University of Baltimore Division of Applied Behavioral Sciences

Practical Applications in I/O Psychology
APPL 655.185 (class #1018) Spring 2008

Instructor:   Tom Mitchell, Ph.D. (410) 837-5348

Home Page:
Office hrs:   Wednesdays & Thursdays 12:30 - 1:30 PM; Thursdays 4:00 - 5:00 PM

        Class:          Thursdays 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM in Academic Center 407


(1) Jan 31

(2)  Feb 7

(3)  Feb 14

(4)  Feb 21

(5)  Feb 28

(6)  Mar 6

(7)  Mar 13

Mar 20 (Break)

(8)  Mar 27


(9)   Apr 3

(10) Apr 10

(11) Apr 17

(12) Apr 24

(13) May 1

(14) May 8

(15) May 15


Course Materials and resources:

SPSS data analysis package (available through NT account)
Information from Toronto on Group Dynamics/ teamwork

Links to relevant sources: Professional Journals:
I. Descriptive Information
           Catalog description:
The purpose of this course is to enable students to practice real-world applications of competencies acquired in the program. Students will respond to simulated, real-world human resources problems to demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply their knowledge of personnel and organizational psychology. 
II. Objectives of course:

General Objective:  Provide the student with opportunities to apply the theory and practices of I/O psychology in a workplace setting. 

    Specific Objectives are to:

    Competencies to be Demonstrated by each student: III. Class format:
Students will act as I/O consultants to solve simulated real-world contemporary problems typically encountered in an organization. The instructor will act in a management role to pose problems that require students to utilize the competences they have learned in previous coursework. A simulated, virtual organization will provide the environment for this dynamic interaction. Students will work in teams to diagnosis problems, generate solutions, and implement them. The Instructor will respond and react to proposed solutions and implementations, providing simulated feedback with criticism, recommendations, and outcome of implementations.  Both face-to-face (synchronous) and computer assisted (asynchronous) modes of communication will be used. Class discussions will be used to discuss ongoing projects and to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the organizational interventions.

Each student will work as a team member on four assigned projects. To accomplish the objectives for a project, each team member will utilize a set of  previously developed I/O specialist competencies. In-class meetings will be held to discuss the progress of the on-going projects. Project teams will also meet in both face-to-face discussions outside of class and also in asynchronous meetings using the  UB Online WebTyco BOARD 

Students will serve as junior I/O consultants to management at Applied Psychology Consultants, Inc. (APC), a virtual national company specializing in providing I/O consulting services to private and public sector organizations. Because of the recent success of its I/O consulting services, APC Inc. management has hired a full staff of junior consultants from the University of Baltimore's Applied Psychology MS program and begun to market its services to a wide range of new clients. Projects  involve a broad range of I/O applications including job analysis, performance management (performance appraisal, motivating employees), job design, selection and placement, organizational development and many others.

Each project will be initially defined by management and assigned to a project team consisting of from two to five I/O consultants. An appointed Project Team Leader (PTL) will be responsible for managing the project to insure that the goals and objectives are accomplish and that the project is completed on schedule. Since consultants will serve on projects for different clients, it will be necessary for teams to communicate and share relevant client information as projects progress. Each project team (PT) will:

The Project Team Leader (PTL) will submit a written Project Report (by its PTL) to management documenting the project  and indicating each team member's contributions to the project. Projects will proceed simultaneously throughout the semester and progress in a dynamic manner, simulating real world applications. In some instances, the Project Team will collect data and other information relevant to the project. In other instances, the instructor will provide data and information from management.

IV. Texts recommended:
Northouse, P. G. (2006) Leadership: Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Pub: Sage ISBN 4-14129-4161-X

Landy, F. & Conte,  (2007). Work in the 21st Century. 2nd Edition, Blackwell Pub: CA.  ISBN: 13: 978-1-4051-4434-6

Cascio, W.F., Aguinis, H. (2005) Applied psychology in human resources  management. 7th edition, Prentice Hall

Latham, G. P. (2007). Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research, and Practice. Sage: CA. ISBN: 0-7619-2017-X 

V. Assessment:
The student will be evaluated on how well he or she was able to demonstrate the application of theory and practice in  accomplishing the project objectives. 

Scoring % weights:     Activity:

Rating scale for all assessments: 
  • 0-69    = Little or no contribution
  • 70-79  = below expectations; 
  • 80 - 89 =met expectations;  exceeded expectations; 
  • 90 - 100 = exceeded expectations 
  • 100= absolute top 

Grade description:
  •  F    no significant work; 
  • C    below expectations; 
  • B    met expectations
  • B+  exceeded expectations; 
  • A    superior 

VII Schedule of dates and assignments

(1) Jan 31


  • Discussion of syllabus / Assignment of Teams to projects / 
  • Introduction to Website and WebTyco 
  • Handout of TIP I/O psych vendor adds to review and critique
  • Overview of  four projects:
  1. JA: Job Analysis projects
  2. PA: Performance Appraisal projects
  3. SEL: Selection projects
  4. OB: Organizational Behavior projects 
(2)  Feb  7
  • Reports on TIP I/O psych vendors:
    1. describe organization/vendor
    2. Identify personnel (who, credentials, profession, number employees 
    3. Scope/size of company
    4. Product/services
    5. Quality of product/services, e.g. for testing, reliability & validity
    6. Would you want to work there, retain them as a consultant?
  • JA: Discussion of Job Analysis Projects
    1. Purposes of JA
    2. JA Methods
    3. Team Members will serve as SMEs
  • JA: Team meetings to organize JA projects
(3)  Feb  14


(4)  Feb  21
  • PA: Post PA project tasks you will perform for your Team on WebTyco
  •  PA: Discussion of Issues for Performance Appraisal (PA) projects and strategies for accomplishing them
    1. Role of PA in Performance management 
    2. Alignment of competencies -> behaviors -> results -> org objectives ->mission 
    3. Conflicting Dual purposes of PA (administration and development)
    4. Focus on behavior and/or results
    5. Measurement issues: objective v. subjective, rating freq or evaluations, 
    6. Perceived fairness (procedural & distributive justice)
    7. Role of feedback in performance management  
    8. Aggregating (items, dimensions, overall), weighting
    9. Multi-rater issues
    10. Discussion of SPSS data structure for PA projects
    11. Demographic (employee attributes)
    12. Organizational groups (jobs, depts, geo, etc.)
    13. Criteria: subjective and objective (reliability/validity)
    14. SPSS data structure (var names, var labels, value labels)


(5)  Feb 28                 
  1. Criterion reliability (over time/ interrater)
  2. Attenuation in predictor/criterion
  3. Types of predictors
  4. Modes of testing
  5. Issues of buy-in with mgt and incumbents.
  6. Discuss Selection projects and  data analysis
  7. Criterion reliability,
  8. corrections for unreliability
  9. Predictor types:  
  10. Biodata,
  11. CAT personality inventories  
  12. interviews
  13. SJT
  14. assess ctrs
  15. work samples
  16. Placement of predictors
  • SEL: Team meetings to organize Selection project  
(6)  Mar 6
  • PA: discussion of Performance Project
  1. Structure of report findings (steps to data analysis)
  2. Data analysis for PA projects
  3. Demographics needed / grouping variables: gender/race/job class /region etc.
  4. Aggregating across raters at item or dimension level
  5. Interrater reliability, agreement
  6. Standardizing ratings: advantages / assumptions / caveats

Herman Aguinis site for adverse impact with graphical representation for 2 groups with different regression lines.

  • OB: Team meetings to organize Org Behavior project
  • Job Analysis Project Reports Due
  • OB: Post Org Behavior tasks you will perform for your Team on WebTyco
  • Discussion of Issues for Org Behavior (OB) projects and strategies for accomplishing them
  1. Report structure: Exec summary / intro / method & procedure / results / discussion (recommendations) Appendices
  2. Data analysis for OB projects: 
  3. Computing variables
  4. Categorical and linear variables
  5. Dimensions for JSS / summing items
  6. Adding items specific to an issue
  7. Anova: group v repeated measures.
  8. Common method variance
  9. JSS facets and total, comparison to norms
  10. Drilling down / deciding on number needed in categories
  11. Anonymity v. confidentiality
  12. Anova: group v repeated measures 
  13. Data analysis procedures for Survey studies


Mar 20  
******************* Spring Break ************************


(8)  Mar 27
  •  SEL: Discuss progress on data for Sel projects
  • OB: Discuss OB project issues
  1. Structure of Report (con't)
  2. Reporting results: Presenting to management
  3. Reporting results: Presenting to employees
  4. E-capture of data v. paper pencil
  5. How to write an executive summary (pdf file)
(9)  Apr 3
  • JA: Project Presentations
  • Discuss progress on OB projects
(10) Apr  10
  •  update / discussion of  PA, SEL & OB projects
(11) Apr 17
  •  PA: Performance Appraisal Reports due
(12) Apr 24
  • SEL: Selection Project Reports due
(13) May 1
  • PA: Performance Appraisal Project Presentations 
  • OB: Org Behavior Project Reports due
(14) May 8
  • SEL: Selection Project Presentations
(15) May 15
  • OB: Org  Behavior Project Presentations



    Readings in Organizational Psychology  (J. LeBreton, E. Tenn State)

Bass, B. M. (1997) Does the transactional-transformational Leadership paradigm transcend organizational and national boundaries? American Psychologist, 52, 130-139.

House, R. J. & Aditya, R. N. (1997). The social scientific study of leadership: Quo Vadis? Journal of Management, v. 23, 409-473

Markham, S. E. (1988). Pay for performance, a dilemma revisited: Empirical example of the importance of group effects. J. of Applied Psychology, 73, 172-180.

Ostroff, C. (1992). The relationship between satisfaction, attitudes, and performance; An organizational Level of Analysis. J. of Applied Psychology. 77, 963-974

Ryan, R.M., Deci, E. L.  (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.

Shore, L. B. & Wayne, S. J. (1993). Commitment and employee behavior: Comparison of affective commitment and continuance commitment with perceived organizational support. J. of Applied Psychology, 78, 774-780

Welsh, D. H. B., Luthans, F., & Sommer, S. M. (1993). Managing Russian factory workers: The impact of U.S. -based behavioral and participative Techniques. Academy of Management Journal, 36, no. 1, 58-79.

return to homepage TMitch