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Sy, Great blog. I just checked it out. So who won the elevator speech contest? You said in your blog that you have practiced the elevator speech and that you teach it to students. However, despite that you even admit that "Even after repeated explanations, I doubt my parents understand what my field of study is." So, maybe, there is just something about this field that REALLY IS complicated, that makes it tough to communicate, even with the world's most polished elevator speech. Do you agree? Carrie P.S. I am now following you on Twitter. If others are interested, Sy is @IOSyIslam.
Cristopher, Interesting idea. I have not tried NOT saying psychology before. I'll have to try that. Maybe something like, "helping organizations figure out how to shape human behavior so there is a win-win between the company and its employees. We help organizations be more successful by helping their employees be more successful". A elevator speech without mention of psychology or HR might be the way to go! Carrie
Ben Elman, Nice speech! I am not a fan of focusing on fixing problems and tweaking broken systems, so I have to say the last part of your speech was my favorite part. An ounce of prevention... is also true in organizations as it is in our bodies. It's also more cost effective to invest in prevention. Thanks for contributing to the discussion! Carrie
Hi Gillian, You described a potential I-O elevator speech well when you said "using information to change behavior and help organizations make better decisions" Thanks for your comment. Carrie
Great post Dr. Bunk. Thanks. BTW- most of this goes for us online students too! I wouldn't be able to be learning I/O if it weren't for online option #11 #5 and I feel that I get to know my classmates and teachers more intimately online than I did in the traditional classroom #6. But #4 is my favorite. I just love doing homework and reading articles sitting outside in my comfy clothes in the sun hearing the birds... my mind just does not work as well cooped up in a sad dingy old building! Carrie
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2013 on Why I Love Teaching Online at The SIOP Exchange
Hi Josh, You make some great points about the limitations and challenges in this approach. Any method of data gathering has limitations, though, so we just need to study it and identify what they are. Then later we can consider the results of this new method of data gathering in context with other source of information, like we do today with many methods in I-O and HRM. You asked; “what is your opinion of organizational use to electronically monitor employee well-being?” If it could be done in an ethical and legal way, then I can imagine many great uses. What if an algorithm was developed that monitored employees’ “mood” or “attitude” (as expressed in communications) over time. Then imagine that research studies revealed that the results correlated well with future performance as documented in standard performance management methods that we use and trust today. If that were true, then electronic communication monitoring may have an advantage to predict future performance and allow for intervention sooner (training, greater supervisor involvement/support, etc.). Much like how statistical process control works in quality monitoring in manufacturing, ongoing monitoring relative to normal baselines may help supervisors to know when something is an abberations (a bad day for example) vs. a statistically significant trend that needs attention. Supervisors could be alerted if an employee is trending up or down from their normal baseline attitude- automatically by the software. I know many people think this is too “big brother”, it seems likely to me that in 1-2 generations people will no longer view constant monitoring with the negativity and fear that they do today. We are just not used to it yet. When the kids who have less need for privacy of today become the bosses of tomorrow, they are not going to view this type of monitoring in the same way that management today sees it. Carrie
Hi Adam, Makes sense to me! What is a "9-box"? Carrie Zapka
Everyone spends so much time talking about green and environmental sustainability, and that is all great, but to me social sustainability might be the most relevant aspect of sustainability to HR and I-O professionals. I am just learning about it and trying to figure out what it really means in my workplace. From what I’ve learned so far… diversity… labor rights… work-life balance… etc… it has I-O principles written all over it! I didn't get to go the the LEC :( Was social sustainability discussed? Carrie Zapka
This is a really important discussion! Great post! I'm attending I/O school online and for me the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages. I "know" or "talk to" my class mates online more than I did my classmates in my previous Masters that I got in a brick and mortar school. When you are sitting listening to a lecture and taking notes 95% of the time, you just don't interact with classmates as much as you do in online discussions. However, the one big disadvantage that sucks about online communications to me is the asynchronous nature of it. Some days I’m busy and miss so much of the conversation and feel left behind. Some days I have time and pose questions and respond and hear crickets. In real life, you talk when you have someone near you that is available to converse. This online world doesn’t encompass that element appropriately I think. Instant messenger functions are better for that. Carrie Zapka
Karin, What an interesting and wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. I can relate to the “upper 30’s women… married… employed” and pursuing online education. Without an online option I would not be able to study I-O at all right now. I have decided, however, not to pursue a PhD online for a myriad of reasons. If/when I’m ready for that I want the campus full-immersion experience (even if people seeing me on campus initially assume that I must be a student’s mother visiting ;) I feel comfortable earning an MA online, buy I feel that too much would be lost with an online-earned PhD in I-O. Also, I really love your writing style. I look forward to reading future posts. Carrie
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2012 on A Quiet Revolution at The SIOP Exchange
Thanks so much for sharing this Jennifer. What an excellent idea! One of the key gaps emotionally or socially that I feel as an online learner is from not actually ever "seeing" my classmates or instructors. If I passed them on the street I wouldn't even know to say hi. That seems unfortunate. Another gap in online education is that although we develop our writing skills, typically we do not get to practice our oral communication skills. Your assignment would help to address both of those issues! In my introduction course I really enjoyed the assignment to interview an I-O professional. Although I interviewed someone at my organization that I already knew and had worked with for years, during the interview I learned so much more about I-O and what it is really like to work in the field than I ever would have felt comfortable asking about without the assignment to push me. Another assignment that "kept it real" in my introduction class was to imagine what type of I-O role you think you might like to do and then go do some job hunting for it and report out what the salary range is, what credentials are required, and where those jobs are. I think you are really on to something here. I hope that all online professors consider trying your approach. I hope you will share other online teaching experiments with us in future posts! Carrie
Hi Karina, There are many free tests you can find online to take and a few that you have to pay a small fee for. However, if you are just starting out in your career then my advice is that school is so very different than a working life, that the only way to know what you want to do is to try a few things. Go grab anything that sounds at all interesting or educational. Don’t get too hung up on salary either if you can avoid that. You’ll learn much more about what you were meant to do and what you love and what you are going to be excellent doing by just doing anything, than you will by taking a test. For me, I am on my third job now and each has been very different. I am just starting to learn what is good for me and what isn’t. Even the one job that I completely despised with every cell in my body (I am NOT exaggerating, I was queasy when the alarm went off in the morning!) taught me a lot. I only made it one year, but the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is so true. I learned to speak well, to think on my feet, to not be so naïve and trusting, and how to be assertive. I would never have grown this way if I didn’t have that experience. So you really can't make a mistake. Every experience has a lesson. Best of luck! Carrie
Hi Laura, Thanks for responding and following the SIOP blog. Tip #1. Never say “impossible” (or always, or never, or any of those black and white words)… it’s bad for your subconscious and usually not true. Nothing is impossible. If it’s hard to get, then you’ll love it all the more when you find it. Tip #2. Share what you have learned and think you will be great at without using jargon folks don’t get. I feel your pain on answering the inevitable “What is I-O?”. A future blog post will talk about good elevator speeches on this. But not using the word I-O is what I’m learning is best. Tip #3. Don’t give up. Serendipity will strike. Opportunity has a time and a place and you just have to stay open to it. Tell as many people as you know what you are interested in doing and sooner or later, hopefully sooner, a spark will ignite in someone who has been looking for someone like you. Please keep us posted! Carrie
Paul, Thanks for posting a fun topic for us on the SIOP Exchange! I'm sure we all watch more TV than we’d like to admit. I don't watch much unless someone recommends it to me first. I would definitely give this show a shot if I was willing to pay for cable. I’ll have to rely on your updates and wait until it is offered on Netflix though! Carrie-Anne Zapka
Thanks for a great post! It is wonderful to see any discipline venture into the realm of humanitarian work. You cannot have enough of that! Is there a mechanism that persons with I-O training can volunteer to offer their talents and training to help in humanitarian efforts? I am thinking of how lawyers often do pro bono work or veterinarians volunteer at the animal shelter. Is there an organization that organizes I-O professionals toward worthy causes to direct their volunteer efforts? If not, there should be. Great topic. I look forward to more posts from your group! Carrie-Anne Zapka
Hi Laura, So how did you end up stumbling upon the name and the field? Do you have any ideas on how the field can become more visible? I love Steve Job's wonderful point about how you can't connect dots forward, only backward. He mentioned that if he hadn't taken an excursion to explore his artistic side in college, he's not sure Apple would be what it is today. If he just focused on his left-brained analytical side would it be as loved of a brand as it is? So do what you love and most likely it will all come together in the end and you'll probably find a unique niche for yourself if you can marry diverse talents. And if it doesn't all connect, so what, right? You'll have a great time on the journey! You are a great example of what I am very interested in- transdisciplinary studies. The only way to solve truly great problems is to collaborate on a massive scale among many very diverse fields. Never before in history have we had the technology to enable this to happen. I think each one of us who takes the step of combining two very different fields themselves is in my opinion, contributing to this effort. We need to go back to the Renaissance folks who dabbled in everything. The truly great see things from every angle at once and value everyone’s input and ideas. That’s really tough to do! Thanks for sharing. Good luck to you too! Carrie
Hello Dr. Colella, Congratulations on your first blog! Talk of impact should include the tiny things as well as the big things- things that are unlikely to be included in publications or reports. I assisted a team that engaged hundreds of employees in open dialogue about culture. The team was led by an experienced internal I-O professional. I’m sure the long term big impacts will be significant, measured and reported. But what moved me more were the “tiny impacts” that aren’t big business impacts, but that were nonetheless important to the individuals that they affected. There were dozens of examples, but here are a few: 1) One workgroup had been moved and was frustrated because they didn’t have a toaster in the new location. They had asked for one and were told to walk up the stairs and use one of the other toasters. This seemed to matter more to them than one might have expected. Perhaps it was because they had interpreted this to mean they were not considered as important as other groups or perhaps the toaster had become a symbol of negative feelings they had about being moved. They got a toaster right away. 2) Two groups had been combined under one leader. One group had been accustomed to celebratory outings paid for by their leader but the other was not. This was interpreted as special privileges or fiscal irresponsibility. The new leader was unaware that these differing practices were occurring and that there were frustrations between the groups. The leader immediately apologized for not noticing and committed to creating equivalent practices. 3) Complementary coffee stations were available for all employees. Few managers and few men took the time to make a new pot when one was low or empty; it was the lower level female employees who made most of the coffee that everyone enjoyed. The room energized as everyone agreed that that bothered them. Since I knew that I did not make my fair share of coffee myself, that comment really resonated with me. I, and probably others in the room in that session, now make coffee more often than we used to. The I-O led initiative “held the mirror” up and forced everyone to take a fresh look at everything, big and small. Without the I-O intervention these seeming little things- toaster, coffee-pot and outing practices, might have remained the source of unnecessary frustration indefinitely for many employees. It would be difficult to quantify the overall impact that dozens of these tiny impacts had, but I suspect that collectively they may add up to one big impact. The manager might be more observant of other sub-culture difference between the groups and may be more effective at merging them. When the organization moves other groups to new locations they may be more likely to ensure that the perks and amenities are equivalent for all locations. People may be more likely to notice when they are taking little favors that others are doing for them for granted. The open dialogue taught everyone involved an important lesson- sometimes things seem like intentional favoritism or otherwise unjust, but they may be nothing more than innocent unintentional oversights. People are human and busy and sometimes just don’t notice things, so you have to speak up… and, importantly, if you do, the organization will listen and positive changes will result. That’s Impact! Carrie Anne Zapka
Vera, Thanks for sharing. All of the people who read your post and are in the same situation will appreciate knowing they are not alone. Since these decisions are so personal, what's best for you might be totally different for anyone else? I don’t think I or anyone else can say what is best for you. For me, I found that as soon as I stopped asking everyone else what I should do, I found the answer more easily. No one really knows how you think and what you are going to be happiest and most fulfilled doing than you do. Of course husbands and friends get a vote, but first narrow the options down, then ask for their input. As for age, yeah, well, you are not alone. None of us are getting any younger! I struggled with that one too. We are the age we are and we can't change it, so I say there's no benefit in worrying about it. Focus on the positive- you are bringing diversity of experience to your program. If a program doesn't want you because you are "non-traditional" then I guess that means that wasn't the program for you. Online or brick and mortar? Masters or PhD? These are tough choices that inspire lively debate. We’ll be sure to discuss them in future blog posts. Personally, I chose an online masters program, but that wasn't my first choice, just what I had to do. Carrie
Trudi, Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I'm impressed that your boss is "thrilled and excited" about your new found interest- if only we could all have bosses with that attitude about the development of their employees! The healthcare industry is changing so fast. Who better than an I-O with personal experience working in that environment to provide assistance. Sounds like you’re on a great path. Enjoy! Carrie
Personally, I do not understand why anyone- man or women- would want to be a CEO of an enormous company anyway. For me, the sacrifices and stress level could never be worth the prestige and salary. Then again… perhaps I think this way because I’m a woman?!? To answer your question, I say “neither” and, along the lines of Mindy’s comment, that we should take a lesson from positive psychology and strengths-based thinking and spend more time talking about what has and will continue to advance equality and less time dwelling on what might or used to hold us back! Chin-Ning Chu in her book The Art of War for Women ( wrote “it is not the glass ceiling itself that is mighty in and of itself- it is our belief that it will hold us back that gives it power” (p. 70). In a self-fulfilling prophesy, those who think it will hold them back create their own psychological barriers to success. I think she summarizes it well by noting that “Successful women worldwide have one thing in common: They don’t see the glass ceiling” (p. 75). So, when can we expect there to be 250 female CEOs among the Fortune 500?
Hi Adam. Nice post. It's always wonderful to hear about anyone who goes to bed with a sense of fulfillment. Congratulations, that is an accomplishment! Are you referring to external consultants? How do you think internal versus external selection assistance to management compares? How common is it for companies to hire external selection consultants? From my limited experience, other than the use of head hunters to find leads, I haven't worked anywhere that used selection consultants. I find your suggestion of the contribution to GDP interesting since I-O needs to find more ways to conclusively demonstrate value. It seems possible to conduct studies to compare the effectiveness of organizations that use selection consultants to those that don't. Are you aware of any studies that support your hypothesis that the use of selection consultants increases employee performance and therefore organizational effectiveness?
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Jan 20, 2012