Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Advisor

Switzer, Fred

Committee Member

Pury , Cynthia

Committee Member

Switzer , Deborah

Committee Member

Brooks , Johnell

Abstract

Employees involved in the selection process for new co-workers are conventionally thought to be acting as agents for the interests of the hiring organization. But do individuals act as effective surrogates or are they making emotional predictions about their own personal compatibility with a potential colleague that influence their subsequent judgments? Three interlinking studies examined this question. First, a meta-analysis of the relationship between likeability and hireability was conducted in order to determine the effect size for the relationship between likeability and hiring. A corrected effect size of .60 indicated that likeability was a substantial factor in hiring, but there was a very large percentage of uncorrected variance indicating the presences of an unknown moderator or moderators. It was speculated that that the most likely moderator is selector experience.
The second study examined if likeability is a factor in hiring even when it is not a factor in job performance (i.e., when likeability is irrelevant to or independent of job performance). In this online decision study an eportfolio for a highly-qualified, yet unlikeable, candidate was presented to 112 university faculty, who were asked to rate the candidate's hireability/potential job performance. The participants were each told that the candidate was either a new colleague or was working in another department, testing the hypothesis that this unlikeable but capable applicant's expected job performance would be rated higher if he was not working with the assessor. This hypothesis was not supported; the faculty did not significantly hire based on their hedonic predictions.
Finally, a utility analysis was performed in order to gauge the practical cost of an organization preferentially hiring more civil/collegial employees. A Monte Carlo simulation was conducted to assess the potential financial impact of replacing top 'uncivil' candidates with lower-ranking collegial ones. Taken together, these studies provide for a more accurate picture of individual behavior and judgment in real-world selection and form a basis for further exploration into institutional and personal trade-offs between employee competence and collegiality.

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