By Christopher Salute, SIOP Blogger
Everyone Has a Reading List…But who has a movie list?
Of course I read. I have to stay relevant. So, I find my colleagues and professors’ reading lists very helpful. I even have a few essentials that I like to give to my students. And, I’ve also (don’t tell anyone) taken some books off of their lists, too!
But, do you know what I find a lot more entertaining than my reading list? My movie list! There are so many I-O related scenarios in movies and literature. Forget business, in general. I don’t even want to get started. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (great movie, even better book!) was not just a murder mystery, but a forensic finance thriller! “Wall Street” and “Boiler Room” are both great for business ethics lessons. Office Space is an I-O Psychologists’ nightmare! “So, what would you say….you do here?”
Do you know what one of my favorite movies for I-O Psychologists is? “In Good Company” with Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. You must have seen this one about the twenty-six year old executive who gets in way over his head working with a new sales team and their old boss, a fifty-one year old veteran sales manager. All of this is set to the backdrop of today’s constantly changing business world of mergers, acquisitions, and corporate downsizing. The secondary plotline, which makes it much more fun, occurs when Grace (the younger executive) starts dating Quaid’s (the older subordinate) daughter, played by Scarlett Johansen.
We’ve established that one of my loves is “technology in the workplace.” My other love is definitely “generational impacts on work relationships.” What an excellent story told in “In Good Company. ” And the examples of I-O principals are abundant. It’s full of job evaluations, feedback, workplace transitions, training and development, and work-life balance. There’s a great scene about 360 degree feedback when one of the employees rates themselves “does not meet expectations.” Work satisfaction comes into play once the fast-track executive realizes he doesn’t really enjoy his job tasks, but rather the work environment. And, when that all changes, he looks at his role as a manager with a sharper eye. I don’t want to ruin the ending so I’ll leave it at that!
If and when you decide to watch a few of the movies I recommend in my blogs, be sure to look at them with an analytical mindset. There’s a lot to be learned and referenced. They are a great way to illustrate points to friends (most of whom have no idea what we do), students, and colleagues.
I hope I don’t catch any “comment-slack” for this one. But, I absolutely love using a few clips from movies during my lesson plans. I try to use a 5 or 10 minute clip every other lesson or so, when applicable. It’s nice to see these principals illustrated in a different light. And, I’ve found my students quoting my movies days and weeks after I’ve shown them. So, I know they were paying attention, which is exactly what I’m looking for.
Just like this blog post, it’s nice to lighten up once in a while. I enjoy the feeling I get when I find just the right article or conceptualize the perfect methodology. And, when that doesn’t happen (which is often), the last thing I want to do is pick up a book from a reading list! I’ll try to put together a comprehensive management or I-O related movie list so that we can all enjoy a little down time while continuing to learn. If you’re like me, you never shut your brain off. So, I find analyzing these movies to be a nice way to wind down.
Hey, I wonder if I can write off my movie tickets for a work-related education credit...