Scenario: Students need to create a work-related problem based on current or past experience.

Assignment Description:  In a document NO MORE THAN THREE PAGES LONG (not counting cover page and reference list), students must describe a real-world problem that addresses the weekly topic, and discuss a solution based on evidence.

Weekly Topic: Leadership

Scenario: Students need to create a work-related problem based on current or past experience.

Goal: Students will learn to use evidence-based methods to effectively Find (hire or identify) and/or Develop Senior Leaders in a real-world scenario.

Action Plan: An action plan should address the problem using a clearly defined approach that is supported with evidence from the text and peer-reviewed research.

* This document is brief, but must be written with high quality.  No quotes or paraphrasing, but consistently use evidence to support your claims.  This will help you improve your writing style and prepare you for your dissertation.

EXAMPLE PAPER:  Organizational Psychology Scenario Paper.docx

Scholarly evidence must be used to support the action plan including 1) the text, and 2) a minimum of two peer-reviewed research articles.



Attributional Style Assessment Applied to Personnel Selection and Training

Student’s Full Name

Keiser University

Dan Kuchinka, Ph.D.

PSY821 Personnel Psychology


Attributional Style Assessment Applied to Personnel Selection and Training


Attributional Style assessment and training is a viable solution to common challenges in the workplace. This document briefly describes an actual workplace related problem, and a potential solution using Attributional Style assessment and training. A scenario is provided based on the author’s experience, followed by a goal and proposed action plan.


It is common for organizations to go through periods of significant change. Change can include major shifts in structure due to mergers and expansion. Change can also occur due to shifting markets, government regulation, or leadership decisions. I have experienced change in an organization caused by all the previously stated circumstances. Consequences of the dramatic change included unusually high levels of stress, followed by a negative impact on performance. Attributional Style assessment and training could have helped address the problem.


The goal of this document is to 1) demonstrate how the assessment of Attributional Style could be used to identify workers who are at risk of experiencing chronic stress and a subsequent negative impact on performance, and 2) demonstrate how creating a training program used to teach people to have a more optimistic Attributional Style could help moderate stress and positively impact performance.

Action Plan

Seligman and Schulman (1986) discovered a person with an optimistic Attributional Style had better productivity, better employment records, and overall increased performance. These positive outcomes occur because optimistic workers feel more responsible for good events and less responsible for negative events. They also understand negative events associated with change are only temporary. Gladstone and Kaslow (1995), and Henry (2005) found attributional style has a significant relationship to stress, with an optimistic attributional style acting as a moderator of stress. These studies can help us understand how negative performance can be minimized when workers are better able to manage stressful situations by having an optimistic Attributional Style.

To capitalize on the positive outcomes of an optimistic workforce, Attributional Style must first be assessed. The Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ; Peterson et al., 1982) is a reliable and valid instrument that can serve this purpose. The ASQ has been administered worldwide to diverse populations in a variety of work-related settings. Once workers have been assessed, training can be provided to raise levels of Attributional Style and help workers become more optimistic. Cartwright and Cooper (2008) support this approach by explaining how addressing second-order change in a training environment can help address a change in mind-set. Finally, Seligman (2006) points out Attributional Style is a relatively stable trait, but can be learned and applied to one’s personal and professional life.


In summary, the previous sections have described how unusually high levels of change can have a negative impact on employees, including higher than usual levels of stress. It was also revealed having an optimistic Attributional Style can help moderate stress, which will subsequently minimize the negative impact on performance. Because Attributional Style can be learned, the assessment of and subsequent training on how to have a more optimistic Attributional Style would appear to be a valid solution to minimize the negative impact of change.


Cartwright, S. & Cooper, G. (2008), The oxford handbook of personnel psychology. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Gladstone, T. R. G., & Kaslow, N. J. (1995). Depression and attributions in children and adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 23(5), 597-606.

Henry, P. C. (2005). Life stresses, explanatory style, hopelessness, and occupational class. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(3), 241-256. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.12.3.241

Peterson, C., Semmel, A., von Baeyer, C., Abramson, L.Y., Metalsky, G. I., & Seligman, M.E.P. (1982). The attributional style questionnaire. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 6(3), 287-300.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Seligman, M. E., & Schulman, P. (1986). Explanatory style as a predictor of productivity and quitting among life insurance sales agents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology50(4), 832-838. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.4.832

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