Rong Su

Degree: Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012

Research Interests

The core of my research centers on individual differences, person-environment (P-E) fit, work performance and success, and gendered career paths and gender differences in career attainment. Specifically, my research has examined the following questions: (1) How do individual differences in interests and personality, among other variables, and P-E fit influence individuals' educational and career development, the choices they make, and how well they do in school and at work (e.g., Nye, Su, Rounds, & Drasgow, 2012)? This line of research is tied into broader issues in testing and assessment, personnel selection, and human resource management. (2) What are the underlying psychosocial mechanisms that could account for gendered career paths and gender differences in career attainment, especially the under-representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines (e.g., Su, Rounds, & Armstrong, 2009)? This line of research has larger implications for public policy on education, workforce, and the economy. Central to both lines of research is the construct of interests—preferences for certain work activities or environments (e.g., repairing things, helping people, persuading). Interests describe people in relation to their environments and serve as impetus for individuals to navigate through and function effectively in their environments (Rounds & Su, 2014).

In addition to the above topics, my research has examined attitudes, psychological wellbeing, and health in ways related to workplace and organizations and has frequently visited the influence of culture. With a strong quantitative orientation, my research employs a variety of methods such as structural equation modeling, multilevel and longitudinal models, meta-analysis, psychometrics, multidimensional scaling, and response surface methodology.

My research has appeared in journals such as Psychological Bulletin, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science, and Journal of Counseling Psychology, and has been featured in major media outlets including Time and The New York Times. A selection of my recent publications is shown below.

Selected Recent Publications

Tay, L., Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2011). People-Things and Data-Ideas: Bipolar dimensions? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(3), 424-440.

Armstrong, P. I., Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2011). Vocational interests: The road less traveled. In T. Chamorro-Premuzic, S. von Stumm, & Furnham, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Individual Differences (pp. 608-631). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Nye, C. D., Su, R., Rounds, J., & Drasgow, F. (2012). Vocational interests and performance: A quantitative summary of over 60 years of research.Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 384-403.

Zell, E., Su. R., …, & Albarracin, D. (2012). Cultural differences in attitudes toward action and inaction: The role of dialecticism. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(5), 521-528.

Rounds, J., Su, R., Lewis, P., & Rivkin, D. (2012). Occupational Value Profiles for New and Emerging Occupations in the O*NET System: Summary. U.S. Department of Labor National O*NET Resource Center.

Rounds, J., Su, R., Lewis, P., & Rivkin, D. (2013). Occupational Interest Profiles for New and Emerging Occupations in the O*NET System: Summary. U.S. Department of Labor National O*NET Resource Center.

Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2013). Assessment of vocational interests. In D. R. Strauser (Ed.), Career Development, Employment and Disability: From Theory to Practice (pp. 207-222). New York: Springer.

Rounds, J., & Su, R. (2014). The nature and power of interests. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(2), 98-103.

Su, R., Murdock, C. D., & Rounds, J. (2014). Person-environment fit. In P. Hartung, M. Savickas, & B. Walsh (Eds.), APA Handbook of Career Intervention. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Su, R., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2014). The development and validation of Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving (CIT) and Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT). Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Published online before print. doi: 10.1111/aphw.12027

Damian, R. I., Su, R., Shanahan, M., Trautwein, U. & Roberts, B. W. (2014). Can Personality Traits and Intelligence Compensate for Background Disadvantage? Predicting Status Attainment in Adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication, doi:10.1037/pspp0000024

Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2015). All STEM fields are not created equal: People and things interests explain gender disparities across STEM fields. Invited contribution to S. J. Ceci, W. M. Williams, & S. Kahn (Eds.), Underrepresentation of women in science: International and cross-disciplinary evidence and argument on the debate, special issue in Frontiers in Psychology. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00189

Su, R., Golubovich, J., Robbins, S. B. (2015). Bridging science and practice: Toward a standard, evidence-based framework of 21st century skills.Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 8(2), 289-294. doi:10.1017/iop.2015.36

Woo, S. E., Keith, M., Saef, R., Su, R. & Parrigon, S. (in press). The curious dynamic between openness and interest in creativity. In G. J. Feist, R. Reiter-Palmon, & J. C. Kaufman (Eds). Handbook of Creativity and Personality Research.

Su, R., & Nye, C. D. (in press). Interests and person-environment fit: A new perspective on workforce readiness and success. In J. Burrus, K. D. Mattern, B. Naemi, & R. D. Roberts (Eds.), Building Better Students: Preparation for the Workforce. New York: Oxford University Press.

Golubovich, J., Su, R., & Robbins, S. B. (in press). Establishing a standards framework and benchmarks for workplace readiness and success: Bridging the education to work divide. In J. Burrus, K. D. Mattern, B. Naemi, & R. D. Roberts (Eds.), Building Better Students: Preparation for the Workforce. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kossek, E., Su. R., & Wu, L. (in press). “Opting out” or “pushed out”? Integrating perspectives on women’s career equality for gender inclusion and interventions. Journal of Management.

Editorial Board

Journal of Counseling Psychology (January 2014 - )

Prospective Graduate Students

Interested students are encouraged to review Dr. Su's personal website for further information

Understand Your Interests

If you would like to gain a better understanding of your own career interests, you can take the O*NET Interest Profiler Short Form that my colleagues and I developed for the U.S. Department of Labor National Center for O*NET Development.

Rong Su

Assistant Professor, Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
703 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081 USA

Campus Address:
Psychological Sciences, Room 2124

Telephone: (765) 496-0174

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