Chapter 17 : Industrial and Organizational
*The notes on chapter 17 are based directly off the textbook, lecture
material is not included because it will not be on the exam. I hope that’s
okay with everyone!*
17.1 Personnel Psychology: Hiring and Maintaining an Effective
- Frank and Lillian Gilbreth: pioneers in field known as industrial and organizational (I/O)
psychology as efficiency experts.
- The span of psychological science ranges from a laboratory-based discipline to a highly applied,
- Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology: scientific study of behaviour and thought in
- Field of I/O serves 3 main goals:
1. To help employers deal with employees fairly.
2. To help make jobs more interesting and satisfying.
3. To help workers be more productive.
- I/O emerged in the late 1800s from a desire to develop management practices that would have
the same degree of precision as engineering.
- There was therefore a merging of engineering and psychology into industrial psychology.
- Personnel psychology: focus on hiring people with potential, ensuring they are adequately
trained, managing and motivating employees, and evaluating performance.
- Organizational psychology: focus on the culture and organizational qualities of work.
Job Analysis: Understanding the Requirements for the Job
- I/O psychologists are systematic, provide operational definitions, collect data, and use many
other basic principles adopted by laboratory psychologists.
- Job Analysis: the process of writing a detailed description of a position in terms of the required
knowledge, abilities, skills, and other characteristics required to succeed, as well as evaluating
the value of the position for the overall organization.
- Psychologists identify the KSAOs: the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other traits required for
the specific job.
- Psychologists turn to a variety of sources for this task:
- Incumbents (people who already hold the job)
- their supervisors
- subject-matter experts (people who have technical expertise related to the job)
- Job Crafting: taking on or creating additional roles and tasks for a position over time. - Occupational Information Network (O*NET): a collection of databases that describes jobs from
six domains. (The O*NET Concept Chart is on page 623 of the textbook).
Selection: Hiring the Right People
- The ideal worker is someone whose KSAOs match those required for the job.
- unstructured interview: an employer discusses a variety of job- and personality-related topics
with a candidate with relatively few prepared questions to guide the conversation. Employer can
draw reasonably accurate conclusions about applicant’s personality, but the interview can get
- structured interview: 1. Present the same set of questions to each job candidate with planned
(rather than unstructured) follow-up questions. 2. Questions drawn directly from the job
analysis to ensure each is relevant to position. 3. Interviewer is trained to follow the same
procedures in each interview, ensures consistency of all interviews.
- situational interview questions: questions about how the candidate would respond to a
situation that is relevant to the job.
- validation studies: researchers administer tests to a large sample of incumbents and evaluate
their performance to find correlations between job performance and personality traits or
cognitive abilities. Used by I/O psychologists to determine which personality traits are
associated with success or failure in a specific position.
- Big Five/ Five Factor Model (measured by the NEO-PI) personality traits:
-Neuroticism (versus emotional stability)
COGNITION-BASED SELECTION TESTS:
- situational judgment tests: put applicants in hypothetical situations. These tests are correlated
with cognitive ability and predict job performance better than self-report personality tests.
- Cognitive tests may introduce stereotype threat – a phenomenon in which a person
unintentionally conforms to a stereotype.
THE ASSESSMENT CENTER:
- Assessment centers capitalize on multiple approaches to personnel selection by combining
personality, cognitive, and sometimes physical ability tests. An assessment center actually refers
to the process, not the location where it takes place.
- Unique aspect of assessment centers are the reliance on multiple raters, increasing the validity
of the process.
- Job simulations: role-playing activities that are very similar to situations encountered in the
-A related activity is the in-basket technique: in which prospective employees sort through a
of incoming tasks and respond to them as if they were actual tasks.
- Assessment centers have higher validity than situational judgment tests or cognitive
instruments, though they can be time consuming and expensive to operate. Performance Appraisal
- Performance Appraisal: the evaluation of current employees
WHAT NEEDS TO BE EVALUATED?
- Task Performance: describes how well an employee performs the assigned duties for his or her
position in the organization
- Organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB): the degree to which an employee contributes
beyond what is expected (e.g. exceptional teamwork, leadership).
- Counterproductive behaviour: includes actions that interfere with one’s own (and sometimes
others’) productivity, such as absenteeism, lateness, dishonesty, and inappropriate
WHO CONDUCTS THE EVALUATION?
-Traditionally, employee evaluation is for the immediate supervisor to review the employee’s
work over a period of time and provide feedback.
- The supervisor has only one perspective: a top-down perspective. A clever employee may be
substandard in many aspects of the job but have the ability to present a positive image to the
- 360-degree feedback (or multisource assessment): provides evaluation information from many
different perspectives within and beyond an organization. The 360-degree analogy reminds us
that the employee receives feedback from all angles. These assessments include information
from an employee’s co-workers, anyone whom he may supervise, and perhaps customers or
clientele that he might serve. The employee may even rate themselves.
Covers all aspects of the job: workload, productivity, leadership, teamwork, service, etc.
However, power structures in an organization might appear to be threatened.
Specifically, managers may not take subordinate feedback seriously.
PREVENTING BIAS IN EVALUATION
- Halo effect: an error in which a rater thinks highly about one aspect of an employee’s job or
personality and this leads him or her to provide similar ratings for other aspects of the
- Contrast effect: occurs when a rater evaluates one employee who is very strong in a number of
dimensions such that, by comparison, the next employee is likely to appear weak, even if he is
an average worker by other measures.
- Appraisals are essential to successful businesses because they promote positive behaviours
and create opportunities to correct negative behaviours. These assessments are infrequent and
therefore managers must rely on their memories to evaluate employees, leaving a large opening
for errors. Thus, systematic methods should be used along with multiple points of view.
17.2 Affect, Attitudes, and Behaviour at Work
Employee Affect, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction
- I/O psychologists have become increasingly interested in researching affect – individuals’
emotional responses – regarding their jobs and work in general.
- Positive Affect (PA): the tendency to experience positive emotions such as happiness,
satisfaction, and enthusiasm. - Negative Affect (NA): the tendency to experience negative emotions, including frustration,
anger, and distress.
- Trait affectivity: a tendency to experience more of one type (PA or NA) than the other
- At least two important reasons for I/O psychologists’ interest in affect:
Happier is smarter hypothesis: Employees who have PA traits seem to make
and may also be more creative. PA is associated with teamwork, general performance, etc.
When PA or NA becomes so consistent that it is as reliable as personality traits, this
can influence job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
JOB SATISFACTION VERSUS BURNOUT
- Positive or negative thoughts about work are expressed as job attitudes, a combination of
affect and thoughts an employee holds about his or her job.
- Job satisfaction: refers to the degree to which an employee is content with his or her work,
most likely to be achieved by people with positive job attitudes.
- honeymoon period: the sense of intense satisfaction as a result of starting a new job
- job satisfaction typically rises and falls throughout a career. The lower periods may include:
- Burnout: a