Latest Research from the 22nd Congress of the GWP in Germany

March 21, 2018 Alina Siemsen
GWP congress 2018

A personal view of some work-related presentations

The 22nd Congress of the GWP took place in Wernigerode,Germany on the 8 – 10 March. Celebrating the 20th anniversary if business psychology as an option to study, the event explored all aspects of applied psychology to the world of work and looked at the latest research. There were more than 150 participants and 60 presentations. Here we review the Congress and share some of our takeaways and points of interest. In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at some of the presentations that we gave at the Congress.

Technology – and more qualitative studies – taking centre stage
Technology seemed to touch and be included in more presentations than ever before – especially in the areas of recruitment and selection but also in marketing, latest research methods, and people’s personal life. It was also great to see that researchers are including more qualitative studies (interviews and diaries for example) alongside their use of standard quantitative methods. These, and the presentation on psychographic targeting shows the changing face applied psychology and we will no doubt hear more in this direction next year in Berlin.

Applying speed dating to the workplace?
The first presentation that stood out to us on the opening today was one given by Baier and Winter. They presented using the popular-scientific CIQ formula by Havener (2015) in a speed dating environment.

CIQ is a technique that we tend to use when meeting someone we have not yet met. A compliment (C) followed by information (I) (such as our own name) and then a question (Q). This comes together as: “I like your earrings. My name is Mark. Where did you buy them?”

They found that those men who applied this technique were rated significantly more attractive than those who did not.

It’s not yet clear how this technique can be applied to a business context, but as it seems to work quite well in a casual conversation, so you might try it the next time!

Havener, T. (2015). Ohne Worte – Was andere über dich denken. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rohwolt.

What kind of procrastinator are you?
Gallé presented the results of her Bachelor Thesis on the topic of procrastination. In an interview study with 45 people she found four types of procrastinators:

  1. The anxious one who procrastinates because of a fear of failure. For such a person, when there is a poor result because of time pressure and that time pressure is there because of procrastination, then the bad result can be assigned externally and has nothing to do with their own skills (“there simply wasn’t enough time to do it right”)
  2. The one lacking discipline who is easily deflected by a million things around him, especially and including social media. This type of procrastinator cannot resist the urge to spend time with something more fun than the actual task because of their low ability to self-regulate.
  3. The cheerful and happy person that loves leisure time. This type of procrastinator has the aim of creating a definite pause to their work. They realise that it’s important to leave work and responsibilities for another time and regain some energy.
  4. The productive one who procrastinates because being under pressure leads to better results and the time spent doing other things make them more effective. The question is: is this really procrastination or merely effective time management?

Interesting to learn about these – which one are you?

Smart break
Zinn presented results from a diary study in which participants turned off internet connection on their smart phones for 10 days. They were still allowed to use social media such as Facebook and Instagram on their laptops and pcs, and the text messaging and phone functionalities did still work on their phones.

But after three to four days, the level of craving and exhaustion decreased, while the level of relaxation increased. But, on the downside, participants reported being annoyed that they had to justify their smart phone abstinence to friends and colleagues – even though they still were only a phone call away.

Perhaps we should coordinate social media downtime with friends?

Ever made a mistake in a client project?
Hilebrand presented an interview study carried out in a consulting company which looked at how consultants and their clients deal with mistakes during consulting projects. She found several causes for errors in such projects, including the flood of information and mistakes in interpreting information.

She concluded that for consulting firms, it is important to rebuild a consultant’s motivation during a difficult project by increasing so-called ‘professional error competence’; that is, the ability to cope with mistakes and transform them into something good. She suggested that this can be increased by learning new techniques, looking at what has already been learned in the project and taking time out to reflect on the project.

Results of psychographic targeting – big data in marketing
Völker and van Treeck looked at the impact of individualised advertising based on the recipients’ personality. They looked at the relationship between surfing behaviour on web sites and MacClelland’s three motives. They analysed the web history based on the cookies of more than 4,600 participants 700 web sites and compared these to the personality profile of more than 4,600 participants and compared these to their personality profile.

They worked with a car manufacturer and set up an advertising campaign that would draw on information of the personality based on the person’s surfing behaviour – and then present a specific ad targeted at their type of motivational personality.

They found interesting results in two different studies which showed the differences that can be seen in click rates and conversion rates which go well beyond those typically expected in non-targeted marketing.

The studies prompted great discussion around the use of ‘big data’ and its ethical use but also shows that ‘big data’ does not look as though it is disappearing any time soon.

Research on meditation by Katharina Lochner
This presentation explored the impact of meditation in work environment. She presented a literature review and overwhelming results that indicate that mediating can reduce stress and increase well-being more effectively than simple stress reduction exercises or activities such as sports. She went on to give advice as to how to integrate meditation within businesses by making it a part of corporate health management.

It was a very interesting conference, was thought-provoking and inspiring. We look forward to meeting up again in Berlin next year (14-16 March).

About the Author

Alina Siemsen

Alina Siemsen is a product development consultant in the research team at Aon's Assessment Solutions. Alina completed her Master's degree in Business Psychology at the Nordakademie in Hamburg. She is interested in how gaming elements can be applied to assessments. Aon's Assessment Solutions undertake 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

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