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August 28, 2007

Marshall Goldsmith School of Management – Los Angeles

Fall 2007 Comprehensive Exam Review Sheets

Dear Students,
Appended you will find three review sheets (Theory, Interventions, & Research) designed
to aid you in studying for the Fall 2007 administration of the Doctoral Comprehensive
Exam at MGSM-LA. We have designed these review sheets with the following goals in

1) To specify the general content domains that the faculty believe represent required
Ph.D.-level knowledge in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
2) To help students identify areas where more study and preparation are needed.
These review sheets are designed to reduce anxiety by providing a list of topics that
should be mastered as part of advancement to doctoral candidacy. They do not constitute
a contract, real or implied, regarding the questions that will appear on the comprehensive
exam. Further, these lists of topics extend beyond what has been covered during your
formal coursework. The reason for this is that comprehensive exams are a test of your
current mastery of the field of organizational psychology, rather than a test of past course
At times, studying these topics will require literature searches to learn additional concepts
beyond those presented in class. This is a deliberate feature of the design of
comprehensive exams, as this aspect is what distinguishes the comps as a learning
process, in addition to an evaluation of learning outcomes. This learning process will
likely be mirrored later in your career, when you will be asked to independently develop
expertise in topics with which you are initially unfamiliar.
Please remember during your studies that you are not being asked to memorize entire
books or articles, but rather to learn and understand the general principles from these
sources that can be summarized in a 2-5 page, written answer. Because the material that
must be covered is voluminous, you should not devote all of your studying time to any
one topic or narrow group of topics.
It is our hope that these review sheets will support and possibly even comfort you by
providing some structure to guide your studying. [We believe that any anxiety you might
experience while studying would be far greater if there were no review sheets at all.]
This process will be challenging, and we believe that your efforts will be well-spent. A
rigorous comprehensive examination process will distinguish the AIU Ph.D. from
competitors’ degrees.

MGSM-LA Faculty
Comprehensive Examination Study Guide


Social Psychology in Organizations

1. Helping Behavior, Altruism

 Social Exchange Theory
 Empathy-altruism Theory
 Prosocial transformations
 Norm of social responsibility
o Diffusion of responsibility
o Feelings of uncertainty
o Evaluation apprehension
 Mood and helping
o Affect-priming Model
o Affect-as-information Model
 Personality characteristics and helping
 Factors affecting helping behavior
 Factors affecting prosocial behaviors in organizations

2. Aggression
 Organization-motivated aggression
 Workplace aggression
 Instinct Theory
 Frustration-Aggression Theory
 Relative Deprivation
 Social Learning approach to Aggression
 Catharsis
 Media Influences

3. Interpersonal relations
 Affiliation, attraction and close relationships
 Improving face-to-face relationships at the workplace
 Friendship patterns and consequences at the workplace
 Reward theory of attraction
 Similarity and attraction
 Proximity and attraction
 Mere Exposure Effect

4. Attribution Theory
 Actor-Observer Bias
 Kelley’s, Nisbett’s and Weiner’s theory of attribution
 Jones and Davis’ Correspondence Bias
 Self-serving Bias
 False consensus effect
 False uniqueness effect
 Heider’s balance theory
 Fundemental Attribution Error
 Ultimate Attribution Error
 Learned helplessness
 Self-efficacy/collective efficacy
 A causal attribution approach to work exhaustion consequences

5. Cognitive approaches to attitudes

 Attitude-behavior relationship
 Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory, cognitive consistency
 Bem’s Self-perception theory
 Self-presentation theory
 Cognitive consequences of forced compliance
 Attitude change
 Attitude assessment
 Attitude accessibility as a moderator in the attitude-perception and attitude-
behavior relations

6. Persuasion
 Petty and Cacioppo’s routes to persuasion
 Elements of persuasion
 One-sided versus two-sided appeals
 Primacy versus recency effects
 Effects of fear-arousing communications
 The effects of involvement on responses to argument quantity and quality
 Foot-in-the-door Phenomenon
 Door-on-the face Phenomenon
 Law-ball technique

7. Social influence and conformity

 Sherif’s studies on norm formation
 Asch’s studies on group pressure
 Milgram’s obedience experiments
 Zimbardo’s prison experiment
 Factors influencing obedience
 When do people conform?
 Why do people conform?
 Who conforms?
8. Group decision-making
• Social facilitation
o Evaluation apprehension
o Distraction
o Mere presence
• Social loafing
• Deindividuation
o Group size
o Anonymity
o Distraction
o Self-awareness
• Group polarization
o Informational and normative influence
• Groupthink
o Symptoms of groupthink
o Preventing groupthink
• Trust and decision-making

9. Intergroup relations and prejudice

• Social categorization
• Stereotyping
• Prejudice and discrimination
• Self-fulfilling prophecy
• Origins of prejudice
o Realistic Conflict Theory
o Social Identity Theory
o Social Learning Theory
o Scapegoat Theory
o Authoritarian Personality
o Belief Congruency Theory
o Accentuation Theory
o Illusory Correlation Theory
• Modern racism
• Obedience to authority as explanations for employment discrimination
• Minimal group paradigm

10. Social psychology in cross-cultural perspective

• Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
• Intercultural communication
• Kluckhorn and Strodbeck’s work
• Implications of cross-cultural differences for I/O psychology and HRM
Cultural Diversity in Organizations
1. Introduction to the cultural diversity, definitions, issues
• Definitions
• Importance of diversity competency
• Advantages of well-managed diversity
• Potential problems of diversity
2. Identity
• Self-identity
• Group-identity
o Types of group identities
• Social Identity Theory
• Cultural-identity
o Identity strength
o Subjective belief structures
3. Stereotyping
• Impact of stereotyping in organizations
• Relationship between stereotyping and prejudice
o Information-processing approach
o Consistency Theory
4. Prejudice & Discrimination
• Modern prejudice
• Different Approaches to Prejudice
o Psychodynamic approach
o The frustration-aggression hypothesis
o The authoritarian personality
o Relative deprivation
o Realistic goal conflict
o Minimal group paradigm
o Social identity theory
• Impact of Prejudice in Organizations
• Subgroup differentiation and subgroup bias
• Positive distinctiveness
5. Racism in organizations
• Different types of racism
o Symbolic racism
o Everyday racism
o Aversive racism
o Modern racism
o Traditional racism
o Others….
• Racial categorization
• Racial identity development
6. Sexism in organizations
• Gender stereotyping and discrimination
• Fiske & Stevens’ approach to gender differences
• Barriers to retaining and advancing women
• The ambivalent sexism
• Stopping sexual harassment at the workplace

7. Sexual orientation and other stigmatized groups

• Sexual orientation
• Age
• Disability
• Weight. Religion, and other stigmatized groups
• How to create a change at the workplace to include homosexuals, elderly, disabled
people, and other stigmatized group members

8. Culture
• Cross-cultural aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication
• Organizational reward systems and culture
• Cross-cultural training across the individualism-collectivism divide
• Negotiating across cultural boundaries
• Cross-cultural differences in leadership styles
• Acculturation
o Types of acculturation
o Strategies for improving acculturation

9. Strategies for successful diversity management

 Implementation of consulting assessments
• Models for reducing discrimination
o Personalization Model
o Common-group Identity Model
o Categorization Model
o Crossed categorization Model
• Organizational change
o Individual Change
o Systemic Change
o What can consultant do to promote organizational change?
o Activities contributing to effective change management (Cummings and
Worley's five-factor model or John Kotter's Eight Steps)
• Strategies for consultants to international organizations
o Intercultural Communication
o Intercultural sensitivity
o Acculturation
• Leaders’ role in creating successful diversity in organizations
o Developing leaders for global roles.
o Changing management mindset

10. Diversity consultation skills

 Designing intercultural training
 Multicultural organizational development
 Diversity workshops and training

Organizational Behavior

1. Perception and attribution

• Selective perception
• Personal and external influences on attention
• Social perception
o Characteristics of perceiver, target and the situation which could influence
o Role of social perception in job interviews, performance appraisal, and
organizational conflict
o Biases and problems in person perception (primacy effects, contrast
effects, halo effects, similar-to-me effects, harshness, leniency and average
tendency biases, knowledge of predictor bias)
• Attribution theory
o Internal and external attribution
o Attributional biases

2. Learning and Creativity

• Theories of learning
o Classical conditioning
o Operant conditioning
o Observational learning; Social Cognitive Theory (vicarious learning, self-
control, self-efficacy, etc.)
o Experiential learning
• Rewards and punishment in organizations
o Schedules of reinforcement
• Training programs and techniques; Organizational Behavior Modification
• Continuous learning through creativity
o Creative process
o Factors that contribute to creativity (employee characteristics,
organizational and situational characteristics)
o The learning organization (Senge)
• Implications of theories about learning for communication and training

3. Motivation
• Components of motivation
• Need theories
o Maslow’s need hierarchy theory
o Alderfer’s ERG theory
o Murray’s, McClelland’s theory
• Equity theory
• Expectancy theory
• Motivating employees: job design
o Job enrichment
o Job enlargement
• Job characteristics model
• Classical conditioning
• Skinnerian conditioning, Reinforcement theory at work
• Achievement Motivation
• Intrinsic motivation (e.g., Deci, self-determination theory, cognitive evaluation
• Goal motivation (e.g., Locke)

4. Values, Attitudes, Moods and Emotions

• Values (work and ethical values; intrinsic and extrinsic work values)
o Intrinsic and extrinsic work values
o Utilitarian, moral and justice values
• Work Attitudes
o Job satisfaction
o Organizational commitment
o Moods and EmotionsMoods versus emotions
o Emotional labor (display rules, emotional dissonance)
• Job satisfaction
o Measuring job satisfaction
o Theories of job satisfaction
 Herzberg’s two factor theory
 Locke’s value theory
o Determinants of job satisfaction
 Organizational
 Personal
o Effects of job satisfaction in organizations
• Organizational commitment
o Types of organizational commitment
o Factors influencing organizational commitment
o Effects of organizational commitment

5. Individual differences
• Personality and organizational behavior
• Big-five personality characteristics
• Type A and Type B personality
• Machiavellianism
• Locus of control
• Self-monitoring
• Self-efficacy
• Self-esteem
• Positive and negative affectivity
• Methods for measuring personality

6. Stress
• Causes of stress
o Work-related causes of stress
o Personal causes of stress
• Effects of stress in organizations
• Causes and effects of job burnout
• Individual differences in resistance to stress
o Optimism
o Hardiness
o Type A personality
• Coping styles
• Stress management
o Physiological techniques
o Cognitive techniques
o Behavioral techniques
o Organization-based strategies

7. Group Dynamics
• Group formation
• Group development
• Creating effective work teams
• Group structure
• Role differentiation in groups
• Role conflict in groups
• Group norms
o Norm development
o Conformity versus deviance
o Socialization and role orientation; socialization tactics
• Status
• Group cohesiveness
o Causes or factors contributing to cohesiveness
o Consequences
• Group productivity, group performance (including process losses/gains)Types of
interdepence in groups (pooled, sequential, reciprocal)
• Social facilitation
• Social loafing

8. Organizational culture
• The origins of organizational culture
o How is organizational culture transmitted to members?
o Factors shaping organizational culture
o Org culture and national culture (Hofstede)
o Creating an ethical culture
• The effects of organizational culture
• How does organizational culture change?
• Careers
o Career changes
o Career development
o Career issues

9. Cooperation and conflict in organizations

• Prosocial behavior
• Organizational citizenship behavior
• Cooperation
o Causes
o Effects
o Factors influencing cooperation
• Conflict
o Causes
o Effects
o Factors influencing conflict
o Pondy’s model of organizational conflict
o Conflict management/resolving conflict

10. Influence and power in organizations

• Social influence
o Tactics of social influence
• Individual power
o Bases of individual power
• Group power
o The resource-dependency model
o Empowerment
o The strategic contingencies model
• Organizational politics
o Political tactics
o Coping with political tactics
o Ethical implications of political behavior

11. Leadership and Power

• Leadership traits
o The trait approach
• Leadership motivation
• Leadership styles
o Participative versus autocratic leaders
o Person-oriented versus production-oriented leaders
o Transformational versus transactional leaders; charismatic leadership
• Gender differences in leadership
• Leader-follower relationship
• Leadership theories
o The contingency model
o Normative theory
o Path-goal theory
o Charismatic leadership
o The vertical dyad linkage model; Leader-member exchange theory
o The attribution approach
o Situational leadership theory
o Fleishman, Fiedler, Blake & Mouton, House, Mitchell, Vroom & Yetton,
- Types of power (e.g., French and Raven and successors)

12. Communication in organizations

• Forms of communication
o Verbal
o Nonverbal
• Influences on organizational communication
o Organizational structure
o Communication networks
o Informal communication networks
o Work environment
• Organizational strategies for improving communication
• Theories of communication
• Communication patterns
• Communication & problem solving

13. Judgment and Decision making in organizations

• The traditional, analytical model of decision making
• Intuitive approach to decision making
o Image theory
• Varieties of organizational decisions
• Individual decision making
o The rational-economic model
o Administrative model
• Cognitive biases in decision making
• Biases & heuristics in judgment (Tversky & Kahneman’s work)

• Yates on Judgment & Decision-making
• Group decision making
o Advances/disadvantages of group decision-making
o Group polarization
o Groupthink
o Improving effectiveness of group decisions
o Group decision-making techniques (e.g., brainstorming, nominal group
technical, Delphi technique, techniques in TQM)

14. Organizational Design and Structure

• Designing organizational structure
• Organic and mechanistic structures
• Types of structures (e.g., functional, divisional, matrix)
• New types of organizational structure (horizontal, network, virtual, etc.)
• Allocating authority (e.g., hierarchy, span of control, centralization versus
• Mutual adjustment and integrating mechanisms

15. Organizational Change and Development

• Forces for and resistance to organizational change
• Lewin’s force-field theory of change
• Evolutionary versus revolutionary change
• Action research and change management
• Basic OD techniques for dealing with resistance and promoting change
Work Motivation and Productivity

Review all basic motivation concepts and theories outlined in Organizational Behavior,
Section 3 Motivation (above), plus the following:

1. Social Cognitive Theory and Self-Efficacy

2. Positive Organizational Behavior (POB)
• Self-efficacy
• Optimism
• Subjective Well-being / Happiness
• Hope
• Emotional Intelligence
• Role of Affect in Motivation
3. Role of Social Influences in Motivation
• Effect of Groups on Motivation
• Organizational Misbehavior
• Groupthink, Collective efficacy
4. Role of Individual Differences in Motivation (e.g., self-esteem, social identity, IQ vs.
motivation on managerial success)
5. Rewards
• Designing effective reward systems
• Merit pay
• Ownership as a motivator
6. Punishment
• Pros and cons of punishment
• Rewards and punishment on social loafing
• Managerial perspectives on punishment
7. Motivating Creativity and Innovation
• Amabile’s Componential Theory of Creativity
• Enhancing creativity: role of employee characteristics (e.g., creative personality,
problem-solving style) and context (supervisory control, stimulating co-workers,
job complexity)

Organization Theory

1. Bureaucracy (Weber, etc.)

2. March and Simon
3. Linking Pin (Likert)
4. Open Systems Theory (Katz & Kahn)
5. Agency Theory
6. Resource Dependency Theory
7. Centralization
8. Size
9. Shape (height, width)
10. Different type of Organization Structures:
• Functional structure
• Divisional structure

• Matrix structure
• Horizontal Structure
• Modular structure
11. Advantages and Disadvantages of each structure.
12. Organic and Mechanistic Organization Forms
• Best fit with different environments
• Behavioral and people implications of each form.
13. Organization Size, Life Cycle & Decline
• Entrepreneurial
• Collectivity
• Formalization
• Elaboration


1. Theories of work performance (e.g., Fleishman; Campbell; Naylor, Pritchard, &

2. Situational constraints
3. Performance assessment (appropriate content, alternative models)
4. Performance management
5. Evaluation and the exercise of authority (Dornbusch & Scott)

Selection & Assessment

1. Theories of selection
2. Artifact theory (Schmidt & Hunter) and rebuttals
3. Approaches to validation
4. Synthetic validity
5. Utility analysis


1. Theories of equity
2. Procedural vs. distributive justice
3. Alternative job evaluation approaches
4. Internal and external consistency
5. Performance-contingent pay

Program Evaluation

1. Models of Evaluation (Kirkpatrick)

2. Criterion development
3. Internal and external outcomes
4. The politics of evaluation

Legal Theory

1. Concepts of fairness
2. Stages of litigation in discrimination cases
3. Adverse impact determination
4. Disparate treatment vs. disparate impact
5. SIOP Principles (2003) and uniform Guidelines (1978)
6. Performance Evaluation/Performance Appraisal
7. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
8. Harassment/Discrimination/Retaliation

Business Strategy

1. Porter’s competitive strategies

2. Miles & Snow
3. Effects of matching HR systems to business strategy.
Methods Review List for Comprehensive Exam
Prepared by Newman and Hoffman
April 2004

Causal Inference & Philosophy of Science

J. S. Mill’s criteria for causal inference
Positivism, Karl Popper (falsificationism), Lakatos

Theories & Hypotheses
(define each and know how they are related; examples of each)

Internal Validity
Experiments, Quasi-experiments, Non-experiments (Diagram them, identify threats to
internal validity)
Threats to internal validity (history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, regression-
to-the-mean, selection, mortality, diffusion or imitation of treatments)
How comparison/control groups, randomization, and pretests counteract these threats
to validity
Identify threats to internal validity when given an example of an intervention
Confounds and statistical control

Construct Validity
Convergent & Discriminant validity (how to identify these in a multi-trait multi-
method matrix, how to establish these through factor analysis)
Construct contamination & construct deficiency
Nomological network
Common method bias/method variance (what it is, sources of it, how to control for it)

External Validity
Probability and non-probability sampling methods, advantages of random sampling
Relation to moderators
Relation to meta-analysis


Recommended text readings could include Crocker & Algina, 1986; Nunnally and
Bernstein (1994); Sage books Introduction to Generalizability Theory (Shavelson &
Webb, 1991); Fundamentals of Item Response Theory (Hambilton, Swaminathan &
Rogers, 1991).

Classical Models
Classical test theory [true score, random error, ratio of true score var. to total var.,
assumptions about error]
Test-retest, Alternate forms, Split-half, Cronbach’s alpha
Relationship of Cronbach’s alpha to number of test items and item inter-correlations
Spearman-Brown prophecy formula
Relation between reliability and criterion-related validity
Correction for attenuation

Correction for range restriction

Role of norms in psychological measurement
Role of standardization in psychological measurement

Modern Models
Modern test theory (advantages over classical theory); applications of modern test
theory (item banking, test equating, item bias, and computer adaptive testing)
Generalizability theory (advantages over classical reliability model; fixed vs. random
effects; variance components; percentage of variance accounted for by components;
intraclass correlation)

Mediators & Moderators 
Define, diagram, and give examples
Know how to test for them (consider problems of statistical power, method variance)

Sample and Population Notation (standard deviation, variance, mean, correlation, etc.)

Scales of Measurement
Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, Ratio
Relation to mathematical operations (addition, multiplication)
Scale invariance under substitution, monotonic transformation, linear transformation,
& multiplication by a constant

Descriptive Statistics
Frequency distributions (Draw & Label: Normal, Bimodal, Skewed, Platykurtic &
Central tendency (Mean, Median, Mode: calculate by hand; put in order from small to
large under skewed distributions; compare in terms of sufficiency, unbiasedness,
efficiency, resistance
Describe how mean is affected by linear transformations (adding & multiplying a
Variability (Variance, Standard Dev., Range, Semi-interquartile range: calculate by
hand, relationship between variance and standard deviation, how they compare in
terms of sufficiency, unbiasedness, efficiency, & resistance; how the SD is affected by
linear transformations)

Standardized Distributions: Z­scores
How to calculate z-scores
How to determine percentiles of z-scores
How to determine % of areas under bell curve
Uses of standard scores
Advantages of unit-weighting (standardizing predictors) as compared to multiple

Sampling Distribution
(What is it?; Draw & Label; Standard Error; Central Limit Theorem)

Test Statistics: Z­tests, t­Tests
Writing null hypotheses (Ho: µ = 0; one-tailed vs. two-tailed)
Test statistic = Estimate / Standard Error
Calculating standard errors and t-values by hand for one-sample, independent
samples, and paired t-tests. Understand s2pooled and the effects of unequal N’s on
independent samples t-test.
Interpreting 95% Confidence Intervals
What does the p-value mean? [p(data | Ho is true), not p(Ho is true | data)]

Type I and Type II Error (α and β levels, relation to N)

Relations among statistical power, sample size, α -level, and effect size (d or r)
Using one-tailed or two-tailed statistical tests and its effect on power, Type I error,
Type II error
Calculating power for one-sample and independent samples t-tests
Impact of dichotomizing variables on statistical tests/power
Capitalizing on chance, a priori vs. post hoc tests (Bonferroni, Tukey, Scheffe, etc.)

scatterplots for positive & negative correlations, (in)sensitivity to linear
transformations and outliers, linearity assumption
interpreting r2
significance testing (Ho: ρ = 0; Ho: ρ1 = ρ2)
Fisher z transformation and basic meta-analysis
Special correlations (Spearman, phi, point-biserial, biserial, tetrachoric)
Impact of range restriction and attenuation; corrections for range restriction and

Factor Analysis
Difference between Exploratory & Confirmatory factor analysis
Exploratory: Difference between PCA and FA; communality and uniqueness;
eigenvalues; scree plots; reading & interpreting factor loadings from factor pattern
matrix, rotation & simple structure; Kaiser & Cattell criteria for factor retention,
parallel analysis; need for high ratio of variables to factors
Confirmatory: Assumptions (e.g., errors uncorrelated, linearity, ML estimation
assumes multivariate normality); Goodness of Fit indexes (what they are, heuristic
cutoffs); Nested models

b-values, residuals, Y-hat, least squares criterion, prediction equation
Multiple R2, change in R2, partial and semi-partial correlation
Assumptions regarding outliers, linearity, independence, homoscedastictity, normality
of residuals (and how the plot of X vs. Residuals looks when assumptions are
Multicolinearity (what it is and what to do about it; how it is related to R2)
Relation between correlation r and regression b
Impact of adding additional predictors (question of unique variance accounted for;
concerns over loss of degrees of freedom, etc.)
Standardized vs. unstandardized regression weights

Suppressor variables
When to use polynomial regression and logistic regression
Shrinkage and correction for shrinkage

Use and Interpretation of Statistical Results
In the statistics & methods section of the comprehensive exams, students don’t simply
write about statistics, but must read and interpret SPSS output reports. Questions require
the examinee to read, interpret, and provide brief narrative summary for one or more of
the following statistical tests/procedures within SPSS:
Descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, variance, minimum/maximum)
Visual examination of data (read and interpret scatterplots; identification of outliers,
t-tests (independent and correlated or dependent t; degrees of freedom, test for equal
vs. unequal variances, read and interpret probability of t)
Correlation (value of r; p-value, degrees of freedom, meaning of r-values obtained)
Multiple regression (value of R; value of R-squared; degrees of freedom; probability
of R; R-squared change; value of adding additional predictors; meaning of R-values
Factor analysis (different factor models; eigen values, scree plots, and determining
number of factors to rotate; rotation methods; interpreting rotated factor loadings)
Reliablity analysis (perform Cronbach’s alpha; alpha if item deleted; item-total
correlation; determining whether item is miskeyed or needs to be recoded, etc.)
ANOVA (oneway vs. two-way ANOVA; interpreting F-ratios; mean effects and
interaction effect
Comprehensive Exam Study Guide for Interventions

August 2007

Key Design Principles for Comps Questions in Interventions
Require students to apply concepts and methods from Intervention classes to hypothetical
intervention situations. To a lesser extent, apply concepts and methods from Theory and
Research Methods classes to those situations.
Each Comps question will integrate concepts from multiple classes, with the main issue
stemming from one or more Interventions course.
Interventions courses include:
1. Organization Change and Development
2. Facilitation & Consultation Skills
3. Professional Communication Skills and to some extent, Leadership & Management
Behavior and Qualitative Analysis & Survey Methodology.
While content is important, clarity of writing is, too. Excellent responses read like good
business prose or clearly written academic opinion pieces. Excellent responses give
complete explanations rather than mentioning ideas by name and expecting the reader to
know what the writer meant by the term.
Sample Interventions Comps Questions 
Conflict Resolution
You are the new Regional VP of Sales for a microbrewery based in Seattle. The
Executive Team created a cross-functional task force to determine whether to expand
distribution to the northeastern and southeastern USA. Unfortunately, the task force has
not been able to produce a report; and you heard that members are not getting along well.
You know the members to be competent individuals from various cultural backgrounds.
Because you have a degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and have good
relations with all members of the task force, the CEO asked you to investigate and help
the task force get back on track. A few minutes later, you received this voicemail:
“This is Sam Lee {VP of Operations}. As you know, I chair the Expansion Task Force;
and it’s been a pain from Day One. The CEO just asked me to get you to run the Task
Force meeting tomorrow and tell us what to do to resolve our conflict and rebuild trust.
I’m going into a meeting for the rest of the day in 30 minutes, so call me back before then
and let me know whether you can lead our meeting tomorrow and get this resolved.”
Before returning the phone call, you need to decide whether to run the meeting tomorrow
or propose something different. You’ll also have a few minutes to ask some diagnostic
questions to get at the causes of the conflict.
1. (25 points) What phase of the consulting process are you in? What are your goals
and key activities for this phase? What phases come after this one? List the
theorist whose model you used to answer this question.
2. (30 points) Will you promise to lead the meeting and resolve their conflict and
rebuild trust tomorrow? Why or why not? What are two alternative options you
could propose and what follow-up step(s) would you do after each? Briefly
describe the design of each (e.g., who meets with whom and with what goal).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option and of leading a
conflict-resolution meeting tomorrow?
3. (35 points, 5 pts. per cause) List seven or more possible causes of the team’s
conflict. (These do not have to be directly from the fields of trust or conflict
resolution. They could also be from any other relevant area of Psychology, such as
norms, communication, schema theory, cultural diversity, team development, or
factors in healthy team functioning.)
For each cause,
a. Briefly describe a principle, theory, or model related to that cause
b. Write one question that you could ask the task force chair or members to
assess the situation. The questions should assess the current state of the
key variable(s) described in the theory or model. (NOTE: Write only one
question to assess each of the seven possible causes of conflict. However,
a follow-up question is allowable if you think it is important.)
c. List the name of the theorist(s) or practitioners(s) connected with the
theory, model, or principle.
4. (10 points) Explain the advantages and disadvantages of bringing in an outside
consultant for this process.
Comments on the conflict resolution question:
This question draws upon concepts from Facilitation & Consultation Skills, and Group
Dynamics, Team Design, or other courses that discussed norms, conflict resolution
rebuilding trust in teams.
Section #1 has a right answer, and students should be able to nail it after taking
Consultation Skills.
Section #2 requires the student to make a decision and give a good rationale. Whether
you decide “Yes” or “No” isn’t important. A good response uses principles from
Consultation Skills and facts presented in the case description. Specifically, the response
must talk about completing the contracting process for data gathering, feedback, and
intervention. An excellent response shows wisdom, or at least deep common sense about
Section #3 has many possible answers deriving from a wide variety of courses.
Section #4 has a few possible answers and requires common sense.
Topics to Study for Comps
Here, topics are listed by the classes in which they are taught.

Organization Change and Development & Consultation Skills
1. The general model of planned change
2. Entering and Contracting
a. Contracting Skills
b. Elements of a contract
c. Navigating the contracting meeting
d. Understanding resistance
e. Dealing with resistance
3. Diagnosis/Discovery
a. Comprehensive model for diagnosing organization systems-organizations, groups
b. and jobs
c. The presenting problem
d. How the problem is managed
e. Data collection methods-interview, observation, questionnaire, unobtrusive data
f. Data collection interview
4. Feeding back diagnostic information
a. Preparing for the feedback meeting
b. Managing the feedback meeting
c. Preparing for and managing resistance to feedback
5. Designing and implementing change interventions
a. General principles
b. Designing effective interventions
6. Human Process Interventions
a. Interpersonal and group approaches
b. Organization processes
7. Techno-Structural Interventions
a. Restructuring organizations
b. Employee involvement
c. Work design
8. Human Resources Management Interventions
a. Performance Management
b. Developing and Assisting Members
9. Strategic Interventions
a. Organization and environment relationships
b. Organization transformation
10. Leading and managing change
a. Five change activities
11. Evaluating and institutionalizing change interventions
a. Implementation vs. engagement
b. Strategies for engagement
12. Marketing consulting services
a. What marketing is about
b. Developing and implementing a marketing plan

Professional Communication Skills Study Topics
1. Strategic communication planning.
a. Developing communication objectives from an action plan or organization change
b. Analyzing audiences
c. Message strategy
d. Channel choice strategy
e. Culture strategy
f. Designing organizational communication plans. (See Bb for examples.)
2. Writing effectively
a. Applying the elements of excellent writing.
b. Writing proposals, reports, and business memos or letters.
3. Giving effective presentations.
a. Applying criteria for effective presentations.
b. Designing excellent visual aids.
4. Individual and organizational identity.
5. Listening effectively.

Qualitative Analysis & Survey Methodology Study Topics
These topics are taught in other courses and/or during weeks prior to the Comprehensive

1. Planning research designs for interventions:

a. Determining when to use qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods.
b. Designing communication plans for data gathering (as for all portions of any kind
of intervention).
c. Giving feedback on results of data analysis.
2. Selecting and using appropriate qualitative methods to gather and analyze information
for a specific situation. (These items also belong in Research Methods.)
a. Designing interview guides
b. Analyzing themes found in interviews

Facilitation Skills
1. Nature of Facilitation
2. Facilitation Stages
3. Knowing the Participants
4. Creating Participation
5. Effective Decision Making
6. Facilitating Conflict
7. Meeting Management
8. Process Tools for Facilitators

Writing for the Comprehensive Exam

1) Writing an answer to a comps question involves the same communication principles

that guide the design of PowerPoint slides and business memos.

a. The main ideas need to show up clearly and flow logically. There is nothing like
having to wade through a messy paragraph with the main point somewhere near the end.
Some comps writers may not even be certain which point in a given paragraph is most
important because they're writing ideas as they bubble up. The solution for this is to write
an outline before writing the answer to each question. Toss out unimportant and
tangential points; they only get in the way. Avoid word salad. That's when a sentence is
simply a string of somewhat related jargon terms; when you reread it, you can't be sure if
anything is actually being said.

b. Use message headlines rather than topic headlines to telegraph the main points.

c. Design for "high skim value." Use headings, bullets, bolded text, and white space to
make main points stand out. Start by writing an outline and main points show up clearly
to you before you write the main text. White space makes comps answers easier to read
just as it makes a resume or memo easier to read.

d. In the Theory and Method sections, write in an academic style. In the Intervention
section, write in a style that appeals to both academic and business management
audiences. For instance, when you write something that is informed by a theory or line
of research, refer to its name and the theorist most responsible for it; and use the proper
jargon terms for that theory or line of research. If asked to write about a psychological
need, use the official name, not some pop psychology term. In the intervention
section, use academic terminology when referring to academic theories and concepts,
but make sure to phrase your intervention in terms that a knowledgeable manager would
find credible.

e. Whenever a question in any section of the exam calls for explaining a theory or
suggesting an intervention that is informed by a theory, clearly indicate the author,
theory, and date (if possible). (Do not refer to the professor who taught the theory
unless that professor published an article explaining or applying/testing the theory.)

2) "Comps" stands for comprehensive. Your answers should be just that. Writing an answer
to a comps question requires reviewing each question for the entire set of elements that it calls
for you to write about.

a. For instance, when you are given an organizational change scenario and a question that
asks you to list all eight of John Kotter's steps for change and two activities related to
each step that are needed to make that change initiative successful, the answer must
contain all eight steps titled properly and sixteen activities that truly address all steps.
Make sure that the activities that you propose would be complete enough to actualize the
step for which you wrote it. Especially when you are writing in the intervention section,
make sure that the activities would also be credible to managers and workers in the client
organization described in the scenario.