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SIOP Members in the News

Clif Boutelle

SIOP members can be important sources of information for reporters’ stories about workplace-related topics. And no wonder! SIOP members have a diverse range of expertise as evidenced by the listings in Media Resources on the SIOP Web site (www.siop.org). There are more than 100 different workplace topics with more than 2,200 SIOP members who can serve as resources to the news media.

SIOP members willing to talk with reporters about their research interests are encouraged to list themselves in Media Resources. It can easily be done online. It is important, though, that in listing themselves, members include a brief description of their expertise. That is what reporters look at, and a well-worded description can often lead reporters to call.

SIOP members should periodically check and update their information, if needed.

It is not just the traditional newspaper and magazine outlets that are writing work-related stories. There are numerous online sites doings some excellent reporting on the kinds of issues in which SIOP members have a vast amount of expertise.

Every mention in the media is helpful to SIOP’s mission to gain greater visibility for the field of I-O psychology. It is often a slow process, but more and more reporters are learning about I-O and how SIOP members can contribute to their stories.

Following are some of the press mentions that have occurred in the past several months:

Christian Resick of Drexel University contributed to a February 2 MLB.com story on leadership qualities of Negro League executives. Operating in the shadows of the major leagues, many Black baseball executives were successful. The reason, said Resick, is enlightened leadership, which includes work ethic, willingness to sacrifice for the greater good, and strong organizational and communication skills. “Great leaders are visionaries and are committed to that vision,” he said, and the owners of Black baseball teams had a strong will and determination to hold their leagues together and make them thrive.

Ben Dattner
of Dattner Consulting in New York City was quoted in a February 2 Wall Street Journal story on how job candidates can answer the often-asked question “What is your greatest weakness?” Developing a careful game plan to prepare for that question is important. Dattner said it is equally important to consider an employer’s corporate culture.

He was also interviewed on the January 18 Today Show where he discussed how people reenact family dynamics in the workplace. The interview was a follow-up of a December 4 New York Times story about how a growing number of business psychologists are looking at the influence of birth order and other family roles and niches on office behavior. In that story he pointed out how the use of personality tests to measure employees’ “emotional intelligence” or, for example, how they handle conflict has become increasingly common.

And Dattner was quoted in a January 8 BusinessWeek story on managing through a crisis. It is important for executives to take the lead in cost-cutting measures, including their own salaries. “The last thing you want is for people to perceive that you’re in it for yourself,” he said.

The January issue of HR News (IPMA-HR magazine) focused on benefits and included a story that featured SIOP members Wayne Cascio of the University of Colorado Denver, Ellen Kossek of Michigan State University, Nancy Santiago, an HR consultant from Coconut Creek, FL, and Jeff Bailey of the University of Idaho. They discussed how some organizations are using nontraditional benefits as money-saving measures while still keeping employees happy.

An Associated Press story about the emotions experienced by workers who survive layoffs that appeared in newspapers around the country the week of January 26 quoted Stuart Sidle of the University of New Haven (CT). He said workers should concentrate on doing work that matters, showing the boss that they are not expendable.

A similar story also appeared in the December 13 Connecticut Post, and Sidle was interviewed on the subject for a MarketWatch radio program.

Brooks Holtom of Georgetown University contributed to a Wall Street Journal article about incentive-based payoffs increasingly being tied to performance. In addition to bonuses, employers are doling out cash awards to employees who exceed expectations. Holtom said cash awards typically are given on the spot, which is “particularly motivating workers to achieve better results. The closer the award is to the actual performance, the stronger the reinforcing effect.”

Terry von Thaden of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Diane Damos of Damos Aviation Services in Gurnee, IL, and Tahira Probst of Washington State University Vancouver offered their comments in a January 23 Salem (OR) News story on the January airplane landing in the Hudson. Von Thaden noted the pilot, Chelsey Sullenberger, had a master’s degree in I-O psychology and added that people who study behavior and workplace safety are really cognizant of looking at emergencies in terms of all the things that can go wrong. Damos credited Sullenberger’s reactions to his “highly technical training. He is a product of an American air system that is the safest in the world.” Probst noted although the knowledge that individuals have is important, the organization has to create a climate of safety because “things happen so fast, it really is about creating a culture of work safety for individuals.”

On the January 23 edition of MSN Money, Constance Dierickx of RHR International (Atlanta) commented how when a star CEO leaves the organization, it is sometimes difficult for the successor if the former CEO stays around in some capacity. “The Board has to say to the old CEO, ‘Get out of the way,’” she advised. And she also noted that it is a failure of the succession process if a CEO change leads to the loss of key talent.

A January 18 San Francisco Chronicle story on the expectations facing President Barack Obama included comments from Deniz Ones of the University of Minnesota. She noted that Obama possesses many of the traits that lead to success not only in the presidency but in any pursuit: intelligence, including not just intellectualism but judgment and “smarts”; openness to new ideas; an ability to influence and inspire others; competence and dependability.

For a January 16 Wall Street Journal story on succession planning as it relates to Apple and CEO Steve Job’s health issues and faulting Apple’s board for not making it clear who is in charge, the writer called on Paul Winum of RHR (Atlanta) for his comments. He said it was important for the person (Tim Cook) who is handling the day-to-day management of the company to increase his visibility both inside and outside the company. He advised holding a monthly meeting with analysts updating the business so that investors can understand “how the current executive team is taking care of business.” He also suggested that Cook hold an electronic “town hall” meeting with Apple employees every 2 weeks about similar developments.

David Scarborough of Kronos, Inc. was a major contributor to a January 7 Wall Street Journal story on personality testing and whether they are susceptible to cheating. Despite Internet tips on how to be successful in employment tests, Scarborough said, “We see absolutely no evidence of any significant cheating taking place in the use of our assessments or that the cheating is substantially affecting the validity of the assessments.”

The January–February issue of The California Psychologist carried a story on women leaders written by Judith Blanton of RHR International (Los Angeles). She cited research that showed career paths and experiences of men and women are subtly, but significantly, different, suggesting that both women and their organizations need to adapt in order for women to become effective leaders. She also described how RHR developed The Authentic Leader Model, which can be used as a tool to demonstrate how the dimensions of an individual woman leader’s psychology and her professional and personal environment work together to create leadership excellence.

David B. Peterson of Personnel Decisions International (Minneapolis) contributed a commentary to a December Harvard Business Review research report entitled “The Realities of Executive Coaching.” Coaching today is usually on the positive side—developing high-potential talent and facilitating a transition in or up, he wrote. Although most coaches provide qualitative assessments of progress, they do not often give feedback in the form of quantitative data on behaviors or business outcomes of the coaching engagement. Companies should ask for these kinds of assessments if they want to get value for the money they spend on coaching.

The History Channel in late December and early January aired a series exploring envy, one of the seven deadly sins. The late Robert Vecchio of Notre Dame University was interviewed for the program and discussed well-known literary and historical examples of envy, such as David and Saul, the slaying of Caesar, as well as recent findings pertaining to envy in the workplace.

Rebecca Schalm of RHR International (Calgary) produces a regular HR column for Troy Media Corp., which is picked up by a variety of publications in Canada. Her December 21 column focused on how workers can regain control of their careers and adjust to economic crises that threaten their jobs.

Harry Martin of Cleveland State University authored an article that appeared in the December 15 Wall Street Journal. Writing about training, much of it never actually used on the job and therefore wasted, he said organizations would get better results from their training programs if they create an environment that encourages people to make changes. He said anxiety and old habits often keep trainees from using new skills and knowledge on the job. So the key to effective training, he says, isn’t necessarily what happens in the classroom, but it’s what is done with that training afterwards.

A December 12 story that moved on Reuters and appeared in several newspapers around the country and in Canada, including the Toronto Globe and Mail, was based upon a study by Cornell University professor John Hausknecht. The study found that the most dissatisfied workers have the most absences when times are good, but their work attendance is good when times are bad because they feel they can’t afford to take extra days off. He said the good news is that committed and satisfied workers tend not to take days off no matter how the economy is doing.

The December 8 Albany Times Union featured a story on the recovery of Matthew Ramige, the son of SIOP member Wendy Becker, who was badly injured in a small plane crash in Montana in 2004. The article discussed how Becker has turned the incident into a case study on how organizations deal with accidents and their aftermath.

The December issue of Aerosafety had a story on how management can prevent pilot job insecurity from affecting safety that cited research by Tahira Probst of Washington State University Vancouver. Her studies showed that a positive company safety climate, with top-level commitment, in addition to safety training and safety management systems, can moderate the negative effects of job insecurity.

She also was interviewed on a January 9 Minnesota Public Radio program about coping with layoffs and job insecurity in times of economic turmoil.

Robert Hogan of Hogan Assessment Systems in Tulsa, OK authored a column in the November 19 HR Executive Online about significant challenges facing the HR profession. He said the major challenge is talent retention and added that one of the main reasons people leave organizations is because of their bosses. The key to employee retention is finding and employing managers who know how to engage their staff.

He also was interviewed on an October 16 wsRadio.com program about the dark side of leadership, and said that in corporate America more than 65% of the managers and leaders are incompetent, defective, or badly flawed. WsRadio.com is an Internet talk radio program that can be heard on Web sites throughout the world.

Research by Mark Roehling of Michigan State University was reported in several media outlets including the November 17 Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade. The research, which rebutted stereotypes about heavy people, showed that overweight and obese workers are no different than their thin counterparts and no more likely to be less efficient in their work.

The November 17 issue of Workforce Management had a story about the tendency to blame others during economic downturns that quoted Paul Harvey of the University of New Hampshire. He noted that as a culture people are obsessed with assigning blame and that scapegoating behavior is bad for organizations, especially when practiced by leaders.

Scott Erker of Development Dimensions Inc. in Bridgeville, PA contributed to an October 22 Workforce Management magazine story about the importance of employment branding. “If you believe that getting the right people creates a competitive advantage, then competitive employment branding is essential,” he said. Also, companies must show, rather than just tell, about the opportunities they offer. One way to do this is to have video testimonials from recent hires about the opportunities they had and what they accomplished in the first year on the job.

The October issue of Facility Safety Management included an article written by Ryan Ross of Hogan Assessment Systems discussing the impact of different personality tests on safety practices, pointing out how safety-related personality characteristics can predict specific types of behavior.

Paul Babiak of HRBackOffice in Hopewell Jct., NY was included in a featured cover story in the July/August issue of Fraud magazine, a publication of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He discussed psychopaths and the effect they can have on organizations.

Please let us know if you, or a SIOP colleague, have contributed to a news story. We would like to include that mention in SIOP Members in the News.

Send copies of the article to SIOP at siop@siop.org or fax to 419-352-2645 or mail to SIOP at 440 East Poe Road, Suite 101, Bowling Green, OH 43402.