About Me

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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Effects of Retail Store Image Attractiveness and Self-Evaluated Job Performance on Employee Retention

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

The costs of a single hourly employee turning over will cost an organization approximately $3,000 to $10,000 (Turnover costs sack retailers, 2000; Gustafson, 2002 as cited in Yurchisin & Park, 2010). Within the retail industry, a sales associate average length of employment is only 80 days (Masters, 2004 as cited in Yurchisin & Park, 2010). This turnover results in customer complaints pertaining to poor customer service and employees with little knowledge or expertise of product knowledge. Previous studies have discovered that organizational commitment is a key factor in employee turnover and turnover has been found to positively correlate with job satisfaction. It was hypothesized that the attractiveness of an organization may be linked to an employee's commitment to the organization.

Yurchisin & Park (2010) were successful in obtaining surveys from 211 sales associates.  Only 21.1% were identified as full-time employees. Unfriendly/Friendly , unorganized/organized, and unreliable/reliable from the semantic differential scales were used to obtain the perceived store image. Each of the items provided anchors to assist participants in selecting the correct adjective. Surveys also measured store image attractiveness, self-assessed job performance, internal job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to leave.

Results from the survey revealed that positive store image had a relationship with job satisfaction (t =6.25, p<.001) and organizational commitment (t =8.29, p < .001). An individual that had high self-assessed performance was more likely to have high internal job satisfaction (t = 5.01, p < .001) and a negative relationship with intention to leave. Both organizational commitment and intention to leave were positively related with internal job satisfaction. Finally, organizational commitment was found to have a negative effect on one's intention to leave.

This study reveals that while store attractiveness does increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment, one's self-assessment is crucial to determine if an employee is likely to leave. Therefore, it is important that managers are encouraging of their employees and are dedicated to the development of their staff. Once an employee's self-perceived performance increases, so will his/her job satisfaction and commitment to an organization. In turn, this will have a positive effect on the store image. From this, we can see that all these factors are connected. Employee satisfaction is not cut and dry but driven by a collection of factors. As HR Managers, we need to ensure that employees feel appreciated and that they feel they are successful in their job. By doing so, it is likely to lower turnover.

Source: Yurchisin, J. & Park, J. (2010). Effects of Retail Store Image Attractiveness and Self-Evaluated Job Performance on Employee Retention. Journal of Business Psychology, 25, 441-450.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Comparing Victim Attributes and Outcomes for Workplace Aggression and Sexual Harassment (Part 2)

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

Following their previous research, Hershcovis and Barling (2010) decide to conduct a meta-analysis using 112 studies and 134 independent samples. The authors of previous studies that used the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ) were contacted to reanalyze the data with merely a subcomponent of the SEQ. 82% of the samples were returned. Data was analyzed using Hunter Schmidt’s (1990 as cited by Hershcovis & Barling, 2010) for calculating weighted average reliabilities, adjusting for sample error, and measuring confidence intervals. Z tests were used to analyze independent correlations.

Results revealed that sexual harassment had a negative relationship with job satisfaction (rc = -.29), coworker satisfaction (rc = -.35), supervisor satisfaction (rc = -.34), affective commitment (rc = - .29), and psychological wellbeing (rc = -.28). Studies continued to show that sexual harassment had positive relationships with turnover (rc =.21), job stress (rc =.21) and work withdrawal (rc =.29). All of the correlations mentioned above were statistically significant with a probability less than .01. The author fails to mention that while the correlations are significant, they are low correlations and thus may have weak effects.

Workplace aggression was found to have stronger relationships than sexual harassment. It was found to have negative correlations with job satisfaction (rc = -.46), coworker satisfaction (rc = -.37), supervisor satisfaction (rc = -.49), affective commitment (rc = -.40) and psychological wellbeing (rc = -.40). Positive correlations for workplace aggression were present for turnover (rc =.39), job stress (rc =.32) and work withdrawal (rc =.19). All correlations had a probability less than .05.

As already demonstrated with the correlations, Z-tests comparisons revealed that workplace aggression had stronger negative outcomes than sexual harassment in job satisfaction, supervisor satisfaction, affective commitment, psychological wellbeing, and turnover and job stress. No significant difference was present for coworker satisfaction. Work withdrawal had a stronger effect with sexual harassment than workplace aggression.

As previously mentioned in Part 1 of this summary, this research shows that workplace aggressive has effects that are far more influential than sexual harassment. This may be a result of the lack of action that is taken to address this issue. Sexual harassment is a sensitive topic and organizations attempt to correct the harassment quickly to avoid lawsuits. Workplace aggression,however, can not be easily proven and there is no legal implications of an employee that is rude or excludes other individuals. 

Organizations can prevent these negative affects of by implementing a policy stating no tolerance towards workplace aggression or sexual harassment. For this policy to be effective, the organization must investigate all claims of workplace aggression and avoid discrediting any accusations without proof. 

Regardless, sexual harassment and workplace aggression will continue to be part of our society. We do not live in an ideal world and some people have no guilt for their actions. As HR practioners, we should communicate disapproval of any of these actions and the consequences associated with these actions. We should also take immediate action once any complaint is received. These issues should not go unaddressed or else it could have negative effects on company culture and personnel.

Source: Herschcovis, M.S., Barling, J. (2010). Comparing victim attributions and outcomes for workplace aggression and sexual harassment. American Psychological Association, 95 (5), 874-888.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Comparing Victim Attributions and Outcomes for Workplace Aggression & Sexual Harassment (Part 1)

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

Sexual harassment has had a large presence in male-dominated organizations. It is believed that it occurs in these organizations because women are holding positions that were traditionally filled by men. Surprisingly, if a woman had masculine traits, then she is more susceptible to sexual harassment. Hershcovis and Barling (2010) suggest that sexual harassment degrades an individuals gender and thus lowers his/her status/credibility. When this occurs, female victims view the incident as an attack on their gender instead of on themselves. Sexual harassment on men is far less threatening and may even reinforce their male gender role.

Unlike sexual harassment, workplace aggression does not focus on one's gender or classification. It is equally threatening to both men and women as it crushes one's status or need to feel a part of a group. Examples of workplace aggression include social exclusion, gossiping, yelling, and rude behaviors, which all suggest that the individual is of lower status. These behaviors often focus on individual characteristics instead of one's member to a social group (i.e. gender).

Hershcovis and Barling (2010) set out to research the attributable differences between sexual harassment and workplace aggression. An online survey was administered to 117 participants. Participants were provided a story that differed based on the following dimensions: gender dominant workplace vs. gender neutral workplace (equal distribution among men & women) and workplace aggression vs. sexual harassment.  Participants were asked to rate the scenario on how descriptive it was of sexual harassment and workplace aggression on a 1-5 scale. They were also asked to allocate the blame based on a hundred points between themselves and the perpetrator. In addition, survey respondents answered questions evaluating internal attribution, personal attribution, gender attribution, external attribution, aggression ambiguity, and severity. Gender was also collected as a controlled variable.

A multivariate analysis revealed a significance between workplace aggression and sexual harassment, F(6,98) = 14.80, p<.001. It was also found that participants in the gender-dominant scenario were more likely to make an internal attribution in the workplace aggression scenario (M = 2.72) than the sexual harassment scenario ( M = 1.67). Participants that were part of the workplace aggression scenario were more likely to take the encounter personally than those in the sexual harassment scenario. Those that partook in the sexual harassment scenario were more likely to blame their bully's attitudes, F (1,108) = 19.01, p < .01, on their gender and account them for the blame, F (1,108) = 8.92, p < .01.  Participants that were in the workplace aggression scenario were more likely to blame themselves instead of the bully than those in the sexual harassment scenario. Gender distribution within the organization had no effect on sexual harassment but participants in the workplace aggression sample were more likely to make a gender attribution than in the gender-neutral environment.

Based on the findings in this study, HR practitioners need to be conscious of the fact that victims of workplace aggression are likely to place the blame on themselves. Therefore, when counseling an individual, it is important to emphasize that it is not their fault and that bullying does exist in the organization. In addition, the findings show that bullying can be equally offensive as sexual harassment and should not be taken lightly. HR professionals should examine complaints thoroughly to ensure that bullying does not escalate. 

In regards to sexual harassment, victims are likely to blame the harasser. Which they should! It is vital to understand that no employee is responsible for being a victim of sexual harassment. Regardless of one's clothing, gender, or comments, sexual advances are not acceptable in the workplace and every complaint should be investigated immediately. 

Source: Herschcovis, M.S., Barling, J. (2010). Comparing victim attributions and outcomes for workplace aggression and sexual harassment. American Psychological Association, 95 (5), 874-888.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why are women paid less than men, but given higher raises?

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A. 

Gender differences in pay has been an ongoing issue for decades. Its saddening to think that these differences still exists but an abundance of previous research supports the notion. Regardless of industry, occupation or other variables, women only receive a wage 88% that of men (Blau et al., 1998).  Previous research offers a variety of reasons for this and they include: part-time vs. full-time, employment sector, industry and more. There are also arguments that woman receive reduced starting wage. Some researchers believe that women are less aggressive when it comes to negotiating salary but this is a controversial topic in itself.

Although it does not compensate for a slashed wages, past studies have found that women receive higher pay increases. Redyced stereotyping may be the result of these increases. Reduced stereotyping occurs when a manager does not have a sufficient amount of information to evaluate the individual and therefore base his/her decisions on stereotypes. When enough information is present, reduced stereotype is less likely to occur. Structural features may also be a factor in this gender difference. Many organization base pay increases on a performance rating and their level in their job grade. In this structure, employees that are paid less are eligible for higher pay increases than employees with higher salaries. Therefore, if women start off with lower salaries, they will be more likely to have higher pay increases.

Harris, Gilbreath and Sunday (2002) decided to put these theories to test. Using previous data from a government-owned, contractor-operated nuclear waste facility in the united states. 218 participants were randomly selected to participate; 174 were men and 44 were women.

In their analysis, it was found that seniority, education and performance ratings did not differ between men & women. However, compared to men, women had significantly lower salaries (on average about $1000 less per month) and were in lower grades. When including job grade, education level and seniority as variables in their analysis, it was found that salary differences decreased but did not put an end to the salary differences between genders. On an annual basis, women earned a range of between $1080 (in 1991) and $2004 (in 1993) less than men.

It was found that women received pay increases that were, on average, 5% greater than men. These differences diminished once job grade and base pay were added as variables. Furthermore, performance ratings did not impact the differences between gender.

There are several limitations that must be considered in this study:

  • First and foremost, this study is about 8 years old. 
  • The organization was new and employed individuals for only 4 years. 
  • The organization work with government contracts and therefore may have strict anti-discrimination laws to abide by. 
  • The time frame that was examined was only two years.


This picture does not reflect my personal opinion.
It is clearly a controversial image, but I like the
message at the bottom.
How can HR professionals avoid pay differences as a result of gender? This is a tough question and an issue that thousands have been fighting against for decades. First and foremost, ensure that both men and women are offered the initial starting wage. At that point, it is their responsibility to negotiate salary within the range. 

To avoid gender differences in pay increases, pay increases should be based on tenure or performance reviews. Having a structured pay increase guide that correlates with performance appraisal goals can assist in dismantling this difference. In addition, ensuring that managers are provided with sufficient information on their employees will ensure that they do not experience reduced discrimination. Most importantly, always base performance appraisals on a job analysis. For a performance appraisal to be effective, it must be based on the criteria that one needs to be successful in this job.

I am hoping that these pay increases and base salary differences diminish in time.

Source: Harris, M.M., Gilbreath, B., Sunday, J.A. (2002). Why are women paid less than men, but given higher raises. Journal of Business and Psychology, 16(4), 499-514.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Organizational Dual Career Ladder

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A. 

I was recently reading SHRM's HR Magazine when I came across a brief article regarding dual career ladders. A career ladder is the path that an individual takes to grow within his/her position. Often these career ladders only follow one path/trend. As an individual follows this path, he/she gains mores responsibility in managing others and teams.

Unlike a traditional career ladder, a dual career ladder provides an alternative for qualified employees that have little interest in managing others or being a supervisor. One can not ignore the benefits this program provides, including: increased retention (especially among senior members) and continuous development of employees.  These programs are often found in jobs that require professional training and expertise. Furthermore, jobs known for rapid innovation and/or employees receiving national awards or a license are more likely to offer the dual career ladder. This type of ladder also provides organizations with a competitive advantage over traditional organizations and is a method that effectively attract talent of all ages and levels.

Fiester (2010) provides a series of steps in creating a program, and they are as follows:

  1. Determine evaluation criteria for the job.
  2. Determine the proficiency of criteria needed for each level in a ladder.
  3. Develop job descriptions for each position on the ladder.
  4. Use market data to benchmark salary ranges for each level. 
  5. Ensure equity among company personnel.
  6. Regularly communicate the program, especially during implementation. 
Much like any career ladder, a significant amount of maintenance is required. Not only must one maintain the traditional path but also this alternative path. It should be emphasized that this is not meant as an alternative for the traditional career ladder but instead an additional path. 

Source: Fiester, M. (November 2010). What is meant by the term "dual career ladder?" HR Magazine. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Credit Checks in Employee Selection (Part 2 of 2): Applicant Reactions

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

Selection tests that have little face validity can kill an applicant's attraction to a job opening or organization. Using a sample of 126 students. Nielsen and Kuhn decide to evaluate the perception of credit reports as a selection tool.

Participants were give one of two job descriptions. Both of the descriptions provided a summary of the job and the organization's history. The only difference between the two documents was that one of them mentioned handling money as one of the job's responsibilities. Participants were randomly assigned to each group and informed that they were invited to an interview where the hiring manager asked him/her to sign a waiver permitting a credit check. They were asked a series of questions of a 7-point scale.

In general, it was found that participants had negative reactions to the credit check as they felt it was unfair, did not predict performance, was not related to the job and was an invasion of privacy. They did believe that employers use credit checks as a way to verify responsibility and reliability in job candidates Including budgeting in the job description did not increase the credibility of the credit report.

 However, 51% of the participants were confident that their credit history would appeal to the hiring organization. Unfortunately, individuals did not feel they knew what a credit report would cover (M = 2.12,  SD = .78). Those who emphasized an understanding of credit checks were more likely to perceive them as a fair selection tool, F = 10.22, p <.01, and had a significant level of face validity, F = 7.11, p < .01. There was no relationship between credit history knowledge and perceived accuracy, invasiveness or predictive validity.

Based on this study's findings, HR professionals should be cautious in utilizing credit checks. Appliants appear questionable in the use of credit checks and feel that it is intrusive. Content in job descriptions provides no variation on this outlook. Therefore, it may be beneficial for hiring managers to explain the usage of credit checks and how the information will be utilized in the hiring process. Managers should also encourage job applicants to ask for a copy of the report to make them feel more at ease.  Many times, applicants are handed the consent form but have no real conversation of the credit checks. It appears that elaborating on its use and how it will benefit the position can overcome any fears shared by applicants. 

Source: Nielsen, M.L., and Kuhn, K.M. (2009). Late payments and leery applicants: credit checks as a selection test.  Employ Respons Rights J21, 115-130.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Credit Checks in Employee Selection (Part 1 of 2)

Summary By: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

A selection test is a process that employers implement to hire job candidates or make promotion decisions. In national survey of retail employer, it was found that 48% of the participants utilized credit checks as a selection tool in 2005 (Hollinger & Langton, 2006 as cited in Nielsen & Kuhn, 2009). This number has likely increased since then. Unlike most selection test, a credit check does not ask candidates any questions and does not allow for any answers. Credit checks provide information on an individuals financials including credit cards, mortgage debt, payment history, previous addresses and previous employers. Unlike traditional credit checks, an employer will not receive any calcuated credit scores. The date of birth is also not included. Some employers use credit reports to merely verify employment history and previous addresses, while others use them as a formal selection tool.

Credit checks have become a standard process in hiring for many organization and therefore it is vital for every individual to know the legal implications behind this process. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), an employer cannot check one's credit score without obtaining signed permission from the candidate, offering the candidate a copy of the report and inform individuals if the report had any basis for not hiring/promoting them. In addition, federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual has filed for bankruptcy.  Since a credit report is not a series of questions, it is not possible to establish criterion validity and therefore it can be difficult to prove that the report is related to a job. As a result, some states have laws stating that credit reports can not be obtained unless "substantially job-related" to the position. In 2007, this law was passed in the State of Washington as Senate Bill 5827.

There are several perspectives as to why credit checks are used in the selection process: (1) employees  facing financial issues will be more likely to steal and (2) the credit check can be representative of one's consciousness and responsibility. Currently, there are no studies validating that credit checks are related to any personality traits but previous studies have found that credit scores have a positive correlation with counterproductive employee behavior and absenteeism.

To make matters more complicated, credit checks may increase an employers probability of adverse impact as some minorities are more likely to have poor credit histories (Gallagher, 2006 as cited in Nielsen & Kuhn, 2009). If adverse impact is present, employers must prove that a credit check predicts successful job performance. Furthermore, majority of credit reports contain one or more mistakes with one out of four containing a serious error. Therefore, the information may not even be correct!

CLICK Here for Part 2.... 

Source: Nielsen, M.L., and Kuhn, K.M. (2009). Late payments and leery applicants: credit checks as a selection test.  Employ Respons Rights J, 21, 115-130.

Monday, November 1, 2010

From I/O Psychologist to HR Generalist (Part 2 of 2)

Summary by: Ian B. Mondrow, M.A.

Shifting into an Human Resource (HR) can be a benefit for both the Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychologist and the organization. It allows an opportunity for the Psychologist to learn about the organization and develop future skills. As an HR Generalist, an I/O Psychologist can learn about the organizations operations and then return to the organizational development department with new skills and insight about the business.

Shifting into this position can be a bit of a challenge because an I/O Psychologist may not have the background to address all questions and concerns. While the information can be found in the company, the Psychologist will experience a dramatic learning curve.  One drastic change for Industrial/Organizational Psychologist is loss of power and/or resources. Generalists often have to assume many responsibilities and may need to designate Specialists to assist them, unfortunately, a Generalist has limited control as to how he/she can utilize a specialist. This is a shock for many Psychologists who are use being viewed as the expert in an area and having control. Furthermore, they must learn to let go of their I/O background as it is not required for all HR Functions (but useful in staffing and other areas). An I/O Psychologist should also that HR uses different terminology and it would be helpful to familiarize oneself with the differences.

Although the previous paragraphs have focused on the downsides of the Generalist role, there are many advantages. First of all, the interaction with people will grow dramatically. Plus an HR Generalist interacts with people from different departments on a regular basis. Furthermore, the position offers a variety of Career paths including becoming a specialist or working towards a Director position. The role also have higher levels of compensation with tenure.

Being an HR Generalist is not a challenge for an individual with a background in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Instead, it is when one shifts from an I/O Psychology focused career into HR. Much of their responsibilities and interactions change as a result of this shift and the individual must learn to adapt to these roles. It is important to emphasize that I/O Psychologists make excellent HR Generalist. This article focuses on individuals that have been in the I/O Psychology field and want to shift into a HR Generalist role.

Original Source: Martin, S.L., Latham, V.M. (2010). Moving into an HR generalist roll: a good career move? The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist. 47(4), 29-34.

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