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Robert Sinclair named Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Bob Sinclair, professor of psychology was named Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Society Fellows are distinguished industrial and organizational psychologists who have made an unusual and outstanding contribution to the field. Sinclair was recognized for his scholarly contributions to occupational health psychology.

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Robert Sinclair receives the Graduate Student Excellence in Mentoring Award

Psychology professor Robert Sinclair was also recognized with the Graduate Student Excellence in Mentoring Award, which recognizes a faculty or staff member who mentors or advises graduate students. The goal of the award is to show graduate students’ appreciation for the faculty and staff who help students navigate the rigors of graduate school.

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Jennings: The role of social support in seeking treatment and treatment retention in the military: Examining the function and source of support

The role of social support in seeking treatment and treatment retention in the military: Examining the function and source of support
Thesis Defense by Kristen Jennings
Friday, April 18th at 11:00 am
Brackett 414
Committee: Dr. Thomas Britt (chair), Dr. Bob Sinclair, Dr. Heidi Zinzow

Abstract:
Service members of the United States military occupy jobs that are unlike most in the exposure to exceptional stress and the potential for life-threatening and traumatic on-the-job experiences. Because of the nature of the job tasks and duties, many soldiers are vulnerable to developing mental health problems. Even more problematic, many soldiers experiencing mental health symptoms are not getting the treatment they need. The present study examined how social support can influence a soldier’s decision to engage in treatment and stay in treatment. More specifically, the study examined the unique influence of family and friends, fellow unit members, and leaders in the soldier’s decision to seek treatment, as well as different supportive behaviors from leaders that affect treatment seeking and retention. Using data from active duty soldiers surveyed at two time points, results indicated that support for treatment seeking is related to whether or not soldiers seek treatment through positively affecting their attitude toward treatment. Support from family members and friends was found to be most related to attitude and treatment decisions. These relationships were further moderated by functional impairment, where the effect of support on treatment seeking through attitude was strongest for those with problems causing low or moderate impairment. In terms of leader supportive behaviors, instrumental leader support was rated as the most influential to soldiers’ treatment decisions. Lastly, in terms of treatment retention, initial evidence was found that support from family members and spouses may influence whether or not soldiers drop out of treatment. Results from this study are intended to be informative for application in enhancing social support resources that are most effective for getting soldiers into treatment and increasing retention.

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Stanyar: IMPACT OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WORKPLACE HAZARDS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH: AN IRISH TALE OF CIVIL SERVANT WORKERS

Kyle Stanyar

When: Wednesday April 16th, 2014; 10:15am
Where: 419 Brackett Hall
Committee: Dr. Sinclair (Chair), Dr. Rosopa, Dr. McCubbin, and Dr. Merritt

IMPACT OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WORKPLACE HAZARDS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH: AN IRISH TALE OF CIVIL SERVANT WORKERS
Obesity, mental health problems, and absenteeism are both economic and health burdens for employers and employees. Research suggests that physical and psychosocial hazards in the workplace contribute to health risks and health problems among employees. There is a need for researchers to examine how exercise, diet, and age interact with the negative effects of workplace hazards upon health. Hypotheses 1a through 3b predicted that physical and psychosocial workplace hazards would negatively impact body mass index (BMI), general mental health, and sickness absences. Further, hypotheses 4a through 9b predicted that exercise and diet would buffer stress from occupational hazards upon BMI, mental health, and sickness absences. Finally, hypotheses 10a through 11b predicted that age would act as a moderator between occupational hazards and employee health outcomes. A sample of 16,651 civil servant workers from the Northern Ireland Civil Service Workforce were examined. The data was split into two groups based on salary; senior level pay grade and lower level pay grade. The results confirmed hypotheses 1a, 1b, 3a, 3b, 11a, and 11b for the lower level pay grade, but failed to support hypotheses 2 and 4a through 10b. Additionally, the results confirmed hypotheses 1b for the senior level pay grade; however the results failed to confirm hypotheses 1a and hypotheses 2 through 11b. Theoretical and organizational implications are discussed.

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Robertson: The Agreeableness of Conscientiousness: A Facet Level Examination of Personality, Interaction, and Curvilinearity on the Citizenship Behavior and Task Performance Relationship

Where: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 11:00am, Brackett 419

Committee: Dr. Patrick J. Rosopa (chair), Dr. Fred Switzer, Dr. Peg Tyler

Title: “The Agreeableness of Conscientiousness: A Facet Level Examination of Personality, Interaction, and Curvilinearity on the Citizenship Behavior and Task Performance Relationship”

Abstract: Recent research has highlighted that the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and task performance is nonlinear such that the occurrence of task performance behaviors will decrease as more time and resources are devoted to organizational citizenship behaviors. This occurs because of the restrictions of resource allocation theory which posit that employee resources are finite and limited, so there will be some trade-off between engaging in various performance behaviors. The current study seeks to examine the potential moderating effect of certain facets of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and their interaction. Agreeableness is thought to moderate the relation between individually focused citizenship (OCB-I) and task performance by accelerating the decrease in performance; conscientiousness is thought to moderate the relation between organizationally focused citizenship (OCB-O) decelerating the decrease in performance. Three way interactions of personality and citizenship will also be examined. Additionally, the mediating effect of job satisfaction will be analyzed because it has been shown to be important in forming the relationship between dispositional characteristics and performance behaviors.

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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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CSIOP Speaker Series: Dr. Marissa Shuffler

Dr. Marissa Shuffler, assistant professor of I-O psychology at Clemson University, will be giving a presentation on her transition into professorhood and her current research interests Friday (9/20) at 11:30am in Brackett 419.

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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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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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