Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Psychology - Organizational and Social Psychology

Welcome to the Homepage of the Chair of Psychology, especially Organizational and Social Psychology (Prof. Dr. Klaus Moser) at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Please find below information on lectures and courses held at the chair, degree programmes and studying opportunities in Erlangen-Nuremberg, members of the research team, and research projects.

Studying Organizational and Social Psychology in Nuremberg

The Chair of Psychology, especially Organizational and Social Psychology (Prof. Dr. Klaus Moser) offers lectures and courses on a wide range of topics:


Courses (examples)

The majority of regular lectures and courses are held in German language, but at least one course is held in English language in each semester. Online registrations for all courses are done via StudOn. Note that you need a StudOn account first.

Details about the courses can be found at Lehrveranstaltungen.

In order to improve one’s knowledge of German language and culture, a range of language courses at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is offered before and during the semester.

Master Programms

Psychology (the emphasis is on organizational psychology and consumer psychology) can be studied as a subject in one of the following Master programmes at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, School of Business and Economics.

Psychology can also be studied as a subject in one of the following Bachelor programs (6 semesters = 180 ECTS):


If you are interested in a dissertation in Work and Organizational Psychology please send an exposé (5 pages) of your intended research project in German or English language together with your résumé to: Prof. Dr. Klaus Moser. Note that a prerequisite is that you completed a relevant degree programme at a university with a master degree or an equivalent other degree (e.g., in psychology or business administration or social sciences). In addition, profound knowledge of both advanced statistics and organizational / social psychology is a must.

Research Team

Prof. Dr. Klaus Moser

Curriculum Vitae

1981: studies of psychology and philosophy of sciences at University of Mannheim, 1986: Diploma, 1989: Dissertation, 1994: Habilitation, 1986-1995: Research assistant at University of Hohenheim, 1995-1998: Full professor in work and organizational psychology at University of Giessen, since 1998: Full professor in organizational and social psychology at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Main areas of research

Personnel selection, performance appraisal, training and development, survey research, psychology of advertising

Research and teaching assistants / scholars

Sample of Publications

Psychology of Advertising (1990), Consistency of Personality (1991), Personnel Recruiting (1992, 1993), Personnel Selection in Research and Development (1995), Commitment in Organizations (1996), Sex-Appeal in Advertising (1997), Entrepreneurial Success (1999), Market and Advertising Psychology (2002), Economic Psychology (2007, 2015), Organizational Psychology (2014).

Further numerous contributions to technical journals and books

Summaries of current research projects

(collaborating research assistants in parentheses)

The Third Person Effect

The third-person effect hypothesis indicates that people tend to perceive mass media as having a greater effect on others than on themselves. Research on the third-person effect is an active field and consequently there are many empirical studies, several explanations and theoretical approaches for this effect. Based on meta-analyses we want to examine how this effect can be theoretically explained and which variables could be significant moderators.

(Anett Stolberg)


Our research is based on the assumption that overclaiming and self-enhancement are connected to the self-construal of a person (independent vs. interdependent). In this concept the self can be construed as separate from their social context and thus emphasize autonomy (independent self-construal) or as constituent of the social context (interdependent self-construal). We assume that individuals with independent views on their self tend to overestimate their performance.

(Alice Hassel)

Work Design

Our research follows approaches extending the traditional job characteristics model by Hackman and Oldham (1975). Whether the motivating potential or social potential of a job is important concerning work outcomes (job satisfaction, motivation, absenteeism, fluctuation) is not only determined by different degrees of need of growth but also by the dominating self-construal.

(Alice Hassel)

The Role of Corporate Communications in Reducing Job Insecurity

The experience of job insecurity is related to various negative attitudes towards work and the organization, such as reduced job satisfaction, reduced organizational commitment, impaired well-being and increased fluctuation. Since the strength of these effects varies across studies, it is vital to identify factors that moderate the strength of these relationships.

I assume that one strategy to cope with job insecurity is influenced by organizational communication and perceived external prestige. Organizational communication may associate directly and negatively with job insecurity or alternatively, organizational communication and perceived external prestige may moderate the relationships between job insecurity and negative attitudes towards work and the organization, so they act as a buffer. Research to date has not yet contrasted these two views.

(Sebastian Holzwarth)

Assessment of social competencies

Recent research has shown that it is possible to achieve more than satisfying validity coefficients for employment interviews assessing social competencies (for apprentices, supervisory and professional jobs). Moreover, social competencies can also be assessed by means of specific questionnaires (self monitoring scales). According to our findings this is especially recommendable for applicants with little job experience.

(Nathalie Galais)

A psychological approach to temporary work

The main motives to work as a “temp" are: Avoiding unemployment and finding a "permanent job". Therefore temporary work in Germany is seen as transitory and even inferior to permanent work. Nevertheless, there are indicators that temporary work indeed seems to have a high potential of reintegrating unemployed persons into "permanent employment". From the psychological point of view it is not yet clear which individual and organizational factors determine a successful integration into the conventional labor. Therefore, we investigate the role of personality and adaptation-strategies in the context of specific organizational determinants for the change into a "permanent job" and the well-being of temporary employees.

(Nathalie Galais)

Improving the transfer process of trainings

Training and development programs should change trainees` abilities, skills, and attitudes. Unfortunately, transfer of training to the job environment is often insufficient and intended changes respectively performance improvement cannot be attained. Recent research indicated different ways to optimize the transfer of training to the workplace. Our analyses and evaluations of training programs in a large non profit organization yielded evidence for the importance of working conditions, for example social support of supervisors and colleagues as well as decision latitude. Especially, moderator effects of the transfer of trainings due to working conditions were found, which means that an interaction between learning gains caused by training programs and conditions at the workplace determines the improvement of the transfer process of trainings.

(Jeannette Zempel)

Employee developmental interviews

Employee developmental interviews are an important element of personnel development. They help to improve the dialogue between supervisors and employees and, in a sense of a constructive supervisor-employee relationship, offer the possibility of analyzing the past and develop the future cooperation. By means of goal setting techniques, the work process can be optimized, personal development of employees can be evaluated and interventions can be initiated. In employee developmental interviews past work results, work arrangements, difficulties and wishes are brought up for discussion and future goals, interventions for optimizing the operational sequence and the qualification of employees are developed. Successful employee developmental interviews promote mutual information exchange, and are furthermore an important leadership tool to motivate employees. Within the scope of a project in a public-sector enterprise, the implementation and the success of these interventions are evaluated in a longitudinal study.

(Roman Soucek)

Escalation of Commitment

Generally, being highly committed to a decision regarding a certain goal is considered to increase the probability of goal attainment by initiating purposive behavior. In certain situations, though, where persistence is no longer justifiable by rational means high commitment prevents individuals from reconsidering or abandoning their chosen course of action. In this case, commitment does have negative consequences: Commitment escalates. Individuals invest additional resources to a failing course of action though possible gains or the probability of goal attainment are too low to justify further investments. Our research group has been investigating the psychological and situational determinants that underlie the escalation of commitment as well as its theoretical implications. We have adopted a focus on the process characteristics of escalation which is characterized by the reoccurrence of the decision to persist or to withdraw from the present course of action. We also investigate the effects of feedback attributes and information processing on the process of escalation.

(Roman Soucek, Hans-Georg Wolff)

Metaanalyses of psychological unemployment research

We reviewed three core issues of psychological research on unemployment: (1) Is there a relationship between employment status and mental health? (2) Are there any groups of people who suffer more than others (moderator effects)? (3) Is unemployment the cause for this psychological distress (question of causality)?Meta-analyses confirmed that unemployed people consistently have a poorer mental health than employed people. Effect sizes are between d = .09 (psychosomatic complaints) and d = -.59 (life satisfaction). Further analyses revealed that youth (in comparison to adults), those that are unemployed for more than one year (vs. less than one year), men (in comparison to women) and people with blue collar jobs (vs. white collar jobs) suffer more from being unemployed. Results of causal analyses based on longitudinal studies showed that employment status is not only correlated with mental health but unemployment causes poor mental health. In addition, selection effects can also be found: There is both a higher probability that people with poorer mental health will become unemployed and have problems to find a new job.

(Karsten Paul)


To our knowledge, this "great way to get ahead" has received little attention from psychologists so far, although several popular "how to"-books and scientific essays by structural sociologists on social capital have been published. Our research is based on an individual perspective and is focused on theoretical considerations of the benefits of workrelated social ties as well as the development of measurement devices in order to test our theoretically derived hypotheses on the relation between networking and vocational success.

(Hans-Georg Wolff)

Rising flood of information at the workplace

In the year 2000 the majority of employees work with computers, which are tied up increasingly to a Intra- and/or Internet. In many cases an information flooding is released by these new techniques because traditional natural and temporal filters are lacking. In addition, both quantitatively and qualitatively new forms, possibilities and frequencies of communication develop. Workers feel frequently overtaxed by this new type and quantity of information and suffer from health impairments. Aim of the project is to develop technical and organisational aids helping employees to cope with the flood of information.

(Roman Soucek)

Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB)

Organizational Citizenship Behaviour can be described as an individual behaviour that is optional and is not rewarded directly or explicitly by the organization. What this means is for example that a person will help a co-worker in need (one of many "symptoms" of OCB) because he/she feels like doing so, without expecting to be compensated upon his/her gesture.

The overwhelming majority of studies on OCBs (Organizational Citizenship Behaviours) had an individual level approach on the OCB and work unit performance relationship. Though OCB is manifested at an individual level, the outcomes are always at a higher, mixed level that includes both the individual and the group. Some argue that a more complex organizational level is also implied but all this raises questions about the theoretical grounds, antecedent studies have based their efforts on.

We assume that OCBs have an important effect on how units perform both on quantitative and qualitative levels, doing it through an approach based on a group level awareness of OCB, something that has been done too seldom in research.

(George Luca)

Job experience and job performance

The purpose of the project is to develop an inventory to assess the core of work experience. It is therefore about the question which role the job history plays for the current potential performance. The relationship between job experience and job performance will be investigated, considering also variables such as age, intelligence and personality.

Our aim is to develop the characteristics of job experience, which are relevant for job performance. Understanding the meaning of job experience, methods to teach these experiences can be developed (e.g. personnel development, job design). We want to develop a method to analyse work experience in complex jobs, mainly that of managers.

(Eva Geithner)

Conceptually linked vs. independent groups: Sorting behavior as cognitive Style

When confronted with free sorting tasks, people can either create groups that are independent from each other, or create groups that are conceptually linked to each other, for example, by representing different values on an underlying dimension. The phenomenon that sorting can be done in two distinct ways is described, analyzed, and interpreted as a cognitive style in tour ongoing research project. Up to now, we condcuted several studies showing (1) that the sorting phenomenon can be measured with high inter-individual consistency; (2) that this behavior generalizes across different types of stimuli including portrait photographs and inanimate objects such as fruit; (3) that it is not a transient, state-like phenomenon but shows considerable stability over a period of one month; (4) that the phenomenon is relevant for different fields of psychological research, for example research pertaining to the effects of mood on cognition.

(Karsten Paul)


School of Business and Economics
Psychology - Organizational and Social Psychology
Lange Gasse 20
90403 Nuremberg
Phone: +49 (911) 5302-259
Fax: +49 (911) 5302-243
Email: psychologie@wiso.uni-erlangen.de

Startseite | Kontakt | Anfahrt | Impressum