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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 website (www.siop.org). There is an entire gamut of 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 specialties 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 for 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:
 
Steven Rogelberg of the University of North Carolina Charlotte was interviewed for a story on generational stereotypes that appeared in the February 1 Charlotte Observer. Stereotyping of any generational group can lead to negative outcomes, he said, adding “to think you could confidently categorize that amount of people with such a broad stroke borders on silliness.” Each generation encompasses many different personalities, and no one should be lumped into a stereotype based solely on age, he said.
Research by Brian Lyons of Wright State University was included in a January 31 Wall Street Journal story about the legislation designed to ban credit checks on prospective employees. Advocates say that because of the struggling economy more people have credit problems, and this should not eliminate them from employment consideration. Employers contend credit checks might help flag poor work habits and decision making and even general untrustworthiness. Lyons study lent some credence to those fears. It found that nearly one-third of employees with self–reported credit problems engaged in “counterproductive work behavior” compared to 18% for employees without financial problems.
 
The January 27 Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald and The Age each had an article about nepotism in organizations that quoted Robert Jones of Missouri State University and Neal Ashkanasy of the University of Queensland. When a company hires the boss’ best friend or a relative it is often viewed as nepotism by others. Jones, the author of Nepotism in Organizations, said that impression can be mitigated by following a transparent process, one developed and implemented by all stakeholders. “In this way, the rationale for how the decision was made will be clear to everyone who will need to work with the person once they are hired,” he said. Ashkanasy agreed, adding that all stakeholders need to be completely confident that appropriate hiring procedures are in place.
 
The January 17 issue of Wall Street Journal MarketWatch had a story on maintaining job satisfaction during stressful times in which Paul Baard of Fordham University was quoted. “In order to remain self-motivated, research has found that the innate psychological need for competence must be satisfied,” he said. One way an employee can expand opportunities to satisfy this need is to help the work team succeed by encouraging others, even though your direct contribution may be limited at that time.”
 
For a January 12 story on MSNBC about the declining number of part-time workers in the U.S. as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ellen Ernst Kossek of Michigan State University cautioned about prematurely celebrating an improving labor picture. It’s important to look behind the numbers, she pointed out. “Are they making the same money they did before, or did they take full-time jobs at a lower wages? It’s about the quality of those jobs.” In addition, she added that a growing number of people are taking on multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.
 
Paul Spector of the University of South Florida and Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City contributed to a January 12 ABC News story about the boredom and stress that results when skilled people can’t find jobs in their profession and take jobs in which they are overqualified. “Being chronically bored means being unhappy and stressed,” said Spector. “If you don’t have enough to do or what you do is monotonous, that can make you miserable, which can be very stressful.” Dattner said it “may be helpful to think about a more effective or efficient way to do what you are doing. To some extent, making yourself obsolete by coming up with a new process could be risky but also might earn the gratitude of the organization and superiors.”
 
Warren Bobrow of All About Performance, a Los Angeles-based skills assessment consultancy; Greg Barnett of Hogan Assessment Systems; and Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City offered tips for job seekers in a January 1 Wall Street Journal MarketWatch story describing how creativity and adaptability will be the key to landing and keeping jobs for many workers in 2012. Barnett said companies are looking for workers who are flexible and can take on functions in various jobs as market demands change. “There are concerns when applicants are good workers but not able to learn and change direction as well as their performance,” he added. Bobrow said knowledge of electronic data handling, including social media, is a really big plus. Also, he noted, a demonstrated ability to satisfy clients or customers is key for many professions. Dattner agreed, saying workers need to be able to illustrate the advantages of their products and services. “Try to get to know your customer and the market and figure out how you can put things together in a package that adds value.”
 
Social media is totally reshaping the way organizations communicate, Andrea Goldbergnoted in a December 19 Business News Daily story. Increased openness and collaboration are greatly impacting the workplace, and driving much of this is social media, which is also contributing to organizational effectiveness, branding, and customer support, she said. The story also appeared in other news outlets including the Times of India, Kansas City Star, Orlando Sentinel, and Toronto Globe and Mail.
 
Several media outlets including United Press International, Business News Daily, and Insurance Journal ran stories in December and January about job interviewing that featured Dean Stamoulis of Russell Reynolds Associates in New York. Job interviewers can be influenced by charismatic candidates instead of looking at leadership indicators, he pointed out. “What you see is not always what you get, and that’s why it is important to have a full assessment of a candidate including traits and characteristics not readily apparent in an interview to go along with provided background information,” he said.
 
When it comes to leadership, Robert Hogan of Hogan Assessments has said what matters is not who you think you are but what everyone else thinks about you. A December 16 Forbes AdVoice article by Matt Barney of
Infosys Leadership Institute in India reported on research conducted by In-Sue Oh of Virginia Commonwealth University, Michael Mount of the University of Iowa, and Gang Wang, a graduate student at Iowa, that found reputation is indeed a valid predictor of job performance.
 
Kimberly Merriman of Pennsylvania State University, Robert Eisenberger of the University of Houston, Tom Becker of the University of Delaware, and Robert Brill of Moravian College contributed to a December 15 story in Business News Daily about the value businesses reap from a more motivated and productive staff by taking time at year’s end to recognize their work with gifts and parties and other forms of acknowledgement. Year-end recognition sends a message that the employment relationship is more than simply a transactional one, said Merriman. Eisenberger pointed out that the recognition must be seen as sincere to be effective and Becker added that supervisors should know staff members’ needs and values to select an appropriate reward. Brill said that it is important for management to show appreciation for employees all year, not just during the annual holiday season.
 
Research by Timothy Golden of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggested that persons who work from home may experience greater stress, especially if they are married with children. The study found that the amount of stress depended upon the type of telework being performed and the conflict with family demands. News outlets where the story appeared included the December 5 issue of Discovery and Asian News Inc.
 
The December 4 Cleveland Plain Dealer had a story about arrogant leaders that featured comments from Stanley Silverman of Akron University. “Arrogant people are going to derail their careers. It’s just a matter of when,” he said. His use of a 26-item arrogance scale indicated that arrogant leaders tend to mask their own inadequacies, such as work incompetence or low self-esteem. Arrogant leaders often have a negative impact upon the workforce, said Silverman, noting that people tend to leave companies because of arrogant leaders not because they don’t like the company. He said companies need to embrace leader training sooner in their managers’ careers to help overcome arrogance.
 
The value an I-O trained psychologist can bring to an organization was highlighted in a case study in the December issue of Financial Advisor magazine. Harold Weinstein of H. Weinstein & Associates in Newtown, PA worked with Wescott Financial Advisory Group in reorganizing the way they operated. Wescott’s management was pleased with the results and said their firm became more efficient and stronger as a result of Weinstein’s organizational expertise.
 
Teacher evaluations are always challenging and Rodney McCloy and Andrea Sinclair, both with Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), authored an article in the November 20 edition of Education Week outlining some recommendations. The recommendations included developing performance measures that focus on those behaviors teachers are hired to do and to do well. In addition, it is important to maintain a distinction between performance and effectiveness. Performance drives effectiveness but effectiveness regards the results of that performance; they are not the same thing, they wrote. Keeping these concepts distinct allows evaluators to learn about both; confounding them prohibits learning about either one, they added.
A study by Gary Johns of Concordia University in Montreal about people who come to work despite being sick was reported in several media outlets including the November 17 National Post (Canada), Toronto Star, and Psych Central. The findings found that workers who felt insecure about their jobs were more likely to show up for work when they are suffering from a cold or the flu. Those who had job security and who considered absenteeism legitimate were less likely to be present at work while sick.
 
Paula Popovich of Ohio University wrote an article for the November 16 issue of The Athens News about the unholy threesome of sex, power, and sexual harassment. The basic cause of sexual harassment is sex and power, she said. Understanding and preventing it requires more than just repeating the legal definitions of sexual harassment. It also requires setting clear organizational and personal boundaries and empowering people to prevent the problem.
A new book by Richard Hackman of Harvard University was featured in a November 7 issue of Federal Computer Week. The book—Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems—outlines four major ingredients for successful teams. They include not needing a good reason to create a team in the first place, specifying a compelling and motivating purpose of the team, paying attention to team composition, and focusing on promoting productive, task-oriented information sharing and deliberation.
Lynda Zugec of New York-based Workforce Consultants contributed to a November story in Redbook magazine showing how business strategies may strengthen a marriage. She said 360-degree reviews, which use evaluations from several sources and are commonly used in business, can also be applied to a marriage. Getting an outside perspective can be beneficial to the relationship, she pointed out.
 
She also was quoted in a September 13 issue of U.S. News and World Report story about factors to consider before relocating for a job, including whether the new salary covers living expenses in a new home and doing due diligence on the financial stability of the new organization. Relocation is more than just a new job and work assignment; there are several factors that need to taken into account to see if the move would be worth the change.
 
The October 16 Washington Post carried a career column by Joyce E. A. Russell of the University of Maryland that provided advice on negotiating salaries. When applicants are asked to list their salary requirements, she says do not include a salary number if it can be avoided; rather just put “negotiable,” which indicates you want to talk about it. She also suggested not bringing up salary early in the interview process.
 
Minnesota State University’s I-O program is providing real-world experience for students through a consulting program called Organizational Effectives Research Group (OERG). Faculty members Andi Lassiter and Lisa Perez were featured in an October 15 Mankato Free Press story about the program and described how students have gained experience consulting in Germany and Washington D.C. OERG specializes in employee selection, training and development, and fees collected from clients are put back into the program.
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 boutelle@siop.org or fax to 419-352-2645 or mail to SIOP at 440 East Poe Road, Suite 101, Bowling Green, OH 43402.