Psychology on the Job
Chapter 6: Psychology and the Workplace
Industrial – Organizational Psychology
Leadership in Organizations
A. Industrial psychology: Personnel selection and placement
1913: Munsterberg publishes ―The Psychology of Industrial Efficiency‖
o To increase productivity, select people with skills that match the job
Personnel selection (selecting the right person for the job
1917 (WWI): Industrial psychology emerges in response to US army’s practical
oHow to select the best soldiers?
oPsychologists develop two intelligence tests: Army Alpha and Army Beta
Army Alpha for those who could read & write English
Army Beta for those who could not
Then, new tests to select best officers, best pilots; eliminate most ―neurotic‖
oPsychological tests could be used to screen and classify large numbers of
Then, businesses and schools want their own tests to select and classify people
B. Organizational Psychology (1924)
The Hawthorne studies at Western Electric Plant (in Hawthorne, Illinois)
oThe effect of environmental factors on productivity (e.g., altering lights,
temp, rest periods, etc.)
Any change increased productivity!
Physical environment is not as important as the social &
E.g., employees knew they were being observed (so they
i. The Hawthorne Effect Leadership in Organizations
Part 1: The Effect of Leaders on Job Satisfaction
A. Survey Q: What is the worst thing about your job (greatest source of stress)?
Survey A: 75% said ―my boss‖
Most common complaints about bosses:
o Unwilling to delegate authority to workers;
o Abusive towards workers
o Treat workers as stupid & incompetent
B. How do bad bosses become leaders?
1. Best workers are promoted to leader position
Being a good worker may have nothing to do with being a good leader
Part 2: What makes a Good Leader?
A.The Great Person Theory
1. Basic idea: Great leaders are born with special ―traits‖ that allow them to take
2. What are these traits
a) Longitudinal research: Measure traits at time 1; see if any are related to
leader effectiveness at later time (time 2) E.g.,
Officer candidates in Canadian Armed Forces
o Only one trait emerged (dominance).
b) Retrospective research: Find great leaders; look back to see what traits
E.g., political leaders (because they’re recorded)
o Canadian Prime Ministers
Only one trait emerged: integrative complexity
= ability to recognize and adopt multiple views
of situation and integrate them (e.g., Trudeau)
o American Presidents
No traits were related to leader effectiveness
or maybe three (smart, messy, achievement
a) Hundreds of traits have been measured, but very few are related to
b) Defferent studies identify defferent traits (not much consistency in
findings); c) So not much support for the ―great person‖ theory of leadership
4. Except for leader’s height? (not a ―trait‖)
a) Taller presidents are rated as more effective leaders (e.g., Abe Lincoln);
Tallest president (6’4‖) and one of America’s greatest.
Taller candidates more likely to be elected president
o 1928-1996: taller guy made president 89%
o 2000: G.W. Bush beat Al Gore (but Gore won more of
popular vote). Who was taller?
o Gore (2 inches)
o 2004: Bush beat Kerry, but Kerry was 4 inches taller.
o 2008: Obama beat McCain… and was 4 inches taller.
o 2012?: Wait and see (tonight)..
Romney is 6’2‖ Obama is 6’1‖
Managers in US corporations (both male and female) are on
average 1‖ taller than non-managers.
Are there other factors that might be related to good leadership?
B) Good leadership depends on the Situation
1. Leader’s traits might be effective in one situation but not another. E.g.,