I-O Psychology Education and Training: Moving Beyond Boundaries Through a Global Outreach
Jennifer Feitosa, City University of New York, Brooklyn College; Marissa L. Shuffler, Clemson University; and Joseph A. Allen, University of Nebraska
What do we know about the industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology education and training (E&T) beyond the boundaries of the United States? Although phrases such as, “globalization allows for individuals from around the globe to better connect with one another” can be a common message in our academic papers, the true transparency of these borders—and the effort that we put towards reaching out beyond the United States—is underwhelming when it comes to I-O E&T. The unfortunate answer to the aforementioned question is that we do not know nearly as much as we should. With a few exceptions, SIOP’s E&T resources, tools, and viewpoints have essentially been US-centric for many years. In order to counter this situation, the E&T Committee at SIOP has established a subcommittee with the sole focus on enhancing our understanding regarding the training of I-O psychologists across the globe. It is time that we truly connect with other I-O psychologists and learn from each other. Therefore, we briefly go over what we know thus far and our goals for this upcoming year, and, most importantly, we provide you with the means to give us input to further enhance what we know about the education and training of I-O psychology around the world.
What Do We Know?
Over the course of the past year, the International E&T Subcommittee has engaged in several efforts to understand the current state of I-O E&T outside of the U.S. When we first looked into the programs outside the United States, there were only 20 programs identified, based on SIOP’s records of program directors and the available records provided voluntarily by program directors to the online database. Without international E&T being on the forefront of the organization until recently, this has resulted in a major oversight of many international programs not being represented in the existing database.
To counter this situation, a more comprehensive search allowed us to find over 165 programs (see Figure 1), and we strongly believe there are still a number of programs out there that we have not found. To extract these programs, we conducted a broader search using several techniques. We identified programs using information from related associations outside of the U.S. (e.g., CSIOP in Canada, SIOPSA in South Africa, EAWOP in Europe) and numerous conversations with program directors, whom we then asked to share a survey with their colleagues via a snowballing method, leading to this preliminary list of programs. From an overarching analysis, we learned that the biggest presence at SIOP from countries beyond the US comes from Canada and Australia. Such finding is also correlated with the affiliations of the main authors in our I-O journals. Although we are happy to see the work from our Canadian and Australian colleagues, we would love to see more diversity represented in our I-O journals and at the SIOP conference.
Figure 1. Number of programs initially identified per region
In tandem with the generation of this larger list of programs, we also reached out to program directors and coordinators affiliated with these programs. An ongoing effort, our initial 12 responses provide deeper insight regarding I-O psychology programs’ E&T internationally. From a selection standpoint, there are admission criteria that are judged as crucial across countries, such as having a strong undergraduate record and earning a bachelor’s in Psychology as prerequisite. On the other hand, prior work experience, regardless if I-O-related or not, and whether they had to have a master’s degree were not considered “deal-breaker” criteria for most programs.
Interestingly, there were conflicting weights applied in terms of prior research experience in I-O, strong letters of recommendation, and performance in entrance interviews. In some cases, even regional clustering (e.g., Oceania including Australia and New Zealand) demonstrated differences. For instance, the program directors from Australia ranked their interview as extremely important, whereas their neighbors from New Zealand scored the lowest in such category. A similar split was found among the two South African schools. Similar questions were then asked about the core competencies that were fundamental for a graduate student to get a job in their country. Variance regarding the importance of I-O general knowledge and skills were found (see Table 1 for details). The most important topics that emerged from this survey include leadership and management, individual assessment, and performance appraisal/management. Thus, we have begun to identify some commonalities but yet also significant differences of I-O E&T around the world.
I-O Core Competencies and its Perceived Importance
The good news is there is a growing number of students in the United States who are seeking and accepting international employment, both faculty and practitioners. Accordingly, you may have noticed the increasing number of international jobs advertised on SIOP and related email list servs. However, are SIOP members prepared to excel as professionals in these contexts? We need to do a better job at closing the loop and learning what we should have known prior to our colleagues embarking on these new chapters in their professional lives. Questions that come up include: (a) What are the divergent norms in non-US organizations compared to the US organizations? (b) How does the tenure process work? (c) What are the students’ or clients’ expectations? (d) Are we using different terminology or jargon?
It is with the intention of understanding some of those questions that the International E&T subcommittee hopes to learn even more this year and in the upcoming years. TIP has been fundamental in helping us with the baseline knowledge as fantastic columns have emerged throughout the past few years, such as the Spotlight on Global I-O and the International Practice Forum. With your help, we hope to continue this effort by focusing on the education and training of I-O psychology around the globe.
How Do We Plan to Tackle This Challenge?
In the long run, we hope to bring SIOP Education & Training knowledge and resources around the world, to refine our current views of E&T based on a diversity of approaches to I-O education and training, and to continuously maintain and grow these relationships. With a more proximal timeframe in mind, we are focusing on the following short-term goals this year:
- To continue the effort to understand how the education and training of I-O psychology happens around the world.
- To identify the needs of and gains for becoming more internationally focused in terms of I-O E&T practices and resources.
- ·To facilitate connections among SIOP members around the world regarding E&T best practices and resources.
Additionally, we’d like to give a shout out to our subcommittee members: Peter Hausdorf, Tine Koehler, Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, Rana Moukarzel, Joy Oliver, Ramón Rico, Jessica Sim, and Jennifer Wessel. These goals cannot be accomplished without their help and your help.
Action Items: Where to Go From Here?
There are a number of ways in which you can get involved. We have provided some of what we know into a sharable google spreadsheet, so we can continuously build on this knowledge. More specifically, you will find the following tabs (and the excel sheet can be found HERE or by copying and pasting this link to your browser: https://tinyurl.com/I-Oeducatrain).
I-O programs abroad. Read on for a brief overview of the additional programs we found. They are all in alphabetical order by country/region. Have you heard of any of them? If you know any additional details, please add to the notes. There you can find the list of 166 I-O programs abroad, but we are confident this is not all. Do you know any others? We are looking to increase this list and get more details about these programs. If you are a program director, faculty, and/or student in any of these, please let us know.
US-based programs. This effort is not just one way, but we also want to identify US-based programs that are serving as exemplary collaborations for encouraging their students to cross geographic boundaries during their I-O training. During this effort, we learned about a PhD program in the US that has an international concentration, Florida Institute of Technology. This program allows students to focus on cross-cultural issues, study human resources from an international perspective, and experience intercultural collaboration. However, we believe there are other programs in the US that contribute to the growing and maintaining of collaborations with international I-O professionals even if they do not have a specific international concentration per se. Can you help spot these great programs? Please fill in the second tab with whatever information you may have. This could be a great opportunity to highlight some of the international accomplishments from your program.
I-O organizations. Beyond actual graduate programs, there are a number of organizations and/or associations out there that unite I-O psychology students, practitioners, and scientists. We have identified 26 of them but would love to expand such list to be more representative of the entire world. Do you belong or know of any I-O organization abroad? This could include conferences that you’ve been where you felt welcomed and connected with people from different countries. Learning about ways to make those connections at SIOP would be a great contribution.
Suggestions. Along with these lessons learned from I-O organizations, we can definitely go beyond that to build a repertoire of actions and resources that could be utilized by SIOP to help bridge the gap between our local and international members. There are two ways in which we can enhance this process by identifying barriers (i.e., what are some of the obstacles that are hindering this collaboration?) as well as facilitators (i.e., what are some of the actions one can take to ease this collaboration?). Those suggestions will range from more feasible and practical to more long-term ideal climate, but it is important we take them into account to start breaking those barriers sooner than later.
Volunteers. As we mentioned, this is a very young effort with a long pathway ahead. If you are interested in helping in any extent, we would love to hear about your expertise, what regions of interest, and so on. We will be considerate to the extent of involvement you desire to participate and very appreciative of any insights you have to share with us.
Contributors. Last but not least, we want to know where all these insights and suggestions are coming from. Please do not forget to provide us with your name if you have added any contribution to our Google spreadsheet, so we can recognize your efforts.
We are calling upon you, I-O professionals and students, to reach out and let us know (a) what your school/organization is doing with a global/international/non-US-centric focus; (b) any differences you identified among the I-O programs that are US-based versus not; and (c) if you encountered any barrier when trying to connect. If you have a lot of information, beyond what was captured in the excel spreadsheet, there is a place for you! We have developed a semistructured interview protocol to gather more nuanced information about these programs, please reach out to us. We would love to hear more about your country, recent initiatives, and ongoing research projects!
We look forward understanding, facilitating, and learning from I-O psychology around the globe. To provide any feedback or insights on the international education and training of I-O psychology, please send an email to the following addresses: Jennifer.Feitosa81@Brooklyn.CUNY.edu, MShuffl@Clemson.edu, and/or JosephAllen@unomaha.edu.