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Nonlinear Dynamics in Work and Organizational Psychology: To Nonlinear Modelling … and Beyond



17th – 18th October 2016

University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Submission Deadline: April 15th, 2016 April 25th (new extended deadline)

On the request of some colleagues we are pleased to inform you that the deadline for submission has been extended to April 25th.


Dr. José Navarro (University of Barcelona)
Dra. Rita Rueff-Lopes (ESADE Business School-University of Ramon Llull)
Dr. Antonio L. García-Izquierdo (University of Oviedo)
Dr. Jorge Escartín (University of Barcelona)

Conference theme and scope

The main objective of this meeting is to foster debate and knowledge sharing among scholars interested in going beyond the generalized linear modelling. Very often we find, as part of the limitation of empirical researches, statements describing that data could have been also analysed taking advantage of nonlinear methods. However, the application of non-linear models in our field is not as common as it could be.

Being true that the majority of the accumulated research in the field uses classical statistical techniques based on the generalized linear model (GLM), it is also true that the nonlinear models tend to present better fit indexes and to explain more variance in comparison to the linear ones. For example, in a review about the topic, Guastello (2002) reports that nonlinear models explain the double of variance of their linear counterparts. Nevertheless, the predominant research continues to use linear modelling. Consequently, an important avenue to improve and advance knowledge is related to the use of best suited models. This potential has been emphasized in recent handbooks (e.g., Deboek, 2012; DeShon, 2012; Guastello, 2013; Ployhart & Kim, 2013), specialized books (e.g., Scarborough & Somers, 2006) and recent advanced training institutes (e.g., Nonlinear Method for Psychological Science at University of Cincinnati, June 15-19, 2015, promoted by APA). We aim to add to these important contributions with a Small Group Meeting exclusively focused on nonlinear methods applied to organizational research.

In this meeting we make a call for work and organizational psychologists who are applying different kinds of nonlinear modelling, in any kind of work and organizational psychology topic, including but not limiting to:

  • Classic exploration of quadratic and cubic relations among variables (using nonlinear regression techniques, for example)
  • The exploration of sigma-functions (another kind of cubic relations) by means of neural networks, functional data analysis, or similar procedures
  • More sophisticated techniques such as catastrophe modelling (which allow to model linear and nonlinear relations at the same time) and fuzzy logic to model any relations that we can imagine by using fuzzy patches.

We extend this invitation to others scholars that, although may not be applying these models in the present, are curious in deepening their knowledge on this type of methods. We believe that the eclectic dissemination of nonlinear dynamics will be more effective in terms of raising general awareness and interest.

We expect this meeting to provide useful guidelines about how different nonlinear models can be applied in the field of work and organizational psychology. To ensure this, and in addition to the presentation and debate of the different contributions from the attendants, we have included a workshop about how to work using nonlinear models.


Deboek, P. R. (2012). Modeling nonlinear dynamics in intraindividual variability. In M. R. Mehl & T. S. Conner (Eds.), Handbook of research methods for studying daily life (pp. 440-458). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

DeShon, R. (2012). Multivariate dynamics in organizational science. In Kozlowski, S. W. J. (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of organizational psychology (pp. 117-142). New York: Oxford University Press.

Guastello, S. J. (2002). Managing emergent phenomena: Nonlinear dynamics in work organizations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Guastello, S. J. (2013). Catastrophe theory and its applications in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In J. M. Cortina & R. S. Landis (Eds.), Modern research for the study of behavior in organizations (pp. 29-62). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ployhart, R. E. & Kim, Y. (2013). Dynamic longitudinal growth modeling. In J. M. Cortina & R. S. Landis (Eds.), Modern research for the study of behavior in organizations (pp. 63-98). New York, NY: Routledge.

Scarborough, D. & Somers, M. J. (2006). Neural networks in organization research. Applying pattern recognition to the analysis in organizational behaviour. Washington, DC: APA.

Meeting format

We expect to have around 25 of attendants. During two full days the participants will present their contributions (oral communications or interactive posters) to the rest of attendants to stimulate in depth discussion and to receive constructive feedback. We have planned four coffee-breaks and two lunch periods to stay together stimulating a more informal discussion.

Additionally a three-hours workshop taught by professor Stephen J. Guastello (Marquette University, USA) will take place. The objective of this workshop is to learn to conduce nonlinear analysis applying some of the models from the nonlinear dynamical systems theory. Professor Guastello is a pioneer in the field and currently is the Editor-in-chief of a specialized journal devoted to this area (Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences).

We also have planned a lecture, make by professor Robert A. Roe (Maastricht University, Netherland), about why we must turn away from the linear model, that spells out how it hampers the study of change and how nonlinear dynamics systems methods can help us move forward.

For those arriving on the 16th (Sunday) an informal welcome reception will be held in Barcelona.

Meeting location and residence

The small meeting will be held in the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Barcelona, Campus UB Mundet. See

In this campus we also have an international university residence very convenient for this event. It is the Agora Residence (more information about this at: We have agreed special price for the attendants of this meeting. For reservations you should contact to Agora Residence in the following website:

If you are interested in having more information about the city of Barcelona and its tourist attractions you can visit

Conference fees

The conference participation fee is 50€ per participant. This registration fee includes two lunches and four coffee breaks. The registration should be done at

Abstract submission and potential special issues

Participants are invited to submit paper abstracts (up to 500 words) by April 15th, 2016 to José Navarro (

Submissions should be structured as follows: purpose/contribution, design/methodology, results, limitations, implications, and originality/value. In the abstract, authors should also indicate how their paper fits the scope of the SGM (i.e. highlighting nonlinear issues in, for example, the theory used, the uses of some analytical techniques, the implications, and so on). Submitted abstracts will be pre-screened and selected by three EAWOP members assessing their fit to the SGM purpose. Participants will be notified about the acceptance of their paper by June 1st, 2016.

We have the plan to propose a special issue about this topic to the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. Additionally, we will also invite attendees to submit their works to the Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Science journal. More information about these two initiatives will be provided during the meeting.

More information

For more information, queries and updates please visit the blog  You can also are invited to contact directly with Prof. José Navarro (


On the behalf of the organizing committee

we will be happy to seeing you in Barcelona next October 2016