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Amber Stark

Member Spotlight: Reeshad S. Dalal

Position/Employer: George Mason University

Interest area(s): Books, movies, podcasts, tennis, frozen custard, Indian snacks, Sweden, and politics (after all, I do live in “the swamp”). Oh, you mean interest areas in I-O? 😊 Well, in that case: judgment and decision making, within-person variability across time and situations, job performance (with an emphasis on counterproductive/deviant work behavior and organizational citizenship behavior), person–situation interactions, job satisfaction and mood/emotions, and organizational approaches to cybersecurity.

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
It’s amusing in retrospect but, as an undergraduate student, I hated my course in organizational behavior and ended up dropping it to protect my GPA. I actually started my PhD program in social psychology and only switched to I-O after the end of my third year (post-MA). During my second year in graduate school, I took an elective course in I-O from Chuck Hulin. The course itself was stimulating, but, more importantly, I started hanging out in the hallway after class to chat about I-O topics with Chuck. Those hallway conversations sparked my interest in I-O and were the start of a protracted decision process that ultimately led to a late switch to I-O. Looking back, it was one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
Historically, I see I-O as having reacted to workplace trends more so than having shaped them. Current SIOP initiatives (e.g., the Government Relations Advocacy Team, the Visibility Committee) aim to address this state of affairs, and I greatly applaud these initiatives.

To which of the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2020 do you most strongly relate and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend?
First, in light of the recent #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, diversity, inclusion, and equity seems like an obvious focus. At a time when many organizations are responding with what might be termed performative pantomime (“a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”), I-O has the potential to provide concrete, measurable, evidence-based solutions. With that said, SIOP itself could do more to increase the diversity of its membership.

Second, in light of COVID-19, workforce health—especially for “essential employees”—seems like another obvious focus. Job analysis and design may not have been your favorite topic in graduate school, but I-O has the potential to make a large contribution by redesigning job spaces in hospitals, meatpacking plants, grocery stores, and the like with an eye not only to productivity but also to workplace health.

How long have you been a SIOP member?
Since 2003, although I was a student affiliate for a couple of years before that.

What roles have you had within SIOP?
In the past, I served as SIOP’s Association for Psychological Science Program Committee Chair. I’m currently the team lead for the Defense and Security Advocacy Area (under the Government Relations Advocacy Team), and, starting in April 2021, I’ll be the Publications Portfolio Officer. Of course, over the years, I’ve also served on several other committees and in various other capacities (e.g., as a SIOP Ambassador). Almost all these experiences have been a lot of fun.

What is one of your favorite SIOP annual conference memories/highlights?
Of the many SIOP conferences I’ve attended, the Hawaii conference (2014) was by far my favorite. “I-O in Paradise”: What more could one want? I know attendance was much lower that year because of the distance and cost, but I personally would be ecstatic if SIOP could go back there.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners?
I guess I’d caution people to approach important professional decisions with the care they deserve. I’ve actually written a SIOP–SHRM white paper on evidence-based and, importantly, relatively painless ways to make good workplace decisions. I’ve tried to put my money where my mouth is by using such strategies to make important career (and life) decisions.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself.
Oddly enough, although I was born and brought up in India (I moved to the U.S. at the age of 17 for college), my first language is in fact English. It’s a long story.

Is there anything you would like to add?
I was informed that a good way to answer this question would be to invite collaborations, so here goes: If you’re an executive at a consulting firm that would like to increase its offerings in the judgment and decision-making space (e.g., by offering online tools to improve individual and team decision-making processes or by using “nudges” to influence behavior), let’s talk!

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