Advanced Organizational Psychology

SOP 6669

Summer 2014


Instructor:  Dr. Steve

Contact info: 474-2107 or

Office:            Bldg 41, room 253, Office hrs: TBD

Class meets: Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:15 pm to 2:50 pm in Bldg 41, room 115.


Prerequisites: Admission to the graduate program in Psychology or permission of instructor.

Texts:           Required:  Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach, 2nd Edition. Jex & Britt, Wiley

Suggested: Psychological Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, Staw, Prentice Hall

Other readings on reserve.


Purpose:      This course is intended to provide the student with an overview of the area of Organizational Psychology.  This course emphasizes the psychological research, theories, and principles of organizational psychology.  However, the application of research and principles will be discussed as well. This is a seminar course and as such is expected to be highly interactive and a chance for students to share what they have learned from researching individual topics. 


Learning Outcomes:

                     Students will become familiar with recent and historical research and theory in the area of organizational psychology.  Students will also have a better understanding of their own work behaviors and social interactions. Upon completion of this course students will demonstrate the following abilities through tests, papers, and classroom discussions:

·         Ability to access, critique, and integrate research and literature in the area of organizational psychology (assessed via term paper)

·         Ability to define key terms relevant to organizational psychology (assessed via exam)

·         Ability to debate the pros and cons of key organizational psychology theories (assessed via exam)

·         Ability to apply the principles, concepts, and theories of organizational psychology to hypothetical work situations (assessed via exam)

·         Ability to write in APA style (assessed via term paper)

·         Ability to organize and present academic material to an audience of peers (assessed via presentation)

·         Ability to facilitate discussions on topics relevant to organizational psychology (assessed via presentation)



                     Discussion leader:  Each student will be asked to select a topic (see schedule) in which they will lead the class discussion.  Typically, I will lead the discussion on the first half of the topic covering information in the Jex & Britt textbook and students will lead the discussion regarding the supplemental readings.  However, if there are more students than topics, then 2 students can pair off and cover both the textbook and outside reading discussions together.  A list of suggested readings from the Staw book are provided, but the student discussion leader is encouraged to provide different or additional material, such as recent literature, videos, PowerPoint presentations, demonstrations, or classroom exercises (any additional material must be approved by me).  This is not intended to be a lecture from the text, but rather a discussion of the material.  Learning exercises are encouraged, but should be kept to a maximum of 30 minutes and should augment, not substitute for, discussion on the topic.  You should prepare a few open-ended questions to ask the class that will stimulate discussion and/or prepare an exercise, survey, or supplemental reading (provided to students at least 5 days prior to class meeting).  You may consult with me for ideas (I have some exercises I can share).  Creativity is strongly encouraged.  Let me know your plan at least one week before you are scheduled to present so that I can organize my discussion accordingly.  The idea is to make the topic stimulating and promote learning.  If particular equipment is required (e.g., projector, laptop computer, etc.), then please make appropriate arrangements with the Psychology Office and be sure that equipment is set up and operating correctly prior to class.


                     Paper:  Students will be expected to write a paper (10-12 pages of text with at least 15 references) typed in APA format with headings appropriate for term papers (not research studies).  A limited number of web references are okay to use, but they do not count toward the minimum of 15. The paper is NOT intended to be a research proposal, but rather a literature review with a point (particularly of recent literature).  For example, you might take one side of a controversial issue, or perhaps use literature to show why a particular theory may not be true.  The paper will be on any topic of your choice covered during the course or by permission. Grading will be mostly on content, but points will be deducted for poor APA style and grammar (see grading rubric). 

                        When writing your paper, please keep in mind the following tips: 

§  Do not use direct quotes- paraphrase instead.  Quotes should only be used for historical significance or to provide an exact definition of a term. 

§  Integrate the literature you review; Do not simply summarize one article after the other.

§  Use subheadings to show breaks in the various sections of your paper, it will help with the flow.

§  Integrate the authors you cite into the text rather than placing cites at the end of the paragraph.  For example:  Jones and Smith (2008) demonstrated that….

§  Get the paper completed early and take it to the writing lab which can help you avoid common grammatical errors such as singular-plural agreement, tense, punctuation, etc.


                     Exams:  Students will complete 2 exams addressing only those topics covered in the textbooks and assigned readings.  You will not be tested on any material covered in discussion that did not also appear in the text or readings.  The first exam will be a take home exam in essay format and will ask both applied and conceptual questions.  These will not be tests of rote knowledge, but rather a test of your ability to integrate and apply the material in novel situations.  The format of the final exam will be decided by the class.  A large group exercise may be substituted for a traditional exam as long as the exercise adequately demonstrates students’ mastery of the material. 


                     Class Participation:  Students will be expected to have read and taken notes on the readings prior to coming to class and actively participate in the discussion. Be prepared to answer the discussion questions posted for each week (see links on schedule below).  Classmates (and I) will grade each student’s participation at the end of the semester. I have been known to give pop quizzes when I feel that students may not be reading the assignments.  Seminar-style classes do not work well without complete cooperation of the students.  When students cooperate, the class is stimulating, fun, and rewarding, but when they do not it limits the learning potential and becomes tedious to both students and professor.  This class will be what you make of it.  


Grading:     The two exams will each count for 30% of your grade (60% total).  The paper will account for 20%.  You will also be graded on your ability to lead the classroom discussion (click here for discussion leader evaluation form) for your assigned week (10%).  The final 10% of your grade will come from class participation determined by your average participation ratings (click here for peer evaluation form).    


Grading Scale: 

A: 93 or above

A-: 90 – 92

B+: 88 – 89

B: 83 – 87

B-: 80 – 82

C+: 78 – 79

C: 73 – 77

C-: 70 – 72

D: 60 – 69

F: < 60


Rules:          Students are expected to adhere to the University’s Rules of Academic Conduct (see student handbook: ).


Assistance: If you have a need for any in-class accommodations, or special test-taking arrangements because of physical and/or perceptual limitations, please contact the instructor or the Psychology Office secretary before class begins or as soon as possible.


Tentative Schedule




Disc leader


 Suggested Readings from Staw or Article


Class Intro


Dr. Steve





Intro to Organizational Psychology



Dr. Steve



Reserve Articles

Koppes & Pickren (2007). Industrial and Organizational Psychology: An Evolving Science and Practice

Vinchur & Koppes (2007). Early Contributions to the Science and Practice of Industrial Psychology




Dr. Steve



Bring a short bio of anyone historically important to the field of I/O psychology.



Research Methods


Dr. Steve



Bring in a research article of your choice.  Be prepared to discuss the methodology and results of this article.


Memorial Day






Attraction and Socialization

Dr. Steve












9. Rafaeli & Sutton (1987). Expression of Emotion as part of the Work Role

23. Van Maanen (1989). The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland


Productive Behavior in Orgs

Dr. Steve












35. Amabile (1990). Within You, Without You: The Social Psychology of Creativity and Beyond

36. Anderson (1992). Weirder Than Fiction: The Reality and Myths of Creativity


Job Satisfaction and Org Commitment

Dr. Steve












7. Staw (1986). Organizational Psychology and the Pursuit of the Happy/Productive Worker

8. Organ (1990). The Subtle Significance of Job Satisfaction


Counterproductive Behavior in Orgs

Dr. Steve








10. Aronson (1973). The Rationalizing Animal

14. Bazerman (1990). Common Biases


Occupational Stress

Dr. Steve








TBD reserve article



Take home Exam #1





Theories of Motivation

Dr. Steve




 Exam #1 due






3. Latham & Locke (1979). Goal-Setting – A Motivational Technique That Works

4. Kerr (1975). On the Folly of Rewarding A, While Hoping for B



Leadership and Influence Process

Dr. Steve









20. Milgram (1963). Behavioral Study of Obedience

28. Pfeffer (1992). Managing with Power


Group Dynamics

Dr. Steve






 Papers Due


19. Asch (1955). Foundations of Conformity and Obedience

33. Janis (1971). Groupthink


Team Effectiveness

Dr. Steve




 Peer Evals Due


Dr. Steve



32. Leavitt (1975). Suppose We Took Groups Seriously…

34. Hackman (1987). The Design of Work Teams


Planning day or early exam submission






Final Exam!





Exam format TBD by class


Note:  Schedule is subject to change at instructor’s discretion.  Topics may be substituted with instructor’s permission.