By Jacob McNulty
Our country is undergoing a transition from an industrial economy to one where people, and the knowledge they carry with them, are the most valuable assets. This is the knowledge economy.
The way that people access information has changed in this new economy. Where we can work has shifted and who we work with has dramatically expanded. Throw in the technology race that has catalyzed much of it and together you have an area ripe for the curious eye of an I-O practitioner or researcher. Strategies for helping organizations operate and compete in a knowledge-based economy are in perfect alignment with many of the tenets of the I-O discipline.
Training: in the world of Facebook, Google and You Tube, people are accustomed to getting the information they need when they need it. And the most tapped sources for this knowledge are typically someone’s personal network and learning on the job. What research opportunities exist for helping to understand how we can better support this informal learning? As we continue further into an economy reliant on knowledge and therefore knowledge workers, it’s my prediction that this trend will do nothing but grow.
Leadership Development: the competencies needed to lead in today’s networked world are different from those that were prevalent in the hierarchical models of the industrial age. Helping organizations develop leaders equipped to do business in the 21st century is a role waiting to be filled by many I-O psychologists interested in this area.
Culture: how will cultures adapt as a result of more collaboration? Or from the integration of suppliers, customers and other members of a value network into their innovation and growth strategy? There is no doubt that cultures will be adapting as organizations figure out how best to approach a strategy based on knowledge.
These are just a few. We are in the midst of a true societal change and I-O psychology is well positioned to be a prominent voice in shaping the inevitable strategies that will emerge to equip organizations to operate in this new dynamic - where do you see the greatest opportunities for I-O psychology in the new economy?
Jacob McNulty, M.A. is the founder and President of Orbital RPM - a consulting firm using progressive methods of learning and development to position clients to operate and compete in a knowledge economy. Jacob has over 12 years of experience working with Fortune 500 clients on their learning and development solutions.