TRAINING AND INVESTIGATING PROMOTION DECISION MAKING: RECOGNISING POTENTIAL, PROJECTING TALENT, AND USING EXPERTISE

Armenis, Damien (2007). TRAINING AND INVESTIGATING PROMOTION DECISION MAKING: RECOGNISING POTENTIAL, PROJECTING TALENT, AND USING EXPERTISE PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, University of Queensland.

       
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Author Armenis, Damien
Thesis Title TRAINING AND INVESTIGATING PROMOTION DECISION MAKING: RECOGNISING POTENTIAL, PROJECTING TALENT, AND USING EXPERTISE
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Andrew Neal
Abstract/Summary Employee promotion is an effective strategy for retaining and developing human resources. There has been relatively little promotion decision making research undertaken, with little known on the cognitive processes responsible for the decision. Additionally, no literature exists regarding the best way to train managers to make these decisions. With new data collection and analysis techniques emerging from the human factors field, an opportunity is now available to investigate expert promotion decision making on a cognitive level. The aims of the present research reflect this opportunity. The first aim was to examine how experts make promotion decisions. The second was to identify the decision making differences between expert (senior managers) and novice (junior managers) promotion decision makers. The third aim was to facilitate the development of junior managers’ experience through the design of a promotion training program. Three studies were carried out to address these aims. The participants in these studies comprised senior and junior managers from a multinational beverage company. The first study used the critical decision method to elicit knowledge from 16 expert promotion decision makers. The analyses examined the role of decision strategy, situation awareness, and decision evaluation. The findings supported the notion that senior managers make promotion decisions in a manner consistent with recognition-primed decision making theory. A cognitive model of expert promotion decision making was developed from the data obtained in this study. The model highlighted the role of recognition, situation awareness, expectations, verification, and visualisation. The second study was designed to identify the cognitive differences between expert and novice promotion decision making. A Lens Model analysis was conducted on both senior and junior managers within the company. This provided information regarding decision makers’ judgments, consistency, and information usage. A promotion decision simulator was developed which presented the managers with 80 hypothetical promotion candidates. The data from the first study provided realistic information to build a representative scenario for the study. The results suggested that senior managers’ decision making was significantly more intuitive than novices, who were more analytic. Promotion decision making experience was found to be related to this cognitive decision mode, with more experience being associated with a more intuitive cognitive mode. The final study aimed to accelerate the promotion decision making experience of the same junior managers from the previous study. A coaching program was developed using the information obtained from the previous two studies. The program was evaluated experimentally. Cognitive mode (analytic or intuitive) and coaching format acted as independent variables. The coaching format was either exemplar-based, where the focus was on providing a small number of highly domain-relevant and contextualised examples, or abstractive-based, where the focus was on the use of rules using a large number of decontextualised examples. The study found that the coaching program significantly improved overall promotion decision making skills of junior managers. Furthermore, there was evidence of an aptitude-treatment interaction, where the effect of training format depended on the trainees’ cognitive mode. The exemplar-based training format produced better results for junior managers applying an intuitive cognitive mode, while those junior managers applying an analytic cognitive mode performed equally well in both training formats. The research has a wide range of human factors applications, including training, decision aiding, interface design, and knowledge sharing. The thesis used new and more up to date methodology to contribute to the limited empirical literature on promotion decision making. It determined how expert promotion decisions are made in real management contexts, using managers exposed to the same real-world context and situation. The research also described how this expertise can be shared and ultimately transferred to more novice and junior managers. The current research was also able to contribute to the notion that naturalistic, complex, and experiential decisions can be investigated with similar empirical rigour to those more analytic and rational decisions. Organisational psychology will benefit from the application of cognitive and decision making theories to real-world issues and applications.

 
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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:33:56 EST