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Amber Stark

I-O Psychology for Modernizing Congress: A Conversation With Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and SIOP President Steven Rogelberg

As a workplace, the United States House of Representatives is inordinately complex. It essentially comprises 435 independent contractors, all of whom are perennially concerned with their job security and have few incentives to work collaboratively. But with whole of the American public relying on their capacity to work together, the House of Representatives recognized the importance of improving their effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency, and established the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress in 2019.

Chaired by Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA 6th District), the committee has committed to a truly bipartisan approach to their mission. The group is determined to approach their work with intention and civility in a way that models effective governance for other congressional entities and provides recommendations to the House of Representatives on a rolling basis.

SIOP President Steven Rogelberg recently sat down with Chairman Kilmer to discuss how industrial-organizational psychology has been, and will continue to be, influential in the Select Committee’s work.

View the video here.

What emerged from President Rogelberg’s discussion of key importance for the I-O community is:

  • Evidence-based recommendations are the heart of the Select Committee’s work, and a strong research base on how to improve civility, efficacy, and diversity of organizations is key to addressing Congress’ unique workplace challenges.
  • Suggestions from I-O experts have been influential in the Select Committee’s determination of recommendations to the House of Representatives.  Potential future recommendations include bipartisan retreats at the start of each Congress; creation of spaces for members of Congress from each party to convene and discuss policy; and bipartisan meals organized between members of Congress.
  • Recommendations from I-Os have been simple but important, and the Select Committee is interested in hearing further from I-Os.

SIOP members with a desire to contribute to the Select Committee’s work are invited to submit feedback to the Committee. As a reminder, our Advocacy Guidebook is available for members to inform members and help differentiate SIOP advocacy from personal advocacy.

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