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Feature Story

Does Your Intro to Psychology Textbook Lack Sufficient I-O Coverage? SIOP Can Help!

Stephen F. Young
Center for Creative Leadership

Gary W. Giumetti
Quinnipiac University


Every year, there are more than one million college students who take an introductory psychology course (Griggs, 2014), and the number of high school students who take an AP psychology course has grown from 3,900 in 1992 to over 300,000 in 2016 (Rodes & Berreby, 2017). These students may only take this one psychology course, so this a key opportunity to introduce these students to the field of I-O psychology. For a number of reasons, most introductory psychology textbooks lack adequate coverage of I-O psychology’s core and related content. During Tammy Allen’s tenure as SIOP president, the Education and Training Committee initiated several efforts to increase the presence of I-O content within general psychology courses, texts, exams, and so on (Allen, 2014). Based on a survey of the needs of introductory textbook authors (Giumetti, Fullick, Young, & DiazGranados, 2014), our subcommittee decided to coordinate the development of 1-page summaries of I-O competencies and related areas for inclusion in introductory psychology textbooks. All summaries were written and then reviewed by individuals with a PhD or master’s degree in I-O psychology or a related field (e.g., human factors engineering). In February 2015, an initial set of the 1-page summaries were provided to 11 textbook authors who had indicated interest in receiving more I-O and related content within this format.

Based on the 2016 revisions to the Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, the 1-page summaries were subsequently revised and redistributed to textbook authors in February 2017. You may now access these summaries here. When redistributing the summaries to textbook authors, we also asked them to rate the following item: Rate the extent to which you have incorporated these summaries into your Introduction to Psychology textbook(s) on a 1–5 scale where 1 = not at all or very little extent and 5 = to a very great extent. Though they did not all provide a quantitative rating, four textbook authors replied and stated that the content has been useful (one editor said that he already had a strong I-O focus in his textbook). As an example, David Meyers says that he now uses this collective body of work as an example to other disciplines of psychology about how they should communicate their useful ideas and major findings to adult learners. However, he has continued to challenge us to be as clear as possible about the top findings that all educated adults should know about our field. Though a handful of textbook authors have not yet been able to incorporate our content within their textbooks for a number of reasons (e.g., textbook out of print), we have provided the references below for two textbooks that now contain significant I-O content. Additionally, both textbook authors are nearing completion of new editions that will include even more updated I-O content.

It is our hope that these summaries will increase the presence of I-O psychology within introductory psychology textbooks so that students may gain a broader perspective on our field and the key role we play in shaping human behavior and promoting human flourishing. We also believe that introductory psychology teachers will also find these summaries useful in covering those areas of I-O that still lack adequate coverage in their introductory textbooks. We ask that SIOP members with personal contacts help us more widely distribute these summaries to textbook authors of additional introductory psychology textbooks (please email the first author who can cross-check your contact against the list we already have). Finally, this effort would not have been possible without the many individuals (SIOP members and even some non-SIOP members) who volunteered to write and review these summaries. Special thanks to the following individuals who helped our committee coordinate the recently revised summaries: Jennifer Gibson, Diane Wentworth, and Vipanchi Mishra.

Introductory Psychology Textbooks With Significant I-O Coverage

Myers, D., & DeWall, N. (2015). Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Bernstein, D. (2014). Psychology. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


Allen, T. (2014). A message from your president. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 51, 7-9.


Giumetti, G. W., Fullick, J. M, Young, S., DiazGranados, D. (2014).  Representation of I-O psychology in introductory psychology textbooks: An updated survey of textbook authors. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 52, 144-149.


Griggs, R. A. (2014). Topical coverage in introductory textbooks from the 1980s through the 2000s. Teaching of Psychology, 41(1), 5-10. doi:10.1177/0098628313514171

Rodes, H., & Berreby, D. (2017). The social and behavioral sciences in k-12 education: Past, present, and future: Proceedings of a workshop–in brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/24774