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Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Dear SDG actors,

What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that illustrate SDG implementation? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress?

To help answer these and other questions, UN DESA circulated a call for submissions of SDG-related good practices or success stories from Member States, the UN system and stakeholders – and received more than 600 suggestions! After a vetting from an interagency panel of experts, the first batch of good practices have been released on a searchable online database (//sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnerships/goodpractices), featuring more than 400 submissions. More SDG good practices will be made available as the review is finalized. Our intention is to periodically issue a Call for Submissions of good practices, so if you missed this round, there will be another opportunity in the future.

To search the submissions including by sorting them by individual SDGs, click here and select the “SDG Good Practices” checkbox under the “Action Network & Databases” section in the left column. There is also a search bar for searching by country name or organization name.

We hope that this database will be useful in pointing out projects and initiatives being done to implement the SDGs around the world, and inspire others to take action.

Best regards,
UN DESA Division for Sustainable Development Goals

Alliance for Organizational Psychology

Whether working in consulting, academia, industry, or government, the niche field of Industrial- Organizational (IO) psychology is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8.4% increase between 2016 and 2026. Despite this growth, many students remain unaware of careers available within I-O psychology and gravitate toward less science-practitioner fields.

In an effort to educate students, the team at Psychology.org has created a series of comprehensive guides that explore I-O psychology degrees, licensure, and careers.

You can read the guides here:

Guide to Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degrees: //www.psychology.org/online-degrees/industrial-organizational-psychology/

Guide to Psychology State Licensure: //www.psychology.org/online-degrees/

Guide to Industrial-Organizational Psychology Careers: //www.psychology.org/careers/industrial-organizational-psychologist/

It’s time to vote in the 2018 GOHWP Elections!

Voting is now open!

To vote, please click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser. If you are a full member, you’ll be asked to vote for the chair, vice chair, and 3 board members at large. If you are a student member, you will vote for the aforementioned positions, as well as a student representative

//xavier.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3WS1IeOkXbNKpdH

Or, the short form:

//tinyurl.com/2018ElectionGOHWP

The election will be open until Saturday, October 27th. We will announce the new GOHWP Executive Board shortly thereafter.

Thank you for your participation in this important process!

Sincerely,

Morrie Mullins, on behalf of the GOHWP Leadership Team

Organizational Democracy

From GOHWP Member Matt Grabowski, IUPUI Doctoral Candidate, USA

 

Democracy is a cornerstone in western society. Many major governments operate utilizing the principles of democracy such that their citizens are encouraged to participate in their government and that the voice of the people can be heard. Though it has its flaws, we consider democracy to be superior to any other form of governance, yet organizations often do not operate by these principles.

 

Even organizations that employ thousands of people are usually governed by just a handful who use their resources as they see fit, even if their actions are not in the best interests of the majority. It seems counterintuitive to believe that people collectively should have control over how they are governed in greater society but not in the businesses they spend nearly one third of their life working. The concept of organizational democracy differs entirely from the typical hierarchical power structure by bringing many of the same principles we use in a democratic society into the organization.

 

Organizational democracy is exactly what it sounds like. It is employing the principle of “one person, one vote” into the workplace to ensure a voice is given to all workers. Organizational democracy is not as simple as just giving everyone a chance to vote on certain topics, this is a system that is built into the structure of the organization that guarantees the power of the majority. Specifically, employees in democratic organizations are tasked to participate in all levels of decision making with equal weight, and this is considered part of their responsibilities to the organization. These decisions range from simple proximal things (e.g. employee PTO or the purchasing new equipment for their department) to large scale decisions (e.g. what products/services will the company offer and how the profits are distributed).

 

A few companies exist using this type of model. The most notable example, Mondragon is worker cooperative federation which is made up of 261 companies and co-operatives (including a university) which collectively employ 74,335 people. The company was founded in Spain over 60 years ago and now operates internationally. As a democratic system, members of the co-operative federation participate in decision making collectively by form of a congress in which the members are elected to their positions to represent their respective co-operative members. While some members of the organization may hold a higher elected position, even lower member still get to participate with their vote being equally weighted.

 

The bulk of the research on organizational democracy is theoretical and comes from outside the field of psychology. Research in sociology and economics seems to focus on the larger impact of democratic organizations within society, but research at the organizational level and the individual level seems limited. Research from applied psychology fields have addressed the effects of culture and structure on democracy in the workplace, attitude and motivational differences of employees in democratic organizations versus non-democratic organizations, and even the effects of democracy on a few behaviors like organizational citizenship behaviors. This leaves ample opportunity for continuing research for I-O, especially on the “I” side such as considerations for hiring, performance appraisal, and training just to name a few topics. Plus, given the broader implications of organizational democracy increasing equality and the general welfare of people, this should be a topic to further explore in the HWP realm as well.

 

In summary, organizational democracy would mean bringing our societal form of governing down to the organizational level. Though this seems like an odd and unusual form of running an organization this organizational structuring exists and there is evidence that it is effective. We in the I-O and HWP fields have only begun to explore this topic and much more research still needs to be done! If democracy is the key to participation and equality, then organizational democracy is the next logical step in our society.

 

Further readings

 

Weber, W. G., Unterrainer, C., & Hoge, T. (2008). Socio-moral atmosphere and prosocial and   democratic value orientations in enterprises with different levels of structurally anchored participation. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, 22, 171-194. doi:10.1177/239700220802200205

 

Wegge, J., Jeppesen, H., Weber, W., Pearce, C., Silva, S., Pundt, A., … Piecha, A. (2010). Promoting work motivation in organizations: Should employee involvement in organizational leadership become a new tool in the organizational psychologist’s kit? Journal of Personnel Psychology, 9, 154-171. doi:10.1027/1866-5888/a000025

 

The Sociological Quarterly Volume 57, Issue 1 (the whole issue is on democracy at work)

 

A link to Mondragon’s website

 

Call for SIOP Humanitarian Award Nominations!

Hello, GOHWP members!

SIOP has a call out for nominations for their Humanitarian Award. The GOHWP Executive Board wanted to make sure our members were aware of this, because the June 30 deadline is fast approaching.

SIOP’s Humanitarian Award is designed to recognize humanitarian contributions made by individuals who practice industrial-organizational/work psychology. From the SIOP website, the award can go to individuals for any of the following, or for other humanitarian-related applications of I-O/work psychology.

  1. Applying the practice and science of I-O psychology towards significant and sustained humanitarian initiatives, including the development of policy.
  2. Promoting prosocial I-O psychology through work with international non-governmental organizations and multilateral agencies, including the development of internal capacity in these organizations.
  3. Notable and sustained contributions to theory and/or practice in the area of humanitarian work psychology (deliberate and organized efforts to enhance human welfare and development).
  4. Significant impact on the field of I-O psychology through a focus on social responsibility and reduction of human suffering through organizational actions.
  5. Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through I-O Psychology (e.g., poverty reduction, food security, health and well-being, equitable quality education, gender equality, sustainable energy, decent work, sustainable industrialization/innovation, inclusivity and justice within society, sustainable consumption/production, fighting climate change, creation of global partnerships for sustainable development).

The award does come with a cash prize, though in the spirit of the award, SIOP will instead make a donation of $1500 USD to the charity or foundation of the recipient’s choice, if the recipient so chooses.

Full details can be found on the SIOP web page, and we encourage our members to apply!

HWP in Graduate Research Methods

By Morrie Mullins

 

One of the things I’ve found is that there are really no boundaries for where HWP-related themes can fit in a graduate curriculum.  In this blog post, I’ll offer one example that came to me somewhat fortuitously as part of a broader lit review effort.

 

A year or so ago, an undergraduate student (who has gone on to be an I-O graduate student with a focus in HWP-related issues) was helping me with a lit review and stumbled across an article by Yao-Jen Chang, Rui-Hua Liao, Tsen-Yung Wang, and Yao-Sheng Chang titled, “Action research as a bridge between two worlds: Helping the NGOs and humanitarian agencies adapt technology to their needs.”  NGOs?  Humanitarian agencies?  And RESEARCH?  Sign me up!

 

It’s actually an interesting paper, dealing with how to incorporate various information systems in an NGO that “provides supported employment.”  The team involved in the project was highly interdisciplinary, including IT professionals, social scientists, and engineers, and used a set of techniques called “action research” to gather both quantitative and qualitative data about the domain being studied.

 

There is a LOT of detail in the article about their approach to the project, but a lot of it should sound familiar to anyone who’s ever had an I-O internship or done any consulting.  Their first stage involved diagnosing the problem using a series of interviews and focus groups, coming up with a preliminary set of findings, and designing an intervention.  They then moved on to another key stage of the research, where team members volunteered to go out and actually do some of the jobs they were studying, to get a sense of what the work was like.  Based on both the interview/focus group data and the direct observations made through working in the jobs being studied, the researchers came up with an action plan.  This derived from the needs and problems observed as the data were collected through various modalities.

 

One of the things that I find it’s important to keep in mind, when training graduate students on research methodology, is that there is a lot of “research design” that they’ve heard four or five times in the past.  I don’t have to go back over between- versus within-groups designs.  All those classic experimentalist designs are great and important, but most of the students I’m training are going out into the world to become practitioners, so they need other types of research skills.

 

What I LOVE about the “action research” article is that it puts research into the context of solving workplace problems – which is exactly what I-O/work psychology does, when it’s working well.  We are applied problem solvers, and we should be talking about methods that work well for approaching and resolving problems in the real world – not just in labs.  (Not that there’s anything involved in lab research, mind you.  All research has a place…)

 

Even in their second semester, my students see the way action research connects to what we do in I-O.  I generally hear comments like, “This sounds like some of what we did when we did job analyses” – which is exactly correct.  The way I was trained on job analysis involved a lot of detailed data-gathering and direct observation of workers on the job.  I didn’t get to step in and do their work like an action researcher would, but I was around them enough that I’d like to think I could have.**

 

Then you’ve got the HWP aspect, where we get to talk about NGOs and how to help them.  We get to talk about the importance of not assuming that you know what the job is like, and the willingness to get your (metaphorical and literal) hands dirty in order to really understand it.  We get to talk about how key it is to volunteer your time with non-profits if you want to get a sense of how they “live” their mission – because otherwise, you will have a hard time really understanding their problems.

 

The full citation for the article is below.  If you have other HWP-related papers you use to teach research methods, or really, any course, we’d love to hear about them!

 

 

Chang, Y.-J., Liao, R.-H., Wang, T.-Y., & Chang, Y.-S. (2010). Action research as a bridge between two worlds: Helping the NGOs and humanitarian agencies adapt technology to their needs.  Systemic Practice and Action Research, 23, 191-202. doi 10.1007/s11213-009-9154-8

 

 

** Yeah, I know.  I really couldn’t have.  I like my little delusions, though…

 

GOHWP-relevant Grant Opportunities!

The following were shared with GOHWP by Professor Stuart Carr, and we wanted to share them with you!

Future of work

Russell Sage Foundation, US

This supports innovative research on the causes and consequences of changes in the quality of jobs for less- and moderately-skilled workers and their families. Awards are worth up to USD 150,000 each over two years.

Maximum award: USD 150,000

Closing date: 20 Aug 18 (recurring)

 

Non-standard employment grant

Russell Sage Foundation, US

This supports innovative social science research on the causes and consequences of the increased incidence of alternative work arrangements in the US. Awards are worth up to USD 150,000 each over two years.

Maximum award: USD 150,000

Closing date: 20 Aug 18 (recurring)

 

Social inequality

Russell Sage Foundation, US

This supports research on the effects of economic inequality on social, political and economic institutions, and on equality of opportunity, social mobility and the intergenerational transmission of advantage. Grants are worth up to USD 150,000 per project, for a maximum of two years.

Maximum award: USD 150,000

Closing date: 20 Aug 18 (recurring)

Humanitarian Work Psychology and Occupational Health Psychology: Two sides of the same coin?

In case you missed it, here’s an interesting piece from out-going Vice Chair Shujaat Ahmed about the connection between HWP and OHP!  It originally appeared in our winter 2017 newsletter.

Humanitarian work psychology (HWP) focuses on improving human welfare in all countries irrespective of income, and is broadly applied for the greater good of all people. Some of the areas studied within HWP are humanitarian aid work, poverty reduction, diversity, and corporate social responsibility. On the other hand, occupational health psychology (OHP) is focused on understanding how social and psychological aspects of the workplace influence employees’ physical and mental health across jobs. Scientists and practitioners within OHP examine individual and organizational interventions in an attempt to create healthier workplaces, while protecting the safety and health of employees. Some of the areas studied within this field include work stress, work-family interface, disease prevention, and workplace safety.

Humanitarian work psychology and OHP are related in a number of ways. For one, both fields are interdisciplinary. HWP is inclusive of knowledge and methods from psychology, occupational health, organizational behavior, and economics to name a few. Similarly, OHP draws from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, occupational health, organizational behavior, and human factors. Both fields also emphasize the improvement of health of individuals by expanding on the traditional sphere of their respective fields using research-based evidence. The divide between the two fields has shrunk even more in recent years as OHP, which has been traditionally been known to help for-profit organizations, has begun to include non-profit organizations and low income workers as regular stakeholders in both research and practice.

Two examples in recent research of the amalgamation of HWP and OHP are worth mentioning. Ager, Pasha, Yu, Duke, Eriksson, and Cardozo (2012) examine the stress and well-being of national humanitarian aid workers in Uganda. Based on cross-sectional data, they found that aid workers who report high exposure to stress are significantly more likely to report diminished mental health outcomes. These aid workers were especially vulnerable to mental health consequences with over 68 percent showing signs of clinical depression and 53 percent at higher risk for anxiety disorders. Gender also seems to plays a role, with female aid workers reporting more symptoms of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emotional exhaustion than their male counterparts. The authors expand the connection of OHP-HWP research by focusing on the consequences (depression, anxiety, burnout, PTSD) of humanitarian work among national aid workers which has received less attention compared to international expatriate workers.

More recently, in 2015, Mahima Saxena and John Scott obtained a grant from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) for their project that explores work experiences of South Asian workers in the informal economy for the promotion of decent work and well-being. Informal economy may be defined as employment or economic activities that take place outside of, or that is external to government observation, taxation and regulation. Examples of informal work include laborers in agriculture, as well as nonagricultural work such as pottery, weaving, and manufacturing. Mahima and John have been investigating how informal workers conceptualize work, any hindrances they may face, and what their subjective health and well-being experiences are. This study makes an important contribution to SIOP’s United Nation’s initiative and also to the further connection of HWP and OHP research by promoting social justice, decent work, and well-being of informal workers.

While many psychologists consider the fields of HWP and OHP as distinct from one another, the main goals of each field complement each other greatly. Indeed, they can be thought of as two sides of one coin geared toward the promotion of health!

 

 

 

Further Readings

Ager, A., Pasha, E., Yu, G., Duke, T., Eriksson, C., & Cardozo, B. L. (2012). Stress, mental health, and burnout in national humanitarian aid workers in Gulu, Northern Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25(6), 713-720.

Chang, C. H., & Spector, P. (2011). Cross-cultural occupational health psychology. In J. C. Quick & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of occupational health psychology (pp. 119-137). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Vergara, J. A., & Gardner, D. (2011). Stressors and psychological wellbeing in local humanitarian workers in Colombia. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 26(6), 500 – 507.