Feb 16

Hanging Jury

A study by Samuel Sommers and Phoebe Ellsworth (2001) concluded, white jury’s’ demonstrated racial bias against defendants even when race was not the preeminent focus. The research found that “when race is a key issue, societal expectations are elicited and jurors heed popular egalitarian ideals. Yet when the “race card” is not played, whites are more susceptible to making prejudiced decisions.” In other words, non-diverse white jury’s convict African American, Hispanic, and other ethnic minority defendants at a greater rate than white defendants for similar crimes. Contrarily, some studies have indicated that a defendant’s race has no consistent affect on white jurors (e.g. Mc Guire & Berman, 1977; Skolnick & Shaw, 1997), and a handful of studies have found that white jurors are actually harsher towards same-race defendants than out-group defendants are (e.g. Mc Gowen & King, 1982: Poulson, 1990).

In actuality, the supremacy of studies substantiates the legal system is biased against minorities (Jones 2000) and the poor. A 94-page study found that “minorities in the United States face discriminatory treatment at every stage of the judicial process, from arrest to incarceration” (Jones 2000). The first words Officer Darren Wilson ever spoke to Mike Brown before he killed him were “Get the fuck up on the sidewalk” (Halperin 2015). The myriad of You Tube videos aside, I doubt those type of exchanges are commonplace but the path to the jury begins with the first encounter with a police officer and there is a different approach used for different people. The sex, age, income, and degree of neighborhood disadvantage of suspects were also useful predictors of police reaction toward suspects (Mastrofski 2002).
The jury selection process and eventual verdict is simply part of the justice system or “just-us” system as some refer to it. African Americans are systematically excluded from jury’s to increase the probability of guilty verdicts for the prosecution. When jury’s are rigged, white jurists are typically non-empathetic toward minorities and racially prejudiced against minority defendants. This practice is not uncommon in the U.S. and is most common in the southern states. During a two year study by the Equal Justice Institute, it found Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee were the most egregious offenders of unfairness in the prosecutorial phase. In the south, some district attorney’s offices explicitly trained prosecutors to exclude racial minorities from jury service and taught them how to mask racial bias to avoid a finding that anti-discrimination laws had been violated (EJI 2005). Moreover, prosecutors in Dallas, Texas, maintained a decades-long policy of systematically excluding African Americans from jury service and codified it in a training manual. Similar efforts to avoid detection while excluding people because of race have continued in many jurisdictions, resulting in the ongoing underrepresentation of people of color on juries. Another example is that prosecutors in Houston and Alabama routinely removed 80 percent of the qualified African Americans for jury service (Stevenson 2010).

One method to rectify the situation is to require or mandate (because nothing will be done if voluntary) a better representative of community members on juries. A jury should reflect the makeup of the citizens of that community. Recently Judge Olu Stevenson of Louisville Kentucky, dismissed an entire jury because the lack of black jurors. In this case, the defendant was black, the trial was in an overwhelmingly black district but the prosecutor had removed all eligible black jurors leaving only whites on the jury. The judges concern was that the panel was not representative of the community therefore; the defendant could not get a fair trial. Of course, the backlash was immediate. The common wealth prosecutor, Tom Wine, requested the higher court remove judge Stevenson from all criminal cases. The Tom Wise request was denied.
Apart from the Judge Stevenson stand for more inclusive juries, the Equal Justice Institute proposed several changes to the judiciary. For instant, “prosecutors who repeatedly exclude people of color should be subject to fines, penalties, suspension, and other consequences to deter the practice. Community groups can hold their district attorneys accountable through court monitoring, requesting regular reporting on the use of peremptory strikes, and their voting power” (EJI 2005) to name just two.
The results from racially diverse jury’s are more thorough and competent than homogeneous groups (Sommers 2006). According to a 2006 study, “ethnically diverse jury’s’ made fewer inaccurate statements about the case than their peers in the all-white groups” (Sommers 2006). The diverse group took longer to decide a case and did not dismiss race as a component to their deliberations. Without much cogitation, all white juries have consistently lowered the threshold to reach a conviction on all defendants but especially minority defendants. To benefit all the citizens of the US it is imperative changes be made to lessen the overall burden on society.


Halpern Jack, “The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done” www.newyorker.com. (August 2015) http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/10/the-cop
Jones Shannon. “Study finds widespread racial bias in US criminal justice system” www. wsws.org (May 2000) http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2000/05/bias-m16.html
McGowen, R., & King, G. D. (1982). Effects of authoritarian, anti-authoritarian, and egalitarian legal attitudes on mock juror and jury decisions. Psychological Reports, 51, 1067-1074.
McGuire, M. V., & Bermant, G. (1977). Individual and group decisions in response to a mock trial: A methodological note. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 7, 220-226
(n.a.) “Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy” www.eji.org http://www.eji.org/raceandpoverty/juryselection” (Accessed Feb 28 2016)
NPR Staff. “Study: Blacks Routinely Excluded From Juries” www.npr.org (June 2010) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127969511 (accessed 2-28-16)
O’Conner. E. Study results show white jurors still demonstrate racial bias. (2001) American Psychological Association, Vol 32, No. 3. (Accessed Feb 28 2016)
Stephen D. Mastrofski; Michael D. Reisig ; John D. McCluskey. Police Disrespect Toward the Public: An Encounter-Based Analysis. Criminology Volume: 40 Issue: 3 Pages: 519 to 552 (August 2002)
Stevenson Bryan. Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy American Bar Association Vol. 37 No. 4 (Accessed Feb 28 2016)
Sommers, S. R. PhD., Kim “On Racial Diversity and Group Decision-Making: Identifying Multiple Effects of Racial Composition on Jury Deliberations,” Samuel R. Sommers, Tufts University; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 90, No.4. (April 1, 2006

Feb 16

Prejudice and the internet

Prejudice is a very popular topic in the news and on the internet.  The negative and hostile feelings toward people of the Muslim religion, the hatefulness people are expressing about police officers, the negativity towards the Syrian refugees, and even the frustration people express over the reactions and prejudices being expressed are prominent in social and broadcast media.  People are using social media to either support their stereotypes and discrimination, or to attempt to disprove those who hold those prejudices.  Unfortunately, those who are attempting to disprove are often doing so by showing articles, numbers, images, or videos that also have a bias, just an opposing one.  It seems that most of the media “chooses sides” in either supporting the stereotypes and encouraging the negative behavior and feelings toward the groups or attempting to portray the group in only positives and vilify those who have those stereotypes.  It has become a vicious cycle of blame and hatred.


I have recently become enthralled with the jigsaw classroom. The jigsaw classroom struck a chord for me because I am a teacher who works in a very diverse school.  Our school has a policy of using cooperative learning structures.  These structures create the jigsaw classroom environment. For more information on the jigsaw classroom, you can go to: https://www.jigsaw.org/. So, the next question would be as to whether or not something similar to the jigsaw classroom could be implemented using the internet.  The difficult situation arises when attempting to use the internet to create mutual interdependence.  Unfortunately, the internet allows a lot of independence and lack of accountability towards fellow members of various groups.  The other situation arises when creating a common goal.  There is often equal status online, so that would not be a difficult achievement, although some like to try and create a status like being a moderator or leader.


As the world continues to turn more toward technology, so have the educational systems.  Although many people take online courses, they aren’t forced to interact much with others within the classes they take.  By creating 2-3 jigsaw type assignments throughout the class, with the last possibly requiring the use of a Blackboard collaborative learning application in which they use video, this may help to create opportunities for people to overcome prejudices.  It would have to be done for every class in order to create multiple opportunities to interact with people.  In an effort to prevent stereotypes based on names, the group member would need to be assigned anonymous tags.  The all interactions prior to the video conference should be geared to create communication, a common goal, equal status, and mutual interdependence.  By preventing personal information to be shared and only the quality of work presented by each person, it will allow each person to develop opinions about each person based on their ability as a person and not a social, religious, or other group.  By requiring this in all classes, this would create repeated exposure to prevent people from being considered to be “exceptions” to the rule.

Feb 16

Sign Me Up For the Next Retreat

Team cohesion is an important aspect of success amongst groups. It is the embodiment of unity and togetherness that acts as the glue within a group to keep them happy and functioning towards shared goals. The Group Environment Questionnaire or GEQ is a commonly used measure for determining team cohesion or unity. It is broken down to four categories reflecting both social and task oriented cohesion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).

In an article for The New York Times, Martha C. White discusses the rise in corporate retreats. Specifically, how new companies are incorporating the more laid back corporate retreats tailored towards team building, rewarding hard work, and brainstorming new ideas (White, 2016). In many ways these retreats can be seen as furthering all four categories of cohesion. The first factor of team cohesion is group integration-social (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). In the article, White discusses how corporate retreats are focused on the group being able to get together socially. By allowing teams to interact socially and take part in fun activities as a group, companies are able to maximize feelings of group integration on a social level (White, 2016).

The retreats also improve group integration when it comes to tasks. This factor of the GEQ refers to the way groups perceive task cohesion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). Because these retreats offer the opportunity for work shopping and brain storming, groups are able to come together to discuss goals. The retreats therefore further the group perception of task cohesion as they are able to come together as a team to determine how best to move forward (White, 2016).

These concepts also work on an individual level to promote individual attraction to the group socially and in terms of task orientation. By encouraging coworkers to socialize together outside of the office, companies are able to improve how individuals within that company perceive the people they work with. This could potentially lead to individual employees feeling a stronger sense of an emotional bond with the people they work with on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, by being able to witness how other members of the team participate in brain-storming and other task related activities during a retreat, they are likely to find greater satisfaction with their team’s commitment to task completion (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).

As companies continue to transition away from more traditional corporate environments to more relaxed settings, one could imagine that corporate retreats will become increasingly popular. Not only does it provide a way for companies to reward hard-working employees without making the financial commitment of a fixed pay raise, it allows employees to have a stronger sense of unity and cohesion. Retreats are a way for corporations to provide a healthy culture while improving team dynamics.



Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

White, M. C. (2016, January 11). In retreats, start-ups find a way to recharge workers’ batteries. The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/business/hotels-company-retreats.html?_r=0


Feb 16

How effective are groups in an online setting?


The idea of working in a group with people from all over the world was probably thought of as an impossibility twenty years ago. How would they communicate and how could we effectively share our ideas? Though we think of an interaction like this as normal with the introduction of the internet, these same questions continue to plague us. How does group interaction vary online compared to in person? What creates these differences?

The process of group interactions follows a series of steps that evolve the group into a successful ‘well oiled’ machine. These steps outlined by Tuckman (1965) show how a group forms, storms, norms and performs. The first step being forming allows teams to get to know each other, figure out roles and learn how to communicate. Let’s stick with this stage and dive into it a little deeper. In a face to face group interaction is instant; forming opinions about people is done through gestures, facial expressions and of course verbally. So how does this work online? A study put different groups online and had each member rate their experience. A common complaint, “I think that the most frustrating part for me was the inability to interact face-to-face with my group members (Tseng, 2013).” The inability to see each group member makes it difficult to advance from the forming process, or the group does but without effectively knowing each other. The remedy for this may be hard in an online setting, the best thing to do would be voice chat or video chat. This could possibly allow for the interaction a group needs, and progress the group past the forming process.

What creates the differences we see in an online group setting? The most obvious thing is the lack of face to face contact. That impersonal feeling makes interacting in the group harder, which makes it easy to slack off. The diversity of any group setting is challenging, but online this challenge is hard to overcome. As the members in our research groups said, if each individual is accountable than they are “ok with group activities” (Tseng, 2013). This step can be called the performing step in Tuckman’s process, the part where the group works and gets the task done. Online, this may be difficult to accomplish with the slacking members and some may even have to work harder just to get the goal done. Though the online process can be successful, it is largely influenced by the individuals in the group.

Every group is different, and challenging in its own way. The group interactions we face may ultimately follow the steps Tuckman lists, but successfully completing these stages is harder in an online setting. The impersonal nature of online communication makes it hard to understand each other and for ‘instant gratification’ that is so important in a group setting. Only if the group members hold themselves accountable, and overcome the challenges, can an online group be successful.







Online Materal. Pennsylvania State University, Psych 424.


Tseng, H. W., & Yeh, H. (2013). Team members’ perceptions of online teamwork learning experiences and building teamwork trust: A qualitative study. Computers & Education, 63, 1-9.

Feb 16

What Influences Passion for One’s Work, the Job or the Social Support?

As discussed in our textbook, job characteristics may influence job satisfaction negatively or positively (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). A job characteristic may be understood as what an occupational task contains, as well as its “nature”. An individual’s view of his or her occupation and the features of the job may be considered the degree of satisfaction with his or her job. Now, Schneider, Gruman, and Coutts (2012) did not directly mention work passion, which may feature similarities to job satisfaction. According to Lautongmeesakun and Wichian’s (2016) research, work passion involves 5 aspects (with 4 aspects listed in their research) which include passion for: organization (desiring to remain for the longest possible time and eagerness to work with optimal potential), duty (displaying responsibility, eagerness to work with optimal potential, effectiveness, and carefulness), growth (developing new methods in order to expand career, participating in behaviors that will benefit the growth of their occupation and occupational environment), and profession (pride, confidence, and gratefulness for career).

Moreover, work passion may be related to job satisfaction in that passion for one’s occupation may be a form of satisfaction with one’s job. Additionally, while job characteristics may impact job satisfaction, the aspects of a job may also influence work passion, as indicated in some studies (Zigarmi et al., 2009; Zigarmi et al., 2011; Joubert, 2005; Obi-Nwosu et al., 2013; Kangure et al., 2014; Lee, 2010; Ozturka et al., 2014). On the other hand, Lautongmeesakun and Wichian (2016) found contrastive results in their examination of the impact of work resilience, social support, and job characteristics on Thai teachers’ work passion. Self-report questionnaires were utilized to evaluate the participant Thai teachers’ work passion, work resilience, social support, and job characteristics. In addition, a 4-point Likert scale asked the participating teachers questions that may or may not have applied to them (from “absolutely true” to “absolutely not true”).

As a result of Lautongmeesakun and Wichian’s (2016) study, job characteristics showed no significant influence on Thai teachers’ work passion. This finding differs from the studies mentioned in the previous paragraph, which displayed that job characteristics may impact work passion (e.g. Zigarmi et al., 2009). Instead, Lautongmeesakun and Wichian (2016) found that with work resilience, social support indirectly influenced Thai teachers’ work passion. According to the researchers, this may suggest that the participant teachers’ perceptions of school associate support was a more powerful influence on work passion compared to job characteristics. With increasing support from other school associates, the more the teachers’ resilience and passion for work would increase. Lautongmeesakun and Wichian (2016) concluded that with their findings, programs may be developed to train and encourage work passion in teachers.

Conclusively, job characteristics may or may not affect work passion, possibly depending on culture, cultural values, and how certain studies are conducted. For example, Lautongmeesakun and Wichian’s (2016) research found no effect from job characteristics on work passion, however, this study was limited to Thai teachers. Other studies such as Ozturka et al. (2014) and Kangure et al. (2014) may have discovered results that differed from Lautongmeesakun and Wichian’s (2016) findings due to potential contrasts in who was studied (e.g. hotel workers in Turkey or employees in Kenya) and how variables were studied. More research is needed to explore the possible effects of job characteristics on work passion in different cultures and areas.


A. B., Ozturka, M., Hancerb, & J. Y., Im, “Job characteristics, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment for hotel workers in Turkey,” Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 291-313, 2014.

D. Zigarmi, K. Nimon, D. Houson, D. Witt, and J. Diehl. (2009). From engagement to work passion. [Online]. pp. 1-11 Available: http://www.kenblanchard.com/img/pub/Blanchard_From_Engagement_to_Work_Passion.pdf

D. Zigarmi, K. Nimon, D. Houson, D. Witt, and J. Diehl. (2011). Employee work passion. [Online]. pp. 1-3. Available: www.kenblanchard.com/img/pub/Blanchard_Employee_Passion_Vol_4.pdf 

F. M. Kangure, W. Guyo, and R. Odhiambo, “Relationship between job characteristics and employee engagement among state corporations in Kenya,” International Journal of Innovative Research
& Studies
, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 326-350, 2014.

H. Obi–Nwosu, J. A. O. Chiamaka, and O. M. Tochukwu, “Job characteristics as predictors of organizational commitment among private sector workers in Anambra State, Nigeria,” International
Journal of Asian Social Science
, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 482-491, 2013.

J. H. M. Joubert, “Job characteristics, engagement, burnout and organizational commitment of management staff at a platinum mine in the North-West Province,” M.Com, thesis. Dept. Industrial Psychology, North-West Univ., Potchefstroom, South Africa, 2005. 

Lautongmeesakun, S., & Wichian, S. N. (2016). Path Analysis of Work Passion Model of Thai Teachers in Municipal Schools. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 6, 949-953. doi:10.7763/IJIET.2016.V6.823 

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

W. S. Lee, “The relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction toward affective commitment: The case of engineers in Sapakat Setia Perunding SDN BHD,” MBA thesis, School of management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, George Town, Malaysia,


Feb 16

Understanding Addiction

When considering the relationship between applied social psychology and health, one would be remiss in overlooking the topic of substance abuse. Addiction, while often incorrectly treated as an issue of poor self-control or will power, is at its heart a social problem. Therefore the solution to substance abuse problems in our society must consider a biopsychosocial approach.

In an article for The New York Times, Gabrielle Glaser focused on the work of Dr. Mark Willenbring, an addiction psychiatrist. Dr. Willenbring, unhappy with the current approach to treating addiction, developed his own center to assist addicts in achieving a healthier lifestyle (Glaser, 2016). In many ways his approach would fall under the category of a biopsychosocial intervention. A biopsychosocial approach is one that looks at health from the perspective of biology, psychology, and social factors (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012).

Dr. Willenbring first looks at addiction from a biological perspective. He educates his clients in the role that genetics plays on substance abuse. Not only is this scientifically accurate, it allows those dealing with addictions to recognize that despite what they may have been told in more traditional treatment programs, addiction is not simply a personal or moral failure. He also takes in to consideration psychological factors. During the initial diagnostic process, he screens patients for underlying mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, in order to determine if these factors may be hampering their recovery process. He also considers the social aspect of addiction. He recognizes the need for those in the recovery process to have healthy social groups to support their efforts. Dr. Willenbring uses a multifaceted approach including medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and group therapy sessions to tackle addiction like a disease instead of as a failure of character (Glaser, 2016).

Dr. Willenbring’s treatment protocols are considered by some to be controversial. As previously stated, traditional programs generally preach faith and complete abstinence. Dr. Willenbring, in contrast, approaches addition like a chronic disease that needs to be tended over time, but whose treatment plan must be based in empirically tested scientific data. He also believes that there has been a failure for existing programs to accept what the most current research is telling us about the treatment of addiction (Glaser, 2016). In many ways, this is an example of why it is so necessary for intervention programs to have an evaluation process. The evaluation process is essential in determining if the current intervention strategies are functioning as designed, and whether they are financially responsible investments (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). Glaser’s (2016) article cites multiple sources that suggest that addiction is escalating in this country, and the traditional treatment of faith-based programs and in-patient treatment facilities, are perhaps not as effective or efficient, as they could be. One of the most recommended options for recovery is in-patient treatment in a rehab facility, yet despite the high cost, there is no reliable evidence that these facilities are any more effective than Dr. Willenbring’s inexpensive out-patient program (Glaser, 2016).

Applied social psychologists have an ethical obligation to find ways to promote affordable and evidence based intervention strategies for fighting addiction. The fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are being funneled in to programs that may not be meeting the criteria for being effective or efficient is a travesty. We, like the rest of the scientific community, must adjust existing programs to stay current to the best available research. If we do that, we can take significant steps in helping those suffering from addiction, as well as strengthen our communities in order to prevent future problems.



Glaser, G. (2016, February 22). For Mark Willenbring, substance abuse treatment begins with research. The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2016,          from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/science/mark-willenbring-addiction-substance-abuse-treatment.html?ref=health&_r=0

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Feb 16

Social Media in Organizational Psychology

According to the American Psychological Association (2016), Industrial and Organizational psychology studies human behavior in relation to the work place. This branch of psychology seeks to understand and gain information from individual and group behaviors in order to make organizations more efficient and solve problems. One important concept in the realm of organizational psychology is analyzing development in the work place. Organizational psychology studies trend changes in the work place, and aids companies with successful adaptations to these developmental changes. Many of these modern day developments have to do with the ever-expanding technology at our fingertips.

Social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are finding new and innovative ways to reach consumers, convey information and open up a new field of marketing expertise. In 2012, 73% of Fortune 500 companies were on Twitter, and 80% of executives promoted social media as a way to increase sales (Holmes, 2013). In the field of organizational psychology, understanding these developmental trends surrounding social media holds the key to expanding company communication and profit across the technological field. Social media participation for organizations is said to offer many great advantages: “better insight into customer behavior, improved office productivity with internal networks and, of course, significant, measurable ROI [return on investment]” (Holmes, 2013). Understanding this information provides many open doors for organizations to expand into the technological field seeking new opportunities.

Organization participation in social media can impact companies in several ways. Firstly, social media is opening doors for communication. Many companies are now utilizing social media technology as a productively tool in order to create company-wide communication and collaboration, thus replacing email. HR departments are using social media such as Career Finder, Facebook and Linkdin to screen employees for employment, thus replacing the traditional paper resumes. Social media gives organizations more accurate marketing pathways and access to “real-time” consumer activity monitoring (Holmes, 2013).

It is important to understand the strengths that social media and technology provides so that companies can adapt to the changing times and expand business. However, these strengths do not come without challenges. The challenges associated with the use of social media include problems with posted content online by employers/employees, ethical breeches of internet privacy for consumers, training employees on internet policies, training marketing on new technological advances, it is a time intensive business that requires constant monitoring, lacks feedback control, and can be a difficult integration from small and local businesses (Abrons, 2014). These social media challenges really show the importance of organizational psychology and the need for developmental analysis in the work place.


Abrons, R. (2014). The Disadvantages of Using Social Networks as Marketing Tools. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/disadvantages-using-social-networks-marketing-tools-20861.html

APA. (2016). Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/industrial.aspx

Holmes, R. (2012, December 6). 5 Ways Social Media Will Change The Way You Work in 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/12/11/5-ways-social-media-will-change-the-way-you-work-in-2013/#3d002e1219d9

Feb 16

Organizations Key Concepts to Success

When you hear the word organization what do you think of?  A business, team, non-profit, household, or even a social group all fall within the scope of an organization.  By lose definition an organization is a collection of people sharing similar purpose or structure.  How organizations function or better how well performing an organization can be in meeting end goals is dependent on endless variables and assets.  It is my opinion that the individuals within an organization are the most valuable assets, most promising investment, and key to success regardless of organizational or team purpose.  I am reminded of Douglas McGregor and his originally published 1960 book, “The Human Side of Enterprise” and the point he makes in bringing attention to theories of organizational leadership: theory X- authoritarian, theory Y people are the investment and motivation behind any good structure or leader.

Schneider, Gruman, and Coutts point similarly to such ideals in identifying team cohesion (pp. 116) as being a dynamic current in driving toward identified objectives or goals both long and short term.  No one is better alone, but collectively, when the team or organization works well, things will be prosperous.  Appreciating that each individual brings a unique perspective hence unique asset to a group function adds to the importance of properly assigned and accepted group roles.  If you have a well spoken person who enjoys meeting and leading debates as opposed to a shy person who reports anxiety in leading debates we can easily see the contrast in having the “right” person for each job is critical in success of winning the debate.  Equally important in assigning roles within an organization is the need for people to actively accept and participate in their role (pp. 119).  One can be excel in multiple areas, if the group lacks skill in one area, regardless of individual wants people need to be prepared to put their personal preference aside and accept the “lesser role” needed for organizational success.

Interestingly, organizations can have in place all the right people at the right time but one skill that can not be lacking in any successful organization is the ability to communicate effectively and broadly.  The better informed a “team” is the better the performance.  The importance of communication covers every functioning aspect of an organization from the bottom to the top regardless of size, structure, or purpose.  Team members who report more motivation and satisfaction indicate higher degrees of understanding their defined part within the organization (pp. 219).  Subsequently it is also communication that can control how organizations can be successful, is their fluidity within communication form department to department or member to member, does the communication relay the needed information (pp. 239) for success, is it influential, motivating, or challenging the norms within the organization?

Organizations that function with high inclusion of its members are more likely to experience sustained success.  Organizations with fluid and concise communication lead to improved positive outcomes.  The importance for members on all levels of an organization to appreciate the structure and means supportive to not only them but the larger objective is important to reduce attrition and allocate resources on the continued development of improving outcomes for the benefit of everyone associated with the organization.

McGregor, Douglas. “The Human Side of Enterprise”. 25th Edition. 2005. McGraw-Hill Publications.

Schneider, Frank W., Gruman, Jamie A., Coutts, Larry M. “Applied Social Psychology Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems”. Second Edition. 2012. Sage Publications.

Feb 16

“Positive” Stereotypes

What is a stereotype? In social psychology, a stereotype can be defined as a belief or thought that has been given to/ or about a specific group of individuals (Hilton & von Hipple, 1996, p. 240)

(W. 337). These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect the reality of these individuals, but these stereotypes are not always seen as negative. Some stereotypes are meant to come off as a positive and an encouragement to that specific group. An example of a stereotype that is meant to seem positive is the, “All black people can dance/ have rhythm,” or the “All Asian are good at math.” While these two example do not seem like they can cause issues because of their positive tones, they can also hurt those affected by this stereotype.

Being a Black male, I have been constantly stereotyped throughout my life. While most people tend to focus on the negative stereotypes that are out there, I like to think about the “positive” stereotypes and the affects they have on those in that specific group that don’t quite fit into the stereotype. Stereotype threat, which is the fear or thought that you will be an example that confirms that specific stereotype for that specific group (Steele & Aronson, 1995), can be used to describe how people are affect by both the positive and negative stereotypes.

Not only did I struggle with trying not to live up to the negative stereotypes about Blacks, I also struggled with not being able to live up to certain stereotypes that many see as a “part of being Black.” In high school, I was stereotyped as the athletic Black kid before even stepping on a court or field, only listens rap music, and a good dancer. Not bad to have those stereotypes applied to you, unless you do not fulfil those stereotypes. Out of those three examples given, I only fulfilled one, being athletic. So naturally, when people began to notice I didn’t fall into those stereotypes, I got reactions like, “You’re black, you’re supposed to have rhythm and be able to dance” and “You don’t listen to rap? You’re not black.”

There are certain stereotypes that are associated with different ethnic groups, and for me, when I did not live up to those associated with my ethnic group, I felt as though I was not apart of the group. As if I did not belong. Even though they are meant to be positive or seen as good, “positive” stereotypes can still have a negative affect on those associated with that stereotype.




(W. 337) W., Schneider, F., Gruman, A., Coutts, M.. Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems, 2nd Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc, 10/2011. VitalBook file.

(W. 338) W., Schneider, F., Gruman, A., Coutts, M.. Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems, 2nd Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc, 10/2011. VitalBook file.,

Feb 16

Disability Discrimination

When thinking of discrimination, we often think of the behavior between different races or gender but there is another group facing discrimination, those who are disabled. People with disabilities are often discriminated against when looking for work or in the workplace itself. Although it is illegal by federal law many people with disabilities still face discrimination.

People with a disability have an unemployment rate that is at 12.5% in 2014 which is twice the per cent of the 5.9% unemployment rate of people without a disability the discrimination seems obvious. (Sola,2015) In an article in Forbes magazine this problem was looked into. They found an experiment by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers sent out 6,016 fake application for junior or senior positions at different accounting firms. In these application one third stated that they have Asperger’s Syndrome and another third stated they had a spinal cord injury in the cover letter. Each application also stated that they would still be able to perform their job. The remaining one third of the application did not mention any disability. (Sola,2015) This study proved that the application without any mention of disabilities were 26% more likely to see interest from the company than those who mentioned a disability.  (Sola,2015)

Many employers use the excuse that they think they will have to provide for expensive accommodations for disabled workers. However, when looked into, people with spinal cord injuries who require a wheelchair only require a different desk size, larger pathways and accessible bathrooms. Since the bathrooms in modern buildings are already meant to be wheelchair accessible and a new desk is not expensive and widening a pathway comes at no cost these are simply excuses. As far as an employee with Asperger’s Syndrome the only accommodation they may need is some flexibility in their schedule. What this article found was that it was the stigma of having to look at a disabled person in the office every day that kept people with disabilities from being hired. (Sola,2015)

This is concerning since it is costing perfectly abled people from finding work and it is discrimination that can cover any gender, social class, race or ethnic background. One solution for this problem could be through education. Helping employers learn about what accommodations would be needed for employees with disabilities would be a start. Employers also need to learn about the benefits of these employees. In some cases, the disability the employee has in actually a help to their chosen profession as opposed to a hindrance. Like any time there is a problem with discrimination, educating those who are discriminating is a great place to start.

Penn State World Campus (2016). Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: Sage.

Sola, Katie. (Nov 3 2015). Discrimination Against Disabled Applicants Sadly ‘Not Suprising”: NDRN Director. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/03/discrimination-disabled-job/2/#390751495397

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