Current research projects
Evidence based methodology for employee opinion surveys (EOS)
There is a large number of approaches to how to conduct an EOS. The costs are considerable and examplaes can easily be found where the results are small or absent. There are probably several reasons. Work in the area is focused on satisfaction, but that is an insufficient factor if job performance is the ultimate criterion. This project will introduce willingness to work which is a much better measure of work motivation. Risks and threats are rarely treated in EOS, perhaps because management wants to avoid such issues, yet they are very important for opinions and motivations. Reliance on single questions is very risky because linguistic details are very important. Attitude scales, on the other hand, are hard to interpret in an absolute manner – but this is still being done. A further problem is connected with the interpretation of correlational data, be they based on variations among individuals or units. Finally, lack of a clear connection with goal setting is a probable cause that few or no improvements occur, in spite of the best of intentions. The project aims to elucidate these matters on the basis of selected examples in Swedish industry and communities. Extensive data from a biotechnology industry have been collected and are being analyzed for generating hypotheses regarding the important factors in willingness to work and job satisfaction.
How well can actors in the financial markets be understood on the basis of economic theory? Not very well. People do not behave “rationally”, which has been shown in many studies within economic psychology. Even exper5ts exaggerate their ability to predict the future value of stocks, and they make even larger error in estimating confidence than non-experts. See e.g. Taleb’s book “Fooled by randomness”. An often discussed alternative is that of cognitive psychology, especially in the version due to Kahneman and Tversky. But even this alternative is insufficient. Emotions, wishful thinking and personality play important roles. In our current work we analyze decision making in these perspectives, in another study we compare students of financial economics with other young people, and find dramatic and large differences.
Sjöberg, L. (in press). The distortion of beliefs in the face of uncertainty. International Journal of Management and Decision Making.
Sjöberg, L., & Engelberg, E. (2006). Attitudes to economic risk taking, sensation seeking and values of economists specializing in finance (SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration No. 2006:3). Stockholm: Stockholm School of Economics.
Taleb, N. N. (2005). Fooled by randomness. The hidden role of chance in life and in the markets. (2nd ed.). New York: Random House.
Tests and personality
I designed and applied personality testing at the SSE 1999-2001, and later as a consultant. Emotional intelligence was in focus of this activity, but the design was broader than that. The latest results are about corrections for socially desirable answers – something which is of utmost importance in the use of self reports tests (the most common form of personality tests). This was done with success using the traditional Crowne-Marlowe scale, but clever test takers can easily see through it. I have therefore now developed a non-transparent scale. Furthermore, I have developed a test battery for measuring ego strength – a very high level of prognostic validity has been achieved (0.69) in a group of middle level managers. This is of course far above what is usually achieved with personality tests. Research and development conti9nues, but we already have fully operational and useful methods.
Sjöberg, L. (2004). Personlighetstest i arbetslivet: historik och aktuell forskning. (Personality tests in industry: History and current research). In G. Sevón & L. Sjöberg (Eds.), Emotioner och värderingar i näringslivet (pp. 171-229). Stockholm: Ekonomiska Forskningsinstitutet – EFI.
Sjöberg, L. (2005). Ledarskap och personlighet: Testning av jagstyrka. (Leadership and personality: Testing ego-strength) (SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration No. 2005:7). Stockholm: Stockholm School of Economics.
Sjöberg, L. (2005). Självskattningstest: Den som ljuger fräckast vinner? (Self report tests: will the lier win?). Personal och Ledarskap(6), 22-25.
Sjöberg, L. (2005). Vad döljer sig under skalen? (What is hiding beneath the surface?). Personal och Ledarskap(9), 28-31.
Sjöberg, L., & Engelberg, E. (2005). Measuring and validating emotional intelligence as performance or self-report. In K. B. S. Kumar (Ed.), Emotional intelligence. Research insights (pp. 97-125). Hyderabad, India: ICFAI University Press.