Jenny Baker
/ Categories: 602

Trends in SIOP Conference Presentations With a Global/International/Cross-Cultural Focus: Are We Losing Ground?

Vipanchi Mishra, West Chester University; H. Kristl Davison, Appalachian State University; Jenna Schreiber, West Chester University; & Meghan Yurick, West Chester University

As our society and organizations have become more diverse and globalized, there have been numerous calls for more research focused on global, international, and cross-cultural issues (e.g., Gelfand et al., 2017; Glazer et al., 2021; Henrich et al., 2010). Understanding differences across nations in terms of cultures, laws, religions, language, communication styles, and other factors is important for ensuring effective application of research findings in organizations. It is clear that failing to understand other cultures can have negative effects on organizations, as demonstrated by examples of major failures of organizations that struggled to expand internationally (e.g., Ricks, 2009; Williams, 2019; Zhu, 2010).

Given the importance of global, international, and cross-cultural (G/I/CC) issues, industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology and related fields need to ensure that they expand their focus on these issues. But the question remains as to whether we are indeed increasing such focus. In their review of 100 years’ of articles published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Gelfand et al. (2017) provided some optimistic findings with respect to this question. For example, they note that cross-cultural research has been steadily increasing. But their findings also raise cause for alarm; less than 2% of the articles they examined (from 1917 to 2014) had an explicit focus on culture or used a nonwestern sample. Tsui et al. (2007), in their review of studies in 16 leading management journals, found a similar trend of Western dominance in terms of first authors’ being from the US. Moreover, Tsui et al.’s study examined studies from 1996 to 2005, which suggests that the relative omission of nonwestern research is not just an older phenomenon. Thus, research in I-O and related fields, like that in many behavioral sciences is WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic; see Henrich et al., 2010).

The studies by Gelfand et al. (2017) and Tsui et al. (2007) looked at top journals in applied psychology and management, but such journals, although prominent, will not represent all the ongoing G/I/CC research in the field. In particular, given the time lag to publication, it is possible that an examination of conference presentations might provide insights as to trends in the field. Specifically, conference presentations have been vetted by reviewers and may represent recent and cutting-edge research. Thus, to gauge trends within research on G/I/CC issues in I-O psychology, we examined nearly 20 years’ worth of SIOP conference presentations. As we examined these trends, we had the following research questions (RQs):

RQ1: Is the number of SIOP conference submissions relevant to global, international, and cross-cultural issues increasing, remaining stable, or decreasing over time?

RQ2: Are there differences in the trends with respect to SIOP conference submissions depending on whether the topic is considered to be global, international, or cross-cultural in nature?

RQ3: Are SIOP conference presentations relevant to global, international, and cross-cultural issues being submitted under that content area versus other content areas?

Method

Inclusion Criteria

For the purpose of this study, we focused on SIOP conferences between the years of 2004 and 2022 and performed an extensive search of past conference program guides listed on the SIOP website (SIOP, n.d.). Within the SIOP conference, 11 different types of submission formats were identified. These include Posters, Symposiums, Communities of Interest, Panel Discussions, Interactive Posters, Practitioner Forums, Roundtable Discussions/Conversation Hours, Special Events, Friday Seminars, Master Tutorials, and Alternative Sessions. We specifically looked at how many presentations on “Global/International/Cross-Cultural” (G/I/CC) topics were included in every SIOP conference program between 2004 and 2022.1 We also searched each conference program for the following keywords relevant to G/I/CC: “cross-cultural,” “culture,” “global,” “international,” “cultural values,” “Hofstede,” “individualism,” “collectivism,” “power distance,” “uncertainty avoidance,” and “masculinity–femininity.” Next, for past conferences that did not include a searchable feature (i.e., 2004–2017), we downloaded the pdf of the program and manually searched for the same key terms listed above.

Coding of Global/International/Cross-Cultural Presentations

Presentations that fit within the above G/I/CC categories were coded for the following characteristics: conference topic under which it was submitted, type of submission (poster, panel discussion, symposium, etc.), abstract, authors, authors’ affiliations, and G/I/CC topic. All presentations that matched our keywords are presented in Table 1. The presentations were further coded into the specific subtopics of global, international, or cross-cultural, based on a combination of the descriptions provided by the SIOP International Affairs Committee (see SIOP Best International Paper Award on the Conference Awards web page; SIOP Foundation, n.d.) as well as APA (2015) guidelines for international research. 

 

Table 1

G/I/CC SIOP Conference Presentation Trends by Year for Type of Presentations (Combining 4 or 5 Years at a Time)

                                                                                Year groupings

 

2004–2008

2009–2013

2014–2018

2019–2022

Total submissions

245

226

192

85

Mean per year

49

45.2

38.4

21.25

Type of submission

 

 

 

 

Poster (incl. interactive poster sessions)

111

127

100

50

Interactive session

1

0

0

0

Symposium

60

54

41

8

Community of Interest

3

4

1

2

Panel Discussion

17

19

25

14

Practitioner Forum

33

0

0

0

Practitioner Collaborative Forum

6

0

0

0

Roundtable Discussion

3

8

3

0

Special Event

6

9

14

7

Friday Seminar

0

2

1

0

Master Tutorial

1

2

2

0

Conversation Hour

1

0

0

0

Educated Forum

1

0

0

0

Invited Speaker

2

0

0

0

Alternative Session

0

1

5

4

Note. Because only programs from 2004–2022 (i.e., 19 years) were available electronically on the SIOP website, the final category only contains 4 years’ worth of data.

 

Global issues: topics/practices globally accepted or engaged in OR to environmental issues that have broad/global impacts on organizations, workforce, students, or the I-O field. Any research focused on solving global problems (e.g., the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals) in the world would fit under this category.

Cross-cultural issues: research that includes measures of cultural values and explores topics/constructs/practices within the context of those cultural values, with results discussed through that lens. Culture is a key variable driving or moderating outcomes. Research may involve work within or across multiple cultures, involving the observation of similarities and differences in values, practices, and so forth between different societies. Investigations may also include issues concerning translation, measurement, equivalence, sampling, data analytic techniques, and data reporting.

International issues: research conducted in or affecting two or more nations, typically a comparative study exploring topics/constructs/practices and grouping results by nation. Research is characterized by the joint nature of the research process across national boundaries. Investigations may also include research focused on expatriate population.

Three of the authors independently reviewed abstracts of each presentation identified through the keywords and coded them within these categories for the years from 2004–2022. After this coding process, a fourth author coded a subset of presentations to check for accuracy. Seventy presentations that did not meet the definitions for global, international, and cross-cultural research as described above were grouped in either “other” (15) or “not applicable” (55) categories. For example, one poster presentation focused on the relationship between performance appraisal dimensions and global reliability of appraisal ratings was assigned to the “not applicable” category as it did not pertain to cross-cultural, global, or international aspects discussed above. However, another panel discussion focused on mentoring included one topic of discussion on strategies for increasing diversity of mentees including those from across different cultures was classified in the “other” category. Similarly, a practitioner forum focused on insights, best practices, and lessons learned about effective global survey administration was also assigned in the “other” category.

Results

A review of these data indicated that there has been a decrease in the number of presentations focused on G/I/CC issues. As indicated in Table 1, years 2014–2018 and 2019–2022 highlighted a substantial decrease in presentations. Whereas in years 2004–2008, 245 presentations were received (M = 49 per year), in 2014–2018 only 192 presentations were received (M = 38.4 per year). In the 4 years from 2019–2022, only 85 presentations were received (M = 21.25 per year). This suggests that over the years fewer presentations focusing on G/I/CC topics have been accepted, especially between the years of 2019–2022, where there were only 21 presentations per year on average, which is a 57.14% decrease from presentations in 2004–2008.

We also coded for the type of presentations within each year, which allowed us to see which types of submission format were most popular throughout the years (see Table 1). Specifically, from 2004–2022, posters were consistently the most common type of presentation, followed by symposiums, with low numbers in the remaining categories. In particular, posters became proportionately more popular over time, as in the years 2004–2008 the number of posters was 111 (45%), and went up to 127 between 2009–2013 (56%), followed by 100 for 2014–2018 (52%), down to 50 for 2019–2022 (59%).

Table 2 displays the number of presentations by year coded by the subtopics of global, cross-cultural, or international issues. Throughout the years examined here (i.e., 2004–2022), it appears that most presentations under the G/I/CC topic were focused on international issues (n = 328) and cross-cultural issues (n = 272), with global issues somewhat less represented (n = 51). The trends across time are also informative regarding the shifts in the type of research being presented at SIOP conferences. Specifically, cross-cultural and international issues had a particularly high number of presentations between the years of 2004–2008, with over 70% of the presentations during that timeframe. However, between 2009–2022, international issues became more prevalent in the presentations (ranging from 43% to 58%). Global issues presentations stayed relatively stable over the years, representing around one-fourth of the presentations. 

Table 2

Trends in Global/International/Cross-Cultural Presentations Across the Years

Year

Cross-cultural

Global

International

Other

2004–2008

  89 (36.33%)

16 (7%)

  98 (40%)

13 (17.14%)

2009–2013

  92 (40.71%)

23 (10.18%)

  98 (43.36%)

  1 (5.75%)

2014–2018

  62 (32.29%)

  9 (4.69%)

111 (57.81%)

  0 (5.21%)

2019–2022

  29 (34.12%)

12 (14.12%)

  39 (45.88%)

  1 (5.88%)

Total

272

51

328

15

 

When we examine the raw numbers over time, we see that the decline in presentations over time is quite marked (see Figure 1), as discussed earlier. Even when considering that the 2019–2022 category only consists of 4 years of conference data, the drop remains pronounced for international (from a yearly average of 22.2 in 2004–2008 to 9.75 in 2019–2022), followed by cross-cultural issues (from a yearly average of 12.4 in 2014–2018 to 7.35 in 2019–2022), and global issues (from a yearly average of 1.2 in 2004–2008 to 3 in 2019–2022).

Figure 1

We also examined how many accepted presentations were submitted specifically under the G/I/CC content area to the SIOP annual conference (see Table 3). From 2004–2008 there were a total of 245 presentations we identified, and only 69 (28.16%) of these presentations were submitted under the G/I/CC content area.  For 2009–2013 we identified 226 presentations, and 99 (43.81%) were submitted under the G/I/CC content area. For 2014–2018, we found a total of 192 presentations, and 50.52% (97) of these were submitted under the G/I/CC content area. Last, from 2019–2022 we identified a total of 85 presentations, and only 45.88% (39) of them were submitted under this content area.2 This trend indicates that often submitters do not submit their proposals within the G/I/CC content area but instead choose another topic area as more relevant to their work, even though their presentations may have a global, international, or cross-cultural aspect.

Table 3

SIOP Conference Presentations Submitted Under Global/International/Cross-Cultural I-O Content Area

Total # of coded presentations

2004–2008

(n = 245)

2009–2013

(n = 226)

2014–2018

(n = 192)

2019–2022

(n = 85)

# of G/I/CC content area presentations

28.16%

(69)

43.81%

(99)

50.52%

(97)

45.88%

(39)

 

Discussion

In light of the call for increased attention to global, international, and cultural research (Glazer et al., 2021), the purpose of this study was to review SIOP’s past conference programs regarding the number of presentations within global/international/cross-cultural (G/I/CC) topics and identify research trends within this area. Our review indicated that over the last 19 years (2004–2022) there has been a decline in presentations within the G/I/CC category. We find the lack of presentations detrimental to the field of I-O due to the fact that they provide a much-needed global awareness in the workplace (e.g., to work effectively in teams comprising individuals from various backgrounds). Moreover, as many I-O practitioners are working for organizations with an international presence, or consult on projects for international firms, it is increasingly important for I-O psychology to take a strong role in G/I/CC research. The decline in presentations over time suggests that Glazer et al.’s (2021) call may need greater attention in our field.

We should also note that the last 3 years of SIOP conferences have been somewhat unusual. For example, the original 2020 SIOP in-person conference was canceled due to the pandemic; however, SIOP shifted this conference to a virtual format for the first time in history. The 2021 Annual SIOP Conference was a virtual event as well, and the 2022 conference included both in-person as well as virtual aspects. These changes may have impacted our findings in various ways. For example, the data available to code on the SIOP website differed from previous years, such that the content area under which presentations were submitted and the author affiliation information was not available to code in the conference programs for these years.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced SIOP to move the conference to a virtual format, it may have also influenced the number of presentations within G/I/CC topics for the year 2020 and beyond. It may be that the pandemic impacted researchers’ ability to conduct this type of research as well as their ability to travel to present research (especially for researchers outside the US), which may have led to the lack of presentations within this specific content area in recent years. We hope that there will be a rebound in the number of presentations within this category in future conferences, despite the long-lasting implications of the pandemic on global and international organizations.

Conclusion

Gelfand et al. (2017) reviewed cross-cultural I-O psychology and organizational behavior over the last 100 years and identified that culture was largely ignored over that time; however, they noted that in the last decade there has been an increase in this type of research. Given that our society and organizations are becoming increasingly globalized and interdependent, it is more necessary than ever to capture commonalities and differences, implying that cross-cultural research should be explored. Both Gelfand et al. (2017) and Tsui et al. (2007) provide various recommendations on research gaps and future directions, such as investigating national differences beyond culture (e.g., institutional factors, global work context), addressing levels of analysis issues, and ensuring construct validity.

Tsui et al. (2007) also particularly point to the importance of country-specific research and cross-national collaborations as important future directions for research on G/I/CC issues. Similarly, Glazer et al. (2021) highlight the need to embrace opportunities of sharing information and to contribute our expertise to improve people’s work across the globe. One way that SIOP is attempting to promote such necessary work is through SIOP’s International Affairs Committee (IAC). The IAC serves to connect members globally to promote the exchange of international and cross-cultural research. The role of the IAC is important in finding ways to facilitate research connections across cultures, which will further extend research and practice. As part of this aim to connect members, the IAC recently held Community of Interest (COI) sessions at the SIOP 2020 and 2022 conferences, focusing on sessions directed toward promoting international membership.

Additionally, the IAC is currently trying to create a greater global outreach to promote collaborations across cultures. Hopefully, such efforts will foster more presentations to be submitted under Global/International/Cross-Cultural topics (Glazer et al., 2021). Organizations such as the IAC are important for researchers and practitioners to promote more cross-cultural research. Especially, as the workplace becomes more globalized (e.g., due to the influx of technology), it is important to understand and acknowledge cultural/global diversity in the workplace to promote collaboration and work performance in organizations.


SIOP members looking to conduct future research exploring historical SIOP Annual Conference data are encouraged to contact siop@siop.org for assistance.


Notes

1  Years prior to 2004 were not included because electronic versions of the conference programs were not available on the SIOP website.

2    Unfortunately, for the years 2020–2022 the data for the content area were unavailable, due to the change from an in-person to a virtual or virtual/in-person format for those years.

References

American Psychological Association. (2015). Book 2: Engaging in international collaborative research. In APA’s Going International: A Practical Guide for Psychologists. https://www.apa.org/international/resources/publications/research.pdf

Gelfand, M. J., Aycan, Z., Erez, M., & Leung, K. (2017). Cross-cultural industrial organizational psychology and organizational behavior: A hundred-year journey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 514–529. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000186

Glazer, S., Roach, K. N., Dalal, R., Dryjanska, L., Ion, A., Kwantes, C. T., & Moukarzel, R. (2021). Culture-infused industrial and organizational psychology. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 58(3), 26–31.

Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). Most people are not WEIRD. Nature, 466, 29. https://doi.org/10.1038/466029a

Ricks, D. A. (2009). Blunders in international business. John Wiley & Sons.

SIOP. (n.d.). Past conference programs. Retrieved from https://www.siop.org/Annual-Conference/Registration-and-Resources/Past-Conference-Programs

SIOP Foundation. (n.d.). Conference awards: Best international paper award.  Retrieved from https://www.siop.org/Foundation/Awards/Conference-Awards

Tsui, A. S., Nifadkar, S. S., & Ou, A. Y. (2007). Cross-national, cross-cultural organizational behavior research: Advances, gaps, and recommendations. Journal of Management, 33(3), 426–478. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206307300818

Williams, D. A. (2019). International business blunders: Lessons for future managers. Emerald Group Publishing.

Zhu, P. (2010). Cross-cultural blunders in professional communication from a semantic perspective. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 40(2), 179–196. https://doi.org/10.2190/TW.40.2.e


Print
322 Rate this article:
No rating
Comments are only visible to subscribers.

Categories

Information on this website, including articles, white papers, and other resources, is provided by SIOP staff and members. We do not include third-party content on our website or in our publications, except in rare exceptions such as paid partnerships.