SIOP President 1988-1989
MY PLACE IN TIME
I did not intend to have a career in Industrial-Organizational psychology. I did not
intend to have a career. American values of the 1950s molded my world view and
circumscribed my role to marriage and children - nothing more, nothing less. By 1950s
mores, I failed. I am redeemed in the 1990s, but my career plodded hesitantly along the
Salisbury: The Frog and the Lemming
From conception to high school graduation, I lived in the same long-windowed, white
frame house near the center of Salisbury, Maryland -- a town of about 18,000 on Maryland's
Eastern Shore, tucked between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. My arrival on
earth coincided with Hitler's first forays to conquer it. I retain only memory slices of
World War II: dousing the lights and popping corn in the fireplace during air raids,
collecting savings stamps wrapped in cellophane like stiff corsages, being named on
savings bonds, two of which remain keepsakes. Fortunately for my family, my father was not
summoned for the war effort; as a physician (then practicing eye, ear, nose, and throat),
he was designated essential for the community.
By the time I entered North Salisbury Elementary School, the Allies had defeated the
Axis, and exhausted Americans had canonized the family. Salisbury was peaceful and safe;
we kept our front door unlocked. Access from Baltimore and Washington was slowed by ferry
travel (before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was constructed), leaving the Eastern Shore
isolated and untrammeled. With flat, arable land and ample waterways, it was home to blue
crabs, beefsteak tomatoes, and butter beans.
I was the middle of three sisters, but we were spaced so widely apart (one sister 10
years older, the other 7 years younger) that our mother referred to us as her three only
children. The spacing probably helped us to develop our individuality, for we are quite
My older sister was the trend-setter and the aesthete. She was intrigued by foreign
cultures: she majored in Spanish in college and mastered several other languages, lived
abroad for 10 years with a husband in international business, and later became a travel
agent. She adored classical music and the ballet, and in this regard, I followed in her
Piano lessons occupied me from age 8 through high school. Ballet lessons began even
earlier, when I was 2, springing from my imitations of my sister's workouts at the barre.
She, at 12, used the mantle for such purposes, while I grasped the back of a tiny chair
that accompanied a telephone table. We were ably instructed by La Nada Mitchell, formerly
of the Ballet Russe. I performed in my first ballet recital, in pink tutu and diminutive
ballet slippers, at age 3. I forgot my dance in the middle, but following La Nada's
instructions, skipped around the stage until it came back to me with the ending chords. (I
finally understood this phenomenon when a psychology class introduced me to primacy and
recency effects.) My dancing expanded into toe, tap, acrobatics, and choreography,
continuing into adolescence. It brought the pleasure of self-expression and feelings of
achievement; I was the premiere danseuse of Salisbury, Maryland in my teens, a pirouetting
frog in a very small pond. For a while I considered teaching ballet as a premarriage
Whereas my older sister was the aesthete, my younger sister excelled as an athlete.
Although I played softball in elementary school and basketball in high school, I was never
as capable as my younger sister in athletics nor as musically and linguistically gifted as
my older sister. My realm of achievement was to be scholarship.
My academic interests began in Miss Herald's kindergarten, where I learned the three
R's and how to play the xylophone. Afterwards, the first grade was a bore, and a concerned
principal convinced my parents to advance me immediately into the second grade. After a
few months of adjustment I moved to the top of the class, where I stayed until I was
pronounced valedictorian at my high school graduation.
Skipping a grade meant that until adolescence I was always one of the smallest in the
class. I also earned a reputation as a "brain," a decidedly pejorative term.
Being both a brain and a girl was, in the 1950s, an oxymoron that wrought embarrassment
before peers. I concealed my grades on papers and report cards, but few were fooled. When
I was a senior in high school, the trigonometry teacher publicly chastised the boys (85%
of the class, which most girls shunned), because a girl (I) had earned the top grade.
That more than any other moment convinced me to attend a college restricted to women --
Goucher College in Baltimore. I could get all the A's I could muster there and the boys
would never know the difference. Unfortunately, this also crimped the social side of
college life, which was problematic if marriage and family represented the ultimate goal.
Despite negative reinforcements for scholarship, I kept flying in the currents of
achievement like a lemming headed over a cliff. My compulsion was less likely instinctual
than learned from two achieving parents. My father's original career was teaching high
school math and science in Delmar, Maryland, where he met and married a student, my
mother. Her father's optometry practice inspired his new profession. Realizing he could
not be satisfied without full understanding of the functioning of the human eye, he
struggled, with a wife and daughter in tow, through medical school, two years of
internship, and three years of residency before settling down to his medical practice in
My mother's occupation was, properly, homemaker, yet she was also a community activist.
Among other accomplishments, she launched two businesses - a gift and coffee shop on
behalf of the Junior Board of the local hospital, and a thrift shop under the auspices of
the women's guild of the Methodist Church. She was a woman of multiple interests who
introduced her daughters to music, dancing, drama, and art. An avid reader, she had a keen
car for language and was our ultimate authority on sentence structure and grammar. She
complained that I went too far in absorbing this interest ("Ann always has her head
in a book"), but I could not resist the public library at the end of our street.
My father overtly encouraged his daughters to achieve in school and persistently
drilled us on arithmetic problems, typically at the dinner table after our meal.
Recognizing that I had a knack for math, he was particularly encouraging to me, often suggesting I might
become a math teacher. Even though he was raising daughters for their traditional roles,
he advocated mastering a just-in-case trade. During those years the major professions
truly open to women were teaching and nursing; thus, my older sister taught Spanish before
marriage, and my younger sister became a nurse. I couldn't stomach either profession.
Baltimore and Philadelphia: From Robot to Voyeur
I began Goucher College intending to follow my father's advice and major in math. Yet
analytic geometry and calculus seemed terribly abstract. Like a robot, I was learning
tools but the content was void. I next tried economics, where I became engrossed in
capitalism vs. communism and the workings of business. Economics was not a popular major
among 1950s women; in fact, the only other major in my class was Flora Fenner, daughter of
the partner in what was then Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Smith. With a faculty
dominated by a heavily accented and distant German professor, Goucher's economics
department failed to sustain my interest. I deserted Flora and changed my major to
I was enthralled by psychology in all its aspects, whether conditioning a rat or
visiting the back wards of a mental hospital. Math, economics, and psychology all ushered
the way to industrial psychology, but Goucher offered no faculty expertise nor
introductory course in the area. My advisor, Sonia Osler, encouraged me to apply to
graduate school, but I feared obtaining a doctorate would be social suicide. That she and
the other women professors might be quite comfortable with their degrees and lives was
beyond my sensitivities. I could never have imagined that I would I would return to
Goucher 28 years later to receive an honorary degree.
I fell in love the summer after college graduation, but because my intended was in
graduate school, I needed that just-in-case trade. Still intrigued by business and wanting
to apply psychology, I sought employment in a personnel department in private industry. My
mother's cousin, Howard Miller, was a personnel manager for DuPont, and he arranged
several interviews. I accepted my first job at the Insurance Company of North America
(INA, now CIGNA) in Philadelphia. It was 1960, and my salary was $4,000 a year.
I assumed a newly created position as administrative assistant to the Director of
Personnel Administration, who supervised the personnel managers in the regional offices.
The Director, Roy Kern, was a stocky, authoritative man who commanded respect in the
company, despite being more intellectual and remote than the typical businessman. He took
a liking to me and served as my guide to the inner workings of a personnel department. My
job combined research, primarily with standard attitude surveys, with some post-employment
and exit interviewing. I also became a communications link with the regional offices,
including creating and editing a newsletter. Although I wasn't a central player in the
department, I drew vicarious satisfaction from my role as voyeur.
The company was openly restrictive about women's work activities. In the employment
offices, women were permitted to interview and screen only clerks and nonexempt staff. I
conducted research on a personality instrument for two years before I was permitted to
attend the week-long training course in its interpretation. The company sent men from the
department in their first few months on the job, but sending a woman was almost
unprecedented. I was, of course, on a track to nowhere. "Too bad you're a
woman," remarked Mr. Kern, not without empathy, "You have potential." I did
not complain. I had been too well indoctrinated to think matters should be otherwise, and
it was foolish to get ambitious about a just-in-case career.
The collapse of my romance left me with no marriage and a going nowhere job. It was
time for adventure. After four years in Philadelphia, I packed my belongings and drove to
San Francisco, where I joined some friends I had met on a tour of Western Europe the
summer of my junior year in college. My 3 1/2 years there led to a showdown between my
traditional aspirations and the siren call of a career in industrial psychology.
San Francisco: Fred Astaire and the Hippies
My first job in San Francisco was in the Personnel Department of the Bank of America,
where I joined an economist, Les Dobyns, to form a new unit in human resources planning.
Unexpectedly, only two weeks into the project, Dobyns announced his resignation to take
another position. It was unthinkable to have a woman head up the new unit herself, so the
bank kept me occupied for a few weeks in the job evaluation section. I reported to an
unimaginative boss who plopped me in a cubicle to study manuals. I learned enough about
their job evaluation method to recognize its tedium, but soon I was rescued to a
supervisory role with a group administering customer opinion surveys.
The unit's task was mechanical and boring. The Bank of America seemingly had a branch
on every street corner in California, and each week a standardized survey form was mailed
to the customers of a different branch. My group compiled by hand the quantifiable
responses, prepared graphs and tables, typed write-in responses, and forwarded the results
to the appropriate executives. B of A customers grumbled perpetually in those days, so my
staff did copious typing. We never met the faceless executives, and we never knew what
happened to the results.
Although the task was uninspiring, supervision was a fresh challenge. In my unit were
seven young women of highly diverse aptitudes, ranging from borderline retarded to
manifest college potential. Morale was pitifully low when I arrived; one of the brighter
girls was openly cynical and sarcastic, and the very limited one literally shook from
feelings of inadequacy.
With my group's help, I devised several special assignments to better organize the work
and enhance interpretation of survey results. We faced a weekly quota each week, so we
tackled the special assignments only after completing the designated opinion survey. This
originally consumed an hour or two each Friday afternoon.
I distributed the special assignments with careful consideration of the diverse talents
in the group and coached them toward success. I felt immensely rewarded as smiles and
pleasantries replaced sarcasm and trembling. However, I was dumbfounded when my team
finished the survey work earlier and earlier each week. Before long they were polishing it
off on Wednesday. Here was industrial-organizational psychology in the flesh -- job
enrichment, work motivation and satisfaction, my own little Hawthorne study (except I
didn't know what it was at that point). My supervisor was elated; my only fear was running
out of special assignments.
Meanwhile Les Dobyns reappeared. He had taken a job as Vice President of Personnel and
Planning for a fledgling savings and loan holding company called Provident Financial
Corporation. Although our work together at the bank had been brief, it built mutual
respect, and he again wanted me to be his assistant. I first approached my supervisor to
discuss my future at B of A. As I suspected, there was no hierarchical career path for a
woman, regardless of her accomplishments; he just wanted me to keep churning out those
customer surveys. I had worked at the bank only five months, but I decided to risk a
job-hopper image to seek greater challenge in a smaller organization.
I was not disappointed. Market research was part of my job, and I learned to prepare
applications for government approval of new S&L branches. I established a personnel
selection system for the holding company and installed several tests familiar from my
years at INA. One of these was the personality test-job matching procedure for which I had
received the delayed training with the publisher, J. P. Cleaver. This decision eventually
helped pay my way through graduate school.
The job with Provident Financial was engrossing but the climate hostile. This was no
fault of Les Dobyns, a lively, lissome, former ballroom dancing teacher who dazzled the
staff with Fred Astaire glides at office parties. He was outgoing and expansive,
expressing his thoughts while characteristically rubbing his bald head. But the office
climate was dominated by the President, a Wall Street broker and millionaire trying to
escalate his fortune without the inconvenience of ethical or interpersonal concerns. When
the business took a downturn, he dismissed Dobyns and asked me to handle his job. He did
not offer me Les's Vice Presidential title and certainly not his salary -- he claimed he
couldn't even give me a raise. I accepted the job because it offered experience I couldn't
get elsewhere. Concurrently, I decided to buttress my credentials and prepare for the next
I left Provident Financial to enter a Master's level program in industrial psychology
at San Francisco State. I informed J. P. Cleaver that he was losing a client, because no
one else at the company was trained in his techniques. To my surprise, he offered me a
part-time job while I was in graduate school, and I spent many days conducting job
analyses at a trucking company in Berkeley.
I was at San Francisco State in 1966-67, just prior to the student demonstrations and
extensive television coverage of Hayakawa's tam. Nearby, the Haight-Ashbury district was
stuffed with hippies. A student resident of that neighborhood, recommended by my advisor,
agreed to provide some computer help with my thesis. This arrangement turned into a string
of broken promises until, in desperation, I tracked him down at home to retrieve my
keypunched cards. Repeated attempts to rouse him failed; I finally stood in front of his
house and screamed at the top of my lungs. He appeared at last, too stoned to understand
what was happening, but I managed to communicate that I would go away if he pulled himself
together enough to unearth my only set of data. That near disaster is my most indelible
memory of the 1960s, although I have tried since to develop smoother methods of conflict
Despite the idiosyncrasies of psychology in the 1960s, my studies piqued my interest,
and my advisor, John Del Torto, urged me to continue for a doctorate. With some
trepidation but rising ambition I decided to pursue the ultimate degree; following an
interview with Ed Ghiselli, I was accepted at Berkeley. I never attended.
Once again romance took control of my life. My current boy friend, a civil engineer,
decided to change his career to sales engineering and accepted a job in Los Angeles. He
gave me an ultimatum: Marry him and move to Los Angeles or end our relationship. I chose
marriage, although by then I was hooked on the idea of a doctorate. Forsaking Berkeley, I
searched for an industrial psychology program in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles: Betrayal of a Kitten
Luckily, I was able to continue working with Cleaver and associates in Southern
California. I learned later that before offering me a full-time job, the company
investigated my husband's salary to be sure I was offered less. The rationale was to avoid
sowing family dissension. My husband was more furious than I: he thought domestic
tranquility would be better supported by maximizing the family income.
The women's revolution was blossoming then, and my consciousness was raised when I read
Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. Like so many women of that time, I was
outraged. We'd been had. We believed all that stuff about our place, our passive
personalities, our essential inferiority. Young women today have difficulty understanding
what all the fuss was about, but my generation knew betrayal.
While in Los Angeles, I began doing research for Cleaver's psychologist-partner, Leo
McManus; after Cleaver and McManus split, I stayed with McManus conducting part-time
projects until 1975. Concerns about test fairness were stirring in the late 1960s, and the
EEOC issued its first proclamations. I got several assignments validating tests, which I
executed tediously with a calculator or by shipping keypunched cards to a remote
I also conducted my first workshop addressing the then novel topic of women in
nontraditional jobs. I quickly discovered that my public speaking skills were atrocious.
My first time out, I spoke to my notes in an inaudible monotone, delivering a lion's
message with the ferocity of a kitten. Thankfully, McManus was patient and a role model
who punctuated his delivery with wry humor. Through illustrations imbedded in his
presentations, Leo also helped me to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of various
personality types. The implications of individual differences, in both personality and
abilities, urged me forward in industrial psychology.
Test validation was evolving into a complex legal issue, and I realized I needed more
formal education. Before I could enter UCLA's doctoral program, my husband again became
disenchanted with his career. We headed for our home state, and I naively hoped that the
University of Maryland offered a Ph.D. in industrial psychology. Luck was on my side; not
only did they have a program, they had an excellent one. And they were willing to accept
me as a student.
College Park: Setting the Compass
My doctoral education was a stunning eye opener, the material so absorbing I felt
transported into a different world. Personnel selection was my primary interest, and Jack
Bartlett became my advisor. Jack was a master of the teasing, challenging insult; he was
determined that his students become good scientists and needled them into creditable
performance. He was convinced that I should have a career in academia and insisted that I
become an instructor in introductory statistics. I resisted this idea vigorously, still
rebelling against the traditional woman's role of teaching. Jack was unyielding, reasoning
that a little experience in the job would help me see his way. This did not happen,
although teaching provided an unexpected benefit by enhancing my skill and confidence in
speaking before a group. Yet if Jack were alive today, he'd probably still be needling me
to take an academic job.
I was fortunate to study with a highly capable, diverse faculty at Maryland. Besides
Jack's emphasis on personnel selection and psychometrics, Ben Schneider introduced me to
organizational climate, Irv Goldstein to training, and Peter Dachler to motivation theory
and the philosophy of science. I also eyed the work of Ed Locke and Jack Miner in the
business school, although, regrettably, there were no reciprocal arrangements between the
business and psychology departments at that time. My dissertation, conducted at the First
National Bank of Boston, a McManus client, expanded on the personnel selection theme by
investigating the relationship between ability and motivation in the determination of job
One seminar at the University of Maryland set the compass toward my future. Billed as
"Current Issues in Industrial Psychology," it was an advanced course, taught
jointly by Jack Bartlett and Irv Goldstein, that relied on student papers, and
presentations. My paper was inspired by a symposium I attended the previous summer at the
APA convention in nearby Washington. The session featured a fledgling personnel selection
technique called an assessment center. Participants included Doug Bray, creator of the
original management assessment center at AT&T, and Bill Byham, a frontiersman in
developing and spreading assessment center exercises and programs.
My assessment center paper pleased Jack and Irv, but it was Ben Schneider who urged me
to have it published. As "An Assessment of Assessment Centers," it appeared in
the Academy of Management Journal in 1974. This attracted the attention of David
Campbell at the Center for Creative Leadership, and he invited me to the Center for a
conference exploring assessment methodology. There I met Doug Bray and many others
involved in this I-O practice. An unexpected vacancy at AT&T a few months later led to
a job offer, which I readily accepted. Leaving my then ex-husband behind, I again
abandoned my home state for a new life in America's notorious metropolis of sophistication
and sin known as the Big Apple.
New York: The Big Apple and the Telephone
New York City was a big jump from Salisbury, Maryland, and AT&T's personnel
operation far surpassed any I had previously known. The Bell System was rich in resources,
both Financial and human, with over $100 billion in assets and 1 million employees.
Management had for many years been supportive of human resources programs. Upon my arrival
in August, 1975, I was assigned full-time to the Management Progress Study, their
longitudinal research of managers. Don Grant was my first boss, but after test validation
increasingly claimed his time and energies, I reported directly to Doug Bray.
Doug was a pioneer psychologist at AT&T; his commanding presence and resonant voice
communicated mastery of his environment. Though independent of mind, he also deferred
appropriately to higher management. With skillful use of humor and no dearth of charm, he
made frankness palatable and got ideas accepted. He had a practitioner's gift for sizing
up a situation, identifying the major issues, and letting others fill in the details. I
soon discovered that long-term longitudinal research swarmed with details.
Although the Management Progress Study (MPS) was best known for launching assessment
centers for managerial selection, it was originally undertaken not as a prediction study
but as an exploration of managers' lives and careers. I arrived at AT&T 19 years after
the first assessment, and Doug had in mind a third assessment of the participants in their
20th study year. By this time the study materials were in disarray; half were stuffed in
some obscure cabinets in a file room at AT&T and the other half were gathering dust in
the basement of the Fels Institute in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
The scattered data obstructed work and also offended my sense of order. Moreover, my
anxiety level surged upon discovering that a recent tornado had blown out the upper
windows of the Fels Institute. I launched a major reorganization, including importing the
Fels holdings to New York, creating a library of raw data notebooks, and developing
inventories of the available materials. The year-long process was torturous. Fortunately,
Doug viewed this activity as an important managerial strength he called administrative
skills rather than mere compulsivity.
Doug and I launched the 20th year MPS assessment in Michigan Bell in 1976. Although I
had addressed assessment centers from the scholarly point of view in my 1974 article, this
was my first opportunity to develop original exercises and to run a center. We were
assessors ourselves during the first 2 years of the 5-year project; after determining that
it went well, we hired and trained other psychologists as on-site assessors and served as
administrators and as participants in integration sessions.
The 20-year assessment marked a new direction for the study. Middle age was a popular
topic in the 1970s, and MPS comprised a midlife sample previously examined with a vast
array of assessment, interview, and medical procedures. We discovered some dramatic
transformations in the MPS men's motivations, abilities, and personalities with age,
although these were mounted upon a stable core of individual characteristics. Presenting
our findings became a regular work activity. Fortunately my oral presentation skills had
improved, thanks to the influences of Leo McManus and Jack Bartlett.
Our midlife findings engaged not just professional audiences but Bell System
executives. At a meeting in early 1977, a group of Personnel Vice Presidents from the Bell
telephone operating companies questioned whether younger managers, now a generation behind
the MPS participants, had similar characteristics. This question could only be answered by
assessing a fresh sample. Doug's boss, running the meeting after only two weeks on the
job, was a high potential executive passing through our department on his way to greater
glory. Not one to hesitate, he made history by authorizing the Management Continuity
Study, which was to put a second cohort through the MPS paces.
The Management Continuity Study (MCS), launched later in 1977, introduced a new
dimension into our research. Longitudinal studies are invaluable for mapping growth and
development, but one cannot separate age-related developmental changes from cultural
shifts without additional cohorts. The MPS participants were of the baby boom generation,
whose adolescence during the turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s differed radically from
the youth of the MPS cohort during the years surrounding World War II. Moreover, the MCS
managers were nearly 1/2 female and 1/3 members of minority groups, a byproduct of the
women's revolution and civil rights advancements. Researching the diversity between these
two groups, I could feel the propulsion of history.
The year 1977 also redirected my personal life. This time romance followed my career
decision rather than preceded it, as Doug Bray and I recognized that our harmony extended
beyond devotion to I-O research. Unfortunately, AT&T's nepotism rules specified that a
personal relationship would preclude our working together. We resigned ourselves to
patience and secrecy. We were married 32 days before his retirement in 1983, following a 6
1/2 year undisclosed engagement. Women's careers and personal lives are not easily
Our work with MPS and MCS culminated in the volume Managerial Lives in Transition:
Advancing Age and Changing Times, cited by the Academy of Management in 1989 as the
best management book published in the previous two years. It was not generally known that
business changes at AT&T nearly scuttled the book's publication. High technology and
global competition stimulated massive overhauls of American businesses in the 1980s;
AT&T was no exception, as satellite transmissions transcended the copper wire
technology that justified the company's status as a regulated monopoly. A government
lawsuit forced the divestiture by AT&T of its 23 operating telephone companies on
January 1, 1984 and plunged the benevolent parent into the cold, suspicious environment of
competition. In such a climate, our proposed research volume was subjected to
unprecedented scrutiny. Although the data went unquestioned, I rewrote nearly one third of
the book to scrupulously avoid providing ammunition for litigious or disgruntled
In 1986, when AT&T's Personnel Department faced its first major reorganization and
downsizing, Doug and I feared that the MPS and MCS studies, as basic research, would
probably not pass bottom line inspection. He broached the idea with the Senior Vice
President of Personnel, Wes Clarke (a SIOP member), of extricating the studies from
AT&T and continuing them a few more years with public funding. Wes supported the
concept but left AT&T long before it could be executed. None of us visualized that we
faced 2 1/2 years of political and legal hassles before the 10,000 pounds of materials
exited through AT&T's marble portals. The data are now the property of the Leadership
Research Institute, a nonprofit organization formed for this purpose, of which I am the
President and Doug the Secretary-Treasurer. Our work continues in New Jersey, thanks to
personal computers and collaborations with various colleagues, although it continues
conservatively compared to my days at AT&T with a staff of eight and a hefty annual
SIOP: Carrying the Torch for Independence
My affiliation with Division 14 began soon after my arrival at AT&T. I worked first
on the Workshop Committee and then advanced to the Professional Affairs Committee, serving
as its chair in 1980-82. During this latter assignment I executed two major projects -- an
analysis of the work settings and credentials of APA members who called themselves I-O
psychologists (based on APA's database), and an intensive look at licensing and
credentialing issues. Rod Lowman and I later expounded in the American Psychologist
about the licensing dilemma.
I was the editor of The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (TIP) in
1982-1984. Enhancement of the newsletter's readability became my major challenge, and I
encouraged and edited feature articles, separated features from departments, and provided
artwork from mastheads to cartoons. Election to Secretary-Treasurer brought a new goal of
streamlining the organization's accounts. I rescued the Division's funds from the
bureaucratic tangle of APA, consolidated all other accounts, and entered the records for
the first time onto a personal computer. This action, plus the advent of our own
conference, seriously escalated the responsibilities of the office, and upon my departure
the job was partitioned into Secretary and Financial Officer.
I was the 44th person elected President of Division 14 but only the 3rd woman -
testimony to my place in time. As President-Elect I mingled my own experiences of division
functioning with many others' and created our first Administrative Manual. We were now the
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, an independent and expanding
nonprofit corporation, increasingly in need of both standardized procedures and a system
for capturing our institutional memory.
By the time I became President (1988-89), it was clear that APA was relinquishing its
primary mission as a scientific organization and becoming a professional guild. A campaign
to reorganize APA and redistribute power between the two factions failed, and the American
Psychological Society (APS) rose from the battleground of the unapproved scientific
assembly of APA. During my Presidential term, we gained approval of a SIOP Bylaws change
that permitted belonging to APA or APS (not just APA) as a prerequisite to SIOP
membership. We reorganized the SIOP calendar to focus the administrative year and
significant events around our own conference rather than APA's.
Also during my Presidency, I launched a major survey of our members, aimed toward such
goals as a database for our new task of dues collection; our first directory; a media
referral list; and deeper understanding of individuals' specialties, activities, and
professional practice. My analysis of the survey responses during my term as
Past-President satisfied the last objective and culminated in the report entitled "The
Multiple Facets of Industrial-Organizational Psychology."
Reflections: Out of the Spider Web
The history of I-O psychology, psychology in general, and our country constitute a
recurring theme in my story. In Managerial Lives I poised the AT&T
longitudinal studies within American culture of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
As Chair of APA's Committee on Employment and Human Resources in 1986, I produced a
research document on "The Changing Face of American Psychology" (published in
the American Psychologist) that evaluated where APA and psychology had been and
were headed. My SIOP Presidential address was entitled "Our Place in Time: Cultural
Trends Shaping I-O Psychology." With historical slides and period music, I traced I-O
psychology's development to 19th and 20th century American history.
Despite my interest in such history, I have not escaped the influences of my times. I
approached adulthood like a fly caught in the spider web of 1950s American culture. Molded
by the movies (pre-television), I expected all my needs to be satisfied in the preordained
role of wife and mother. Ironically, in 1990 my own research with Bell managers (for a
chapter co-authored with Doug for Shelly Zedeck's Frontiers volume) established that work
and family satisfy quite different motives. I feel fortunate that enlightenment came
before it was too late for a career. However, my self-concept cannot parallel that of a
female counterpart raised in the late 20th century, when I-O psychology departments
graduate as many women as men and even Goucher is co-educational.
I have tremendous admiration for the single-minded women who pursued careers as I-O
psychologists in times and circumstances even more difficult than mine. I can only blame
my own weakness for being swayed by cultural messages not in my best interest. I could
have accomplished more with my career if I had taken charge of it from the start. At the
same time, I miss the children I never had.
On the positive side, my hesitant, side-stepping career provided opportunities for
understanding I could not have obtained in a classroom. I have lived in the world of
clerks as well as that of management. I am versed in the workings of personnel departments
small and large. I have directly experienced the deviations in job performance among
employees of high and low ability, involvement and apathy, suspicion and trust. I know
what it means to be at the mercy of a boss. I've endured many varieties of supervisors --
strong and weak, supportive and destructive, forthright and sneaky, virtuous and
unprincipled. Folklore to the contrary, I've had several mentors, and they've all been
My first mentor, Roy Kern, was a history buff. While I was with him at INA he completed
a book on the philosophical outlook of his idol, historian Will Durant. "Perspective
is everything," he used to say. I could not appreciate that in my 20s; today I
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