Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Archive for May, 2013

Book Release – Change for Good


Carrie Foster, writer of More Than Just a Number and contributor to research paper “Rethinking Talent Management” for the Cambridge Scholars Publishing release Innovative Business Practices: Prevailing a Turbulent Era, has written a new People Centred Ideology focusing on various subjects, that will help businesses Change for Good.

Temperatism is a new ideology, invented by Carrie, that is a political manifesto; economic treaty and social call to arms.

Change for Good Cover

Change for Good asks the childlike, innocent question “What if Organizations pursued something other than an economic agenda?” As an Organizational Development Consultant, Carrie finds these type of questions most effective when facilitating, for driving innovation and creativity. For jumping people out of their normal linear thinking and getting them to take a look at things from a different angle. Opening up their mind to new ideas, ridiculous notions, that might, just might be the answer to the solution we were looking for all along.

As Carrie says in her Author’s Note: This book isn’t intended to have all the answers, but to present a number of arguments based on the idea that the capitalist profit agenda is not benefiting society or democracy and doesn’t have to be the only agenda that organizations and society have to follow. What follows is a proposition of an alternative agenda of Doing Good and the introduction of a new ideological framework – Temperatism.

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Albert Einstein 

This book is to #bethechange for business and organizations, and for students in Business; Philosophy; Politics; and Sociology, to think about how organizations are currently being run and to develop a ‘Doing Good’ agenda for the Future.

The books is currently available as an ebook from Amazon and will be available from Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords from 3rd June 2013 in print.

For more information please contact Twin Wicks Publishing or Contact Us

Organization Psychology – Behaviour, Performance, and Effectiveness

Answers the Question

What is the hidden structure of Performance?

How it Began

During the 1980s organizational psychology stopped complaining about the standards which organization psychology work and began thinking about occupational and work role performance as a construct which could be modelled.  Since this time there has been considerable contributions to both theory and research dealing with performance, performance dynamics and performance measurement issues.  Despite difference in methodology, terminology and emphasis there has been a remarkable convergence concerning the principal components of job performance.  Regardless of occupation, organizational level, situational context or performance dynamics the meaningful basis of individual work performance is unaffected.


Key Terminology

Effectiveness – The degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means “doing the thing right,” effectiveness means “doing the right thing.”

Behaviour – A response of an individual or group to an action, environment, person, or stimulus.

Performance – The accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfillment of an obligation, in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract.

In Brief

Human Performance is the study of limitations and capabilities in human skilled behaviour. Skill is broadly construed to include perceptual, motor, memory, and cognitive activities, and the integration of these into more complex behavior. Emphasis is on the interaction of human behavior and tools, tasks, and environments, ranging from detection and identification of simple events to problem solving, decision making, human errors, accidents, and control of complex environments. Included among the variables that affect human performance are individual differences, organismic variables, task variables, environmental variables, and training variables.

Management and leadership can be approached at different levels. The study of management and leadership at the macro level involves the influences senior level individuals have in the larger organizational context-setting strategy, directing change, influencing values. Theory and research may focus on characteristics of leaders, leader style, leader-member interactions, behaviors of leaders, and related phenomena. At a more micro level, leadership and management involves the day-to-day exchange between leaders and followers. This includes challenges faced by line managers in their relationships with subordinates in the assignment of tasks, evaluation of performance, coaching and counseling for improvement, resource planning, and related tasks. Related to many other areas, effective leadership and management involves task analysis, motivation, decision making, career planning, selection, performance appraisal, interpersonal communication, listening and related skills in a supervisor-subordinate context. Increasingly, attention is placed on team leadership and self-leadership (especially in relation to empowerment), and horizontal leadership (i.e., peer influence processes).

Work motivation refers to the conditions within the individual and his or her environment that influence the direction, strength,and persistence of relevant individual behaviours in organizations when individual abilities and organizational constraints are held constant. Increasingly, work motivation is a concern at the group level as well.

Attitudes, opinions and beliefs are extremely important in organizational settings. They are important in their own right because of humanitarian concerns for the quality of working life of those who are employed in organizations. They are also important for diagnosing problems in organizations. They are important because they relate to the behavioural intentions and the behaviours of individuals at work. Some of the job attitudes include, but are not limited to, job satisfaction(general and various facets), job involvement, organizational commitment, and perceptions of fairness.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

Organization Development encompasses theory and research relevant to changing individuals, groups, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. the body of theory and research OD draws from include related fields such as social psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, vocational psychology, engineering psychology, and organizational theory.

More specifically, OD concerns theory and research related, but not limited to: individual change strategies including training, socialization, attitude change, career planning, counseling, and behavior modification; interpersonal and group change strategies, including team building and group training, survey feedback, and conflict management; role or task oriented change strategies, including job redesign, role analysis, management by objectives, and temporary task forces; and organization system-directed change strategies, including survey feedback, open systems oriented change programs, human resource accounting, flexible working hours, structural changes, control system changes, and quality circles.

It is well accepted that the structure, function, processes, and other organizational-level constructs have an impact upon the behaviour of individuals in organizations. Therefore, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the nature of complex organizations. This understanding should include, but is not limited to, classical and contemporary theories of organizations, organizational structure, organizational design, technology, and the process of organizational policy formation and implementation.  Integration of organizational and individual constructs is an important area requires a knowledge of organizational theory.

Much of human activity in organizations takes place in the presence of other people. This is particularly true of work behaviour. The pervasiveness of interpersonal and task interdependence in organizations demands a good understanding of the behaviour of people in work groups. Though the labels “group” and “team” are often used interchangeably, it is also critical to have a familiarity with the growing teamwork literature. This requires an understanding that extends beyond familiarity with research and theory related to interpersonal behavior in small groups. A good background in group theory and team processes includes, but is not limited to, an understanding of leadership, motivation, interpersonal influence, group effectiveness, conformity, conflict, role behavior, and group decision making.

OD practitioners need to have a sound background in work motivation, they must have a thorough understanding of the theories of human motivation including, but not limited to, need theories, cognitive theories, and reinforcement theories. Understanding of general applications of one or more motivational perspectives, such as strategies for work motivation as goal setting, job design, incentive systems, and participative decision making are relevant here.


Organizational Psychology – Individual Differences: Challenging our Assumptions

Answers the Question

How do mistaken assumptions affect conclusions regarding the explanations and predictions regarding individual differences of performance?

How it Began

Individual differences contribute collectively to performance. Ackerman and Humphreys (1992) developed the  theory of individual differences offering “objective quantification” of individual differences. Different individual differences have been offered by several researchers: mental ability, temperament, and motivation (Ackerman & Humphreys, 1992), cognitive ability, personality orientation (values and interests) and affective dispositions (Murphy, 1996), cognitive ability, personality, interests and physical ability (Schmitt & Chan, 1998).

Individual Differences

Ackerman and Humphreys offered three types of individual differences: inter-individual differences, and two types of intraindividual differences.  For interindividual differences to be effective, diversity in the applicant population or the assessment of general abilities is required. Or rather, individual difference measures of a particular characteristic within a population may not assist in determining the best applicant. A more diverse population or general characteristic possessing greater variance may be required.

Intraindividual differences change over time. For example, technology has changed our differences in competency with the advent of personal computers. Tasks formally performed on typewriters, machines in which people were competent, changed to personal computers beginning with zero-competency, but changing to the competency level equal or beyond that of the typewriter. Differences between attributes of an individual could include differences in verbal and analytical skills. Individual differences also encompass knowledge, skills, abilities and other orientations (KSAOs).

Key Terminology

Individual differences – classification of the characteristics of people for purposes of selection, training, placement, and evaluation in the workplace.

Interindividual differences – differences between individuals.

Intraindividual differences – differences experienced over time, and “differences between attributes of an individual”

Knowledge – declarative and procedural knowledge, which serves as the basis to build abilities and skills are built.

Skills – psychomotor skills and abilities to cognition or cognitive ability.

Other orientations – personality and motivation characteristics important for the performance of more contextual tasks (Schmitt & Chan, 1998).

In Brief

The organizational environment is changing at a rapid pace, including technological advances, outsourcing, use of temporary or part-time workers, downsizing, globalization and the privatization of government activities. These changes indicate that changes in the way organizations conduct business will lead to changes in the requirements of employees by more closely focusing on individual differences that could critical to how business operates (e.g. teams) and organizational success.

Traditionally ability has been an important factor in performance. Changing organizational environments will not only sustain but also increase the importance of ability as organizational requirements continue to change. Personality also has been an important focus of individual differences that will become more important in the future as organizations focus more on contextual performance. Together personality and ability and applicable knowledge and skills become the critical individual differences that need to be measured in the rapidly evolving organizational environments (Motowidlo, Borman & Schmit, 1997; Motowidlo & Schmit, 1999).

Theory of Individual Differences

What does this mean for Organization Development

Proficient task performance is essential to organizational performance, thus, success. It is also important that to recognize the importance of contextual performance. Both Task and Contextual performance contribute to organizational effectiveness;  Task performance, based on some prescribed role or function that is guided by particular knowledge, skills, abilities and other orientations (KSAOs), contributes directly to the core business of the organization, whether it be producing a product or delivery of a service.

Contextual performance, indicates the extra initiative and/or effort that an organization member is willing to provide and supports the core business by contributing to the environmental concerns whether it is organizational, social, or psychological. By not being guided by requirements contained in job description or other job requirements, members who engage in contextual performance do so because they have chosen to do so on the organization’s behalf. Unlike task performance, contextual performance does not necessarily vary with the different jobs.

While proficient task performance remains important in selection, development, succession planning and performance, it is important for organizations to consider the benefits of including contextual performance when considering employee performance and people development.

Contextual dimensions in a work environment will set the tone for task performance in the organizational environment and

jobs will change through job enrichment (Schultz & Schultz, 1998). Based on the need for team-based environment, jobs will change by learning additional tasks that cross traditional boundaries. The team approach provides the organization with the tools through which to respond to dynamic environments by having team members versatile in a variety of tasks.

Contextual task ability includes:

1. Helping and cooperating with others

  • Working as a team member: good interpersonal and conflict resolution skills
  • Emphasis on customer service: internally and externally versus merely product or service delivery

2. Endorsing, supporting and defending organizational objectives

  • Essential for decision-making reflecting endorsement and support of organizational objectives.

3. Motivation to perform outside of job requirements

  • Initiative and willingness to take on more responsibilities

4. Self-development and flexibility

  • Adaptability, flexibility and openness to different methods of operating and willingness to learn new skills

The role of performance evaluation can serve several purposes not the least of which is to provide feedback on performance to individual employees. However, a performance evaluation system can also indicate changes that are needed in the form of additional declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge and skill, and motivation.  Employee performance measure should include both task elements and contextual elements for example;

  • Job-specific task proficiency
  • Non-job-specific task proficiency
  • Written and oral communication task proficiency
  • Demonstrating effort
  • Maintaining personal discipline
  • Facilitating peer and team performance
  • Supervision/leadership
  • Management/administration


  • Ackerman, P. L., & Humphreys, L. G. (1990). Individual differences theory in industrial and organizational psychology. In. M. D. Dunnette, & L. M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 223-282). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  • Borman, W., & Motowidlo, S. (1993). Expanding the criterion domain to include elements of contextual performance. In N. Schmitt, & W. Borman (Eds.), Personnel Selection in Organizations (pp. 71-98). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Campbell, J., et al. (1993). A theory of performance. In N.Schmitt, & W. Borman (Eds.), Personnel Selection in Organization (pp.35-70). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
  • Motowidlo, S. J., Borman, W. C. & Schmit, M. J. (1997). A theory of individual differences in task and contextual performance. Human Performance, 10 (2), pp. 71-83.
  • Motowidlo, S., & Schmitt, M. (1999). Performance assessment in unique jobs. In D. Ilgen & E. Pulakos (Eds.), The changing nature of performance (pp. 56-86). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass (1999).
  • Murphy, K. R. (Ed.). (1996). Individual differences and behavior in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Schmitt, N., & Chan, D. (1998). Personnel Selection: A theoretical approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication.
  • Schultz, D. & Schultz, S. E. (1998). Psychology & work today: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Whatley, S. L and Lee, C. Linking individual differences with performance improvement  The Ohio State University