Das Humankapital meets prof. Richard Landers


Richard Landers is an Assistant Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Old Dominion University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. Richard’s focus is the application of technology to the selection and training/education of new employees. He currently runs the Technology iN Training Laboratory (TNTLab), where he studies various technologies for selection and training, including the use of Moodle, Second Life and Facebook. Most of his research examines the learning of US college students: our next generation of employees.

Davide de Palma : What is Organizational Psychology?

Richard Landers : Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology is the application of psychological science to the workplace.  We study employee behavior by trying to predict it and by trying to change it.

Davide de Palma : What is a motivation in organizations?

Richard Landers :  I-O psychology considers motivation to be one of three major causes of job performance, which are knowledge, skill, and motivation.  All three are necessary for an employee to perform.  They must know how to do their job, be able to translate that knowledge into action, and be motivated to do so.

Davide de Palma :What is Effectiveness of Distance Learning Courses?

Richard Landers : To ensure that a distance learning (online) course is successful, it must be evaluated.  This is done by answering four major questions:

1) Did trainees like the course?
2) Did trainees learn something in the course?
3) Did trainees change their behavior as a result of the course?
4) Did organizational outcomes (for example, sales or profits) change as a result of the training?

In online training, this is much more difficult, because we have much less control over the flow of training.  We are asking learners to judge for themselves how quickly to go through training when they don’t yet have the expertise to know how quickly they should go.  This can be very risky.

Davide de Palma : Are Twitter and Facebook resources to consider for online training?

Richard Landers :  Social media is growing as a tool to use in online training.  But we don’t yet know the best way to integrate it.  Some trainers are using them as general support tools during training, while others are trying to provide a resource for employees to ask questions after the training is complete.  These are potentially good ideas, but neither the educational nor organizational sciences have confirmed this.

Davide de Palma :Why the Industrial/Organizational psychology studied the phenomena of social networking?

Richard Landers : Social media is changing how employees communicate with each other.  Instead of dropping by a colleague’s desk or picking up the phone to talk to a supervisor, e-mail, chat and social media platforms like Facebook are becoming more common.  We need to understand how employees can best take advantage of this new medium to improve job performance.

Davide de Palma : How they can be applied in the workplace?

Richard Landers : Social media can be used in virtually any work process; it can be used to improve communication between employees, to provide a network of experts to assist employees, to recruit new employees, to deliver training, to communicate with customers – the list is endless.

Davide de Palma : Why the application of technology to the selection and training/education is important?

Richard Landers : In a selection context, technology (especially the Internet) provides a lot new opportunities in selecting new employees.  For example, in some of my work, we identified a way to reduce faking/lying on personality tests by detecting this faking in real time – as employees responded with deceit, we displayed a pop-up warning.  This reduced faking on the remainder of the test substantially.

Davide de Palma : In your opinion what was once a way to ramble, such as social networking, today may become a useful tool of business organization?

Richard Landers : Online social networks are generally online representations of people’s in-person social networks.  These networks exist among both friends and coworkers.  Right now, employees are bringing their friend-based social networks into the workplace.  But there is no reason that we couldn’t support work-based social networks the same way.  This enables employees to find each other more easily, to ask for advice, and to more easily communicate with mentors.

Davide de Palma : Your first project was psychtesting, and now you’re working on Socl (Social Networking for Online Community-based Learning), What is?

Richard Landers :  Psychtesting was an effort to automate survey design.  When I started doing online research in the late 1990s, tools that we now consider common, like Survey Monkey, did not exist.  The only way to create online surveys was an expensive and time-consuming process to build them by hand.  So I developed the psychtesting platform to automate this.  Things have come a long way since then; SOCL is a platform designed to supplement educational processes with online social media.  It creates an online representation of classrooms so that students can communicate with each other online.  It builds on this by adding in a few learning tools, as well as a mentoring matchmaking system.

Davide de Palma : In your opinion, Socl can be applied at the enterprise level?

Richard Landers :  Absolutely yes.  The core of the SOCL idea is to break down the barriers between interpersonal relationships.  It is much more difficult to strike up a conversation with a stranger in person than online.  So the hope is that platforms like SOCL will create relationships that would otherwise not have existed, which will then move back to “real life.”

Davide de Palma : What are the benefits of Socl?

Richard Landers : In an organizational context, the relationships formed by products like SOCL should improve a wide range of outcomes, including retention and job performance.

Davide de Palma : What is the future of management?

Richard Landers : Management definitely needs to take advantage of these new social technologies to stay competitive.  Online social interaction is what employees now expect; without it, you risk losing those employees to others organizations who see the value.

Davide de Palma : Das Humankapital, is a blog that wants to promote the development of human capital. Do you think is important to promote the development of human capital?

Richard Landers :  Yes!  The selection and development of employees is what creates value for organizations.  Organizations would not exist if there were no employees.  This makes human capital the single most critical consideration for any successful organization.

Ritrova le altre interviste cliccando qui

One Comment Add yours

  1. Reid Mallard scrive:

    Greetings Dr Landers, Thanks for your post on our FB Page. My wife is a practicing I/O Psychologist and does a good deal of assessment and selection. I know she would be interested in some of your research on the online resources for this. As an aside, I’ll mention that the specialty of one of our sponsors, Fenestra, is online assessment and selection.

    Mi piace

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