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Caitlin Porter, Ph.D

Caitlin Porter
Heyne Building, Room 123C
(713) 743-9602

Assistant Professor
Director of the Laboratory for the Psychological Investigation of Networking and Careers
Industrial Organizational Psychology
Ph.D., Purdue University

Biographical Summary

I received my Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Purdue University, and I joined the University of Houston faculty in 2016.

Research Interests

My research primarily investigates individuals’ career-focused activities as well as whether and when these activities result in desirable and undesirable outcomes for employees and organizations. I am particularly interested in analyzing situations where individual employees’ desires for career development may be at odds with organizations’ interests and finding potential common ground where positive outcomes may be achieved for both parties. 

Within this overarching perspective, my research is characterized by four, interrelated areas:

  • Professional Networking and Social Networks. My research within this area is concerned with the psychological and behavioral processes through which people build professional networks (i.e., networking) as well as the various outcomes that may result from access to a well-developed, strategic network of contacts, such as voluntary turnover and individual creativity.
  • Turnover and Withdrawal. I am interested in the interplay of individual and organizational interests in the turnover process. In particular, my research focuses on answering the questions of who quits and why in order to better understand whether and how organizations can retain employees by accommodating their needs and desires (for development, personal accommodations, etc.).
  • Career Management and Success. Broadly, my research in this area entails delineating and explicating various strategies for pursuing one’s career in the context of increasingly complex work environments and personal demands. For instance, my collaborators and I investigate why and how employees enact Protean and Boundaryless career approaches, alternative career approaches characterized by self-reliance in the pursuit of career development and employability (as opposed to a reliance on the employing organization).
  • Psychological and Behavioral Assessment. Another stream of my research seeks to increase the quality of assessment that drives our research practice and to propose alternative methodological approaches that may offer new insights into psychological phenomena. Current projects within this research stream are concerned with understanding and validating psychological and behavioral assessment tools, including the assessment centers and assessments of individual differences.

Selected Publications

Porter, C. M., Parrigon, S., Woo, S.E., Saef, R., & Tay, L. (in press). Cultural and intellectual openness differentially relate to social judgement of potential work partners. Journal of Personality.

Porter, C. M., Woo, S. E., & Campion, M. A. (2016). Internal and external networking differentially predict turnover through job embeddedness and job offers. Personnel Psychology, 69, 635-672. DOI: 10.111/peps.12121

Porter, C. M., Woo, S. E., Tak, J. (2016). Developing and validating short-form protean and boundaryless career attitude scales. Journal of Career Assessment, 24(1), 162-181.

Porter, C. M., & Woo, S. E. (2015). Untangling the networking phenomenon: A dynamic psychological perspective on how and why people network. Journal of Management, 41(5), 1477-1500.

Zhu, X., Woo, S. E., Porter, C. M., & Brzezinski, M. (2013). Pathways to happiness: From personality to social networks and perceived support. Social Networks, 35, 382-393.