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1

What is Industrial/Organisational (I/O)
Psychology?

The study of behaviour in work settings and the application of psychology principles to change work behaviour.

2

OP Topics include:

-Recruitment and Selection
 Training
 Measurement of employee job performance
 Motivation to work
 Job satisfaction and job stress
 Group processes in the workplace
 Conditions of work

3

Walter Dill Scott

The Beginnings (Early 20th Century)
 First to apply psychology to advertising, employee
selection, and management issues
 Wrote The Theory and Practice of Advertising (1903)
 Formed first consulting company in industrial
psychology

4

Hugo Munsterburg

Advocated the use of psychological tests in selection

5

How did WW1 and the testing movement impact the history of organisational psychology?

U.S. Army commissioned psychologists to
devise intelligence tests for the placement of
Army recruits. Developed two tests:
 Alpha Army: For recruits who could read and write
 Beta Army: For recruits who could not read
• After the war, the tests were adapted for
civilian use and new ones were designed for a
variety of situations

6

How did The Hawthorne Studies and Motivational Issues impact the history of organisational psychology?

• In 1927, management wanted to boost
productivity in the Hawthorne plant of
Western Electric Company
• Put workers in test rooms and increased
illumination levels for some workers but not
others.
• Results: Productivity increased in both rooms
• Made other changes (e.g., more rest periods,
free lunch etc.)
• Results: Productivity levels always increased!

7

Hawthorne Effect

The classic Hawthorne
studies apparently showed that worker
productivity was increased by the attention
paid to the workers (Mayo, 1933)

8

Human relations movement

Emphasises the importance of social factors in influencing work performance.
• BUT recent research has debunked the classic
Hawthorne studies (Kompier, 2006).

9

How did WW2 impact the history of organisational psychology?

Psychologists called to improve selection and
placement of military personnel
• The need for state-of-the-art machinery, and
the increase in complexity of that machinery,
sparked the development of human factors
psychology

10

Later Developments in Organisational Psychology

• Explosive growth in field paralleled the growth
in U.S. business and technical enterprise
• New technologies meant that employees
needed enhanced and redesigned training
programs
• Organisational issues also assumed greater
importance (e.g., human relations skills)

11

What is a Job Analysis?

The procedure for determining
the duties and skill requirements of a job and
the kind of person who should be hired for it.
• The information obtained is then used for
developing job descriptions (a list of what the
job entails) and job specifications (a list of a
job’s human requirements, or what kind of
people to hire for the job).

12

Why Conduct a Job Analysis?

• The criteria from a job analysis become the basis for:
–Generation of job descriptions
–Specification of worker characteristics
–Hiring employees (e.g., test selection)
–Performance appraisal and promotion
–Job classification
–Job evaluation
–Vocational counselling
–Job design and redesign
–Ergonomic interventions
–Worker safety
–Staffing planning
–Research criteria
–Training employees
–Legal requirements*

13

Main Steps in a Job Analysis Project

1. Identify purpose
2. Who to include*
3. What methods to choose*
4. Communicate the project
5. Collect all relevant materials
6. Analyse the job
7. Write up and integrate the data
8. Review
9. Feedback outcomes

14

Sources of Job Information

• Subject Matter Experts (SME, i.e., person
who has direct, up-to-date experience with the
job for a long enough time to be familiar with
all of its tasks)
1. The job incumbent
2. The supervisor
3. Trained job analyst
• In general, incumbents and supervisors are the
best sources of descriptive job information, and
job analysts are better qualified for
comparisons among a set of jobs

15

Methods to Collect Job Analysis Information

1. Review written materials
2. Standardised measures
3. Job participation
4. Interviews
5. Job diaries/Activity logs
6. Observations*
7. Survey questionnaires*
8. Focus groups*
Multiple methods are preferred, but select the
most appropriate for the purpose

16

1. Review Written Materials

• E.g., previous job descriptions, O*NET
• Existing data should always be checked to
make sure that it conforms to the job as it
is currently performed and also to ensure
that it accounts for the inclusion of new
technology in the job

17

2. Standardised Measures

• E.g., Position Analysis Questionnaire
(PAQ): A structured questionnaire that
analyses various jobs in terms of 187 job
elements that are arranged into six
categories:
 Information input
 Mental processes
 Work output
 Relationships with other persons
 Job context
 Other job characteristics

18

3. Job Participation

• A job analyst actually performs a particular
job or job operation to get a firsthand
understanding of how the job is performed

19

4. Interviews

• Ask SMEs about: the major duties of the
position; the education, experience and skill
required; the physical and mental demands etc.
• Accounts may be biased, so job analysts may
want to interview the job incumbent, the
incumbent's supervisor, the incumbents’
subordinates, and other people with same job.

20

5. Job Diaries/Activity Logs

• Job incumbents record their daily activities in a
diary
• Provides a detailed, hour-by-hour, day-by-day
account of the worker’s job.
• But can be quite time consuming for the job
incumbent and analyst

21

Case Study Example
Frontline Police Officer Job Analysis

• Purpose: to identify the “inherent requirements”
of frontline policing
• Inherent requirements must be:
 Actually performed on the job
 Universally required of all employees in that
position
 A fundamental part of the job
• When defending a claim, employers must draw
on objective and current evidence regarding
essential aspects of the role

22

Case Study Methodology

Job analysis
• Observations
• Survey
• Focus groups

23

Job Analysis: Observations

Purpose
• To validate previous police job descriptions
• To enable the researchers to better understand
the nature of the job
Participants
• Almost 300 hours spent observing 36 frontline
police officers (9 female, 27 male) from rural
and metropolitan areas

24

Observation strengths & weaknesses

Strengths
• Provides detailed information about job
• Observer can learn about culture and jargon
Considerations
• Costly and time consuming to get large
sample size
• Time sampling– amount of time and
frequency of sampling
• Observed participants may behave differently
• Observer’s may not be able to determine
what was required to undertake task
performed
• Critical/infrequent tasks not observed

25

Job Analysis: Survey

Purpose
• To address the considerations of the
observations study
• To survey the frequency and importance of
several abilities for police officers
Participants
• 1000 questionnaires were distributed to 13
regions.
• 268 police officers completed and returned
the questionnaires (185 male, 66 female)
• 13 participants excluded using validity
screening questions

26

Survey strengths & weaknesses

Strengths
• Large, representative sample easier to obtain
• Can inform about infrequent events
• Anonymous
Considerations
• Response biases of self-report measure
• Does not allow for qualitative assessment
•Information obtained is limited by the
questions asked. Cannot probe deeper

27

Job Analysis: Focus Groups

Purpose
• To obtain a more qualitative assessment of
frontline officer’s own perceptions of the
skills and abilities required
• To qualify information gained from the
questionnaire study
Participants
• Groups of 5-8 police officers from 5 different
regions participated in the study

28

Focus Groups strengths & weaknesses

Strengths
• Allowed for open-ended feedback from
officers
• Subjective information enhanced
understanding of survey findings
Considerations
• Small sample size
• Influence of researchers or senior officers

29

Job Analysis: Police Findings

• Key characteristics often include: honesty,
reliability, sensitivity, communication
skills, motivation, problem solving skills,
and team work (e.g., Pozzulo, Bennell, & Forth, 2009)

30

Job Analysis Issues

• Jobs change over time, so job analyses
should be conducted on a periodic basis
• The concept of a ‘job’ has been changing over
the past few years. Organisations need to be
flexible and responsive to compete in the
global environment. Thus, jobs are less well defined
now and tend not to have a clearly
delineated set of responsibilities.

31

Personnel Selection

• Selection involves matching the person to
the job or organisation, and then
evaluating the effectiveness of that match
• Need information on:
 What the job requires
 What the person has to offer (KSAOs)
 How well the person (or that type of
person) performs in that type of work

32

The Selection Process: Utility

1. Company performance always depends in
part on employees.
2. It is very costly to recruit and hire
employees.
3. There are many legal implications of
incompetent selection.
4. Can depend on selection ratio and base
rate of success

33

Selection Ratio

Number of job vacancies/ Number of applicants
• If selection ratio ≥ 1 utility decreases
• If selection ratio less then or equal to one utility increases

34

Base Rate of Success

• Base rate: The proportion of hires
considered successful before implementation
of selection system
• The higher the base rate the less likely a
new system will be beneficial

35

Steps in the Selection Process

I. Employee Recruitment
II. Employee Screening
III. Employee Selection
and Placement
IV. Validity Check

36

I. Employee Recruitment

Process by which
companies attract qualified applicants
• Employee referrals and applicant-initiated
contacts yield higher quality workers with
lower rate of turnover than newspaper ads or
employment agency placement (e.g., Saks, 1994)
• Internet sites have lots of job seekers and
employers, and require sifting through many
potential applicants
• Employees try to sell themselves to
companies, but companies also try to sell
themselves to employees
• Characteristics of recruitment program and
recruiters can influence applicants’ decisions
to accept or reject job offers
• Some companies “oversell” themselves
which can cause new employees to become
dissatisfied and unmotivated

37

How does RJP relate to employee recruitment?

• Realistic job previews (RJP): An accurate
presentation of the prospective job and
organisation made to applicants
• RJPs increase job commitment and
satisfaction; decrease turnover (e.g., Horn et al., 1998)
• RJPs allow applicants to self-select, lower
unrealistically high job expectations, and may
provide applicants with information that will
later be useful on the job.
• But, applicants are more likely to turn down a
job offer when RJP presented

38

II. Employee Screening

The process of
reviewing information about job applicants to
select workers
1. Applications and resumes
2. References
3. Employment testing
4. Assessment Centres
5. Interviews

39

1. Applications and Resumes

• Purpose: to collect biographical information,
which is among the best predictors of future
job performance
• First impressions count! (Macan & Dipboye, 1994)
• Questions that are not job-related should not
be on application forms
• It can be difficult to evaluate and interpret
this information to determine most qualified
applicants

40

2. References

• May have limited importance because:
 It is unlikely that applicants will give details of
someone who would say something bad
 All references can be so positive that employers
can’t distinguish between applicants
 Litigation against employers who provide bad
references has caused some employers to refuse to
write them
• Still widely used in postgrad schools and
professional positions
 Often include rating forms
 Some get applicants to waive rights to see letter

41

3. Employment Testing

• Most employers use standardised tests
because it can be costly and time-consuming
to create valid and reliable tests
• Measure:
a. Biodata
b. Cognitive ability
c. Mechanical ability
d. Motor and sensory ability
e. Job skills and knowledge
f. Personality
g. Integrity
h. Other tests

42

a. Biodata

Background information and
personal characteristics
• There are no standardised biodata
instruments, and they can be difficult to
develop
• Can be effective for screening and placement

43

b. Cognitive Ability

• May be tests of general intellectual ability or
tests of specific cognitive skills
• Typical tests include: WAIS, Wonderlick
Personnel Test, Raven’s matrices
• Cognitive ability is predictive of job success
• Provides an indication of the individual’s learning
potential and capacity to manage complexity in
problem solving, decision making etc.
• Validity moderated by complexity of job
• These tests may have adverse impact on
particular groups

44

c. Mechanical Ability Tests

• Standaridsed tests have
been developed to
measure abilities in
indentifying, recognising,
and applying mechanical
principles
• Effective screening for
positions involving
operating and repairing
machinery, construction,
engineering

45

d. Motor and Sensory Ability Tests

• Motor tests: E.g., speed tests that require manipulation of small parts to measure fine motor dexterity
• Sensory tests: E.g., tests of hearing, visual acuity, and perceptual discrimination

46

e. Job Skills and Knowledge Tests

• Work samples tests: Measure applicants’
abilities to perform brief examples of
important job tasks
 Pos: clearly job-related and can serve as
realistic job preview
 Neg: Can be expensive and time-consuming
 Can be one of the best predictors of job
performance (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998)
• Job knowledge tests: Measure specific
types of knowledge required to perform a job

47

f. Personality

Before 1990s considered invalid predictors by
researchers although used by practitioners
• Now: Work-related personality characteristics
can be reasonably good predictors of job
performance, especially when the they are
derived from job analysis
• Some personality measures (e.g., MMPI) are
used to screen out applicants who posses
psychopathologies

Conscientiousness predicts: Performance across jobs, Teamwork, Training
Emotional stability (Neuroticism) predicts: Performance across jobs, Teamwork
Extroversion predicts: Performance in specific roles e.g. sales, mgt Teamwork, Training
Agreeableness predicts: Teamwork, Customer service
Openness to experience Training

48

What different things to personality and cognitive ability predict?

Maximal (can do) performance best predicted by cognitive ability and typical (will do) performance best predicted by personality.

49

g. Integrity Tests

Designed to assess an applicant’s honesty and character through questions concerning drug use, shoplifting, petty theft, etc.

Although overt integrity tests are easy to ‘fake good’, covert tests are not, and the results are somewhat predictive of job performance (Alliger et al, 1996)

•Integrity tests are valid predictors of:
•Dishonesty
•Counterproductive behaviours (e.g., chronic tardiness, taking extended work breaks, ignoring or passing off assigned work tasks)

50

Other assessing tests

•Drug testing is on the rise
•Graphology: Analysis of handwriting

51

4. Assessment Centres

•Structured setting in which applicants take part in multiple activities (e.g., battery of written tests, role-playing, situational exercises, in-basket test), monitored by a group of evaluators.
•Typically used in large organisations for managerial positions
•Can be good predictors of managerial success, but can be very costly

52

5. Interviews

•One of the most common selection procedures
•Validity varies according to how the interview is conducted:
a.Traditional unstructured interviews
b.Structured interviews

53

a. Traditional Employment Interviews

•In unstructured interviews you simply ask questions that come to mind.
•No formalized “scoring” for the quality of each answer.
•May actually diminish the tendency to make simple stereotype judgments (e.g., about gender, race)

54

Traditional Employment Interviews

•Physically attractive people hired more than those less physically attractive, although not by the most experienced managers
•Unstructured interviews often give rise to poor selection decisions and sometimes lack predictive validity.
•There can be low level of agreement between interviewers

55

Factors That Can Undermine an Interview’s Usefulness

•Applicant self-presentation
•Snap Judgments
•Negative emphasis
•Self-fulfilling prophecies
•Misunderstanding the job
•Interview skills (e.g., communication) may not relate to job
•Pressure to hire
•Candidate-order (contrast) error
•Influence of nonverbal behavior
•Telegraphing
•Too much/too little talking
•Similar-to-me effect
•Halo effect
•Other personal prejudices/biases

56

b. Structured Interviews

•All applicants are evaluated in the same manner (same information is obtained in the same situation from all applicants, who are then compared on a common, relevant set of dimensions)
•Structured interviews are better than traditional interviews

57

What types of questions are asked in structured interviews?


Situational questions: Asks interviewees how they would deal with specific job-related, hypothetical situations

Behavioural questions: Asks interviewees to draw on past job incidents and behaviours to deal with hypothetical future work situations

Job knowledge questions: Assesses interviewee knowledge about the job

Background questions: Supplements information from resume and application form

58

What employee screening tests are most effective? Comparative Validities for Overall Job Performance (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998)

Work sample tests .54
Cognitive ability tests .51
Structured interviews .51
Job knowledge tests .48
Assessment centres .37
Biodata .35
Conscientiousness .31
References .26
Unstructured interviews .14
Graphology .02
Age -.01

59

III. Employee Selection & Placement

•Employee selection: The actual process of choosing people for employment from a pool of applicants
•Once employers have gathered information about job applicants, they can combine this information in various ways to make selection decisions
•Usually these decisions are made subjectively, but such decisions are error prone

60

How can decisions regarding employee selection be made?

•Decisions can be made more objectively using:

Multiple regression: A statistical decision-making model

Multiple cut-off model: Uses a minimum cutoff score for each of the various predictors of job performance

Multiple hurdle model: Requires an acceptance or rejection decision to be made at each of several stages in the screening process. Applicants who do not pass one of the hurdles are no longer considered for the job

61

What is employee placement?

The process of assigning workers to appropriate jobs

Only takes place when there are two or more positions that a new worker could fill

62

What is a validity check of the employee selection process?

Test the selection procedures to determine if they succeeded in identifying the best workers for the job.

63

Equal Employment Opportunity in Employee Selection and Placement

•Adverse Impact: Occurs when members of one sub-group are selected disproportionately more or less often than members of another sub-group

64

Take Home Message

Selection requires matching the job requirements with the attributes of the applicant.

The selection process involves four stages: employee recruitment; employee screening; employee selection and placement; validity check

Employee screening techniques vary in their effectiveness

An important factor in all personnel decisions is to protect against discrimination in employment