Study Questions for chapters for: Scientist-Practitioner Approach: Organizational Psychology

S. Jex (2002), Wiley Publisher

Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Psychology p.1

Chapter 2 Research Methods and Statistics p.21

  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 two reasons why subjective (self-report) data can be inaccurate?
  5. What is the difference between correlation and regression?

Chapter 4 Productive Behavior in Organizations p.87

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 5 Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment p.115

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

2. Compare the three theoretical approaches to job satisfaction, and support your choice for which best explains job satisfaction

3. How would you use what is known about the dispositional and situational (job characteristics) approaches to design an effective employee selection process?

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

Chapter 8: Theories of Motivation p. 209

1 Define motivation in the context of organizational behavior and explain why it is considered a hypothetical construct..

2. Describe the three categories of motivational theories and explain how findings from each can be applied in an organization.

3. Which of the three types of motivational theories best explain 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. (other than those described in the readings).

Chapter 9 Organizational Applications of Motivation Theory p. 239

1. Discuss the four basic assumptions regarding the process of motivating workers?
    (1) Organizations' right to influence behavior
    (2) Employees have some freedom to decide to engage or not engage in behavior
    (3) There are no major internal or external constraints on employees' behavior
    (4) Employees are capable of changing behavior

2. Debate the relative importance of internal v. external equity

3. Discuss the effect that money (tangible) compensation has on professional athletes' performance

4. Describe the relative merits of tangible rewards (salary, merit pay, incentive pay, esops, gain sharing have on motivation.

5. Discuss the relative merits for intangible rewards (recognition/awards, praise, status symbols, autonomy/freedom)

6. Explain how key elements of the JCM (Hackman & Oldham) relate to intrinsic motivational concepts.

7. How can a manager reconcile fairness by adhering to procedural justice when it does not result in distributive justice?

8. How would you compensate CEOs to motivate them to improve organizational functioning?

Chapter 10: Leadership and Influence processes p. 267

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 11 Introduction to Group Behavior p. 297

1. Describe at least two groups you belong to and relate the reasons you joined to those (four) mentioned by Jex (affiliation etc.).

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.

Chapter 12 Group Effectiveness p. 321

1. Show how Hackman's multidimensional construct of group effectiveness applies to a group you are familiar with.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. 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 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.