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Dirk D. Steiner
Universit de Nice-Sophia Antipolis

In this issue's column, we explore our field in another European country as K. Wolfgang Kallus presents an overview of I-O psychology in Austria.

As usual,for your comments and suggestions concerning this column, please 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.

Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Austria

K. Wolfgang Kallus
Department of Psychology, Section of Work, Organizational, and Environmental Psychology
Karl-Franzens-University Graz
Universittsplatz 2, A 8010 Graz
e-mail: wolfgang.kallus@kfunigraz.ac.at
Tel: ++43 316 380 5122
Fax: ++43 316 380 9807

Industrial and organizational psychology plays a more or less minor role in Austria compared to clinical or educational psychology. This is due to the fact that psychological intervention is regulated by law in Austria, whereas the activity of work, industrial, and organizational psychologists is not. Psychology in Austria can look back at a rich tradition that is over 100 years old. Despite the fact that Austria belongs to the smaller countries of the European Community, a considerable amount of research is conducted here.

In overviews concerning psychology in Austria, B. Rollett (1997, 1999) shows that important work in psychology took place in and originated from Austrian universities. Pioneers of Gestalt psychology in Austria were C. von Ehrenfels (Vienna) and A. von Meinong (Graz). The famous pioneers of psychoanalysis S. Freud and A. Adler conducted their work in Vienna. Well-known Austrian psychologists are Brentano, Benussi, Karl and Charlotte Bhler, P. Lazarsfeld, E. Brunswick, H. Hetzer, and M. Jahoda ("The Unemployed Workers of Marienthal"). Among famous researchers, who started their scientific careers in Austria, one could mention F. Heider, L. Kreitler, W. Kintsch, K. Pawlik, P. Watzlawick, and even K. Popper. Psychology in Austria has a strong experimental and methodological branch, too. This is reflected by the fact that H. Rohracher's experimentally oriented introduction to psychology had been standard in German-speaking psychology for a long time. Milestones of methodological developmentsat least within the German-speaking areawere textbooks from Austrian researchers: Mittenecker (1952; Graz), Lienert (1961, 1962; Vienna), Sixtl (1982; Linz), and Fischer (1968, 1974; Vienna).

Psychological departments are located at six universities in Austria (Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, Salzburg, & Vienna). Except for Linz, all Austrian universities offer a major degree in psychology. Early contributions in industrial and organizational psychology are due to E. Roth (1964), who founded the research institute for organizational psychology in Salzburg. Current research in industrial and organizational psychology differs across the universities, resulting in a broad spectrum that ranges from economic psychology, applied social psychology (e.g., decision making, justice, attitudes), organizational psychology, to work and engineering psychology.


In Vienna, Kirchler (1999) published a new textbook on economic psychology, the psychology of taxes being one of his working group's research topics. Additional recent contributions from Vienna to applied psychology are the introduction of modern EEG-DC-recordings in order to develop more effective selection methods for high-performance professions like pilots (Vitouch, Bauer, Gittler, Leodolter, & Leodolter, 1997), testing under conditions of stress (Guttmann & Etlinger, 1991), and the use of nonclassic tests for selection (Kubinger, 1996).


The section of applied psychology in Graz has been renamed to work, organizational and environmental psychology, which reflects a new focus on work psychology. Topics are stress, recovery, and burnout in different professions. Research uses a broad spectrum of methods including ambulatory psychophysiology (Kallus & Kellmann, 1999). Part of the research focuses on air traffic control (ATC) and an integrated task analysis has been developed, which allows one to analyse the cognitive aspects of ATC in detail (Kallus, Barbarino, VanDamme, & Dittman, 1999). The development of methods to evaluate team quality, the quality of meetings, the quality of selection procedures, and work satisfaction are additional areas of research. Research in applied social psychology is conducted by Mikula (1998) and his group (e.g., justice in teams, division of household labor, & perceived justice).


The section of social and organizational psychology is currently headed by H. Wallbott. Research topics in Salzburg are media, interpersonal attraction, and nonverbal behavior as well as research in mobbing and leadership. In addition, the research institute for organizational behavior promotes research in applied settings.


H. Brandsttter is head of the department for social and economic psychology at the University of Linz. Applied social psychology, like decision making (e.g., air traffic control), occupational choice, and the integration of individual differences in organizational and economic psychology, are promoted by the research group in Linz.


Klagenfurt has currently established a major degree in psychology, which especially links psychology to media research.


At least in German speaking countries, applied psychology in Innsbruck is well known due to D. Klebelsberg's (1982) research on traffic psychology, risk behavior, and "risk personality."

In Austria, research on I-O psychology includes the development of various methodological approaches ranging from qualitative methods, diary methods, and behavioral observations via classical tests and questionnaires, to highly sophisticated psychophysiological measures in applied settings. At the same time, close cooperation between applied research in different institutions (e.g., Fleck, 1994) and university research is rapidly increasing.


Fischer, G. H. (Ed.). (1968). Psychologische Test Theorie [Psychological test theory]. Bern: Huber.

Fischer, G. H. (1974). Einfhrung in die Theorie psychologischer Tests: Grundlagen und Anwendungen [Introduction to the theory of psychological tests: Fundamental principles and applications]. Bern: Huber.

Fleck, G. (1994). Die Fliegerpsychologie im Bundesheer [Aviation psychology in the army]. Truppendienst (3), 231-235

Guttmann, G. & Etlinger, S. C. (1991). Susceptibility to stress and anxiety in relation to performance, emotion, and personality: The ergopsychometric approach. In: C.D. Spielberger, I. G. Sarason, J. Strelau, & J. M. T. Brebner (Eds.), Stress and anxiety (13; pp. 23-52. New York: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation.

Kallus, K. W. & Kellmann, M. (1999). Burnout in athletes and coaches. In: Y. L. Hanin (Ed.), Emotions in Sport (pp. 209-230). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Kallus, K. W., Barbarino, M., VanDamme, D., & Dittman, A. (1999). Integrated task analysis of en-route control: A process oriented approach. In: R. S. Jensen, B. Cox, J. D. Callister, & R. Lavis (Eds.), Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Aviation Psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 517-521). Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.

Kirchler, E. M. (1999). Wirtschaftspsychologie: Grundlagen und Anwendungsfelder der konomischen Psychologie [Economic psychology: Fundamental principles and applications of economic psychology], 2nd ed. Gttingen: Hogrefe

Klebelsberg, D. (1982). Verkehrspsychologie [Traffic Psychology]. Berlin: Springer.

Kubinger, K. D. (1996). Einfhrung in die psychologische Diagnostik [Introduction to psychological diagnostic], 2nd ed. Weinheim: Beltz.

Lienert, G. A. (1961). Testaufbau und Testanalyse [Test construction and test analysis]. Weinheim: Beltz.

Lienert, G. A. (1962). Verteilungsfreie Methoden in der Biostatistik [Nonparameteric methods in biostatistics]. Meisenheim: Hain.

Mikula, G. (1998). Division of household labor and perceived justice: A growing field of research. Social Justice Research, 11(3), 215-241.

Mittenecker. (1952). Planung und statisitsche Auswertung von Experimenten [Planning and statistical evaluation of experiments]. Wien: Deuticke.

Rohracher H. (1946). Einfhrung in die Psychologie [Introduction to psychology]. Wien: Urban & Schwarzenberg.

Rollett B. (1997). Psychology in Austria. World Psychology, 3(3-4), 289-309.

Rollett B. (1999). Psychology in Austria. European Psychologist, 4(2), 115-118.

Sixtl, F. (1982). Memethoden der Psychologie: Theoretische Grundlagen und Probleme [Measuring methods of psychology: Theoretical basis and problems], 2nd ed. Weinheim: Beltz.

Vitouch, O., Bauer, H., Gittler, G., Leodolter, M., & Leodolter, U. (1997). Cortical activity of good and poor spatial test performers during spatial and verbal processing studied with slow potential topography. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 27, 183-199.


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