Relying on Social Media to Assess Job Applicants: The Limitations

Recruiters rely heavily on technology and social media to promote new job openings, so then what happens when a promising candidate applies? Social media once again plays a role where the organization is tempted to locate the candidate’s profile on or other sites. Ultimately, the strategy creates an intercha5624177651_5393210133_z.jpgngeable lens from personnel  to personal selection.

The study, “Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment,” published in the Journal of Management examines how recruiters evaluate a candidate’s social media profile, and what those limitations are. The JOM study was also recently featured in an article from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, naming it one of the top 10 most significant studies with practical utility in 2016. Click here to view the original post from SIOP.

Below, please find the abstract to the article:

Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of organizations are using information from social media platforms such as to screen job applicants. Unfortunately, empirical research concerning the potential implications of this practice is extremely limited. We address the use of social media for selection by examining how recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles fare with respect to two important criteria on which selection procedures are evaluated: criterion-related validity and subgroup differences (which can lead to adverse impact). We captured Facebook profiles of college students who were applying for full-time jobs, and recruiters from various organizations reviewed the profiles and provided evaluations. We then followed up with applicants in their new jobs. Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance (rs = −.13 to –.04), turnover intentions (rs = −.05 to .00), and actual turnover (rs = −.01 to .01). In addition, Facebook ratings did not contribute to the prediction of these criteria beyond more traditional predictors, including cognitive ability, self-efficacy, and personality. Furthermore, there was evidence of subgroup difference in Facebook ratings that tended to favor female and White applicants. The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants.

The article is co-authored by Chad H. Van Iddekinge, Stephen E. Lanivich, Philip L. Roth, and Elliott Junco. It is currently free to read for a limited time, by clicking here.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the Journal of Management homepage so you never miss the latest research.

Facebook photo attributed to Pascal Paukner (CC).


Beyond Developmental: The Decision-Making Applications of Personality Tests

5529311561_4ba9be7419_zThe use of personality assessments in organizations has often been limited to developmental applications. However, growing support for data-driven decision-making in recent years has made it apparent that personality assessments could also become a resource for talent management decisions. In a recent paper from Journal of Applied Behavioral Science entitled “Does Purpose Matter? The Stability of Personality Assessments in Organization Development and Talent Management Applications Over Time”, authors Allan H. Church, Christina R. Fleck, Garett C. Foster, Rebecca C. Levine, Felix J. Lopez, and Christopher T. Rotolo investigate the consistency of personality data over time and whether the changing application of personality assessments changes their validity. The abstract for the paper:

Personality assessment has a long history of application in the workplace. While the field of organization development has historically focused on developmental aspects of personality tools, other disciplines such as industrial-organizational psychology have emphasized its psychometric properties. The importance of data-driven insights for talent management (e.g., the identification of high potentials, succession Current Issue Coverplanning, coaching), however, is placing increasing pressure on all types of applied behavioral scientists to better understand the stability of personality tools for decision-making purposes. The current study presents research conducted with 207 senior leaders in a global consumer products organization on the use of personality assessment data over time and across two different conditions: development only and development to decision making. Results using three different tools (based on the Hogan Assessment Suite) indicate that core personality and personality derailers are generally not affected by the purpose of the assessment, though derailers do tend to moderate over time. The manifestation of values, motives, and preferences were found to change across administrations. Implications for organizational development and talent management applications are discussed.

You can read the paper, “Does Purpose Matter? The Stability of Personality Assessments in Organization Development and Talent Management Applications Over Time,” from Journal of Applied Behavioral Science free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Journal of Applied Behavioral ScienceClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Service Design Berlin (CC)

How Has HR Become More Strategic and Integral to Businesses?

12669067945_e017b825c8_zIn today’s competitive and complex business environment, the role of human resources (HR) is constantly changing. With its increasing alignment to core business and integration to the bottom line, HR is a reflection of the constant changing nature of its functions. Being responsive to globalization, demographic and technological changes, as well as the turbulent, competitive and complex environment of business, HR itself has been changing dramatically. From the conventional role of “administrative expert,” HR has evolved to become more tactical and integral to business strategies.

A recent major change in the function of HR the strengthening partnership with line managers. By providing line managers better understanding of their responsibility in specific HR issues, such as absence control, team development, discipline, induction, health and safety, recruitment policy and performance management, HR aims to enhance Current Issue Coveremployee engagement and open communication between line managers and employees. These in turn lead to low turnover and high morale—keys to organizational performance and competitive success. In this regard, by replacing the traditional supervisory role of line managers and empowering them to act as leader, enabler and facilitator, HR is playing the strategic role of an “objective adviser”.

This change has made HR more strategic and more business integrated. This reorientation helps HR to not only play a critical role in the overall strategic planning of the business, but also to act as a messenger to clarify and direct employees about the desired goal of the organization. A recent article from the journal Vision entitled “Strategic Value Contribution Role of HR,” from authors Humaira Naznin and Md. Ashfaq Hussain,  delves into the evolution of HR.

 The abstract for the article:

This article aims to challenge the perceived lack of a strategic value of human resource (HR) function and seeks to focus on the devolution of HR from its transactional role to strategic effectiveness. Utilizing a range of secondary resources, this article aims to critically analyze the shift of HR from transactional to a strategic role and its value contribution role in business. HR needs to overcome conventional resistance and act as the driver of an organizational strategy through aligning the HR strategy to the business strategy, adopting workforce planning and measuring an organization’s competencies. The paper contributes to the evaluation of HR management from viewpoint perspective and offers help to HR practitioners in understanding the changing role of HR.

Click here to read Strategic Value Contribution Role of HR from the journal Vision free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Make sure to sign up for e-alerts and be notified of all  of the latest research published the journal Vision!

*Image attributed to woodleywonderworks (CC)

What Factors Increase Gender Diversity in Management?

13887676297_d1da829ccb_zManagement structure can have a large impact on the representation of women in management, but which structure is most effective in promoting gender diversity? The answer may surprise you. In the article “The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management,” from ILR Review, authors Mary E. Graham, Maura A. Belliveau, and Julie L. Hotchkiss investigated what correlations could be found between different management structures and gender diversity in management. Surprisingly, they found that having an HR executive on the top management team did not necessarily equate to more women in management. The abstract for the article describes their findings:

Women lag men in their representation in management jobs, which negatively affects women’s careers and company performance. Using data from 81 publicly traded firms with more than 2,000 establishments, the authors examine the impact of two management structures that may influence gender diversity in management Current Issue Coverpositions. The authors find no association between the presence of an HR executive on the top management team—a structure envisioned in practice as enhancing diversity but which could, instead, operate merely symbolically—and the proportion of women in management. By contrast, the authors show a strong, positive association between a previously unexamined measure of commitment to diversity—the hierarchical rank of the individual certifying the company’s required, confidential federal EEO-1 report—and women’s representation in management. These findings counter the common perception that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations are too weak to affect gender diversity. The authors discuss the implications for diversity scholarship, as well as for management practice and public policy.

You can read the article “The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management” published in ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research published by ILR ReviewClick here to sing up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Will Evans (CC)


Critical Reflection: Real Life Applications for Mezirow’s Theory

14488224787_79c11e5287_z[We are pleased to welcome Henriette Lundgren. Henriette published an article in Human Resource Development Review entitled “On Critical Reflection: A Review of Mezirow’s Theory and its Operationalization,” with co-author Rob F. Poell.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

To stop and think is considered good practice in most professional contexts. For example, we expect a nurse to review the patient’s symptoms before administering a medicine. Similarly, we expect an entrepreneur to examine the underlying market assumptions before venturing into a new business idea. Rather than rushing into glib problem solving or thoughtless decision-making, we believe that everybody needs to take some moments from time to time to reflect: What is the situation? How can I HRDdeal with it? Why is this important to me? To stop and think is another very basic way of describing the process of reflection, but how do we know whether someone is really reflecting – critically or not – about one’s own practice? This question triggered our literature review using Jack Mezirow’s critical reflection definition as a starting point.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Reflection and non-reflection come in many shades, for example “habitual action”, “thoughtful action”, “understanding”, “introspection”, “intensive reflection” or “critical reflection. Researchers in adult education and human resource development (HRD) have made a sincere effort to distinguish between these shades of reflection in their empirical studies. Maybe our mind was more binary before we started this project: “Reflection yes/no”. So being shown indicators that help us operationalize reflection in our own empirical research was a pleasant side effect of this study.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Our study gives an overview on critical reflection research and its operationalization, and it points out four areas of improvement (see checklist at the end of article). Critics might say that we could have taken more efforts to show explicitly the connections between critical reflection and learning and how our work impacts HRD theory, research, and practice. While these are good avenues for future research, we encourage readers to help us think along what our findings mean for learning and development of nurses, teachers and entrepreneurs, and we look forward to continuing this conversation and debate.

The abstract for the paper:

In this article, we review empirical studies that research critical reflection based on Mezirow’s definition. The concepts of content, process, and premise reflection have often been cited, and operationalizing Mezirow’s high-level transformative learning theory and its components has been the endeavor of adult education and human resource development (HRD) researchers. By conducting a literature review, we distill 12 research studies on critical reflection that we dissect, analyze, and compare. Discovering different approaches, assessment processes, and outcomes leads us to the conclusion that there is little agreement on how to operationalize reflection. We suggest four improvements: (a) integrating different critical reflection traditions, (b) using multiple data collection pathways, (c) opting for thematic embedding, and (d) attending to feelings. By implementing these improvements, we hope to stimulate closer alignment of approaches in critical reflection research across adult education and HRD researchers.

You can read “On Critical Reflection: A Review of Mezirow’s Theory and its Operationalization” from Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research Podcast Microphonefrom Human Resource Development Review? Click here to sign up for e-alertsYou can also listen to a podcast with author Henriette Lundgren as she discusses her work on this article. You can listen to the podcast here.

*Image attributed to Kent Nguyen (CC)

HenrietteHenriette Lundgren is a workplace educator and an associated researcher with Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her main scholarly interests are learning in the workplace, the use of reflection instruments, and adult education theory.


Rob F. Poell is a professor of human resource development (HRD) in the Department of Human Resource Studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His main scholarly interests are learning in the workplace, action learning, project-based learning, organizing HRD, and learning networks.

Management Practices: Complementarity is the Key

[We’re pleased to welcome Arthur Grimes of Motu Economic and Policy Research and University 16296308759_8149d18c99_zof Auckland. Arthur recently published an article in ILR Review entitled “The ‘Suite’ Smell of Success: Personnel Practices and Firm Performance” with co-author Richard Fabling of Motu Economic and Policy Research.]

Throughout the world, we see firms in the same industry in the same country having very different productivity outcomes. We have long been fascinated in why this is the case, and whether management can do anything to place their firm in the top quartile of performers within their industry.

It turns out that management practices are key to firms’ productivity outcomes. But the key is not a simplistic application of performance pay or any other single management practice to the firm; a holistic approach is required. Recent analysis ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointbased on longitudinal data for New Zealand firms across all sectors of the economy, shows that having in place a suite of complementary high-performance management practices can raise productivity by over 10% for firms that are in the top quartile of management practices. This is the case for firms in manufacturing, services and other sectors. The suite of management practices includes having processes for staff consultation, clear firm values, performance reviews coupled with performance pay, room for autonomous staff decision-making and staff training opportunities.  What this means for firms is that there are no ‘magic-bullet’ management practices that can be introduced quickly to transform most firms. Management need to introduce a comprehensive suite of management practices if they wish to raise their productivity to be in the top rung of firms.

The abstract from the paper:

The authors use a panel of more than 1,500 New Zealand firms, from a diverse range of industries, to examine how the adoption of human resource management (HRM) practices affects firm performance. The panel is based on managerial responses to mandatory surveys of management practices in 2001 and 2005 administered by the national statistical office, linked to objective longitudinal firm performance data. The authors find that, after controlling for time-invariant firm characteristics and changes in a wide range of business practices and firm developments, a suite of general HRM practices has a positive impact on firm labor and multifactor productivity. Conversely, these practices tend to have no effect on profitability, in part because the adoption of performance pay systems raises average wages in the firm.

You can read “The ‘Suite’ Smell of Success: Personnel Practices and Firm Performance” from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Meeting image credited to Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (CC)

Tension Between Generations Points to a Shift Away from Masculine Organizations

17281432455_2476dcef9e_z[We’re pleased to welcome Kristen Lucas of University of Louisville. Kristen recently published an article in Journal of Management Inquiry, entitled “Generational Growing Pains as Resistance to Feminine Gendering Organization? An Archival Analysis of Human Resource Management Discourses,” with co-authors Suzy D’Enbeau of Kent State University and Erica P. Heiden of College of Saint Mary.]

After being intrigued (or perhaps irked is a better word?) for quite a while about the bad rap Millennials were getting in the workplace, Erica sparked the idea for a project that would explore “kids these days!” complaints about different generations. At first, we weren’t sure how we could approach our research question in a way that wasn’t biased by retrospective judgments or insights. We contemplated blogs written by and/or about Millennials, trade books on generational differences, and interviews with HR managers. But none of those options seemed to get at how older adults complained (or not) about “kids these days.” Eventually, we realized that HR Magazine and, more specifically, archival issues of the magazine, would be just the source we needed.

One of the most fun aspects about this project was digging into the archives. Our university library stored the issues for each decade differently. The 1970 issues were available only on microfilm. The 1990 issues were bound and stored in the stacks. And the 2010 issues were available only online. Although electronic files would certainly be easier to work with, we knew we’d miss some really key information (like article placement, visual images, and ads). So we borrowed hard copies of the 2010 issues from the HR Director at Erica’s company.

The archival materials were visually striking—especially looking back on the 1970s issues with Mad Men-styled personnel men wearing skinny ties and heavy-framed glasses, and the 1990s issues with women wearing floppy bowties, big shoulder pads, and even bigger hairstyles. While the 2010 images didn’t look strange to us now, it did make us wonder what we will be saying about styles and images of work 10 or 20 years from now. (Might it be something about people sitting barefoot on couches as they work on laptop computers?) When we moved past the visual images and started JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointfocusing on the written discourse, we found even more interesting insights.

As a Gen-Xer, I (Kristen) had taken my first full-time professional job in 1991. So I expected the 1990s issues to feel like a walk down memory lane. But instead, they seemed to represent a distant history that belonged to my mother’s generation, not mine. This project really brought to light how small, incremental changes can cumulate over time and how people’s sense of “what used to be” can be distorted. For Erica, the biggest surprise came from reading the 1970 issues and seeing how the Silent Generation complained about Baby Boomers. More than once she commented in her notes, “It sounds like they’re talking about Millennials!”

We used a feminist communicology of organization framework to analyze these discourses. You can read more about our approach and our findings in the article. But in a nutshell, we found that older workers have complained about young people for generations. In that regard, Millennials aren’t any different than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. But what is different is that Millennials’ unique expectations (like those for emotional support, feedback, and mentoring relationships) are deeply, yet subtly, gendered. So when HRM practices adapt to meet those expectations, the organization itself becomes more feminine. Therefore, we raise the possibility that frustrations expressed about Millennials also could be encompassing frustrations about the way feminine organizing practices are challenging traditionally masculine workplaces.

We hope our study will serve as an entry point for people to engage in meaningful dialogue about diversity in organizations that moves beyond surface-level stereotypes and recognizes the unique ways that difference intersects in overt and subtle ways.

The abstract:

Guided by a feminist communicology of organization framework, we examine generational growing pains by analyzing discourses appearing in HR Magazine at three different points in time, which approximately mark the midpoint of Baby Boomers’, Gen Xers’, and Millennials’ initial entry into the workplace. We reconstruct historically situated gendered discourses that encapsulate key concerns expressed by human resource management professionals as they dealt with younger generations of workers: Personnel Man as Father Knows Best (1970), Human Resource Specialist as Loyalty Builder (1990), and Talent Manager as Nurturer (2010). We propose that frustrations expressed by older generations about Millennials may not be because Millennials are necessarily more demanding than their predecessors, but instead because their expectations reflect and effect gendered changes of organizing.

You can read “Generational Growing Pains as Resistance to Feminine Gendering of Organization? An Archival Analysis of Human Resource Management Discourses” from Journal of Management Inquiry  free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Building image credited to Anne Marie Peterson (CC)


LucasKristen Lucas (PhD, Purdue University) is an associate professor in the Management Department at University of Louisville and a Gen Xer. Her expertise centers on how communication—from micro-level interactions to broader social discourses—constructs organizations, gives meaning to careers, and influences human flourishing and dignity in the workplace. She has published research in journals such as Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Ethics, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Monographs, and Women’s Studies in Communication.

D'Enbeau, Suzy

Suzy D’Enbeau (PhD, Purdue University) is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University and a Gen Xer. Her research explores how social change organizations navigate competing goals in domestic and transnational contexts; problematizes dominant ways of thinking about, constructing, and performing gender in different organizational contexts and in popular culture; and unpacks some of the challenges of qualitative inquiry in terms of analysis and researcher identity. In addition to numerous book chapters, her work has appeared in leading journals such as Communication Monographs, Feminist Media Studies, Human Relations, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Qualitative Inquiry, Qualitative Communication Research, and Women’s Studies in Communication.

HeidenErica P. Heiden (MA, University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is a Millennial who works at Bailey Lauerman, an independent digital marketing and brand agency in Omaha, Nebraska. In her role as the agency’s Knowledge Strategist, she “makes people really smart, really fast.” In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member and head coach for the Speech Team at College of Saint Mary, also in Omaha. She has coauthored an article on the dark side of mentoring in Australian Journal of Communication.