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History Corner: John C. Flanagan's Contributions Within and Beyond I-O Psychology

Jeffrey M. Cucina and Nathan A. Bowling

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John C. Flanagan was born in Armour, South Dakota on January 7, 1906 to a Baptist minister and a schoolteacher. At the age of 3, his family relocated to Washington State, where he spent the rest of his childhood and attended college (APA, 1977). He began his undergraduate education studying electrical engineering and physics but eventually discovered an interest in research on human behavior. After several years working as a high school math teacher, he enrolled in the PhD program in mental measurement at Harvard University, working in Truman Lee Kelley’s laboratory. He graduated with a PhD in only 2 years and then began working at the American Council on Education’s Cooperative Test Service where he directed a large-scale annual achievement test. 

Performance Management Technologies for Organizational Coaching

Tiffany Poeppelman and Nikki Blacksmith

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In order for organizations to help improve their employees’ skills and behaviors, technologies are being developed to allow companies to observe employees, allow those employees to practice their skills in safe environments, and gather feedback on their performance. In addition, companies today using traditional training techniques continue to find that some performance management methods are not as effective alone, because the workforce needs more time to practice their skills prior to being able to apply them on the job. This has led to the increased use of coaching and technologies to improve performance.

In today’s workforce, there is an increased use of coaching as a critical and effective learning tool. Not only is it leveraged to enhance performance but also to enhance engagement, employee well-being, and organizational change (Grant, 2007). As such, organizations are increasing the amount they invest in coaching programs for both executives and managers (Wright, 2005). In 2004, at least one in five managers were trained in coaching skills (The Work Foundation, 2004).

Discovering I-O Psychology in Aotearoa-New Zealand

Lynda Zuges, with Stewart Forsyth

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The economy in New Zealand is strongly weighted to commodity exports (dairy, but also meat, seafood, and timber) and—as might fit stereotypes based on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies—a thriving tourism industry. There are many emerging and a few mature technology and services businesses increasingly contributing to the exports that are essential for New Zealand funding a first world lifestyle. These newer businesses, together with the outposts of multinationals, provide most of the opportunities for I-Os to contribute to high involvement and high productivity workplaces. Turn-of-the-century research by Dr. Jim Guthrie illustrated this two-speed approach to people management in New Zealand.

With small numbers overall, it’s important that local I-Os focus on making a positive impact. There are regular Industrial Organisational Special Interest Group (IO SIG) meetings in the major centers of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, which attract HRM and other disciplines and are fitting with the goal of establishing New Zealand I-O psychology as “the authority” in promoting evidence-based approaches to work psychology.

SIOP in Washington: Behavioral Science Executive Order

Seth Kaplan and Laura Uttley

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We are excited to share with you information about SIOP’s efforts to build its identity in Washington, DC to support federal funding for I-O research and use our research to help guide policy discussions.  Each quarter we will report to you on new advocacy activities as well as our analysis of the role of I-O psychology in significant federal or congressional initiatives, such as the annual appropriations process and emerging national initiatives.  We are excited about our progress and look forward to working with you as we pursue these important goals!

On September 15, President Obama issued an Executive Order, “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.”  The Executive Order directs federal agencies to integrate the social and behavioral sciences in federal decision making to improve the accessibility, usability, and effectiveness of federal programs and policies for both federal employees and the general public.  The Executive Order also directs agencies to deepen relationships with the social and behavioral science community and institutionalizes the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Wage and Hour Litigation Developments and Trends

Cristina Banks and Chester Hanvey

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Hourly employees enjoy protections regarding pay and working conditions under the FLSA, and the proposed revisions, if adopted, will expand the number of employees covered potentially by millions by raising the bar on who qualifies as “exempt” from the FLSA. The regulations delineate a set of exemption criteria, two of which concern how much an employee is paid per week (“salary test”) and how much time an employee spends performing exempt work (“job duties test”).  Prior to President Obama’s directive, employees were considered “exempt” from the FLSA and therefore not covered by the FLSA if they made at least $455/week and if their primary duty was exempt work (see 29 C.F.R. § 541 et seq.).  An evaluation of “primary duty” requires an understanding of what work employees actually perform, the context in which it’s performed, the nature of the work, and the time spent on that work.  Job analyses are often required to collect this evidence (Banks & Aubry, 2005; Banks & Cohen, 2005; Hanvey & Banks, 2015; Honorée, Wyld, & Juban, 2005; Ko & Kliener, 2005).   In California, primary duty is interpreted as spending more than 50% of one’s work week performing exempt work. 

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