Industrial/Organizational Psychology (Psy. 384)
Term 6, 1996
Bill Dragon
Office: 303D Law Hall
Office Hours: 2:00 PM Monday-Friday; or by appointment
Phone: 895-4281 or


Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Monday-Thursday: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Muchinsky, P. M., (1997). Psychology applied to work. 5th Edition. Pacific Grove, Cal.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
Additional Readings:
There will be several additional readings put on reserve in Law 302 over the course of the term. These are generally short articles that address current topics of concern in Industrial/Organizational Psychology or current research interests in industry.

 Class Schedule

Feb. 03

History of I/O (pp. 3-24)

Feb. 04

Research Methods in I/O (pp. 25-57)

Feb. 05

Criteria: Standards for decision making (pp. 61-90)

Feb. 06

Predictors: Psychological Assessments (pp. 91-132)

Feb. 07

Personnel Decisions (pp. 133-173)

Feb. 10

 (Exam 1: Chapters 1-5, and the additional readings)

Feb. 11

 Training and development (pp. 174-211)

Feb. 12

 Performance Appraisal (pp. 212-241)

Feb. 13

 Organizations and work teams (pp. 245-272)

Feb. 14

 Organizational behavior (pp. 273-289)

 Feb. 17

 Stress and well-being at work (pp. 299-325)

 Feb. 18

 (Exam 2: Chapters 6-10, and the additional readings)

 Feb. 19

 Work Motivation (pp. 326-354)

 Feb. 20

 Leadership (pp. 355-384)

 Feb. 21

 Job design and organizational development (pp. 387-419)

 Feb. 24

 Union/Management relations (pp. 420-447)

 Feb. 25

 Ergonomics and work conditions (pp. 448-483)
 The changing nature of work (pp. 484-495)

 Feb. 26

 (Exam 3: Chapters 11-16, and the additional readings)

Goals of the course
: One goal of this course is to become familiar with Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O Psychology). Most definitions of I/O Psychology will represent this subarea of psychology as an applied science. An applied science takes the principles of human behavior identified by basic research and applies them to specific "real-life" situations. In the case of I/O Psychology the "real-life" situation is the workplace.

I/O Psychology has a research component and a technical component. The text covers the fundamental theories and the research that supports these theories. We will come to understand the research and its implications for productivity through lectures and class discussions. Lectures will cover some of the more difficult concepts from the text or the additional readings, while discussion will focus on extending these concepts to our own experiences in the work world.

I/O Psychology is also a technical field. Therefore, a course in this area of psychology should also contain a technical component where principles developed from basic research are used to assess actual work behavior. This technical application of the principles of I/O Psychology will be accomplished by running an Assessment Center. We will spend approximately one week becoming familiar with a real assessment center and practicing different roles. We will actually begin the assessment center during the second week of the term. I will have more to say about the Assessment Center later in the syllabus.

A second goal of this course is to understand the social forces that have shaped the development of I/O Psychology. We will examine in depth the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the impact of Title VII on psychology, industry, and you.

Reading assignments: Class discussion/lecture will be based upon the readings listed for each day and will extend the material, not simply going over the same material presented in the book. Classes will require a high degree of participation. Therefore, it is critical that you complete the reading before class so that you will understand the material presented in class and can contribute to the discussion.

Discussion Questions: Part of your course grade will be based upon discussion questions that you turn in everyday. This assignment serves several goals:
It will encourage you to read actively rather than passively.
  • It will help you integrate the concepts of I/O with the concepts you have mastered from other courses you have completed at Cornell.
  • It will enable you to extend the information discussed in the readings to your own work experience
  • It will provide you with at least two question you can ask each day during class discussion.
  • Each day you will turn in two questions based upon the readings from the night before. These questions should be turned in before class starts each day. The questions should reflect on the important concepts of the readings and be able to foster class discussion.

    Examinations: There will be three examinations. All three exams will be given only on the date indicated above and will start promptly. The exams will be approximately two hours in length and will be composed of objective questions and essay questions. The exams will cover material presented in class, in the text, in the additional readings, and from the assessment center.

    A make-up exam will be given to anyone that has missed one of the scheduled exams. All make-up exams will consist of several essays and must be taken within three days of the actual exam date.

    The Assessment Center: An assessment center is a complex series of simulations/exercises that are designed to evaluate an individual on several dimensions critical to job performance. These exercises are typically tailored to the needs of a specific organization. These needs usually fall within one of three broad categories: selection, promotion, or development. However, our goals for running the assessment center can be divided into two categories, academic goals and growth goals. The academic goals include:

  • understanding how the assessment of work behavior is actually conducted in the real world.
  • consideration of whether or not the measurement of work behavior in an assessment center is consistent with various theories of performance appraisal.
  • identification of validity and reliability problems in the performance appraisal exercises.
  • The growth goals include acquiring practical skills (such as interviewing strategies) as well as refining interpersonal skills (such as handling conflict situations). These goals will be accomplished through the practice and the performance of several assessment center exercises. For example, one of the exercises is a selection interview. In the assessment center you will participate in a selection interview as either the interviewer or the job candidate. Through this experience you will be able to select a presentation style that complements your abilities when you encounter a job interview and be able to recognize whether or not your interviewer is performing a valid and legal job interview. You will acquire these skills through role playing exercises and receiving feedback on your performance from the "assessors". Please note, you will have multiple opportunities to practice your role in the exercises and the exercises are not graded. This should remove the anxiety of evaluation and enable you to focus on the training and growth aspects of the exercises. You will also keep a journal of your experiences in the training sessions and in the actual assessment center. The journal will help you reflect on your experiences and enable you to strengthen your performance in future interpersonal and work situations.

    Grading:The exams will account for 90% of your course grade (First exam 30%, Second Exam 30%, Third exam 30%). The assessment center journal and participation will account for 9% of your course grade. The final 1% of your course grade will based on your discussion questions. Course grades will be determined on a percentage basis using:

    Grades will be assigned on a percentage basis using:

     A  94%  B- 80%  D+ 67%
     A-  90%  C+ 77%  D 64%
     B+  87%  C 74%  D- 60%
     B  84%  C- 70%  F 59%

    Academic Honesty
    : Any violation of academic honesty is a serious breach of the student-teacher relationship and the values of Cornell College. Therefore, violations of academic honesty will be treated accordingly. Any individual who cheats on an exam or turns in work that is not their own will receive a course grade of "F".

    Attendance: Although attendance will not be taken during lecture/discussion class sessions it is obviously very important that you attend every class. Information presented or discussed in class will take us beyond the material presented in the text.

    The assessment center is a great opportunity to both learn how Performance Appraisal is accomplished in industry and learn something about yourself. This component of the course can only be successful if everyone takes their role seriously and masters their role. In addition, each person can only fulfill their role if the other people in their group are present to fulfill their roles. Therefore, attendance at the practice sessions and at the assessment center is required. Each missed session will reduce your assessment center grade by one full letter grade. Your assessment center grade will be reduced by one third of a full letter grade for each time you are late for your session.

    Please be Prompt: Latecomers are very disruptive to everyone and may force us to continue beyond ending time. In addition, there are two behaviors that will absolutely not be tolerated in class; SMOKING and EATING.

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