Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology > Research & Publications > TIP > TIP Back Issues > 2017 > October


Volume 55     Number 2    October 2017      Editor: Tara Behrend

Meredith Turner
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SIOP in Washington: Advocating for I-O in Federal Public Policy

Jill Bradley-Geist, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Bill Ruch, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

Since July 2013, SIOP and Lewis-Burke Associates LLC have collaborated to make I-O science and research accessible to federal and congressional policy makers.  SIOP has embedded a foundational government relations infrastructure within the organization, enabling SIOP to develop an authoritative voice as a stakeholder in science policy in Washington, DC and to promote SIOP as a vital resource for evidence-based decision making.

SIOP Weighs in on the Importance of Forensic Sciences

On August 4, SIOP joined several other scientific societies to sign on to a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, urging them to reject deep cuts to forensic science research at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) that were proposed by President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request.  NIST is the federal government’s foremost agency for forensics research and the coordination of standards among law enforcement and scientific communities, and has recently supported I-O research as it relates to the topic.  By signing on to this letter, SIOP is joining fellow leaders in the scientific community to protect these critical investments.

NIST has shown particular interest in funding projects that examine the workforce needs of the forensic science field.  In July 2016, the agency sponsored a workshop, convened by the Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) that brought together I-O psychologists and members of the forensic science community to review the “current status of selection and training of forensic scientists who specialize in pattern evidence” and discuss “how tools used in I-O psychology to understand elements of a task and measure aptitude and performance could address challenges in the pattern evidence domain of the forensic sciences.”  Numerous SIOP members directly participated in the workshop. A report summarizing the workshop’s findings can be found on the National Academies’ website

National Academies Releases Report on Social Sciences

On July 19, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) released a report prepared for the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities.  The report follows a 3-month evaluation process conducted by National Academies experts at the request of House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Chairman John Culberson (R-TX).  The report concludes that social, behavioral, and economic sciences research programs supported by NSF demonstrate clear positive societal impacts corresponding to national priorities.  The report’s findings are presented through numerous examples of key outcomes from NSF-funded research, and several of the examples include strong I-O psychology-based concepts and themes. 

NSF collectively funds approximately 60% of the federal social science research portfolio.  These projects are largely overseen by the Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), which sponsors several projects that support SIOP researchers and practitioners.  Some examples of NSF-funded projects featuring I-O psychology concepts mentioned in the report include studies on the development of crew resource management (CRM) training programs to promote safety and efficiency in airlines and other industries, aging in the workplace, and the transition from welfare to work.  The National Academies’ inclusion of these findings demonstrates the importance of federally funded I-O research for the advancement of national priorities.

The report concludes by providing recommendations for future social, behavioral, and economic sciences research programs at NSF and encourages NSF to more clearly and deliberately communicate the unique value of this research to the public moving forward.  It also encourages NSF to continue its investments in multidisciplinary or team-based scientific research that would combine aspects of social, behavioral, and economic sciences inquiry with applied scientific discovery priorities.  Finally, it encourages NSF to routinely evaluate trends in scientific research to ensure the continued value and applicability of this research to national science priorities and to invest in training the next generation of scientists to work effectively in team-based, multidisciplinary research groups.

A copy of the report can be found here.

SIOP Members Spotlight: Policy on Workers With Disabilities

In our current TIP feature of SIOP members engaging in government advocacy work, Peter Rutigliano. To tell us about your own advocacy-related work, please contact current Government Relations Advocacy Team committee chair, Jill Bradley-Geist:

Peter Rutigliano (Mercer-Sirota) presenting at a National Organization on Disability (NOD) event in Washington D.C.

Pete Rutigliano first became involved in advocacy through his work at Mercer|Sirota, where he is responsible for managing a large multiorganizational employee engagement survey database. Back in 2006, Pete worked to add items to the survey inquiring about disability status. After 3 years of data collection, a strong pattern emerged: Employees with disabilities (EWD) scored significantly lower than their peers on engagement and other items measuring positive work experiences. These differences became more salient when compared to other demographic groups. The initial results indicated this was an issue that required more investigation and attention.Through a relationship with a colleague, Pete joined up with the National Organization on Disability (NOD). For 30 years, the NOD has been helping organizations build a more disability inclusive workforce. A partnership was formed to mutually publish and present Pete’s results to increase awareness of the need for more work in this area. Through our join effort, we regularly presented to clients, the conference board, invited presentations, conferences, and so forth. During this time, Pete continued to grow the benchmark database to almost 2 million records.


The NOD has always leveraged strong connections with the federal government to advocate for People with Disabilities (PWD). For instance, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge is the chairman and a long-standing member of the NOD Board of Directors. In 2013, the NOD presented to Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris on the state of employees with disabilities, showing a need for more government intervention in this area. This led to a call to action to change some of the laws regarding the treatment of PWD in the work place to ensure more was being done to create an even playing field for this group.  In September 2013, Carol Glazer of the NOD, along with several other organizations representing the needs of people with disabilities, met with President Barack Obama to discuss what steps could be taken. During the meeting, Carol presented much of the Mercer|Sirota data gathered by Pete showing the disparate experience for PWD.  As a result, in March 2014, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs revised Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, changing regulations for federal contractors to specifically prohibit the discrimination of PWD and strengthen affirmative action provisions, including a nationwide utilization goal of 7% of all employees in organizations be identified as having a disability.


Carol Glazer (National Organization on Disability) presenting to President Barack Obama in 2013.

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