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Meredith Turner
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SIOP MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

Clif Boutelle

When we think of the media, it is the major newspapers, magazines, and network radio and television that come to mind. While they still remain important to any organizations seeking to generate awareness, the internet has created a whole new avenue of media outlets that should not be overlooked. In fact, more and more organizations are utilizing internet sites and social media to tell their stories.

            And a growing number of SIOP members are finding their way onto internet sites because writers, whether mainstream media or on the internet (often reporters are writing for both), still need credible resources. So, the opportunities for media mentions are expanding and that is good for the field of I-O psychology and SIOP members.

            In addition, a number of SIOP members have developed relationships with publications and are contributing articles on a regular basis.

            Following are some of the press mentions, including online sites, which have occurred in the past several months:

The February 18 Arizona Sun had a story about a research project dealing with concussion reporting being conducted by Ann Huffman of Northern Arizona University and colleagues from NAU’s athletic training education program. They are examining how organizational culture influences concussion reporting and then will test different strategies to change the culture and increase reporting rates. They have received a $400,000 grant from the NCAA and U. S. Department of Defense for the effort, which will be undertaken over the next two and a half years.

Big Data Technology and the services market is one of the fastest growing, multi-billion dollar industries in the world, and the February 3 issue of Onalytica, a data research firm, listed Big Data’s top influencers, which included Evan Sinar of Development Dimensions International (DDI). Among the newest domains for Big Data’s immense reach, and risks, is to track and improve workplace productivity, he said. But with this massive amount of data come major quandaries on how this data is used. Companies need their leaders to be both data-savvy enough to verify that all information gathered about employees is accurate, and fair and trusted enough to credibly communicate the rationale for capturing the data in the first place, he said.

Also, the February 1 Fast Company reported a study conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI) that found though men and women score equally in their ability to drive businesses, fewer women are able to get beyond lower-level leadership positions… and it’s  not because of lower competence, said DDI’s Evan Sinar. The study analyzed the differences between men and women on business drivers and found no statistically differences. Business drivers are focused on the broad leadership challenges that leaders must absolutely overcome to execute an organization’s business strategy, Sinar said. The study did find significant differences in three personality traits: men scored higher in inquisitiveness and impulsiveness while women were higher in interpersonal sensitivity.

Sinar also contributed to a January 21 story in Baker Hospital Review that featured a DDI report on the characteristics of successful leaders. Personality is a “vital factor in leadership success,” according to the report, which found that leaders across all levels who were ambitious and possessed high interpersonal sensitivity demonstrated a better ability to manage transitions as they moved up the ranks. Also, successful leaders are passionate about getting results, decision making, and driving execution. “We found that leaders who are successful…are unlike others in the way they are able to stay laser focused on outcomes and demand specifics on how results can be achieved,” Sinar said.

Paul Winum of RHR International contributed to a February 1 Wall Street Journal story about how General Motors is reshaping its culture by adding more outsiders to its leadership team and not relying as much on promoting from within. Winum noted that GM CEO Mary Barra wants to install a different culture at the automaker and “newcomers are not steeped in the old culture.” But it will take time. “Large scale culture change inside big companies like GM usually takes years to take effect,” he said.

In the February 1 issue of Inc Magazine, Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania had a column excerpted from his new book, Originals, describing how creative people need to craft their vision to persuade people to accept radical ideas. He cited the case of a young woman who had an idea to build a transducer to send power over the air (even wireless needs to plug into an electrical outlet). Nearly everyone she approached with her idea deemed it impossible. Eventually she altered her pitch. When she could not persuade technical experts to take a leap with her, she convinced them to take a few steps by masking her purpose. It worked, and now her company has 18 patents and more than $10 million in venture funding. The lesson: original thinkers need to become tempered radicals and present their bold visions in ways that are less shocking and more appealing to mainstream audiences.

Grant’s book, Originals, How Non-Conformists Move the World, is getting a great deal of attention in the media. The book uses real-life examples to show how innovators see the world differently and bring others into their success. Stories have appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, The Atlantic, Financial Times, The Guardian among others as well as on television (Fox News) and radio (NPR).

In a culture obsessed with productivity, Quartz, a global digital-only business news publication, in a February 1 story cited research findings by Sabine Sonnentag of the University of Mannheim in Germany, that showed people who do not know how to step away from work during their downtime experienced increased exhaustion over the course of the year and became less resilient when faced with stressful work conditions. Gaining some emotional distance from highly demanding work tends to help people recover from stress faster, she said.

A story in the February 1 Forbes described how IBM has made major changes in its annual performance review system, replacing yearly goals by giving employees the opportunity to shift goals throughout the year and providing more frequent feedback. It’s a trend that many organizations are adopting. Kevin Murphy of Colorado State University said the trend is not surprising. “Performance reviews are very expensive, complex systems for making people unhappy,” he said. “So companies are saying, ‘this is time consuming. We’re going to pull the plug and do something much simpler.’”

Murphy’s comments appeared in the February 20 issue of The Economist, which had an article stating that reports of the death of performance reviews are exaggerated. Though some companies are saying they are abandoning performance reviews, in reality they are not getting rid of the reviews; they are modifying them, and not necessarily for the better. The article includes arguments, pro and con, for the new-style reviews. However, provided they are carried out consistently, rationally, and fairly, and supplemented with more frequent feedback, annual performance reviews have many virtues. Murphy was also previously quoted in The New Yorker about problems with performance appraisals.

A story in the January issue of Business Insider states that successful people understand their success starts and ends with their mental and physical health, which is almost entirely dependent upon getting enough sleep. It is important to disconnect from work before going to bed, said Michael “Woody” Woodward of Human Capital Integrated. “The last thing you need is to be lying in bed thinking about the email from an overzealous boss with random requests driven by little more than a momentary impulse,” he said. He says to give yourself a buffer of at least a half hour between the time you read your email and the time you go to bed.

Alicia Grandey of Penn State contributed to stories that appeared in a January 28 broadcast on ABC10-TV in Sacramento and February 1 on WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC about the toll of emotional labor on workers. The story was first reported in Marketplace. “Emotional labor is a type of work where instead of physical labor using your muscles to perform the work, you’re using your emotions to perform the work. It’s an ongoing, constant expectation for eight hours. It’s the central aspect of what you’re doing and whether you’re doing it well,” she said. She has done research suggesting faking happiness all day long is emotionally taxing. “Faking creates a sense of dissonance between internal and external states over long periods of time and that’s been shown to create physical tension which can build up and create health issues and over time result in job burnout.”

A January 8 New York Times story about millennials points out that young people are a lot more traditional when it comes to staying at their jobs than popularly believed. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that millennials change jobs less frequently than people in other generations. Research by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson in a study of 25,000 millennials in 22 countries found at least 40 percent expect to stay with their current employers for at least nine year and 44 percent said they would be happy to spend the rest of their career at their current organizations.

John Boudreau of the University of Southern California authored a column in the January 5 issue of Talent Management Magazine describing how HR practitioners are eager to see the profession step up to bigger future challenges. He cited research he and Edward Lawler had done over the years showing that HR’s relationship to corporate boards is traditional:  advising on executive compensation and succession. There are signs this traditional mindset may be changing. A further study found that CEO’s see important future contributions and roles for HR and playing a much larger and significant role in organizational strategies.

Ben Dattner of Dattner Consulting in New York City contributed an article to the February 4 Harvard Business Review online, describing how organizations can use a scorecard to make better hiring decisions. By using a quantitative interview scorecard to evaluate the qualifications and suitability of job candidates, and by comparing interview-based projections with subsequent performance on the job, it’s possible to boost your interview hit rate and your organization’s return on human capital investment over time, he wrote.

Dattner also had an article in the December 10 Harvard Business Review titled “How Structured Debate Helps Your Team Grow.” The article pointed out the risks of “groupthink,” where teams operate on autopilot, reach a consensus and do not appropriately consider emerging challenges, debating alternative scenarios or exploring new courses of action. He said one strategy that can help teams avoid the dangers of “groupthink” is by randomly assigning different team members to argue opposing points of view. Structured debates can provide an opportunity to rigorously discuss and dispute interpretations of current trends, as well as future predictions, in a kind of organizational “safe mode” that enables teams to explore external risks without putting individual team members at internal risk.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Hogan Assessment Systems contributed an article to the December 28 issue of Fast Company about striking the right balance in shaping how peoples’ competencies are perceived at work. Too much self-promotion can be damaging to a career but people should not be shy about taking credit for their accomplishments, he wrote.

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 PO Box 87, Bowling Green, OH 43402.

 

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