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Research In Review 2008

2008 Research [PPT summary of research and implications for The Performance Conference]

Improving the quality of evaluation participation: a meta-evaluation

By Darlene Russ-Eft and Hallie Preskill

Human Resource Development International

Vol. 11, No. 1, February 2008, 35–50



This study presents a meta-evaluation of a beta-test undertaken of a customer service training programme. The initial evaluation showed a low level of participation in the beta-test evaluations. Therefore, the meta-evaluation (or an evaluation of the evaluation) focused on issues related to the conduct of the initial evaluation and reasons for non-response. The meta-evaluation identified solutions to the participation problem as related to authority, capacity and motivation.



Investigating the Success of Decision Making Processes

By Paul C. Nutt

Journal of Management Studies 45:2 March 2008



A decision making process is made up of action-taking steps indicating how to

make a decision. When linked to indicators of success, process provides the basis for building an action theory for decision making. The success of many different types of processes must be documented before such a theory can be constructed. In this research, processes called ‘idea imposition’ and ‘discovery’ are investigated by analysing 202 organizational decisions and their outcomes. Discovery was derived from prescriptive literature, which stresses logical and political rationality. Idea imposition was inferred from the descriptive/interpretive literature, which stresses pragmatics and sense making. Some of the discovery efforts may be abandoned to exploit an opportunity, becoming an ‘emergent opportunity’ process. Idea imposition efforts end if the motivating idea fails, calling for steps to find a replacement with a ‘redevelopment’ process. Analysis revealed that discovery was more successful than idea imposition and both process adaptations. Discovery was more successful than the other three processes no matter what the urgency, importance, resource level, initial support, decision maker level, sector, or type of decision.



Implications of Domain-General ‘‘Psychological Support Skills’’ for Transfer of Skill and Acquisition of Expertise

David W. Eccles and Paul J. Feltovich

Performance Improvement Quarterly , 2 1 ( 1 ) pp. 4 3 – 6 0



The article proposes that individuals who acquire certain psychological support skills may experience accelerated learning and enhanced performance in many domains. In support of this proposal, we present evidence that these skills enhance learning and performance, that they are domain-general in that they can be applied in a variety of domains, and that they can be taught and learned. We also discuss two implications of the skills for current theories of expertise. The first is that any observed transfer of expertise between domains might result as much from the support supplied by application of the skills during learning and performance as from any direct transfer achieved due to two domains sharing similar task elements. The second is that use of these skills might contribute to an understanding of how performers sustain the motivation necessary for the extended period of deliberate practice required to maximize skill acquisition.


Engaging Contexts: Drawing the Link between Student and Teacher Experiences of the Hidden Curriculum

Regina D. Langhout and Cecily A. Mitchel

Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology 18: 593–614 (2008)



This article examines how academic disengagement (being off task, unenthusiastic and uncurious about learning) is facilitated by the hidden curriculum (the values, norms and beliefs transmitted via the structure of schooling), and mediated by race, ethnicity and gender for students in a working class elementary school. Additionally, we contextualize how a teacher was challenged by the hidden curriculum in her attempt to make her classroom environment engaging for all students. Participants included a young white female teacher and 21 second grade, low-income students, of whom approximately 50% were white and 50% were Black or Latino/a. A teacher interview and fieldnotes covering 8 hours a week over 3 months comprised the data. Results indicated that students were

required to show their engagement in particular ways that related to control and conformity. When they did not, they were reprimanded, which led to academic disengagement and the transmission of the hidden curriculum’s message that school was not a place for them. This process was especially salient for Black and Latino boys, which indicated that the hidden curriculum was institutionalized. Results also showed that the hidden curriculum was a structural limitation for the teacher, as she was often thwarted in her attempts to create an academically engaging learning environment. Implications include strategies for school change and reform, including making the hidden curriculum more visible.



Feedback acceptance in developmental assessment centers: the role of feedback message, participant personality, and affective response to the feedback session

Suzanne T. Bell And Winfred Arthur Jr.

Journal of Organizational Behavior

Journal Organizational Behavior 29, 681–703 (2008)



We investigated feedback acceptance by participants (N=141) in an operational developmental assessment center (AC). Consistent with predictions based on self-enhancement theory and the Affective Infusion Model, results indicated that higher assessor ratings were associated with higher feedback acceptance, and this relationship was partially mediated by the participant’s affective reaction to the feedback session. Participants’ self-ratings of their AC performance did not affect this relationship suggesting no support for our prediction based on self-verification theory. We also investigated the role of participants’ self-ratings of agreeableness, extraversion, and emotional stability in feedback acceptance by testing specific moderated mediation hypotheses. Extraversion was related to feedback acceptance through the affective reaction to the feedback session. Agreeableness moderated the affective reaction to the feedback session and feedback acceptance relationship such that there was a strong relationship between affective reaction and feedback acceptance for highly agreeable participants, but no relationship for low agreeable individuals. For low agreeable individuals, there was a positive direct relationship between the assessor ratings and feedback acceptance which was not observed for highly agreeable individuals. The hypothesized role of emotional stability in predicting feedback acceptance was not supported. Implications for the delivery of feedback in developmental ACs are discussed in light of these findings.



Long work hours: a social identity perspective on meta-analysis data

Thomas W. H. Ng And Daniel C. Feldman

Journal of Organizational Behavior 29, 853–880 (2008)



The current study utilizes social identity theory to investigate employees’ work hours. Specifically, we use meta-analysis to examine the relationships between hours worked and indicators of organizational identity (e.g., organizational support and tenure), occupational identity (e.g., human capital investments and work centrality), and family identity (e.g., family responsibilities and family satisfaction). The meta-analysis also allowed us to explore other important correlates of hours worked (e.g., situational demands, job performance, mental health, and physical health), moderating variables (e.g., age, gender, and job complexity), and curvilinear relationships of work hours to social identity indicators. Overall, we found that occupational factors and situational demands had the strongest relationships with hours worked, hours worked were negatively associated with measures of employee well-being, gender had several significant moderating effects, and there were curvilinear relationships between hours worked and well-being and work–family conflict variables. The article concludes with directions for future theoretical and empirical research.



An Examination of the Relationship Among Structure, Trust, and Conflict Management Styles in Virtual Teams

Xiaojing Liu, Richard J. Magjuka, and Seung-hee Lee

Performance Improvement Quarterly, 2 1 ( 1 ) P P . 7 7 – 9 3



The emergence of new technologies has made it increasingly easy for distributed collaboration in both educational and noneducational settings. Although the effectiveness in traditional settings of the dynamics of small group work has been widely researched, there is limited research that offers evidence on how teams can work effectively in a virtual environment. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship among team structure, trust, and conflict management style, in addition to their impact on teamwork effectiveness in a virtual environment.  An experimental design was used to assess the effects of structure on team performance. Forty-four groups, divided into hierarchical and nonhierarchical groups, worked on an online simulation project in an online MBA course. The results suggest that team structure is strongly associated with team performance, whereas trust and a collaboration conflict management style contribute to teamwork satisfaction.



Determinants of Compensation: A Study of Pay, Performance, and Gender Differences for Fundraising Professionals

Debra J. Mesch, Patrick M. Rooney

Nonprofit Management & Leadership, vol. 18, no. 4, Summer 2008



This study examines the determinants of compensation for fundraising professionals by addressing the following research questions: (1) Is there a significant pay-performance relationship? (2) What are the factors that affect bonus and salary? (3) Is there a gender-pay gap for individuals who are in the role of fundraisers? Data were collected over a four-year period from a national sample of fundraising professionals employed across all industry classifications. Amount of money raised was the primary performance variable of interest. Bivariate tests for differences between males and females, as well as two-stage simultaneous regressions, were used to determine the effects of fundraising performance on the pay of fundraisers. Results indicated a significant and positive pay-performance linkage across all fundraising positions, particularly for chief development officers, as well as a consistent gender-pay gap across fundraising positions.


Institutional Economics and Human Resource Development

Greg G Wang and Rita L Dobbs

Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10(6), 770



The problem and the solution. Institutional economics has long been associated with economic and training behaviors in organizations since the 1950s. Human resource development (HRD) scholars have not been adequately exposed to the relevant theories for its foundational role and direct applicability to HRD research and practice.  In an effort to properly understand economics as a foundation of HRD, this article presents institutional economic theories and models pertinent to HRD research and practices. By examining institutional school of contemporary economics, especially the internal labor market theory, it is shown that economic theories not only provide a foundation but also have important implications to research and analytical approaches to the field of HRD.



The Effect of Performance Support and Training as Performance Interventions

Nguyen, F. & Klein, J.D.

Performance Improvement Quarterly. Volume 21 Issue 1, Pages 95 - 114




For decades, training has been one of the most common interventions used by

organizations to improve the performance of their employees and to teach them new ideas and skills. Due to the cost of developing and delivering training, organizations have adopted alternate ways to enable employee performance while reducing the cost of training and minimizing the time users spend away from the job. One alternative to training is electronic performance support systems (EPSS). The present study examined the effect of electronic performance support and training on user performance, attitudes, use of EPSS, time on task, and time in training. Results revealed that participants receiving only EPSS and those receiving training and EPSS performed significantly better on a tax preparation procedure than participants who only received training. Attitudes for the two groups receiving performance support were also significantly higher than attitudes for the training-only condition. Results indicated that training-only users spent significantly more time completing the procedural task than their counterparts in other treatment groups leading to a negative correlation between time on task and performance. The implications of these findings on the design and development of performance support and training interventions are discussed.



Executive Compensation and Firm Performance: Adjustment Dynamics, Non-linearity and Asymmetry

Giorgio Canarella and Mahmoud M. Nourayib

Managerial and Decision Economics 29: 293–315 (2008)



The relationship between executive compensation and firm performance is a field of intense theoretical and empirical research. The purpose of this study is to gain additional insights into the nature of this relationship by examining empirically the relatively unexplored areas of its dynamics of adjustment, as well as its non-linearity. The findings of this study show strong evidence in support of the view that (a) executive compensation is characterized by a dynamic process of adjustment, and (b) the relationship between executive compensation and firm performance is non-linear and asymmetric. Additionally, the structure of asymmetry is found to be dependent on the measure of performance. Convexity characterizes the asymmetry of the relationship between executive compensation and market returns, while concavity distinguishes the asymmetry of the relationship between executive compensation and accounting returns.



Organizational diversity, integration and performance

Andrew H. Van De Ven, Russel W. Rogers, John P. Bechara, And Kangyong Sun

Journal of Organizational Behavior  29, 335–354 (2008)



This research examines how integrative methods of open communications, involvement, and conflict resolution in implementing an organizational change initiative moderate the relationship between cognitive diversity among employees and organization performance. In this longitudinal study of 37 medical clinics, we find that the interaction of integrative methods and diversity of models for organizing among employees has a significant positive effect on clinic revenue, productivity, and patient satisfaction. An important practical implication of these findings is that instead of seeking consensus on a singular vision of a strategic change initiative, managers are more likely to improve organization performance by focusing their interventions on creating integrative methods for encouraging and learning from diverse and opposing views of an organizational change initiative.




Performance Implications Of Delayed Competitive Responses: Evidence From The U.S. Retail Industry

Jens L. Boyd And Rudi K. F. Bresser

Strategic Management Journal 29: 1077–1096 (2008)




The timing of competitive actions and responses is a key management concern that has important performance consequences. This study focuses on the timing and consequences of competitive responses. Theory predicts a negative linear relationship between response delay and responder performance mirrored by an opposing positive linear relationship between response delay and first mover performance. In contrast, our study suggests that response delay has a curvilinear relationship with responder performance, and a linear relationship with first mover performance. We test our propositions using retail industry data and discuss the implications.




Task knowledge overlap and knowledge variety: the role of advice network structures and impact on group effectiveness

Sze-Sze Wong

Journal of Organizational Behavior  29, 591–614 (2008)



Drawing from the structural perspective of social capital theory, this research investigates how internal and external advice network structures influence knowledge overlap and variety and, how these knowledge dimensions in turn influence group effectiveness. Findings from two studies on knowledge-intensive groups indicate that different advice network structures are  associated with knowledge overlap and knowledge variety, and only knowledge variety was significantly associated with group effectiveness. In addition, despite implicit understanding that advice networks aid performance through enhancing knowledge outcomes, only knowledge variety was found to mediate the relationship between external network and group effectiveness. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.