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September 4, 2007
TO:                  SIOP Executive Committee
FROM:            Governance Task Force
RE:                   Proposed changes to SIOP governance structure
Below are preliminary recommendations for changes to the SIOP governance structure to be enacted in the spring of 2008. The report also contains valuable background information obtained through a series of interviews conducted by task force members. The recommendations were made by consensus of task force members attending a July meeting and reviewed by other members not able to attend that meeting.
Our goal is to have a final set of recommendations to be voted on by the Executive Committee no later than the winter meeting of the EC. As these recommendations call for changes in who is voted onto the committee, it would be valuable to have a vote prior to the next call for nominations. There is additional work to be done by the task force in terms of details regarding a transition plan, changes to the by-laws, etc. However, at this point in time several options are available:
  1. The Executive Committee approves the recommendations as made;
  2. The Executive Committee amends and approves the recommendations;
  3. The Executive Committee identifies problems, questions, areas for further development; in this case, the task force will continue to work on a set of recommendations that will be ultimately acceptable to the EC.
One final note: In reviewing the recommendations, pay particular attention to changes in the role of the financial officer. Former financial officer John Cornwall attended the July meeting and supported the recommended changes. Ken Pearlman was given the opportunity to review the recommendations and suggested that oversight of the budget and financial policies should remain a primary role of an elected EC member. A similar suggestion was made by one task force member not at the July meeting but who also reviewed the recommendations.   Thus, a primary issue on which the EC should weigh in is whether the role currently held by the financial officer should remain with that position or be combined with other responsibilities as defined in the recommendations.
Background information and recommendations follow.
Between 6/1/2007 and July 13, 2007, a total of 26 interviews were conducted with a number of sources identified as potentially useful by the task force with regards to either their knowledge and opinions of the most and least effective aspects of the current governance structure, or their insights into alternative governance models.[1] Interview responses were combined and distributed to task force members in advance of their July 14th meeting.
Regarding strengths of the current governance structure, most respondents saw SIOP as one of (it not the most) effectively run governance structures, in large part based on a sustained culture of volunteerism and individual effort by key individuals in key positions. SIOP effectively meets the needs of most of its members. While some thought everything was running well as is and questioned the need for review, one interviewee aptly described the purpose of the task force as facilitating the transformation of SIOP governance from good to great. 
A number of areas for improvement (or alternative models) were identified by interviewees. These are listed here as they formed the primary basis for brainstorming and the eventual task force recommendations. These include:
  • The current governance structure does not match well to the strategic plan of the society.
  • Whether SIOP was positioned (in terms of structure and process) to become the premier global I-O organization;
  • Whether the executive committee (EC) as constituted provided adequate representation of primary constituencies within the society;
  • Whether there were processes in place that created adequate accountability and means for executing key tasks related to the business of the society;
  • Inconsistencies and gaps in the selection and onboarding of new committee chairs resulting in longer learning curves for chairs and periods of lowered effectiveness for the committee;
  • Issues around onboarding of elected officials and/or lack of clarity about roles of some positions (e.g., members-at-large);
  • Whether to consider changing (extending) the length of the presidency to account for on-the-job training, to maintain continuity, and to allow time for presidents to execute key tasks related to the business of the society;
  • There remains a perception (although not universally held) that SIOP is run by the same good old boy network.  This may in large part be an issue of transparency on how individuals are brought into and developed for leadership positions;
  • Consideration of the roles and value-added of multiple elected positions on the executive committee;
  • Addressing failures in the committee clusters as they are presented structured; these include lack of clarity and consistency in upward and downward communication (between coordinators and chairs) and groupings of committees within clusters that are not homogeneous or exclude important SIOP functions;
  • Specification of the relationship between the administrative staff and SIOP volunteers and consideration of appropriate allocation of specific committee/SIOP functions to either the Administrative Office (AO) or volunteers;
  • The absence of key components of a leadership development program within SIOP, specifically mechanisms for identifying and grooming future leaders of the society;
  • The need to make create permanent and rationale homes for oversight of new SIOP publications and the Fall Consortium.

Conclusions and Recommendations:
Following discussion of the above issues, the task force reached the following conclusions:
  • There is a need to cast a wider net from the membership to identify individuals with critical skills and develop a larger pool for the leadership of our society.  This is a point for the background portion of the document.
  • The most attractive model for defining positions and roles of an elected board for SIOP is one closely linked to both the current strategic plan and key services SIOP provides for its members.
  • Changes to the governance structure should provide flexibility so that it can be reconstituted as the strategic plan and/or services change.
  • Changes to the governance structure should provide for greater continuity year-to-year in the business of the society and more support both for committee chairs and for board members who in turn oversee or monitor committees.
  • The current governance structure (more specifically, the elected positions on the executive committee) contains positions that do not contribute directly to either the strategic plan or its services;
  • Historically, the APA reps play a very significant but narrow role on the EC. The reps are very often senior members of SIOP and often past presidents. Their presence at the EC meetings not only provides an important link to APA affairs, but they provide important perspective and serve as a source for organizational memory. It is also important to note though that: a) they are already making a considerable commitment of time and energy to the society by attending APA meetings; and b) they also do not contribute directly to the provision of services to society members.
  • Additionally, APA representatives are elected by (APA) members of SIOP to represent SIOP members’ views to APA, rather than being elected to represent SIOP members’ views to SIOP.  (So in some respect they are messengers from SIOP to APA.)  It seems logical that decisions about the Society that require a vote should be made by officials who were elected to represent (all) members’ views to SIOP, rather than by officials who were elected (by SIOP APA members) to represent SIOP (APA) members’ views to APA.  Further, the number of APA council representatives is large relative to the number of other officers; there is the potential for a large (currently 5, could go up further) number of individuals, who were elected by a subset of the SIOP membership (only APA members are eligible to vote in that election) to have undue influence on the outcome of Executive Board votes.

The task force recommends the following:
  1. Changing the group name from Executive Committee to Executive Board. The new name not only clearly identifies changes within the group, but is more in line with the responsibilities and duties of the group.
  2. The cycle for president should either stay at three years or be extended to four. The task force intends to modify responsibilities of the president elect and past president, and depending on these modifications, it will recommend a three or four year cycle. If there are more responsibilities added to the president-elect, the task force will recommend a four-year cycle, with the first year being a chair in training or executive vice-president position. This would be principally a year of observation and learning for the individual in this position. In the second year of the cycle, the president-elect would assume more responsibility for the affairs of the society and also lay the groundwork for specific initiatives to be accomplished the following year as president. In either model, there would be modification of the responsibilities of the past-president.
  3. Holding an elected position (past or present) should be a requirement for nomination for president to increase the likelihood that nominees understand the challenges of the position and functions of the various board positions and committees.
  4. Individuals nominated for president would be expected to provide a brief statement of their suitability for the position and their goals and objectives for their three (or four) year cycle.
  5. The past-president and president-elect(s) would assume greater responsibility for leadership development within the society. This could include soliciting or generating nominations from board members or committee chairs for outstanding junior committee members, tracking assignments of individuals, and encouraging junior members to seek diverse and challenging experiences to prepare them for future SIOP leadership roles.
  6. APA Council Representatives should stay on the board as ex-officio, non-voting members. 
  7. The three positions of member-at-large should be eliminated.
  8. The positions of Secretary and Financial Officer should be eliminated. Many of the current responsibilities of the SIOP Secretary can be performed by the Administrative Office. With the growth and development of the Administrative Office, many of the functions once performed by the SIOP Financial Officer are now routinely done by staff. Remaining financial responsibilities can be assigned to one of the elected positions described below.
  9. The Executive Board should consist of 13 voting members: the President, Past-President, President Elect (yr 1), President Elect (yr 2) and nine officers with portfolios. The APA representatives are ex officio, non-voting members of the Board. Officers with portfolios serve three year terms staggered so that three positions are filled each year. Portfolios or areas of responsibility correspond to somewhat homogeneous member services and/or internal services (that is, functions related to the business of the society). Additionally, each area of responsibility is linked to the four broad initiatives under the current strategic plan. The Presidential term is a four year commitment first as President Elect Year One, then as President Elect Year Two, President, and Past President. (IF the Presidential term remains as a three year term then there would be no President Elect Year Two and the voting Board membership is 12 instead of 13). With elected Presidents, officers and nonvoting APA reps the Board would consist of  around 18 individuals max (number varies with number of APA reps allocated by APA and the decision on a 3 vs 4 year Presidential commitment.)
  10. The nine elected officials and their areas of responsibility are roughly[2] as follows:
o       Conferences and Programs: Includes the SIOP conference, workshops, Fall Consortium, APA conference, and APS conference.
o       Publications: TIP, Professional Practice Series, Frontiers Series, the new journal, future book series or journals.
o       Communications: Website, TIP, newsletters, e-mail.
o       External Relations: Establishing and developing relationships with international organizations, student chapters, other associations (including APA, APS), and regional/local chapters; promote visibility of the society to others.
o       Membership Services: Encouraging and monitoring applications to join SIOP, conducting member surveys, recognition and award programs (including fellows), could include institutional research.
o       Administrative and Financial Operations: Monitoring and recommending financial policy and financial activities (e.g., investments) for SIOP; liaison to the SIOP Foundation; liaison to the Administrative Office; oversight of a to-be-formed Personnel Committee for AO staff; could include institutional research; could include Job Net.
o       Professional Practice Support: Provide services and support to members involved in practice, including placement, the consultant locator, activities now conducted under state affairs (e.g., providing resources to members seeking information on licensing), explore options related to licensing and accreditation, provide greater opportunities for professional networking, contributing to guidelines for professional practice, provide input to the planning and execution of conferences and publications.
o       Instructional and Educational Support: Provides services and support to members involved in direct instruction or the administration of M.A./M.S., Psy.D., or Ph.D. programs, including creating instructional support material, seeking ways of introducing I-O into introductory text books, contributing to guidelines on masters and doctoral training, contributing to pre-conference masters and doctoral student workshops; facilitating networking of masters-level and doctoral-level program coordinators.
o       Research and Science Support: Provides services and support to members involved in the conduct of basic and applied research, including administration of the SIOP small grants program, establishing relationships with funding agencies to promote I-O-related funding, advocacy in funding agencies for SIOP research, writing of white papers on topics important to SIOP members; could include institutional research.
  1. The nine areas of responsibility are described primarily in terms of services, rather than existing committees. Clearly, there are direct links between many committees and services described above. However, by creating many more areas of responsibilities (than clusters) and by describing them in terms of services rather than committees, there is clearer identification of how groupings are formed, and how areas of responsibility are linked to the needs of members and/or the business of the society. It is possible that committee functions may need to be eliminated, redefined or re-assigned as more thought is given to these areas. For example, in the areas described above, the responsibility for maintaining relationships with international affiliate organizations (which contain academics and practitioners) is shifted from Professional Practice (where it resides now) to External Relations.
  2. Elected officials would serve three-year terms (as members-at-large do now) and be connected to the same area of responsibility for the three years. While there would be some rough edges during transition, three new officials would be elected each year so that there would be continuity in the board with six officials remaining unchanged from one year to the next.
  3. SIOP members would be nominated for a specific area of responsibility (e.g., membership services or professional practice support), rather than the current practice of open and identical member-at-large positions. Current or past experience on committees related to the position would not be necessary, but members nominated would be expected to provide a brief statement of their suitability for the position (e.g., prior background) and their goals and objectives for that area. Society members can self-nominate to run for election for one of the nine areas, or be nominated by other society members.
  4. The role of the elected officials with respect to areas of responsibility should be more clearly defined than has been the case for cluster coordinators. The primary role of each elected officials is to engage in ongoing coordination with other board members to ensure that the Society pursues objectives and initiatives specified in its strategic plan. Further, each elected official is to ensure integration of elements of the strategic plan and the goals of committees falling under his or her area of responsibility. Elected officials are ex-officio members of all committees under his or her area of responsibility and should stay knowledgeable regarding activities (or lack of activities) by those committees. With support of the board, elected officials can take actions to re-designate committee chairs or members when necessary to ensure timely pursuit of key strategic objectives and initiatives.
  5. Incoming and ongoing committee chairs should attend the winter meeting at which time incoming committee chairs receive preliminary new chair training and all chairs and the elected official connected to an area of responsibility discuss the strategic plan and potential goals and objectives for each committee. Time between the winter meeting and the conference meeting can be used for finalizing goals and filling out committee membership; in turn, committee chairs are strongly encouraged to use the conference as a time to meet and initiate activities for the next year.
  6. The bylaws should be changed to reflect the loss of the five elected positions and the addition of nine more. The bylaws should identify that each elected official would have an assigned area of responsibility, but specific areas should not be identified in the bylaws, but instead in the administrative manual. Further, the bylaws should allow the board to reconfigure assignments to these officials as needed.
  7. There should be a mandatory evaluation of the newly proposed structure after some length of time in order to identify roles and processes that are working effectively and those that can be improved.
Task Force Members
Dick Jeanneret
Jeff Weekley
Milt Hakel
Irv Goldstein
Janet Barnes-Farrell
Laura Koppes
Rich Klimoski
Jim Farr
Mickey Quinones
John Cornwall
Kurt Kraiger
Adrienne Colella
Deirdre Knapp
Ben Schneider
Bob Dipboye
Jeff Stanton
Bill Howell
Rob Silzer
Lee Hakel
Jeff McHenry
Bill Macey
Dave Nershi
Linda Lentz
Fritz Drasgow
Angelo DiNisi
Terry Mitchell
Steve Ashworth
Denise Rousseau
Wayne Camara
Ken Pearlman
Jone Pearce
Allan Church
Steve Gravenkemper

[1] Task force members are listed on the last page.   Interviewees are also listed on the last page.
[2] While the task force devoted considerable time to creating a logical taxonomy of services to members and internal services, we are not confident that the list of services is comprehensive, nor ideally sorted. While we are in agreement about the nine positions, we want to give further thought to the areas of responsibilities.