Ruth Kanfer

Ruth Kanfer
Georgia Institute of Technology | GT · School of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

130
Publications
499,509
Reads
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15,182
Citations
Introduction
I am a behavioral scientist and Professor of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology. I study motivation and engagement in the context of adult skill learning and reskilling, job search and reemployment, job and workplace redesign, teams, and the future of work.
Additional affiliations
December 1997 - present
Georgia Institute of Technology
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (130)
Article
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Despite widespread popular concern about what it means to be over 40 and unemployed, little attention has been paid in the literature to clarifying the role of age within the job seeking experience. Extending theory, we propose mechanisms by which chronological age affects job search and reemployment outcomes after job loss. Through a meta-analysis...
Article
Work motivation is a topic of crucial importance to the success of organizations and societies and the well-being of individuals. We organize the work motivation literature over the last century using a meta-framework that clusters theories, findings, and advances in the field according to their primary focus on (a) motives, traits, and motivation...
Article
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The ability to foresee, anticipate, and plan for future desired outcomes is crucial for well-being, motivation, and behavior. However, theories in organizational psychology do not incorporate time-related constructs such as Future Time Perspective (FTP), and research on FTP remains disjointed and scattered, with different domains focusing on differ...
Article
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The changing nature of work is having a profound impact on the human experience, particularly among older workers. Two integrative theoretical and empirical frameworks of adult development over the past 3 decades provide new insights into aging and work in the 21st century. The first framework focuses on adult intellect and the second on work motiv...
Article
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The disruptive effects of the COVID pandemic on vulnerable and/or minority demographic groups among 1) student populations and 2) persons employed in low wage sectors are well-established. This study examined whether disparity in the disruptive effects of the pandemic extend to adult learners employed in "bright prospect" sectors (e.g., computing a...
Article
We offer a worker-centric perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the aging workforce. We briefly describe 3 broad characteristics of pandemics—mortality salience, isolation from the workplace, and rising unemployment—in terms of their associated pathways of influence on older workers, and recommendations for future research.
Article
Objective: This study empirically investigates the relationships between visibility attributes and both patients' and staff members' teamwork experiences. Background: Teamwork among healthcare professionals is critical for the safety and quality of patient care. While a patient-centered, team-based care approach is promoted in primary care clini...
Article
The importance of communication among healthcare providers has been long recognized, and many healthcare organizations are implementing team-based care, with emphasis on staff communication. While previous empirical studies in various settings illustrate the role of built environments in user communication, there is a lack of quantified interperson...
Article
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Job search is an important activity that people engage in during various phases across the life span (e.g., school-to-work transition, job loss, job change; career transition). Based on our definition of job search as a goal-directed, motivational, and self-regulatory process, we present a framework to organize the multitude of variables examined i...
Chapter
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Population aging across the globe has focused increasing attention on work motivation and employment goals among older adults. This chapter examines the psychological foundations of work motivation and lifespan theories of motivation as they affect older adults. Measurement issues, motives, and the psychological mechanisms by which older adults add...
Article
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Objective This article examines how visual exposure to patients predicts patient-related communication among staff members. Background Communication among healthcare professionals private from patients, or backstage communication, is critical for staff teamwork and patient care. While patients and visitors are a core group of users in healthcare s...
Chapter
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There is conflicting evidence about the capacity for scientific collectives (e.g., research teams, centers) to seed grand innovations. Although scientific challenges often require large numbers of specialized experts to work together, many large organizational groups are susceptible to weak member motivation and poor coordination. We recently concl...
Article
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The current study integrates ideas from the successful aging at work paradigm with theory and research on retirement motivation with a sample of midlife workers (N = 397; Mage = 52.34; SD = 5.87) over a 16 month period. We conceptualized successful motivational aging at work as a typology of successful, usual, and unsuccessful motivational aging at...
Article
In this article we selectively review major advances in research on motivation in work and organizational behavior since the founding of Organizational Behavior and Human Performance (now Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes) 50 years ago. Using a goal-based organizing rubric, we highlight the most impactful articles and summarize r...
Article
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Costanza and Finkelstein (2015) are correct to highlight the dangers of using generationally based stereotypes in organizations. Although popular, these stereotypes are related to a stigmatization based on group membership that can be pernicious and discriminatory. Costanza and Finkelstein are also correct in their assessment of the state of the li...
Chapter
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Research on how to manage and retain older workers is expanding. In this literature, older workers are often viewed as passive recipients or products of their work environment. However, findings in the lifespan literature indicate that people are not passive responders to the aging process, but rather frequently exercise agency in dealing with the...
Chapter
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This chapter reviews social-cognitive and self-regulatory perspectives on involuntary job loss and subsequent job search. We begin by organizing different social-cognitive and self-regulatory perspectives along the temporal continuum of job loss and job search, and discuss the experience of job loss and its impact on the individual during subsequen...
Chapter
Work motivation refers to the psychological processes and strategies that govern the direction, intensity, and persistence of discretionary actions in the workplace or related to work. This article summarizes key tenets in work motivation theory and practice, historical trends in work motivation research, and modern approaches to work motivation th...
Article
Since workforces are aging worldwide, scientists and practitioners aim at understanding how organizations can manage older workers in order to extend their working lives. The five empirical papers of this symposium examine how organizations can deal with age-related issues, such as health limitations and related job accommodations, low job mobility...
Article
Over the past two decades there has been a steady accumulation of evidence in the healthcare domain documenting the beneficial influence of team- and patient-based practices on workforce attitudes, quality of patient care, and safety outcomes. However, less attention has been paid to understanding the complex organization and system-level changes r...
Article
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In the near future, workforces will increasingly consist of older workers. At the same time, research has demonstrated that work-related growth motives decrease with age. Although this finding is consistent with life span theories, such as the selection optimization and compensation (SOC) model, we know relatively little about the process variables...
Conference Paper
There is a long history of investigations of self-concept and self- estimates of intellectual abilities, yet there remains controversy regarding the underlying determinants of individual differences in self-estimated abilities, and there are also key questions regarding the patterns of gender differences in over/under estimations. In a four-year...
Article
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Background/Context: The past few decades have seen an explosive growth in high-school student participation in the Advanced Placement program® (AP), with nearly two million exams completed in 2011. Traditionally, universities have considered AP enrollment as an indicator for predicting academic success during the admission process. However, AP exam...
Article
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Prediction of academic success at postsecondary institutions is an enduring issue for educational psychology. Traditional measures of high-school grade point average and high-stakes entrance examinations are valid predictors, especially of 1st-year college grades, yet a large amount of individual-differences variance remains unaccounted for. Studie...
Article
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Demographics of workforce aging in the developed world have spurred research on the determinants of older worker motivation to work, motivation to retire, and motivation at work. We propose an integrative framework of later adulthood goals related to work and the motivational determinants of these goals in order to better understand goal relations....
Article
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Work motivation represents one of the more enigmatic topics in work and organizational science. This chapter is designed to provide structure for the topic of work motivation to help understand its complexity, identify major themes and future research directions, and present editors' thoughts on potential practical utility of this work. Scientific...
Chapter
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This chapter focuses on recent scientific advances and use-inspired research on motivation related to adult work. The chapter is divided into four sections. The first section reviews basic motivation constructs and processes, and the issues that delineate the scope an'd content of the field. The second section reports on research progress and the i...
Article
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Poster
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The growing use of teams in healthcare delivery worldwide has focused attention on inter-professional team training (ITT) early in professional education. This study examines the role of non-ability individual differences and student professional affiliation on ITT outcomes. A sample of 272 first-year health provider students from four programs com...
Article
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An updated literature review was conducted and a meta-analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between age and work-related motives. Building on theorizing in life span psychology, we hypothesized the existence of age-related differences in work-related motives. Specifically, we proposed an age-related increase in the strength of secu...
Article
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We propose and examine a self-regulatory framework focused on understanding the dynamics of job search intensity and mental health over the first several months of unemployment. We use a repeated-measures design, surveying newly unemployed individuals weekly for 20 weeks. Through the lens of our framework, we test relationships pertaining to the ro...
Article
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We investigated the training effects and transfer effects associated with 2 approaches to cognitive activities (so-called brain training) that might mitigate age-related cognitive decline. A sample of 78 adults between the ages of 50 and 71 completed 20 one-hr training sessions with the Nintendo Wii Big Brain Academy software over the course of 1 m...
Article
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What are the consequences of testing over an extended period? We report a study of 4 hr of nearly continuous testing on two verbal tests (Cloze and Completion). Prior to the testing session, participants completed a series of nonability trait measures, including selected personality and motivation scales. During the study, participants (N = 99) wer...
Article
A battery of cognitive ability, knowledge, and non-ability measures were administered to 105 college students enrolled in a cooperative school-work program and used to predict academic and job performance. Composite scores for each domain were derived from factor analyses of 11 measures of verbal, numerical, and spatial abilities, four measures of...
Article
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This study investigates a mood regulation-based reconciliation of prior findings in the mood maintenance and information processes literatures about the impact of negative mood state on risktaking judgment. Participants were administered a negative mood state induction using a standardized film clip procedure and subsequently completed a measure of...
Article
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Although individual- and team-level studies of motivational processes abound, very few have sought to link such phenomena across levels. Filling this gap, we build upon Chen and Kanfer’s (2006) multilevel theoretical model of motivation in teams, to advance and test a cross-level model of relationships between individual and team motivation and per...
Article
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Person and situational determinants of cognitive ability test performance and subjective reactions were examined in the context of tests with different time-on-task requirements. Two hundred thirty-nine first-year university students participated in a within-participant experiment, with completely counterbalanced treatment conditions and test forms...
Article
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The study of work motivation progresses through the inspiration that comes from creating new alignments between scientific understanding and considerations of practical use (cf. D. E. Stokes, 1997). Using the 3 C’s framework for work motivation (Kanfer, Chen, & Pritchard, 2008a, b), I coordinate 5 practical concerns related to work motivation with...
Article
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It is not often that one gets the opportunity to engage other scholars in lively written dialogue on a topic close to his/her professional heart. So I felt honored to provide the target article on work motivation (Kanfer, 2009), and I looked forward to reading my colleagues’ commentaries. As I had hoped, each commentary was quite stimulating. Some...
Article
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The use of team training programs is promising with regards to their ability to impact knowledge, attitudes, and behavior about team skills. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a simulation-based team training program called Obstetric Crisis Team Training Program (OBCTT) (based on the original training program of Crisis Team Training) framed...
Article
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The influence of age and gender composition on group performance and self-reported health disorders was examined with data from 4,538 federal tax employees working in 222 natural work unit groups. As hypothesized, age diversity correlated positively with performance only in groups solving complex decision-making tasks, and this finding was replicat...
Chapter
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At the broadest level, this book is about motivation as it occurs in the most common context of modern-day adult life, namely, the pursuit and execution of organized work. Work motivation is commonly defined as the psychological processes that determine (or energize) the direction, intensity, and persistence of action within the continuing stream o...
Chapter
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Jns) and Distinguished [(. management thought. ~s an invaluable forum resource management, terations management, of new original ideas. d empirical work from rkplace rd Morten Ruse Chrousos, Charles D.
Article
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A multilevel model of leadership, empowerment, and performance was tested using a sample of 62 teams, 445 individual members, 62 team leaders, and 31 external managers from 31 stores of a Fortune 500 company. Leader-member exchange and leadership climate related differently to individual and team empowerment and interacted to influence individual e...
Article
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Work motivation theories and research have tended to focus either on individual motivation, ignoring contextual influences of team processes on individuals, or on team motivation, ignoring individual differences within the team. Redressing these limited, single-level views of motivation, we delineate a theoretical multilevel model of motivated beha...
Article
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Using a quasi-experimental design, we examined multilevel relationships among leadership, empowerment, and performance in a sample of 62 teams, 445 individual members, 62 team leaders, and 31 external managers from 31 stores of a Fortune 50 home improvement chain. We sampled two teams with different levels of interdependence in each store. Results...
Article
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Past research on the influence of self-efficacy in training has provided mixed results. Key differences between studies pertain to whether past performance is operationalized as a residual variable or as an unadjusted variable and to the type of task used. In this study, the authors conducted and performed a reanalysis to examine the influence of s...
Article
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Over the past three decades, industrial/organisational (I/O) research on goals md self-regulation has flourished. Beginning with the seminal work by Locke, Latham, and their colleagues showing the positive influence of difficult and specific goals on task performance, multiple streams of research have emerged to investigate both the determinants an...
Article
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We describe a framework for understanding how age-related changes in adult devel- opment affect work motivation, and, building on recent life-span theories and re- search on cognitive abilities, personality, affect, vocational interests, values, and self-concept, identify four intraindividual change trajectories (loss, gain, reorganiza- tion, and e...
Article
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Health worker motivation reflects the interactions between workers and their work environment. Because of the interactive nature of motivation, local organizational and broader sector policies have the potential to affect motivation of health workers, either positively or negatively, and as such to influence health system performance. Yet little is...
Article
Reports the death of Frederick H. Kanfer (1925-2002) and his contributions to developing links between clinical theory and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The primary objective of this research was to integrate new tactics of whole-person assessment developed from basic research, along with findings from applied research, for occupational selection and classification. A secondary objective was to provide assessment of the independent and interactive contributions of cognitive (aptitude), affective, a...
Article
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Motivation in the work context can be defined as an individual's degree of willingness to exert and maintain an effort towards organizational goals. Health sector performance is critically dependent on worker motivation, with service quality, efficiency, and equity, all directly mediated by workers' willingness to apply themselves to their tasks. R...
Article
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The authors investigated the abilities, self-concept, personality, interest, motivational traits, and other determinants of knowledge across physical sciences/technology, biology/psychology, humanities, and civics domains. Tests and self-report measures were administered to 320 university freshmen. Crystallized intelligence was a better predictor t...
Article
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A motivational, self-regulatory conceptualization of job search was used to organize and investigate the relationships between personality, expectancies, self, social, motive, and biographical variables and individual differences in job search behavior and employment outcomes. Meta-analytic results indicated that all antecedent variables, except op...