3 responses

  1. Eva
    May 28, 2009

    I think theoretically, you’re absolutely right… there should be an area/career path that deals with people at work — which would include HR, IO, OB, Org Comm, Talent Management, L&D, etc.

    Each of the labels has slight differences that aren’t covered by the others though. As an example, HR includes benefits and compensation – something not taught in IO or OB programs. IO has a strong focus on quantitative data methods while that is not necessarily true for the rest.

    So maybe ideally, you’d have one broad umbrella of ‘people @ work’ and there would be specialists within that. Like IT and Finance.

    But in reality, where do you draw the line? Check out this blog post about a new title, Chief Performance Officer. (http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/davenport/2009/05/the_rise_of_the_chief_performa.html) It seems ideal for an I/O psychologist to fill that role but it includes process improvement and knowledge management, spaces traditionally residing outside of HR.

    • Brandon
      April 3, 2013

      Hello Eva,

      Thanks for the discussion on the differences b/w IO and HR. and also thanks for linking about the Chief Performance Officer; never heard of it until I read your post.

      With regards to HR, I don’t particularly like learning about benefits & compensation while in IO, stats doesn’t sounds all that appealing to me. Thus, I need to make up my mind. Maybe OD might be the best fit?


  2. George Guajardo
    May 29, 2009

    Interesting post. I have to say, though I consider myself an I/O psychologist, I suspect that term only has meaning for other I/O psychologists. Heck, even other psychologists may know know I/O psychologists even exist.

    As you mentioned, I use the term “Organizational Science” to describe what we do. It was a unilateral decision on my part because it is more descriptive of all the types of professional activities we can inform (HR, OB, training, Marketing, Management, SHRM, etc.). So, I use a term that is relevant or understandable to all the people in my (potential) audience.

    Perhaps this can inform the SIOP name change debate, but I doubt it. Ours is not so much as identity crisis. We all know what we do, what we like, what we stand for, even in the face of substantial variability. Our real crisis is one of marketing; other people don’t know who we are, what we do, or why they need our services. I am not yet convinced that a name change, by itself, will correct the real issue.

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