Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Bridging Divides in Industrial and Organisational Psychology in Canada: An Action-Oriented Collaborative Framework

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Bridging Divides in Industrial and Organisational Psychology in Canada: An Action-Oriented Collaborative Framework

Article excerpt

This article discusses 4 divides that characterise the Canadian landscape of industrial and organisational psychology and proposes action-oriented solutions for bridging them. It is in part based on a panel discussion held at the 74th Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association (Bonaccio, 2013). This article draws on theory on collaboration and knowledge transfer to discuss divisions in science and practice, language, geography, and psychology and business academic settings. Furthermore, the article draws on the analysis of 7 authors who happen to represent these various groups and who, in most cases, have already bridged these divides. The ultimate goal of this article is to generate a boundary-spanning conversation and to provide a roadmap that will unite industrial and organisational psychology enthusiasts.

Keywords: industrial psychology, organisational psychology, IO psychology, knowledge transfer, training

To effectively collaborate requires people to shift their mind-set (or mental models) from one of control to one of learning. But collaboration is often psychologically threatening because of what the solutions should be in order to find solutions that take full advantage of the collaboration itself. And under conditions of threat, we cling to the very mind-set that makes effective collaboration less likely. In short, our thinking undermines the outcome we say we want.

-Schwarz (2006, p. 283)

Industrial and organisational psychology is a complex field of knowledge and practice. It is fuelled by the contributions from academics in psychology departments and business schools, consultants, and graduate students in specialized programs and internships. Research and practice is conducted in close partnerships with large and small public or private organisations. These organisations are forced to ever-increasing levels of efficiency and productivity while str ving for the well-being of their workforce. In Canada, tho ;e passionate about industrial and organisational psychology are spread out geographically. Of course, both French- and English-speaking industrial and organisational psychology enthu ;iasts benefit from a deep and rich history. Although the Canadian industrial and organisational community's diverse landscape is an asset for meeting the difficult challenges of organisations, teams, and individuals, we will argue that the consequences of current divides causes its full potential to not yet be rea i sed. Despite differences and divides, individuals and organisa ions enthusiastic about the field share a common goal: fostering the advancement of industrial and organisational psychology. As such, any lingering divides within the industrial tnd organisational psychology community is detrimental to tfe field itself. Divides stifle the advancement of knowledge, which, in turn, slows down scientific progress. Divides also limit the development of new practices focused on improving employee wellbeing and the productivity of organisations, teams, and team members.

These issues were discussed in a panel session organized at the 74th Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA; Bonaccio, 2013). The panel brought together members of the industrial and organisational psychology community to discuss several divisions that characterise our field. In organizing this panel, our hope was to have a frank discussion on these divisions, but more importantly, we wanted to generate solutions for bridging them. The panel members were recruited because they represented a cross-section of industrial and organisational psychology enthusiasts. Both science and practice were represented, as were business school and psychology scholars, Francophones and Anglophones, and junior faculty and full professors. Our panel also included members able to examine the issues with a focus on historical trends in the Canadian industrial and organisational psychology landscape. Further, they represented a variety of geographical locations: different provinces and different city sizes. …

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