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2015 Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award

Michael FreseMichael Frese, National University of Singapore

Dr. Frese’s work exemplifies I-O psychology’s core values of rigor, relevance, productivity, creativity, and global impact. He is truly near the top of the I-O field in terms of scholarly output, recognition, and impact. Some of his most important scientific contributions are in the areas of stress at work, personal initiative, learning from errors, and entrepreneurial behavior. An example of his concept of proactive behavior was a study that compared the personal initiative of workers in East and West Germany, his native land. It showed how the huge gap in work cultures in the two countries was responsible for the low personal initiative of East German employees. He was one of the first scholars to address how a complex problem at work—making errors—had values and could be used to affect workers in a positive manner. He has mapped the processes by which errors contribute to learning: how error management training reduces negative emotions toward errors and induces metacognitive activity and leads to higher performance. His recent work has been in entrepreneurial behavior, which he has focused on helping develop third world economies, especially in Africa, and solve what appear to be intractable social problems. In this work, he has become an internationally known advocate for industrial and organizational psychology as a science-driven discipline for improvement of work behavior.

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