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2012-01-31 01:18:43
organizational psychology

definitions for exam 1
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  1. Organization
    Individuals who cooperate toward a shared purpose via specialized, interdependent roles in a hierarchy of authority. Examples: a) Ford Motor Co.; b) Catholic church; c) Sailing club.
  2. Correlation coefficient
    Numerical index of linear association of two variables, indicating the accuracy (margin of error) with which values of one variable predict values of the other, varying from –1.0, indicating a perfect inverse, linear association, through zero, indicating no linear association, to +1.0, indicating a perfect positive, linear association. Example: A meta- analysis shows that individual job satisfaction correlates, on average, about r = +.30 with supervisors' ratings of performance.
  3. External validity
    in research = Generality of research findings across populations, settings, methods of measurement, and operational definitions of treatments. Example: Extent to which findings concerning adverse effects of noise on performance in the laboratory hold true in manufacturing plants.
  4. Field experiment
    Empirical study intended to support cause-and-effect inference, in a natural setting, with ≥ 1 manipulated (independent) variable; random assignment of participants to experimental conditions; and ≥1 measured variable. Example: Study of Weyerhaeuser R & D engineers' performance after randomly assigning to 10 combinations of goal-setting & rewards.
  5. Field study
    Empirical data-collection in a natural setting using only measurement, no manipulated (independent) variables, yielding only correlation - and no basis for causal inference. Example: Herzberg's critical incident interviews of employees to identify specific "satisfiers" and "dissatisfiers" in their jobs.
  6. Laboratory experiment
    Empirical study intended to support cause-and-effect inference, done in a controlled setting with ≥1 manipulated (independent) variable; ≥1 measured variable; random assignment of participants to conditions; & control procedures like holding extraneous variables constant. Example: Study of goal-setting on number-comparison task, students randomly assigned "easy" or "hard" goal, scored on output in controlled conditions.
  7. Mediating variable
    Factor that conveys the influence of one variable to another in a sequential process. Example: In the relationship of role conflict with performance, a mediating variable is stress from role conflict, which degrades performance. See moderator variable.
  8. Moderator variable
    Factor that defines conditions under which the relationship of 2 or more other variables differs. Example. Relationship of job satisfaction and quitting varies with availability of jobs: with low availability they are unrelated; with high availability quitting correlates inversely with job satisfaction; job availability is a moderator. See mediating variable.
  9. Meta-analysis
    Statistical summary of accumulated scientific knowledge on a specific hypothesis from multiple, published studies that tested it. Example: Rosenthal's analysis of 346 studies of teachers' self-fulfilling expectancies of their students.
  10. Quasi-experiment
    Empirical study conducted in a natural setting, intended to evaluate the impact of an experimental treatment and provide the best possible basis for causal inference without random assignment of participants to treatments, involving repeated measurements in ≥1 existing group, sometimes with multiple comparison groups and/or interventions. Examples: a) Hawthorne studies of illumination with measurement of production in one group of employees over time while introducing changes in lighting. b) Evaluation of safety training, using a time-series design consisting of a series of 6 monthly measurements of accidents before, another 6 monthly measurements afterwards.
  11. Sample
    Deliberately selected subset of a population intended as representative of the whole population. Example: For a study of job satisfaction at Coca Cola, Inc., 1,000 employees randomly chosen from all Coca Cola employees world-wide.
  12. Statistical significance
    In empirical research, when an observed difference between groups or relationship between variables is unlikely due to chance alone (p < .05). Example: Average, annual attendance rates at Kansas rotary clubs correlated –.44 with club size or number of dues-paying members at those clubs, with p < .05 for the number of clubs studied.
  13. Theory
    Collection of interrelated propositions about a phenomenon that specifies its key variables and their relationships. Examples: a) Goal-setting theory; b) Katz & Kahn's role theory. See hypothesis.
  14. Variable
    Property or characteristic that can take ≥2 values. Examples: a) gender; b) intelligence; c) job satisfaction. (A value of a variable can represent either a category or point on a continuum.)
  15. Norms
    Shared beliefs, attitudes, standards, and practices exhibited by and/or expected of all members of a group, organization, or other social system. Example: Practice of starting meetings exactly on time, not one second late, at Hamilton Standard (a manufacturer of aerospace components) described by insiders as "Hamilton Standard time."
  16. Subsystems (of an organization)
    Internal, recurring processes (systems) that perform essential functions. Example: Walmart supply-line management subsystem. Generic types: 1) management (responsible for strategy, structure, planning, direction, coordination, budgeting, development, capacity, security & success); 2) production / technical (converts inputs into outputs, such as ore into metal); 3) infrastructure (maintains current & future capacity, including human resources, information, physical facilities, and existing processes); 4) boundary-spanning (manages external interactions – across the boundary: marketing & sales, procurement, purchasing, logistics, supply-line management, shipping, distribution, waste disposal, lobbying); and 5) adaptive (monitors the environment, gathers intelligence, identifies needed operational changes, develops new processes & products, as in R&D, product development, industrial espionage). See differentiation; integration; organization structure.
  17. System
    Entity consisting of interdependent parts operating as a unitary whole that interacts with its environment in recurring cycles of exchange to obtain needed resources. Examples: a) Exxon-Mobil Corp.; b) University of Tennessee; c) beehive; d) blood-cell.
  18. Properties: 1) inputs (resources for continued operation acquired from the larger environment); 2) throughput (processes that convert inputs to outputs); 3) outputs (to the larger environment); 4) homeostasis (dynamic equilibrium or steady state that occurs when inputs sustain current outputs, as when an auto manufacturer sells enough units to generate revenues that pay for continued operation); 5) differentiation (specialized components serving specific functions); 6) integration (means of coordinating specialized components); 7) equi-finality (multiple ways of achieving the same result); and 8) exchange cycle (repeatedly sending outputs into the environment and receiving inputs in return). See subsystems.
  19. Values
    1) Enduring, fundamental priorities or ideals that guide personal choices. Examples: a) Social responsibility. b) Achievement. 2) Fundamental priorities and/or ideals shared in common by members of a group, organization, or larger social system. Examples: a) Procedural justice; b) Earning. See norms, over-determination.
  20. Centralization
    Extent to which decisions and policies originate at the top of an organization's hierarchy, and/or communication flows to and from top ranks. Example: MacDonald's corporate headquarters specifies uniform procedures for making French-fries at all restaurants, world-wide. (The opposite, decentralization, involves decision-making at lower ranks. Centralization becomes more difficult as span of control increases.) See flat versus tall organization; organizational structure.
  21. Flat versus tall organization
    Flat organizations have hierarchies with few levels and wide spans of control; tall organizations have more levels, smaller spans of control. Examples: a) Exxon, a "tall" organization, has had over 20 levels and spans of control around 5. b) Baxter Health Care, a "flat" organization, has had 6 levels and spans of control above 20. See differentiation, integration; organization structure.
  22. Hierarchy
    Organization's chain of command: tiers of authority that define supervisor-subordinate relationships. Example: Ranking in an airplane cockpit crew: pilot (highest), co-pilot, and attendants (lowest). Typical tiers: 1) chief executive or CEO (highest rank, responsible and accountable for the whole organization); 2) executives (managers who report directly to the CEO, such as COO or Chief Operating Officer, CFO or Chief Financial Officer, CIO or Chief Information Officer, and vice presidents); 3) managers (responsible for supervising lower-ranking managers or supervisors); 4) supervisors (responsible for performance & safety of other employees); 5) front-line employees (no supervisory duties). See organization structure.
  23. Authority
    Legitimate, role-based power to allocate resources, make decisions, and enforce directives within a defined scope of responsibility. Example: A plant manager has authority to make up to $1M in annual, capital expenditures and hire up to 10 new employees per year without prior approval. (Authority brings accountability, and ideally matches responsibility.)
  24. Hierarchical principle
    Individual power in an organization increase with rank (in its hierarchy). Examples: a) Supervisor at a McDonald's has more power than a front-line worker. b) At Ford, a Plant Manager has higher rank and more influence than Coordinators who supervise assembly workers. See position power.
  25. Power
    Capacity to motivate or compel action despite resistance. Example: Judge Jones has power to subpoena a clinical psychologist's private notes despite objections.
  26. Bases of power (French & Raven's 1959 taxonomy, still current)
    1) reward power (capacity to deliver valued outcomes like salary raises and promotions); 2) coercive power (capacity to deliver unwelcome consequences such as punishments or penalties) 3) legitimate power (formal, role-based authority within a defined scope of responsibility, for instance to set budgets and make assignments); 4) expert power (from personal knowledge, skill, or competency, as shown, for instance, by the scientist with many publications on global climate change who influenced policy- makers); 5) referent power (influence from personal likeability, and tendency of people to identify with and emulate the individual, as with a popular political leader or celebrity). See authority; hierarchy; personal power; position power.
  27. Span of control
    Number of people who report directly to a supervisor or manager. Examples: a) Supervisor of 6-person coal mining crew has a span of control of 6; b) CEO who supervises 8 vice presidents & 2 assistants has span of control of 10.
  28. Boundary role
    Position in an organization that requires interaction with people outside the organization. Examples: a) Customer service; b) Salesperson.
  29. Role theory (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Basic propositions: 1)
    Role behavior represents fulfillment of expectations by counterparts in interdependent roles (role senders), in recurring role episodes involving communication of expectations (sent role) received by role holders (received role) which encourage action intended to meet expectations (role behavior). 2) Role episodes reflect influences of 3 sets of factors: a) individual attributes (personal characteristics, like ability and personality); b) interpersonal factors (like supervisor-supervisee relationships and co-worker relationships); and c) organizational factors (features of roles driven by the organization, like scope of authority, clarity of roles & autonomy). Research support: extensive and broad.
  30. Role
    1) Behaviors expected of an individual with a particular rank and specialty in an organization. Example: A checker at Wal-Mart is expected to report on time, greet customers, scan bar-codes on purchases, receive payment, give correct change, place purchases in bags, and call a supervisor if needed. (A role can be larger than a job, as a role can include expectations beyond job duties.) 2) Specialized function or responsibilities adopted by or assigned to a member of a group. Examples: Jury foreperson, team captain, club treasurer, or pitcher in a baseball team. See position.
  31. Role ambiguity
    Unclear expectations about individual behavior. Examples: a) Receptionist told to answer the phone "appropriately." b) Production worker told, "do your best." (Research has found role ambiguity a source of stress.)
  32. Role conflict
    • Contradictory expectations for an employee from supervisor, co-workers, or other counterparts. Example:
    • Supervisor says, ship only perfect work, and ship all work by the end of the day, regardless. (Role conflict is a source of stress.)
  33. Role episode
    4-step sequence involving role holder and counterpart (role sender): 1) counterpart holds role expectations; 2) communicated as sent role; which 3) arrives as received role; which 4) guides role behavior. Example: An office supervisor (role sender) meets a secretary (role incumbent), who is expected to do accurate keying (role expectation), and says, "Do a good job typing" (sent role); understood by the secretary as, "I'm to key fast and accurately" (received role); which guides role behavior (effort to key fast and accurately). Diagram below (left) illustrates the sequence. See role theory.
  34. Job satisfaction
    1) Individual's subjective evaluation of his or her work role overall. Example: John is very satisfied with his job as a teacher and would not leave it for another job. 2) Pleasure an individual derives from work. Example: Jim obtains great, personal fulfillment from his work as a plastic surgeon. (A meta-analysis of research on job satisfaction and performance reported an average correlation of r = +.30.) See job involvement, organizational commitment.
  35. Likert Scale
    Multi-item questionnaire intended to measure 1 variable via a series of statements, asking for agreement or disagreement from 5 to 7 choices (like "agree; slightly agree; neither agree nor disagree; slightly disagree; disagree"), with responses combined into one index. Example: 10-item job-satisfaction scale of statements like, "I am satisfied with my supervisor," with instructions to indicate agreement from 5 choices, scored by adding 10 responses. See internal consistency.
  36. Performance
    Extent to which work processes, products, and/or services meet expectations of those who receive or review them. Example: Ford transmission assembly team completed and tested their assigned week's quota of transmissions on time and within managers' expectations for quality. (Recipients & reviewers of work can include managers, team-mates, customers, subordinates, regulators, contractors, and suppliers. Expectations about work output concern timing, quality, accuracy, amount, work processes, and other features.) See objective measure of performance; performance rating; predictive validity.
  37. Organizational commitment
    Personal loyalty to one's organization. Example: a) General Motors worker so committed to GM that she declined a better-paying job at Ford. Types: 1) affective = emotional attachment based on positive feeling; 2) continuance = commitment based on perceived costs of leaving; 3) normative = perceived obligation to stay.
  38. Turnover
    Rate at which employees of an organization leave their jobs, traditionally measured as a percentage of the workforce lost (and replaced) per year. Example: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports for the year ending August, 2006, an overall average, national, voluntary turnover rate of 23%, and highest turnover in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, at 52%. (A meta-analysis of research on job attitudes turnover reported significant, inverse correlations with job satisfaction, average r = –.40, and organizational commitment, average r = –.28. Other research found among the best predictors of individual job-change the number of previous job-changes.)
  39. "Big Five" personality traits
    McCrae & Costa's (1987) "Five Factor Model," or taxonomy of 5 multi-faceted traits to summarize dozens studied earlier (Acronym, "OCEAN"): Openness (to new experience); Conscientiousness, Extroversion; Agreeableness, Neuroticism (or its opposites, Resilience or Emotional Stability). Sample application: The NEO-PI, Costa and McCrae's copyrighted assessment of the 5 traits and their facets.
  40. Emotional Intelligence
    Capacities for recognizing feelings in oneself and others, managing emotions in relationships, and maintaining self-motivation. Example: Administrative assistant recognizes boss's sour mood, puts off delivering bad news until later when mood improves. Facets proposed by Goleman (1998: 1) Self-awareness of emotions in the moment and of personal capabilities. 2) Self-regulation of emotions; 3) Self-motivation to pursue goals and overcome frustration; 4) Empathy, or sensing others' feelings and developing rapport; 5) Social skills, or reading interpersonal situations and interacting smoothly and cooperatively to persuade, lead, negotiate, and settle disputes. See cognitive ability, intelligence.
  41. Intelligence
    Individual's general mental ability, or capacity for, and speed of, acquiring and applying knowledge and adapting to environments. Example: Mark, an English-speaker, demonstrated his intelligence by learning enough Spanish in a few minutes from a translation guide to order a meal in Madrid. See general mental ability.
  42. Personality
    Relatively enduring, individual habits and preferences that recur in many different circumstances. Example: George has an extraverted personality, enjoys being with people, rarely spends time alone. See Big Five personality traits.
  43. Self-efficacy
    "Belief that one can achieve what one sets out to do" (Bandura, 1997). Example: a) After graduating from UT, Ralph believes he can accomplish nearly any goal he sets for himself. Types: 1) Generalized self-efficacy (belief in personal capacity to succeed, similar to optimism); and 2) Task- or job-specific self-efficacy (confidence in personal capacity to do particular work). (A 2001 meta-analysis of 10 studies reported generalized self-efficacy correlated with job performance, r = +.19, and job satisfaction, r = +.38. Self-efficacy is studied as both as a learned self-perception and as a personality trait.)