Work and Organizational Psychology: An Introduction with Attitude

By Christine E. Doyle | Go to book overview

fact that there has been a drift away from what they call "pragmatic science", which is high in both rigour and professional relevance. This has happened because researchers/academics and practitioners now rarely collaborate. The scramble for research funding has led the latter into "pedantic science", which may be very rigorous but has little or no relevance to anything in the real world of work. "The continued proliferation of studies investigating outmoded research questions and refinements of measurement procedures in relation to peripheral methodological concerns exemplifies this trend" (p. 399). On the other hand, practitioners have been driven by commercial pressures to move into "popularist science", which "draws upon concepts and methods that constitute currently fashionable solutions to issues. These often have little theoretical underpinning…Arguably, much of the recent research in the areas of emotional intelligence and managerial competencies exemplifies this trend" (p. 399). Pedantic and popularist science together lead to "irrelevant theory and in untheorized and invalid practice" or "puerile science". The authors advocate that perhaps the only way to reverse these trends is to "engage in political activity" (p. 407) to try to influence major stakeholders such as Trades Unions, Government, and private sector companies. Since my aims in writing this book were to champion "pragmatic science", to avoid academic pedantry in the presentation, and to engage in some modest "political activity", I am encouraged that such eminent people appear to share my views.

Another way forward would be to incorporate more professional doctorates into our continuing professional development. Here at the University of East London we have a programme specifically designed for busy practitioners to incorporate their ongoing work into a period of part-time study and development, which has research skills to enhance their own practice and advance the profession at its heart. We are specifically looking for new ways to conduct applied research that are responsive to business needs and maintain and develop good practice (Doyle, Slaven, & Day, 2001). This may also be a means to greater unity between the the researcher and practitioner arms of the profession. Someone once said there was nothing so practical as a good theory. Occupational psychology has plenty of these. What we need is more good evidence, collected in the real world of work to support them, and so enhance their usefulness.


Suggested further reading
Patterson, F. (Ed.) (2001). Emerging issues and future trends in work psychology: A centennial celebration. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology,74(Whole No. 4).

This volume contains the article by Andersen et al. mentioned in the text, plus several other articles equally interesting and useful. All are written by leading work and organizational psychologists.

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