The STARS research team—comprised of both business and psychology students—has achieved another milestone, which could be labeled the Triple Crown. They got a presentation accepted at the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) conference in Chicago, the UWGB Academic Excellence Symposium, and the UW-wide URSCA.
A correlation matrix of their empirical findings so far is provided below. “The focus of their study is on assessing effectiveness in handling difficult / upset customers in jobs involving direct customer contact,” said Associate Prof. Allen Huffcutt (Management). To form their dependent variable (DV), they asked participants to describe a time when they handled one at their very best (MAX) and also one at their very worst (MIN–i.e., they totally blew it). The difference between them is the Range variable. The vertical rows are the independent variables, with the first five being personality [E=Extraversion, A=Agreeableness, C=Conscientiousness, ES=Emotional Stability, and O=Openness). After that, ‘CSC’ is the customer service culture where they work, ‘WE’ is their own personal level of work engagement, and ‘PS’ is their level of general stress they are under.
“Although there are a number of interesting findings, one of the most prominent is the role of emotional stability. ES, which is the positive equivalent of Neuroticism, correlates very strongly with both MAX and MIN. In other words, employees who are less anxious in general and more stress tolerant have higher ‘highs’ and higher ‘lows’ in dealing with difficult customers. Also interesting is Conscientiousness, which has the same pattern.
“What makes these findings unique is that nobody in the employment interview literature has ever focused on this DV before. Rather, the DV is typically ratings of performance by their immediate supervisor. Moreover, it is very easy to assess traits like Emotional Stability and Conscientiousness in the selection process for hiring new employees.”