Saturday, December 23, 2006

Human Performance, volume 19(4)

The new issue of Human Performance is out and it's got some goodies for us, particularly if you're into organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) or emotions at work.

Quick, suppress yourself!

The first article related to assessment is by Moon & Lord and is an investigation of emotional regulation and its impact on task performance. In three studies of students at a Midwestern university (who I would like to suggest are such a commonly studied population that they deserve their own acronym of SAMU), the results suggested that individuals who are better able to quickly manage their emotional responses excel at task performance (measured by unscrambling sentences and editing stories). And no, it's not entirely related to verbal intelligence (they looked at that). More research is needed, but this could lead to a non-laboratory measure that would predict job performance, particularly in positions with frequent emotional interactions (e.g., call centers, nursing).

Performance problem?

The next study, by Klehe and Latham, tackles the issue of typical vs. maximum performance in the context of structured interviews. There have been quite a few studies of whether behavior description ("tell us about a time when...") or situational ("what would you do if...") interviews (BDIs and SIs, respectively) better predict job performance and this study adds to the story. What they found, by gathering data from MBA students in a Canadian university, is that both BDIs and SIs significantly predicted typical teamplaying behavior, but SIs also predicted maximum behavior. Again, more research is needed here, particularly since the participants did not have a great deal of job experience and previous research has suggested BDIs may be better for higher level positions. But certainly worth more attention, since in most cases we're more interested in day-to-day performance than maximum output.

Also interesting in this study: both performance measures exhibited significant negative correlations with age.

Feel it, feel it

The next relevant study is by Carmeli and Josman, and looks at whether emotional intelligence (EI) better predicts task performance or OCB. In this study of 165 employees from a "diverse set of organizations" in Israel, the authors used Schutte et al.'s (1998) measure of EI, which is based on Salovey & Mayer's framework. Scores on the predictor significantly predicted both task performance and OCB, although regression results were stronger for the former. The results of this study, in combination with Moon & Lord's study (above), strongly suggest we need more research to help us correctly match up measures of emotional regulation and job type in personnel selection contexts.

Also interesting: significant correlations between gender and EI (females higher), age and EI (negative), and education and EI (positive).

Threat assessment

Next up is a study by Cullen, Waters, and Sackett, looking at stereotype threat in an applied setting. Results of this analysis of thousands of men and women who took the SAT in 1994/1995 were not supportive of stereotype threat theory using "math identification" as the categorizing variable. The authors call into question the generalizability of the mostly lab-based research into stereotype threat, which is often suggested as an explanation of score differences between individuals of different ethnicities on standardized tests. I sincerely hope we see a lot more applied research in this area, as this has direct application to the "validity vs. adverse impact" debate.

Do you really want to help/hurt me?

Last but not least is a study by Sackett, Berry, Wiemann, and Laczo of OCB and counterproductive work behavior (CWB) among 900 employees at a Midwestern university (or, EAMU). By the way, someone needs to tell Paul Sackett he only gets ONE published article per journal edition. Anyhoo, results confirm that OCB and CWB are two separate constructs instead of two aspects of a single continuum. Keep this in mind when choosing your criterion measure.

Also interesting: significant correlations between age and OCB (positive), and between gender and CWB (higher among men).


Side note: This was Jim Farr's last edition as editor; Wally Borman takes over for volume 20(1). Thanks Jim!

No comments: