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Amber Stark

White Paper Round Up

Two new white papers, How I-O Psychology Can Help in the Selection and Development of Neurodiverse Employees and Women in Power: Contributing Factors That Impact on Women in Organizations and Politics; Psychological Research and Best Practice, are now available online:

How I-O Psychology Can Help in the Selection and Development of Neurodiverse Employees

The pace of technological developments suggests that companies need employees who can keep stride with such changes. Some key skills and traits that are important for a technological working environment are attention to detail and ability to focus for long periods of time. Recent literature as well as anecdotal evidence detail the efforts of a number of organizations to recruit and retain neurodiverse employees who have strong abilities in these areas and through these abilities provide competitive advantage for their employers (Austin & Pisano, 2017). This population group is often noted as having desirable strengths for the workplace—such as a strong memory or facility with numbers, or other more idiosyncratic strengths—but is also frequently noted as having weakness with communication and/or interpersonal skills, which can be a hindrance for organizational dynamics. Companies such as Specialisterne recruit neurodiverse job applicants for placement in a variety of organizations (Roumeliotis, 2017). Specialisterne has created specialized employee training programs for individuals with autism, which match up skills with needed services and provide development support for social and professional communication. This model of harnessing the talents of neurodiversity has since been incorporated into the hiring and selection divisions of some major international companies, such as Microsoft, SAP, and JPMorgan Chase (Hayden, 2020; Mahoney, 2017; Microsoft, 2020). Given these examples, what might human resource departments and hiring executives in small- and medium-sized enterprises find helpful with the recruitment and retention of neurodiverse employees? This short white paper will outline how traditional tools in the field of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology can help with the selection, training, and leadership of neurodiverse employees in general and high-functioning autism spectrum (HFASD) individuals in particular. Implications for the workplace include using a wider variety of recruitment and selection tools, ongoing training programs that include baseline specifics on professional social norms, and leadership training that provides managers with the tools to support neurodiverse potential.

Women in Power: Contributing Factors That Impact on Women in Organizations and Politics; Psychological Research and Best Practice

In this paper we discuss the factors that influence women’s likelihood to gain positions of power and what impedes women’s effectiveness once in these roles. We have reviewed the research from an international perspective and have highlighted the common trends that impact women across the globe. Although progress has been made, there is still much that needs to happen before equality of opportunity is realized. This paper highlights the macro and micro level factors that have an impact on women’s rise to powerful positions and the progress and reactions thereafter. The psychological research indicates that it is not sufficient to address the individual challenges of being a woman in business or in politics. The current emphasis is on women as individuals and relies on them taking action. But this fails to address the wider societal impacts. It is not sufficient for women to focus on building their networks, increasing their social capital, and enhancing their motivation. This fails to take into account the institutional and societal biases that undermine opportunities for women. We recommend changes in the way that women approach opportunities in the workplace and in the way that policy makers and employers act. We highlight the importance of embracing diversity more broadly, not simply from a gender perspective. Only in this way, can there be equality of opportunity and an enhancement of diversity in the workplace. We address the practical implications from the psychological research and provide advice for organizations, senior executives, women throughout their professional careers, and for young women as they start their career journey.

For additional white papers, visit the SIOP White Paper Series and the SHRM-SIOP Science of HR White Paper Series:

  • The SIOP White Paper Series organizes and summarizes important and timely topics in I-O psychology for business and HR professionals, members of the press, and interested individuals. SIOP White Papers are produced by three SIOP committees: International Affairs, Scientific Affairs, and Visibility.
  • A collaboration between the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the SHRM-SIOP Science of HR White Paper Series provides practitioner-oriented reviews of evidence-based HR practices. These papers, written by leading researchers and practitioners in the field of I-O psychology and HR, make the science of evidence-based HR practices accessible to SHRM and SIOP members.
  • Additional Alliance white papers can be found on the Allied Organizations webpage.
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