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The Personality Behind the Energy at the Annual SIOP Conference

The Personality Behind the Energy at the Annual SIOP Conference


Nov 9, 2016 | by Eleni Lobene

When I decided to join the Aon Hewitt team, I quickly became excited about what it means to be part of an organization with such strong representation in the field of Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology. We have psychologists sprinkled throughout the United States. I know this because it was brought up in my first phone interview – before ever stepping through the door.

In an effort to keep our I-Os up-to-date on the latest research, trends, and market needs, Aon Hewitt traditionally sends its entire staff to the Annual Conference of the Society Industrial-Organizational Psychologists (SIOP). I also learned this during that first interview! This was actually an important criterion for me during my job search, as SIOP’s Annual Conference breathes life into I-Os. So, what makes SIOP so special?

Everyone who attends SIOP knows it is invigorating, mentally stimulating, and – at times – overwhelming. It is also the single best networking opportunity for I-Os all year round. Professionals love visiting with former grad school colleagues, and graduate students enjoy meeting “celebrities,” trying to crash receptions, and interviewing for jobs. (Well, they sort-of enjoy the interviewing part!) Above all else, however, all attendees are offered the opportunity to engage with others on the most bleeding-edge of I-O research.  Peer-reviewed presentations are scheduled back-to-back for 3 days straight. Given the laws of physics, it is impossible to catch every presentation, so you have to strategize and prioritize. Of course, this process requires highlighters and in-depth discussions with program in hand for weeks, if not months, prior to arriving.

All that said: it can easily be argued that the SIOP’s strongest appeal is the intellectual simulation and limitless inspiration it has to offer.

Surely almost all SIOP attendees have taken a personality test or two in their day, and some attend with the main goal of learning about latest cutting-edge psychological assessment methodologies. This year Aon Hewitt offered the new ADEPT-15 personality test and scores of assessment-loving, curious I-Os took part. ADEPT-15 is a computer-adaptive, forced-choice, 30-minute assessment (in the full version) that provides scores on 15 unique personality dimensions (see figure 1). Long-story short, the version provided to attendees was a short form of the full ADEPT-15 assessment, with 5 dimensions (structure, mastery, cooperativeness, positivity, & liveliness). What we learned is fascinating.

We compared the SIOP sample scores (N = 92) to the general population data (N = 165) we had available from the preceding 4 months. The comparison group included test data from a broad spectrum of fields and organizations.

Here is what we found:

SIOP 2015 attendees were significantly elevated on the dimension of mastery. SIOP participants (M = 6.82, SD = 1.98) were significantly higher than the comparison group participants (M = 5.91, SD = 1.73) on mastery; t(255) = 3.82, p < .01. Cohen’s d is .49. We define mastery as being the extent to which someone is learning-oriented and improvement-focused. Perhaps it makes sense that curious, highly educated folks in an intellectually stimulating environment would score high in this area – but that’s not to diminish the importance of the finding. It speaks to the professional organization, the career path, and the annual conference.

SIOP is a place of development and growth. It’s an ideal environment for I-O psychologists to perfect their craft. It’s also possible I-O is an ideal field for those who love academic pursuits and can understand the value of the research-practitioner model. Future research questions could involve:

  • Comparing I-Os to other professions
  • Comparing I-Os at SIOP to I-Os outside of the conference setting
  • Comparing academics and practitioners

To all the I-Os out there… what are your reactions to this? Do you agree with these findings? Do you have alternate explanations? What other research questions might help us advance our understanding of the field? Let us know if you would like to take ADEPT-15 and see how you compare!

For more information about the ADEPT-15 tool, visit us at or contact Eleni Lobene directly.

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