Industrial-Organizational Psychology

  1. Personality tests are valid – to a point.  It’s almost undisputed that the major personality tests generally tell us something useful about a person.  But how much they tell us is usually pretty small – they make us only slightly smarter about the person taking the test.  So, how do you change the tests so they make us more than just slightly smarter?  Context, context, context!  One name used for context is “frame of reference.”  So, instead...
  2. Sports fans have heard commentators talk about certain players "understanding the team concept." But what does that mean in the organizational world? Is there such an understanding, and can you measure it in job applicants (and thereby select employees based on it) and does it predict job performance once hired into a team? Mumford and his colleagues have come up with a measure of this very thing, and have provided evidence that it is...
  3. All of us have either seen anger used, or have used it ourselves, in a workplace conflict.  It’s safe to say that sometimes it is effective in getting the result the angry person seeks, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it backfires and makes matters worse, generating stubbornness in the person who is the object of the anger. Van Kleef and Cote have looked at the question of whether there is a pattern to when anger works and when it does not,...
  4. As even Snow White knew, good moods in the workplace are to be encouraged.  It is not news, either to Walt Disney or to organizational psychologists, that positive moods not only feel good, but also improve task performance.  What is not fully understood is why that is so.  Why is it that positive mood generally improves performance?  Tsai, Chen, and Lieu think that it is a combination factors both intrapersonal (motivational) and...
  5. If we see Barack Obama in the midst of an excited crowd of admirers, are we more likely to see him as charismatic? According to Pastor and his colleagues, we are.  But don’t get excited, you uncharismatic leaders out there.  Simply persuading your supporters to get excited won’t substitute for your own charisma – you’ve got to have that, first.  Only then, with your own charisma established, will the sight of your excited supporters increase...
    Posted 9 years 3 weeks ago
    Read more about ""Charisma is a Fire""
  6. In a meta-analysis of 46 studies of telecommuting, involving over 12,000 employees, Gajedran and Harrison of Pennsylvania State University concluded that existing research generally supports the well-publicized claims that telecommuting is good for employers and employees alike. However, “telecommuting intensity”, or the extent of scheduled time that employees spend doing tasks away from a central work location, can play a role in the impact of...
  7. In recent years, employers have paid increasing attention to their employees’ struggle to balance work and family responsibilities. Often, this effort has taken the form of providing more family-friendly benefits and policies. However, it now seems that work redesign may be one tool available to employers. Valcour’s study of service employees and their work-family satisfaction concluded that, while the more hours a person works, the less...
  8. Pregnant women have a special status, but “special” is not necessarily good, particularly when it comes to the workplace.  In a fascinating exploration of the Theory of Ambivalent Sexism, Hebl and her colleagues examined how pregnant women are treated differentially from non-pregnant women in two kinds of settings: one consistent with a sexist view of the “proper”, or more traditional role for women (e.g. shopping), and one inconsistent with...
  9. There is a widely held belief, among both entrepreneurs and researchers, that the world of entrepreneurship is best navigated by instinct, not careful, elaborate planning. However, Frese and his colleagues at Justus-Liebig-University, in Giessen, Germany, would disagree. As it turns out, “elaborate and proactive planning” is significantly related to entrepreneurial success.
  10. These posts reference research addressing the role of sex-based types (or stereotypes) in the lives of organizations and the people in those organizations.
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