Amber Stark

50-Year Members Honored with Gold Star Status: Part 4

Not only has SIOP/APA Division 14 changed in the last 50 years but so has the entire field of I-O psychology.

Over the past few months, we’ve shared conversations with a few of our 34 Gold Star (50-year) members as they’ve reminisced about SIOP and I-O psychology.

This final installment in the series was provided by Dr. Virginia Schein, professor emerita of Management and Psychology, Gettysburg Collegeand UN/NGO representative for CSEND (Geneva), who has been a SIOP/Division 14 member since 1970.

My first exposure to I-O psychology was as an undergraduate at Cornell University where I took a course with Patricia Cain Smith. I did my honors thesis under Pat’s supervision, using her newly developed Job Descriptive Index (JDI). I went on to receive my PhD from New York University in 1969. I was the first woman to receive a degree in Industrial Psychology from NYU.

My early career years were spent as an in-house I-O psychologist in New York City for the American Management Association, the Life Office Management Association (LOMA) and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. For the most part, my work focused on traditional areas, such selection, training, and attitude surveys. It was at LOMA that I conducted the now well-known “Think Manager–Think Male” research study, one of the first of its kind on gender stereotyping and requisite management characteristics.

I was active in Division 14, serving as Workshop chair and then as an elected member to the Executive Committee of Division 14. I also served as president of the Metropolitan New York Association for Applied Psychology (METRO), the first female I-O psychologist to hold that office.

In the late 1970s, I moved into the academic world, holding professorial positions at Case Western Reserve University, Yale University, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Baruch College of the City University of New York, and Gettysburg College. Based on my corporate experiences, I did research examining the role of power and politics in organizations.

In the early 1990s I became more involved in matters of public policy and social issues, especially poverty reduction. I conducted research studies looking at issues pertaining to low-income women and work, both in the U.S. and developing countries. I am a founding member of the Global Organization for Humanitarian Work Psychology and a United Nations/NGO representative for the Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development, based in Geneva.

When I entered the field, only 3.88% of all its members were women. In 1971, I published an article in the American Psychologist entitled “The Woman Industrial Psychologist: Illusion or Reality?” Now, of course, that has all changed. Another significant change has been the field’s increasing attention to pro-social and humanitarian research and practice. It is exciting to see I-O psychology bring its arsenal of expertise and research methodologies to bear on promoting human welfare and the greater good of society.

The best part of being a SIOP member is the opportunity to get to know and work with so many amazing colleagues over the years.

We appreciate Schein, and all of the Gold Star members that we have profiled, taking the time to share their memories of the early days of SIOP and Division 14. SIOP President Steven Rogelberg recently sat down with Schein to continue this discussion; you can view that conversation here.

Previous installments of this series are available here:

Previous Article Promoting I-O Psychology to the Community-at-Large
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