Psychology 3610G 001 FW23

Using Psychology to Manage and Measure Employee Work Performance

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 



Psychology 3610G    Section 001 

Using Psychology to Manage and Measure Employee Work Performance 



A look at the management and measurement of employee work performance through a psychological lens. Topics include the emotionally charged nature of the social context surrounding work performance; work performance as viewed by the self, versus peers and supervisors; using psychological expertise to improve the fairness and accuracy of performance feedback.  


Antirequisite: Psychology 3690F if taken in 2012/13 or Psychology 4690G if taken in 2013/14. 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 


Prerequisite: Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810. 

3 seminar hours; Course Weight: 0.5 

Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 





Instructor: Sarah Carver, MSc  

Office and Phone Number: Rm. SSC8439; 519-993-7631  

Office Hours: By appointment -- I try to be as flexible as possible, just email 

 to arrange an appointment (may be virtual or in person).  



Teaching Assistant:  


Office Hours:  



Time and Location of Classes: Available on Student Center

Delivery Method: In-Person 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 





No specific textbook is required but readings will be assigned on a weekly basis in accordance with the lecture schedule in this document. 




This course will cover the application of psychological theory and methods for the purpose of  

appropriately assessing and managing employee job performance in work settings. Obtaining an  

accurate assessment of each employee’s work performance is essential to a variety of vital purposes  

such as employee motivation and feedback, as well as the appropriate administration of rewards such as  

salary increases. However, work performance measurement typically amounts to a simple judgmental  

rating carried out by a supervisor who may or may not be well-acquainted with the employee’s  

performance. Moreover, there are a variety of issues, stemming from the social and political context  

within which job performance ratings occur, that make the process prone to bias and an intriguing  

subject for the application of psychological theory and research. A variety of approaches to assessing  

employee performance will be discussed in detail and some of the more prominent topics will be the  

nature and psychological antecedents of work performance, the evaluation of performance appraisals,  

and attempts to improve the validity and motivational impact of work performance assessments. This  

course will improve skills in evaluating research, in the assessment of individual differences, and in  

developing research ideas. 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • describe and explain important measurement issues relevant to the management and measurement of employee work performance 
  • identify and describe important dimensions of work performance that are common to a wide variety of jobs 

Lecture, Readings,  

Class Exercises 

Test, Essay, Assignment,  

Class Participation 

Application of Knowledge.  

  • generate new testable hypotheses relevant to the management and measurement of employee work performance 
  • design research to test hypotheses relevant to the management and measurement of employee work performance 
  • apply concepts and theories from the management and measurement of employee work performance to real world problems 

Lecture, Readings, Class Exercises, Research for Essay 

Test, Essay, Class Participation 




The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives. 


Assignment (18%). A written assignment on the topic of multi-source (e.g., peer, supervisor, self, subordinate) ratings of job performance must be completed independently by each student. Details on the assignment, and late penalties, will be provided during the February 8 class. The assignment will account for 18% of the final course grade. There will be a 24-hour “no questions asked” window immediately following the deadline where a student can submit the essay until 11:55pm the following day with no penalty. Aside from accepted accommodations (see Section 11.0), submitting your assignment after the deadline and 24-hour “no questions asked” window will result in a deduction of 5 percentage points per day. In other words, an assignment that would have received a grade of 85% if handed in by the deadline, will only receive a grade of 80% if handed in one day after the “no questions asked” window. Moreover, barring accepted accommodations, submitting the assignment 2 weeks past the deadline, or later, will result in a grade of zero on the assignment. This is because the graded assignments will ordinarily be returned to the class 2 weeks after the deadline. 


Test (34%). There will be one test of up to 2 hours in length, consisting of questions varying in length from short answer or multiple-choice, to essay. The test will cover all the reading, lecture and other material covered up to that point. The test will be worth 34% of the final course grade and it will be a “closed book” independent test (no books, notes, electronic devices, or aids of any type will be allowed). 


Essay (40%). An APA-formatted essay of 2500 words (not counting references, tables, figures, and  

appendices) must be completed independently by each student. More details on the content, structure, and grading of the essay, will be provided early in the semester. The essay will be worth 40% of the final course grade. There will be a 24-hour “no questions asked” window immediately following the deadline where a student can submit the essay until 11:55pm the following day with no penalty. Aside from accepted accommodations (see Section11.0), submitting your essay after the deadline and 24-hour “no questions asked” window will result in a deduction of 5 percentage points per day. In other words, a paper that would have received a grade of 85% if handed in by the deadline, will only receive a grade of 80% if handed in one day after the “no questions asked” window. 


Class Participation (8%). It is expected that students will become actively involved in discussions and will prepare for class by doing the assigned readings and reflecting upon them. Class participation will  

account for 8% of the final grade. 




Test. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not complete the test will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If accommodation is granted, a makeup test must be completed. 


Essay. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not submit an essay will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If accommodation is granted, the deadline for the submitting the essay will be extended.  


Assignment. Unless accommodation is granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not submit an assignment will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If accommodation is granted, the deadline for submission of the assignment will be extended for a maximum of 2 weeks. If an extension of longer than two weeks is granted, rather than submitting the assignment the student’s final grade in the course will be reweighted accordingly. This is because the graded assignments will ordinarily be returned to the rest of the class 2 weeks after the deadline. 


Class Participation. Participation and attendance records will be kept. Unless accommodation is  

granted (as per Section 11.0), students who do not attend any classes and/or students who do not  

participate at all in the classes will receive a grade of zero on this component of the course. If  

accommodation is granted for attendance and/or participation in specific classes, the class participation grade will not be adversely affected by lack of attendance and/or participation in the accommodated classes. 


PLEASE NOTE: Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. 



The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 




Test. The test will take place on Wednesday March 13 during the regular class time slot. 


Essay. The essay must be submitted through the “assignments” section of the OWL site by Wednesday, April 3th, at 11:55p.m. 24-hour grace period: Thursday, April 4th, at 11:55pm. 


Assignment. The assignment must be submitted through the “assignments” section of the OWL site by Tuesday, February 27th, at 11:55p.m. 24-hour grace period: Wednesday, February 28th, at 11:55pm.  



Note: All readings are available through Resources/Uploaded Readings in OWL. 




Jan 10; Week 1: Using Psychology in the Workplace: Evaluating and Managing Employee Work  

Performance -- Overview and Introduction. 


Espinoza, J., & Bremner, N. (2020, March 2). Performance appraisals (Season 03 Episode 01) [Audio podcast episode]. In Mind Your Work. 


Jan 17; Week 2: Why Study Employee Work Performance? Overview of Work Performance  

Measurement and the Criterion Problem.  


Murphy, K. R., & Cleveland, J. N., & Hanscom, M.E. (2019). Performance Appraisal & Management.  

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp. 161-176.  


DeNisi, A., & Pritchard, R. (2006). Performance Appraisal, Performance Management and Improving Individual Performance: A Motivational Framework. Management and Organization Review, 2(2), 253-277. doi:10.1111/j.1740-8784.2006.00042.x 


Jan 24; Week 3: Basic Measurement Principles Relevant to the Understanding of Work  



Murphy, K.R., & Davidshofer, C. O. (2005, 6th ed.). Psychological testing: Principles and Applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

Chapter 6: Read whole chapter 

Chapter 7: Only read pp. 134-140 

Chapter 8: Only read page 153 to top of page 170 


Jan 31; Week 4: What is Work Performance and How/Where Do We Obtain Information About  



Catano, V.M., Wiesner, W.H., Hackett, R.D., & Methot, L.L. (2016). Recruitment and selection in 

Canada (6th Ed.). Toronto, ON: Thomson Nelson. pp. 181 to top of 195. 


Spector, P.E., Fox, S., Penney, L.M., Bruursema, K., Goh, A., & Kessler, S. (2006). The  

Dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal? Journal  

of Vocational Behavior, 68, 446-460. 


Feb 7; Week 5: Multi-source (e.g., Self, Peer, Supervisor, Subordinate) Ratings of Work  

Performance. Note: You will learn about the assignment during this class. 

Balzer, W.K., Greguras, G.J., & Raymark, P.H. (2004). Multisource feedback. In J. C. Thomas (Ed.),  

Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment: Industrial and organizational assessment 

(Vol. 4). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. (pp. 390-411). 


Nowack, K.M., & Mashihi, S. (2012). Evidence-based answers to 15 questions about leveraging 360- 

degree feedback. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64, 157-182.  


Feb 14; Week 6: Evaluating Performance Appraisal  

Part I: 


Murphy, K. R., & Cleveland, J. N., & Hanscom, M.E. (2019). Performance Appraisal & Management 

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp. 239-248. 


Part II: 

Ontario Ministry of Labour. Written policy on electronic monitoring of employees. Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. Retrieved from 


McNall, L. A., & Roch, S. G. (2007). Effects of electronic monitoring types on perceptions of  

procedural justice, interpersonal justice, and privacy. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37,  



Young, K. (2010). Policies and procedures to manage employee internet abuse. Computers in 

Human Behavior, 26, 1467-1471. 


Feb 19-23: Spring Reading week (includes Family Day on Feb 19). 


Feb 28; Week 7: Improving Work Performance Measurement and Management 

Catano, V. M., Wiesner, W. H., Hackett, R. D., & Methot, L. L. (2016). Recruitment and Selection in  

Canada, (6th ed.). pp. 203 to 209. 


Goffin, R.D., & Olson, J.M. (2011). Is it all relative? Comparative judgments and the possible  

improvement of self-ratings and ratings of others. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 48-60. 


DeNisi, A. S., & Murphy, K. R. (2017). Performance appraisal and performance management: 100 years of progress? Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 421–433. 


March 6: Week 8: Conclusion of Improving Work Performance Measurement and Management 

and Review for Test. 


March 13; Week 9: Test. 


March 20; Week 10: Developing your Essay – Using Multiple Regression, PsychInfo, and Other  



March 27; Week 11: Developing a Behavioural Performance Rating Scale. 


April 3; Week 12: Careers in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. 




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With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 




If a remote proctoring service is used, the service will require you to provide personal information (including some biometric data). The session will be recorded. In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. More information about remote proctoring is available in the Online Proctoring Guidelines. Please ensure you are familiar with any proctoring service’s technical requirements before the exam. Additional guidance is available at the following link: 


* Please note that Zoom servers are located outside Canada. If you would prefer to use only your first name or a nickname to login to Zoom, please provide this information to the instructor in advance of the test or examination. See this link for technical requirements:   




Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




Office of the Registrar:   


Student Development Services:  


Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent. 


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.