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: email@example.com. 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
Universittsplatz 2, A 8010 Graz
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,
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
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
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].
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),
Rollett B. (1999). Psychology in Austria. European Psychologist, 4(2),
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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