Sample Exam Questions for Intro to Organizational Psychology

These are examples of questions that have appeared on past mid-term exams in Psychology 360, Introduction to Organizational Psychology, at the University of Michigan.

Sample question 1

1. What forms of learning/training took place in Ben Hamper's job on the assembly line of GM Truck and Bus? Give an example of three types of learning/training. Compare and contrast the three types of learning/training in terms of effectiveness (i.e., ability to perform task). [Hint: Think of learning and training theories.]

Sample question 2

2. Chris and Pat have been consultants in the same firm for four years. They were hired together and have the same title. They often work on the same projects, and both hope to advance through the ranks together. One day, Chris sneaks a glance at Pat's pay stub, and is stunned to learn that Pat earns a full $5,000 more each year. What type of payment inequity has Chris experienced? What emotional, psychological, and behavioral reactions might Chris have? [Hint: Think about equity theory.]

Sample question 3

3. A 1993 article in Personnel Psychology reported the results of classifying a sample of convicted white collar criminals and a sample of regular white collar workers based on an integrity test. During a blind analysis, the test had a success rate of 92 percent. That is, of 100 respondents who actually were criminals, the test correctly identified 92.
Assume that the University of Michigan, as part of a crackdown on academic misconduct, has decided to administer the same test to all students in order to identify likely cheaters and plagiarists. Students scoring low on the integrity test will be identified as "high risk" for academic misconduct, and professors and TAs will be instructed to take special precautions when giving exams or assigning homework to these students.
In light of your knowledge of personality, personality measurement, and of personality tests, comment on the wisdom of the University's course of action. Specifically, identify strengths and weaknesses of the plan in terms of the desired outcome, i.e., reduced levels of academic misconduct. [Hint: Consider carefully the problem of "false positive," or those unlikely to cheat who are labeled as cheaters, and the related problem of "false negative," or those people who are likely to cheat but are incorrectly labeld as honest students.]

Sample question 4

4. Many classic movies revolve around the theme of individuals being transformed through contact with an organization. For example, the 1982 hit "An Officer and a Gentleman," is a story about a Naval Aviation School pilot candidate, Zack ayo, who has a bad attitude. Through contact with fellow canidates, and most notably a tough drill sargeant, Mayo sees the error of his ways and emerges from his training as a team-spirited and well-adjusted member of the United States Navy.
Based on your understanding of work-related attitudes, offer an explanation of a process that might explain why individuals' attitudes are transformed through exposure to organizations. Be careful to identify causal relationships, i.e., those factors that influence attitude formation -- and explain why you think these factors are critical. [Hint: Remember that the social environment at work is an important source of information about job-related perceptions and opinions.]

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Revised - November 4, 1996