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May 01, 2009


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Excuse, I only refer to mature criteria related to specialists. All I-O people!...

Very good Larry!... intelligent and clear thinking for these times that we must be cautious and to propose mature criteria visions and actions.

Interesting. I have been, and have described myself as an industrial/organizational psychologist for over 30 years. My official designation at my workplace is "Senior Behavioral Scientist." Neither title works well in an elevator conversation. However, what we name the organization doesn't have to be what we name ourselves. After all, lawyers belong to the American Bar Association. (I wonder, is that where the term barrister comes from?) I think we are really talking about branding IO psychology, and that is more about advertising and public relations than about a meaningful name. Remember Exxon? What the heck is that? Coke? Something you burn in a furnace? Kleenex? All my psychologist friends know what an IO psychologist is. All my other friends think every psychologist is a therapist, and the rest of the title just indicates the organizational setting in which therapy occurs. We would be better off if APA and SIOP spent time and effort on educating the public rather than on thinking up new names and paying the cost of voting for them. Face it, if you call yourself an organizational psychologist most people will think you do therapy in organizations...

The name change is not desirable at this time because we do not know what criteria will converge in the new administrative approaches, or styles of organization will take root in the coming years. We are seeing the collapse of neo classical management scheme, also the bureaucracy, the quality management too, and many other new forms of management point of view, most innovative. I think that is not the time, and I completely agree with Muchinsky thereon.
I do not think is only a crazy idea, I believe that the suggestions for change are very immature, and industrial psychologists of today are just missing the key to this area and all science, that is to say, the appropriated criteria. Excuse me... are only isolated thoughts. Best,

I am a student and new to the field. Although this may discount my opinion on what our profession should be called, I can speak from experience that an ongoing debate on the name of a profession only serves to divide and cause contention. We face a similar issue in my current profession in the field of Recreational Therapy... or Therapeutic Recreation. Professionals have been battling for years on what the "correct" name is. I don't think changing a name will create enough benefit to make it worth the effort nor the confusion that is sure to result. It will affect university programs, professional titles, textbooks, etc.
Chris S has a good point. This debate on the name will never end, especially if a vote for a change passes now.

I also support OOPS - Occupational and Organizational Psychological Society.

I suggest The Vocational and Organizational Psychology Society - VOPS.

There are 2 issues -- whether to change the name at all and what the new name would be. I wholly support a name change but think that it should include "work". Not everything members do is at the organizational level. Besides, the meaning of "organizational" will be unclear to those unfamiliar with our field.

It's definitely time for this change. i avoid using the full name whenever i can because it is cumbersome and confusing, and "industrial" doesn't really reflect the "I" side anyway.

We started as I, we added O, and now it's time to let the I pass on. I/O is an artificial bifurcation of what we do. We live in a post-industrial world; it's time to let that part of our name heritage pass into history. Shortening the name to "Organizational Psychology" doesn't change what we do. It just makes the name shorter, less clunky, and more descriptive. It's also broad enough to span HR, OP, OB, and strategy...the what we do. For those who worry about the acronym for the Society, we can be the "Organizational Psychology Society" (OPS) ... or something else.

In the end, it's just a change in the name of the professional organization. Many practitioners already tailor what they call themselves to suit their practice. I have always viewed my research and professional activities to be organizational in nature. Some grad programs have already changed (MSU is a program of organizational psychology). This is just about SIOP catching up. It's time.

how about...

"The Society of Strategic Human Resource Management"

"The Society of Strategic Personnel Management"

"The Society of Organizational, Managerial, & Employee Psychology"

"The Society of Strategic Organizational Psychologists"

Just trying to get the brainstorming going!

Almost anything is better than the graceless "Industrial/Organizational Psychology." "Organizational Psychology" is fine.

At what point can members of the profession have confidence that they can rely on the official name of their field? I'm not against change, but as others have pointed out, even the mere possibility of change creates tension. If a vote this year fails to change SIOP's name, will proponents of a name change simply force a new vote next year? And if that vote doesn't result in a name change, what next? If the name does change this year, will opponents of the new name similarly force new votes? When does all of this end? I think that SIOP has to take a specific and firm position on a moratorium for voting on future name changes.

I believe a vote (yet another one!) on this issue would actually be divisive. It is clear from the postings and other comments that have been made that some people are *very much* attached to the SIOP name. It is also clear that a number of our members believe the "I" represents what they do. There does not appear to be a consensus on what an alternate name should be. I'm not convinced a name change would increase visibility. We have made some significant advances in visibility lately and this change would likely set us back.

I think that "work and organizational" psychology is the best name. "Organizational" alone is too vague. If we have a choice to change SIOP's name, then let it be a real one.

If we want business leaders and those we consider to be the users of our research and knowledge to quickly understand what we have to offer, we need to brand ourselves using language that they can identify with. Despite our rich history, "personnel" and "industrial" reflect bygone terminology that would position us as being out of touch with today's business environment.

As a practitioner, I have only a few minutes to describe to business clients who I am and what I do. As a result, I typically call myself an "organizational psychologist" (despite an I/O degree on paper) because most business leaders have had at least one business class that has introduced the topic of organizational behavior or organizatioal development. (This helps in our differentiation from closet organizers.) The detail comes when they invite us and the real conversation begins.

If we must change our name...can I suggest Organizational Psychology Society? OPS is much better than SOP.

I still do not think that a name change is going to meaningfully impact the profession much in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, I think that the so-called divide between "industrial" and "organizational" has been an arcane and fuzzy distinction. Do we have sufficient empirical evidence that it is meaningful enough to members to have a practical effect on how members will vote? I think not. From the perspective of most "industrial" psychologists, it might not be asking that much of "industrial" psychologists to agree to think of themselves as psychologists whose work impacts organizations. So what is wrong with "organizational" psychology as the umbrella label? If certain psychologists wish to distinguish themselves from others, then they still are free to do so with whatever terms they desire (e.g., "personnel psychologist", "individual differences psychologist", "organizational psychologist specializing in training", etc.). In other words, I do not think that members should worry that a vote simply will reflect long-entrenched and inflexible positions.

EVERY time someone asks what field I am in and I answer "Industrial-Organizational Psychology", I receive a puzzled look. Yes, I always go on to explain what it is, but I'm already dreading it when the original question is posed. I agree with some other posts that we have made some progress in regard to our visibility as a field, but there will always be people who will be confused if we don't change the name. I say let's vote.

I worry that all of these polls of SIOP simply reflect differences in the membership - it is not secret that we have more people and interest in what is traditionally considered "organizational psychology." That doesn't mean that "industrial psych people" don't still make up a sizable, though smaller, portion of the membership. Just look at my recent paper in TIP - I-Psych topics are still quite popular, just not so much as O-Psych topics.

I think the most unfortunate thing that could happen would be than the 60% of the membership self-identifying as O vote for SOP, the 40% self-identifying as I vote for SIOP, and suddenly the work of 40% of our organization has been determined to be not a part of what we do. This is an extreme depiction, of course - but I think it's an important consideration for everyone when voting.

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