An R&I Group of Verona University

 

The labor market is constantly evolving. The events that have taken place over the past two decades pose ever-changing challenges to organizations that are called to respond to this evolution through a process of continuous adaptation. This is demonstrated by the recent pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus which, by means of the consequent lockdown situation that has stimulated the adoption of innovative solutions such as smart working; moving from the management of an emergency in the short to medium term, to the introduction of a telematic working dimension that will have stable effects on the working condition in the long term. The digitization processes and new emerging technologies, the consequent continuous training of staff and professional redesign, the new meaning taken on by work and the related motivations, are all examples of changes in the labor market and new adaptive approaches in organizations. 

In this context, applied research in organizations and in particular the cognitive, social, and emotional dimensions experienced by the people who populate them is the subject of study by APRESO ( Applied Research in Society and Organizations ). APRESO is a group of researchers from the University of Verona that deals with conducting research and interventions in the field of work psychology in organizations and the social dimension. Specifically, APRESO adopts a scientist-practitioner approach in which research is guided by practical needs and the interventions are designed based on the models that have obtained valid and reliable empirical support. 

The interests of the APRESO Research Group concern: the study of organizational behaviors, the role of individual differences in decision-making processes applied to work contexts, and social dynamics in the field of applied psychology. 

In the field of basic research, the studies of the APRESO Research Center deepen the role of dispositional antecedents such as personality traits, risk attitudes, or decision-making skills in reference to classic organizational models (eg, Job Demands-Resources model, Effort- Reward model, etc.). Examples are projects such as professional insertion and career decision-making processes, risk behaviors and individual differences, or the role of decision-making processes and individual differences in the JD-R model, the harmful combination between the use of the mobile phone while driving and work-related stress. 

The applied research activity develops instead in the definition of training interventions and active policies to improve decision-making processes, organizational well-being, and work performance. Therefore, these are applied research projects where intervention from social and organizational realities is required, such as training interventions, business consultancy relating to the climate and organizational culture, assessment systems and questionnaires created ad hoc and supported by empirical evidence. Among the research projects previously followed, it is possible to mention: life-work and smart working reconciliation, organizational rewards and work commitment, psychological assessment in the management of human resources, lifelong learning and vocational training, debiasing interventions and job crafting, the process model of orientation towards the “GRRR” objectives: determination, resilience and recovery, NOTECHS and the human factor, the interventions to improve well-being at work, the FAMILY approach. As part of this type of research project, APRESO is responsible for collecting data – often while the designated intervention is being conducted – and involving the actors involved to arrive at a depth and scientifically supported knowledge of certain phenomena and processes. 

Finally, in industrial research, the contribution of the APRESO researchers concerns the integration of cognitive and behavioral theories (for example Theory of Planned Behavior, Prospect theory, etc.) in the design of predictive models – based on agents – of social and organizational behavior. Among the projects followed, it is possible to mention: organizational policies, social simulations, and pro-social behavior, as well as studies on sustainable behavior. 

APRESO works using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, as well as mixed methods, to conduct research and implement interventions, including scholars from within the various fields of social research. Using an approach of this type, while APRESO implements interventions within organizations, it collects data useful for scientific research and achieves its ultimate goal: the diffusion of scientific knowledge in the territory.