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A P P L I C AT I O N
A P P L I C AT I O N M O D U L E
M O D U L E E
Bruce Ayres/Getty Images
A P P LY I N G SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY TO THE
KATHY A. HANISCH, I O WA S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y
You have applied for a job by submitting your resume, have when they wanted, and help themselves to petty cash if
or Le been invited to take a series of tests, have been interviewed
by your potential supervisor, have been given a tour of the
company, and now find yourself sitting across from the co-
owners of the company. They have just offered you a posi-
tion in their company and are proceeding to tell you about
they were in need of spending money. New employees
would be allowed to set their own wages too. As you might
imagine, the employees weren’t sure how to take this news.
It was reported that no one said anything during the meet-
ing when Art first described his plan (Koughan, 1975).
the organization. They indicate that their organization is a When asked why he was changing his business prac-
great place to work; they tell you that no one has quit his or tices, Art replied, “I always said that if you give people what
her job in the last five years and employees are rarely absent. they want, you get what you want. You have to be willing to
They also tell you that they have flexible policies: you can lose, to stick your neck out. I finally decided that the time
work whatever hours you like, take vacation whenever you had come to practice what I preached” (Koughan, 1975).
want, and if you decide to work for them, you’ll have access It took about a month before any of the employees
to spending cash as well as keys to the organization. acted on what Art had said at the staff meeting. Then,
You try to suppress the quizzical look on your face and many of the employees started asking for and receiving
try to maintain your composure. You’d heard interesting raises. Art didn’t approve them or even want to discuss
things about this organization from others but didn’t really them, he just told the payroll clerk to pay them what they
believe them. Finally, the co-owners ask you what you are wanted. Although many employees asked for $50 or $60
worth and indicate they will pay you whatever you wish. more per week, one employee, a truck driver, wanted $100
Now you’re really dumbfounded and wonder what the more per week. Interestingly, this was a mediocre employee
catch is but sit quietly while they talk about other issues in at best, but the raise made him a terrific employee. He had
the organization. Does this sound too good to be true? not felt as though he were being paid what he deserved;
Wouldn’t this be ideal? when his pay increased, so did his motivation and perfor-
Almost this exact scenario played out in an organiza- mance. On the opposite side was a service man who was
tion run by an Oakland appliance dealer in the 1970s. His making less money than his coworkers and he said he did-
name was Arthur Friedman, a manager and owner of a n’t care because he didn’t want to work that hard. He was
company, and he had some different ideas about how to happy being paid his wages and working what he felt he
run a business. Art, as reported in the Washington Post owed the company. Both employees worked to make the
(Koughan, 1975), decided to change how he ran his busi- organization fit their working style.
ness. At one of his staff meetings he announced that In the final analysis, Art’s experiment worked. The orga-
employees would be able to work the hours they wanted, be nization was profitable, Friedman signed union contracts
paid what they thought they were worth, take vacation time without reading them (the employees didn’t need a union
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E2 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
with Art in charge), employees didn’t quit, they didn’t steal Industrial and Organizational Psychology
from the company, and they were rarely absent. Net profit The Role of Social Psychology
increased under Art’s leadership, and his company was a suc- In general terms, social psychology seeks a broad under-
cess. The employees realized that to make the organization standing of how normal adults think, act, and feel (see
work and remain in business they had to be reasonable in
Chapter 1). Industrial and organizational or I/O psychol-
their requests and behavior (Koughan, 1975). ogy seeks the same understanding about normal adults
Imagine what you would do in a similar situation—for who work in organizations, with a focus on the scientific
example, being asked to grade yourself on the work you
study of individuals at work. This includes individuals’
will do in a class. Would you grade yourself fairly, inflate work attitudes and behaviors as well as the interactions
your grade, or be harsher than the instructor? Research on among individuals in the work environment (such as man-
self-evaluations of this type indicates that some students do
agers and other employees). Some of the primary topics
inflate their grades, but the likelihood of grade inflation covered by I/O psychologists are employee selection, per-
decreases if students help determine how they will be formance appraisal, training, job design, communication,
graded, the instructor is involved in the assessment, and the work stress, motivation, leadership, groups or teams, orga-
instructor has final control in determining the grade (Ross, nizational culture, human factors or system design, job atti-
2006). Student self-evaluations of performance and tudes, well-being, and work behaviors.
employees’ determination of their own pay reflect accurate Industrial and organizational psychology is sometimes
and honest assessments for most people. Employees who referred to as a part of applied social psychology because
opt for less pay or students whose grades are low may accu- both areas use psychological principles to evaluate normal
rately reflect the amount of time and effort they want to individuals. The fields are also similar in that they both use
put toward work or their course, respectively.
Art Friedman understood what employees want from
their jobs, and it worked well for him. He had happy, moti-
vated individuals who did a good job for the organization.
rigorous research methods and quantitative analyses in
their research programs. Both theory and application are
important to I/O and social psychologists as they conduct
research. I/O psychology has benefited from research con-
The employees got paid according to what they thought they ducted in social psychology on such topics as attitudes,
deserved and were loyal to the organization and their super- motivation, groups, and leadership.
visor. Some psychologists are trained to help make improve-
ments to the workplace through job design, selection tech-
Work in Our Lives
niques that assist in matching employers and employees, and You have learned about work since you were a small child.
changes in working conditions to influence positive attitudes You may have asked where your mother was going when
at work. Working for many years at a job for pay is some- she took you to day care or why your father left the house
thing you will most likely have to do in your life, so finding before 8 A.M. and did not return until after 5 P.M. You likely
out how to get, keep, and enjoy your job is very important. “played” at different jobs by dressing up to make you feel
This module begins with an introduction to industrial more like an astronaut, firefighter, teacher, chef, or con-
and organizational psychology, discussing the importance struction worker. As you got older, other sources of infor-
of work in our lives and how psychologists seek to under- mation about work may have come from your friends (who
stand the interactions between employee and employer. told you what their parents did), other family members,
The remaining sections explore the life of employees, school, and the media. In high school, more education and
beginning with the job application and the detailed process
a part-time job may have given you additional details about
organizations use to select a good match between an the meaning of work. As you pursue a college degree, you
employee and employer. Next we’ll examine how employees may receive information about the work and jobs available
get used to an organization and learn how it operates in your chosen field through classes, internships, or other
(employee socialization), a process that centers around the job experiences.
culture of the organization that is often embodied in the Work is an important part of life for many people. We
employee’s work team and leaders. The module concludes often ask people we meet what they “do,” which translates
with an examination of how employees’ attitudes and stress into “What is your job and whom do you work for?” Many
affect their work behaviors as they impact the profit and people identify with their work because they spend so
loss numbers in organizations. much of their waking lives at work, making it a central
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Industrial and Organizational Psychology E3
(Clark, 2003), many of the things we value or seek from
work vary from person to person. For example, the prestige
of a job may not be important to you, but might be impor-
tant to your best friend. Perhaps having your work provide
you with a sense of accomplishment or a source of social
interactions is what you desire, while those are valued
much less by your friend. It is important to understand
what you want from your work and/or job as well as what a
job can provide. From an employer’s perspective it is useful
to determine what employees want because satisfied
employees will be more likely than dissatisfied employees to
work to meet organizational goals. Part of a supervisor’s
Courtesy of K. Hanisch
job may be to ascertain what employees value because
those values may be used to motivate employees to perform
well in their job.
Types of Jobs
There are many types of work, in many types of jobs, in
many different organizational settings. These settings
focus. Work is important because it provides many of the include multinational conglomerates, public and private
or Le things people need and value.
Work for pay provides us with the money to satisfy our
basic needs for food, shelter, and security (e.g., health care,
retirement income) while the “leftover” money provides us
companies, nonprofits, and federal, state, and local govern-
ment organizations, as well as home businesses. Individuals
today have almost endless opportunities to pursue various
avenues of employment.
with discretionary funds to use as we see fit. These funds Individuals in the United States work a variety of
may be used to buy a round of golf, an iPod, or a fancy schedules, from extended workweeks (between 45 and 99
place to live, to support local or national charities, start or hours) to standard workweeks (between 35 and 44 hours)
add to a book or music collection, attend fine art or athletic to part-time workweeks (less than 35 hours). Some individu-
performances, or save money for college. Essentially, als (e.g., police officers, nurses, factory workers), because of
money, typically from work, provides us with a standard of the nature of their jobs, work shifts other than the typical 8
living that varies from person to person depending on our A.M. to 5 P.M. shift. Others are offered flexible working sched-
income and how we choose to spend it. ules that allow individuals to work the hours that best fit
In addition, work provides much more. It provides a their lives as long as they work the required number of hours
source of social interactions (e.g., friendships), indepen- and accomplish the work. Telecommuting is becoming more
dence, a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, a reason to and more popular with an increase in appropriate technol-
get up in the morning, happiness, a sense of identity, recog- ogy; some individuals work for virtual organizations that
nition, and prestige. For example, jobs are viewed as having use communication technologies to outsource the majority
different levels of prestige. In a 2006 Harris Poll, conducted of their functions.
in the United States, the jobs of firefighter (63%), doctor In the United States, a fairly recent development is the
(58%), nurse (55%), and scientist (54%) were rated highest Occupational Information Network (O*NET; see Peterson,
in prestige while real estate broker/agent (6%), stockbroker Mumford, Borman, Jeanneret, & Fleishmann, 1999). The
(11%), and business executive (11%) had the lowest pres- O*NET is a comprehensive, detailed, and flexible set of job
tige ratings (www.harrisinteractive.com). According to the descriptors based on an extensive research program (Peterson
same poll, the prestige ratings for teachers rose from 29% et al., 1999). It can be accessed through an Internet connec-
in 1977 to 52% in 2006—the only job surveyed to show a tion at http://online.onetcenter.org. O*NET is a flexible data-
positive change in prestige over those 29 years. base that one can use to find details about occupations (e.g.,
Although most researchers and practitioners agree that tasks, knowledge, skills, work activities, wages, employment
money and recognition are nearly universal motivators outlook; see ● Figure E-1 for an example) or select work
Occupational Information Network (O*NET) an online database
offering a comprehensive, detailed, and flexible set of job
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E4 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
Summary Report for: • Formulate and implement training programs, applying
19-3032.00-Industrial-Organizational Psychologists principles of learning and individual differences.
• Develop interview techniques, rating scales, and
psychological tests used to assess skills, abilities, and
Apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, interests for the purpose of employee selection,
management, sales, and marketing problems. Activities may placement, and promotion.
include policy planning; employee screening, training and • Assess employee performance.
development; and organizational development and analysis.
May work with management to reorganize the work setting
to improve worker productivity. Critical Thinking—Using logic and reasoning to identify the
Sample of reported job titles: Consultant, Industrial/ strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions,
Organizational Psychologist (I/O Psychologist), Organizational conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Psychologist, Research Scientist, Consulting Psychologist, Active Listening—Giving full attention to what other people
Organizational Consultant, Customer Leader, Management are saying, taking time to understand the points being made,
Consultant, Industrial Psychologist, Management asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting as
Psychologist. inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension—Understanding written
Tasks sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
• Develop and implement employee selection and placement Writing—Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate
programs. for the needs of the audience.
• Analyze job requirements and content in order to establish Time Management—Managing one’s own time and the time
criteria for classification, selection, training, and other of others.
related personnel functions. Judging and Decision Making—Considering the relative
or Le • Observe and interview workers in order to obtain
information about physical, mental, and educational
requirements of jobs as well as information about aspects
such as job classification.
• Write reports on research findings and implications in order
costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most
Complex Problem Solving—Identifying complex problems
and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate
options and implement solutions.
to contribute to general knowledge and to suggest Service Orientation—Actively looking for ways to help people.
potential changes in organizational functioning. Speaking—Talking to others to convey information effectively.
• Advise management concerning personnel, managerial, Coordination—Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
and marketing policies and practices and their potential
effects on organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Wages & Employment Trends
• Identify training and development needs. National
• Conduct research studies of physical work environments, Median Wages (2005) $40.72 hourly/$84,690 annual
organizational structures, communication systems, group Employment (2004) 2,000 employees
interactions, morale, and motivation in order to assess Projected Growth (2004–2014) Average (10–20%)
organizational functioning. Projected Need (2004–2014) 1,000 additional employees
● Figure E.1
An O*NET entry for Industrial Organizational Psychologist
activities or interests and locate corresponding occupations. It Regardless of the type of job or your work schedule,
is a helpful starting point for individuals seeking details about you will spend most of your waking hours in some type of
the types of occupations that may interest them as well as the employment for many years; many individuals spend their
salary and occupational outlook for different occupations. It weekends working too. Because work is critical to who we
is also useful for employers who need to develop thorough are and what we do, studying the psychological principles
job descriptions for their organizations. Although there have and some of the topics examined by applied psychologists
been some concerns about its coverage and information, it is will provide you with information that may be useful to
viewed as a major achievement in occupational information you in your future careers.
(Sackett & Laczo, 2003); information continues to be updated
and added to the O*NET.
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Selecting Employees E5
Quiz Yourself Industrial and Organizational Psychology
1. Both I/O and social psychologists _____. 3. Spencer, Jack, and Annie are debating the merits of cer-
(a) apply psychological (b) primarily study tain occupations. Spencer has always wanted to be a
principles to the study abnormal individuals firefighter, Jack a business executive, and Annie a scien-
of behavior tist. Based on 2006 information, the rank order of the
(c) study individuals’ (d) rely only on theory to friends based on the level of prestige of their occupation
behavior at work solve their research selections would be _____.
questions (a) Spencer, Annie, Jack (b) Annie, Jack, Spencer
(c) Jack, Spencer, Annie (d) Spencer, Jack, Annie
2. Your could use the O*NET to _____.
(a) find out what type of (b) determine the 4. Nearly all individuals value _____ and _____ from their
personality you have employment outlook for work.
a high school teacher (a) money; prestige (b) prestige; social
(c) find employers with job (d) measure your interactions
openings networking skills (c) money; recognition (d) satisfaction; prestige
Answers: 1=a, 2=b, 3=a, 4=c
or Le Selecting Employees
We believed the best way to meet and exceed the expectations
of our customers was to hire and train great people; we
Job Analysis. Job analysis is the identification of the criti-
cal elements of a job. I/O psychologists have been instru-
mental in devising effective strategies for evaluating the job
invested in employees who were zealous about good coffee. itself to determine (1) what tasks and behaviors are neces-
—Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman & visionary sary and how important each task or behavior is for the job,
(Allen & Scheinfeld, 2003, p. 156) (2) the requirements (e.g., knowledge, skills, abilities)
needed to perform the tasks of the job, and (3) the condi-
The Hiring Process tions (e.g., stress, safety, temperature) under which the job is
In the early 1900s, when someone needed a job he or she performed. There are many ways to conduct a job analysis,
would hang around the outside of a company and wait to see including interviewing current employees in the job, having
if the company needed workers. Many times the people who them complete questionnaires, observing someone in the
worked for the company told their friends or relatives about job, or asking subject matter experts (i.e., individuals
possible job openings, prompting job seekers to show up for knowledgeable about the job) to evaluate the job (see Gael,
work. This often meant that individuals hired for the available 1988, for a complete discussion of job analysis techniques).
jobs were similar to those working there (i.e., white males). I/O psychologists continue to research effective job analysis
Industrial and organizational psychologists first became techniques. Current research suggests that worker-oriented
involved in the process of selecting employees when the methods are best for employee selection (Aamodt, 2007)
United States government needed help selecting and placing because of their focus on the worker as opposed to the
officers and soldiers in World War I (Aamodt, 2007). They tasks. One worker-oriented technique is the Critical Inci-
used mental ability tests to determine who would become dent Technique (CIT), which uses critical incidents or
an officer (i.e., those with higher scores on the tests) and behaviors that discriminate between excellent and poor
those who would be in the infantry (i.e., those whose tests behavior for someone performing the job (Flanagan, 1954).
scores were lower). The process that many employers now For example, excellent behavior for a university professor
use to hire employees is very detailed, complicated, expen- might involve lecturing about relevant material beyond
sive, and time-consuming. We will cover this area briefly what is covered in the textbook (Aamodt, 2007).
and will divide the hiring process into four components: job The content derived from a job analysis is used to pro-
analysis, testing, legal issues, and recruitment. We will con- vide useful information for many types of personnel func-
clude this section with information about how employers tions, including selection, performance appraisal, training,
make the decision about whom to hire. and human resources planning. Specific to the hiring
job analysis identification of the critical elements of a job, including
tasks, skills required, and working conditions
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E6 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
process, job analysis is used to write relevant job descrip- ilar scores from one time to the next or within the test?
tions (including the job title), determine what tests may be Validity is how accurate the test is with regard to what
used to help select employees with the appropriate knowl- you are intending to measure; it also has values ranging
edge, skills, and abilities, and assist in meeting legal require- from 0 to 1, with higher values representing greater valid-
ments for organizations. ity. For example, a test in your social psychology class that
asked you about world religions or had you prove a theo-
Testing. You are familiar with tests and taking tests. Tests rem using calculus would not be a valid measure of what
may be paper and pencil, computer based, or performance you learned in that class.
based. Tests will be defined here as the measurement of Another form of testing is the employee interview.
carefully chosen samples of behavior. Tests are vital to the Practically 100% of all organizations use some type of
success of organizations and are used to ascertain differ- interview in their selection of employees (Salgado, Viswes-
ences between individuals. They include the standard varan, & Ones, 2003), even though interviews are often
paper-and-pencil tests you are used to taking to assess your viewed as inherently subjective and worthless. Interviews
skill or ability in a class or general area, such as the Iowa can be worthless if not conducted appropriately; more than
Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test 85 years of research on interviews has provided evidence
(SAT). It also includes personality tests (e.g., conscientious- regarding when they are useful and when they are not.
ness), integrity or honesty tests, interviews, interest inven- Selection interviews can be broadly classified as
tories, work samples (in which the applicant does a replica unstructured and structured. Unstructured interviews are
of the work she will be asked to do on the job), and situa- informal and unplanned, with random questions and no
tional exercises (for upper-level jobs, where the test mirrors scoring key, and are conducted by an untrained inter-
the job such as prioritizing tasks presented to you if you
were the manager of an organization). The goal of these
tests is to help employers choose those employees best
suited to the organization by tapping into their individual
viewer; structured interviews have standardized questions,
a specific question order, and a predetermined scoring or
answer key, and are conducted by a trained interviewer.
Some typical and frequently asked questions during an
differences (see Chapter 3 regarding individual differences informal interview are shown in ● Figure E-2. Examples of
in self-esteem, self-presentation, and motivation). behavior- or performance-based structured interview ques-
Regardless of the type of test or how it is adminis- tions are shown in ● Figure E-3.
tered, the reliability and validity of a test are very impor- I/O psychologists have compared and evaluated the
tant. Reliability can be defined as consistency of measure- two types of interviews. Structured interviews, based on a
ment and can range from 0 to 1, with higher values job analysis and often including behavior- or performance-
representing more consistent measurement. It addresses based questions, have greater validity than unstructured
the question: Does the test give you the same or very sim- interviews. Three separate meta-analysis investigations
Typical Unstructured Interview Questions
1. What are your weaknesses? Structured Behavior-Based Interview Questions
2. Why should we hire you?
3. Why do you want to work here? 1. Tell me in specific detail about a time when you had to
4. What are your goals? deal with a difficult customer.
5. Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job? 2. Give me an example of a time when you had to make a
6. When were you most satisfied in your job? decision without a supervisor present.
7. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? 3. Give me a specific example of when you demonstrated
8. What are three positive things your last boss would say your initiative in an employment setting.
about you? 4. Give me an example of a time when you had to work
9. What salary are you seeking? with a team.
10. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be? 5. Describe a time when you had to be creative at solving a
● Figure E-2 ● Figure E-3
Questions often asked by an untrained interviewer Questions often asked by a trained interviewer
tests the measurement of carefully chosen samples of behavior unstructured interview informal, unplanned interview, using ran-
dom questions and no scoring key, and conducted by an untrained
reliability consistency of measurement
validity the accuracy of a test in measuring what it is intended to
structured interview an interview using standardized questions, a
specific question order, and a predetermined scoring or answer key,
conducted by a trained interviewer
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Selecting Employees E7
found validity coefficients corrected for unreliability and gation can be very high both monetarily and in terms of an
range restriction of .62 (Arvey & Campion, 1982), .44 organization’s reputation. Some organizations have stand-
(McDaniel, Whetzel, Schmidt, & Maurer, 1994), and .57 alone legal departments, others hire lawyers to assist them
(Huffcutt & Arthur, 1994) for structured interviews pre- in making sure they abide by laws designed to protect
dicting performance. The corrected validity coefficient for employees and employers, and others rely on their human
the relationship between unstructured interviews and per- resource managers to ensure that they are following the
formance was .20 (Huffcutt & Arthur, 1994). I/O psycholo- law. Employment law in the United States is meant to pro-
gists have helped to make interviews—the most popular tect and provide equal opportunities for individuals (see
type of test used by employers—more valid and reliable. The Social Side of Sex for an example of such a protection).
When developed and conducted correctly, interviews can
be useful selection tools. Recruitment. Recruitment is the process organizations use
Other commonly used tests, as measures of carefully to identify potential employees for a job. Depending on the
chosen samples of behavior, and their corrected validity job, an organization may recruit from inside the company
coefficients include measures of cognitive ability, .51 (internal recruitment) or seek someone outside the organi-
(Schmidt & Hunter, 1998), motor work sample, .43 (Hardi- zation (external recruitment). They may advertise on their
son, Kim, & Sackett, 2005), integrity tests, .34 (Ones, company’s web page or on a site for specific types of jobs,
Viswesvaran, & Schmidt, 1993), grades, .32 (Roth, BeVier, such as the official site for government jobs in the United
Switzer, & Schippmann, 1996), experience, .27 (Quinones, States (www.usajobs.opm.gov) or careers in psychology
Ford, & Teachout, 1995), overall personality, .17 (Tett, Jack- (http://psyccareers.apa.org). In addition, Websites such as
son, Rothstein, & Reddon, 1994), and education, .10 monster.com and careerbuilder.com link potential employ-
or Le (Hunter & Hunter, 1984).
Legal Issues. One of the most important pieces of legisla-
tion regarding employment and specifically the hiring of
ees and employers in a variety of jobs and locations. Other
recruitment sources include national and local newspapers,
radio and television advertisements, trade magazines, and
professional publications (e.g., The Industrial-Organizational
employees is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title Psychologist), as well as current employee referrals and
VII “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, word of mouth.
sex, and national origin” (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii Using a meta-analysis, Zottoli and Wanous (2000) eval-
.html), known as the “Big 5.” Providing protection for people uated the effectiveness of different recruitment sources.
comprising the Big 5 helps to ensure that they have equal They found that employees recruited through inside
employment opportunities. There are exceptions to this act, sources (e.g., employee referrals, rehires) worked for the
including national security, seniority systems, and bona fide organization longer and had better job performance than
occupational qualifications (BFOQ). BFOQs permit organi- those recruited through outside sources (e.g., advertise-
zations to discriminate in hiring individuals in a protected ments, employment agencies, recruiters). Several studies
class (one of the Big 5) on the basis of a qualification that is have supported the idea that those recruited using inside
deemed reasonably necessary to the operation of the busi- sources receive more accurate information about the job
ness. For example, women can be discriminated against than those recruited through external sources (McManus &
when hiring someone to model men’s swimwear, and vice Baratta, 1992; Conrad & Ashworth, 1986). Research also
versa. It is reasonably necessary to the marketing and selling shows that employees who stayed with the organization
of swimwear that organizations are permitted in this situa- longer were referred by successful employees rather than
tion to require men to model male swimwear and women to unsuccessful employees (Aamodt & Rupert, 1990; Aamodt
model female swimwear; sex would be a BFOQ. It is not rea- & Carr, 1988). Social psychology suggests that our friends
sonably necessary, however, that a secretary in a church who tend to be similar to us in characteristics such as values,
does secretarial work and not church or religious work be personality, and interests, which may explain why successful
of the same religion as the church that employs him; reli- employees make successful referrals and unsuccessful
gion in this case could not be used as a BFOQ. employees do not.
Abiding by laws that protect individuals against dis- A survey of the 50 best small and medium organiza-
crimination based on the Big 5 covered under the Civil tions to work for in America found that 92% use employee
Rights Act as well as age (Age Discrimination in Employ- referrals and more than 30% of all hires were referred by a
ment Act), disability (Americans with Disabilities Act), and current employee (Pomeroy, 2005). Because of the effec-
other factors is important for employers, as the costs of liti- tiveness of employee referrals, some companies offer
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 law that prohibits discrimina- recruitment the process organizations use to identify potential
tion based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin employees for a job
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E8 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
The Social Side of Sex
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was originally designed to elimi-
nate race discrimination, but sex was added at the last minute
by a southern senator, Howard W. Smith. He said he added it
to support women while his opponents said he was trying to
kill the bill by adding sex (The National Archives,
archives.gov). Whatever the reason, as a result of this act,
women have achieved more equality in the workplace. This
was the first protection afforded to working women.
In the early 1990s, Clarence Thomas was appointed to
t Dennis Brack/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
replace Thurgood Marshall as a lifetime member of the
Supreme Court of the United States. His confirmation
hearings were proceeding smoothly until Anita Hill, a law
professor, reported to the FBI that she had been the subject
of harassment by Clarence Thomas when she worked for
or Le him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC). Her allegations were made public, and for several
days the nation watched televised hearings of Hill and
Thomas answering questions. Hill alleged that because she
had not accepted date invitations from Thomas, he sub- The televised sexual harassment hearings for Anita Hill and
Clarence Thomas awoke America to the realities of sexual
jected her to inappropriate discussions of sexual acts and harassment.
pornographic material. Thomas vehemently denied her
allegations and called the proceedings a “high-tech lynch-
ing of uppity Blacks” (Center for History and New Media, fied by an employee who displays pornographic photos in
2006). Thomas was eventually confirmed as a member of his locker that offend the women who work in the organi-
the Supreme Court by a vote of 52 to 48 (Center for His- zation or an employee who tells jokes that are sexist; it typ-
tory and New Media, 2006). ically alters the individual’s employment because it is so
The Thomas hearings and Hill’s testimony resulted in offensive. Both types of harassment are inappropriate in
an increased awareness of sexual harassment. Men and the workplace and violate individuals’ civil rights.
women watched the hearings on television or saw reports Sexual harassment has costs associated with it that can
on the evening news. Regardless of one’s view on who was be very expensive for organizations as well as for the
telling the truth, sexual harassment had assumed a new employees who are harassed. Claims of sexual harassment
place in the consciousness of working Americans. cost organizations in terms of money, reputation, and pro-
Sexual harassment exists in two forms: quid pro quo ductivity. The culture of the organization is affected as well
and hostile work environment. An example of quid pro as employee attitudes and behaviors; these issues are
quo harassment is an offer by an employer of a promotion addressed in later sections of this module (Jablin, 1982;
in exchange for sex. Hostile work environment is exempli- Hanisch, 1995).
rewards to employees who recommend an applicant who is for the referring employee to receive the award (average
hired. These rewards have included cash awards, vacations, time to receive reward was three months; Stewart et al.,
raffles for prizes (e.g., televisions, candy, hammocks), and 1990).
free maid service for a year (Stewart, Ellenburg, Hicks, Kre- Employers are hoping to reach those individuals best
men, & Daniel, 1990). Typically the new employee must suited for their jobs and organization through their recruit-
work for the organization for a set period of time in order ment efforts. After prospective employees have submitted
quid pro quo a form of sexual harassment that links sexual favors
to employment advantages
hostile work environment a form of sexual harassment in which
offensive pictures, jokes, or the like make the environment an
offensive place to work
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Selecting Employees E9
pr n ni
© Louis Quail/Corbis
Would you hire these perople? During the hiring process companies
are increasingly turning to social networking sites, such as Myspace.com
to learn about their candidates’ attitudes and behavior from images
like these that are commonly posted to the sites.
© David Young-Wolff/PhotoEdit
or Le either a resume or an application with the company, some-
one from the organization (e.g., human resource manager,
company president, supervisor) will determine which of
the applicants should be considered further. In that
process, he or she may make telephone inquiries of previ-
ous employers or other references, conduct background
checks, or search for information about them on the Inter- Researchers have posited two groups of factors that
net using standard search engines. determine an employee’s performance in the employment
A fairly recent and growing phenomenon is the use of setting. They are the “can-do” (the maximum perfor-
social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, mance an employee can exhibit) and the “will-do” (the
and Friendster by employers to learn about promising job normal or typical performance by an employee) (Schmitt,
candidates (Finder, 2006). Recruiters and company presi- Cortina, Ingerick, & Wiechmann, 2003). The can-do fac-
dents have found promising candidates reporting on their tors are normally associated with one’s general cognitive
own use of alcohol and drugs, flaunting their sexual exploits, ability, one’s reasoning, math, and verbal abilities, as well
and posting suggestive photographs on these sites (Finder, as the experience one brings to the job. These can-do fac-
2006). These are considered “red flags” by employers; tors suggest what an employee is capable of doing on the
employers assume such applicants are lacking in good judg- job if he is working to the best of his ability. Schmitt et al.
ment and therefore take them out of the selection process (2003) list personality factors such as conscientiousness
(Finder, 2006). Information that students thought might and need for achievement as well as integrity as important
only be viewed by their peers is making its way into the pub- will-do factors in performance. These factors affect one’s
lic arena at all levels (e.g., future employers, relatives). motivation or desire to perform well in the organization.
Will-do factors that may assist employees are the other
Making the Decision individuals in the organization, including the owner/pres-
When selecting employees, employers are looking for a ident of the company, immediate supervisor, coworkers,
good match between the employee and the organization. and subordinates. An individual’s can-do and will-do fac-
They would like to match the requirements for excellent tors may change as she moves from organization to orga-
performance on the job with the person’s knowledge, skills, nization. Once individuals are selected, the important
abilities, personality, and motivation for the job. They process of their being accepted and socialized into the
attempt to accomplish this by using some of the different organization at all levels, including their work group or
types of tests discussed earlier. team, begins.
can-do performance the maximum performance an employee can
will-do performance the normal or typical performance by an
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E10 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
Quiz Yourself Selecting Employees
1. Asking employees to describe their job is one way of 3. Zachary is usually a conscientious and hardworking
conducting a _____. employee, but the company hired a new boss who is
(a) job evaluation (b) job analysis really lazy and doesn’t motivate his employees. It is
(c) performance appraisal (d) job review likely that Zachary’s _____ will be compromised in this
2. Alexander, a television reporter, wants access to the
(a) try-to factors (b) will-do factors
women’s locker room right after the basketball game to
(c) can-do factors (d) must-do factors
conduct interviews with the team members. The
women’s team lets female reporters in to interview 4. Most organizations use interviews when hiring employ-
them, but wants Alexander to wait until after they have ees. Which of the following questions would you most
showered and changed because they think he is too crit- likely find in a structured, performance-based interview?
ical in his reporting style. Alexander argues he needs to (a) Tell me about your (b) What are your long-
be treated the same as the female reporters. What biggest weakness. term goals?
would be the likely outcome if this issue goes before a (c) Describe a situation in (d) What types of
court? your last job where you extracurricular activities
(a) The team would win (b) The team members had to confront a coworker did you participate
because gender is a would win because because she was causing in during college?
BFOQ in this case. they can discriminate you problems.
because they don’t like
or Le (c) Alexander would win
because the team
members can’t discri-
minate against him
his reporting style.
(d) Alexander would
win because gender
is not a BFOQ
in this case.
because they don’t like
Answers: 1=b, 2=d, 3=b, 4=c
his reporting style.
Socializing Employees Through Culture, subjects). Many of these channels are also used by job
Groups, and Leadership applicants to learn about the organization before submit-
ting their applications. These channels are also important
When you report for your first day of work in an organiza- given the changing nature of organizations so that employ-
tion, there will be many things you won’t know and many
ees placed in different locations or in virtual organizations
things you’ll need to learn to be successful in your job. The can learn information about their jobs and organizations.
process of learning these things is called organizational Supervisors and coworkers are important sources of
socialization, defined as “the process by which organiza-
socialization information too. Mentoring is a form of train-
tional members become a part of, or are absorbed into, the ing often used for a new employee. A current and often long-
culture of the organization” (Jablin, 1982; more details
term employee (the mentor) is paired with a new employee.
about culture are discussed later in this module). In general The mentor’s role is to help the employee adapt to the job by
terms, organizational socialization consists of individuals assisting with advice or resources to do the job. The veteran
learning the ropes (i.e., how the organization operates) by employee may provide information about how the organiza-
relying on information provided by management, cowork- tion works and career advancement opportunities. Mentor-
ers, observation, and company handbooks or memos. ing helps employees become successful on the job and learn
In recent years, electronic technology has changed and the formal and informal rules of the organization as long
will continue to change the way you and your coworkers as the mentor is a good trainer. Sometimes those who are
are socialized (Flanagin & Waldeck, 2004). The communi- excellent performers may not be able to teach someone else
cation channels open to new employees include e-mail, effectively; personality conflicts may also arise between the
company websites, chat groups, and blogs (web logs in mentor and the new employee (Aamodt, 2007).
which users can provide commentary or news on particular
organizational socialization the process by which members of an mentoring the pairing of a current and often long-term employee
organization become a part of, or are absorbed into, the culture of (the mentor) with a new employee
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Socializing Employees Through Culture, Groups, and Leadership E11
Research indicates that both mentors and those they There have been several case studies of organizations
mentor often benefit from the relationship. For example, one that have successfully changed their culture. Remember
study of a sample of employees in a health care organization Arthur Friedman from the beginning of this module?
found that those who were mentored reported higher salaries, Arthur Friedman, the owner or leader of the Friedman-
greater promotion rates, and more positive career success Jacob’s Co., allowed employees to set their own wages and
than those who did not receive mentoring (Allen, Lentz, & decide the hours they worked, and required employees to
Day, 2006). Employees who have been mentored have better belong to the union. After Friedman made these changes,
compensation, advancement, career satisfaction, job satisfac- the grumbling stopped. The culture in Friedman’s company
tion, job involvement, effective socialization, and organiza- changed, resulting in better morale, increased productivity,
tional commitment than those with no mentoring (Green- and employee longevity. No one wanted to quit working in
haus, 2003). In addition, informal or spontaneous mentoring an organization with a culture where the employees got to
relationships are more successful than formal, role-required make their own decisions, and this had an impact on the
mentoring (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). organization’s bottom line. Finding an organizational culture
Organizational Culture and Climate
Organizational culture can generally be defined as the cog-
nitive component that includes the shared assumptions and
beliefs of the organization. Organizational climate has
been defined as the behavioral component of organiza-
tional culture that transforms the cognitive component
or Le into actions for the individuals in the group or organiza-
tion (Schein, 1985). These behaviors are considered the
norm for the organization, the “normal behaviors”
expected by the organization and its members. Because
both culture and climate generally operate in concert, our
discussion will encompass both cognitive and behavioral
aspects and be collectively referred to as culture. For
expanded discussions on culture and climate, see Ostroff,
Kinicki, and Tamkins (2003).
Organizational culture is important because it lets
employees know what is expected of them and affects how
they behave. Culture is often determined by the founders of
the organization and may be modified over time by the
© The New Yorker Collection 1994 Mick Stevens from cartoonbank.com. All rights reserved.
successes and failures of an organization.
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images
CEO Dieter Zetsche of Daimler-Chrysler is considering selling off
the Chrysler division after it lost $1.5 billion in 2006. Culture can
change with company success and company management.
organizational culture the shared cognitive assumptions and beliefs
of an organization
organizational climate the behavioral norms of an organization
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E12 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
that fits your working style and expectations will have con- Work teams and groups can be defined as two or more
sequences for your morale, performance, and tenure in an employees who “(a) exist to perform organizationally rele-
organization. vant tasks, (b) share one or more common goals, (c) inter-
As another example, Chrysler, back in the 1990s, act socially, (d) exhibit task interdependencies (i.e., work
adopted Customer One as a program to change their cul- flow, goals, outcomes), (e) maintain and manage bound-
ture. The culture at Chrysler had been known for terrible aries, and (f) are embedded in an organizational context
customer service, low profit, and high losses. Chrysler, that sets boundaries, constrains the team, and influences
throughout its program of change, solicited ideas from the exchanges with other units in the broader entity”
workers about ways to cut costs and improve the organiza- (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003, p. 334). Just as there can be a cul-
tion. They were extremely successful at turning the organiza- ture in an organization, groups or teams also exhibit cul-
tion around by doing such things as cutting overhead by $4.2 tures that may encourage or discourage certain types of
billion in four years. Unfortunately, new management hired work-related behaviors and these cultures form the basis
in the acquisition of Chrysler by Daimler-Benz (i.e., Daimler- for the socialization of new members of the group or team.
Chrysler) appears to have resulted in poor employee morale Although most organizations provide formal means of
and financial performance (Zatz, 1994). Today the company socializing new employees, the work group dynamics or
has serious financial troubles. The culture of an organization team dynamics have immediate and direct effects on
is generally stable, but may change with the passage of time. employees socialization (Anderson & Thomas, 1996); the
Work teams and the leadership of an organization have a outcomes of the two types of socialization may be different.
large influence on the culture of an organization. Teams may have leaders or may be self-managing. The lat-
ter are typically given whole work tasks and have autonomy
Groups and Teams
Groups have been studied by social psychologists for more
than 75 years (e.g., Hare, 1962; McGrath, 1966; see Chapter
14). Research has focused on group dynamic topics such as
and control over their work (Manz, 1992); sometimes they
have leaders but the role of the leader is to allow self-man-
agement. Outcomes of self-managing teams versus leader-
led teams include better productivity, an increase in work
individual versus group problem solving (Hill, 1982; Paulus, quality, improved quality of life for employees, decreased
2000) and the effects of participation in decision making on absenteeism, and decreased turnover (Cohen & Ledford,
group member satisfaction and performance (Likert, 1967; 1994). Sometimes these teams fail, and often the failure is
Sagie, 1997). Industrial and organizational psychologists linked to the team leader who may be too autocratic, wield-
have focused on studying groups or teams in organizations. ing too much power or influence; as a result, the team does
The use of teams or groups in organizations has been not realize the autonomy and control levels it needs to be
increasing in the last several years because work is now being successful (Stewart & Manz, 1995).
increasingly organized around team-based structures instead The functioning leaders of teams need to be involved
of individual jobs (Lawler, Mohrman, & Ledford, 1995). in both “the development and shaping of the team
Many college courses have assignments that require processes, and the monitoring and management of ongoing
students to work in groups to complete the assignment and team performance” (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003). Developing a
students are graded as a group instead of as individuals. Do team may mean successfully integrating new employees
you like to work on projects in a group? Do you put in as into the team as well as helping with the transition of indi-
much effort as you would if you were completing the viduals into and out of the team depending on the team’s
assignment alone? Among other benefits, students working function. Team leaders are critical to the success of group
in groups gain insights into group dynamics, develop their or team newcomers. Establishing and maintaining condi-
interpersonal skills, and are exposed to other viewpoints tions wherein the team can perform well is also an impor-
(Mello, 1993). Students with less experience with group tant role for the team leader. Leaders are successful in this
assignments and grading tend to support group grading; role by monitoring and taking action (Kozlowski, Gully,
older students are less satisfied with a group experience McHugh, Salas, & Cannon-Bowers, 1996).
than younger students; and students who work part-time
view the group grading experience as more positive than do Leadership
those who work full-time (Barfield, 2003). The odds are Leadership is the art of getting someone else to
good that you will find yourself in groups in college class- do something you want done because he wants to do it.
rooms that will prepare you for the almost inevitable work
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
teams in your future.
work team/group two or more employees who together perform
organizationally relevant tasks, share one or more common goals,
interact socially, exhibit task interdependencies, and maintain and
manage boundaries within an organizational context
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Attitudes and Behaviors at Work E13
Leadership has received a lot of attention in the organi- (Northouse, 2004). Each of these has useful components,
zational area. Various definitions exist, but in the context of and some recommend merging several of these theories/
understanding organizational socialization and culture, approaches to obtain the best understanding and identifi-
Katz and Kahn (1978) defined leadership as “the influential cation of leadership (Aamodt, 2007).
increment over and above mechanical compliance with the Art Friedman’s integrity likely made him a successful
routine directives of the organization” (p. 528), while Bry- leader of the Friedman-Jacob’s Co. He decided to give
man (1996), summarizing the various leadership defini- employees what he would want, providing them with the
tions in the literature, described leadership as a social influ- capabilities to make major decisions that could either make
ence process wherein a leader facilitates and encourages or break the organization. In his case, he created a self-
group members to reach their goals. managing group that had no need for external assistance
Although leadership has been studied for many years, it from unions or other entities. As a result, Friedman
is still difficult to describe how to make or select the ideal demonstrated the transformational leadership approach
leader. Many theories exist, and most have been useful in (Bass, 1998). Transformational leadership is characterized
helping us understand what makes a good leader and how by high ethical standards, inspirational motivation, intellec-
to improve leadership style. Personality has been discussed tual stimulation, and individual consideration—all clearly
as a defining characteristic of successful or unsuccessful evident in Arthur Friedman’s leadership style.
leaders. Kirkpatrick and Locke’s (1991) review suggests that Leaders today and in the future must contend with
drive, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, cognitive abili- information-based team environments requiring the
ties, and knowledge are associated with successful leaders. capacities for sifting large amounts of information com-
Leaders with poor cognitive abilities and social skills, and ing from computer networks (Avolio, Kahai, & Dodge,
or Le who are indecisive, low on self-confidence and self-esteem,
dishonest, and lacking in ambition tend to be unsuccessful
(Kaplan, Drath &, Kofodimos, 1991).
Several theories of leadership have been proposed.
2000). Environmental turbulence (e.g., widely varying
working environments as a result of economic issues) and
global competition will require leaders to be adaptable
(Mann, 1959), capable of handling stress (Goleman,
Some of the approaches and theories include the trait 1998), knowledgeable about competitors and products
approach, skills approach, style approach, situational (Kirpatrick & Locke, 1991), and able to quickly solve
approach, contingency theory, path-goal theory, leader- complex problems (Zaccaro, Mumford, Connelly, Marks,
member exchange theory, and transformational leadership & Gilbert, 2000).
Quiz Yourself Socializing Employees Through Culture, Groups, and Leadership
1. Mentoring of new employees, in general, has been 4. Carol is part of a successful self-managing team in an
found to have positive outcomes or consequences for organization that produces handcrafted furniture. Com-
_____. pared to her coworkers who are in traditional leader-led
(a) both the mentor and the (b) the mentor teams, Carol and her work team should have _____.
employee (a) better productivity, lower (b) an increase in work
(c) the employee (d) organizations with work quality, and a quality, decrease in
autocratic leaders decrease in absenteeism work quantity, and
better quality of life
2. Organizational climate focuses on _____ components while
(c) an increase in absen- (d) better productivity,
organizational culture focuses on _____ components.
teeism, lower work better work quality,
(a) cognitive; behavioral (b) emotional; behavioral
quality, and higher and a better quality
(c) behavioral; cognitive (d) cognitive; emotional
work quantity of life
3. In the future, leaders will have to be concerned with
which of the following?
(a) environmental turbulence (b) global competition
(c) information-based team (d) All of the above
environments Answers: 1=a, 2=c, 3=d, 4=d
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E14 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
Attitudes and Behaviors at Work
Given that your skills and abilities match the job for which
you were hired (i.e., the selection process worked), one of
the most important factors influencing whether you will be
motivated to do a good job hinges on your attitudes at
work (see Chapter 7). Work attitudes have been extensively
researched and have been shown to be related to a number
of work behaviors that influence how well employees do
their job. Some of the outcomes of attitudes include volun-
teering for a project, helping out a coworker, quitting,
absenteeism, tardiness, early retirement, and job perfor-
mance. A discussion of work attitudes and behaviors is pre-
sented first; the relationship between attitudes and behav-
iors is subsequently evaluated.
AP Photo/George Nikitin
Attitudes and Stress
Attitudes at work include satisfaction with the work itself,
pay and benefits, supervision, coworkers, promotion oppor-
tunities, working conditions, and job security. In general, you
can be satisfied or dissatisfied with the tasks and conditions
at work, the people in your work environment, and the
rewards you get from work. Employee satisfaction is impor-
tant because it has been shown to be related to employee
behaviors at work. Two of the most commonly studied work
Some organizations are using creative techniques such as having a dog-
friendly office to reduce stress and improve employee satisfaction.
attitudes are presented below: job satisfaction and organiza- worker satisfied. Just as in selection, organizations have to
tional commitment. Information is then presented on stress find the right match between what the employee wants and
as an important issue facing employees and employers. what the organization can offer with regard to satisfaction.
As you recall, Art Friedman allowed his employees to
Job Satisfaction. What makes you satisfied with a job, or determine their own work schedule, pay, and work oppor-
what types of things will you look for when you seek a job? tunities. Do you remember the employee who asked for a
For some individuals, interesting work is paramount; oth- $100 raise? Once he got to set his pay at what he thought
ers place higher emphasis on having coworkers they like; he deserved, he became an excellent employee who put
still others feel that the pay and benefits they receive are forth more effort and time in his job. In order for him to
most important. Just as in selection, a match between what perform better, he needed to be compensated better. This
you want and what the organization can provide will result illustrates equity theory (Adams, 1965) wherein an
in a successful outcome for both parties. employee compares his inputs to his outcomes. If that com-
I/O psychologists have conducted many studies on job parison is equal, the employee will be satisfied. If there is a
satisfaction resulting in several suggestions for ways to discrepancy or inequity in the input to outcome comparison,
improve the satisfaction of employees. Some of the ways he will feel dissatisfied and likely reduce his inputs in one
organizations can create satisfied employees include design- form or another (see later discussion on withdrawal behav-
ing a work environment that has some of the following iors). Alternatively, recall the service man who didn’t ask for
attributes: flexible working hours, professional growth a raise and didn’t want one? His response to being paid less
opportunities (e.g., training), interesting work (allowing than his coworkers was that he didn’t want to work any
employees to use a variety of skills and own their work; harder than his current level—another example of matching
Hackman & Oldham, 1976), autonomy in the job, job secu- one’s inputs to outcomes. Both men were satisfied with their
rity, a good supervisor, good benefits, competitive pay, situations and performed according to their pay. As men-
opportunities for promotion, and technological savvy tioned before, employees differ in their wants and needs; Art
(Cranny, Smith, & Stone, 1992). It is important to note that Friedman provides a classic example of letting employees
what makes one worker satisfied may not make another decide what they want. In turn, his employees realized that
attitudes at work satisfaction with the work itself, pay and benefits,
supervision, coworkers, promotion opportunities, working condi-
tions, and job security
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Attitudes and Behaviors at Work E15
for the organization to be successful, they needed to behave commitment. You likely have some level of each type of
and perform in reasonable and appropriate ways. commitment, and these could be represented as a commit-
A recent survey found that listening to music at work ment profile for you as a student.
leads to higher levels of reported employee satisfaction. One of the antecedents of organizational commitment
About one-third of those participating in a Spherion is job satisfaction. People who are satisfied with their job
(2006) survey conducted by Harris Interactive reported are more committed to their organization than those less
they listened to an iPod, MP3 player, or other personal satisfied (Mueller, Boyer, Price, & Iverson, 1994). Other
music device while working. Seventy-nine percent of the causes of organizational commitment include trust in one’s
participants reported that listening to music improved their supervisor and human resources practices that are support-
job satisfaction and/or productivity at work. Allowing ive of employees (Arthur, 1994). The organizational com-
workers to listen to music, particularly in a way that does mitment of Friedman’s employees was high, as evidenced
not infringe on other workers, may become more and more by no turnover in five years.
popular in jobs where music does not interfere with safety Other forms of commitment have also been studied;
or job performance. Having happy workers contributes to they include commitment to an occupation (Meyer, Allen,
an organization’s success. & Smith, 1993), a work team (Ellemers, de Gilder, and van
den Heuvel, 1998), a union, and a program (e.g., to a train-
Organizational Commitment. One’s commitment or psy- ing program; Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran, 2005). Many
chological attachment to an organization has been shown definitions and theories of commitment exist, with ongoing
to be consistently related to employee retention. There are research focusing on determining those that are most use-
three types of organizational commitment: affective, nor- ful in the employment setting. In the next section on work
or Le mative, and continuance (Meyer & Allen, 1991). Meyer and
Allen define affective commitment as an employee’s emo-
tional attachment to the organization that makes the
employee want to stay in the organization. Normative
behaviors, research relevant to the consequences of organi-
zational commitment is examined.
Stress. Just as organizations must manage and deal with
commitment is a commitment based on feelings of obliga- employee satisfaction and commitment, they also need to
tion, and continuance commitment results when an be aware of the work-related stress employees may be expe-
employee remains with a company because of the high cost riencing on the job. Stress experienced at work can be
of losing organizational membership, including monetary caused by major stressors such as sexual harassment or
(e.g., pension benefits) and social (e.g., friendships) costs. potentially more minor stressors such as not having
Meyer and Herscovitch (2001) argue that employees have enough time to get your work done (Sonnentag & Frese,
an organizational commitment profile at any given time in 2003). Stress has been shown to cause a decrease in produc-
their job with high or low values on each of the three types tivity as well as health problems such as heart disease and
of commitment. For example, an employee may have high diabetes (Chandola, Brunner, & Marmot, 2006).
scores on normative and continuance commitment but be As college students, you are familiar with stress. College
lower on affective commitment. Depending on the profile, students experience stress caused by academic challenges,
the employee may engage in different behaviors such as financial problems, employment issues, relationships, social-
quitting or helping the organization. ization concerns, and extracurricular activities. Research indi-
Students may experience these different types of com- cates that poor eating and sleeping habits and the use of caf-
mitment to their university. Affective commitment means feine and tobacco all result in negative outcomes such as
that you, as a student, feel an emotional attachment or weight gain (or loss), depression, susceptibility to illness,
bond to your school because you really like the school, increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, sleeplessness,
from classes to the football team to the town in which the and body aches (Moraleda, 2006). Lack of sleep has harmful
university is located. You want to stay in that particular effects on brain performance, and one’s body does not func-
school because you are attached to it. Normative commit- tion well without proper nutrition (see Food for Thought).
ment might exist if you feel you can’t leave the university Later in life these stressors may cause diabetes, hypertension,
because your parents attended this university and you feel artery disease, and stroke (Moraleda, 2006). Learning how to
obligated to do the same thing regardless of whether it is deal with stress in college can make the inevitable work-
the best school for you. Staying at a university because your related stress from employment easier to manage.
friends are there and you have already paid for two years of Employee stress can be caused by role conflicts, role
college would typify someone acting under continuance ambiguity, work overload, different types of change such as
affective commitment an employee’s emotional attachment to the
normative commitment a commitment to the organization based
on feelings of obligation
continuance commitment remaining with an organization because
of the high cost, monetary and/or social, of losing organizational
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E16 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
Food for Thought
Work Stress and Eating
Do your eating behaviors change during finals week, before ments differently with regard to their between-meal snack-
an important exam, or before taking a college entrance ing. Specifically, women who worked longer hours ate
exam? Not surprisingly, stress may be a contributing factor more high-fat and high-sugar snacks as well as exercised
to those changes. Researchers have studied work stress and less, drank more caffeine, and smoked more (if they were
its consequences for a number of years. One interesting smokers). For men, working longer hours showed no nega-
area is the study of how the work environment affects tive effect on caffeine consumption, exercise, or smoking.
snacking behavior, particularly between-meal snacking. Working longer hours was found to have one positive out-
O’Connor, Jones, Conner, and McMillan (under review) come for both men and women—their consumption of
evaluated diaries completed by employees over a four-week alcohol decreased.
period. The employees kept track of daily hassles, perceived Given the link between nutrition and health problems,
daily variations in diet, and between-meal snacking. the researchers concluded that hassles leading to stress have
The researchers found, in general, that daily hassles harmful effects on employees and that workplace programs
(e.g., lack of time to finish a project) were associated with a designed to reduce stress would help alleviate these con-
preference for high-fat and high-sugar between-meal cerns (O’Connor et al., under review). Guides on how to
or Le snacks as well as a reduction in the consumption of vegeta-
bles and main meals (O’Connor et al., under review). Men
and women were found to deal with their work environ-
operate successful stress reduction programs are available
to aid organizations in assisting employees in dealing with
stress in the workplace (Edelman, 2006).
reorganization, downsizing, or layoffs, others in the work tive behaviors generally help an organization meet its goals
environment such as one’s coworkers or supervisor, and how while negative behaviors detract from goal attainment.
well the person and the organization fit together (Aamodt,
2007). These types of stressors have negative health out- Organizational Citizenship Behaviors. Organizational
comes similar to those experienced by students under stress. citizenship behaviors (OCBs) or prosocial behaviors have
To deal with stressful situations, people need to develop often been described as extra-role behaviors because they
stress management techniques that do not impinge on their are not specifically required by the job and also not usually
health. Some college students find participating in some evaluated by employers during performance appraisals.
type of physical activity, such as tae kwon do or racquet- These behaviors go beyond what is expected by the organi-
ball, helpful in alleviating stress; others find that taking a zation (Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983). Examples include
short break from their work rejuvenates them; still others staying late to finish a project, mentoring a new employee,
find alternative relaxation techniques helpful. All of these volunteering for work, and helping a coworker. Some of
venues for dealing with stress can be useful to employees as the causes of OCBs are job satisfaction, jobs high in auton-
well. Learning how to manage one’s time and prioritizing omy, a positive organizational culture, employees high in
activities are useful skills in college and in the workplace. agreeableness (as a personality dimension; Witt, Kacmar,
Carlson, & Zivnuska, 2002), and those high in conscien-
Behaviors at Work tiousness (Borman, Penner, Allen, & Motowidlo, 2001).
Employers want their employees to engage in behaviors Men who engage in OCBs are viewed positively while
that will make them successful in the job because their suc- women are viewed as just doing their jobs (Heilman &
cess helps the organization meet its goals (e.g., profits, mis- Chen, 2005; Kidder & Parks, 2001), a difference that may
sion). Employees have control over two aspects of their result in gender disparity in performance ratings. OCBs
work—their time and their effort (Naylor, Pritchard, & have positive consequences for the organization and for
Ilgen, 1980). Having employees at work instead of late or employees in their day-to-day interactions with others in
absent is important to performance and productivity. Posi- the organization.
organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) employee behaviors
that go beyond what is expected by the organization
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Attitudes and Behaviors at Work E17
You may engage in prosocial behaviors at your uni- Relationship Between Attitudes and Behaviors
versity by helping a student in a class by tutoring him or Organizational citizenship behaviors are positively related to
allowing him to study with you. You may also exhibit job satisfaction and organizational commitment; employees
these types of behaviors in your personal life by donating with good attitudes and who feel more committed to their
blood or being a Big Brother or Sister to a boy or girl who organization are more likely to help out a coworker or do
needs a positive role model. Altruism and prosocial other positive things to assist the organization (LePine, Erez,
behaviors are closely linked; they can carry over into the & Johnson, 2002). As would be expected, a meta-analysis
work environment. showed that those employees who demonstrated organiza-
tional citizenship behaviors were less likely to engage in coun-
Organizational Withdrawal and Counterproductive terproductive behaviors (Dalal, 2006).
Behaviors. Unhappy employees cause problems for organi- Strong links have been found between job satisfaction
zations because they sometimes choose to engage in behav- and specific withdrawal or counterproductive behaviors
iors that researchers refer to as organizational withdrawal such as absenteeism (Hackett, 1989) and even stronger
(Hanisch, Hulin, & Roznowski, 1998) and counterproduc- links with the aggregate behavior known as job withdrawal
tive behaviors (Sackett & DeVore, 2001). Organizational (Hanisch & Hulin, 1990). Counterproductive behaviors
withdrawal has been defined as behaviors employees use to have also been linked as an outcome of stress, with the
avoid their work (work withdrawal) or their job (job with- counterproductive behaviors being described as a dysfunc-
drawal) (Hanisch & Hulin, 1990; Hanisch, 1995). Examples tional coping mechanism (Lennings, 1997). For example,
of work withdrawal include being absent from work, leav- an employee experiencing stress from having too much
ing work early, arriving to work late, missing meetings, and work to do responds by being absent from work to avoid it
or Le using work equipment for personal use without permis-
sion. Examples of job withdrawal behaviors include quit-
ting one’s job, transferring to another department within
an organization, and retiring.
or sabotages her equipment so she cannot do her work.
Many years of research indicate a link between employ-
ees’ attitudes and their behaviors at work. Sometimes the
most revealing information about employees occurs when
College students are familiar with withdrawal behav- unforeseen circumstances arise and they then have to
iors when it comes to certain college courses. Some classes choose how to behave without concern for what a supervi-
may fail to hold your attention, and you may find yourself sor, coworkers, or their work team might think. An interest-
taking a nap in class or reading the newspaper. You may ing study along these lines was conducted by Smith (1977)
even look for legitimate reasons to miss class such as offer- when he took advantage of inclement weather to study the
ing to fill in for another employee at your workplace or relationship between job attitudes and job behaviors.
deciding to attend an optional session for another class. Smith (1977) compared functional work groups in
Other students may just decide it’s not worth attending Chicago where a terrible snowstorm had occurred to work
class and stay home and sleep or study for another class. groups in New York where the weather was fine. All
These behaviors will likely be counterproductive to your employees worked for the same organization, and they had
performance (i.e., grade) in the course. completed an organization-wide survey assessing work atti-
Counterproductive behaviors, although similar in tudes a few months earlier. Examining both organizational
some ways to withdrawal behaviors, are defined as “any sites provided a comparison not typically available and
intentional behavior on the part of an organizational mem- allowed the researcher to examine the relationship between
ber viewed by the organization as contrary to its legitimate work attitudes and attendance under difficult circum-
interests” (Sackett & DeVore, 2001, p.145). An example of a stances. The comparison was done to determine which
counterproductive behavior would be an intentional viola- employees would opt to attend work the day after the
tion of safety procedures; this behavior would put the storm in Chicago. Correlational results indicated a positive
employee and the organization at risk. Categories of coun- relationship between work attitudes and attendance for the
terproductive behavior include theft, destruction of prop- employees headquartered in Chicago; those reporting higher
erty, misuse of information, misuse of time and resources, satisfaction were more likely than those with lower satisfac-
unsafe behavior, poor attendance, poor quality work, alco- tion to attend work (see ● Figure E-4). Interestingly, the
hol use, drug use, and inappropriate physical actions (e.g., relationship between the work attitudes and attendance was
attacking a coworker). The next section integrates the atti- not significant for the groups based in New York. It was up
tudes and behaviors discussed previously and examines the to the discretion of the individuals in the Chicago sample
relationship between them. whether or not they attended work the day after the storm;
organizational withdrawal work withdrawal or job withdrawal counterproductive behaviors intentional behaviors on the part of
an organizational member viewed by the organization as contrary
work withdrawal behaviors employees use to avoid their work to its legitimate interests
(e.g., lateness, absenteeism)
job withdrawal behaviors employees use to avoid their job (e.g.,
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E18 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
Scale Chicago (n= 27)a New York (n=13)b
Supervision .54** .12
*p>.05, one-tailed test
Amount of work .36* .01
Kind of work .37* .06 **p<.01, one-tailed test
aGroup following storm
Financial rewards .46** .11
Career future .60** .14 bGroup under normal
Company identification .42* .02 working conditions
● Figure E-4
Correlations Between Job Satisfaction Levels and Attendance Levels on Individual Days for the Chicago and New York
Groups (Smith, 1977)
the correlational results suggest that those work groups low stress for his 15 employees. Conversely, employees need
with more positive attitudes made a greater effort to attend to learn how to seek out work that is satisfying and organi-
work that day than did those with less positive attitudes. zations that they can commit to, and learn to either manage
Employers need to evaluate the work environment and the stress they are under or seek less stressful work. These
make modifications where necessary to ensure that employ- approaches in combination will help facilitate OCBs and
ees are satisfied, committed, and experience low stress. Art decrease withdrawal and counterproductive behaviors.
Friedman made modifications in the work environment of
his organization that led to satisfaction, commitment, and
Together, the right employee attitudes and behaviors will
lead to successful organizational functioning.
Quiz Yourself Attitudes and Behaviors at Work
1. Organizational withdrawal is comprised of _____. (c) Find a relaxation (d) Drink more coffee
(a) work withdrawal and (b) job withdrawal technique that will to give you a boost
quitting and work withdrawal help you deal with to complete your job.
(c) quitting and job (d) leaving and staying the stress better.
4. _____ would be an example of an organizational citizen-
2. Gordon’s organizational commitment has been decreas- ship behavior while _____ would be an example of a
ing in the last year. Which of the following is Gordon counterproductive behavior.
most likely to do if his organizational commitment (a) Mentoring a new (b) Being late; staying
doesn’t improve soon? employee; engaging late to help a coworker
(a) Be absent (b) Quit in safe work practices
(c) Ask for a raise (d) Steal from the (c) Missing a meeting; being (d) Volunteering to serve
organization late for work on a committee; physi-
cally attacking your
3. Jonathan’s boss keeps adding more duties to his job
each day, and Jonathan is beginning to feel like he has
way more to do than he can manage. He mentions to
his friend Doug that he is under a great deal of stress
and wants to know how he can manage it. Based on
research, if you were Doug, what advice would you give
(a) Quit your job, it’s not (b) Find a counterproductive
going to get better. behavior that will allow
you to reduce your
workload. Answers: 1=b, 2=b, 3=c, 4=d
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Module Summary E19
What Makes Us Human? Putting the Cultural only necessary and even useful because of the informa-
tional complexity of human culture. There’s not much
Animal in Perspective mentoring in an anthill or a flock of birds, because it is
The unique features of human groups do not end
In one sense, almost all animals do some work, if we define there. Humans encounter stresses at work (e.g., financial
work as the activity that is done not for the pleasure of doing pressures, deadlines, and legal problems) that are unlike
it but rather to obtain the means of survival. Hunting food, what any noncultural animal encounters. They also exhibit
building nests or digging caves, and other similar “work” is positive, prosocial behaviors (such as the OCBs) that exem-
found throughout the animal kingdom. But human work is plify some of the best features of human nature.
different in important ways. The complexity and organization of human work
The process of selecting employees is uniquely human. groups are remarkable. Human organizations are con-
A pack of wolves does not use a structured interview to eval- stantly changing in ways that no other, noncultural animal
uate another wolf who wants to join the pack, nor does it groups change. They add new roles (e.g., lawyers who
give the new wolf standardized tests. The pack of wolves ensure that hiring practices are consistent with new laws).
doesn’t worry about complying with federal hiring laws, nor They change the rules and procedures (as in the opening
does it protect its members from sexual harassment. Human account about Arthur Friedman’s changes). A group of
organizations often perform complex assessments of both leaders may make decisions to increase or decrease the
the person and the job in order to find the right match. organization’s size, sometimes resulting in mass layoffs.
Socializing processes show the cultural aspect of These decisions give human work groups the flexibility to
or Le human work organizations. Culture is all about informa-
tion, and new employees must often master a great deal of
specialized information about what their job will be and
how it fits into the big picture of what the organization
adapt to new opportunities or problems in ways that ani-
mal work groups do not.
Work is a central part of human life. As culture
changes, work continues to change and evolve in new ways.
does. (In contrast, a new wolf in the hunting pack can just For example, the technologies that enable people to do
follow the others and do what they do!) Mentoring is a their work from home or at a distance from the work
special kind of relationship that occurs in human work group’s location are changing the experience of work for
groups because it helps new employees gain from the wis- people in new and sometimes unpredictable ways. Such
dom and experience of older ones—and, again, that is changes reflect the unique power of human culture.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology satisfaction, a reason to get up in the morning, happi-
● I/O psychology is the study of individuals’ behavior at ness, a sense of identity, recognition, and prestige.
work using psychological principles. ● The O*NET is a comprehensive, detailed, and flexible
● I/O psychologists study employee selection, perfor- set of job descriptors based on an extensive research
mance appraisal, training, job design, communication, program.
work stress, motivation, leadership, groups or teams, ● There are many types of jobs available with different
organizational culture, human factors or system design, work schedules, including flexible hours, telecommut-
job attitudes, well-being, and work behaviors. ing, and shift work.
● Work is a central focus in many lives; it provides us
with things we need and value. Selecting Employees
● In addition to satisfying our basic needs of food, shelter, ● Industrial and organizational psychologists first became
and security, work also provides opportunities for social involved in selecting employees when the United States
interaction, independence, a sense of accomplishment,
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E20 Application Module E: Applying Social Psychology to the Workplace
government needed help selecting and placing officers ● Organizational commitment profiles include employees’
and soldiers in World War I. affective, normative, and continuance commitment;
● Job analysis is the identification of the critical elements these in turn influence the behaviors employees engage
of a job. in at work.
Job analysis techniques include interviewing job incum- Causes of employee stress include role conflicts, role
bents, having them complete questionnaires, observing ambiguity, work overload, different types of change
someone in the job, and having experts evaluate the job. such as reorganization, downsizing, or layoffs, others in
● Tests involve the measurement of carefully chosen sam- the work environment such as one’s coworkers or
ples of behavior; the reliability and validity of tests are supervisor, and how well the person and the organiza-
important in assessing their quality. tion fit together.
● Interviews are used routinely in organizations; inter- ● Stress management activities may include physical exer-
views may be structured or unstructured. cise or relaxation techniques.
● Structured interviews are much better in terms of their ● Prosocial or organizational citizenship behaviors
validity, or accuracy of assessment, than unstructured (OCBs) have often been described as extra-role behav-
interviews. iors because they are behaviors not specifically required
● Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects by the job and also not usually evaluated by employers
employees from discrimination in employment on the during performance appraisals.
basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, and color. ● Antecedents of OCBs include job satisfaction, jobs high
● Sexual harassment has two forms: quid pro quo and in autonomy, a positive organizational culture, and
hostile work environment. employees high in agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Employee recruitment can be either internal or exter-
nal; internal recruitment is often more effective.
Employers seek to match the requirements of a job with
the person’s attributes in a way that will result in suc-
Organizational withdrawal is comprised of work with-
drawal and job withdrawal.
Categories of counterproductive behavior include theft,
destruction of property, misuse of information, misuse
cessful performance on the job. of time and resources, unsafe behavior, poor atten-
dance, poor quality work, alcohol use, drug use, and
Socializing Employees Through Culture, inappropriate physical actions (e.g., attacking a
Groups, and Leadership ● OCBs are positively related to job satisfaction and orga-
● Learning how an organization operates is one of the nizational commitment; they are negatively related to
first things a new employee must do. Many avenues counterproductive behaviors.
exist to accomplish this, including mentors, memos, ● Job satisfaction is strongly linked to work withdrawal
supervisors, and coworkers. (e.g., absenteeism) and job withdrawal (e.g., quitting).
● Employees learn what is expected of them through the ● Stress is one antecedent of counterproductive behaviors.
culture and climate of an organization.
● Work groups or teams help socialize employees; some- What Makes Us Human? Putting the
times the work group culture may be at odds with the
Cultural Animal in Perspective
Leaders of groups influence how well they function; dif- ● Human and animal work varies on many dimensions,
ferent theories address what makes a good leader. including the complexity of work groups and decision
Attitudes and Behaviors at Work ● The assimilation and understanding of culture makes
humans unique and separates them from all other, non-
● Attitudes at work include satisfaction with the work itself, cultural animals.
pay and benefits, supervision, coworkers, promotion
opportunities, working conditions, and job security.
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Module Summary E21
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