New opportunities in organizational psychology: theories, topics, methods and practice Professor Catherine Cassell Keynote presentation to 2011 AIP, Milan, October 15th [email protected] Plan • Introduction • Current issues facing work and organizational psychology • Work psychology: time for a review? • Opportunities for the future • Conclusions. Current issues facing occupational psychologists • The changing nature of work • The changing nature of organizations • Professional identity • Epistemological and methodological developments • Values • The move towards evidence-based practice. The changing nature of work The changing nature of work • Rapidly changing technologies at work • Increasingly globalised in nature (Gelfand et.al., 2008) • End of careers for life • Aging population • Increased significance of the service sector • New societal priorities (e.g. environmentalism). An example: Work organization and job design Research into work organization and climate change • Davis and Challenger (2009) use a socio-technical systems perspective to look at green behaviours in the work place • Draw on established theories such as social identity theory and goal setting to encourage attention to the role of user control and empowerment in green behaviours • Argue that work psychologists are well-placed to take the lead in this area by re-framing green issues as a more traditional organizational problem. The changing nature of work organizations The changing nature of work organizations • Traditional forms of management and organization are changing • Fewer large centralised workplaces • Distributed teams, groups and leadership • Where is culture located? Example: the taxi driver study • Changing expectations of customer service • Increasing interest about customer abuse and bullying in the workplace • Research regarding emotional labour and emotional regulation in the workplace (e.g.: Niven, Totterdell and Holman, 2009) • Interviews with 22+ black cab drivers. Key issues • Changing expectations of customer service • The skills of the cab driver in regulating the emotions of others • Stories of customer abuse as commonplace • Culture is multi-sited. Professional Identity Concerns about the professional identity of work psychologists • Seen primarily as assessment experts (Kandola, 2010) • WP is at a ‘tipping point’ in its professional identity, “evolved away from psychology to a critical juncture in terms of distinctiveness from other fields” (Ryan and Ford, 2010) • Lack of influence over public policy and lack of visibility to organizational decision-makers. • The futility of the academic / practitioner divide. Epistemological developments Epistemological developments • Work and organizational psychology research can be conducted in a range of epistemological traditions and a range of novel approaches are available (Symon and Cassell, 2006) • Example: Action Research (Cassell and Johnson, 2006). Types of action research (Cassell and Johnson, 2006) • Experimental action research practices • Inductive action research practices • Participatory action research • Participatory research practices • Deconstructive action research practices. Methodological developments Methodological developments • Ten methodological barriers to progress in work psychology (Edwards, 2008) • All based on quantitative methods e.g. Measurement error; conditions for causality etc. • Plea for methodological diversity and the use of qualitative methods in work psychology (Cassell and Symon, 2006). The use of qualitative methods in work psychology research The research project • Work with Gillian Symon • Focus is upon how work psychologists define good qualitative research • Interviews with 22 work psychologists in positions to define quality (international journal editors; MSc Directors; Research Institute Directors; Practitioners). Identification of narratives • Research question: How do work psychologists explain quality in qualitative research? • Underlying narratives: – Good qualitative research is fit for purpose – Good qualitative research is hard to assess – Good qualitative research needs to be demonstrated • Focus upon the link between those narratives and sensemaking. Challenges in adopting new methods • Capability in the discipline • Links to professional identity • Little understanding about assessment processes. Values Lefkowitz (2008) criticises the fundamental values of work psychology: • Overly economic and insufficiently humanistic in nature • Present the field as being more value-free than it really is • Ignore normative perspectives of what organizations ought to be like • Reflect a pro-management orientation • Define the field with respect to technical prowess rather than societal good. Evidence-based practice • Case for evidence-based practice in work and organizational psychology (e.g.: Briner and Rousseau, 2011) • Emphasis on the ‘best available evidence’ including the use of systematic reviews • Concern that this ignores the ‘political nature of evidence and encourages methodological standardization (Cassell, 2011). Work psychology: time for a review? • Debates within Industrial and organizational psychology (APA Journal) for example about the professional identity of work psychology • Special issue of Journal of Organizational Behavior in 2008 entitled to prosper, organizational psychology should ..... • Debate in the U.K. Magazine The Psychologist entitled Occupational Psychology in a changing world (2011). New opportunities • Current economic climate generates new research questions and topics • The changing nature of work and organizations • Interesting epistemological and methodological developments. Conclusions • There are a number of challenges ahead • If opportunities are taken then the future is bright • We live in interesting times! References • Briner, R. and Rousseau, D. (2011) Evidence-based psychology: not there yet. Industrial and organizational psychology: Perspectives on science and practice, 4, 3-22. • Cassell, C.M. (2011) Evidence-based I-O Psychology: what do we lose on the way? Industrial and organizational psychology: Perspectives on science and practice, 4, 23-26. • Cassell, C.M. And Johnson, P. (2006) Action research: explaining the diversity. Human Relations, 59 (6), 783-814. • Cassell, C.M. and Symon, G. (2006) ‘Qualitative research in industrial and organizational psychology’, International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology , Vol. 24, • Cassell, C.M. and Symon, G. (2011) ‘Assessing ‘good’ qualitative research in the work psychology field: A narrative analysis’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, (In press). • Davis, M.C. and Challenger , R. (2009) Climate change: warming to the task. The Psychologist, 22 (2), 112-114. • Edwards, J.R. (2008). To prosper, organizational psychology should ... overcome methodological barriers to progress. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 469-491. • Gelfand, M.J., Lexlie, L.M. And Fehr, R. (2008). To prosper, organizational psychology should ... Adopt a global perspective. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 493-517. • Greenberg, J. (2008). Introduction to the special issue: to prosper, organizational psychology should ... Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 435-438. • Kandola, B. (2010) . Occupational Psychology in a changing world, The Psychologist, volume 23. • Lefkowitz , J.(2008), To prosper, organizational psychology should … expand the values of organizational psychology to match the quality of its ethics. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29, 439 – 453. • Niven, K., Totterdell, P., and Holman, D. (2009). Affect regulation and well-being in the workplace: An interpersonal perspective. In A. Antoniou, G. Chrousos, C. Cooper, M. Eysenck, & C. Spielberger (Eds),Handbook of Occupational Health Psychology and Medicine. Elsevier. • Ryan, A.M. and Ford, K.J. (2010). Organizational Psychology and the tipping point of professional identity. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: perspectives on science and practice, 3: 277–280. • Symon, G. and Cassell, C.M. (2006) ‘Neglected perspectives in work and organizational psychology’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 79., No. 3., 307-314.