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Wiedemann: “Employee Engagement Simplified by Self-Determination Theory”

“Employee Engagement Simplified by Self-Determination Theory”

Thesis Proposal, Crystal Wiedemann

Committee: Dr. Fred Switzer (chair), Dr. Robert Sinclair, Dr. Patrick Raymark

Tuesday, Feb 25th at 2:00 pm, Brackett Rm. 121

Due to increasing economic pressures over the last decade, organizations have been forced to “do more with less.” In an effort to maintain performance, and in some cases gain strategic advantage, more and more companies are looking to derive all they can from their employees. A fully “engaged” workforce has steadily moved from a dream to a necessity in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. Unfortunately, actually creating an engaged workforce has proven to be a difficult endeavor. Organizations that have been able to figure out the mystery of employee engagement tout increased employee loyalty, happier customers, and bigger profits (Harter, Schmidt, & Keyes, 2002). Despite the demand for scientific research on employee engagement from the business community, a large amount of ambiguity still surrounds the conceptualization of the construct in academic research. This paper will investigate Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) as a theoretical framework in which to root employee engagement as proposed by Meyer & Gagne (2008). We will examine whether satisfying the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness through the work environment will result in increased autonomous work motivation, employee engagement, and well-being. If employee engagement turns out to be as directly related to Self-Determination Theory as hypothesized, it could simplify the course of action required to increase engagement in organizations.

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Brawley: Unifying specific climate research with a molar climate measure: A Situational Affordances approach

“Unifying specific climate research with a molar climate measure: A Situational Affordances approach”

Thesis defense, Alice M. Brawley

Committee: Dr. Cynthia L. S. Pury (chair), Dr. D. DeWayne Moore, & Dr. Fred S. Switzer, III

Thursday, February 27th at 8:30 AM in Brackett 419

Abstract: Organizational climate – briefly, the shared perceptions of a workplace – was originally studied as a molar concept, but this approach generally lacked focus and thus resulted in unmanageable measures. Organizational climate research has been subdivided into many areas of specific climate research focusing on particular organizational factors or outcomes, such as safety or customer service (Schneider, Ehrhart, & Macey, 2013). While the study of specific climates has been and remains worthwhile, recent literature in the area has called for a return to the molar or global conceptualization of organizational climate (Kuenzi & Schminke, 2009; Schneider et al., 2013). In an answer this call, the present study develops and validates a self-report measure of molar organizational climate, the Situational Affordances at Work Scale (SAWS). This measure is based on a taxonomy of Situational Affordances (Pury et al., 2014) that conceptualizes the broad influences on behavior in a given situation as affordances, allowing or preventing particular behaviors. These seven Affordances – Change (Dynamic and Static), Ownership (Self and Other), Valence (Approach and Avoid), Timing (Wait and Act), Target (Object and Person), Privacy (Keep and Share), and Consideration (Self and Other) – are proposed as a holistic view of high-level situational characteristics that influence behavior.
In Study 1, undergraduate students with work experience (N = 217) responded to an initial version of SAWS. Results of this study were used to develop a preliminary version of SAWS. In Study 2, residents of the United States (N = 465) responded to the preliminary version of SAWS and to measures of safety climate, service climate, job characteristics, and social desirability. Results of this study show that the relationship between safety climate and service climate in a cross-section of jobs and industries is strongly positive, r = .652. Therefore, the two climates, in terms of molar climate dimensions, are largely similar. Both safety and service climates are positively related to molar climate Affordances for Change, Self-Ownership, Positive Valence, Acting, Focusing on both Persons and Objects, Sharing information, and Considering both one’s Self and Others. Both climates are negatively related to molar climate Affordances for not Changing, Other-Ownership, Negative Valence, Waiting, and Keeping information private. A few of these relationships with molar climate differ in magnitude across the two specific climates: service climate is more strongly positively related to Affordances for Self-Ownership and Positive Valence and more strongly negatively related to Affordances for not Changing, Other-Ownership, and Negative Valence than is safety climate. These results suggest molar climate dimensions where safety climate and service climate may differ in a cross-section of workplaces, but overall indicate that these two specific climates are more similar that previously hypothesized in the literature (cf. Paul, 2012). Results of this study also show statistical discrimination between SAWS and job characteristics, indicating that SAWS measures a construct distinct from job characteristics. Results of these studies support SAWS as potentially useful tool in understanding the broad portrait of an organization’s climate.

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Cartee: The Effects of Reminder Distinctiveness and Anticipatory Interval on Prospective Memory

Thesis proposal

ABSTRACT: Prospective memory (PM) failures (or failures to remember a future intention) can result in a wide range of negative consequences. The use of reminders has been shown to improve the rate of PM successes. The current study aims to examine the effectiveness of reminders based on their type (text or picture) and their timing. We hypothesize that successful PM performance will be maintained over longer anticipatory intervals when paired with picture reminders rather than with simple text reminders because of their inherent distinctiveness. Prior research has shown increased memory for PM intentions when distinctiveness was high.

Committee: Rich Pak (chair), Patrick Rosopa, Paul Merritt
Wednesday, November 20th at 12:30pm in Brackett 414.

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Amelia Kinsella thesis proposal 9/24

I have scheduled my thesis proposal for Tuesday, September 24 at 9:00 am in Brackett 419.

The Effect of Frequency and Amplitude of Latency on Simulator Sickness in a Helmet Mounted Display

The purpose of the current experiment is to further examine the relationship between frequency of latency and amplitude of latency in a helmet mounted display (HMD), and simulator sickness. Motion sickness has been studied for decades in a variety of vehicles including ships, planes, trains and automobiles (Money, 1972). More recently virtual environments, including those utilizing an HMD have been shown to generate significant sickness, often termed simulator sickness (Kennedy, et al., 1993). Many studies have linked system latency to simulator sickness and recent research has found that latency is not a constant; but rather it varies systematically over time due to sensor errors and clock asynchronization (Wu, Dong, & Hoover, 2011). One hundred twenty participants will be recruited and randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Collected data will be analyzed using analysis of variance. Main effects of both frequency and amplitude of latency are expected, as well as an interaction between frequency and amplitude of latency. It is expected that sickness symptoms will increase for participants experiencing .2 Hz frequency of latency condition and the varying amplitude condition.
Chair: Eric Muth
Committee: Adam Hoover, Chris Pagano

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Phil Jasper thesis proposal 9/23

Time: Monday, September 23rd at 11:00am in 419 Brackett

Title: Using the Bite Counter to Overcome Environmental Cues that Lead to over Eating

Abstract: According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, overweight and obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States. There are many treatments for overweight and obesity, the most popular being behavioral interventions. Self-monitoring is one of the most important factors of successful behavioral interventions. The Bite Counter is a new tool for weight loss that aids in the self-monitoring process. The purpose of the current study is to determine if bite count feedback and a given instruction can overcome a known environmental cue of serving container size. That is, if an individual is instructed on the maximum number of bites to take, and given feedback on the numbers of bites taken, will they use this information to overcome their tendency to eat more food when the food is dispensed from a larger container? Data will be collected from 80 participants eating a meal of macaroni and cheese in a laboratory setting. In a 2 X 2 design, the participants will be assigned to one of four conditions: instruction given and small serving container, instruction given and large serving container, instruction not given and small serving container, or instruction not given and large serving container. Grams consumed will be measured post meal as the main dependent variable. It is hypothesized that: participants in the instruction condition will consume equal grams of macaroni and cheese, participants in the instruction not given condition will consume more grams of macaroni and cheese if serving from the larger container, and there will be an interaction between the instruction variable and serving container size variable. Specifically, serving container size will not affect intake amount in the instruction given condition, however those with the larger serving containers will consume more food in the instruction not given condition.

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Mike Wilson thesis proposal

Monday, 9 September, 1:15 p.m. in Brackett 419.

Assessing the Bite Counter as a Weight Loss Tool

Obesity is a growing health concern throughout the world. Health risks associated with obesity such as diabetes and heart disease result in obesity costing us over $170 million annually. Self-monitoring of Energy Intake (EI) is a critical element of a successful weight loss plan; however current methods to monitor EI are cumbersome and prone to under reporting. The present study seeks to assess the effectiveness of a newly developed tool, the Bite Counter as a tool to assist motivated individuals to effectively monitor their EI and adjust their eating to achieve a targeted weekly weight loss goal. Data will be collected from 40 participants (20 control) in a study where Bite Counter feedback was used to titrate daily bite count goals in order to meet a 1 to 2 pound per week weight loss goal measured against the control group which will only be given weight loss literature. Halfway through the study, Bite Counters will be introduced into the control group to determine if the results from the initial Bite Counter group could be replicated.

Chair: Eric Muth Committee Members: Adam Hoover, Patrick Rosopa

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Mike Wilson Awarded SMART Scholarship

HF student Mike Wilson was awarded the Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship (http://smart.asee.org/) by the Department of Defense. The scholarship will pay for full tuition, fees, and health insurance, and provide a monthly stipend and book allowance for three years (2013-2016). As part of the scholarship program, he will complete an internship in summer 2014 and 2015. Upon graduation he will be employed for three years at the The Army Analysis Center (http://www.trac.army.mil/TRACFLVN.aspx) , Fort Leavenworth, KS.

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Ellis: Community Embeddedness and Core Self-Evaluations as Predictors of Distal Job Search and Unemployment Stress: Perceived Employability as a Moderator

Community Embeddedness and Core Self-Evaluations as Predictors of Distal Job Search and Unemployment Stress: Perceived Employability as a Moderator

Tuesday, July 23rd at 10:00am
Brackett 419

Committee: Dr. Mary Anne Taylor (Chair), Dr. Patrick Rosopa, and Dr. DeWayne Moore

Abstract: The loss of a job is a stressful life event that can cause people to lose economic stability, membership in a community, or a piece of their self-identity. Joblessness is an increasingly salient experience for American workers, as the national unemployment rate hovers between 8% and 9% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). Existing research suggests that unemployment is related to decreased levels of wellbeing. In addition, there is support that job search behaviors are strongly related to self-esteem and that those behaviors can function as a coping mechanism to combat the stress experienced during unemployment. In the current study, psychological variables associated with community embeddedness along with core self-evaluations were used as predictors of global stress and of unemployment stress. Additionally, these variables were used as predictors of job search behaviors inside and outside of one’s community. Perceived employment opportunities were used as a moderator of this relationship. Two hundred and twenty-six respondents at a Job Fair in the Southeast provided responses to a survey containing these variables. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine and refine the measures. Hierarchical regression was used to test the hypothesized relationships. Results suggest that there is a significant relationship between self efficacy and stress, as well as, employment opportunities and search behaviors. However, employment opportunities were not found to moderate the proposed relationships in the current study. Implications and limitations are discussed.

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Long: Feeling for Failure: Haptic Force Perception of Soft Tissue Constraints in a Simulated Minimally Invasive Surgery Task

Feeling for Failure: Haptic Force Perception of Soft Tissue Constraints in a Simulated Minimally Invasive Surgery Task

A Dissertation Defense by Lindsay Long

Committee:
Drs. Chris Pagano (chair), Timothy Burg, Rich Pak, Ben Stephens

Details:
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Brackett 419
10:00 am

Abstract:
In minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the ability to accurately interpret haptic information and apply appropriate force magnitudes onto soft tissue is critical for minimizing tissue trauma. Force perception in MIS is a dynamic process in which the surgeon’s administration of force onto tissue results in useful perceptual information which guides further haptic interaction, and it is hypothesized that the compliant nature of soft tissue during force application provides biomechanical information denoting tissue failure. Specifically, the perceptual relationship between applied force and material deformation rate specifies the distance remaining until structural capacity will fail, or indicates Distance-to-Break (DTB). Two experiments explored the higher-order relationship of DTB in MIS using novice and surgeon observers. Findings revealed that observers could reliably perceive DTB in simulated biological tissues, and that surgeons performed better than novice observers. Further, through calibration feedback training, sensitivity to DTB can be improved. Implications for training effectiveness in MIS simulators are discussed.

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McFadden: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Buffering Effects Of Unit-Level Moderators On The Combat Exposure-Mental Health Relationship

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Buffering Effects Of Unit-Level Moderators On The Combat Exposure-Mental Health Relationship
Monday, July 15th at 9:30am
Brackett 414

Committee: Dr. Thomas Britt (chair), Dr. Robert Sinclair, and Dr. Heidi Zinzow

Abstract: Combat exposure has been linked to various negative outcomes, both physical (e.g., severed limbs, decreased health behaviors, mild traumatic brain injury) and mental (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression, anxiety, substance abuse). Additionally, the military is limited in the ways in which it can protect service members from experiencing negative outcomes of war. The present study examined how the unit-level variables of perceived organizational support, job self-efficacy, and unit morale moderate the relationship between combat exposure and (a) depression and (b) anxiety within the framework of the Soldier Adaptation Model. Soldiers who had previously deployed to Iraq for 15 months were surveyed at two time points (4 months and 10 months following return from deployment). The hypothesized cross-level buffering effects of unit-level perceived organizational support, job self-efficacy, and unit morale were not supported in the current study. However, significant relationships were found with the Time 1 data. A within-level buffering effect of perceived organizational support on the relationship between combat exposure and (a) depression and (b) anxiety outcomes was observed. Additionally, a contextual main effect of unit-level perceived organizational support, job self-efficacy, and unit morale was found such that soldiers in units higher in each variable reported fewer (a) depression and (b) anxiety symptoms. Implications and limitations of the current study are discussed.

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