Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Competency-Based Education (Re)-Defined: Trends and Implications in Scholarly Discourses of Higher Education

Indre Cuckler, School of Educational Leadership for Change

Due to the increased interest in competency-based education (CBE) and a recent surge in CBE-related publications, it was timely to examine how the concepts of CBE and competencies were portrayed in higher education academic journals. I utilized content analysis to examine the frequency of publications and to identify trends and themes associated with CBE in 11 selected higher education journals published from 1999 to 2014. The analysis revealed that CBE discourses are strongly associated with workforce needs, the accountability movement, and quality of education. This study confirmed notions proposed by other scholars that CBE and competencies are not yet uniformly defined in the literature. The study revealed that empirical research on CBE that goes beyond the utilization of case studies and surveys about CBE is not prevalent; therefore, there is a need for a more comprehensive view on CBE that includes the latest evidence-based approaches, as well as research from learning theories. Overall, based on the analyzed articles, it seems that current conceptualizations of CBE were influenced by positivist and humanist perspectives, while the critical and postmodern views on CBE were not prevalent. It would be useful to examine CBE from critical and postmodern perspectives in order to facilitate a more socially just conceptualization and practice of CBE. The analyzed articles in the selected academic journals lacked synthesized theory, historical accounts, and empirical research that utilizes experimental designs to investigate CBE. The current CBE movement could benefit from an examination of research on CBE that is available, as well as research conducted in other countries. Finally, I synthesized a definition of CBE and competencies based on themes that emerged from the literature and made suggestions for future research and practice.

How Women Experience Gender when Working with Men in a Female-Concentrated Occupation

Kerry E. Weinberg, School of Human and Organizational Development

This qualitative dissertation focuses on women’s experience of working with men in a female-concentrated occupation. Occupations tend to be strongly gender-typed (associated mainly with females or males) and this occupational segregation has advantaged men over women in terms of income, authority, and power. Crossing of gendered work boundaries occurs and with increasing frequency. Researchers have examined this boundary crossing, mainly from the perspective of females entering male occupations and to a lesser degree, males entering female occupations. This narrative inquiry investigated the extent and the ways in which women working with men, in a traditionally female occupation experience gender as an element of their workplace. The study context was sonography, an allied health occupation. I interviewed 14 female, diagnostic medical sonographers to explore their experiences working with male diagnostic medical sonographers. Major themes from the interviews indicated that women see gender as important in the workplace in complicated ways. Women see men as: (a) having different work values, (b) preferable as bosses, (c) complaining less than women, (d) less nurturing with patients, (e) not working as hard as women; but (f) creating a more desirable work environment. Overall, the study strengthens the findings of Williams’ (Williams, 1992) article entitled “The Glass Escalator” about the “hidden advantages” that men receive in female occupations. This study’s findings suggest less than positive perceptions about men as colleagues in our neoliberal age.

Keywords: gender, tokenism, occupational gender segregation, stereotypes

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Influence of Group Socialization on Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation in Law Enforcement Culture

Craig Wetterer, School of Psychology

Over the past several decades, research on authoritarianism in law enforcement officers has focused primarily on measurement of the construct in pre-service academy recruits and incumbent officers; however, little is known at present about how authoritarianism might influence decision making in law enforcement personnel. Although most studies have found that early socialization processes increase authoritarianism levels in this population, many of these earlier studies were encumbered with methodological limitations that affected generalizability. More specifically, they employed poorly validated measures and utilized samples that were not representative of a contemporary law enforcement organization. The present study sought to confirm the influence of group socialization on the constructs of authoritarianism and social dominance orientation by use of a contemporary and representative law enforcement sample. To test the hypothesis that higher authoritarianism and social dominance orientation would lead to more punitive enforcement outcomes for ethnic minorities, ethnicity was experimentally manipulated in a traffic stop vignette in which enforcement outcomes were rated by participants. Findings indicated that early group socialization is associated with increased authoritarianism and social dominance orientation in law enforcement officers; however, higher scores on these constructs did not predict the differential treatment of ethnic minorities in the form of more punitive enforcement outcomes.

Key Words: Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, Police, Prejudice

Fat Persons Finding Meaning in Their Experiences of Humiliation: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Robert K. Green, School of Human and Organizational Development

This study explored how the study participants make sense of their experiences of humiliation in a society that stigmatizes fat persons. Previous research in Fat Studies has not focused on humiliation. The research project used interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the experiences of four men and women who self-identified as fat and who had experiences of humiliation related to their body size.

The meanings of the words and events shared by the participants, within a phenomenological framework, illuminated eight themes that structured their experiences: avoidance; place in the world; impediments to well-being and growth; agency and empowerment; recognition, exclusion, and disconnection; blame and fault; and oppression. A second framework used in this study was intersectionality, an analytic tool that helped examine the influence of race and gender in participants’ experiences. The third framework was a multi-level analysis that enabled an examination of the findings from three inter-related levels of context and analysis: micro, meso, and macro.

The study findings demonstrated that participants engaged in a cyclical process of experiences-interpretations-responses (EIR) when they faced a humiliating event. Experiences informed interpretations, which informed responses. New responses informed new experiences.

Key Words: Fat Studies, humiliation, intersectionality, avoidance, impediments, agency, empowerment, recognition, blame, fault, oppression


Trish Oelrich, School of Human and Organizational Development

Research from 20th and 21st century scholars demonstrates from any moral or cognitive perspective, that social determinants play a dominant role, particularly on ethical behavior. This study’s main purpose was to examine how employees’ ethical behaviors differ when using social technology as compared to traditional face-to-face communications. Using a practice lens, narrative inquiry was used to capture the lived experiences of 22 employees, including managers and senior managers, from three large, global companies (two highly regulated) that use social technologies in their everyday work situations.

The results of this study suggest that the use of social technologies in the workplace promotes ethical behavior, if guided by good leadership. While ethical leadership is always important, it is critical in environments where the audience is much broader, and leaders are more accessible. Leaders need to recognize the unique skill set required for optimized use of social technology in the workplace. They must build and invest in the management of their own reputation as an ethical leader.

KEY WORDS: Ethical Behavior, Moral Psychology, Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Ethical Leadership, Ethical Infrastructure, Social Technology, Enterprise Social Technology, Ethics.

BE-ing @Work: Wearables and Presence of Mind in the Workplace

Heidi Forbes Öste, School of Human and Organizational Development

Expectations and demands in the changing contemporary workplace are driven by emergent technologies.  Ubiquitous in nature, they are designed to enhance human and organization potential.  These technologies provide access to information and connection at all times. They are increasingly reliant on human relationships and connection.  BE-ing one’s best self in each interaction amidst distraction and health-related issues challenge presence. Wellness and mindfulness in the contemporary workplace relate to individual health as well as productivity and engagement.  The study examines the affordances of wearable technologies (wearables) in correlation to presence of mind in the workplace.  Wellness wearables with functions related to potential causes of presenteeism (lost productivity from hindered presence) were used in this study.  The findings are applicable for design, human resources and organization development professionals, and scholars. This study provides insight into potential interventions to meet the demands of the contemporary workplace through emerging technologies.  

Key words: wearables, presence, presenteeism, productivity, sociomateriality, human computer interaction (HCI), social strategy, wearable technology, engagement, social technology, cognitive enhancement, workplace wellness, well-being, UX design

Ecotones, Boundaries, and Culture: Intersections of Korean American and Other Communities in Howard County, Maryland

Pearl Seidman, School of Human and Organizational Development

This research is positioned at the interface between ecological and social systems. In both, how and where we draw boundaries is consequential, as are the relationships in the space between. Do findings from ecology about the nature of ecotones and boundaries apply to social systems at a community level, in particular to individuals who play a bridging role between Korean Americans and their counterparts from Other cultural communities in Howard County, Maryland? The term “Other” is capitalized to denote the plurality of heritages other than Korean that comprise the diverse cultural landscape of Howard County.

In ecology, an ecotone is an intermediary, or transition zone, between two adjacent ecosystems where species from both communities co-mingle. The nexus between distinct communities is typically characterized by greater diversity, tension, adaptive capacity, and resilience. Interstitial spaces cannot be defined without understanding the boundaries that create and maintain them. An ecological boundary classification system (Strayer, Power, Fagan, Pickett, & Belnap, 2003) is contrasted with frameworks in the social sciences, acting as a discursive bridge to increase translatability between disciplines.

Group and individual interviews involved sixteen cultural connectors and leaders of note in the community. Relational research methods acknowledged the interdependent and intersubjective construction of meaning. Thematic analysis was used to organize data.

The cultural ecotone was brought to life through voices that evoked the sources of boundaries and the nuances of diversity and tension. Necessity fueled adaptive capacity, not only for the Korean American community, but for the larger community. Community adaptive capacity was enacted in many examples by the corridor creation functions of cultural connectors. Change is more likely to occur at the intersection of differences. The processes of change dynamics created the environment in which differences unfolded. Findings failed to confirm evidence of community resilience given the definition used.

As migration is an ever increasing area of importance, this additional lens may be of value to researchers and practitioners. This study also creates a more permeable boundary for increased flow across ecological and social disciplines. Ecological and cultural humility or ecohumility is an appropriate stance in this space between.

Key Words: ecotones, cultural ecotones, Korean Americans, boundaries, diversity, tension, adaptive capacity, group interviews, ecological and cultural humility, ecohumility.

Adolescents’ Meta-Perspectives of Media Immersion

Yashica Holmes-Smith, School of Psychology

This manuscript discusses an exploratory study of the views of teens immersed in media. To recruit participants, media tracking sheets were distributed to 100 adolescents between the ages of 13 -19 years. Twelve of the heaviest media users were selected to participate in a qualitative study of their views about their heavy media use. Participants were asked to maintain a media journal for 2 weeks and to participate in a semi-structured interview about media use and impacts. Eight participants submitted journals and completed interviews. I conducted categorical content analyses of data collected from selection sheets, journal entries, and interview transcripts. I then identified themes that may offer insight about adolescents’ experiences with media and the influence of heavy media use on adolescents’ academic, social, and personal well-being. The nine themes that emerged included Using Media for Good, Media as a Double-Edged Sword, Mediated Relationships: Connecting and Disconnecting, A Matter of Time: Time Saved and Time Displaced, My Media, My Self: Self and Individuality, Entertainment and Distraction, Above the Influence, Media Literacy on the Rise, and Gaining Awareness through Monitoring and Reflection.

Personality, Binge Eating, and the Experience of Self-Monitoring of Eating Behaviors

Noel C. Gonzalez, School of Psychology

Although self-monitoring is a key intervention for eating disorders treatment, its success has been limited. Personality factors strongly linked to eating disorders (e.g., impulsivity) may also hinder the ability to self-monitor.  To explore this link, 588 undergraduate students were assessed for eating disorders (e.g., binge eating), personality factors (e.g., conscientiousness/preference for perception over judging), and carried a food diary for four consecutive days.  Multiple regression using personality and level of binge eating was used to predict diary outcomes (e.g., completion, ease of use).  Results showed no significant contribution of personality factors or eating disorder severity on the success of diary completion, in contrast to previous research on this topic.  Methodological factors (e.g., population characteristics, potential measurement error) likely contributed.

Physical Health, Attitudes Toward Menopause and Aging, Meaning in Life, and Their Relationship to Psychological Distress in Midlife Women

Alicia Marie Abell, School of Psychology

Research has demonstrated that poor physical health is associated with psychological distress (Meeks, Murrell, & Mehl, 2000) and that problems with physical health and psychological distress increase with age (Chachamovich, Fleck, Laidlaw, & Power, 2008; Centers for Disease Control, 2010). Yet despite considerable research on risk factors for psychological distress in midlife women, little is known about protective factors against distress in this population. This study explored factors related to psychological distress in midlife women by examining the relationships between physical health and psychological distress, between attitudes toward menopause and aging and psychological distress, and between meaning in life and psychological distress. It also explored whether either attitudes or meaning moderated the relationship between physical health and psychological distress and whether attitudes and meaning interacted to affect levels of distress. The 11,058 participants in this study were females between the ages of 40 and 55 who completed the first stage of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a cross-sectional telephone or in-home survey done between November 1995 and October 1997. Results demonstrated a significant negative relationship between physical health and psychological distress as well as a significant negative relationship between attitudes toward menopause and aging and psychological distress. Meaning in life did not have a significant relationship with psychological distress, nor were there any interactional effects between the independent variables. This study contributes to the literature by confirming the relationship between physical health and psychological distress and by highlighting positive attitudes toward menopause and aging as protective factor against distress in midlife women. 

How Might The Ayahuasca Experience Be a Potential Antidote to Western Hegemony: A Mixed Methods Study

Roan Kaufman, School of Educational Leadership for Change

This mixed-methods study researched people who have participated in traditional Indigenous Ayahuasca ceremonies to determine if the experience served as an antidote to dominant cultural hegemony. Fourty-four participants completed the quantitative scaled questionnaire and 11 qualitative interviews were conducted for the study. Findings reveal five antidotal movements toward countering the uninvestigated assumptions dictated by hierarchical systems common to Western culture. These include self-determination; increased relationality; reduced anthropocentrism; reduced consumerism/materialism; movement toward more critical awareness of status-quo assumptions. The most profound transformations toward counter-hegemonic dispositions occurred in concert with certain dynamics I describe relating to several variables. I conclude that working with ayahuasca moves people toward Indigenous ways of understanding the world.

Keywords: Hegemony, Western hegemony, ayahuasca, Indigenous worldview

A Latent Growth Analysis of Hierarchical Complexity and Perspectival Skills in Adulthood

Clinton J. Fuhs, School of Human and Organizational Development

Problem: A range of developmental models have been applied in research on leader development. Such applications often advocate “whole” person approaches to leader growth. They seek to expand social, cognitive, and behavioral capacities, and often reference perspective taking. Many of these approaches define developmental levels in terms of specific content, ideas, and domain-specific capacities. In some models, people are said to be at a given level because they demonstrate a certain
kind of perspective taking, and they are also expected to demonstrate that kind of perspective taking because they are at a given level. This circularity largely prevents the investigation of how different capacities change together (or not) over time.

Purpose: Using an approach that avoids this kind of circularity it was possible to examine perspectival skills and developmental level independently. I tested three hypotheses about the relationship between change in developmental level and change in perspective taking, seeking, and coordination. It was predicted that these constructs would exhibit patterns of synchronous and asynchronous change, with the former being most prominent."

Method: The sample consisted of 598 civil leaders who completed a developmental assessment called the Lectical™ Decision Making Assessment (LMDA) up to 4 times over a 9-month leadership development program. The LDMAs yielded separate scores for Lectical level—a domain-general index of hierarchical complexity—and perspective taking, seeking, and coordination. Perspective taking and seeking scores were disaggregated into component scores for salience, accessibility, and sophistication. Ten scores were analyzed with Latent growth modeling techniques. Four types of models were fit to these data: (a) Univariate latent growth curve models, (b) multivariate parallel process models, (c) univariate latent difference scores models, and (d) bivariate latent difference scores models.

Results: All hypotheses were partially confirmed. Change trajectories for most scores were non linear, characterized by dips and spurts. The rate of change in perspective scores was not related to rate of change for Lectical score or initial Lectical score. Initial Lectical score was positively related to initial perspective scores. Lectical score was a leading indicator of subsequent change in seeking and seeking salience. Lectical change positively impacted seeking change, whereas Lectical score positively impacted seeking salience change.

Conclusions: The relationship between change in these constructs is more complex than typically portrayed. Evidence suggests that these variables change more independently of each other than claimed in earlier research. Patterns of asynchronous change were three times more common than synchronous change, and Lectical score predicted change in only some aspects of perspectival capacity. Implications for theory, method, and pedagogy, along with study limitations and
avenues for future research are discussed.

Key Words: Adult development, leader development, cognitive development, structural development, skill theory, Lectical Assessment System, Lectical level, hierarchical complexity, perspective taking, perspective seeking, perspective coordination, latent growth modeling, latent growth curve modeling, latent difference score models.

Spirituality as a Transformative Experience in the Lives of Black Catholic Women

Claudine Pannell-Goodlett, School of Human and Organizational Development

Black Catholic women's spiritual experiences are potent resources for empowerment, and social and personal transformation. This study explores several bodies of literature in order to appreciate and understand the political, social, cultural, psychological, moral, and historical context of the spirituality of Black Catholic women. The purpose of this dissertation is to encourage further research and expand the base of scholarly literature and practice by highlighting transformative experiences in the daily lives, beliefs, and spiritual practices of a group of Black Catholic women. A mixed methods research design consisting of specific questions, a Standardized Assessment Instrument (DSES©), and semi-structured individual interviews was used to capture and examine the lived experiences of 24 participants self-identified as Black, Catholic, and a woman at least 18 years old.

Study results reveal Prayer, Eucharist, and Scripture form the cornerstone of the spirituality of these women. Connections with other Black Catholic women and feelings of gratitude cement their relationship with God. Responses to specific questions revealed explicit activities that deflate and nourish their spiritual energy. Results of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES©) indicate that participants feel "very close to God" and "ask for God's help in the midst of daily activities, many times a day." The individual interviews produced compelling descriptions of their spirituality and the spiritual impact of discrimination, Church controversies, and transformative experiences. Participants individually voice their wisdom and hopes for the future.

Study results clearly show that transformative experiences lead to deeper levels of spirituality. Participants also pinpoint healing the effects of discrimination, obtaining relevant spiritual direction and support as necessary to deal with life-altering events. Race, gender equity, sexuality, and the future of Black people within the American Catholic Church, appear as dynamic forces in participants' spiritual lives. This synergy is a sentinel call for further academic and practical study that connects culture, transformative learning, and the spirituality of Black Catholic women.

KEY WORDS: Black Catholic women, Spirituality, Feminism, Womanism, Transformative Learning theory, Women and religion, Spiritual assessments, DSES©.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Innovative Approaches to Faculty Development for Technology Integration: Evaluation of a Three-Tiered Model

Margaret Hunter, School of Educational Leadership for Change

College students expect technology to be a part of their learning environment, regardless of delivery format. Employers expect college graduates to be digitally fluent. However, colleges and universities have not prepared faculty to integrate technology into teaching practice, creating a gap between the faculty’s skill set and the demands of students and employers. Even though integration of technology and pedagogy is critical to faculty developing digital fluency, colleges have isolated technology from pedagogy. While learner-centered, interactive teaching methods are the most effective way to reach students, most faculty still use the lecture as their primary teaching mode.

Colleges must examine new ways to train faculty to use technology in tandem with pedagogy. This study examined the use of a three-tiered model to train faculty to create an engaging, interactive learning environment. The study was conducted at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Training offered to full- and part-time faculty members included a 5-day boot camp, an online course, and personal coaching during their first delivery of the alternative format. The training was developed as a result of a college-wide initiative to train all faculty to teach in alternative delivery formats. The focus of the training was blended delivery. The study looked at how the model affected instructors’ integration of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge, as well as how the model affected faculty confidence and student learning. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected via surveys, faculty participant blog entries, and instructor observations.

The implications of the study are that the model helped faculty to develop confidence, create engaging course content, and form a teaching and learning community. Participants experienced increased confidence levels as they used technology in three contexts: during the boot camp, in the online portion of the course, and in their classrooms. As faculty confidence increased, course content became more engaging for students. During each tier of the model, faculty became more fluent in integration of technology, pedagogy, and course content. The study also revealed the importance of a teaching community for faculty. Faculty formed relationships during the boot camp that created a community that will outlast the course.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Blank Screen Meets the Internet: How Psychoanalysts Conceptualize the Use of Internet Searches in Professional Practice

Chaya Rubin, School of Psychology

Psychoanalytic psychologists recognize various elements involving both the stance of the analyst in practice and the maintenance of specific boundaries in the treatment as critical to psychoanalytic technique. However, as a result of the widespread engagement with the Internet over the past decade, new means of obtaining information about a patient (as well as a psychoanalyst) are now available that challenge the traditional psychoanalytic conceptualization of boundaries and of the therapeutic frame. The purpose of this study was to explore how psychoanalysts conceptualize the influence of the Internet in clinical practice and to consider whether psychoanalysts recognize Internet use as an intrusion into the psychoanalytic situation when it is employed by either patient or psychoanalyst, or if they indeed create space for this medium in their work. Using an interpretive phenomenological approach, the views of 13 participant psychoanalysts in practice are presented. Results reveal significant variability and diversity in the way the challenges are viewed and managed, indicating the importance of opening a field-wide dialogue on the subject. This study further argues for a psychoanalytic approach toward such discussion that will encourage and accept the presentation of multiple perspectives.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Effective Professional: The Adoption and Use of a Feedback System in Psychotherapy

Clifton Wood Chamberlain, School of Psychology

Using a “local therapist” sample, a feedback system, the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), was added to psychotherapy sessions. Unique client-therapist pairs made use of the feedback system and results are compared to a control group where only outcomes were tracked. Therapist attitudes toward evidence-based practices and their decision to adopt the feedback system were also measured. The design was intended to be naturalistic and practice-friendly. The methods used here were chosen, in part, to facilitate the joining of science and practice and to promote effective psychotherapeutic methods. Efforts to close the research-practice gap must include data for the treatment or method as well as dissemination and adoption in an integrated and feasible package. The present study blends empiricism and real-world practice to promote the spread of an empirically supported technique for improving outcomes. Research to date has focused mainly on empiricism with less attention paid to subsequent spread of research findings. This study used a field design for exploring the intention to adopt a specific evidence-based practice, an alliance and outcomes feedback system (PCOMS). The dissemination phase involved recruiting volunteer therapists and providing training materials on the use of the feedback measures. The implementation phase involved an alliance/outcome feedback group versus a treatment as usual group. The adoption phase measured therapists’ likelihood of adoption of these methods into their future practice. The sample of therapists and clients was drawn from the local community to include a variety of the typical providers of psychotherapy (i.e., counselors, psychologists, social workers, and trainees) in a variety of settings. Results showed improved outcomes for the feedback group compared to the control group. The overall feasibility of the measures and the implications of the positive findings are discussed along with study limitations and needs for future research.

International adjustment in a dual cultural context: Voices of Western executive expatriates in Shanghai

Jane Feng, School of Human and Organizational Development

Expatriate study has been an area of scholarship and practitioner interest for four decades. Globalization promotes a growing number of multinational corporations (MNCs) to set up their subsidiaries in China. Expatriate adjustment is clearly important but is conceptually overdescribed and empirically underexamined.
This exploratory research study examined the international adjustment of Western executive expatriates in China. It focused on their adjustment in a dual cultural context of the MNC environment that requires expatriates to deal with both headquarters in the West and locals in the East. The research generated new understandings of dual cultural adjustment for senior executive expatriates in China.
The literature review included sensemaking, cross-cultural adaptation, culture shock, expatriate adjustment, and global leadership. Yet, there is insufficient research in these literatures of how expatriates adjust in this dual cultural context. Therefore I designed the research with an explorative approach and interviewed 12 Western senior executive expatriates. I referred to the concepts and models from the literature in the coding of my data analysis.
Central to my findings, and the primary contribution of this research, is the proposal of a dual cultural adjustment framework. It suggests that this adjustment can be explained with three components: background factors, dual cultural sensemaking, and managing in a dual cultural context. The background factors are in place before the expatriation and they influence how the expatriates perceive the dual cultural encounters that, in turn, affect how they act in a dual cultural setting.
As a researcher who is native Chinese and has worked with Western executives for several major MNCs, my contribution to the field is the development of a new, research-based framework that offers a new approach to expatriate study, adding functional knowledge and value to MNCs, scholars, and practitioners.

Key words: expatriate adjustment, dual cultural context, cross-cultural adaptation, explorative approach, coding, dual cultural sensemaking

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Interoceptive Awareness is Positively Related to Emotion Regulation

Jennifer R. Abbott, School of Psychology

Difficulties in emotion regulation underlie the sequelae of many painful mental disorders, and can lead to self-injurious behavior, substance abuse, and relationship problems. Awareness of interoceptive stimuli has been implicated in contributing to difficulties in emotion regulation by increasing emotional sensitivity and by enhancing the intensity of emotion. Clinicians have described the utility of interoceptive awareness in the treatment of emotion dysregulation. Little is known about interoceptive awareness and how it functions to have such a bidirectional effect on emotion regulation. Using a non-clinical population of university students (N=167), this study examined the relationship between interoceptive awareness in emotion regulation and whether mindfulness functioned to moderate the direction of this relationship. Pearson product-moment correlation analyses and hierarchical multiple regression were conducted to examine the relationships among variables, as measured by scores on the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness. A significant positive relationship was found between interoceptive awareness and emotion regulation, substantiating claims that interoceptive awareness can aid in emotion regulation. Mindfulness was not found to have a moderating effect, but was significantly related to increases in emotion regulation difficulty. However, a post hoc exploratory analysis did reveal a moderation effect. A better understanding of these relationships will equip clinicians to treat individuals with emotion regulation deficits more effectively.


Drew R. Suss, School of Human and Organizational Development

Effective leadership is essential for life sciences (LS) organizations developing successful treatments for diseases and reliable sources of food. As the world population grows and ages, the importance of their success increases. Sustainability demands that complex organizations be populated with effective decision makers, but data shows organizational life spans are relatively brief (Agarwal & Gort, 2002). This suggests effective decision making is uncommon.
The literature review explored the concept of leadership effectiveness, analyzed the complex systems framework of the adaptive-learning management system (ALMS) (Ackoff, 1999a) and the servant leadership (SL) model (Greenleaf, 1977). The analysis found ALMS, and SL theoretically aligned. This suggests SL may encourage effective workplace decisions (EWD) and may therefore be the preferred model for complex organizations as Bass (2000) suggested. The hypothesis tested was: In LS organizations there is a statistically significant correlation between the workers’ perceptions of servant leadership enacted by LS leaders, and followers’ perceptions that they are empowered to make effective workplace decisions.
A mixed-method approach measured SL and EWD behaviors quantitatively. Two instruments were used: The 30-item SLS survey, developed and validated by van Dierendonck and Nuitjen (2011), and the 8-item EWD instrument validated in a pilot study. The SLS has 8 subscales which enabled multiple factor analyses. Qualitative data were gathered to enable triangulation. The total sample (n= 77) produced a positive correlation: r =.48, r2 = .22 (p<.0001). Sample participants focused on commercialization (n=43) had a positive correlation: r = 0.37, (p 0.0313). Science-focused participants (n=34) generated a stronger positive correlation: r = 0.59, r2 =.35 (p<.001) with two SLS factors demonstrating significant variance values: Courage and empowerment measured r2 =.33 and r2 =.39 respectively (p <.0001). Qualitative data supported H1.
This empirical study produced significant empirical support for H1. It is the first to show the correlation of servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1970 ) and Ackoff’s (1999a) systems-focused management theory. This lends credence to suggestion that SL is beneficial to organizational sustainability (Bass, 2000; Greenleaf, 1970; Senge, 1990). It provides evidence that leaders who practice SL enable people to grow in their capacity to be effective (Ackoff, 1999a, 1999b).


Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Sean P. Thoennes, School of Psychology

Each new phase in the short history of electric and electronic media technology continues to impact the way U. S. Presidents communicate to a nationwide audience. Following the Great Recession during the campaign of 2012, President Obama sat down at a computer to take questions from anyone with access to the Internet and the reddit social networking site (SNS). This study focuses on threads emanating from that conversation and uses inductive reasoning for its unique perspective, as the precedents for wired and wireless political messaging in the past do not have at their center the President of the United States (POTUS) in a globally accessible, uncensored, and unmediated live chat with anonymous participants. Historical context, group theory, discourse psychology, and Web Sciences inform this single case study research design. Despite political messaging comparisons and because of the uncensored interaction, President Obama’s conversation represents a gap in the knowledge for group formation around communications. Triangulating archival quantitative measures of reddit, social media and Internet trends, qualitative text analytics of the reddit discussion, and historical context, forms an inductively reasoned argument to expand group process theory. A sample of question/answer threads contrasts inter-group cases to compare for replication in addition to comparisons with prior U.S. Presidents’ uses of new media technologies. An analysis of President Obama’s text distinguishes computer-mediated communication (CMC), traditional political messaging, and human-computer interface (HCI). The findings support optimal distinctiveness theory (ODT) as a valid model for online groups on sites such as reddit, and an ongoing tradition for political persuasion using new media technologies such as HCI. The historical bases for political messaging and group processes using new technologies also offer future implications when considering evolutionary dynamics and memetics theory as foundational to the concept that the human species not only continues to evolve, but gains greater control over its evolution through advancements in new media technologies.