Borman - J ournal of Applied Psychology 1993 Vol 78 No 3...

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Journal of Applied Psychology 1993. Vol. 78, No. 3, 443-449 Copyright 1993 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0021-9010/93/S3.00 Role of Early Supervisory Experience in Supervisor Performance Walter C. Borman, Mary Ann Hanson, Scott H. Oppler, Elaine D. Pulakos, and Leonard A. White This research explores the role of early supervisory experience and cognitive ability in first-line supervisor performance. Similar to F. L. Schmidt, J. E. Hunter, and A. N. Outerbridge's (1986) study of nonsupervisors, this research tested structural models hypothesizing relationships among su- pervisory experience, cognitive ability, supervisory knowledge and proficiency, and performance ratings, using a sample of 570 second-tour soldiers. The Schmidt et al. model with an additional ability -> experience path provided the best fit. The significant ability -* experience path was interpreted as indicating that demonstrated ability contributes to soldiers being given the opportu- nity to obtain supervisory experience. Experience had a greater impact on supervisor proficiency than on supervisor knowledge. Ability had a greater impact on supervisor knowledge than on proficiency. Discussion focuses on the personal characteristics that might be involved in being assigned supervisory responsibilities. Somewhat surprisingly, there have been few studies of empiri- cal relationships between experience on a job and performance on that job. In a review article more than 10 years ago, Gordon and Johnson (1982) were able to cite only about six studies directly relevant to this issue. Furthermore, the results were equivocal, with evidence of both positive correlations between tenure and performance (Gordon & Fitzgibbons, 1982) and nonsignificant correlations between experience levels and per- formance (Ronan, 1970). Since the Gordon and Johnson (1982) review, three studies especially relevant to the experience-performance relationship have been conducted. In a meta-analysis of Department of La- bor data, McDaniel, Schmidt, and Hunter (1988) investigated the relationship between job experience and job performance. Results showed that the correlation between experience in pres- ent occupation and supervisory performance ratings (corrected for attenuation) across 947 samples and more than 16,000 em- ployees was .32. Correlations were higher for low-complexity jobs (.39 vs. .28 for high-complexity jobs), possibly because on- the-job experience is the way these jobs get learned, whereas Walter C. Borman, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, and Personnel Decisions Research Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mary Ann Hanson, Personnel Decisions Research Insti- tute, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Scott H. Oppler, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC; Elaine D. Pulakos, Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, Virginia; Leonard A. White, U.S.
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