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Workplace Psychology Expert Witness

Provides Opinion & Testimony In:

Psychology, Psychologist, Industrial Psychology, Industrial Psychologist, Safety, Workplace, Harassment, Hiring, Executive, Training, Executive Assessment, Coaching, Wrongful Discharge, Firing, Termination, Discrimination, Promotion, Sexual Harassment, Performance Evaluation, Survey, Statistics, Validity, Reliability, Memory, Learning, Teambuilding, Gender, Age, Screening, Placement, Application Forms, Interviewing, Interview, Violence, Threats, Threatening Behavior, Executives, Managers, Management, Exclusion, Partners, Corporate Culture, Culture, Stress, Forgetting, Employment,

Expert No. 149

Texas

Over thirty years of consulting in all aspects of the human side of business including pre-hire assessment, coaching, hiring, testing, staff development, executive team building and virtually any area besides search and placement.

EDUCATION AND LICENSING

  • PhD Psychology Florida State University, 1972
  • MS Psychology Florida State University, 1971
  • BA Psychology University of Texas at Arlington, 1969
  • Licensed Psychologist 1977 to present, Texas 2-1566

EMPLOYMENT

  • 1976 to present – Consultation to business
  • Privately Owned Group 1981 to present Principal
  • Rose Porterfield Group is a Texas HUB and Woman Owned Business providing psychological and organizational consulting since 1981.
  • Lifson Companies 1976 to 1981 Principal
  • Started at Lifson Wilson Ferguson and Winick in 1976; firm changed names several times with Lifson as the first name. Work involved consulting in all aspects of selection and development of management teams in a wide range of industries (described below).
  • 1973 to 1976 – Research and teaching
  • University of Puerto Rico 1973 to 1976 Assistant Professor
  • Taught and conducted research in bilingual cognitive processes.

Courses taught:

  • Experimental Psychology – including experimental design and basic statistics.
  • Various graduate courses

EXAMPLE LEGAL PROJECTS

  • We supported the defendant where a Caucasian man claimed that he was part Indian and that his African American boss was discriminating against him because he was Indian.
  • We supported the plaintiff, a man who had been fired for sexual harassment.
  • We supported the plaintiff, an individual who was seriously injured in a Company event.
  • We sported the defendant, a not for profit Company being sued for unfair labor practices.
  • We supported the plaintiff, the family of a man who died as a result of an unsafe work environment.
  • We supported the plaintiff, a man injured at work; defendant maintained he knew he had not become a full-time employee and should not have acted as one; we showed logically that he had the right to assume he was employed.
  • We are objective, know our strengths and limitations and are not upset at being challenged.

EXAMPLE CONSULTING PROJECTS

  • Our main work involves consulting and we have worked with retail, restaurant, not-for-profit, construction, medical, manufacturing, consulting and aviation to name some industries. Below are some examples of our work projects.

DEVELOPING TEST ITEMS

  • A preeminent testing Company asked us to design test questions for their revised intelligence test. Items have to fit exacting standards in order to maintain validity.

EXAMINING SAFETY AND QUALITY PROGRAMS

A large refinery asked to examine one of their plants to see if the rigorous programs in Quality (LEAN) and Safety were functioning as desired. Company did lengthy one-on-one on-site interviews from the top plant management to a large representative sample of workers in all areas and all shifts in the 24/7 operation as well as examining files, programs, films of work accidents, and other data. Company found that the information on quality, while embraced by management, was not making it to the shop floor. Workers felt that LEAN was just another “theory of the moment” and that safety was unnecessary and/or subordinate to production. Company addressed this, as well as ethnic-related factors influencing compliance. As a result of the project findings the CEO and management were able to re-oriented thinking and attitudes, raise the plant safety rating and make the implementation of LEAN more efficient.

Example projects continued

HANDLING TRAGIC INCIDENTS.

Two managers were murdered by gun shot in a robbery gone wrong in one of the many stores in a large retail chain. As is often the case there was a ripple effect of fear in the thousands of other stores about ‘it could happen to us, too.” Company was called in to consider the psychological aspects of the best way to present and deal with the information both internally and externally—and in a way that acknowledged yet calmed fears and was consistent with Company culture and the strong ethics of the two founders.

HANDLING A THREATENING EMPLOYEE

A disgruntled recently-fired employee had been sending threatening mail to management. Company was asked to read the mail, employee records etc to determine the extent of the threat and make suggestions for handling the employee. Our analysis showed that there was sufficient cause for concern. We suggested ways to handle the employee that showed respect, stood firm in some areas and did not keep overly engaged. The former employee handled the resulting communication well and ceased making threats.

EXECUTIVE ASSESSMENT PRE-HIRE

As one example of thousands of Company’s executive assessment procedures: a final slate of five SVP HR candidates was determined by management. Each was assessed by Company with reports on each individual, suggested follow-up questions and comparison contrast of all five. As is often the case Company found that all five were highly qualified; that said, one individual was clearly the weakest in terms of experience, another was a poor fit with the culture, and among the other three there were two top contenders with strong but very different styles. In discussions with the CEO and his top staff we suggested the one that most clearly fit their needs and lead to success in the position.

DEVELOPMENT OF A MANAGEMENT TRAINING PROGRAM FOR CHINESE MANAGERS

A North America/China aviation joint venture asked Company to visit their plant in China to help develop training programs with a western philosophy and approach that would be accepted by the Chinese and able to be implemented in their culture. Previously the North America HR team had made an attempt at the program creation but were unsuccessful. Company found that the management team—while mostly western educated and fluent in English—had a difficult time grasping ‘obvious’ concepts such as delegation, which in western management were considered assumed. With Company’s design, guidance, and training, the program was ultimately implemented with success.

IMPROVING EFFECTIVENESS AT A MEDICAL CLINIC

A medical clinic had difficulties with inefficiencies, bickering among the staff, prima donna doctors and marked communication problems among the two doctor owners. In a series of interviews and observations with staff and doctors Company found people who were underutilized, areas in which patient information was not being communicated and the locus of problems that were impeding communication among the owners. Company showed the owners that a few alterations to their communication and management, e.g., taking a hard line in some key areas, restructure of staffing and some simple but rigorous policies and procedures all of which was used by the owners with immediate effects.

COACHING EXECUTIVES

We have coached many executives through the years. A national retail consulting firm had two VPs both of whom had been identified as key talent and both of whom were not being accepted among other key players and external partners as well as was needed. Both were assessed and subsequently coached for most of the year. In one case it became clear that one VP, while talented and good with people in some areas had basic irreconcilable trust issues with management that ultimately led to an amicable departure. The second VP was good at what he did but was not ‘selling’ his ideas and projected an unintentionally negative tone. Through coaching, he developed rapidly and grew into a larger role.

FACILITATING EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATION

A large construction Company was owned and managed by four brothers. Individually good performers they had difficulty in communicating among themselves as a team. Sometimes they simply did not communicate and at other times their anger made the meetings counterproductive. We worked with them biweekly over the course of a year and helped them achieve some key changes.

COMMUNICATION TRAINING

Worked with a department in a public sector hospital organization to help them with communication training. As is our usual approach we visited with members of the department individually and confidentially. While there were systemic issues there were also personal likes and dislikes – some extreme. By looking at the department overall and individually we were able to tailor a program that had both general communication suggestions as well as some very targeted suggestions.

Worked with the Accounting and Finance department in a large manufacturing Company. We visited with individuals within the department. We found some systemic issues and also found one individual who was a very divisive element. We were able to tailor the course to their needs and made suggestions to make the problem individual more of an individual contributor.

UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE CULTURE

After working with a retail client for a few years in more and more areas Company felt confidence in an understanding of corporate culture. To further improve effectiveness we asked the CEO to draw up a list of key culture factors, Company did so independently and working with the CEO refined many factors to six key aspects of corporate culture with concrete examples of each. Too often companies espouse culture that contains abstract terms such as ‘excellence’ with no concrete examples – the list we helped develop was much more concrete. E.g. one key aspect of culture was ‘Deep Dive’ and was defined as “A willingness to understand our business at a store level, visiting stores, talking to shop personnel looking at product layout and always staying focused at that level. We do not have a Headquarters we have a Store Support Center.” Company uses this list in assessing candidates, which has dropped turnover and increased teamwork.

SURVEYS AND 360s

We have helped clients with surveys for years, including customer satisfaction, employee morale and as part of team development. As one example we worked with an organization with a focus on the executive team. We conducted surveys both written and individual at all levels of the organization. (We insure confidentiality in our surveys). As a result the E-team members were able to see where people perceived that they did or did not fit the Mission Vision and Values that they were working to implement. As a result we provided group work and one-on-one coaching to help them better fit their MVV.

DEVELOPING A PUBLIC DATA PROFILE

An international research Company gathered public data on a client’s competitor’s CEO. Their client wanted to understand the competitor better in terms of likely behavior. Based on the data we developed a psychological profile of the CEO. The Company found the information extremely useful.

HELPING REBUILD DAMAGED AND INEFFECTIVE CULTURE

A large and well known Not For Profit organization had a culture that was out dated and ineffective, perpetuated by a senior leadership team that was dysfunctional. We worked for over a year doing interviewing and assessment and helped guide the Board and CEO to a new team with clearer ground rules.



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