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Ford Kevin Ford
Associate Chairperson/Graduate Director
Ph.D. Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology, Ohio State University 1983
Masters I/O Psychology, Ohio State University 1979
Bachelors Psychology, The University of Maryland 1976
Primary Program: Organizational
315 Psychology
(517) 353-5006

Research Statement

J. Kevin Ford is a Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University. His major research interests involve improving training effectiveness through efforts to advance our understanding of training needs assessment, design, evaluation and transfer. Dr. Ford also concentrates on understanding change dynamics in organizational development efforts and building continuous learning and improvement orientations within organizations. He has published over 50 articles and chapters and four books relevant to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology and Human Performance. He is an active consultant with private industry and the public sector on training, leadership, and organizational change issues. Kevin is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He received his BS in psychology from the University of Maryland and his MA and Ph.D. in psychology from The Ohio State University. Further information about Kevin and his research and consulting activities can be found at http://iopsych.msu.edu/jkf.

Personal Statement



Current Projects

The Transfer of Training to the Job: The concept and measurement of use

Blume, Ford, Baldwin and Huang noted that ransfer has been measured as both the use of a trained knowledge or skil on the job (behaviors) and the effectiveness of the trainee in applying the knowlede and skill. Our research is focused on the devleopment of a systematic taxonomy of "use" or actions taken by trainees once back on te job relevant to what was trained. This highlights the need to expand our understanding of use and the devleopment of methods to measure use in more effective and expansive ways.


Skill Retention of Collective Tasks

This research is to develop a methodology and collect data to analyze skill retention for collective (team) Army tasks. Skill retention represent the extent to which performance effectiveness of the team changes for a given collectivfe task over a period of tiem following initial training to proficiency - in the absence of refesher training and opportunties to practice the skills.

Related Research Websites
The Transfer of Training to the Job: The Concept and Measurement of Use Dr. J. Kevin Ford, Dr. Steve Yelon, and Sarena Bhatia
Ford, Baldwin and Huang (2010) conducted a meta-analysis of training transfer research. They noted that transfer has been measured as both the use of a trained knowledge or skill on the job (behaviors) and the effectiveness of the trainee in applying the knowledge and skill. However, they noted a lack of development of a systematic taxonomy of “use” or actions taken by trainees once back on the job. While almost all of the studies attempted to answer questions about generalization from training to the job, the questions have been confined to the participants’’ direct application to a job task. There is a need for an expanded definition of use in order to enhance understanding of possible uses on the job outside of direct application. This project aims to develop a taxonomy of use on the job and develop measures of use to more comprehensively evaluate training transfer and to understand the behavioral effects of training.
Time to Expertise Dr. J. Kevin Ford, Jessica Santoro, and Morgan Showler
This project is looking into how long it takes individuals at work to develop deep specialization in core jobs such as IT, electrical engineering, and maintenance. While many popular press publications have stated that it takes 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert, we are looking at ways to measure or quantify time to proficiency and time to expertise. We are also focused on factors that can accelerate development towards expertise. We are focused on developing a frameworks for understanding the road to expertise and creating metrics to operationalize expertise atvarious career stages
Dynamics of Training Transfer and Developing Expertise Dr. J. Kevin Ford and Josh Prasad
Thirty years ago Baldwin and Ford (1988) summarize the existing research on training transfer and provide an agenda for moving forward. The current work integrates research on training transfer since that review and develops a new agenda for future research..
Moving to a Learning Organization in the Wildlife Division Dr. J. Kevin Ford, Dr. Shawn Riley, Catherine Ott-Holland, and Stanton Mak
The study seeks to develop and implement a process of evaluation of the State of Michigan Wildlife Division strategic plan. The objectives of this study are to: (1) develop an evaluation process the defines metrics of performance relevant to becoming a learning organization; (2) determine factors affecting trust and credibility of the Division among segments of priority stakeholders; and (3) determine limiting factors to achieving increase quality and quantity of collaborative governance regarding wildlife management in Michigan Currently we are conducting a meta-analysis of inter-organizational trust. The project represents as collaborative effort between the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Psychology.
Skill Retention Dr. Mark Teachout, Dr. J. Kevin Ford, and Robert Gray
This project with the U.S. Army. The objective of the current research is to develop skill retention curves, for collective Army tasks, that represent how proficiency decays on a given task over a period of 180 days following initial training to proficiency, in the absence of refresher training.
Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research PI: Dr. Frederick Leong
Our primary mission is to generate and apply psychological science to increase our understanding of multicultural issues in both domestic and international contexts.

Research Publications    
2017Bell, B., Tannenbaum, S., Ford, J.K., Noe, R.A., & Kraiger, K. (2017). 100 Years of training and development research: What we know and where we should go. Journal of Applied Psychology.
2017Baldwin, T., Ford, J.K., & Blume, B. (2017). The state of transfer of training research: Moving towards a more consumer-centric inquiry. Human Resource Development Quarterly.
2016Yelon, S. & Ford, J.K. (2016). Four cases of transfer leading to accomplishment. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 29, 201-230.
2016Huang, J.L., Ford, J.K., & Ryan, A.M. (2016). Ignored no more: Within-person variability enables better understanding of training transfer. Personnel Psychology.
2015Huang, J.L, Blume, B., Ford, J.K., & Baldwin, T.P. (2015). A tale of two transfers: Disentangling maximum and typical transfer and their respective predictors. Journal of Business and Psychology
2014Yelon, S.L., Ford, J.K., & Anderson, W.A. (2014). Twelve tips for increasing transfer of training from faculty development programs. Medical Teacher.
2014Yelon, S., Ford, J.K., & Bhatia, S. (2014). How trainees transfer what they have learned: Toward a taxonomy of use. Performance Improvement Quarterly. 27, 27-52.
2013Ford, J.K., & Meyer, T. (2013). Advances in training technology: Meeting the workpalce challenges of talent development, deep specialization, and collaborative learning.
2013Yelon, S., Ford, J.K., & Golden, S. (2013). Transfer over time: Stories about transfer yearrs after training.
2013Ford, J.K., Yelon, S., & Billington, A. (2011). How much is transferred from training to the job? The ten percent delusion as a catalyst for thinking about transfer. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 24, 7-24.