Is Your Team Functioning Well?

[We’re pleased to welcome John E. Mathieu of the University of Connecticut, Margaret M. Luciano Arizona State University, Lauren D’Innocenzo of Drexel University, Elizabeth A. Klock of the University of Connecticut, Jeffery A. LePine of Arizona State University. They recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled, “The Development and Construct Validity of a Team Processes Survey Measure,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on  this research:]


Teams are how many, if not most, current organizations deploy their human resources for competitive advantage. But it is difficult to know how well those teams are functioning. We develop reliable and valid measures of team processes and share them freely for noncommercial use. We provide 50-, 30-, and 10-item versions of the measures suitable for different applications.

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Readiness for Renewal

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Ryan P. Fuller of California State University, Sacramento, Robert R. Ulmer of the University of Nevada, Ashley McNatt of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Jeanette B. Ruiz of the University of California, Davis. They recently published an article in the Management Communication Quarterly entitled “Extending Discourse of Renewal to Preparedness: Construct and Scale Development of Readiness for Renewal,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the motivations and innovations of this research.

What motivated you to pursue this research?

For over 20 years, the Discourse of Renewal has offered an alternative to theories focused on avoiding blame and repairing harm to reputations post-crisis. Some of the assumptions of the theory addressed pre-crisis elements through anecdotal evidence. Based on our research, pre-crisis preparedness is an understudied topic in crisis management. Researchers know a lot about how organizations communicate during crises and how they communicate about post-crisis recovery. As well, we knew that organizations should prepare for crises, but often focus on the day-to-day operations of running their businesses and not on what to do when a disaster or emergency strikes. We wanted to make it easier to take stock of communication practices that help the organization produce the type of post-crisis communication that will help them to return from the crisis better off than before. Consequently, we saw a great opportunity to address a gap in the research and to answer a real-world problem.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Our research draws on a large body of qualitative evidence that organizations are effective in recovery if they enact certain communication practices. The novelty of our project is the foregrounding of pre-crisis communication to provide the latent potential for a strong recovery. These pre-crisis communication practices have been evidenced anecdotally but not formally tested. The value added to the field of crisis communication covers two main areas. First, we see more applied and naturalistic research opportunities using survey research, including the readiness for renewal scale. Along these lines, with the scale we developed we can see more opportunities for interventions to produce the type of desirable post-crisis communication, and for researchers take a stand about what one should or ought to do rather than after it is too late. Applied researchers could help organizations identify best communication practices, reinforce those, and change poor practices. Second, we may see other scholars use the body of qualitative evidence to create quantitative measures to test discourse- and rhetoric-based theories in crisis communication.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

We have three pieces of advice for new scholars and incoming researchers in crisis communication. First, crisis communication is a growing field, yet one that remains dominated by perspectives focused on threat, image repair, and blame avoidance. We encourage researchers to focus on developing/testing theories that are resiliency generating and identify inherent opportunities in all stages of crisis management. Second, we believe that anticipatory perspectives will continue to be an important line of research, and researchers should draw attention to effective communication practices in the pre-crisis stage. Third, we encourage researchers in crisis communication to test the limits of crisis communication theories. Such testing could occur through different methods, populations, or through applying/expanding the theory to different stages of crisis management.

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Does Mental Ability Affect Question Interpretation on Personality Tests?

[We’re pleased to welcome Amy DuVernet who was the corresponding author on the article “General Mental Ability as a Source of Differential Functioning in Personality Scales” from Organizational Research Methods.]

Individuals vary on a number of characteristics. Our ability to accurately measure their standings on those characteristics is pivotal to our understanding of individual differences and the drivers of individual behavior. Our study focused specifically on the interaction between personality measurement and intelligence (i.e., general mental ability). We utilized Item Response Theory techniques to examine differences in item characteristics across groups of varying levels of general 07ORM13_Covers.inddmental ability. In other words, we investigated whether intelligence plays a role in the way an individual interprets and responds to questions designed to gauge personality traits, such as extraversion and conscientiousness.

A person high in intelligence may be better able to interpret and thus respond to a personality item if that item uses complex language or requires a great deal of cognitive processing. For example, the International Personality Item Pool (Goldberg, Johnson, Eber, Hogan, Ashton, Cloninger, & Gough, 2006) item “I shirk my duties” requires respondents to understand the meaning of the relatively uncommon term “shirk”, to recall instances of shirked work duties, and to gauge how those recollections map onto the response options (e.g., strongly agree to strongly disagree).

Our results confirmed that, while most personality items did not demonstrate significantly different characteristics across groups, certain items are indeed interpreted differently by individuals with highly different intelligence levels. For example, all negatively keyed items (i.e., items in which strong endorsement indicates less of the underlying trait being measured) exhibited differential item functioning, suggesting that respondents with low cognitive ability interpreted and responded to these items differently than those with high cognitive ability. These findings have implications for the construction of personality and other noncognitive measures. Ideally, the measurement of these constructs should not be influenced by individuals’ intelligence; however, the results of this study indicate that intelligence can influence the response process for non-cognitive measures.

Click here to read General Mental Ability as a Source of Differential Functioning in Personality Scales” from Organizational Research Methods. Make sure to sign up for e-alerts by clicking here and stay up to date on all the latest from Organizational Research Methods!

 amy-duvernet-ph-dAmy M. DuVernet is the Director of Corporate Research at Training Industry, Inc, where her work focuses on learning and development research to inform best practices. She earned her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from North Carolina State University.

natalie-wrightNatalie Wright is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Valdosta State University. She earned her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from North Carolina State University in 2013. Her current research focuses on the psychometric evaluation of psychological measurements.

adam2Adam W. Meade is Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University. His interests relate to the application of quantitative methods in organizational research in novel approaches to psychological measurement. He serves on various editor boards and as Associate Editor for Organizational Research Methods.

chrisChris Coughlin is a Senior Research Scientist on the Product Development and Innovation team at CEB. In this role, he leads the development, validation, and implementation of call center, software, and computer skill simulations. Prior to joining CEB, he worked on organizational development initiatives at Spherion, a Randstad company. He earned his BS in Psychology from the University of Georgia and his MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Valdosta State University. He is a member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Society for Human Resource Management, and the American Psychological Association.

tracyTracy M. Kantrowitz is Vice President of Research and Development at CEB’s SHL Talent Measurement Solutions. In this role, she is responsible for the development of assessment content and research related to employee selection. Dr. Kantrowitz has published in leading journals and presented at national conferences on topics such as predictors of job performance, computer adaptive testing (CAT), and unproctored internet testing (UIT). Dr. Kantrowitz holds a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

A Passion for Work: Part 4 of 5

Part Four: How Meaningful Is Your Work?

In the Ken Blanchard definition of work passion that we highlighted in Part One, “meaningful work” is the first of the eight factors responsible for driving passion. Today we bring you a Group & Organization Management article that presents a scale for measuring meaningful work, also explaining its relation to the concepts of “calling”; “intrinsic motivation”; “work engagement” and “work values”:

In this article we build on two in-depth qualitative studies to systematically develop and validate a comprehensive measure of meaningful work. This scale provides a multidimensional, process-oriented measure of meaningful work that captures the complexity of the construct. It measures the dimensions of “developing the inner self”; “unity with others”; “serving others” and “expressing GOM_72ppiRGB_150pixwfull potential” and the dynamic tensions between these through items on “being versus doing” and “self versus others.” The scale also measures inspiration and its relationship to the existential need to be real and grounded. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses using multicultural samples from a broad range of occupations provide construct validity for the measure. Future research opportunities on the basis of our measure are outlined.

Click here to read “Measuring the Meaning of Meaningful Work: Development and Validation of the Comprehensive Meaningful Work Scale (CMWS),” published by Marjolein Lips-Wiersma and Sarah Wright, both of the University of Canterbury, in the GOM October 2012 issue.