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Jenny Baker
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Hearing the International Voices of Professionals in Industrial, Work, and Organizational Psychology: A Declaration of Identity

Barbara Kożusznik, University of Silesia, Poland; & Sharon Glazer, University of Baltimore, USA

Over the past 7 years, the authors of this piece have been working on a way to unify the voices of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology, also known as work and organizational (WO) psychology professionals, henceforth referred to as IWOP,1 regarding our collective global professional identity through our actions. We recognize that IWOP is a worldwide profession, heavily influenced by US/Canadian and Western European thought. Our reach, however, is and should be touching decision makers globally.

In 2005, the International Association for Applied Psychology (IAAP) surveyed its membership, and it was evident that colleagues from around the globe were concerned that people outside of our field do not know us. Globally, IWOPs reported lack of visibility and voice with important decisions policymakers and heads of organizations were making that affect people’s work lives. Respondents also remarked that there was a lack of accessibility to IWOPs in majority (population) nations. As a result, in 2013 and 2014, Kożusznik and Glazer organized several sessions, including at SIOP conferences, to discuss this matter. The sessions drew well over 50 different attendees across the sessions (see Appendix for a history of the evolution of the information gathering and listening events).

Armed with the qualitative responses, we set out to synthesize the main points into behaviorally driven broad declarations about IWOPs’ contributions to key government, policy, and organizational decision makers. This declaration of identity (DoI) is meant to unify the voices of IWOPs worldwide and to serve as a tool for IWOPs to communicate why they should have a seat at the table with key decision makers.

We are using the TIP platform to share a draft summary and to request your feedback and thoughts no later than June 1, 2021. We invite you, the readers of our piece, to share with us your reactions to this summary (please email your reactions to: sglazer@healthyorganization.com). We would be delighted to share with you a draft of the entire document, as well (please email a request for a copy).

Brief Rationale

As Lowman (2006; Lowman & Cooper, 2018) and Lefkowitz (2005; 2017) in various publications note, IWOP is now considered a profession and professions affect societies. IWOP has a responsibility as a profession to support difficult decisions at the societal, organizational, and group level so as to always ensure that workers and work-eligible people are reaping benefits rather than harmed by their work engagements.

IWOPs have a clear understanding of our abilities to navigate between well-being and performance effectiveness; however, few people external to our field know about our profession or how we can contribute.

This IWOP DOI is an international joint initiative to draw attention to our roles and highlight the value we add to organizations and society by focusing our efforts on enhancing psychological well-being and performance of people in the domain of work and employment. It serves a brief guide IWOPs can share with non-IWOPs to inform them of IWOP’s professional responsibility concerning the welfare of people in the work domain. Below are the 10 action-oriented statements organized around four major themes: communication, contextualization, dissemination, and integration.

Communication

1. We communicate broadly and are active partners in the social dialogue.

IWOPs have evidenced-based views on unemployment, precarious work, fairness and equal opportunities in the workplace, selection, performance appraisal, occupational stress, health and well-being, counterproductive work behaviors, leadership and followership, teamwork, telework, and many other work-related topics. We share, disseminate, and exchange these viewpoints with all relevant stakeholders.

2. We translate to business speak and communicate in the language of different stakeholders.

As scientists and practitioners, we are getting more and more technical and advanced in our quest to understand people’s behavior. We have invented our own language, which is not fully understood by others. In order to increase the effectiveness of communication, we should tailor the way in which our knowledge is transmitted.

3. We employ ethical, evidence-based influence on decision makers.

IWOPs provide expert analyses and recommendations that enable politicians and policymakers to deliberate and decide on matters related to human behavior, affect, and cognition in the workplace and in work-related settings.

Contextualization

4. We voice change needs.

IWOPs utilize theories, methods, and instruments to guide change initiatives. IWOPs’ international codes of conduct guide ethical application of psychology for the betterment of individuals and organizations.

5. We ask rigorous and relevant questions to address the critical issues.

IWOPs can demonstrate their abilities to tackle important humanitarian and social issues, such as poverty reduction, and be known as a discipline that can contribute to solving problems of social and global significance.

6. We ideate and innovate in all working situations and environments.

IWOPs are acutely aware of changing work contexts and conditions within varying social circumstances. With this information, IWOPs create change and improvements to working conditions, situations, and contexts, and are constantly in search of new ideas to improve work processes and experiences under many different circumstances. Through scientific methods IWOPs validate creations that are implemented and evaluate the utility of innovations to benefit the workplace, workers, and job seekers.

Dissemination

7. We value well-being and human welfare.

IWOPs advocate for worker, unemployed-worker, and precarious-worker well-being, and make sound business cases for company investment in their people and community. We present scientifically valid evidence to address worker and work-eligible issues.

8. We share scientific research, empirical methods and scientific achievements with stakeholders.

IWOPs competencies are readily demonstrable in small-scale to large-scale changes that make positive impacts in the world of work.

Integration

9. We bridge organizational science and practice.

One of the unique strengths of IWOP is that it is based on the science–practitioner model. According to the model, psychologists are to be trained to integrate science and practice, such that activities in one domain informs activities in the other domain.

10. We balance individual needs with organizational goals.

IWOPs balance the well-being of the worker with the organization’s need for productivity, effectiveness, and innovation. We use scientific methods to derive valid research results and apply psychological principles to solve workplace problems and reconcile the interests of organizations’ members with the interests of organizations.

Next Steps

The authors believe it is imperative that IWOPs begin (a) to write about each of the unique statements in various media outlets; (b) to educate non-IWOP colleagues about what IWOPs do, using the DoI as a tool to communicate; (c) to prepare a handbook on IWOP competencies that help us bring global visibility to the 10 core action statements; (d) to post on IWOP organizations’ websites; and (e) to distribute the DoI broadly and frequently to all relevant stakeholders and partners so that it becomes a firm set of expectations.

We kindly request your constructive feedback and thoughts about this initiative.

Note

1 IWOP is used to be inclusive of the various permutations of our professional title around the globe.

References

Bal, P. M.,  Dóci, E., Lub, X., Van Rossenberg, Y. G. T., Nijs, S., Achnak, S., Briner, R. B., Brookes, A., Chudzikowski, K., DeCooman, R., De Gieter, S., De Jong, J., De Jong, S. B., Dorenbosch, L., Ghoreishi Galugahi, M. A., Hack-Polay, D., Hofmans, J., Hornung, S., Khuda, K., Klamer, R., . . .  Van Zelst, M. (2019). Manifesto for the future of work and organizational psychology. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 28, 289–299. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2019.1602041

Lefkowitz, J. (2005). The values of industrial-organizational psychology: Who are we? The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 43(2), 13–20.

Lefkowitz, J. L. (2017). Ethics and values in industrial-organizational psychology (2nd ed.). Routledge. [ISBN: 978-1138189935]

Lowman, R. L. (2006). The ethical practice of psychology in organizations (2nd ed.). American Psychological Association.

Lowman, R. L., & Cooper, S. E. (2018). The ethical practice of consulting psychology. American Psychological Association. [ISBN: 9781433828096] 

APPENDIX

The Foundation and History Overview

Under the auspices of IAAP, SIOP, EAWOP, and AOP we have organized the following events:

  • 3 surveys administered to members of IAAP Division 1 (2005–2012)
  • Roundtable: Nurturing Communities of I-O Psychologists Outside of the US (SIOP 2013, Houston, TX)
  • Roundtable: Local Communities of WOPs (SIOP 2014, Honolulu, HI)
  • Session under AOP auspices: Getting a Seat at the Table: Strategic Communication and
    I-O Psychology (EAWOP 2013, Muenster), organized by Barbara Kożusznik and Richard Griffith
  • Session: The Voice of I-O Psychologists as Audible Concerning the Most Important Problems of the Global World (ICAP 2014, Paris), Barbara Kożusznik and Sharon Glazer
  • Session: The Manifesto* of WOP Psychology (EAWOP, May 2015, Oslo), organized by Barbara Kożusznik and Sharon Glazer
  • Panel: Editing Manifesto (Anaheim 2016), Barbara Kożusznik and Sharon Glazer
  • IAAP Division 1 EC Meeting (ICAP 2018, Montreal)
  • Copious videoconference meetings 2018–2020
  • Engagement of Nikki Blacksmith, Lynda Zugec, Anna Erickson, Rana Moukarzel, Andrei Ion as first round reviewers of the IWOP DoI

Table 1 presents a list of events and conference work sessions during which content idea for the DoI, as well as action plans for developing the DoI, materialized.

Table 1

Events, Topics, and Development Plans for IWOPs to Address

IAAP Division 1 Survey Results

  1. Become more recognized as professionals.
  2. Recognize the global issues affecting individuals and local organizational challenges.
  3. Increase representation of underrepresented countries (i.e., have our IWOP correspondents from each member country).

SIOP 2013, Houston, TX

  1. Share knowledge of key lessons from SIOP with the local I-O/work/occupational psychology communities. 
  2. Work strategically with local IWOP communities in the USA to adapt the Tool Box for new or renewing IWOP communities.  
  3. Create a global directory of local networks.
  4. Send a note to members of IAAP to identify members’ interests in starting or becoming part of a local IWOP-related community.

EAWOP Conference 2013, Muenster

  1. Use stakeholder-relevant language to communicate; reduce IWOP jargon and align language to stakeholder group (e.g., utilize business language).
  2. Understand the strategic point of the organization.
  3. Understand the business context.
  4. Facilitate problem-solving with stakeholders (but not for them).

SIOP 2014, Honolulu, HI

  1. Bridge science and practice in order to reinforce key benefits of networking and professional development.
  2. Overcome barriers related to funding, resources, quality and access to speakers, governance and leadership, shared purpose or focus, critical mass and affiliation.
  3. Develop strong ties to local communities to obtain commitment and good governance to be successful.
  4. Strengthen interpersonal relationships by maintaining and developing key value propositions during meetings, such as discourse of relevant issues, supporting people in other complementary disciplines, and sharing knowledge and experiences.
  5. Solicit support from local ambassadors to increase and broaden interest and engagement of IWOPs all over the world.

ICAP 2014, Paris

  1. Exchange ideas on how to voice IWOPs’ contributions to addressing global problems and the business world.
  2. Draft of the I-O Psychology Manifesto.

EAWOP 2015, Oslo

  1. Discuss how to broaden the view of IWOPs as activists taking voice in discussing global issues.
  2. Exchange ideas on voicing IWOPs’ contributions to global problems and the business world in order to extend the aforementioned first draft Manifesto.

SIOP 2016, Anaheim

  1. Drafted (by Barbara Kożusznik and Sharon Glazer) the first complete Manifesto, taking into account all remarks suggested by participants at prior sessions.

ICAP 2018, MONTREAL

  1. EC Committee of IAAP Division 1 decided to continue developing the Manifesto as a contribution to be revealed at the Centennial Congress of the IAAP in Cancun, Mexico (cancelled due to pandemic).

      20192020

  1. Online workshops, discussions, and consultancy. We discussed the DoI with dozens of colleagues, including leadership, from SIOP, AOP, EAWOP, and Division 1 IAAP.

 

Note

* In order to distinguish the DOI from a “Manifesto for the Future of Work and Organizational Psychology” (Bal et al., 2019) published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, we chose to call this initiative a Declaration of Identity.

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