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Workshop 8
Addressing Organizational Fixation With Fads

Presenters:  Paul Sackett, University of Minnesota
                  Kevin Nilan, 3M Corporation

Coordinator:  Mindy Bergman, Texas A&M University

Psychologists commonly encounter scenarios where organizational decision makers embrace a currently popular concept that either has not been critically evaluated or that has, in fact, been evaluated unfavorably in the research literature. In this workshop we review ways in which psychologists encounter fads in organizational settings and discuss strategies for countering organizational interest in fads. We use a variety of current examples (e.g., Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, stereotype threat, emotional intelligence, millenials, Myers-Briggs) to examine the origins, the appeal, and the research evidence for a sampling of popular concepts. We discuss how psychologists have addressed or fended off these forays in the past, noting that the nature of business is that we will always face something, we just do not get to know what that will be until it arrives.  This workshop should be of interest to internal and external practitioners who want to better understand how to address fads in organizations.

This workshop is designed to help participants:

• Describe characteristics of fads
• Summarize reasons why organizations are interested in fads
• Prepare strategies for countering organizational interests in fads
• Critique current popular topics relative to their research underpinnings

Paul R. Sackett is the Beverly and Richard Fink Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota.  He received his PhD in I-O psychology at The Ohio State University in 1979.  His research interests revolve around various aspects of testing and assessment in workplace, educational, and military settings. He has served as editor of two journals: Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice and Personnel Psychology. He has served as president of SIOP, as co-chair of the committee producing the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, as a member of the National Research Council's Board on Testing and Assessment, as chair of APA's Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessments, and as chair of APA’s Board of Scientific Affairs.

Kevin J. Nilan is manager of international selection and testing processes at 3M.  He received his PhD in I-O psychology at The Ohio State University in 1983.  Nilan began working in a Minneapolis-based consultancy in 1982 where his work focus was on individual assessments, assessment centers, 360s, and the development of selection and hiring systems.  He has been at 3M for 22 years, serving in both individual contributor and managerial roles within HR departments dealing with individual differences measurement and corporate HR development programs.  His most recent assignment involves consulting with 3M subsidiaries throughout the globe.  Nilan was chair of the Mayflower Group in 1999 and served on the Mayflower Board of Governors the previous 4 years.