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Glossary for Organisation

Click a letter relevant to your query e.g. C for Career planning



Ability test
Test to assess individual's potential for learning something or performing some activity.

Action research
Cyclical organization development process of diagnosis, planning, action, and evaluation.

Adverse impac
Occurs when selection procedure results in a selection rate for any protected group that is less than 80% of the rate for the highest group.

Affirmative action plan
Formal, written plan for reducing women and minority group under-representation in an organization.

Assessment center
Group, multiple-technique, testing procedure typically lasting from one day to one week.



Behaviour checklist
Performance appraisal method requiring rater to record, but not evaluate, a list of specific job behaviours.

Behaviourally anchored rating scale
Graphic performance rating scale with specific behaviour examples, rather than adjectives or other descriptive phrases, as anchors.

Response to chronic emotional stress characterized by lowered job productivity, physical and/or emotional exhaustion, and a tendency to think in impersonal terms, even of oneself.



Career planning
Organizational activities de signed to assist employees in defining and meeting their career goals.

Change agent
Individual who plans and carries out formal organization development efforts.

Clinical prediction
Evaluating likelihood of job success on the basis of human judgment

Exchange of information, ideas, or feelings between two or more individuals or groups.
Communication network
Overall patterning of the formal upward, downward, and horizontal communication flow in an organization.

Comparable worth
Equal pay for jobs whose satisfactory performance contributes equal value to the organization.

Compressed work week
Redistribution of the standard 40 hours of work; in its most common form, people work four 10-hour days.

Confounding variable
Extraneous variable that can affect conclusions from research because it has an important effect on a variable that is being investigated.

Contingency approach
Characterized by rejection of the idea that there is one best way to do something; the best way varies with the particulars of the situation.

Variables found to be associated with one another in a predictable fashion.

Relationship between variables such that they change in a predictable manner with respect to one another

External measurement of some at tribute or behaviour against which to make some evaluation (plural: criteria).

Cut-off score
Test score (or ranking of some sort) that cuts off those below it from further consideration for job, training, school entrance, or other opportunity.



Decision-making group
Collection of individuals interacting on a face-to-face basis to make one decision representing the consensus of the group.

Dependent variable
Subject behaviour of interest in a research experiment.



Employee development
Organizational activities for the purpose of helping particular individuals be successful by increasing their career-related knowledge and skills and removing personal obstacles to success.

Evaluative set
Characteristic tendency on the part of a rater to use only a narrow range of a performance appraisal scale.

Experimental conditions/treatments
Particular states created by the manipulations in an experiment.



Flexible working hours (flexitime) 
A range of variations in the distribution of work time characterized by some number of core hours during which employees must be at work, together with some flexibility in starting and stopping times on either side of the core.

Expansion of acceptable work site options to include employee's home.

Forced-choice scale
Performance appraisal method requiring rater to pick statement most characteristic of ratee from sets of equally favorable or unfavorable statements.

Forced-distribution ranking
Performance appraisal method requiring raters to assign a certain percentage of ratees to each of a set number of categories.



Graphic rating scale
Performance appraisal method calling for rater to assess degree to which each ratee exhibits the behaviours and/or traits shown on the scale.

Group cohesiveness
Summary of extent to which individual members of a group are attracted to one another and to being in the group.

Growth need strength
Individual variable consisting of a collection of psychological needs for affiliation, achievement, and autonomy.



Halo error
Tendency to evaluate all of the behaviours or traits of a ratee in a manner consistent with some global impression or evaluation of the rate.

Human factors approach to job design
Designing jobs, equipment, and work environments to be compatible with human physical and mental capabilities and limitations.

Human factors psychologists
Psychologists with a major professional interest in the physical aspects of job design.

Statement of a predicted answer to a research question.



Independent variable
Manipulated variable in an experiment.

Industrial/organizational psychological services
Development and application of psychological theory and methodology to problems of organizations and problems of individuals and groups in organizational settings.

Process of deriving conclusions from observations.

Institutionalization (of change)
Integrating a specific change into the structure and ongoing functioning of an organization.

Instructional method
Basic teaching technique of a learning situation.

Process of making a deliberate change in an organizational system (organization development).



All of the identical or similar positions in an organization.

Job analysis
Defined data collection and analysis procedure through which information about job tasks and job requirements is obtained.

Job commitment
Psychological variable reflecting degree of connection an individual perceives himself or herself to have with a particular job in a particular organization.

Job description
Factual statement of tasks, responsibilities, and working conditions of a particular job.

Job enlargement
Psychological job design strategy to make jobs "bigger," or larger, by adding to the number of work tasks each person performs.

Job enrichment
Psychological job design strategy to make jobs "richer" by giving employees more responsibility and decision-making authority with respect to planning, scheduling, and controlling their own work.

Job evaluation
Formal process for determining the financial worth of a job to an organization.

Job family
Group of jobs that are similar in terms of the demands they make on employees.

Job satisfaction
Attitude toward job based on affective (feeling) evaluative response to the job situation.

Job sharing
Work of one job is shared by two part-time employees.

Job specification
Statement of the employee characteristics needed to perform a particular job.




Influential increment over and above mechanical compliance by subordinates with the routine directives of organization.



Machine controls
Means by which a machine is activated and operated machine displays; means by which work-related information is provided to the operator of a machine.

Average obtained measurement on a particular scale; the center point of a normal curve.

Assignment of values to observations according to a denned system.

Moderator variable
Variable that has a predictable influence on the nature of the relationship between two other variables.

Sum of the forces that produce, direct, and maintain effort expended in any particular behaviour.



Normal curve
Bell-shaped curve describing large number of measurements on a normally distributed variable.

Unwritten standards for behaviour, values, and attitudes that grow out of group interaction.



Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970):
Sets up the primary external regulatory agency for the safety and health of American workers.

Open system
System that interacts with (affects and is affected by) its external environment.

Operational definition:
Definition of a variable in terms of the process by which it is measured.

Operator-machine system
Human and machine work together, performing different functions, to accomplish work.

Organizational climate
Consensus of member perceptions about how a particular organization and/or its subsystems deals with its members and its external environment.

Organizational culture
Collective experience of the people in a particular organization about the meaning of their social environment.

Organization development
Systematic effort applying behavioural science knowledge to the planned creation and reinforcement of organizational strategies, structures, and processes for improving an organization's effectiveness.

Process by which newcomers to a group are acquainted with its rules, operating procedures, policies, and performance expectations.



Paired comparison ranking
Performance appraisal method requiring rater to compare each ratee with every other rate.

Participative decision making
Involvement in decision-making process by those who will be affected by it.

Performance appraisal
Process of evaluating the extent to which people are doing their assigned work satisfactorily.

All of the people (organizations, departments, or other units) that have characteristics relevant to a research question of interest.

Defined by the sum total of the tasks performed by one employee.

Positive reinforcement
Has occurred when a behaviour has been strengthened by its consequences (rewarded).

Predictor variable
Variable that explains a significant portion of the variance observed in measuring another variable.

Psychological approach to job design
Designing jobs to be compatible with human psychological needs.

Study of human behaviour.



Quality circle
Group of 6 to 10 employees that meets regularly to identify and solve work problems.

Quality of work life
Impact of total work situation on personal life and health of employees.

Quantitative prediction
Evaluating likelihood of job success on basis of predetermined numerical decision rule.



Ratee-based rater bias
Performance appraisal bias based on rater's response to specific individuals being evaluated.

Realistic job preview
Presenting job applicants with all pertinent information about the job in a straightforward, non-selling manner.

Process of finding and attracting people to fill positions in an organization.

Reference group
Group that an individual uses as a source of personal values, beliefs, or attitudes and/or as a standard for evaluating his or her own behaviour.

Consistency or stability of measurement.

Research design
Laying out a plan for making research observations consistent with the rules of the scientific method.



Defined portion of a specified population.

Sampling error
Bias that reduces the extent to which a sample is representative of the relevant population.

Scientific method
Investigation of phenomena by an orderly process of observation, inference, and verification.

Process of identifying those individuals likely to be successful on a job from among a pool of job applicants.

Selection ratio
Number of applicants from among which to choose an employee for a position (expressed as a ratio or percentage).

Shift work
Work hour scheduling strategies in which different groups of full-time employees perform the same job duties in different blocks of time during a 24-hour period.

Process by which newcomers to a group acquire the attitudes, values, and norms necessary to become accepted members of the group.

Socio-technical view of organizations
Systems perspective of job design emphasizing the necessity for a balanced relationship between the human/social and the technological components of an organization.

Specialization approach to job design
Strategy limiting the number of job tasks performed by one person to one or a few.

Standard deviation
Standard mathematical unit describing the variability of a normal curve around the mean.

Standard error of measurement
Standard deviation of a normal curve.

Number that is the result of a defined set of mathematical computation procedures.

Statistical significance
It is very unlikely that the results obtained from a defined procedure were due to chance.

Straight ranking
Performance appraisal method in which ratees are ordered from best to poorest on some dimension, such as overall quality of work.

Structured questionnaire
Detailed written guide that standardizes interview questions asked and answers reported.

One unit of a sample.

Success rate for hiring
Percentage of employees hired (on the basis of given cutting scores screening measures) who are considered to be successful on the job.

Survey feedback
Systematic data collection and feedback organization development technique.

A whole made up of parts (subsystems) that function together in an interdependent fashion to meet the goals of the system.

Systems effects
Changes in one part of system that come about because of changes in another part of system. 



Assigned piece of work to be finished to s standard within some time period.

Task-based rater bias:
Characterized by a consistent form of oversimplification of the performance appraisal task.

Team building
Organization development technique for finding and eliminating barriers to a work group's ability to work together effectively.

Test battery
Combination of tests given one after the other.

Test reliability
Test score is consistent from one administration to the next or when different people give the test.

Structured learning experience for transforming abilities into specific skills, knowledge, or attitudes.

Transfer of training
Generalization of what is learned in training setting to a real-life setting.



Marked discrepancy between the number of people in labor force available for a job or occupation and the number actually employed in it.



Appropriateness, meaningfulness, and usefulness of measurement.

Validity generalization
Extending evidence for test validity acquired in one situation to another situation judged to be similar Variable: some aspect of the world that can take on at least two different measured values.

To confirm or substantiate results.



Work methods
Physical movements by which people carry out job tasks.

Work restriction
Limits on production output set by work group norms.

Work sample test
Screening test consisting of standardized sample of behaviour important to performing a job successfully.

Workspace envelope
Space assigned to, and occupied by, an individual employee in the performance of his or' her primary job duties.