but don’t?

To address these issues, Liljegrin and Ekberg (2009) conducted a study aimed at investigating whether intentions to leave (external mobility) or transfer (internal mobility) affect employees’ general mental health (e.g., frequently feeling anxious) and work-related burnout (e.g., constantly feeling worn out at the end of a work day) over time.


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Using the Pen to “Right” Organizational Wrongs

Topic: Organizational Justice
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Healing the wounds of organizational injustice: Examining the benefits of expressive writing.
Author: L.J. Barclay, D.P. Skarlik
iFeatured by: Benjamin Granger

When employees experience injustice in the workplace (e.g., unfair interpersonal treatment, unfair policies and procedures, unfair outcomes), they often experience negative emotions and engage in deviant behaviors to “right the wrong” (retaliation).

Adopting the commonly used practice from clinical and health psychology, researchers Barclay and Skarlicki (2009) investigated whether expressive writing helps employees cope with organization injustice: A much more productive way to deal with negative feelings don’t you think?


It’s what’s on the outside that counts – but only initially.

Topic: Assessment, Personality
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: Ability and personality predictors of salary, perceived job success, and perceived career success in the initial career stage.
Author: J.C. Rode, M.L. Arthaud-Day, C.H. Mooney, J.P. Near, T.T. Baldwin
Featured by: LitDigger

Hey there, newbie. First day on the job? If I asked you if you thought you had a promising career ahead, what would you say?  Based on a longitudinal study by Rode, Arthaud-Day, and Money (2008), I may be able to answer that question more accurately than you can right off of the bat.


Who Makes the Most out of Mentoring?

Topic: MentoringPersonality
Publication:  Journal of Vocational BehaviorArticle: The role of personality in relationship
closeness,developer assistance, and career success.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Not surprisingly, employees who develop strong ties with their mentors tend to gain more job knowledge, have greater access to important information, and gain more overall career assistance.

Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, it’s not! It goes without saying that employees can differ substantially in their personalities And it is conceivable that certain personality traits lead employees toward strong, close ties with their mentors while others do not.


Behavioral Targeting…Yuck!

Topic: Organizational Justice
Publication: Business Week
Article: Interactional justice: Communication criteria of fairness.
Blogger: James Grand

Business Week (September 8, 2008) reported that campaign managers from the McCain and Obama camps used a new advertising technique conspicuously termed “behavioral targeting” (how did that make it through PR?) in order to reach specific demographic sectors of the voting populace. With help from tech giants Yahoo! and Microsoft, behavioral targeting uncovers your interests and concerns by quietly tracking Web searches and pairing this data with  demographic information to build custom voter profiles.  From there, it gets pumped back to the  political camps and suddenly your favorite websites become playgrounds for presidential banner ads and campaign slogan pop-ups—with you none the wiser.

When dealing with any organization, individuals expect to be treated with a reasonable degree of trust and fairness. I/O psychologists refer to these as the rules of interpersonal justice (Bies & Moag, 1986): individuals expect organizations to be open about their actions, justified in their decisions, respectful towards their members, and free from prejudice in their relations.


How Do We Make People Like Us? Give the Job to Someone Else!

Topic: Strategic HR
Publication: Human Resource Management
Article: The effects of devolution on HR’s strategic role and construed image.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

For those of us working in HR, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that there are some that just plain don’t like HR (and this might be sugar coating it).  It’s not uncommon for organizational leaders and managers to complain about the activities of HR.  In fact, when organizations are in cost-cutting mode, HR often takes the first hit.  Although all of this is not always true, it’s clear that we should at least consider ways to improve HR’s reputation.

Researchers Kulik and Perry (2008) were interested in how devolving HR tasks to line managers affect perceptions of HR.  That is, instead of having HR responsible for all people-management activities (e.g., training, selection, recruitment, performance appraisal etc.), what happens to HR’s reputation when some of those responsibilities are transferred to line managers?


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Hello! You may be wondering what I/O AT WORK is all about.  Here’s the answer:  Many consider Industrial/Organizational psychology as the science behind Human Resources, Organizational Development, Organizational Effectiveness, and Organizational Behavior. I/O AT WORK helps to bridge the gap between I/O research and its application in the HR world (and beyond) by making it easier[…]

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