Psychology on the job
Prologue: The Historical Roots of Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Industrial Psychology: Personnel selection and placement
-1913: Munsterberg publishes “The Psychology of Industrial Efficiency”
-to increase productivity; we should select people with skills that match the job
- 1917 (WW1): Industrial psychology merges in response to US army’s practical problem:
- How to select the best soldiers?
- Psychologists develop two intelligence tests: Army Alpha and Army Beta
- Army Alpha – recruits who could read and write English
- Army Beta – recruits couldn’t read or write English
- Then, new tests to select best officers, best pilots; to eliminate most “neurotic” recrutis
- Psychological test could be used to screen and classify large nubers of ppl
- Then, businesses and schools want their own tests to select and classify ppl
- If in army, why not in business or schools?
- Eg: Even when applying to jobs, there are tests
- Main goal is to evaluate and place them in appropriate jobs
B. Organizational psychology (1924):
- The Hawthorne studies at Western Electric plant (in Hawthrone Illinois)
- the effect of environmental factors on productivity (eg: alering lights, temp, rest periods, etc)
- any change – increased productivity! Eg: if the lighting was decreased, the worker productivity
- physical enviro is NOT as important as the social and psychological envir
Eg: why this increase? Because they knew that were being observed (so they worked harder)
- This is known to be called the Hawthrone Effect.
Leadership in organization
- Whether or not you are going to be satisfied is heavily dependent if you have any
leadership roles in your job.
Part 1: The effect of leaders on job satisfaction
A. Survey Q: What is worst thing about your job (greatest source of stress)?
Survey A: 75% said “my boss”
- most common complaints about bosses:
- unwilling to delegate authority to workers
- abusive towards workers
- treat workers as stupid and incompetent
B. How do bad bosses become leaders?
- best workers is promoted to leader positions
- Potential problem? – being the best worker may have nothing to do with being a good
leader, so this explains why there are bad bosses.
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 charge.
2. What are these traits?
- we should be able to identify these traits…
a. Longitudinal research: measure traits at time 1; see if any are related to leader
effectiveness at later time (time 2) Eg:
- Offiicer candidates in Canadian Armed Forces
- only one trait emerged (dominance).
b. Retrospective research: Find great leaders look back to see what traits they
possessed. Eg: political leaders
Why political leaders?
- A lot of info is recorded in writing and this way we can look back to the past and see what
kind of traits they might have.
- Historians are more than willing to give out this info
1. which were the great political leaders ? – historians can give us this info.
2. Archived info about politicians and the traits can be studied from this
- Canadian prime ministers:
- Only one trait emerged: integrative complexity = ability to recognize and adopts
multiple views of situation and integrate them Eg: Trudeau
What makes American president great?
- First Results – no traits were related to leader effectiveness
- Later on Canadian psychologist reanalyzed the data…
- Found three traits – smart, messy, achievement oriented
- hundreds of traits have been measured, but very few are related to leader effectiveness;
- different studies identify different traits (not much consistency in findings);
- so, not much support for the “great person” theory of leadership. Except…
4. Except for leader’s height? (not a trait)
- Taller presidents rated as more effective leaders eg: Abraham Lincoln
- Tallest president (6 ft 4 inches) and one of America’s greatest presidents
- Taller candidates are more likely to be elected president
- 1928 – 1996 taller candidate won in 16 of 18 president selections (89% of the time!).
- 2000: G.W, Bush beat Al Gore (but Gore won more of popular vote). Who was taller?
- Bush won b/c he had the most of amount of seats
- Gore was taller by 2 inches
- 2004: Bush beat Kerry, but Kerry was 4 inches taller
- 2008: Obama beat McCain… Obama was 4 inches taller.
- 2012?: Wait and see (tonight)…
- Romney 6’2 inches and Obama 6’1 inches!!!
- Managers on US corporations (both male and female) are on average 1” taller than non-
- Maybe “great person” theory should be renamed “great – big person” theory?
- Are there other factors that might be related food leadership?
B. Good leadership depends on the Situation
1. Leader traits might be effective in one situation but not another Eg:
Integrative complexity of Can. Prime ministers went down in crisis situations (became
less effective leaders).
- only a few became even more IC in a crisis situations. - Eg: Lester Pearson and the “Suez Canal” crisis (1956)
- Suez Canal – Egypt threatening this canal. This canal con