Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Division 14, The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, asked the candidates for APA President the questions below.
1. How will you ensure that you understand and are responsive to the priorities of I-O psychology (and applied psychology more generally), given the strongly clinical practice presence and focus of APA?
One of the major pillars for our campaign is entitled “Applied.” I am interested in assuring a bigger space for I-O and applied psychologists at APA. Industrial-Organizational and Applied Psychology have answers for many of the major societal issues we have been facing. Industrial-Organizational and Applied Psychology are critically important to global psychology, connecting us with our colleagues around the world. Industrial-Organizational and Applied Psychology reveal to us and the world the breadth of what a psychologist can do with a degree in psychology. Our systemic thinking and ability to facilitate organizational and larger systems change is critically important in our global society. I believe APA should meet the professional needs of our valuable and talented industrial-organizational and applied psychologists.
I recently met with Dr. Stewart Cooper to discuss the Exploratory committee for Applied Psychology. I regularly talk with psychologists engaged in I-0 and applied psychology, such as Dr. Sandy Shullman and Dr. Randy White. As Recording Secretary for APA, I listened carefully to the concerns expressed to me by Dr. Jeff McHenry about the Division 42 proposed name change. I have observed Dr. Shullman’s many contributions to APA as an organization in her leadership roles, including as APA President. I learned firsthand about organizational change and behavior, while twice serving with her on the APA Board of Directors. I am currently a Member at Large on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). This service has provided me with an opportunity for increased awareness of contemporary global issues in the field of Applied Psychology.
2. What are your ideas for ensuring that applied psychology and I-O psychology in particular is included in APA advocacy efforts and is a visible force within APA among external stakeholders such as federal funding agencies, organizations, and policymakers?
Several of APA’s 2021 advocacy priorities are very relevant to applied psychology and I-O in particular (e.g., future of work, psychology workforce development, funding for applied psychological research). What are some concrete ways that APA could take action on these priorities to ensure that I-O psychology is a visible force within APA among external stakeholders such as federal funding agencies, organizations, and policymakers?
As a Federal Advocacy Coordinator for APA and the Maine Psychological Association, I have trained for over 15 years to be able to effectively utilize my advocacy skills and experiences to address the priority of assuring applied psychology and I-O psychology is included in APA advocacy efforts and is a visible force within APA among external stakeholders. The Advocacy Coordinating Committee outlines the APA Advocacy priorities relevant to applied psychology and I-O psychology. Governance including the APA President should then work in tandem with APA staff to partner with external stakeholders, including business (which often holds the purse strings), state and federal funders, and non-profit organizations to meet these priorities. Advisory groups to those involved with advocacy would include trusted colleagues from Division 14.
3. Our SIOP membership survey indicates concern, particularly among our academic members, regarding the status of I-O psychology in the field of psychology and in psychology departments. Introductory textbooks provide little more than passing reference to our field; major psychology departments minimize the contributions of I-O psychology and applied fields despite their psychological strengths and impact on society; and applied psychology was completely omitted in the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula currently under review. If elected, what will you do to assist SIOP in promoting I-O psychology to psychologists and psychology writ large?
The APA President should partner with the Exploratory Committee on Applied Psychology, the Director of Applied Psychology, the Education Directorate, SIOP and other identified stakeholders to promote I-O psychology to psychologists and psychology writ large. It seems to me this current state of affairs described above does not correspond with the high priority APA is placing on advancing I-O and applied psychology. In academics, it would be important to bridge psychology with business and health psychology to elevate the critical importance of the field of I-O and applied psychology.
I have worked to bring visibility to the importance of health psychology in rural areas, which is an example of how I can work to elevate issues that need more prominent attention. Perhaps it would be important to write a letter to advocate for the importance of I-O and applied psychology in the high school and college psychology curriculum. The graduate training community will need to be engaged in this important conversation. In our educational system, I believe we are doing all future psychologists and psychology majors a disservice, if our academic departments do not develop awareness of I-O psychology and its relevance to larger systems change.
4. What lessons learned or observations do you have from the Covid-19 pandemic that could apply directly to I-O psychology, including the ways I-O psychology could positively influence society?
I tweeted this article from Consumer Reports on this topic today: https://www.consumerreports.org/coronavirus/life-lessons-from-the-pandemic/. As this article notes, we have learned during the pandemic how to harness technology to work remotely. For example, the APA staff was incredibly productive working remotely this past year. Many workers report increased happiness from working remotely and eliminating the commute. I found working with CEOs during the pandemic information from I-O and applied psychology was critically important to them in supporting their psychological health and that of their workers. After our year of working together in a weekly Leading through COVID Leadership Dialogue, one of the CEOs with whom I have worked proposed adding a mental health day to their organization’s list of formal holidays.
A systemic approach to problem identification and problem-solving is essential. Systemic responses require effective collaboration, coordination, and communication among all the units of a system addressing crisis situations like the pandemic. Industrial-organizational and applied psychology offer the evidence-based expertise for such systemic responses.