Study Questions for chapters in:  Organizational Psychology


Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Psychology

1. Explain how Lewin's formula captures all of the factors that may affect motivation.

2. How does HR differ from I/O psychology, and what do they have in common?

3. what are the benefits of getting and not getting a doctorate in  I/O psychology

Chapter 2 Research Methods and Statistics

  1.  What specific question involving  organizational behavior most interests you? How could you study it with using (1) an experimental design, (2) a correlational design?
  2. Why is experimental more likely to be conducted in a lab setting and correlational research in a field setting?
  3. How could job satisfaction operate as either an independent or dependent variable?
  4. Identify at least two reasons why subjective (self-report) data can be inaccurate?
  5. What is the difference between correlation and regression?

Chapter 8: Theories of Motivation

  1. Define motivation in the context of organizational behavior and explain why it is considered a hypothetical construct.
  2. How do behavioral theories differ from cognitive theories of motivation? Give an example of how each could be used to discover what motivates a worker to become engaged at work.
  3. Which motivational theory do you think best explains organizational behavior? Why?
  4. How well has the Job Characteristics Model (Hackman & Oldham) stood up under empirical investigation?
  5. Which of the cognitive theories is most useful in explaining organizational behavior?
  6. Give specific examples of how three operant conditioning principles (e.g. fixed ratio, variable ratio, extinction, punishment) have been used in an organization. 
  7. Debate the relative importance of workers' perceptions of internal v. external equity.
  8. Discuss the different effects that money (tangible) compensation has on those who are more or less intrinsically motivated.
  9. Describe the relative merits of tangible rewards (salary, merit pay, incentive pay, esops, gain sharing have on motivation.
  10. Discuss the relative merits for intangible rewards (recognition/awards, praise, status symbols, autonomy/freedom)
  11. Explain how key elements of the JCM (Hackman & Oldham) relate to intrinsic motivational concepts.
  12. How would you compensate teams to improve their effectiveness?

Chapter 9 Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment

1. What are the three components of an attitude and give an example using job satisfaction?

2. How is organizational commitment related to job satisfaction?  

3. How is core self evaluation (Judge) related to job satisfaction? is the relationship one way or reciprocal?

4. Provide explanations for why job satisfaction has not been shown to be highly related to absenteeism and turnover.

5. What are some of the difficulties in the measurement of employee job satisfaction? How might I/O psychologists try to deal with these problems?

6. How does job satisfaction relate to important bottom-line outcomes such as performance,  absenteeism, and turnover. Support your conclusions.

7. What would be the contents of a good, comprehensive program to increase job satisfaction? What elements would you include in each?

8. Compare and contrast the MSQ with the JDI with regard to the number of facets each measures. What are their respective advantages and disadvantages?

9. Recall a job you have held in the past. Rate your overall satisfaction (global) on a scale from  1 (really disliked) to 5 (really liked). 

    Now rate your satisfaction with various facets (work, pay, promotions, co-workers, supervision). Are the ratings for the facets consistent with your global rating?

10. Think of a time in which you felt particularly satisfied and dissatisfied with your job and identify reasons for those feelings. Do the reasons correspond to Herzberg's content/context factors?

11. Can employees ever be truly satisfied with pay? Or will they always want more?

12. Do you believe employee job attitudes are relatively stable across time and work experiences, or do they vary considerably over time as a result of short term job experiences?

14. How important is perceived fairness in determining employee commitment to a work-place?   How important is fairness in determining employee performance?

Chapter 12: Leadership

1. What is leadership? How does differ from management?

2. How has trait theory evolved over the past half century and where does it stand now?

3. How is LPC measured and what is the logic behind this aspect of Fiedler's Contingency theory?

4. In what way does House/Mitchell's Path-Goal Theory rely on Expectancy theory notions?

5. How are LMX and Path -Goal similar?

6. What is the difference between transactional and transformational leadership style?

7. What are the relationships between the transformational characteristics and French and Raven's Bases of Power?

8. How are transformational leadership characteristics related to intrinsic motivation constructs?

 Chapter 13 Teams in Organizations

1. Describe at least two groups you belong to and relate the reasons you joined to those.

2. Using the same groups in (1) above, describe how they meet the four essential defining characteristics (interdependence, etc.)

3. Describe ways in which types of roles (task, socio-emotional, individual) differ and give a specific example of each type of role.

4. What are some of the ways that groups norms are established, sustained, and changed? (Your opinions)

5. What effect has technology had on the development of communication networks in organizations.

6. How do status differentials influence the establishment of group norms?

 7. Compare the strengths and weakness of the three models of group development (Tuckman, Moreland & Levine, Gersick's).

8.  How can a group process be set up to prevent social loafing.

9. When is group polarization a bad thing or a good thing?

10. Which group polarization theory best explains the phenomenon?

11. Describe a real world example of groupthink other that those given by Jex.
 12. Show how Hackman's multidimensional construct of group effectiveness applies to a group you are familiar with.

13. How are the three group effectiveness models of McGrath, ('64)Gladstein, ('84) Hackman ('87) similar? How are they different?

14. What are some reasons why it is so difficult to conduct good experimental research with teams? (creative thought question)

15. Identify at least three places in Campion's Synthesis model where process loss can occur.

16. Provide reasons why process may or may not affect group effectiveness. Give an example for both outcomes.

17.  What are some factors that may limit an organization's ability to control group composition when designing a team approach to getting work done?

18. What do you think are the two most important individual difference variables to consider in group composition?

19. What are the positive and negative aspects of using a team approach to accomplish the task of assembling an automobile?

 20. How can group level rewards be used to reduce social loafing?

21. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using individual reward systems for team performance?

22. Most experts agree that groups must be rewarded for performance in order to be effective. Does intrinsic motivation theory apply to groups, and if so, how?


Chapter  Productive Behavior in Organizations

1. Explain the differences between effectiveness, efficiency, and utility of work behavior and give an example of each in a job you have had.

2. What is the most well known construct that explains performance and through what mechanism does it work?

3. What are some of the reasons that make performance so difficult to measure?

4. Which is more a more valid, accurate measure of performance, objective or subjective?

5. What are the most important individual differences and situation determinants of  OCB?


Chapter 15 Organizational Culture p. 401

1. Using UB as the organization, give an example to demonstrate each of Schein's three levels of culture (1:          artifacts/technology/behavior; 2: Shared values; 3: Basic assumptions.)

2. Describe what you think are some of the UB's subcultures (proposed by Janson, 1994) (Table 15.1)

3. Get someone to identify some of the rites and rituals that he or she believes exist in the organization they work for.

4. Identify a company who's culture was shaped by the personality of the founder and describe in detail, what cultural aspects reflect his or her influence. (Relate how these cultural aspects are reflected in Schein's levels)

5. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using self-report measures and ethnographic methods for assessing culture. How could they be combined to improve the assessment?

6. Draw comparisons of how is culture change is related to evolution of a species. Find three examples of business organizations, one at each level of Schein's stages of lifecycle. (table 15.3)

7. Which change mechanism best explains the organizational change at Enron? What mechanism could have been used to save it from destruction? How much would you pay for a share on Enron stock?

8. What are some of the psychological theories that would explain why Peters and Waterman's eight characteristics of excellent organizations should lead to success?

9. Given the current emphasis on the reduction of organizational commitment to the worker (and vice versa) in U.S. companies, which of Bill Ouchi's cultural values can be sustained in this environment? (Table 15.5)

10. In today's work environment, should a company try to establish a culture that focuses heavily on employee satisfaction and well being? What are benefits and detriments of doing so?

11. What are some of the difficulties that confront the formation of the Homeland Security Agency? Specifically address the issues that FBI, Coast Guard, Immigration Naturalization Service, Central Intelligence Agency will bring to the merger.