Monday, September 30, 2013

Introduction to Cross - Cultural Psychology

Introduction to Cross - Cultural Psychology
     Cross - cultural psychology is a subfield in psychology where similarities and differences between cultures are studied. Researchers use many of the same methods as other researchers when performing studies. Cultural psychology is the extensive study of one culture. These extensive studies help cross – cultural psychologists begin to understand the phenomenon associated with several cultures. Critical thinking is important in cross – cultural psychology. Critical thinking helps a researcher in drawing conclusions free of bias. 

Defining Cross - Cultural Psychology
     Cross – cultural psychology is “the critical and comparative study of cultural effects on human psychology” (Shiraev & Levy, 2010, p 2). Cross – cultural psychology draws conclusions from two or more different cultures. Cross – cultural psychologists study the diversity of cultures and the reasons for the diversity. In using the comparative approach, psychologists study “the links between cultural norms and behaviors” (Shiraev & Levy, 2010, p 2). The results of cross – cultural studies are used to explain phenomenon common in cultures. Cross – cultural psychologists study the similarities and differences across the various cultures. Studies are used to discover relationships between the individual and the culture. While conceptual clarification and theoretical integrations have been developed, the field of cross – cultural psychology still lacks a conceptual framework (Kagitcibasi & Berry, 1989).

 The Relationship between Cultural and Cross - Cultural Psychology
     Cross – cultural psychology compares two or more cultures. Cultural psychology studies one culture extensively. Cultural psychologists focus on the actions in culture; whereas, cross – cultural psychologists focus on the attributes of individuals (Triandis, 2000). Cultural psychology attempts to discover the links between culture and the psychology of those within the culture. Cultural psychology contains the belief that mental processes are caused by the relationship between the individual and culture. The differences between cultural and cross – cultural psychology are apparent. Cultural psychologists typically study cultures different from their own. Cross – cultural psychologists study cultures not too different and often study cultures where the difference is small (Triandis, 2000). Cultural psychology is the ideal approach to use when a large cultural difference exist between the researcher and participants. Alternatively, cross – cultural psychology is ideal when a smaller cultural difference exist. Cultural psychology is best used when the researcher knows little about the culture. Cross – cultural psychology identifies patterns and similarities across multiple cultures. The reliability and validity of data can be problematic in cultural psychology. The data collected may help a researcher understand but is not useful in prediction. Cross – cultural psychology may have problems in relation to the ethical acceptability of methods. Not all methods may be accepted in all cultures. The measures in cross – cultural psychology can be used various tests to test reliability and validity. Measures in cross –cultural psychology may also be used to predict criterion (Triandis, 2000). Cultural psychology is the basis of which cross –cultural psychology studies may be begun. 

Critical Thinking in Cross - Cultural Psychology
     Thinking is one of the most essential processes in humans (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Thinking is vital in learning. Thought principles, or metathoughts, are cognitive tools used for inquiry and problem solving. These principles are used to counteract thinking that may be biased, simple, rigid, lazy or sloppy (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Researchers typically use language associated with his or her own personal values. Barnum statements and assimilation bias are examples of obstacles in critical thinking. Barnum statements have a “one size fits all” characteristic and therefore offer little value to research. Assimilation bias allows information to be subjected to distortion. Many people identify phenomenon to his or her own mental representations. Critical thinking helps a researcher eliminate the biases presented in humans. In order to obtain a clear understanding of culture, one must cast aside his or her own prejudices and use critical thinking skills to reach a clear, unbiased conclusion.

 Methodology in Cross - Cultural Psychology
     Cross – cultural research has four basic goals. These goals include description, interpretation, prediction, and management (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). First, a researcher identifies these goals. Second, an appropriate methodological approach is determined. Research methodology is divided into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research involves the measurement of certain aspects; whereas, qualitative research is used when measuring variables is difficult. Examples of these difficulties include subjects not being able to read or use the answer scales, no measurement instrument available, variables not conceptually defined or when experiences of researcher may influence the research (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). The two most important statistical methods are correlation and t – test. Qualitative research is conducted in the natural setting. Comparativist strategy focuses on similarities and differences in measures in cultures. There are several strategies used in choosing a sample for study. These depend on the type of study being performed. The first strategy is availability or convenience sampling where what is available is used. The second strategy is systematic sampling. In this strategy, a sample is chosen based on a theory. The third strategy is random sampling where a large sample of cultures is chosen at random. Cross – cultural psychologists use the typical methods of investigation, including observation, survey, experiment, content – analysis, psychobiography, meta – analysis, and focus – group methods (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). There are two approaches to analyzing data: absolutist and relativist. Absolutists believe a phenomenon is the same in most cultures; however, certain behaviors may vary. Relativists believe behavior may only be understood within its given culture. 

      The similarities and differences across cultures are being studied and understood in cross – cultural psychology. Using critical thinking and research methods, psychologists are learning how behaviors vary across cultures. Cross – cultural psychology compares and contrasts two or more cultures in an attempt to understand behavior in relation to culture. Psychologists use the data collected in cultural psychology studies to aid in the study of cross – cultural psychology. Through these studies, cultures may be better understood by those different than the culture.


Kagitcibasi, C., & Berry, J. W. (1989). CROSS - CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY: Current research and trends. Annual Review of Psychology, 40(1), 493-531.

Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross - Cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.

Triandis, H. C. (2000). Dialects between culture and cross - cultural psychology. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3(3), 185-195.

Plagiarism: Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Improving Organization Retention

Improving Organization Retention
     Retention is a critical element to organizations (Hausknecht, Rodda,  & Howard, 2009). An organization desires to retain employees who have high job performance. At times, work motivation theories are used to aid organizations in their retention plans. Elements such as job satisfaction, occupational stressors, and counterproductive behavior may affect the performance and retention of employees. This paper will examine the problems in JC’s Casino and offer suggestions using work motivation theories and other psychological principles to improve the retention rate.  

Work Motivation Theories
Reinforcement Theory
     Reinforcement theory states that behavior is a result of rewards. The major premise of the reinforcement theory is the law of effect (Spector, 2012). This means that the probability of an increase of a behavior is higher if followed by a reward. Likewise, the probability of a decrease of behavior if followed by a punishment is higher. Rewards are the result of a behavior occurring; therefore, in industrial and organizational psychology, the reward must result from performance (Rue & Byars, 2007). Rewards can be tangible and given by the organization, such as money, or intangible, such as praise. Intangible rewards can also be a product of the behavior itself such as a sense of accomplishment for completing the task. Rewards are an effective method to enhance the job performance of employees. A large component of the reinforcement theory is incentive systems. In incentive systems, an employee is paid for the level of their individual productivity. The principles of the reinforcement theory are used to influence the employee’s behavior such as absence and tardiness. In order to effectively work in an organization, all employees should be rewarded on their performance. Employees should not be rewarded the same. Also, the employee should be told what to do in order to be reinforced, the employee should be told what they are doing wrong, and reprimands should not be done in front of others (Rue & Byars, 2007). 

Reinforcement theory at JC’s Casino. At JC’s Casino, the housekeepers are not being rewarded on their performance. The result of this is tardiness, absence, poor performance, and ultimately, turnover. There should be an incentive system set up for the housekeepers to reward them for performance. Reinforcements can consist of monetary raises, gift cards, and services offered by the casino. By rewarding the housekeepers, they will become to feel appreciated and valued as employees. In turn, this will decrease absence, tardiness, and turnover. 

Justice Theory
     Justice theories focus on fair treatment by the organization (Spector, 2012). Fair treatment is believed to be the motivator in organizational relationships. The Equity Theory is the most common justice theory. The Equity Theory is based on the assumption that people want to be treated fairly in relationships and are motivated to reach such fairness. Inequity, the perception that one’s inputs and outcomes to be less than the inputs and outcomes of other employees, is the result of the Equity Theory. The feeling of inequity can cause a divide in an organization. In order to reduce inequity, an employee may do several things to alleviate the feeling. For example, the employee may increase inputs or quit. 

Justice Theory at JC's Casino. The housekeepers as well as the floor dealers are feeling inequity. The housekeepers are pushed to work more without the recognition of what they have done. The inputs of each housekeeper should have an equal outcome. This will have the ones who are working to standard and keeping with attendance policy to continue to do as such. The housekeepers who do not have a good job performance and attendance record should have outcomes equal as such. Housekeepers will be more willing to perform when the outcomes are equal to the inputs. Otherwise, the housekeepers will continue to be resentful towards the job. The floor dealers are unhappy with the pit boss. According to the exit interviews, the dealers feel that he is toxic, overbearing, evil, and incompetent. The HR director needs to confront the pit boss, even though he is the owner’s step son. The dealers will not feel as though they are valued employees as long as he is allowed to behave this way. The compensation seems to be good since it is better than the competition. The attitude of the pit boss is affecting the retention of dealers. 

Occupational Stressors and Alleviations
            A job stressor is a condition or situation at work that requires a response from the employee (Spector, 2012). Examples of possible job stressors include being reprimanded,          lack of time, and hearing of the possibility of firing. The most common job stressors are conflicts and heavy workloads. Role ambiguity is where employees are uncertain of job functions and responsibilities. This can be caused by the failure of supervisors to provide guidelines and directions for the job. Role conflict is when employees experience incompatible demands at work or between work and home. These demands can be receiving incompatible directions at work or when the demands of family interfere with work. Workloads can be a job stressor depending on the amount of work or the difficulty of work. Other stressors can be social such as interpersonal conflicts at work, organizational politics (where co-workers and supervisors put own interests above the organization), or control (the extent employees make decisions about work). 

Alleviating Stressors at JC's Casino. The main stressor of the housekeeping staff is the lack of reliable staffing. The lack of staffing is putting a strain on other departments, mainly the administrative department who have been filling in as housekeepers. More housekeeping staff should be hired and trained. Reinforcement for job performance should be established to retain housekeepers and reduce the workload. The floor dealers also have job stress in the form of social stress. There is an obvious conflict between the pit boss and the floor dealers. This conflict should be reduced in order for the floor to run smoothly and to reduce turnover. 

Job Satisfaction and its Effect on Retention
     Job satisfaction is a person’s attitude towards his or her job. Turnover has been connected to job satisfaction; dissatisfied employees are more likely to quit. There are five major components to job satisfaction. These include attitude toward work group, general working conditions, attitude towards organization, monetary benefits, and attitude toward supervision (Rue & Byars, 2007). An individual’s attitude toward the work itself and life in general may also impact job satisfaction. It is a common belief that a satisfied worker is a happy worker. However, research disproves that the belief is always accurate (Rue & Byars, 2007). There is moderate research that performance causes satisfaction. This research concludes that rewards are more of a cause of satisfaction than performance and that rewards based on current performance can result in subsequent performance. While research does not completely prove that a satisfied employee is a happy employee, it does prove that an employee who like the job, supervisors, and other employment factors, are likely to be more loyal and dedicated. If an employee does not like the job, supervisor, or other employment factors, then they may quit or become disgruntled. This may lead to absence, tardiness, or disruptiveness at work. 

Job satisfaction at JC's Casino. The employees at JC’s Casino have very little job satisfaction. The housekeepers need training, more staff, and reinforcement for performance. This should reduce the absence and turnover. The issue of the pit boss and comments made in exit interviews has not been adequately addressed. The HR director is afraid to confront the owner about his step son even though the step son is the primary concern on the floor. The HR director needs to have adequate training for employees and reinforcement plans in effect. The HR director should fully understand the importance of retention and the full responsibilities of each job. 

Counterproductive Behavior
     Counterproductive behavior is meant to bring or intended to bring harm to an organization; examples of this behavior are verbal, psychological and physical violence, unsafe work practices, alcohol and drug abuse, theft, and destruction of property (Yang, 2008). Counterproductive behaviors may also include absence and tardiness. These behaviors are detrimental to the organization. Employees who have quit usually have exhibited these behaviors prior to quitting. 

Counterproductive behavior at JC's Casino. There are numerous counterproductive behaviors at JC’s Casino. The housekeepers are tardy and absent frequently. These behaviors affect not only the housekeeping department but other departments as well. The administrative department is having to clean rooms to compensate for the fact the housekeepers are not. The hotel changed check in policies, thus causing the need for a luggage room and luggage room attendant. Housekeeping needs training, reinforcements, and less of a workload. The pit boss is creating a hostile work environment in the way he treats the floor dealers. The pit boss needs training in how to perform his job and proper etiquette for communicating with subordinates. 

      Work motivation theories can help organizations in managing the job performance of employees. Job satisfaction, reinforcements, equity, and stress alleviation can help organizations in managing retention. JC’s Casino presented with problems with the floor dealers and housekeeping departments. Using work motivation theories and industrial and organizational psychological principles, suggestions were made to help the organization maintain employee job performance and retention.


Hausknecht, J. P., Rodda, J., & Howard, M. J. (2009). Targeted employee retention: Performance - based and job - related differences in reported reasons for staying. Human Resource Management, 48(2), 269-288.

Rue, L. W., & Byars, L. L. (2007). Management: Skills and application (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw - Hill.

Spector, P. E. (2012). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Yang, J. (2008). Can't serve customers right? An indirect effect of co-worker's counterproductive behavior in the service environment. Journal of Occupational and Organzational Psychology, 81(1), 29-46. doi:10.1348/096317907x203742

Plagiarism: Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.