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International Forum

Dirk D. Steiner
Universit de Nice_Sophia Antipolis

There are lots of international activities to report with this issue of TIP. First, Deanne Heinisch of Citibank and Katherine Holt of PDI Japan report on a country liaison project of the International Affairs Committee. Then, we visit two countries to the south to learn of I-O activities there, both reported by SIOP members. First, Beryl Hesketh gives us a glimpse of Australian I-O and introduces us to a number of activities involving our Australian colleagues. Then, Alvaro Tamayo informs us of the I-O scene in Brazil, and describes some research activities in which he is quite involved (such as training evaluation and the relation of value priorities and organizational behaviour). So, happy travelling until next issue.

For your comments and suggestions concerning this column, contact me at: Dirk Steiner; Dpartement de Psychologie; Ple Universitaire St. Jean d'Angely; 24, Avenue des Diables Bleus; 06357 Nice Cedex 4; France. E-mail: steiner@unice.fr.  Phone: (33) 492_00_11_91. Fax: (33) 492_00_12_97.

International Affairs Sub-Committee Proposes
to Establish Country Liaisons

The International Affairs Task Force, which is part of the Professional Practice Committee chaired by Jeff Schippmann, focuses on establishing and facilitating interaction between SIOP members and I-O organizations and individuals around the world. The International Affairs Task Force's charter seeks to develop and maintain relationships with international organizations comprised of I-O professionals and to foster the exchange of knowledge and practice between Society members and other I-O organizations or individuals in other nations. The International Affairs Task Force is chaired by Jos Luis (Joe) Garcia.

A special team within the International Affairs Task Force is focusing on establishing Country Liaisons responsible for fostering a two-way exchange between SIOP members and I-O professionals in the U.S. and abroad. The Country Liaison program is expected to serve as an interface between SIOP and other professional organizations or individuals in each country represented, communicate about SIOP activities in the local country, provide opportunities for mentoring, and share research ideas in the international I-O arena.

An organizing meeting is targeted to take place at SIOP in Atlanta. If you are interested in learning more about the role of a Country Liaison, are interested in participating as a Country Liaison, or simply would like an opportunity to network with colleagues interested in international I-O issues please join us at SIOP. Details regarding meeting time and location will be announced soon, and additional information will be available at the conference.

For more information about the International Affairs Task Force, or the Country Liaison program, please contact the following:

International Affairs Task Force:
Joe Garcia, 954-735-1701 x6220, email: joe_garcia@sportsauthority.com  

Country Liaison program:
Katherine Holt, (Japan) 81-3-5572-6801, email: kholt@pdi-corp.com  
Deanne Heinisch, 605-331-7352, email: deanne.heinisch@citicorp.com  

Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Australia
Beryl Hesketh
Professor of Psychology and Head of Department
Macquarie University_Sydney
NSW 2109 Australia
Tel: +612-9850-8067
Fax: +612-9850-6056
Email: BHesketh@bunyip.bhs.mq.edu.au  

Other than the Aboriginal people, Australia has been populated by waves of immigrants, initially from the United Kingdom, but more recently from Southern Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Although Australia portrays a rural and remote image abroad, it is in fact one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with 60% of the population living in the capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth). New technologies tend to penetrate the Australian population quickly. As a country it is perhaps one of the world's best kept secrets. Unfortunately, the Year 2000 Olympics may well change that.

Centrally regulated wage-fixing agreements between the Australian Government, the Industrial Relations Commission and the Union Movement in the 1980s and early 1990s distinguish the employment conditions in Australia from other countries. As elsewhere there is a strong push to reduce union influence, but this remains stronger than in most other OECD countries. This is an important contextual factor influencing many areas of I-O psychology and HRM practice.

Although I-O Psychology has had a presence in Australia since the 1930s, there has been a marked increase in the qualification levels and professionalism in the past 10 years. Although I-O research is undertaken in management schools, a surprising number of staff employed in psychology departments have strong interests in organizational psychology or related areas, with most of the I-O training being undertaken through departments of psychology. This has tended to give I-O in Australia a distinctive flavor, with strong links to cognitive, measurement and social psychology, while also emphasizing traditional I-O content areas. There is somewhat less specialization in Australia compared with the U.S. This has meant that areas such as career development and human factors are seen as an integral part of organizational psychology.

The influence of social psychology is seen in the research undertaken in the areas of unemployment, attitudes, group influences and supervisory issues, predominantly at Flinders University and the University of Adelaide. Research on occupational stress is also common, with the distinctive contribution arising from the application of clinical and social models and the use of hierarchical linear modeling of the data. The social psychology strengths in identity theory in Australia have also filtered through to influence organizational psychology, while the influence of cognitive psychology emerges in research on decision-making and training.

Recently the University of Queensland was awarded an Australian Research Council-funded Key Center for Teaching and Research in Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology. The Center will be directed by Mike Humphreys, a top cognitive psychologist whom we have recruited into the organizational camp. Andrew Neal from psychology and Charmine Hrtel, from the School of Management, are also involved, while there are nodes for the Center at the University of New South Wales (Anne Williamson), Macquarie University (Beryl Hesketh), Swinbourne (Penelope Sanderson), and the University of South Australia (Drew Dawson). This center was the culmination of a co-ordinated effort on the part of all psychologists in Australia to persuade the Australian Research Council of the need for more training in human factors. As no single university in Australia has sufficient expertise for a full scale Ph.D. program in such a specialized area, the Center will offer a distributed web-based Ph.D. program in Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology that will complement the growing number of professional organizational psychology courses across the country.

As further recognition of the value of applied cognitive research, the Australian Research Council provided funding to the University of Sydney, UNSW and Macquarie University to purchase driving simulators. We now have an active collaborative research program across these three major universities in the Sydney area addressing issues such as skill acquisition and transfer, the impact of drugs on driving, and the role of fatigue.

Australia's third Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference will be held in Brisbane on the 26th and 27th June, this year, chaired jointly by Boris Kabanoff and Mark Griffin of the Queensland University of Technology. This conference, largely modeled on SIOP, and assisted by the generous attendance of U.S. I-O psychologists, is now one of Australia's top psychology conferences, attracting more international participants than other gatherings. This year's workshop program will feature Wally Borman, Deniz Ones, Phil Ackerman, Ruth Kanfer, Michael West, Benjamin Schneider, and Joyce and Robin Hogan. Many other overseas speakers will be participating. Details can be obtained by e-mailing iop99@eventcorp.com.au or from the web address at: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~evc/iop.

The most exciting development in Australia in the past 10 years relates to the growth in professionalism among practitioners. As so little formal I-O psychology was taught from 1950_1985, many practitioners have had to learn `on the job or through experience in the armed services. Now, most young psychologists complete a 4-year honors degree in psychology (more psychology is covered in these 4 years than is typical of the U.S. curriculum). This is followed by a 5th and 6th year masters program involving coursework, a research thesis, and 1,000 hours of supervised practice in organizational psychology. Increasingly, universities are offering combined Ph.D./Masters programs in I-O psychology, while some have gone down the route of professional doctorates in organizational psychology. Post-graduate I-O programs are offered through a growing number of Universities (e.g., Queensland, Griffith, Macquarie, University of New South Wales, Melbourne, Monash, University of Western Australia, Curtin, Murdoch, etc.). More established practitioners who were unable to benefit from formal training in earlier years have been supportive in integrating younger I-O psychologists into professional roles, while also updating their own skills.

Most Australian practitioners have become particularly well informed of developments within the field of I-O in Australia, Europe and the U.S.. We are also well placed to take advantage of a growing interest in I-O psychology emerging from the Asia Pacific area, and to forge a distinctive flavor to I-O psychology. This will be necessary if we are to avoid the growing globalization of I-O psychology in association with multinational consulting companies. This trend is resulting in the application of uniform HRM and I-O processes and procedures all over the world. Many of these procedures are highly valuable, but survival relies on diversity, and I-O psychology is no exception.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology in Brazil
Alvaro Tamayo
Department of Social and Work Psychology
University of Brasilia
70.910_900 Brasilia Brazil
e-mail: tamayo@unb.br 
Fax: (61) 273_6378 and 273_8259

In the last few years, industrial-organizational psychology has developed remarkably in Brazil, in the research field as well as in its applications. The country has been through economic, social, and technological changes which have had a great impact on the workforce, workers' competencies, management models, organizational structures, occupational patterns, and expectations concerning the quality of services and products. These changes have created new challenges for industrial-organizational psychology studies, on the practice level as well as for research and psychologists' training.

Psychologists' Training

Undergraduate studies in Brazil last for 5 years. There is a great emphasis on both scientific and professional training. In the past, students tended to choose the clinical field; nowadays there is a significant migration to the industrial-organizational psychology field. This change could be explained by the high-quality courses in this field offered by some universities as well as by a greater demand for organizational psychologists. Industrial-organizational psychology students are required to follow a 6- or 12-month practice training in companies under direct supervision of a psychologist from the firm involved and accredited by the university. Students must also take part in the supervision program at the university. On the graduate level, few Brazilian universities offer master's and Ph.D. degrees in organizational psychology. The vast majority of teachers who lecture at the master's or doctorate level received their diplomas in renowned American or European universities.

Practice

In Brazil, psychology is a profession protected by law. It is necessary to be registered under the Regional Psychology Council if one wants to work as a psychologist. About 25% of Brazilian psychologists work in the industrial-organizational field. They work mainly at the micro level, but many also work at the macro level. Their most usual working duties comprise personnel selection and placement, performance measurement and evaluation, training and development, total quality management (TQM) programs, quality of work-life, ergonomics, organizational development and change, conflict management, institutional analysis, and organizational climate. Careful analysis of the practice of industrial-organizational psychology in Brazil reveals an evolution towards a major strategic and political integration in the organization. Professional practice, initially based on an approach which was not linked to an organizational perspective but centered in the task/individual relationship (i.e., oriented towards the measurement of abilities), has progressively evolved to an approach which considers the organization as an important determinant of the individual's adjustment and performance. As a consequence, there has been an expansion of the psychology working field through activities such as work safety programs, quality of life at work and programs at the motivational level. Recently, psychologists are involved with social-behavior processes as part of an interdisciplinary perspective.

Research

In Brazil, the aims of research in industrial-organizational psychology are to develop knowledge and technology that can contribute to the productivity and welfare of the individual in the organization. The research in this field is not abundant but of a good quality. The main research nucleus is concentrated at the Department of Social and Work Psychology of the University of Brasilia. This university offers one of the best undergraduate and graduate programs in Brazil and has a productive and highly qualified team of teachers. Former students, who are now professors at other universities, continue to interact with the University of Braslia teachers. They are also working to create research teams in their own institutions. Besides this group, there are other researchers in the area but not necessarily linked to a research team.

There is a remarkable concern in Brazil about the application of research results to organizations, thus attempting to improve the workers' welfare and productivity. This concern has led researchers to publish their research results primarily in national journals so that they could more easily reach a Brazilian public interested in this field of study. Nowadays, research can be divided into four main lines: the study of social-organizational values and their impact on behavior in the workplace, the use of new technologies and their implications for productive process structuring, mental health at work, and the study of the relation between organizational behavior and internal/external organizational factors.

The relation between value priorities and organizational behavior is being studied in two levels: individual values and organizational values. The Brazilian version of the Schwartz Value Inventory has been used to study the impact of employees' value priorities on job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior patterns, absenteeism, and organizational commitment. Organizational values are being studied from the employee's point of view. This seems to be a new approach in the literature since I have found no studies following this pattern. In order to make the studies in this field viable, an instrument for organizational value evaluation has been created, based on basic organizational needs. Organizations, as well as individuals and groups, come upon universal requirements that need to be satisfied in order to warrant the organization's survival. These requirements are: (a) the relationship between the individual and the organization, which is always antagonistic since it is difficult to reconcile individual and organizational goals and interests; (b) some organizational structure: organizations have to define duties, rules, organizational sub-systems and the relations among them, working strategies, and so forth; and (c) the interaction between the organization and the natural and social environments. As a survival tactic, the organization has to interact on a continuous basis with the natural environment (e.g., prime matter extraction), the society and other organizations. The answers given by the organization to these three requirements can be expressed in three bipolar dimensions: (a) autonomy vs. conservatism, (b) hierarchy versus equality structure, and (c) harmony versus mastery. These dimensions constituted the base for the construction of the measurement instrument. The impact of organizational values on organizational citizenship and on feelings of pleasure/suffering at work has already been studied.

Organizational power is the subject of many research projects. Based on Mintzberg's theory, the organizational power configuration scale was constructed and validated. This scale has been used in many research studies.

Research in the training field is characterized by the use of the systemic paradigm as a theoretical support. According to a literature review of the publications in this field, from 1980 on, the national production is basically formed by structured information gathering, performed in public organizations and analyzed through multivariate statistical procedures. There is also a small number of experimental and quasi-experimental studies. A current project, which is meant to have a 4-year duration, has as its main objective to study the impact of training on work.

The majority of research in the industrial-organizational field has been done in the context of partnerships between the University of Brasilia and a variety of public and private organizations. This university-company bond has been greatly beneficial for both sides and is in wide expansion. Moreover, the Social and Work Psychology Department at the University of Brasilia has a consulting center to provide services to public and private organizations. Consultations frequently provide the opportunity to conduct scientific studies in organizations that are later published.


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