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Prepare to Impact the Future of I-O at SIOP 2017

Tracy Kantrowitz

Many attendees of the annual conference report that “staying current” is among the chief benefits derived from conference attendance.  There is no doubt that hearing about the latest progress in your area of expertise or learning about new methods can have immediate impact on your work. In times of ever growing change, many of us are also looking to the future and how we can drive change and propel our field and careers to make ongoing and lasting impact.


This year’s Theme Track will allow attendees to start planning now for the future. Through a series of provocative, interactive, and forward-looking sessions, Theme Track will bring President Mort McPhail’s vision for the future to life. We will celebrate progress through the years, highlight ongoing initiatives that chart a course for the future, propose new frontiers and up-and-coming career paths, and debate what’s really new on a variety of trending topics.


A “conference within the conference,” Theme Track is a full day of programming that follows the opening plenary session. Sessions will be held back-to-back in Southern Hemisphere 1. We invite you to stay all day or attend only the sessions of most interest to you. CE credits may be obtained by attending the Theme Track.


The Theme Track committee (Ted Kinney, Richard Landers, Valentina Lee, Samantha Taylor, and Lynda Zugec) has assembled an exceptional lineup of presenters on a compelling set of future-oriented topics that will provide guidance and insight to all SIOP members on how to prepare for the future. The sessions include:

  • Session 1 (10:30 AM): How the World Changes I-O as I-O Changes the World  (Richard Landers, Chair) 
    In this retrospective session, hear how our field has reacted to major changes and what role I-O has played in those changes. You will learn about the history of our field through critical reviews from thought leaders including Gilad Chen, Miriam Erez, Steve Kozlowski, John Mathieu, Robert Ployhart, and Ruth Kanfer on macro topics including international pressures and globalization, paradigm shifts in psychology, the evolution of technology, war and conflict, and civil rights and social change. After presenting a brief, engaging historical account of these issues, presenters will discuss the future of I-O and HR given this broader context in a panel format, with questions taken from the audience.
  • Session 2 (12:00 PM): Shaping the Future of I-O Through Multidisciplinary Approaches 
    (Valentina Bruk-Lee, Chair) 
    In this inspiring IGNITE session, presenters doing work at the intersection of I-O and other disciplines will present their stories of how multidisciplinary science is rapidly becoming a means of addressing the most pressing questions of our time. You will learn about some of the most imaginative solutions and inventions occurring in the field and find out why the future of I-O is multidisciplinary in this vibrant session from leaders in both academia and practice, including Amy Grubb, Leslie Hammer, Ben Hawkes, Autumn Krauss, Steven Poelmans, Eduardo Salas, Jerry Miller, and Steven Rogelberg.
  • Session 3 (1:30 PM): As the Pendulum Swings: Debating What’s Really New in I-O 
    (Samantha Taylor, Chair)
  • In this debate format session, you will gain insight on the future of I-O Psychology through contrasting perspectives on topics that have tended to “swing” in direction over the history of the field. Thought leaders will engage in a healthy and provocative debate on three trending topics: performance management (as discussed/debated bySeymour Adler and Alan Colquitt), I-O and data science (as discussed/debated by Aman Alexander and Dan Putka), and generational differences in the workplace (as discussed/debated by Jennifer Deal and Eden King).Dennis Doverspike will serve as moderator for the session.
  • Session 4 (3:30 PM): Learning from “Career Visionaries” to Create Future Contribution Paths
    (Ted Kinney, Chair)
    In this panel discussion, you will learn about new and burgeoning career paths in our field as I-O capitalizes on its standing as a fast growing occupation. Hear from I-Os (Alexander Alonso, Sarah Fallaw, Alexis Fink, Rick Jacobs, Elizabeth Kolmstetter, and Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward) who have pursued careers paths beyond the traditional and will provide guidance around areas of growing emphasis. Learn how to push the boundaries to pursue and craft roles that fit with ever-changing organization structures and dynamic definitions of work.   
  • Session 5 (5:00 PM): Predictions on the Future of Work 
    (Lynda Zugec, Chair)
    In this capstone session, our featured speaker, Libby Sartain, will highlight the forces of change shaping the future of work and how business strategy relates to people strategy. Libby will share her insights, based on her decades of leading people practices at some of the world’s premier organizations including Yahoo Inc. and Southwest Airlines.Evan Sinar will provide commentary on Libby’s strategic insights to spark a reevaluation of how I-O can anticipate these forces of change shaping work to ensure our field prepares itself for the changing needs of organizations and employees.

At the conclusion of each session, attendees will be invited to submit predictions of their own and sign up to be part of future initiatives aimed at impacting the future of I-O. This information will be fed back in nearly real time throughout the day to share the membership’s predictions about new frontiers in I-O. At the conclusion of the day, aggregated predictions and individuals interested in serving on future impact teams submitted will be shared with SIOP leadership to shape new initiatives that will benefit SIOP’s efforts on impacting the future of I-O research and practice.


On behalf of the 2017 Theme Track committee, see you in Orlando!

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