The ballots have all been tallied for the first round of voting on a potential SIOP name change, and now it is time to decide: what will we call ourselves?
After the first round of voting, The Society for Organizational Psychology (TSOP) beat the two other choices by a large margin, garnering 1,734 votes, while Society for Work Psychology (SWP) took 476 votes and Society for Work and Organizational Psychology (SWOP) had 490.
Voting SIOP members will now have the opportunity to decide whether to keep the current name (The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology) or change to The Society for Organizational Psychology by voting on a bylaws amendment. Voting will begin on December 4 and continue through January 4, 2010.
Since the name of the organization is stated in the SIOP bylaws, an amendment to the bylaws is necessary to make a change. A simple majority via an electronic vote is required to make a bylaws change. A majority “yes” vote would amend the bylaws and change the name of the organization. If “no” voters prevail, the name would remain the same. Voting will once again take place online, and SIOP voting members will receive e-mails detailing how to submit their ballots. Results of the final name change vote will be announced in mid January.
How Did We Get Here?
This final vote is the culmination of an extensive process by the Society, said SIOP President Kurt Kraiger.
“We’ve gone through a thorough process over at least a year of thinking about and vetting alternatives to the name ‘SIOP’,” he said. “There are a lot of alternatives that at least somebody likes, but the three that were on the first ballot were the names that come up the most consistently as a preferred alternative.”
To ensure the Executive Board identified the best alternative names for the first vote, the board developed a multi-step process for determining the alternative.
“Our first step was asking ourselves what some of the best alternative name choices were,” Kraiger explained. The Board then developed a three-month public comment period over the summer where it sent e-mails to members and released educational blog posts and stories on the SIOP Web site and on the Exchange asking for feedback and name suggestions. From that public comments period as well as consideration of names suggested in the past, the Board determined the three most popular alternative name choices.
“So, these names weren’t picked at random,” Kraiger added. “They were the names that most people over time preferred if they didn’t like SIOP.”
The board then developed a two-step voting process, which included the first round in October.
“The purpose of that vote was to identify the preferred alternative among the three choices we had worked to identify,” Kraiger added.
What Will Each Vote Mean?
Now that the Executive Board has determined the most popular alternative name for the Society, members will decide whether to change the Society’s name by voting on a proposed bylaws amendment. “Yes” votes on the bylaws amendment will support changing the Society’s name to The Society for Organizational Psychology (TSOP). A “no” vote will support keeping the name Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).
• “Yes”-Yes, the bylaws should be amended to change the Society’s name to “The Society for Organizational Psychology.”
• “No”-No, the bylaws should not be amended and the Society’s name should remain the “Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.”
Kraiger said members should understand that the final vote is a simple choice between the current name of SIOP or the alternative name TSOP.
“This is the vote where members get too indicate their preference between SIOP and TSOP, the current name and an alternative,” Kraiger explained. “This is the final vote where people get to indicate their preference for one name or the other. Would you rather us be called this or that? Since changing our name requires a bylaws vote, we are incorporating that bylaws vote into the TSOP choice.”
As with the first vote, only SIOP’s voting members—Fellows, Members, Retired Fellows, and Retired Members—may vote on the potential name change. Since changing the Society’s name to The Society for Organizational Psychology (TSOP ) requires a bylaws change, only voting members may participate. To view the SIOP bylaws, click here. (The section regarding amending the bylaws can be found on page 8.)
What Will Happen After the Vote?
If the proposed bylaws amendment fails to receive a majority positive vote, nothing will change for the Society, Kraiger said. Several changes will take place if the choice of changing the name to TSOP wins a majority of votes.
“If TSOP wins, the immediate step is that we have to notify APA of our intent to change our name,” Kraiger explained. “There is a 60-day waiting period in which other divisions can comment on the name change. This shouldn’t be a difficult step.”
Kraiger noted that there would then be a lot of internal work of changing the Society’s name throughout the bylaws, in the administrative manual, on the Web site, and in various other places.
“There would be a lot of busy work to do if TSOP wins,” Kraiger added. “Concurrently, the board would also make decisions about changing more visible markers of who we are, such as TIP and the IOP journal. We are going to make some decisions about the products we have and which ones will need to be changed. As an example, people love TIP and we may decide to keep the name TIP even though our society name has changed.”
In the next year, Kraiger added, whether there is a name change or not, the Society will revisit ongoing external branding efforts which could include a new logo and tagline.
“We have decided to do that because we haven’t finished the job we started,” Kraiger explained. “We started looking into branding a couple of years ago, but we never completed it. One of our strategic initiatives is to increase the visibility of the society, and better branding is a step towards doing so.”
Kraiger said these ongoing branding efforts have been stalled because of questions around whether SIOP should change its name.
“It has been our intention to continue raising the visibility of the profession, but the question now is whether we build around ‘SIOP’ or ‘The Society for Organizational Psychology,’” he said.
Kraiger said it is important to understand that branding efforts will be underway whether the name changes or not. He said members should also understand what a vote of “yes” for the name change would mean for the I-O field.
“At the individual level, members are already free to call themselves whatever they want,” Kraiger explained. “So, if we change the name and a person prefers to call themselves an industrial psychologist, they can, because even now there are SIOP members who belong to SIOP who call themselves business psychologists or something else. So, on an individual level nothing has changed.”
Kraiger said that while a name change would not change much for individuals it could have an impact on the field as a whole.
“I do think, with a change in the name and a branding effort that would follow, that we would be changing the name of the profession,” he said. “However, we aren’t telling anyone that they have to change anything if the name change passes. There are already graduate programs in ‘Organizational Psychology,’ which is different than the name of our society. We are not telling the graduate programs that they have to change their names or their text books. We are just trying to ensure we have a name that best describes the field our members are working in.”
Kraiger encourages all voting members to participate in the bylaws amendment vote, and said this vote should settle any questions now looming over the Society’s name.
“This vote decides this question so that we will not spend time in the foreseeable future revisiting this,” he said. “It provides the basis for branding and increasing our visibility, which are kind of critical to our future. I want to continue to inform people as best we can about the voting process, why we are doing it, and what it means.”
Your vote will help lay the groundwork for the future of the Society and profession. Make sure your opinions are heard: Plan to cast your vote this December!
Submitted by SIOP, with approval of SIOP President Kurt Kraiger.