Friday, July 16, 2010

July 2010 J.A.P.

A new round of journals is out, so let's start with the June issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

First up, Schleicher et al. looked at whether there were demographic differences in how much candidate scores improved upon retesting. Turns out there were several. Whites showed larger improvements than Blacks or Hispanics on several assessments, particularly on written tests. Women and applicants under 40 showed greater improvements than men and applicants 40+. Implications? In some situations allowing applicants to retest may exacerbate adverse impact.

Next, an important piece by Aguinis et al. (that you can read here) about test bias. This follows on the heels of the June IOP articles on the same topic and seems to represent a resurgence of interest in a topic that seemed dormant. In this article the authors report the results of a very large Monte Carlo simulation (billions and billions of data points) where they found that if bias is measured using slope-based techniques, it's likely to go undetected, and intercept-based bias favoring minority group members is likely to be found when in fact it does not exist. This study, combined with points made in the IOP article suggest that some of the "established" conclusions regarding test bias may not be as solid as we thought.

Third, for those of you interested in differential functioning (of items or scales), you should check out the piece by Adam Meade where he presents a taxonomy of potential differential functioning effect sizes and also describes a software program created for computing the indices and graphing differential functioning.

Next, a piece by Wang et al. on locus of control. Importantly, they found that when locus of control (LOC) is specific to work-related issues, there are stronger correlations between LOC and work-related criteria such as job satisfaction and commitment. Similarly, when LOC is defined more broadly to include non-work issues, there are some stronger correlations with non-work criteria such as life satisfaction. Implications? Much like research on personality items, specifying a work-related context would seem to increase the predictive power of LOC measures.

Last but not least, an important article on counterproductive work behavior (CWB) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) by Spector, et al. CWB and OCB seem like they should be opposites of each other--one demonstrated by disengaged, unhappy workers, the other by engaged, happy ones--right? Not so fast. The authors report the results of an experiment that suggest that the concepts are unrelated and do not necessarily have opposite relationships with other variables. The authors also recommend that when measuring these behaviors, frequency of performance be used rather than level of agreement.

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