Sloan Foundation grant awarded to Ruth Kanfer (Psychology) and Julia Meekers (Public Policy)

This project seeks to identify and empirically evaluate a “whole person” model of training efficacy and learning outcomes among working adults engaged in Georgia Tech’s Online Master’s Program in Computer Science (OMSCS). The project will develop and validate a new multidimensional measure of adult training efficacy, and investigate the relative influence of personal/social resources and task demands on efficacy judgments, training strategies, and program progress. Using a diverse adult learning population and multi-format methodology, the project will also explore gender differences in the determinants and consequences of efficacy at different points in the program. Results are expected to establish the benefits of a whole person framework for further improving training for mid-career adults.

Sloan Foundation grant awarded to Ruth Kanfer (Psychology) and Julia Meekers (Public Policy)

This project concerns attempts to ‘triangulate’ individual levels of ability, task performance, self-reports of effort and fatigue, and physiological indicators of cognitive and affective reactions to task demands. Studies being conducted for this project focus on performance under different cognitive and motivational demands, such as when an individual acquires skills on a complex air traffic control task, or attempts to reach difficult performance goals.

Integrating trait, subjective judgment and physiological measures

This project is devoted to developing a selection battery for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) pilots, and a set of classification tools to maximize person-job fit for this job.  The project involves development and refinement of assessments of abilities, and non-ability traits (e.g., personality, motivation, interests, self-concept, background experiences); pilot testing and in-lab criterion-based validity assessment.

Selection and Classification of UAS pilots

Job search and employment change represent a basic feature of contemporary worklife. We conceptualize job search as a self-regulatory process in which individuals must actively regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior for the purpose of successfully attaining new employment.  Over the past decade we have studied the person and situation factors that affect job search goals, self-regulatory strategies, and outcomes among first-time job entrants, people who have lost their job, and aging workers.  Current research focuses on the impact of time on job search activities, work attitudes, affective states, and employment decision processes. 

Job Search and Employment Transitions

The goal of this recent research stream is to understand the cross-level influences of individual-level and team-level motivational processes on task motivation and performance.  Our current research project in this area focuses on the dynamic person and team processes that affect motivation in interprofessional healthcare teams.

Motivation and Self-Regulation in Team Environments

We are starting a set of pilot studies to understand how students multitask (i.e., work on two or more tasks at a time) with audio, video, computer, etc. sources while also studying.  Data analysis is currently under way, as are plans for follow-up investigations.

Studying and Multitasking

The goal of this project, sponsored by The College Board, is to determine configurations of Advanced Placement (AP) test completion that  are optimal for success in the science, technology, engineering, and math domains, that is, that are most highly associated with success  (in terms of attrition, GPA, degree attainment, and pursuit of graduate degrees).  Findings that indicate there are optimal AP-type portfolios for success in the STEM areas have practical implications for stakeholders at the high school level, particularly for female students who might wish to pursue STEM majors.

Optimal AP Portfolios with Special Reference to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Majors and Gender Differences

The goal of this large-scale research project, sponsored by The Spencer Foundation, is to evaluate multiple  determinants of elective course participation and performance across the high-school years.  These sources  of data will be integrated to determine whether improvements might be made to the process of matching students to elective courses of study during high school.

Determinants of High School Optional Course Participation and Performance: A four-year longitudinal study.

The aging of the workforce in both the U.S. and most developed countries, has important ramifications for workers, organizations, and societies. Over the past few years we have focused on scientific and professional activities that aim to better understand and manage the ramifications of an aging workforce. Our current program of research, supported by the Society for Human Resource Management, examines the motivational and situational determinants of retirement attitudes and intentions. In addition, we have partnered with European researchers to investigate the influence of aging diversity on individual well-being and team-level outcomes. Other ongoing and planned projects in this area focus on the development and validation of “Third Age” selection procedures, identifying employee traits and management/work conditions that promote intergenerational knowledge transfer, and age-related differences in motivational traits and work motivation processes and outcomes (e.g., Kanfer & Ackerman, 2004; Kanfer & Ackerman, 2007; Kanfer, in press)