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Spotlight on Local I-O Organizations

Michelle A. Donovan
Intel Corporation

With this TIP article we are making a little bit of history exactly 21 years ago the Houston Area I-O Psychologists (Aka HAIOP to those in the know!) published a TIP article titled, HAIOP Turns Five to celebrate their 5th anniversary. As they gear up to celebrate their 25th anniversary they decided to kickoff the celebration by publishing another article to update everyone on how far their organization has come. HAIOP has a rich history (much like their great state of Texas!), and they have continued their early traditions of networking, sharing information, cavorting(!), and even giving back to the community. Read on for more details

Houston Area I-O Psychologists (HAIOP) Turns 25!

Gloria M. Pereira
University of Houston Clear Lake

Edward J. Pavur
Management Service

Annette Spychalski 
Wyle Laboratories

The legend began in December 1977 when Jim Herring, Ed Kahn, and Steve Constantine sent a letter (yes, via snail mail!) to I-O psychologists in Houston to initiate a group. This group would unite people that share common interests, passions, and backgrounds. Their first planning meeting was Monday, February 27th, 1978 and from that point on, I-O psychologists in Houston have been meeting, networking, and cavorting once a month on Mondays. HAIOP was formed! In 1978, the Bee Gees were singing Saturday Night Fever, but in Houston it was Monday Night Fever. Monday nights in Houston have never been the same. 

Those early days were captured by Ed Kahn in a TIP article on May 1983, titled HAIOP Turns Five. Yes, we have been featured in TIP before2 decades ago! During the 1970s and 80s, most members remember meeting at Jeanneret and Associates old offices on Smith Street for social events and to orchestrate the upcoming years schedule of presentations. After a few drinks, members started telling good war stories. And even though it was a planning meeting, we are not sure to this day how much planning actually occurred. Most formal meetings were held at the nearby universities: University of Houston or Rice University and that same tradition continues to date.

Houston has always attracted lots of I-O psychology talent. Houston is home to 19 of the Fortune 500 companies and ranks fifth among metropolitan areas in the number of Fortune 500 headquarters. The Houston area also has three PhD programs in I-O psychology (Rice University, University of Houston, and Texas A&M) as well as a masters program at the University of HoustonClear Lake. In the early years Exxon and Shell Oil had a big contingent of in-house I-O psychologists and interns. HAIOP meetings in the 1970s and early 1980s garnered support from these companies. Many people have served on the HAIOP board (e.g., Jim Campion, Bob Dipboye, Bill Howell, Ken Laughery, Mort McPhail, Bob Pritchard, Diane Rathjen, Pat Sanders, and Alec Schrader, among others). All contributed to HAIOPs success. Vicki Vandaveer was a zealous newsletter editor for some time, producing a newsletter that people actually read and which motivated organization membership. 

The meeting topics have always reflected the I-O issues of the time. For example, Paul Sparks of Exxon organized a conference on testing issues. Members also remember how a debate on the scientist/practitioner model was always a good topic of discussion. And one topic that has also been repeatedly discussed is licensure (Some topics never die!). Members remember presentations on physical abilities testing, validity generalization, and testing practices. Jim Herring and Steve Wunder also at Exxon, and Vicki Vandaveer at Shell contributed their efforts to formal annual banquets featuring nationally known speakers. Current topics focus on issues such as occupational health psychology and corporate responsibility (after all, Houston was home to Enrons headquarters). And in Houston, mergers and acquisitions and change management are always interesting topics for those trying to find oil (i.e., Texas gold) above ground rather than below ground.

Our membership composition has changed through time. The organization reflects the economy; it changes as the economy swells and ebbs. However, our membership has consistently been one-third practitioners, one-third academics, and one-third graduate students. The size fluctuates around 70 members but always remains between 50 and 100. We have full and student memberships, and although times have changed, we havent raised our membership fees.

Individuals come to HAIOP for lots of different reasons. Our members feel we have maintained a nice balance between providing structured CE credit opportunities and offering social/networking opportunities. Barry Blakely was instrumental in getting HAIOP recognized as a provider of continuing education (CE) credits for licensure by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Due to Barrys swift and foresightful actions, this turned out to be a relatively easy feat. Since then we have been offering CE credits to our members. The opportunity for fellowship and social interaction is also a key aspect for a lot of people. However, the intellectual discussions are also a valued feature of HAIOP. In the daily human management environment there is simply not much time to reflect on issues in a scholarly way.

HAIOP helps people evaluate issues from different perspectives: academic, practitioner, and consultant. HAIOP is also a perfect way to keep in touch with former classmates, colleagues, professors, and employers. Our annual directory and Web site (www.haiop.org) are wonderful resources to locate people for advice on professional issues, internships, jobs, and consulting opportunities. The Web site and HAIOP network are also an excellent resource for employers, who can reach a broad audience of potential applicants, including people who live beyond the immediate Houston area. HAIOP was and is a great place to meet people with similar interests.

One significant recent event occurred when the Texas State Psychology Association (TPA) asked HAIOP members for some help with a job analysis for licensed psychologists and clinical psychologists. HAIOP members Clyde Mayo, Roger Blakeney, Vicki Vandaveer, Rodney Lowman, and others, along with members of the Dallas I-O group, conducted 60 interviews of I-O psychologists. The task analysis and critical incidents from these interviews resulted in a job analysis report which could be used for selection as well as the performance appraisal of I-O psychologists at entry, experienced, and journeyman levels. This project was a great way for HAIOP members to give back to the community. The results were reported in the April 2002 issue of TIP.
Our typical meetings occur on Monday nights starting at 5:30 p.m. with a social (half) hour followed by a presentation lasting until 7:00 p.m. We typically have a Fall Banquet to kick off the year since our meetings follow the academic calendar. Last years banquet featured Wally Borman as the keynote speaker. Other recent topics included Perspectives on Fraud and Ethics in Organizations by Michelle Lynskey, Nurse Recruitment and Selection by Lauren Manning Salomon, and Impact of Emotional and Social Intelligent Behavior on Performance by Reuven Bar-On. After surveying our membership, we experimented with different types of meetings such as roundtable discussions at local restaurants. Our first roundtable featured leadership and executive development facilitated by Mark Friedman and organizational development facilitated by Eric Brown; the second one featured psychological effects of mergers and acquisitions facilitated by Ed Pavur. The roundtable discussions have been a success! 

Our current board consists of the authors as well as Kingsley C. Ejiogu, Mark J. Friedman, Sylvia J. Hysong, Robert P. Lusignan, and our long-time treasurer, Eric Brown. The board has no hierarchy and no formal titles except for our treasurer, although we do tend to divide responsibilities by talents and time available. For example, Sylvia Hysong is our Web master. Previous to our Web site, we published a newsletter edited by Gloria M. Pereira. We meet for lunch once or twice a year to plan our programs and activities and everybody contributes to program development throughout the year. Our board aims to represent our constituencies: industry, consulting, and universities. We tend to be pretty informal; we put anyone interested in volunteering to work. Our Web site is only 1 year old and features details on our meetings (current and past) as well as job opportunities.

We are currently planning a celebration of our 25th anniversary in August. If you are lucky enough to be in Houston in August, please come join us. It should be an event as big as TEXAS!

Special thanks to Donde Batten, Barry Blakely, Eric Brown, Mark Friedman, Clyde Mayo, and Mort McPhail for sharing their early memories of HAIOP.


     Blakeney, R., Broenen, R., Dyck, J., Frank, B., Glenn, D., Johnson, D., & Mayo, C. (2002). Implications of the Results of a Job Analysis of I-O Psychologists. TIP, 39(4), 2937.
     Kahn, E. (1983). HAIOP turns five. TIP, 20(3), 3637.

Future Spotlights on Local Organizations

Stay tuned for the October issue of TIP when we profile the North Carolina Industrial and Organizational Psychologists. This North Carolina group is an active, engaging bunchthey couldnt wait to tell TIP readers all about their organization! 
To learn more about local I-O organizations, see http://www.siop.org/IOGroups.aspx for a list of Web sites. If you have questions about this article or are interested in including your local I-O psychology group in a future Spotlight column, please e-mail Michelle Donovan at michelle.a.donovan@intel.com. We also welcome contributions from International Affiliates about local groups.

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