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Journal of Applied Psychology - Vol 102, Iss 10

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Journal of Applied Psychology The Journal of Applied Psychology will emphasize the publication of original investigations that contribute new knowledge and understanding to fields of applied psychology.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • The dynamics of punishment and trust.
    The trade-off between mercy and justice is a classic moral dilemma, particularly for organizational leaders and managers. In 3 complementary studies, we investigated how resolving the “punishment dilemma” influences interpersonal trust. Study 1 used controlled scenarios to show that uninvolved observers trusted leaders who administered large or medium punishment more than leaders who administered no punishment when transgressors deserved punishment. At the same time, large punishment decreased trust more than medium or no punishment for less deserving targets. Study 2’s similar scenarios showed that leaders who administered punishment lost trust when they subsequently received benefits even though it was not clear whether their benefits resulted from their act of punishment. Study 3 provided a behavioral replication of these results. These findings suggest that people trusted punishers more than nonpunishers, but only when punishers’ motives were not personal revenge. In the discussion, we explore the practical and theoretical implications of these results for organizations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The relationship between cognitive-ability saturation and subgroup mean differences across predictors of job performance.
    The authors quantify the conventional wisdom that predictors’ correlations with cognitive ability are positively related to subgroup mean differences. Using meta-analytic and large-N data from diverse predictors, they found that cognitive saturation correlates .84 with predictors’ artifact-corrected Black–White d values and .95 with predictors’ artifact-corrected Hispanic–White d values. The authors also investigate the extent to which d values are associated with the use of assessor-based scoring and with predictor domains in which differential investment is likely to occur. As a practical application of these findings, they present a procedure to forecast mean differences on a new predictor based on its cognitive saturation and other attributes. They also present a Bayesian framework that allows one to integrate regression-based forecasts with observed d values to achieve more precise estimates of mean differences. The proposed forecasting techniques based on the relationship between mean differences and cognitive saturation can help to mitigate the difficulties inherent in computing precise local estimates of mean differences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effects of predictor weighting methods on incremental validity.
    It is common to add an additional predictor to a selection system with the goal of increasing criterion-related validity. Research on the incremental validity of a second predictor is generally based on forming a regression-weighted composite of the predictors. However, in practice predictors are commonly used in ways other than regression-weighted composites, and we examine the robustness of incremental validity findings to other ways of using predictors, namely, unit weighting and multiple hurdles. We show that there are settings in which the incremental value of a second predictor disappears, and can even produce lower validity than the first predictor alone, when these alternatives to regression weighting are used. First, we examine conditions under which unit weighting will negate gain in predictive power attainable via regression weights. Second, we revisit Schmidt and Hunter’s (1998) summary of incremental validity of predictors over cognitive ability, evaluating whether the reported incremental value of a second predictor is different when predictors are unit weighted rather than regression weighted. Third, we analyze data reported in the published literature to discern the frequency with which unit weighting might affect conclusions about whether there is value in adding a second predictor to a first. Finally, we shift from unit weighting to multiple hurdle selection, examining conditions under which conclusions about incremental validity differ when regression weighting is replaced by multiple-hurdle selection. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Assessment centers versus cognitive ability tests: Challenging the conventional wisdom on criterion-related validity.
    Separate meta-analyses of the cognitive ability and assessment center (AC) literatures report higher criterion-related validity for cognitive ability tests in predicting job performance. We instead focus on 17 samples in which both AC and ability scores are obtained for the same examinees and used to predict the same criterion. Thus, we control for differences in job type and in criteria that may have affected prior conclusions. In contrast to Schmidt and Hunter’s (1998) meta-analysis, reporting mean validity of .51 for ability and .37 for ACs, we found using random-effects models mean validity of .22 for ability and .44 for ACs using comparable corrections for range restriction and measurement error in the criterion. We posit that 2 factors contribute to the differences in findings: (a) ACs being used on populations already restricted on cognitive ability and (b) the use of less cognitively loaded criteria in AC validation research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Leader social accounts of subordinates’ unethical behavior: Examining observer reactions to leader social accounts with moral disengagement language.
    When providing social accounts (Sitkin & Bies, 1993) for the unethical conduct of subordinates, leaders may use language consistent with cognitive strategies described by Bandura (1991, 1999) in his work on moral disengagement. That is, leader’s social accounts may reframe or reconstrue subordinates’ unethical conduct such that it appears less reprehensible. We predict observers will respond negatively to leaders when they use moral disengagement language within social accounts and, specifically, observers will ostracize these leaders. In addition, we predict that observer moral disengagement propensity moderates this effect, such that the relationship between leaders’ use of moral disengagement language within a social account and ostracism is stronger when observer moral disengagement propensity is lower versus higher. Finally, we predict that the reason why observers ostracize the leader is because observers perceive the leader’s social account with moral disengagement language as unethical. Thus, perceived leader social account ethicality is predicted to mediate the interaction effect of leader’s use of moral disengagement language within social accounts and observer moral disengagement propensity on ostracism. Results from an experiment and field study support our predictions. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Quality charters or quality members? A control theory perspective on team charters and team performance.
    Though prevalent in practice, team charters have only recently received scholarly attention. However, most of this work has been relatively devoid of theory, and consequently, key questions about why and under what conditions team charter quality affects team performance remain unanswered. To address these gaps, we draw on macro organizational control theory to propose that team charter quality serves as a team-level “behavior” control mechanism that builds task cohesion through a structured exercise. We then juxtapose team charter quality with an “input” team control mechanism that influences the emergence of task cohesion more organically: team conscientiousness. Given their redundant effects on task cohesion, we propose that the effects of team charter quality and team conscientiousness on team performance (through task cohesion) are substitutive such that team charter quality primarily impacts team performance for teams that are low (vs. high) on conscientiousness. We test and find support for our hypotheses in a sample of 239 undergraduate self-managing project teams. Our study contributes to the groups and teams literature in the following ways: first, relative to previous studies, we take a more theory-driven approach toward understanding team charters, and in doing so, uncover when and why team charter quality impacts team performance; second, we integrate two normally disparate perspectives on team effectiveness (team development and team selection) to offer a broader perspective on how teams are “built”; and third, we introduce team charter quality as a performance-enhancing mechanism for teams lower on conscientiousness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Is political behavior a viable coping strategy to perceived organizational politics? Unveiling the underlying resource dynamics.
    [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 102(10) of Journal of Applied Psychology (see record 2017-34254-001). In the article, Table 1 contained a formatting error. Correlation coefficient values in the last four cells of column 6 were misplaced with correlation coefficient values in the last four cells of column 7. All versions of this article have been corrected.] We conduct a theory-driven empirical investigation on whether political behavior, as a coping strategy to perceived organizational politics, creates resource trade-offs in moderating the relationship between perceived organizational politics and task performance. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we hypothesize that political behavior mitigates the adverse effect of perceived organizational politics on task performance via psychological empowerment, yet exacerbates its adverse effect on task performance via emotional exhaustion. Three-wave multisource data from a sample of 222 employees and their 75 supervisors were collected for hypothesis testing. Findings supported our hypotheses. Our study enhances understandings of the complex resource dynamics of using political behavior to cope with perceived organizational politics and highlights the need to move stress-coping research from a focus on the stress-buffering effect of coping on outcomes to a focus on the underlying competing resource dynamics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • “Is political behavior a viable coping strategy to perceived organizational politics? Unveiling the underlying resource dynamics”: Correction to Sun and Chen (2017).
    Reports an error in "Is Political Behavior a Viable Coping Strategy to Perceived Organizational Politics? Unveiling the Underlying Resource Dynamics" by Shuhua Sun and Huaizhong Chen (Journal of Applied Psychology, Advanced Online Publication, May 22, 2017, np). In the article, Table 1 contained a formatting error. Correlation coefficient values in the last four cells of column 6 were misplaced with correlation coefficient values in the last four cells of column 7. All versions of this article have been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2017-22542-001.) We conduct a theory-driven empirical investigation on whether political behavior, as a coping strategy to perceived organizational politics, creates resource trade-offs in moderating the relationship between perceived organizational politics and task performance. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we hypothesize that political behavior mitigates the adverse effect of perceived organizational politics on task performance via psychological empowerment, yet exacerbates its adverse effect on task performance via emotional exhaustion. Three-wave multisource data from a sample of 222 employees and their 75 supervisors were collected for hypothesis testing. Findings supported our hypotheses. Our study enhances understandings of the complex resource dynamics of using political behavior to cope with perceived organizational politics and highlights the need to move stress-coping research from a focus on the stress-buffering effect of coping on outcomes to a focus on the underlying competing resource dynamics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The structure of group task performance—A second look at “collective intelligence”: Comment on Woolley et al. (2010).
    Collective intelligence has been described as a general factor that “explains a group’s performance on a wide variety of tasks” (Woolley, Chabris, Pentland, Hashmi, & Malone, 2010, p. 686), much like the general intelligence factor explains individuals’ performance on cognitive ability tasks. This construct has received widespread attention in both the media and academic community. In this article we reexamine the data from 6 previously published samples that have been used to examine the existence of the collective intelligence construct and show that the empirical support for the construct is generally weak. Specifically, we show that the general factor explains only little variance in the performance on many group tasks. We also highlight how 2 statistical artifacts—the apparent presence of low effort responding and the nested nature of the data—may also have inflated the little covariation that exists between group performance on different tasks. These findings suggest that there is insufficient support for the existence of a collective intelligence construct. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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