Date of Degree

5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Erin Eatough

Kristen Shockley

Committee Members

Karen Lyness

Harold Goldstein

Robert Silzer

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Keywords

employment, job search, job skills, career management, career intervention, broad skill focus

Abstract

The job search has been the subject of research across many disciplines adopting varied perspectives. However, the industrial-organizational psychology literature on the job search has failed to properly consider the role of individual differences in thought about the utility of job skills independent of context. This dissertation is an attempt to establish and study the construct of broad skill focus- the extent to which individuals adopt a perspective and understanding of the broader generalizability of their work skills, versus their context-specific applications (i.e., the settings in which they were learned). As no measurement tool exists for studying this construct, Study 1 details the effort to develop and validate a psychometrically-sound instrument for measuring broad skill focus in individuals. It was subsequently posited that a high level of broad skill focus was advantageous for job seeking. Therefore, Study 2 served as an evaluation of an online author-developed training program (the Broad Skills Awareness Training or BSAT) designed to promote broad skill focus and employment expectancy in individuals. Results of Study 2 suggested the BSAT did exhibit merit for meaningfully increasing levels of both outcomes. Finally, Study 3 was designed to monitor the three-month employment outcomes of actual unemployed workers who have (and have not) completed the BSAT training. Final Study 3 results were mixed, again demonstrating the potential promise of the BSAT for improving broad skill focus, but not resulting in statistically significant changes in employment expectancy, and no definitive link to actual improved employment outcomes. Practical implications and future opportunities to expand this research are discussed.

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