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PSYCH339 Lecture Notes - Personnel Selection, Social Mobility, Homo Economicus

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Richard Ennis

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Historical views and workers
Necessary Evil work is something that you don’t really want to do
Slaves and servants
Worker as inferior
Ennobling keeping people busy or occupied; most common notion is that all people must work
Means to religious salvation
Worker as sinner
Mastery work is meaningful, given a choice, the vast majority of people will choose to work, not just because of
money but because of the sense of fulfillment
Means to esteem and fulfillment
Worker as superior and good
History of Personnel Psychology
Before the Industrial Revolution
Ancient, Medieval, and Middle Ages
Rigid social caste systems based on birth “rights” - most part, world was governed by cast systems which
causes you a rare occasion to have an upward mobility because upper classes hold the power; from the
moment you were born, you know right away what are you going to be (if you’re born with a farmer, you’ll
be a farmer)
Plato’s ideal state (The Republic) Plato started to talk about personnel psychology; instead of assigning
people on their jobs based on their history, people must be assigned according to their talent, passion, and
abilities (then we will have the best personnel/ ideal state)
Aristotle and slavery Aristotle looks at his world (where casting system is dominant) and that’s what he
thought the world should be; it is the intention of nature to make the body of slaves different from each
other; SEE SLIDE; extreme case of discrimination (i.e. gender discrimination She then formed to be a
housewife who is then fitted to become a domestic helper… it’s clear then that men are dominant by nature
and women are housewives.. SEE SLIDE)
The Renaissance and Protestant Reformation people are starting to get out from these cast system
Fall of church dominance - people are starting to get out from these cast system
Rise of “homo economicus” perspective “economic men” TWO IDEAS: 1. People are rational when making
decisions Know the Pros and cons and weight what’s more advantage and not. 2. Motivated by economics
(money) people will primarily do everything for money and they’re looking for money to do everything
Social mobility based on ability
The Industrial Revolution and Scientific Management
Disguised Slavery economic slavery ( there are 50 people who are willing to take your job wherein you can get
kicked on your job easily in India, you don’t even have benefits on your job but you have to work 7 days a week)
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F. W. Taylor (1911) Principles of Scientific Management - if you manage in a scientific way your employers will benefit
and so are you
Work simplification training workers up to a criteria of maximum/ amazing efficiency (a company will
succeed because of all the skilled work force)
Piece-rate pay system you’re going to get paid according to your production – the harder you work, the
more you accomplish, the more you make
Hugo Münsterberg (1913) Psychology and Industrial Efficiency (first book in I/O)
“Father” of Personnel Psychology
First text on selection and training
Cut back their pay just to make your workers work harder and work for the best (not sure, must search)
The World Wars
USA selection problem military selection: who goes where? Since they only have a small army, they find it hard to
choose officers and followers among those many recruited people. So they came up to this idea of picking the officials
according to their jobs (i.e. Leaders to generals; leadership skills = general)
Robert Yerkes and selection testing all people volunteering will take an I.Q. test, those who scored high will be an
officer those who scored low, will be a follower.
Backlash after the war - The whole IQ test becomes an abused personnel selection tool because your life is mapped
out according to the results of your IQ test (i.e. if you got low, you’ll be low forever, and it does not see whether you
work hard or how persevered you are.
OSS and creation of Assessment Centers assessment like initiation on fraternities those who survived are called
spy material personnel
Women in the workforce women to do their patriotic duty; women outperform men
Backlash after the war - then all of the sudden, the men come back in the workplace and the stereotype of women
that can’t do jobs / gender discrimination on the workplace comes back again
Human Resources Movement
Three Sources
1) Elton Mayo & the Hawthorne Studies a series of studies; As the workplace becomes darker and darker,
the productivity increases; The more difficult they are making it to see, the more productive they are (the
more production it becomes)
2) Union movement
3) Douglas McGregor (1960) The Human Side of Enterprise
The Hawthorne Studies 1924 &1927
Elton Mayo & Fritz Roethlisberger, Harvard U.
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