Bold Line

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Psychology 362

Fall 2016 Syllabus

Tu & Th 1:00 - 2:15p; 003 Cuneo Hall

Office Address:
Office Phone:
Office Hours:
Home Page:
  Dr. Jim Larson
  225 Coffey Hall
  Tu 2:30-4:30, and by appointment
Teaching Assistant:
Office Address:
Office Hours:
  Ms. Lauren Hindt
  202 Coffey Hall
  by appointment only


Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology is sometimes called the psychology of work.  It is both a scientific discipline and an area of professional practice.  As a scientific discipline, I/O Psychology critically examines workplace behavior and experience.  The goal is to understand (a) what influences people's behavior and experience on the job, and (b) what consequences their job behavior and experience has for others around them and for the organization in which they work.  Thus, we might wonder what causes people to work hard, to quit their jobs, to feel good about their company, or to sabotage a colleague's efforts.  Is it possible to predict when people will steal from their employer, work overtime without thought of extra pay, become "burned out" on the job, or voluntarily help a colleague who suddenly has become overloaded with work?  And do people perform their jobs any more or less effectively when working as part of a team than when working by themselves?  As a science, I/O Psychology seeks to answer such questions through systematic, theory-driven research.

But I/O Psychology is also an area of professional practice.  Many I/O psychologists apply the knowledge gained through scientific research to solve important practical problems for client organizations.  As professional practitioners, I/O psychologists often help organizations with such critical problems as selecting and training employees, designing jobs to maximize both efficiency and motivation, and creating systems for managing employee performance.  Thus, the science and practice of I/O Psychology go hand-in-hand.  The practice of I/O Psychology is informed by solid scientific research, and the science of I/O Psychology is animated by the desire to solve pressing workplace problems.

As its name implies, there are two main branches in the field of I/O Psychology.  One is Industrial Psychology, which is the older of the two.  We will spend the last third of the course on topics central to industrial psychology, including job analysis, employee recruitment and selection, and performance appraisal.  As will be seen, some of these topics are highly technical, and professionals who work in this area usually have strong mathematical skills.

The other branch of I/O Psychology is Organizational Psychology.  This is where we will begin the course.  Some of the topics that fall under this heading focus on the individual employee.  These include issues related to work motivation, job satisfaction, employee engagement, and employee reactions to stress.  Motivation is of particular concern to organizations, because it is often assumed (sometimes incorrectly!) that an employee's productivity on the job
is determined primarily by how hard he/she works.  We will address topics that focus on individual employees in the first third of the course.  Then, in the middle third, we will cover a set of topics that look beyond the individual.  These concern the interpersonal dimension of work.  Almost all work takes place in a social contextmeaning that other people are somehow involved—and a full understanding of workplace behavior and experience cannot be achieved without considering that social context.  Among the topics we will examine in this domain are group dynamics and team performance, leadership, and power and politics in organizations.

As we consider these various topics, our three most important learning objectives will be:

To gain factual knowledge (e.g., regarding terminology, methods, trends, and research findings) in the field of I/O psychology, (E)
To learn the fundamental principles, generalizations, and theories in the field of I/O psychology, and (E)
To learn to apply the course material so as to improve our thinking, problem solving, and decision making vis-a-vis organizational situations that we have encountered in the past and/or are very likely to encounter in the future. (I)


Psychology 101 (General Psychology)
is a prerequisite for this course.  It is not satisfactory to be taking Psychology 101 concurrently with this one.  It is also helpful (but not a requirement) to have already taken Psychology 306 (Research Methods).  As you will see, I/O Psychology has a very strong empirical orientation, and consistent with this, the course takes an evidence-based approach to understanding topics that are relevant to I/O Psychology.  The lectures in particular will emphasize research findings that illustrate the causes and consequences of behavior at work, and will examine in depth some of the most important studies relevant to the topic at hand.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend every class meeting.  A good deal of material will be presented in class that is NOT in the textbook.  Further, from time to time there will be in-class activities that are intended to give you first-hand experience and/or practice with some of the concepts relevant to the course.  Because there is no way to gain this specific experience except by being in class, it is especially important to attend on the days these activities occur.  To encourage class attendance, I will keep track of attendance on those days when an in-class activity occurs, and I will award you 4 bonus exam points if you have been in class for all of the in-class activities since the last exam (see under Grading for more details).

Lecture Slides

The lectures will be organized by topic, with each topic covered in 1 to 5 class periods (for a list of topics, see the table below under Reading Assignments).  By 9:00a on the day of the first class period in which a given topic is covered, I will post on Sakai a set of slides that I intend to use during my lectures on that topic.  Each set of slides will cover one topic, and so will be used for up to 5 class periods.  I strongly recommend that you print these slides and bring them with you to class.  I DO NOT recommend that you simply download the slides and bring them to class on your laptop computer.  There is good scientific evidence that the latter strategy is not an effective way to take notes (e.g.,  Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014; This paper can be found in the "Resources" section of the class website on Sakai).  It is much easier and more effective to write notes by hand directly on the printed slides than it is to try doing the same thing via computer.

illustrate and amplify the points that I intend to make in class.  Importantly, I try to avoid creating slides that simply repeat the lectures themselves.  A typical slide is the one shown to the right, which illustrates an idea that is central to the entire course.  This slide doesn't make a lot of sense by itself, but I promise that on the very first day of class you will come away understanding exactly what it means.  Thus, while I believe you will benefit from having a printed copy of the slides with you in class (because doing so makes it easier to take good notes), you will not benefit much from the slides without attending class.

NB: I will occasionally add, modify, or delete slides
after I have already posted them on Sakai but before I actually use them in class.  I will not post the revised slides on Sakai, as doing so creates too much confusion.  Instead, I will simply call attention to the additions, modifications, or deletions during the lectures.
Sample Slide


Your course grade will be based on your performance on three exams and a writing project.

(a) Exams:  Three exams will be given, each covering approximately 1/3 of the course material.  Each exam (including the final) will consist of 40 multiple-choice questions worth two points each, plus 3-6 short-answer questions that, in combination, will be worth 20 points.  The short-answer questions will require that you be able to recall and/or apply course-related concepts, principles, theories, terminology, and study findings.  Each of the short-answer questions can be answered completely in either a few words or a few sentences, depending on the question.  Each exam will therefore be worth 100 points, with 80% of the points coming from the multiple-choice questions and 20% coming from the short-answer questions.  Additionally, roughly one-third of the questions will be about material covered exclusively in the textbook, roughly one-third will be about material covered exclusively in the lectures, and roughly one-third will be about material covered in both the textbook and in the lectures.  The dates of the exams, along with the lectures and readings they cover, are given in the schedule of weekly topics and events listed at the end of this syllabus.  Note: You must take all three exams.  You will receive a score of 0 for any missed exams.  No make-up exams will be given except in the case of a documented medical emergency.
Attendance Bonus Points
As noted above (see Class Attendance), I will keep track of attendance on those days when an in-class activity occurs, and will award 4 bonus exam points to those who have been in class for all of the in-class activities since the last exam (being in class for some but not all of those activities will not earn you any bonus points).  So, for in-class activities that occur prior to the first exam, the bonus points will be added to your score on the first exam; for in-class activities that occur between the first and second exams, the bonus points will be added to your score on the second exam, etc.

Exam Score Curving Policy:  If less than 20% of the class earns a score of 90 or above (i.e., equivalent to a grade of A-) on a given exam, I will raise everyone's numerical score on that exam (by adding a constant) so that at least 20% of the class scores at or above 90.  This "curving" will occur after any earned attendance bonus points have been applied (see above), and it is the only curving that will be done (e.g., the total point distribution computed at the end of the semester will not be curved further).

(b) "Top-10 Ideas" Writing Project.  There is a term writing project that will count for 25% of your course grade.  I call it the "Top-10 Ideas" project.  You are to write a brief reflection (300-400 words) on each of your 10 most favorite ideas from the course.  An "idea" might be a theoretical principle, a specific research result, or a concept that seems particularly helpful for understanding behavior and experience in organizations.  Your goal is to identify 10 ideas from the course that seem particularly important, and write a brief reflection on each one.  For each reflection, you are to state the idea concisely in a single line at the top of the page (this will serve as the reflection's title).  Then you are to write 300-to-400 words (no more, no less) that address all three of the following three questions:
  • What is the full idea?  It is nearly impossible to express an idea completely in one line at the top of the page.  The purpose of that one-liner is simply to provide a convenient label that captures the essence of the idea, and that makes the idea easy to recall later on (Note: I may ask you to recall your top 10 ideas on the final exam!).  In nearly every case, however, it will be necessary to describe more fully what the idea is.  Thus, your reflection should provide a complete description of the idea—complete enough to be understood by anyone who reads it, not just the professor.  Your description should be able to pass the "grandma" test: If your grandmother were to read it, would she understand it without any additional explanation from you?
  • Why is the idea important?  Between the textbook and the lectures, hundreds of ideas will be covered during the semester.  Your written reflection should explain why this particular idea is important enough to make it onto your Top-10 list.  Why is this idea valuable and worth remembering?
  • How can the idea be put to use?  Because this is a course in applied psychology, it is appropriate to consider how the idea can be put to use in real organizational settings.  You might ask yourself, for example, who can best put the idea to use (e.g., managers vs. ordinary employees), in what circumstances can the idea be put to use (e.g., when employees work on tasks by themselves vs. when they they work on tasks as part of a team), what consequences can be expected when the idea is put to use (e.g., improved job satisfaction, reduced turnover, better performance, etc.), and/or what complexities or contingencies might be involved in putting the idea to use (e.g., the idea might be effectively implemented only in situations where employees can be closely monitored).  Of course, some ideas involve variables that are not easy to control, and so cannot readily be "put to use" in the normal sense.  Still, the idea may be useful because it helps you, as an observer of behavior in organizations, to better understand what you are seeing, and perhaps to predict what will likely happen in the future as a consequence (e.g., if trouble is coming down the road, and the idea you are writing about can help you recognize that trouble, then even if you cannot correct that trouble you may at least be able to step out of its way!).

As the name "Top-10" suggests, you are to write 10 separate reflections, each about a different idea from the course.  In addition, as a final step in the project you will be asked to compile your 10 reflection titles (the one-liner at the top of each) into a rank-ordered list on a single page, such that the #1 ranked idea is the one you think is most important, and the #10 ranked idea is the one you think is least important (though it presumably is still somewhat important, otherwise you would not have gone to the effort to write about it!).  You may list the ideas in normal numerical order (1-10), or in reverse order (10-1) as some pundits and late-night TV hosts do.  Either method is OK.

3 Due Dates

  • 3 by 9/27/2016:  At least three reflections must be uploaded to the course's Sakai website by 11:55p on 9/27/2016.    You may upload your reflections at any time before then, and you many upload more than three if you like (and so get a head start on the next due date), but at least three must be uploaded by this date.  Another way to think of this is that three opportunities upload in your reflections will disappear as of 11:55p on 9/27/2016.  If you fail to upload one or more of these, you will not have an opportunity to upload them later.
  • 4 More by 11/3/2016:  Four more reflections must uploaded by 11:55p on 11/3/2016.  As before, you may upload these at any time before then, and you many upload more than four if you want to get ahead of schedule.  But at least 7 reflections (the first set of 3 and this new set of 4) must be uploaded by this date.  Said differently, a total of 7 opportunities to upload reflections will have disappeared as of 11:55p on 11/3/2016.  If you fail to upload one or more of these, you will not have an opportunity to upload them later.
  • Last 3 by 12/8/2016:  Your final three reflections must be uploaded by 11:55p on 12/8/2016 (the last class period in this course).  You may upload these at any time before then, but all remaining reflections must be uploadedby this date.  You will have no opportunity to upload any reflections after that date.

Grading:  Your reflections will all be graded independently of one another, and you will get a separate grade for each one.  They will each be scored as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory (the final ranking sheet will not be scored, but you must turn it in nevertheless).  A reflection that is judged to be satisfactory will earn 3 points.  A reflection that is judged to be unsatisfactory will earn 1 point.  A missed reflection will earn 0 points.  Thus, the Top-10 Ideas project as a whole is worth a maximum of 10 x 3 = 30 points, and will count for 25 percent of your overall course grade.

Revising Reflections Graded Unsatisfactory:  A reflection may be judged unsatisfactory because it (a) does not thoughtfully address all three of the questions give above, (b) is poorly written, or (c) is both poorly written and does not thoroughly address all three questions above.  If a reflection is judged to be unsatisfactory, you may or may not have an opportunity to re-write it (keep reading!).  There is no requirement that you re-write it, but if you choose to do so, and if the revision is judged to be satisfactory, your score for that reflection will be increased to 2 points (re-written reflections cannot earn 3 points).  A reflection that has been re-written but is still judged to be unsatisfactory may not be re-written a second time, and will retain its original score of 1.  Revisions will be accepted only until Thursday, December 1st, 2016.  Revisions may not be turned in after that date.  Consequently, any reflections that are turned in after that date may not be revised if they are judged unsatisfactory.  All revisions must be turned in as hard copy directly to Dr. Larson (there is no mechanism for uploading them), and must be accompanied by the original, graded reflection.

An example of a satisfactory reflection can be found in the "Resources" section of the class website on Sakai.

What Constitutes Poor Writing:  You will not have a very successful career in an organization if you cannot write effectively at least at the level of grammar.  Thus, I require that your reflections be grammatically correct.  Grammar is not the same thing as style or structure.  Although style (e.g., active vs. passive voice, choice of words, the rhythm of the sentences) and structure (the overall organization of ideas and arguments) are important too, nothing generates a negative impression faster than poor grammar.  Thus, if we find more than three grammatical errors in a reflection, that reflection will be graded as unsatisfactory (and so will earn only 1 point).  If a reflection is given a grade of unsatisfactory, and you decide to revise it, the grammar in the revision must be completely correct in order for the the revision to be acceptable (and so earn an additional point).  Of course, it must also be satsifactory on substantive grouds (i.e., successfully address the three questions listed above).  We will not necessarily catch/mark every grammatical error that is made in an initial submission.  You must learn how to catch such errors yourself.  Use your word processor as an aide.  It can be very helpful.  Make sure your grammar checker is turned on and working.  Pay attention when it flags spelling or grammatical problems.  Solve all such problems before turning in your work.

A Helpful Writing Strategy:  A strategy that can help improve the quality of your reflections (because it actually encourages mental reflection) is to write a full draft of your reflection on Day 1, put that draft aside for 2 days (Days 2 and 3), and then on Day 4 take the draft out and revise it with an eye toward sharpening both its structure (i.e., quality of writing) and substance (what you are trying to say).  The two days of not working on the draft will give the ideas time to "incubate" in your head.  The result is often an improvement in the final product that you turn in.  I nearly always use this strategy myself when writing anything of importance (e.g., a syllabus, a class assignment, or a letter of recommendation for a student).

How to Submit:  All of your Top-10 reflections must be written as separate documents and uploaded individually via the class website on Sakai.  Your first reflection should be uploaded to the assignment titled "Top-10 (a)," your second reflection should be uploaded to the assignment titled "Top-10 (b)," and so on.  For each upload, please submit only one attachment.  Also, please use only the file types doc, docx, pdf, or rtf, and always be sure to include the file extension in the file name.  All uploads are automatically run through Turnitin, a utility that checks for signs of plagiarism.

How to Submit A Revision:  If you revise any of your Top-10 reflections, they must be turned in as hard-copy directly to Dr. Larson, and must be accompanied by the original, graded reflection (not a fresh copy).  Remember, revisions will be accepted only through December 1, 2016.

Final Grade Computation

Seventy-five percent of your final grade will depend on your exam scores, and 25% will depend on the writing project.  Regarding the exams, I will give a little more weight to your highest score (30%) than your second-highest score (25%), which in turn will be weighted a little more than your lowest score (20%).  The maximum possible raw scores for each graded component, as well as its weight in computing the final grade (expressed as a percentage), is given in the table below.

      Graded Component     
Raw Points  
Best Exam (BE)
100 30%
Second Best Exam (SBE) 100 25%
Worst Exam (WE) 100 20%
"Top-10" Writing Project (WP) 30

The total score on which your final grade will be based will be computed using the following formula:  Total Score = (BE x .30) + (SBE x .25) + (WE x .20) + (((WP/30)x100) x .25).  This formula will yield a total score between 0 and 100, with each of the graded components weighted as described in the table above.  Finally, your total score will be converted to a letter grade according to the following table.

Total Grade
Percentage Score 
93 and Above A
90 - 92  A-
87 - 89
83 - 86
80 - 82
77 - 79
73 - 76
70 - 72
60 - 69
 Below 60  F

Reading Assignments

The weekly reading assignments can all be be found in the table below.  All of the readings are from the textbook by Paul Muchinsky and Tori Culbertson (2016).  A complete reference for the textbook follows.  Hard copies of the book are available in Loyola's Lake Shore Campus bookstore.  An ebook version (at a much lower price) is also available from the publisher.

Muchinsky, P. M., & Culbertson, S. S. (2016).  Psychology Applied to Work: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology (11/e).  Summerfield, NC: Hypergraphic Press.

I have also compiled 8 pages of notes on Muchinsky & Culbertson (2016).  These can be found in the "Resources" section of the class website on Sakai.  These notes provide help for students when reading the chapters in the order specified below.  As is the case in most textbooks, later chapters occasionally refer to concepts and terms defined in earlier chapters.  When this happens, and if you have not yet read those earlier chapters, the points made in the later chapters become unclear.  So, I have tried to clarify in these notes those few passages that assume an understanding of material presented in not-yet-read earlier chapters.  I also offer there a few other comments and clarifications that might be helpful to students as they read the book.  I recommend that you print this document, keep it with the textbook, and refer to it each time you start a new chapter.
Muchinsky &
                Culbertson (2016) Cover

Week # Day & Date Weekly Lecture Topics and Events*
Reading Assignments
T 8/30
Th 9/1
What Is I/O Psychology?

(9/1) In-Class Activity: Racing to Decide
Ch 1:  The Historical Background of I/O Psychology (24 pages)

2 - 3
T 9/6
Th 9/8
T 9/13
Th 9/15
Work Motivation

(9/8) In-Class Activity: Alternative Uses

(9/15) In-Class Activity: Expected Value

Ch 2:  Research Methods in I/O Psychology (35 pages)

Ch 12:  Work Motivation (30 pages)
T 9/20
Th 9/22
Job Attitudes

(9/22) In-Class Activity: Job Diagnostic Survey

Ch 10:  Affect, Attitudes, and Behavior at Work (33 pages)
              (but skip "Organizational Politics," pp. 325-329)
T 9/27
Th 9/29
Job Stress

3 "Top-10" reflections due by 11:55p, T 9/27

 Exam 1, Th 9/29

Ch 11:  Workplace Psychological Health (29 pages)

6 - 8
T 10/4
Th 10/6
Th 10/13
T 10/18
Th 10/20
Group Processes

(10/4)  In-Class Activity: Franz Group IQ Test

No Class 10/11 (Fall Break)

(10/18) In-Class Activity: Murder Mystery

Ch 9:  Teams and Teamwork (29 Pages)

Ch. 8:  pp. 243-249 ("Components of Social Systems")
                                   As you read these pages think of
                                  the topics covered as they apply
                                   to groups instead of whole
T 10/25
Th 10/27
Leadership Ch 13:  Leadership (29 Pages)
T 11/1
Th 11/3
T 11/8
Power & Politics In Organizations

(11/3) In-Class Activity: Señor Cardoza's Oranges 

4 more "Top-10" reflections due by 11:55p, Th 11/3

Exam 2, T 11/8
Ch 10:  pp. 325-329 ("Organizational Politics")

Ch 14:  Union Management Relations (33 Pages)

Th 11/10
T 11/15
Job Analysis

(11/15) In-Class Activity:  The Critical Incident Technique
Ch 3:  Criteria: Standards for Decision Making (32 pages)
12 - 14
Th 11/17
T 11/22
  T 11/29
Th 12/1
Personnel Selection

No Class 11/24 (Thanksgiving)

(12/1) In-Class Activity: Selection By The Numbers

Last day to submit revised "Top-10" reflections

Ch 4:  Predictors: Psychological Assessment (41 pages)

Ch 5:  Personnel Decisions (44 pages)
T 12/6
Th 12/8
Performance Appraisal

(12/8) In-Class Activity: BARS/BES Construction

Last 3 "Top-10" reflections due by 11:55p, Th 12/8
Ch 7:  Performance Management (30 pages)
F 12/16
Exam 3, F 12/16, 1:00-3:00p

* In-Class activities may be added, dropped, changed, or moved to different dates, depending on how the class evolves.


Plagiarism refers to representing either the words or ideas of another person as one's own.  Plagiarism is academically dishonest, and will not be tolerated.  It is often desirable to incorporate the ideas of others into your written work, but when you do so you must cite the original source.  This is true regardless of who or what that source is (a website, the textbook, a lecture, a journal article), and it is true regardless of whether or not you directly quote that source—paraphrasing does not absolve you of the obligation to cite.  If you use an idea from another source, even if you don't use the same words, you must cite that source.  A good rule of thumb is "when in doubt, cite."  To learn more about plagiarism, the following is a very helpful website:

You will be asked to submit via Sakai an electronic version of each of your "Top-10 Ideas" reflections.  When you do so, they will automatically be scanned for signs of plagiarism.  To guard against false positives, if a suspicious reflection is identified, I will give it an extra-careful read to determine if any plagiarism has actually occurred.  If any plagiarism is found, you will receive a grade of 0 on that reflection, lose one full letter grade in the course as a whole (e.g., a course grade of B will be changed to a grade of C), and you will be referred to the College of Arts and Sciences for possible disciplinary action.  If a second instance of plagiarism occurs, you will receive a grade of F in the course.  Do not plagiarize.  The cost is simply too great.

Students With Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require accommodation for access and participation in this course should contact the instructor as soon as possible after the start of the semester.  All such students must be registered with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSWD) office.  Go to  The SSWD is located in Sullivan Center 117; Phone 773-508-3700 (voice), or 773-508-3810 (fax).

LUC Course Drop Policy

Students may drop courses without penalty during the first 8 days of the semester.  After that, and until the end of Week 10, students who drop courses are assigned a grade of "W" for those courses.  Students may not drop courses after the end of Week 10.  University policy requires that students who stop attending a course but have not officially withdrawn receive a grade of "WF," which is a penalty grade and is equivalent to a grade of "F."