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President's Column: Two Questions Answered

Steven Rogelberg

Dear SIOP,

Welcome to my last Presidential column. 

In this column, I answer two questions:

Q1: What excites me most about I-O psychology?            

Q2: What excites me most about SIOP as a professional society?

Before I answer, I decided to ask these two questions to two very different groups. I gathered input from a sample of graduate students, and I gathered input from a sample of people who have been members for 50+ years. I share below a sample of representative comments. The data collected are interesting and energizing to read. Your task, as you scan below, is to guess which of these comments came from a student versus the 50+ year group. See how you do:

What excites you most about I-O psychology?

  1. “Its steady progress in contributing to the science of work and organization.”
  2. “The ability to impact decisions and directions that can improve many work lives.”
  3. “The potential to have a substantial impact on the lives of many people via affecting the conditions of their work lives. More so now than ever before based on I-Os paying attention to basic life issues (fair pay, discrimination, etc.), not just organizational performance.”
  4. “Phenomenal blend of science and practice that enables all of us to continue to learn and apply our skills.”
  5. “The ability to provide solutions that help organizations, employees, consumers, and all.”
  6. “Learning ways to help individuals and teams thrive at work.”
  7. “The real-world impact of the field.”
  8. “The applicability of so much of what we study to real, important, and immediate problems.”
  9. “The potential for our field to impact organizations in a meaningful way, molding evidence-based strategies that help employees and employers make their companies healthier and more equitable.”
  10. “The numerous ways we can make a difference in people’s lives.”
  11. “Mixing science and practice.”
  12. “The ability to impact so many people in a variety of settings, whether academic or applied! I love how relevant the field is to not only us but the society as a whole.”

What excites you most about SIOP as a professional society?      

  1. “How to do it all better and to grow and to have more to offer others.”
  2. “The deep and continuing concerns for practice and science.”
  3. “SIOP is the ONLY association where like-minded, or at least concerned, professionals can assemble and exchange regardless of age, experience, or field of expertise.”
  4. “The fellowship of unbelievably capable colleagues, who are not only highly competent but willingly leave their egos behind when sharing ideas and best practices. Our tagline could well be ‘We are here to help!’"
  5. “It is an organization whose goals I share and that provides opportunities to collaborate with others in the pursuit of those goals.”
  6. “Meeting others who are interested in the same topics. Making connections between academia and industry. Getting feedback for ongoing research.”
  7. “It’s nice to have a community of individuals who share the same interests and are at so many different stages and positions in their careers. I feel that SIOP opens the door for great learning experiences, discussions, and networking.”
  8. “Resources specific to I-O and a ‘professional home’ for people like me.”
  9. “Access to new tools and lines of thinking as soon as they become available.”
  10. “The ability to network with others in my field and stay current on hot topics in I-O psychology.”
  11. “SIOP facilitates connections to other researchers who study similar topics that I do, connections with practitioners who run into issues related to what I research, and personal connections with friends and colleagues.”
  12. “It's a great way to connect and network with other professionals and to learn more about latest research.”

First, as for who provided the comments, in both lists, 1–5 came from 50 year+ members, and comments 6–12 came from students. What is striking is how much overlap there is between this junior group and this seasoned group. For what is most exciting about I-O, the themes are

  • Improving lives and organizations
  • Blending and integration of science and practice
  • Ability to provide solutions
  • How relevant what we do is

For what excites you most about SIOP, the themes are

  • Helping members grow through opportunities, learning, and resources
  • Helping blend science and practice
  • Bringing together professionals with similar interests and values

I could not agree more with these ideas. This brings me to my answers to the two questions. 

Q1: What excites me most about I-O psychology?            

What excites me about I-O psychology is that it is an evidence-based field fully dedicated to understanding and working to improve individual, team, and organizational health, well-being, effectiveness.  I-O can truly make a difference in the lives of so many, and it does it in a science-grounded way. What further excites me about I-O psychology is that it attracts so many terrific people, people dedicated to trying to do good for others.

Q2: What excites me most about SIOP as a professional society?

SIOP is a key mechanism for bringing together people and helping I-O professionals make a positive difference in all that we do. SIOP is not only the glue that helps bind us together, but it is also an engine for making us better through collaborative opportunities, learning, and resources. Stated differently, SIOP is a gravitational force that brings us together, but at the same time, it is a force that allows us to grow and be the best professionals we can be. I also can’t stress enough that I love SIOP because we have the courage to do what so few professional organizations in the world attempt to do—bring science and the practice together under one roof. It is something we should be so proud of. It is much easier to segregate the science and the practice, but not us; we try to integrate it for the benefit of all. We do this because we know that we are all better when we work together—better together. It can create messiness at times, but this means we are trying to do something incredibly special. I am so proud to be part of Team SIOP.

Closing Thoughts

I can’t believe my presidential term is coming to a close. Although it has been a ton of work, I have loved being your president. I have loved doing all that I can to enact and advance our organizational mission in a values-based way. I have loved working with our incredible Executive Board and dedicated Administrative Office (special shout out to the best partner a president could ever ask for—SIOP Executive Director Tracy Vanneman). I have loved interacting and engaging with our volunteers and members. And, while at times the work was heavy and fraught with difficult choices, I tried my best to make decisions that elevated our people and advanced our discipline with transparency and integrity. Thank you deeply for being part of SIOP. It is the people that make the place. And, we are truly better together. 

Hope to see you all soon.

Very gratefully yours,




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