What is involved in changing our name?
There are three steps. The first is a vote of membership, since changing our name means changing our by-laws. The vote would be done electronically, after notifying members by e-mail. The procedure would be similar to a vote for new officers or last year’s vote to change the governance structure.
The second step is notifying APA of the intent to change our division name. There is a 60-day review period by other divisions. Unless we are changing our name to something like “Clinical and Organizational Psychology,” this step should not present problems.
The third step would be literally changing the name on our web site, stationery, publications, bank and financial forms, etc.
The last step sounds expensive. How expensive is it?
A preliminary estimate of the costs of changing the web site, stationery, tax status, etc. for both SIOP and the SIOP foundation is $14,000. These include purchasing new stationery, business cards, etc.; legal reviews for trademarks, service marks, and preparation of filings with various agencies; fees associated with updating articles of incorporation, registration agents; and the graphic design for new logos. These fees can be absorbed over two fiscal years. There are likely to be unanticipated costs as well. Moreover, there are “ripple costs” to private companies and universities (e.g., changing the names of text books and graduate programs).
Wait, does that mean we would be changing the name of our field?
In a large sense, yes. A name change coupled with our recent visibility initiatives and planned advocacy efforts will affect how we are seen externally (recall that this is one of the drivers of a name change). Historically, there has been convergence between the name of the profession and the name of our society. However, consulting firms are not required to change their marketing materials. They can still advertise that they practice industrial psychology. Psychology departments can still maintain graduate training programs in industrial/organizational psychology. (Note that there are multiple programs that now promote degrees in “organizational psychology,” which is at odds with our current society name.)
It is important to note that an individual level, a name change has no impact on what members call themselves. Today, some of us call ourselves I-O psychologists, industrial psychologists, organizational psychologists, work psychologists, etc.
What should I do now?
We encourage you to participate in an online discussion of the name change through the comment feature, as the decision to hold a vote in the late summer rests in part on how our members react to the issues contained in this FAQ.