[IPAC-List] The lights finally go on

Aguinis, Herman haguinis at indiana.edu
Mon Aug 16 19:46:16 EDT 2010


The issue you mentioned in your posting about considering performance within a specific context was discussed in detail in the following article (available online at http://mypage.iu.edu/~haguinis --click on the "refereed journal articles" link):

Cascio, W. F, & Aguinis, H. (2008). Staffing twenty-first-century organizations. Academy of Management Annals, 2, 133-165.

Specifically, this article defines in situ performance as "the specification of the broad range of effects-situational, contextual, strategic, and environmental-that may affect individual, team, or organizational performance" (p. 146). The article's Abstract is below. Let me know if you think this article is addressing the phenomenon you described in your posting.

All the best,



Herman Aguinis, Ph.D.

Dean's Research Professor and

Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources

Director, Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness

Department of Management and Entrepreneurship

Kelley School of Business, Indiana University




We highlight important differences between 21st-century organizations as compared to those of the previous century, and offer a critical review of the basic principles, typical applications, general effectiveness, and limitations of the current staffing model. That model focuses on identifying and measuring job-related individual characteristics to predict individual-level job performance. We conclude that the current staffing model has reached a ceiling or plateau in terms of its ability to make accurate predictions about future performance. Evidence accumulated over more than 80 years of staffing research suggests that general mental abilities and other traditional staffing tools do a modest job of predicting performance across settings and jobs considering that, even when combined and corrected for methodological and statistical artifacts, they rarely predict more than 50% of the variance in performance. Accordingly, we argue for a change in direction in staffing research and propose an expanded view of the staffing process, including the introduction of a new construct, in situ performance, and an expanded view of staffing tools to be used to predict future in situ performance that take into account time and context. Our critical review offers a novel perspective and research agenda with the goal of guiding future research that will result in more useful, applicable, relevant, and effective knowledge for practitioners to use in organizational settings.

> In a message dated 8/16/2010 11:05:37 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

> Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca writes:


> A recent incident here in Ottawa*** has reignited a kerfuffle over

> hiring of minorities. While we have never actually HAD any

> "affirmative

> action" program in the Canadian federal public sector, the

> distinction

> between affirmative action, employment equity, and diversity, as

> historically connected but different approaches to recruitment and

> hiring is lost on a great many, including, sad to say, the cabinet

> minister who technically oversees the public service. Since he was

> only

> a couple of weeks into the job when he made his rather under-informed

> public pronouncements, I'll cut him some slack.


> But that's not the nature of my post.


> Last Friday, I entered into a series of e-mail exchanges with a

> columnist of a somewhat grumpy right-wing bent concerning his

> pronouncements about our "affirmative action" programs. I tried to

> differentiate the various approaches for him, and explain that

> fostering

> a workforce representative of the citizenry it serves was not the

> same

> thing as making restitution for historical wrongs. He asserted

> staunchly that it was ALL "affirmative action" that ignored merit. So

> I

> asked him what he thought "merit" was, and he replied with one word

> "qualifications".


> It was during my reply that things finally clicked for me.


> For a couple of years now, we have been asking hiring managers, and

> candidates, in two separate-but-parallel surveys, what they felt was

> important in making the selection decision. We give them a bunch of

> different things to rate, like abilities, training, work experience,

> general knowledge, potential for development to higher positions,

> etc.,

> and "personal suitability or match to the work team". Both hiring

> managers and candidates give the strongest ratings to abilities, but

> where candidates tend to place their work experience, training and

> general knowledge just behind that, and often well ahead of "match to

> the work team", managers place match to the work team just ever so

> slightly behind abilities, and well ahead of the candidate's

> training,

> prior work experience and general knowledge.


> Candidates tend to think about their merit in isolation, and

> generally

> quite apart from the context they are applying to. Makes sense.

> They

> often have little information about the particulars

> of the context,

> so

> they focus on only those things they know about: themselves.

> Managers,

> on the other hand, ARE privy to information about the context, and

> when

> they ponder whether this candidate is going to "work out", they

> factor

> in things that go well beyond mere "qualifications", like

> personality,

> the diversity of their work team, how the candidate might fill on

> knowledge gaps, and so on. Indeed, our revised definition of "merit"

> in

> the current Public Service Employment Act treats membership in one of

> the designated employment equity groups as a potential component in

> an

> expanded definition of merit that the manager can consider as an

> aspects

> of "organizational needs".


> So, for the candidate, like this irritated columnist, one's merit IS

> "qualifications", while for the hiring manager, "merit" goes well

> beyond

> mere qualifications and takes the organization into account. The

> columnist I was debating with considers that "preferential hiring"

> and

> contrary to merit. And the perpetual conflict occurs because THE


> MANAGERS, each of whom have different perspectives, and can't HELP

> but

> have different perspectives. Of course the columnist who cynically

> told

> me I had been "well-trained" and "spun things nicely" does no hiring

> himself. He sees things exclusively from the candidate's

> perspective,

> as do all the folks who complain to him about non-existent

> "affirmative

> action" policies.


> So what's my punch line? There is work to be done in terms of

> educating the broader applicant pool about the FACT of their

> different

> reality, how managers make picks, and why that matters, and

> especially

> why they need to understand that employment law and policy is almost

> always going to reflect the needs of hiring managers more than the

> wishes and perspective of applicants.


> Some of you are probably saying "Well, DUH!", but maybe others are

> muttering, like me, "Come to think of it, that really IS the basis of

> the conflict, isn't it?".


> Happy Monday. Hope your summer is going well.


> Mark Hammer

> Ottawa


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