Stephen Colarelli, Ph.D.
  • Position: I/O Faculty
  • Department: Psychology
  • Campus Address: Sloan Hall 235, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
  • Email:
  • Vitae: Curriculum Vitae




Stephen Colarelli was born in Denver and grew up in Arvada, Colorado. His early years in Colorado left him with deep appreciation of nature and the outdoors. He received his B.A. from Northwestern University, where he studied political science and history. After college he served in the Peace Corps for two years in Senegal, West Africa. Upon returning from the Peace Corps, he received his M.A. in social and organizational psychology from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology from New York University. He worked in applied research and consulting for three years before coming to Central Michigan University in 1985. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Zambia  and a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore.

Research Interest: 

My research is concerned with the question of how evolutionary theory and evolutionary psychology in particular can influence the ways we think about, conduct research on, and manage behavior in organizations. While evolutionary theory is the foundation of the life sciences, it has made few inroads into organizational psychology and management. My writing and research involve integrating these perspectives. I also conduct basic research in evolutionary psychology.
My work in I/O psychology focuses on four specific areas: (1) understanding the use and non-use modern human resource technologies within the context of our evolved psychological adaptations; (2) adapting human resource technologies so that they are more compatible with our evolved psychology; (3) understanding the mechanisms that motivate people to draw unwarranted conclusions about human differences and developing organizational interventions that minimize the salience of differences that are irrelevant to working together in modern organizations; and (4) understanding the evolutionary dynamics of organizational (and social) change.


Recent Research: 

Colarelli, S. M., & Arvey, R. D. (Eds.). (in press). The Biological foundations of organizational behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Spranger, J.A., Colarelli, S. M., Dimotakis, N., Jacob, A., & Arvey, R. D. (2012). Effects of kin density within family-owned businesses. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119, 151-162.

Colarelli, S. M., Roscoe, A., Monnot, M., Colarelli, S. M., & Ronan G. (2012). Administrative assumptions and some assumption violation effects in top-down selection. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 61, 498-512.

Yang, C., Colarelli, S. M., Han, K., & Page, R. (2011). Start-up and hiring practices of immigrant entrepreneurs: An empirical study from an evolutionary psychological perspective. International Business Review.

Yang, C., Colarelli, S., & Holston, K. (2011). Understanding human nature: From an evolutionary psychological perspective. International Journal of Business Disciplines, 6(1), 43 – 60. 

​Dai, G., Han, K., Hu, H, & Colarelli, S. M. (2010). Cultural Differences and Measurement Invariance of Selection Tools: A case of examining Chinese NEO PI-R Conscientiousness Scale. Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, 2, 95-14.

Colarelli, S. M., Han, K., & Yang, C. (2010). Biased against whom? The problems of "group" definition and membership in test bias analyses. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 3, 228-231.

Colarelli, S. M., Poole, D. A., Unterborn, K., & D'Souza, G. (2010). Racial prototypicality, affirmative action, and hiring decisions in a multi-racial world. International Journal of Assessment and Selection, 18, 166-173.