On this page, you will find a selection of the most interesting recent articles my colleagues and I have published in peer-reviewed journals. Click here to download a formal complete CV of all publications and presentations.

Want to receive immediate updates on new content? Click here to subscribe to website updates.


  • Order Effects in MFC Personality Measures

    I recently led a pair of empirical studies on multidimensional forced choice (MFC) personality measures (where a series of statements are presented, and the test-taker has to force rank them from “most like me” to “least like me”), building off of research my advisor (Dr. Philseok Lee) began in his extensive MFC studies. Here, we assessed the degree to which order effects exist, such that the presentation of one item in a block might influence responses to other items. Overall, we found little to no evidence of order effects, though the order did slightly impact criterion-related validity. The study offers incremental evidence supporting the use of MFC measures (compared to traditional Likert-type measures), while presenting opportunities for improvement in future MFC measures. Read the full paper here.

    Citation: Zhou, S., Cheng, V., & Lee, P. (2024). What are you comparing it to? Investigating order effects in presentation of multidimensional forced choice personality items. Personality and Individual Differences.

  • Gender Differences in MFC Personality Measures

    I recently led a pair of empirical studies on multidimensional forced choice (MFC) personality measures (where a series of statements are presented, and the test-taker has to force rank them from “most like me” to “least like me”), building off of research my advisor (Dr. Philseok Lee) began in his extensive MFC studies. Here, we assessed the degree to which gender differences exist in both test-taker reactions to and the predictive validity of MFC personality measures. In an experimental study with college students, we found no evidence of gender differences in test-taker reactions to MFC measures. In a second cross-sectional study with full-time employees, we found evidence of intercept differences, such that females were frequently underpredicted when using MFC personality measures to predict self-assessed leadership ability. The study offers incremental evidence supporting the use of MFC measures (compared to traditional Likert-type measures), while presenting opportunities for improvement in future MFC measures.

    Citation: Zhou, S., Lee, P., & Fyffe, S. (2024). Examining gender differences in the use of multidimensional forced‐choice measures of personality in terms of test‐taker reactions and test fairness. Human Resource Development Quarterly.


  • Graduate Education and Volunteering

    Together with graduate student colleagues at UNC, I contributed to a commentary discussing the value of volunteering opportunities for graduate student education. We reflected on our experiences with the Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA), a graduate student led program providing consulting to non-profit organizations on volunteer motivation and management, which I have participated in for five years. This commentary built on my prior work in volunteerism research and higher education. Read the full paper here.

    Citation: Albritton, B. H., Meyer, K. A., Holladay-Sandidge, H. D., Zhou, S., Woznyj, H. M., & Rogelberg, S. G. (2023). Enhancing graduate student education through meaningful volunteer efforts. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

  • Complexifying Calling

    I remember being continually encouraged to identify & pursue my calling during college. There was this implicit idea that if I figured out what my calling was and pursued it, I’d be (overall) happy in my career. But that’s not always how it goes. There’s a growing understanding that calling can have negative effects, especially when people perceive a strong calling but find themselves in jobs where they are unable to “live out” their calling (e.g., in tough industries such as entertainment). This inspired our most recent publication, where we theorized a new way of thinking about calling as dynamic in “shape” across 3 facets: scope (broad v. narrow), time proximity (immediate v. distal), & duration (short-term v. long-term). Instead of the traditional view of calling as narrow, immediate, and long-term… Perhaps we should rethink the ‘shape’ of our calling? Read the full open-access article for more information where we explain our propositions in detail and raise future research questions to build on our study!

    Citation: Zhou, S., Aitken, J., & Kuykendall, L. (2023). Callings can take different shapes: Scope, proximity and duration as new complexifications of calling. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology.


  • Database of 990 Job Ads

    This new Open Access journal publishes “data papers” that allows researchers to publicly share interesting datasets for future researchers to use. Here, we published a dataset of 990 public real-world job ads systematically and manually collected then cleaned from US Fortune 500 companies. Ads were identified using 32 job titles from the O*NET’s “bright outlook” jobs. Detailed info on the methods, codebook, etc. are available online. Future research ideas include analysis of company variables (e.g., size, revenue), analysis of the “requirements” language (e.g., education vs. experience), and comparison across job types.

    Citation: Zhou, S., Aitken, J., McEachern, P. J., & McCauley, R. (2022). Data from 990 public real-world job advertisements organized by O*NET categories. Journal of Open Psychology Data.

  • Volunteer Motivation Meta-Analysis

    In 2017, 30% of US adults volunteered for a total of 6.9 billion hours. Many organizations, including those that I volunteer for and support, are dependent on the generosity of their volunteers to accomplish their mission and goals. So an important question is, “Why do people volunteer?”

    There have been plenty of individual studies on volunteer motivation over the years, but few meta-analyses. None have looked at the VFI, a popular measure of volunteer motivation. Our paper is the first quantitative meta-analysis of 61 studies using the VFI. We focused on the effect sizes of six motives (career, enhancement, social, protective, understanding, & values) predicting volunteer satisfaction, commitment, intention to continue, and frequency.

    All six motives significant predicted outcomes (rho ranging from .12 to .44). Values was the strongest predictor by far (based on effect size & a relative importance analysis). Meaning, across over 38,000 participants, volunteers who were motivated by altruistic values to help others and support the organization were most likely to be satisfied and committed. Perhaps unsurprising, but this supports other research that argues for a more unidimensional understanding of volunteer motivation – that it comes down to values and mission, above and beyond other motives (e.g., career building, social relationships).

    Moderated analyses indicated some differences between genders (e.g., career and protective motives were stronger predictors among men) and student status (e.g., all VFI dimensions were stronger predictors among student samples). But in general, there weren’t many differences in effect sizes between demographics such as race-ethnicity, employment status, etc. Perhaps motives (note: not behavior) are more universal than we thought?

    This was a fun study to conduct and a rewarding first attempt at a meta-analysis! For more information, download the PDF here. Thanks for reading!

    Citation: Zhou, S., & Kodama Muscente, K. (2022). Meta-analysis of volunteer motives using the Volunteer Functions Inventory to predict volunteer satisfaction, commitment, and behavior. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

  • Faith at Work in Teams

    Spirituality and faith is still considered an important aspect of many peoples’ lives, and this can impact their motivation and feelings about work. We conducted a novel study on how workplace spirituality functions in the context of teams and organizational culture. Using a sample of 331 full-time employees plus an additional 293 team member peers, we used a newly developed workplace spirituality measure, The Integration Profile (TIP), to predict organizational commitment and collective efficacy, with ethical leadership and openness of faith environment as moderators.

    Our research demonstrated the importance of workplace spirituality for individual organizational commitment (but not necessarily for team collective efficacy). Moreover, ethical leadership and openness of faith environment were significant moderators, meaning that workplace spirituality was more important under conditions of lower levels of ethical leadership and more open faith environments. Finally, we found that the eight subdimensions of the TIP contributed very little to explaining the variance in faith at work; rather, the global faith at work factor, as modeled in a bifactor analysis, was the most important in understanding the construct.

    For more information, download the PDF here. Thanks for reading!

    Citation: Zhou, S., & Lee, P. (2022). Spirituality in the context of teams and organizations: An investigation of boundary conditions using The Integration Profile workplace spirituality measure. Journal of Management, Spirituality, & Religion.

  • Failures in Multiteam Systems

    We often focus on studying good performance, but there is a lot we can learn from failures as well. This qualitative study investigated 40 cases of failures multi-team systems, which are complex organizational systems comprised of interdependent teams that work towards their own proximal goals while also sharing system-wide superordinate goals. This study used historical documents and reports, coding for within- and between- team behaviors that led to failure in high-stakes contexts such as air traffic control and government project management.

    We found that component teams of failing MTSs over-engaged in within-team alignment behaviors (vs. between-team behaviors) and over-focused on action-oriented behaviors (as opposed to monitoring or recalibrating). Additionally, boundary status and goal type exacerbated these behavioral patterns, as external and physical MTSs were less likely to enact sufficient between-team behaviors compared to internal and intellectual MTSs. For more information, download the PDF here.

    Citation: Campbell, L. N. P., Torres, E. M., Zaccaro, S. J., Zhou, S., Hedrick, K. N., Wallace, D. M., Luning, C. R., & Zakzewski, J. E. (2022). Examining multiteam systems across context and type: A historiometric analysis of failed MTS performance. Frontiers in Psychology.

  • Science Communication

    In this short commentary piece, I present eight reasons why science communication is difficult and challenging for academics, ranging from challenges in being succinct to writing for a different audience. However, there’s one overarching value that makes it all worth it: without science communication, our research is limited in its potential to do good. Download the PDF here.

    Citation: Zhou, S. (2022). Science communication: Eight perils, but one pearl to make it all worth it. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

  • Negatively-Keyed Statements in MFC Personality Measures

    Multidimensional forced choice (MFC) personality tests are a new and promising format in I-O psychology to mitigate concerns around faking and bias in traditional “on a scale of 1 to 5” tests. This study is one of the first to explore the impact of negatively-worded items within MFC blocks through a Monte Carlo simulation and experimental survey data. Our results showed that one can achieve sufficient reliability (i.e., 0.87–0.90 on average) and validity (i.e., 0.40–0.45 on average) by using highly discriminating 20–40% heteropolar (i.e., mixed positive and negative statements) blocks. Find out more by downloading the PDF here.

    Citation: Lee, P., Joo, S.-H., Zhou, S., & Son, M. (2022). Investigating the impact of negatively keyed statements on multidimensional forced-choice personality measures: A comparison of partially ipsative and IRT scoring methods. Personality and Individual Differences.

  • Pre-College Influences on College Student Leadership

    Prior studies in leadership focus primarily on adult developmental experiences, with few exploring pre-college influences such as extracurriculars and parenting. Our empirical study of 420 undergraduate college students identified key pre-18-year-old experiences that influence leadership development. Specifically, college student leader self-efficacy was predicted by sports team leadership, community service, extracurriculars, and positive parenting behaviors such as family routine and greater quality time with parents. Additionally, college student leader emergence was predicted by pre-college community service, extracurriculars, peer tutoring, and perceptions of parental quality time and proactive parenting. Find out more by downloading the PDF here.

    Citation: McCarron, G. P., Zhou, S., Campbell, A., Kodama Muscente, K., & Schierbeek, E. (2022). We’re not working with a blank slate: Students’ pre-college leadership activities and perceived parenting behavior as predictors of college-based leader emergence and leader self-efficacy. Journal of Leadership Education.

  • Leadership in Youth TV Shows

    We know very little about early childhood (pre-college) influences on leadership development. In this interdisciplinary study, we coded leadership behaviors found in 75 episodes sampled from the most popular youth TV shows in the United States. We examined differences across target age group, network channel, and type of show. As the target age group increased, there were increasing depictions of direction-setting leadership behaviors such as gathering information, sense-making, and forecasting, in addition to decreasing depicts of communal leadership characteristics such as warmth, empathy, and trustworthiness. Find out more by downloading the PDF here.

    Citation: Maskell, S., McCarron, G. P., Cannon, J., Zhou, S., Zaccaro, S. J., & Goldstein, T. R. (2022). The leadership stories our youth are told: Characterizations of leadership behaviors and orientations in popular youth TV shows. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.


  • Teaching Data Visualization

    In this short commentary piece, we discuss the importance of data visualization and why undergraduate students ought to learn the basics of data visualization in introductory statistics courses. Download the PDF here.

    Citation: Ahmad, A. S., & Zhou, S. (2021). Spreading the word: Equipping I-O students to use descriptive statistics for effective data visualization. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

  • Ethical Dilemmas in Academic Research

    In this short commentary piece, we explore how the academic infrastructure (e.g., publish or perish culture, grant requirements, journal policies) can lead to ethical dilemmas and, in some cases, ethical violations. Download the PDF here.

    Citation: Zhou, S., & Field, J. G. (2021). Many forces at play: Ethical dilemmas in academic research. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.


  • Teaching I-O to Non-I-O Students

    In this short commentary piece, we discuss why I-O concepts can and should be taught to general, non-I-O students in other psychology disciplines or even beyond. We argue that all students can learn from I-O research in training and development, diversity and inclusion, groups and teams, and leadership. Download the PDF here.

    Citation: Zhou, S., & Ahmad, A. S. (2021). Who’s your audience? Expanding I-O teaching to non-I-O students. Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

  • Teaching I-O Psychology Online

    In this short commentary piece, we discuss how I-O psychology can be effectively taught in a fully online graduate program, drawing from our experiences building a fully online program prior to the start of the pandemic. Download the PDF here.

    Citation: Ahmad, A. S., Zhou, S., & Ayers, T. (2021). The future of learning: Teaching industrial and organizational psychology in all modalities.Industrial and Organizational Psychology.