What is your academic history?
I completed my BA and MA in Psychology at Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, then received my doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Currently, I am a full professor at the Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University. Prior to joining Seoul National University in 2007, I worked as Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
What emerging trends in social psychology are of current interest you?
My main research focus is the application of fundamental social psychological theories and ideas to improve our understanding of how individuals and groups operate in organizational settings. In line with this, I am keenly interested in the interactive dynamics between person and situation. Because organizations often offer a strong situation that shapes human behavior, I am interested in the basic social processes involving contextual shaping and trait activation, which induce specific human behavior in a given social setting. In this respect, I am increasingly attracted by the emergence of a socioemotional perspective in which moods and emotions are considered critical social information, going beyond the conventional sociocognitive views. Indeed, I believe we need to consider multiple perspectives that offer complementary accounts of human behavior.
Are you inspired by any particular researchers?
My way of thinking and interest in human behavior in social contexts – including groups and organizations – have been strongly influenced by Kurt Lewin’s views on topics such as force field analysis and change process models. Lewin’s famous remark that “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” is always in my mind and stimulates me to further engage in studying social psychology in applied settings.
What has been your most surprising/interesting research finding in your years of research?
My research has been mostly related to adaptive behavior of individuals in organizational settings, including organizational citizenship behavior, creative performance, and innovation implementation. However, perhaps the most counterintuitive and intriguing idea came from self-observation regarding my tendency towards procrastination. I felt uncomfortable single-mindedly blaming procrastination as a self-handicapping behavior because I regard myself as a procrastinator of many things. Thus, based on my own internal reflection, I introduced a new concept: active procrastination. Active procrastinators tend to make intentional decisions to procrastinate because they love time pressure or pressing performance context, and they ultimately produce satisfactory results even when they leave many tasks until the last minute. Although some scholars have argued that the term is an oxymoron, the idea of active procrastination intrigued hundreds of researchers and students, who contacted me to discuss directions for studies on contrasting active and passive (or traditional) procrastination behavior.
What initially attracted you to the field of social psychology?
When I joined the Department of Psychology for my undergraduate training, my scholarly inclinations were not in one particular direction. However, as I was exposed to various fields of psychology, social psychology emerged as the area I found most intriguing and appealing, and it continually stimulates my intellectual curiosity. I consider social psychology an attractive field for research because I can continually validate and expand theoretical ideas and hypotheses by reflecting upon my own daily experiences with other people. For this reason, I cannot stop thinking about social psychology principles!
How did you first hear of SBP Journal and what has been your involvement with the journal in the past?
I first encountered numerous SBP Journal publications while reviewing literature for my research. After becoming familiar with the journal, I chose to publish a number of my own articles in SBP Journal. I am pleased that some of these articles have already attracted scholarly attention and been cited by other researchers.