Keynote Speakers APIO 2021

Keynote speaker: Prof. Kai RUGGERI

Assistant Professor – Department of Health Policy & Management at the Mailman School of Health at Columbia University (US)

Topic:  Positive deviance and reducing economic inequality: A role for organizational psychology


Applications of psychology in public policy continue to expand. This is increasingly so in the context of economic and other social inequalities. Unfortunately, while some population-level interventions have been effective, concerning limitations have emerged when applied in disadvantaged populations. One possible way to address this is to incorporate greater considerations of positive deviance, which is a framework that emphasizes individuals from disadvantaged circumstances who have significantly better outcomes than are typical for their group. This approach initially derived from organizational scientists and has since emerged as a relevant tool in psychological and behavioral applications. Studying the behavior of positive deviants helps to understand what may explain their overall success in the face of severe adversity. It can also help to incorporate those insights in such a way that would facilitate others from these circumstances to experience positive outcomes. In this presentation, we present a framework for doing so specifically within behavioral science for public policies aimed at reducing inequalities. Using examples from real-world and experimental insights on choices and outcomes of positive deviants, we encourage further study of their choices and trajectories over time to produce valuable insights. We propose that leveraging those findings would inform public policy by introducing interventions that are more ecologically sound and population relevant, and consequently have a better chance at benefiting those who start off under adverse circumstances.

Guest description

Dr Kai Ruggeri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Mailman School of Health at Columbia University (US). Kai joined Columbia from the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, where he directed the Policy Research Group that he founded in 2013. He studies population level behavior and decision-making, focusing on how integrating behavioral evidence into policies can improve economic outcomes and population well-being, particularly in terms of reducing inequality.

His teaching is primarily in analytics, decision-making, behavioral policy, and managerial economics. His recent projects involve behavioral policy studies focusing on large-scale data related to economic choices and related outcomes, which have been covered in media around the world. He has ongoing collaborations with local and national governments, non-profit organizations, industry, and other academic institutions, in New York, various parts of the US, and abroad.

Kai also directs the Junior Researcher Programme, a global initiative for early career behavioral scientists, which is now partnered with the Global Behavioral Science (GLOBES) program he directs at Columbia. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Business Research at the Judge Business School and a recent Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Rolf van DICK

Professor – Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany)

Topic: The social identity approach to effective leadership


Employee identification with their groups and organization typically has positive implications for work-related attitudes and behaviors. But which role do leaders play in establishing employee identification and on the impact of such identification? In this presentation, I will first give a short overview of theory and research on identification. Then, I will present empirical studies on the following three aspects: 1) The role of leader prototypicality, 2) the transfer of leader identification on their followers, and 3) the ways for leaders to actively manage the identities of the groups they lead.

Guest description

Rolf van Dick is Professor of Social Psychology and from 2018-2021 her served as Vice President for International Affairs and Early Career Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany). Prior to his current position he was Professor at Aston Business School, Birmingham (UK). Rolf van Dick is scientific director of the interdisciplinary Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations (CLBO). He has published/edited almost 20 books and special issues, and he has published 300 book chapters and papers in academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics, or the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Rolf was visiting professor in Tuscaloosa (USA), on Rhodes (Greece), in Shanghai and Bejing (China), Rovereto (Italy), in Oslo (Norway), and in Kathmandu (Nepal) and he was editor/associate editor of the British Journal of Management, the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, the Journal of Personnel Psychology, and The Leadership Quarterly. His research is in the area of social identity processes and he applies social identity theory to topics such as leadership, mergers & acquisitions, health and stress, or diversity. Rolf is a Fellow of the International Association of Applied Psychology.  

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Christian Dormann

Professor – Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Topic: Vicious circles in work stress and burnout


It has become conventional wisdom that poor working conditions are associated with burnout, which is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, a cynical attitude towards customers and clients or towards one’s work in general, and feelings of reduced professional efficacy. Nearly half a century of research has been devoted to identifying the most harmful job stressors (also known as demands) such as time pressure and work overload, which could lead to burnout. Similarly, research has been investigating job resources such as autonomy and social support that facilitate coping with job stressor to mitigate their effects on the development of burnout. However, the lion’s share of studies applied cross-sectional research designs and longitudinal evidence is more equivocal. Actually, a few longitudinal studies also investigated if burnout rather is the cause of stressors (so-called strain effects) than stressors are the cause of burnout (stressor effects). Unfortunately, the evidence is rather scattered, and virtually no research has been conducted on possible resources that could reduce such strain effects. This would be important because strain effects and stressor effects might simultaneously exist. Such a reciprocity would mean that job stressors and burnout operate in vicious circles, and to prevent excessive developments, means to break vicious circles are desperately needed.

To improve our understanding of the interplay between job stressors and burnout, my colleagues Christina Guthier, Manuel Voelkle and I conducted a meta-analysis of all published and unpublished longitudinal studies that we could identify. Overall, this meta-analysis was based on k = 48 longitudinal studies (with an overall sample size of N = 26,319). We used a new method that allows accounting for variation in time intervals among primary studies (called continuous time meta-analysis; CoTiMA). Our analysis also focused on job resources (job control & job support), and above and beyond all prior studies we investigated if they moderated the effect of burnout on job stressors (strain-effect) in addition to the stressor effect of job stressors on burnout. Further, we also applied a bunch of techniques frequently used in meta-analyses (e.g., funnel plots)  to investigate the validity of results.

Our results surprisingly show that the stressor-effect is rather small thereby questioning conventional wisdom. Conversely, the strain-effect of burnout on job stressors, which has received only little attention in prior studies, is considerably larger. Actually, both effects together imply a vicious circle. Further, again questioning conventional wisdom, job control and job support do not moderate (i.e. reduce) the stressor effect; rather they moderated the strain effect. Additional analyses showed that there is a second vicious circle among the two burnout symptoms exhaustion and cynicism. Once employees started to feel exhausted, their attitude towards customers and clients becomes more cynical, which in turn further increases their exhaustion.

Overall, results imply the need for extended job stress models and new job stress interventions that help employees cope with feelings of exhaustions. This could prevent possible excesses via vicious circles involving increased job stressors and increased cynical attitudes.

Guest description

Christian Dormann has been the Chair of the Business Education & Management at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany since 2013. Before, he had hold chairs of Business Psychology and of Work & Organisational Psychology. Since 2011, Christian Dormann has also been adjunct research professor at the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia (UNISA). He served as editor in chief of the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology and as associate and consulting editor of several other journals, including the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. His research focus is on stress in organizations. In particular, he has been interested in psychosocial aspects of work. Among others, he has published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, Psychological Methods, and Psychological Bulletin.

Selected PublicationsGuthier, C., Dormann, C. & Voelkle, M.C. (2020). Reciprocal Effects between Job Stressors and Burnout: A Continuous Time Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies. Psychological Bulletin, 146, 1146-1173.

Dormann, C., Guthier, C., & Cortina, J. (2020). Introducing Continuous Time Meta-Analysis (CoTiMA). Organizational Research Methods.

Dormann, C., Owen, M., Dollard, M. F., & Guthier, C. (2018). Translating cross-lagged effects into incidence rates and risk ratios: The case of psychosocial safety climate (PSC) and depression. Work & Stress, 32 (3), 248-261. DOI: 10.1080/02678373.2017.1395926

Dormann, C. & Griffin, M. A. (2015). Optimal time lags in panel studies. Psychological Methods, 20(4), 489-505. DOI: 10.1037/met0000041

Dudenhöffer, S., & Dormann, C. (2013). Customer-related social stressors and service providers’ affective reactions. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 520-539.

Chlosta, S., Patzelt, H., Klein, S. B,& Dormann, C. (2012). Parental role models and the decision to become self-employed: The moderating effect of personality. Small Business Economics, 30 (1), 121-138. DOI: 10.1007/s11187-010-9270-y

Jonge, J. de & Dormann, C. (2006). Stressors, resources, and strain at work: A longitudinal test of the triple-match principle. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 1359-1374.

Dormann, C., Fay, D., Zapf, D. & Frese, M. (2006). A state-trait analysis of job satisfaction: On the effect of core self-evaluations and situational determinants. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 55, 27-51.

Dormann, C. & Zapf, D. (2004). Customer-related social stressors and burnout. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 9, 61-82.

Dormann, C. & Zapf, D. (2001). Job satisfaction – A meta-analysis of stabilities. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 1-22.

Dormann, C. & Zapf, D. (1999). Social support, social stressors at work and depressive symp-toms:  Testing for main and moderating effects with structural equations in a 3-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 874-884.

Zapf, D., Dormann, C. & Frese, M. (1996). Longitudinal studies in organizational stress research: A review of the literature with reference to methodological issues. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1, 145-169.

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