Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

reason being that such reproof is mild enough to avoid being threatening, and yet strong enough to motivate the trainee to keep improving. He tries to improve because improvement is seen as a feasible way to escape from the mild threat. Strong reproof, however, seems to be injurious to learning. It is threatening to the point that the trainee gives up; he ceases trying to improve because he cannot see how further effort will relieve him of the threat. In place of improvement, he adopts other reactions to escape the threat. Instead of learning what we want, he learns to protect himself against threat. He learns to do the things we have described above. This is especially likely if the training situation itself is threatening, for then the trainee learns that accepting and using our feedback is pointless (even though in itself it is non-threatening) because the total situation continues to be threatening.

Finally, it should be pointed out that the trainee's view of himself is different at different stages of training, and consequently, the implications of knowledge of performance for his view of himself will vary accordingly. In the early stages of training, the trainee may respond to a negative feedback by saying to himself, "I'm just a beginner, so it's natural for me to make mistakes." Later on when he is a more advanced learner, he may respond to the same information by saying, "Even old hands slip up occasionally." But note that in both instances the nature of the reaction is the same: the trainee is accepting the information by adjusting it so that it fits his view of himself.


20. Curriculum Assessment with Critical Incidents*

Albert S. Glickman and T. R. Vallance

BY AND LARGE, even in industry, adequacy of training programs has been assessed by subjective judgment rather than by research methods.1 As Flanagan2 has remarked, there is need to supplement the usual collection in conference of "leaders" or "experts" by systematic collection and analysis of factual data.

____________________
*
From Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 5, 1958, pp. 329-35.
1
W. R. Mahler and W. H. Monroe, "How Industry Determines the Need for and Effectiveness of Training," USA Personnel Research Section Report, No. 929, 1952.
2
J. C. Flanagan, "Research Techniques for Developing Educational Objectives," Educational Record, Vol. 28, 1947, pp. 139-48; J. C. Flanagan, "The Critical Requirements Approach to Educational Objectives," School and Society, Vol. 71, 1950, pp. 321-24.

-181-

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