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It’s About How You Get There

3/27/2019-

by SIOP Administrative Office

2019 Living History Interview: Dr. Benjamin Schneider

If there is one phrase that captures Dr. Benjamin Schneider’s career, it would be “rising to the challenge.”

Learning about those challenges and how Schneider rose to the occasion numerous times will be highlighted during the SIOP Living History session at the 34th Annual SIOP Conference April 4-6 in Washington, DC/National Harbor, MD, when he will be interviewed by SIOP Historian Margaret Brooks.

"The SIOP living history corner provides an opportunity to celebrate and learn from those who have made outstanding contributions to our field,” Brooks said. “This year, we will explore Dr. Benjamin Schneider’s life and work – how he has advanced our field through his research, consulting, teaching, and service to the profession."

Schneider is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Maryland where he led the Industrial and Organizational Psychology program, and he is currently an affiliate research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Until his recent retirement, he headed up the Engagement Project at the Corporate Executive Board. In addition to the University of Maryland, he also taught at Yale University, Michigan State University, and for shorter periods at Bar-Ilan University in Israel on a Fulbright, the University of Aix-Marseille in France, Peking University in China, and Dartmouth College. With more than 175 professional journal articles and book chapters under his belt, he is also the author, coauthor, or coeditor of 12 books.

Schneider’s research interests are primarily in the areas of employee engagement, service quality, organizational climate and culture, staffing, and the role of personality in organizational life. One of Schneider’s recent awards is the Walker Prize for the best article published in SHRM’s People + Strategy in 2017. The article, “How companies can really impact service quality,” summarizes much of his work on service quality and service climate.

But it is the story of how he became the award-winning and respected professional he is today that can give clues to younger generations of I-O psychologists on how to create their own path to professional success.

“It was a wonderful shock to be asked; it is a great honor to be the interviewee when there are so many other deserving people who have contributed so much to the field,” he said.

Benjamin Schneider served a stint in the Army between receiving his MBA from the Baruch School in New York and starting his pursuit of a PhD at the University of Maryland. Landing a job offer from Yale University after graduation was just the start of a long and illustrious career in research, academia, and business. He became an active member of Division 14 (the precursor to SIOP), serving as a member-at-large to the Executive Committee and as president from 1984 to 1985.

During his tenure on the Executive Committee he was closely involved in the creation of SIOP as a more independent entity, as well as the establishment of the Frontiers Series of publications and SIOP’s first annual conference in 1986.

“The people in SIOP are in every way the greatest gang ever and I am very proud to have been president when the papers were signed to make us SIOP,” Schneider said. “It has been a wonderful run for me to be surrounded by so much excellence, dedication and vigor.”

In addition to his work in academia, Schneider has worked as a consultant with many companies including J.C. Penny Co., Citicorp, GEICO, and Eli Lilly.


Created in 2016 by the SIOP History Committee, the Virtual History Museum offers numerous resources on the history of SIOP and psychology, including photographs and videos of early SIOP conferences, historical figures, and artifacts; TIP articles covering I-O history; the I-O “family trees”; and a central site for accessing historical information on SIOP and I-O psychology.

Videos of past participants in the Living History interview series—Dr. Frank Schmidt, Drs. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, Dr. David Campbell, Dr. Paul Thayer and Dr. Sheldon Zedeck—are available on the SIOP YouTube channel.