hrm-in-sue-ohThe Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) has awarded Dr. In-Sue Oh a 2016 Distinguished Early Career Contribution Award. This is the second early career achievement award Oh has received, also earning one from the Academy of Management Human Resources Division in August 2014.

“This award has been one of my ambitious career goals since I started my PhD at the University of Iowa about 12 years ago,” said Oh, a Paul Anderson Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “I am very glad and grateful that I have fulfilled this goal.”

The SIOP’s award is the oldest and most-prestigious early-to-mid career award in the field of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Each year, it is given to a scholar who received his or her PhD within the last eight years and has made influential research contributions to the science of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Oh will be invited to present reflections on his research accomplishments at the following year’s SIOP conference to be held in Orlando, Fla. At the conference, Oh plans to share his current work, as well as discuss how he developed his research program. Since 2005, Oh has researched the validity of personality traits for performance across levels of analysis and criteria, and developing new meta-analysis methods.

“While working on a project on the relationship between personality traits and employee performance about 10 years ago, I realized that the personality-performance relationship must have been underestimated, given serious limitations in how both variables were measured,” said Oh.

Since then, he has investigated various ways to enhance the relationship. In addition, he will also share his personal tips for reaching ambitious goals and maintaining research productivity.

“I’ve discovered that the key to research productivity is persistence, teamwork, and not blindly trusting the data we see,” said Oh. “Data can lie to us without even blinking an eye.”

Oh hopes winning this award will enable him to continue pursuing research projects through the remainder of his career.

“One of my great mentors, Dr. Phil Roth, told me that research as a career is not a sprint but a marathon,” said Oh. “My PhD advisor, Dr. Frank Schmidt, who retired four years ago at the age of 68, is still actively working on research projects. This is exactly where I hope winning this award will lead me.”

Oh credits winning the award to his various mentors, role models, family members, teachers, deans, and department chairs who have offered support and guidance throughout his career. He also credits his fellow scholars, journal editors, reviewers, more than 70 co-authors, and Schmidt, in particular, for nominating him for the award, and five letterwriters in support of this nomination.

“I truly hope that winning this award will contribute to further elevating the research profile of the Human Resource Management department, the Fox School of Business, and Temple University as a whole,” Oh said.

–Mary Salisbury

Research by a professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that good vibes in the workplace, unfortunately, might be good for nothing.

Dr. In-Sue Oh’s research into organizational behavior and human resources found that organizational cynicism has a greater tendency to impact an employee’s job performance than does organizational trust.

Oh’s research is featured within a co-authored paper, titled, “Antecedents and Consequences of Employee Organizational Cynicism: A Meta-Analysis,” which was published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior and featured in Human Resource Executive Online.

So in this installment of the age-old battle good vs. bad, bad likely wins out.

“Organizational cynicism and organizational trust should be the opposite of each other, but what we found is that is not the case,” said Oh, an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management. “You may trust in your organization, but that does not mean you have a lot of positive experiences or that your job performance will improve, whereas organizational cynicism is almost always based upon tangible negative experiences and will lead to a reduction in effort and harming one’s job performance.”

Before reaching that conclusion, Oh and his co-authors had to delve into the two variables at play.

Organizational trust, Oh said, is “often based upon the lack of negative experiences at work, but not necessarily based upon the presence of positive experiences.” That is almost a complete juxtaposition of their definition of organizational cynicism, which is based solely upon negative experiences.

From there, Oh and his co-authors analyzed the responses of 9,186 employees of 34 organizations, within studies conducted between 1998-2011.

“What we found was mixed,” Oh said, “in that in predicting organizational commitment or an intent to leave the organization, organizational trust is more important than organizational cynicism. Good wins out, whereas in predicting job performance, the opposite was found.”

Another interesting finding, Oh said, was uncovered in a bid to determine whether cynical people are born or made. “They’re both born and made, we found,” Oh said, “but organizational mistreatment such as injustice and lack of support has a bigger influence on organizational cynicism than individual differences like cynical personality.”

Oh suggests companies adhere to careful hiring practices, in order to screen out cynical individuals who have negative and critical tendencies.

“However, perhaps what’s more important is the need to treat employees in a fair manner and to offer them proper support,” Oh said, “because the fact remains that cynical people can develop into nice people in the organization in which they work.”

Oh co-authored the paper with Dan S. Chiaburu and Laura C. Lomeli, of Texas A&M University; Ann C. Peng, of Michigan State University; and George C. Banks, of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management In-Sue Oh has recently been chosen as the winner of the Academy of Management’s Early Career Achievement Award in the Human Resources Division.

“I was very excited, because this award has been presented to some big stars in the field for over seven years.  I’m a junior scholar who earned a PhD in 2009 and very happy to receive this award during the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management which will be held in our city, Philadelphia,” Oh said of this notable achievement.

The Early Career Achievement Award is given to a scholar who has made distinguished contributions to their field within seven years of receiving their PhD.  Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Psychology Christopher Berry, a former recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award, nominated Oh for this award.

Oh has published over fifty journal articles, including sixteen papers published in top-tier journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology. Additionally, Oh has made more than fifty scholarly presentations at major international conferences.

Oh has been an award-winning scholar for some time, including receiving the Hogan Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Foundation. Other scholarly awards Oh has received include the Meredith P. Crawford Fellowship from Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), the James C. Johnson Paper Competition Award from the International Personnel Assessment Council, and the International Research Excellence Award from the Korean Academy of Management.

“It would be hard for me to imagine any other junior scholar accomplishing such noteworthy achievement,” Berry said in his nomination letter, “and in this vein, I firmly believe this has established him as an outstanding researcher in our field.”

There are two hopes Oh has from receiving this award.

First, he hopes that this award will open up more opportunities for him to serve as an (associate) editor of a top-tier academic journal. Secondly, he hopes that his achievement will reflect positively on Temple University and the Fox School of Business, with broader recognition and increasing the caliber of PhD students and faculty members that are recruited.

“I’ve only been here at Temple University for two years, and my overall experience has been very positive,” Oh said. “My colleagues are very collegial, and my department Chair and the Deans have been very supportive of my research.”

Oh will receive the award during the 74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management to be held in Philadelphia this August.

—Alexis Wright-Whitley