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SIOP Members in the News

Clif Boutelle

Reporters have found SIOP and its members to be fertile ground when searching for resources to provide information for work-related stories. It is not always the mainstream news medialarge metropolitan newspapers and magazinesthat is contacting SIOP members. There are literally hundreds of specialty publications and Web sites looking for knowledgeable people to assist with stories. These publications have a surprisingly large readership and offer exposure opportunities for I-O psychology in a couple of ways: Reporters learn about the field by talking with SIOP members, and readers can become aware of I-O through the stories. 

Every mention of a SIOP member and his or her work or comments in the media is helpful to our mission to gain greater visibility for I-O psychology. Following are just some of the mentions in recent months:

SIOPs Los Angeles conference was covered in the July/August issue of APAs Monitor on Psychology. The writer attended several sessions on emerging technologies, including computer-based testing and personal digital assistant-administered surveys. Whether such technologies improve on older, pen-and-pencil techniques depends upon I-O psychologists involvement and expertise, said Fritz Drasgow during his presidential address. He noted that companies are increasingly using Web-based tests that applicants take on their home computers. Addressing a concern about cheating, he said researchers are finding evidence that people do not score much differently in unproctored tests than they do in proctored ones. Research by graduate student Ben-Roy Do of the University of Illinois supported that contention. The story also reported on research by Joyce Bono and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota on the use of PDAs to administer surveys to healthcare workers throughout the day to capture events and emotions soon after their occurrence. Daniel Beal of Rice University has developed free software that psychologists can use to administer through PDAs.

A June 12 story in the Boston Globe on the adjustments people have to make when reentering the workforce quoted Baird Brightman of Worklife Strategies in Sudbury, MA. Reentry issues are often downplayed by people returning to work because they are eager to prove themselves. However, focusing in advance on time management and the corporate culture, and asking a lot of work-related questions, will go a long way toward making a good first impression. Brightman said it was important to present yourself with confidence and strength. Compliment yourself on the strength and character it took for you to survive a job loss and get back on the horse.

The June 2005 issue of Monitor on Psychology featured SIOP in its Closer Look series about APA divisions. The story focused on the work of SIOPs Institute for Teaching of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which aims to increase minority student participation in industrial and organizational psychology. The effort was initiated by Mike Burke of Tulane University and Kecia Thomas of the University of Georgia to provide faculty at undergraduate institutions without I-O resources tools such as sample syllabi and PowerPoint presentations they can use to introduce I-O to their students. The Institute also seeks to stimulate dialogue between I-O experts and minority-serving faculty in order to enhance I-Os diversity and to expand students exposure to the field by creating partnerships between SIOP and academic institutions. Ron Landis of Tulane University is currently heading the Institute. 

A May 27 Marketwatch.com story about growing numbers of U.S. workers who forfeit vacation time featured comments by management consultant Mitchell Marks of JoiningForces.org in San Francisco. He cited two major reasons why workers forgo vacations: fear and a macho attitude. Workers sometimes fear that being away from the office could lead to losing their jobs or standing with their bosses, he said. And for some people, going on vacation is a sign of weakness, he added. Their self-worthis wrapped around work, and being away from work is very uncomfortable for them.

For a May 31 Kansas City Star story on preemployment testing, writer Diane Stafford called upon the expertise of several SIOP members, including James Beaty, chief scientist at ePredix; Charles Handler of New Orleans-based Rocket-Hire; Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City; Robert Hogan of Hogan Assessment Systems in Tulsa, OK; Ronald Ash of the University of Kansas School of Business; and Steve Hunt, chief scientist at Unicru in Beaverton, OR. Also quoted was Fritz Drasgows keynote speech at Aprils SIOP conference, in which he warned test users that theres no licensing or registration in this area. The purchaser needs to ask for the empirical data to support the product that has good statistical analysis and good questions designed by industrial-organizational psychologists.

For a story on legal and effective uses of personality testing, the April/June issue of Staffing Management magazine relied on several SIOP members for their expertise.

Citing several cases where companies have been successfully sued over the use of preemployment tests, the article noted that the issue was not whether to test but how. Lisa Harpe of Peopleclick Research Institute in Raleigh, NC suggested the large numbers of online applicants make it necessary for companies to prescreen. Without testing, she said, the cost to employers of processing unqualified applicants can be substantial.

R. Wendell Williams of Atlanta-based Scientific Selection said that company misuse of tests is the norm. Too often they buy tests off the shelf from vendors they know little about, and test results are incorrectly interpreted. Its a true case of buyer beware, he said. William Shepherd, formerly of PsyMax Solutions in Cleveland, noted that companies often cut corners with personality testing and do not use the services of I-O psychologists who have the expertise to correctly use testing.

Brad Seligman, a Berkeley CA-based attorney, who has successfully sued organizations that use preemployment testing said that investment in an I-O psychologist could curb his litigation. If every employer had an I-O psychologist, every test would be much more valid, he said.

Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City contributed to several news stories including a May 16 CNN en Espanol program on the importance of feedback within an organization and a June 30 BusinessWeek Online story on executive coaching, what it does, how it works, and its value to an organization. He also authored an article in the June 20 issue of HR.com on executive coaching. He noted there were three roles that executive coaches should avoid: evaluator, messenger, and advocate.

The May issue of Workforce Management magazine featured the success of Unicru, the Beaverton, OR-based firm that has made rigorous scientific assessments the cornerstone of its smart hiring offering. Unicru has partnered with some of the top names in the workforce metrics field and processed more than 33 million job applications for its clients, which include some of the countrys top corporations. Steven Hunt, chief scientist at Unicru, noted that the company uses neural networks and modeling to craft assessments that ask the right questions in the right way to match prospective employees to jobs.

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

Send copies of the article to SIOP at PO Box 287, Bowling Green, OH 43402, or e-mail them to siop@siop.org, or fax to (419) 352-2645.

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