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The Importance of Punctuation and HWP

Little things make a lot of difference.  You probably expect that a posting with a title related to punctuation will pontificate on the problem of the Oxford/serial comma, the absence of which recently decided a case with relevance to work psychology (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oxford-comma-court-case-ruling-overtime_us_58cad41ae4b0ec9d29d9dd28).  And yet, that’s not what this posting is about, nor is it about any of the fascinating (for some of us, okay?) punctuation-related facts described in Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves (yes, the title there also plays with the Oxford comma, so I suppose that’s double misdirection).

 

Instead, it’s about a dash.

 

I had an interesting email exchange with former GOHWP Board member Ishbel McWha-Hermann after the recent SIOP conference, in which she mentioned that one of the conversations the Board used to have was about H-WP vs. HW-P.

 

The astute reader will have already noticed that there is no punctuation in GOHWP’s name, nor is there any in HWP as it’s generally abbreviated.  The distinction, however, is an interesting one, and points out two perspectives from which people can approach HWP.  As Carr, De Guzman, Eltyeb, Furnham, MacLachlan, Marai, and McAuliffe put it in their 2012 chapter, “Humanitarian work psychology incorporates both the application of industrial and organizational psychology to humanitarian issues, and more broadly the development of a psychology that promotes humanitarian work” (p. 4).

 

But do we all think of it from both perspectives simultaneously, and if not, what does the placement of that dash tell each of us about how we view the field?

 

Parsing “HW” from “P” reflects the study of the psychology of humanitarian work.  A lot of the work of groups like SIOP’s UN team, the Project GLOW initiative, and Project FAIR (look for more on this in upcoming blogs!) falls into this category.  Indeed, in looking at the focus of GOHWP as an organization, this has been what we tend to emphasize.  In our Twitter feed, this is largely the kind of work we post about, and the kinds of initiatives we follow.  There is a ton (or, I suppose, a tonne) of important work to be done in this domain, particularly as it relates to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  That, in a nutshell, is HW-P.  The psychology of humanitarian work.

 

H-WP slices things differently, putting work psychology into the service of various humanitarian topics and organizations.  This is where things like corporate social responsibility and prosocial I-O tend to fall.  A job analysis of volunteers at a soup kitchen, or developing a job skills training program for refugees, would be examples of H-WP.  One of my favorite sessions from SIOP 2017 involved a panel talking about doing prosocial I-O, working with various non-profits, religious organizations, and so forth to improve their functioning.

 

Before I had the distinction put to me in fundamental punctuation terms, I’ll admit that it’s something I’d struggled with.  It seemed – well, seems – to me that HWP can and should do both things, and that’s what the Carr et al. (2012) definition would suggest.  We should be studying humanitarian work, so we can support that sector of the global organizational community, but we should also be taking the skills we develop through our education, training, and work experience to improve all kinds of organizations that contribute to the greater good.

 

HWP, to me, is all about making the world a better place.  Wherever you place that dash, you’re trying to achieve the same goal:  Help people.  Offer our knowledge and skills (ah, heck – and our abilities, to finish the trifecta!) to improve work and thereby make people’s lives better.

 

So next time you think about HWP (and I hope you think about it often!), ask yourself:  Where do I put the dash?

 

 

References

Carr, S.C., De Guzman, J.M., Eltyeb, S.M., Furnham, A., MacLachlan, M., Marai, L., & McAuliffe, E. (2012). An introduction to humanitarian work psychology.  In S.C. Carr, M. MachLachlan, & A. Furnham (eds.), Humanitarian Work Psychology (pp. 3-33). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Truss, L. (2006). Eats, shoots and leaves: The zero tolerance approach to punctuation.  New York, NY: Avery.

GLOW Initiative – Global Living Organizational Wage

The following information was graciously provided by Professor Stuart Carr about steps that have been undertaken by Project G.L.O.W. Read on!

Step 1: We grouped together with like-minded colleagues from outside Psychology who work in key areas, notably Employment/Industrial Relations and in the wider community. The shared networks of contacts across industry, labour unions and community groups was/is vital, keeping us and the work grounded, and co-owned; a stakeholder approach. This enabled us to secure seed money from our University, and paid living wages to all research assistants. We’ve since enjoined with other key Universities in NZ & South Africa, who have used (& refined!) this process. It works!!

Step 2: e.g., of working, We co-liaised on method. Learning: (a) be flexible, go to your sample, in our case we moved away from online forms to on-paper, inner city community café venues through a partnership with a leading social enterprise; (b) tailor measures to local conditions, e.g., less=more on survey length and scale points. ‘Money’ was difficult to measure/gauge, e.g., only some money items worked (e.g., Annual household income, in brackets, but not too wide, and hourly not annual, for personal wages). We are working with our valued local community partners, e.g., RAs from the community were on-hand to explain if needed, offered free, fair-traded coffees to say Thank you, plus will ‘pay it forward’ with seminar in the cafes (and will be included on papers); (c) We put a-c, Alignment-Ownership-Accountability, into prior Ethics proposal(s), before starting.

Step 3: Analyses addressed the core question in glow invitation letters. Some items flopped, e.g., fairness compared to supervisors when some workers who had none (lots of DK responses). Found reliable factors, e.g., pay justice – which linked closely, non-linearly, to money. Exploratory curve estimation & LOESS curves (both in SPSS) probed the shape of the relationships (for poverty traps vs. steady upward curvatures) . Across hubs, we have learned the importance of keeping measures as alike as possible, whilst allowing for diversity, e.g., hourly pay was apt at one hub, monthly at another. After all, we can still test the shape, and later convert currencies into one metric – the World Bank’s ‘Purchasing Power Parity’.

Step 4: We’ve been very careful not to release anything to the public or to any particular stakeholder group until fully blind peer review has been completed. Some so far:

Carr, S. C., Parker, J., Arrowsmith, J., & Watters, P. A. (2016). The Living Wage: Theoretical integration and an applied research agenda. International Labour Review, 155(1), 1-24.
Carr, S. C., Parker, J., Arrowsmith, J., Watters, P. A., & Jones, H. (2016). Can a ‘living wage’ springboard human capability? An exploratory study from New Zealand. Labour & Industry, 26, 24-39.

The question mark in the latter title (I think) is key: We really need GLOW to take us to the next level and answer the core question with confidence context and new diplomacy policy advocacy in mind!

Step 5: Overall reflections: We will need all – every bit – of the expertise and connectivity across glow to share ideas about ‘how’ to best measure, sample, and put the two together in competent and respectful ways, including both ‘social’ and ‘business’ case variables; and to actually reach out to the lowest paid end of the income curves that have so far (as far as I can make out) been shamefully neglected, even by other fair wage groups (e.g., via online samples, when the bulk of really low income folks are offline, on the other side of the ‘digital divide.’).

Key point: research ‘studies’ are only one part of what we are aiming to do – e.g., we need supporting/ive teaching, voluntary service; and much more. i.e., There is space for everyone to contribute whatever they can, whenever they can, and whatever individuals and teams wish to contribute.

That’s it for now.

GUIDELINES FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE SDGs IN YOUR REGION

GUIDELINES FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE SDGs IN YOUR REGION
Mary O’Neill Berry, PhD

Looking to engage with the SDGs in your own sphere of influence? Here are some tips!

Background on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015- 2030: The SDGs were finalized in 2015 to replace and expand the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had essentially set the global developmImage result for sustainable development goalsent agenda from 2000 through 2015. There are 17 SDGs, with many additional targets and indicators “underneath” each Goal (list of Goals and Indicators would be included at end of document). Governments and civil society are expected to take account of these SDGs as they shape national policies, programs, and practices. To do so will ensure significant social, economic, and environmental progress both locally and globally. The list of SDGs may be found here: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

SDG Implementation: How can our membership help to ensure that the SDGs are, in fact, implemented on the ground locally? One way is for members to examine local/national policies, identify key influential players, and, in effect, “lobby” on behalf of the SDGs.

Forming Partnerships/Coalitions: It is likely that other national/local groups may also be already engaged in this kind of activity; the first thing to do is to identify who these groups may be (check their websites and/or any publications/statements they have issued), and suggest that a coordinated approach be taken to optimize the outcomes.

Examples of some such groups could include major NGOs like the Red Cross, Save the Children, CARE, or organizations like UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, etc. At the student level, campus-based and other academic organizations can also be explored, as well as instructors; there may be a place in academic courses themselves to address the SDGs and their implementation.

Implementation Steps: Once you have forged these relationships on the basis of shared interests, then the basic steps in the implementation process are as follows:

  1. Begin with national policies/programs in some of the arenas most reflected in the SDGs, for example, poverty, social welfare, health, education, gender, labor/work, the environment, human rights, discrimination, etc. These will likely be located in such government ministries as Health, Education, Labor, Social Welfare, etc. Prioritize which one(s) you want to focus on most; it may be best to tackle one SDG at a time. Do not try to do too much, too soon. Early successes will set the stage for later, additional, efforts.

  2. Review these national policies/programs to ascertain in which ways they seem likely to assist in achieving one or more SDGs. Also review the extent to which the national policies/programs can be assessed by the indicators established to monitor the success of SDG implementation.

  3. Identify any “gaps” between what is articulated in the policies/programs and what is stated in the corresponding SDG(s).

  4. Establish recommendations for closing these gaps, and/or for otherwise enhancing the probability that the policies/programs will be successful. An advisory group, resembling a “rapid response team,” will be set up within GOHWP; this group will be available to discuss and help to refine these recommendations in what will likely be an iterative process.

  5. Provide specific measurement suggestions whereby you will know whether the recommendations have been successful. Referring to the SDG indicators may be a useful step here. Again, GOHWP representatives will constitute a group of expert advisors who can assist in program evaluation and indicator assessment.

sdgs

  1. In parallel with these efforts, identify the key influential players nationally/locally who are involved with the policies/programs, and develop relationships with them and/or their staffs/offices.

  2. Communicate your recommendations to these key players and work together with them to negotiate their acceptance.

  3. Publicize your activities to the memberships of any national or international professional communities of which you are a part. This can be done via journals/bulletins, as well as through conference presentations, professional publications, and op/ed pieces in the local/national press.

  4. Follow up over time to assess whether the recommendations are taken into account, and if not, why not.

  5. If necessary, try again. If early efforts are successful, move to another SDG(s) and repeat the process.

For additional resources about SDG implementation, please see this document developed jointly by GRI, the United Nations Global Compact, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development: http://sdgcompass.org/

Need more information? Contact us at info@gowhp.org for assistance!

Psychology Graduate Programs with A Prosocial focus – US Edition

This month’s blog post features graduate programs with a prosocial focus. If you are thinking about getting your Master’s or doctoral degree and have an interest in humanitarian work psychology, check out the programs below!

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Florida Institute of Technology 

The I/O Psychology program at Florida Tech is the first program in the United States with an International I/O concentration. The program provides pro-bono selection, training, and assessment systems to partner organizations in Florida. In addition, the program’s affiliated research center, the Institute for Cross Cultural Management works with international non-profit organizations to adapt interventions to fit the cultural context in which they will be implemented. For more information about the program, click here.

UNC

University of North Carolina  

UNC’s program in Organizational Science is an interdisciplinary degree focusing on employee and organizational health, well-being, and effectiveness. Their Volunteer Program Assessment is a free volunteer assessment system designed to promote nonprofit organizational effectiveness. It was developed in 2009 by students and faculty in the Organizational Science doctoral program. For more information about their graduate program, click here

NC State

North Carolina State 

At the doctoral program at North Carolina state, one can earn an I/O psychology degree or one in Applied Social and Community Psychology. Dr. Lori Foster Thompson is a Professor of Psychology who also she leads the IOTech4D lab. The IOTech4D lab is a research group devoted to combining industrial-organizational psychology and information technology to improve work that is carried out for the purpose of global development. This includes work performed in service of the Millennium Development Goals, which focus on areas such as poverty reduction, universal education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. Find more information on the program at NC State, click here

Portland State

Portland State University

Their department mission states that the purpose of their Applied Psychology programs is to “create understanding and solutions to enhance lives and address societal problems.” One can earn an I/O psychology degree or one in Applied Social and Community studies. Additionally, several students published this article about prosocial I/O in TIP. For more information, click here

Do you know of other graduate programs with a prosocial, CSR, or humanitarian focus? Post it in the comments below!

Book Review: Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda

By Ashley Hoffman, North Carolina State University & GOHWP Chair & Drew B. Mallory, Purdue University & GOHWP Vice-Chair

As with any growing subfield, we humanitarian work psychologists are always quite excited to see any new research coming to print. Starting with the 2012 book, Humanitarian Work Psychology (Carr, MacLachlan & Furnham, eds.), and continuing with books dedicated to the intersection of I-O and vulnerable populations (Reichman, 2014) and I-O Psychology and the greater good (Olson-Buchanan, J. B., Koppes Bryan, L. L., & Thompson, L. F., Eds., 2013) the number of publications devoted to highlighting the work being conducted in the HWP realm has been rapidly proliferating. Yet, despite greater publicity and increased research and interest in the role of I-O psychologists in contributing to the greater good, the appetite for even more information and research is strong. The latest publication to add to this body of literature is a book edited by former GOHWP Chair, Ishbel McWha-Hermann, as well as former Vice-Chair Doug Maynard, and current board member Mary O’Neill Berry. My colleague, Drew B. Mallory, and I would like to use this month’s column to introduce you to the book, provide a short review of the content, and share with you an interview with the editors, who discuss their vision of both the book and the larger area of HWP.
This book, Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda (2016), is among a handful of other books that have taken a step to fill the relative dearth of literature addressing HWP concerns, and does an admirable job at tackling the task at hand. The book seeks to address the way that work and organizations can impact global development, both in small- and large-scale operations. It is a collection of research studies and theoretical articles targeted to researchers and practitioners in the I/O field, and—especially—professionals involved with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and their successors, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
HWP and the Global Development Agenda (2016) seeks to address the organizations and individuals that have contributed to the research and practice of humanitarian work psychology, and how these specific contributions have furthered both the field of I/O psychology and the United Nation’s goals related to poverty reduction, social justice, and equality. The book makes a compelling case, not only for the practical applications of research and work that has already been conducted, but also about the processes aid and development workers use during the implementation of initiatives. The final section of the book also showcases some thoughtful reflections on the state of the field, the responsibility of I/O psychology in contributing to the greater good, and how the progress in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will dovetail into the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The introduction of the book by the editors provides an overview of the Millennium Development Goals and introduces unfamiliar readers to HWP. The book separates author contributions into thirds: articles addressing practical applications; specific processes; and reflections and projections, each related to the MDGs. As this book is a collection of research and practice from a variety of professions and interests, the contributors come from different backgrounds, including traditional I/O psychology scientists, as well as aid and development workers and practitioners. Additionally, the authors come from a variety of scholastic and professional backgrounds and represent very diverse countries and communities. The work of many important figures in HWP is represented, as is the work of many interesting and well-known organizations. The work that the IBM has done in Nigeria (Osicki), the more mainstream processes employed in corporate sustainability and the United Nations Global Compact partnerships (Cruse), and the variety of “calls to action” (e.g., Viale; Lefkowitz), in particular, are highlights of the informative and compelling vision of the state of HWP, the gaps in research and practice, and the roles that need to be created or filled moving forward. Not only do these chapters serve as a broad overview of the kinds of work that humanitarian work psychologists do, they also aim to continue the discussion surrounding I-O psychologists’ ethical responsibility to improving the lives of people both locally and globally, and to focus on such outcomes as much as or more than we have traditionally focused on improving the bottom line of the corporations in which we work. To that end, the volume concludes with a poignant piece leaving the reader feeling a renewed sense of responsibility and urgency to contribute to the MDGs and the SDGs moving forward.

This book showcases the work that has been done to this point. It also serves as a subtle reminder that we, as members of the field of psychology (and particularly the area of Humanitarian Work Psychology), have a great deal of research and work to do in order to both understand and contribute to the aid and development field.
Having sufficiently introduced you to the book concept and format, as well as its relevance and timeliness to the area of HWP, we would like to take this opportunity to have the book editors speak a little more about some of the “behind the scenes” process of compiling the book, as well as addressing some specific questions about their perceptions of the book’s strengths, purpose, and the future of HWP.
———
Hi Ishbel, Doug, and Mary! Thanks so much for contributing to this edition of the HWP TIP column. Let’s jump right in!

Ashley: I’d love to know your process for compiling the book? How did you come up with people and projects to include?
MB: Many of the authors are known to the editors since the early days of HWP; many are members of GOHWP, or closely networked with our group. We looked for broad geographical representation and a wide range of projects to include, with the intent of demonstrating the scope of HWP and the many and varied ways in which it can be of assistance in furthering the global development agenda, in particular, its application to the implementation of the MDGs, and, by extension, the SDGs.
IMH: We wanted to spread the net as wide as possible, and try to hear from people who were doing as broad a range of interesting and innovative work as possible. To do this, and ensure we reached people we might not have already known, we put together a call for proposals and circulated it to as many networks as we could find. We were really excited about the number of high quality submissions we received from around the globe. Once we had reviewed the submissions we looked for a broad geographical representation, as well as a range of projects which covered all of the MDGs in some way.

Ashley: Yes, it is evident that the projects covered are representative of the truly global nature of HWP, and the reach of the MDGs. I know Drew and I are really excited about this book and the contributions it provides. What do you all believe are the biggest strengths of the book?
IMH: The book was conceived and written at a really exciting time in the global development agenda, as the MDGs evolved into the SDGs. We felt that as the world put the development agenda under the microscope it was critical for I-O psychology and HWP to step up and highlight the contributions we have made to the MDGs and put forward our thoughts and aspirations for where this can go in the future. At the same time we recognized the opportunity for the fledgling HWP movement to shift from conceptual discussion of why I-O psychology can and should contribute to this agenda, to a practical demonstration of the excellent progress that work psychologists have already made. We hoped that providing practical case studies would help, encourage, and inspire others to undertake these kinds of projects, by showing that such work can be done and IS being done.
MB: We feel that the finished product does indeed demonstrate the breadth and depth of HWP application in a variety of types of case studies and geographical parts of the world. By making explicit the connection to MDG implementation, we think that the book serves as a blueprint or roadmap for how HWP can serve to also implement the SDGs, which define the global development agenda for the next 15 years. In addition, the book includes some “thought pieces” from leaders in the field, commenting on the progress made to date by HWP and their hopes for the future of HWP.

Drew: We absolutely saw that breadth, as well as the practical implications of the publication as we were reading. As a researcher starting out in this area myself, I’d like to hear you speak to what is missing in the HWP literature that another book could address?
DM: Using the MDGs as a framework for organizing and viewing the content of the book, it becomes clear that there is a greater focus on some areas of global development than others. This is not surprising given that the psychology of work is a more natural fit with some initiatives (e.g., eradicate extreme poverty, promote gender equality) than others. But we believe that HWP has much to contribute to all of these areas and look forward to seeing how practitioners find creative ways to apply our science across the broad spectrum of social, health, and environmental issues.
IMH: This book focused specifically on the global development agenda, because of the timing of the development goals. However, this reflects only one half of HWP work, as defined by GOHWP. Another book could provide a balanced illustration of both aspects of HWP (one being a focus on humane and decent work, the other on humanitarian aid and development work), and in addition to work in the humanitarian sector could include for example, projects that help marginalized and vulnerable workers in higher income settings. Additionally, as HWP grows in momentum we learn about more and more projects which are being done in the area, for example through AOM’s humanistic management network, and organizations like the Social Impact Research Lab. I’d like to see future work collaborating with scholars in these areas, and others, to learn across the disciplines.
MB: Yes, we would have liked to include more case studies illustrating the broader definition of HWP, namely, studies of work psychology applied in a humanitarian way, regardless of the sector or type of workplace. We look forward to covering this more completely on a future occasion!

Ashley: There is so much good work being done, and we are only beginning to scratch the surface of connecting as a global network. Are there any other projects you would have liked to highlight but didn’t have the space to include?
MB: Additional work being done on wage inequality/living wage issues, such as the GLOW initiative (Global Living Organizational Wage) – this is increasingly becoming a topic which is front and center of economic and social debate and media coverage.
IMH: To be honest, I think we packed as much into the book as we could! With 19 chapters I don’t think the publisher would have allowed us to include any more!

Drew: Anything else readers should know before beginning to peruse their copy?
MB: We encourage readers to read the initial chapter, which sets the stage and summarizes the various case studies, then to pick and choose other chapters at will; each chapter stands on its own merits, it is not necessary to read them in sequence. The reflective essays in Part lll and the final chapter we think bear reading together, as the foundation for the future direction of HWP. We hope that the book will encourage, if not inspire, readers to consider how they can practice and/or research HWP in their own careers.
——-
It was such fun speaking with Ishbel, Doug, and Mary about this new book, and get a little more insight into how it contributes to the HWP literature at large. Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda is hopefully the first of a large number of books devoted to highlighting and promoting the work that professionals in the psychology field are doing to further the accomplishment of the United Nations MDGs and SDGs. As we continue to move forward in our pursuit of these global goals in tandem with the United Nations, it is imperative that we also continue to publish empirical and theoretical research that speaks to the importance and relevance of the social sciences in solving local and global issues, and improving human welfare. This book is a wonderful launching point for any psychologists, new or seasoned, to improve their understanding of the interaction of the psychological profession and the world, and how psychologists can maximize their positive impact around the globe.

Leveraging Psychology to Reduce Racial Bias

A recent paper by Ruggs and Colleagues (2016) brings attention to different paradigms of racial tension throughout the United States, especially those involving law enforcement. The article also highlights some ways I-O and Humanitarian Work Psychologists can help. Below are some key pointers from the article. Be sure to check it out!

  1. Organizations should consider diversity training to reduce explicit and implicit racial biases.
  2. Performance evaluations can be used to assess candidates likely to exhibit biases toward others.
  3. Conducting climate studies to assess how accepting employees are of bias in their work environment could ultimately facilitate a more positive workplace.
  4. Psychologists can advocate for the integration of sensitivity training for management and leaders within organizations.
  5. Psychologists can work with police departments to assess the trust community members have for police officers, and potentially develop programs to address any issues.

Where to find the article: http://my.siop.org/Publications/IOPFocalArticles

Citation: Ruggs, Hebl, Rabelo, Weaver, Kovacs, & Kem (2016). Baltimore is burning: Can I-O psychologists help extinguish the flames?. SIOP IOP Focal Articles.

New Book on HWP and the Global Development Agenda

On 26 January 2016, a Book Launch was held as part of the Library Talks Series at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Switzerland, for the recently-published “Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda: Case Studies and Interventions,” edited by Drs. Ishbel McWha-Hermann, Douglas C. Maynard, and Mary O’Neill Berry.
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781848723689/

Attendees were welcomed by Mr. Francesco Pisano, Chief, UNOG Library, and Introductory Remarks were delivered on behalf of Mr. Michael Moller, Under-Secretary-General, Director-General, UNOG, by Mr. David A. Chikvaidze, Chef de Cabinet.

The meeting was moderated by Ms. Telma Viale, Director, Organizational Development, SRI. Presenters were Mr. Chakib Belhassan, Senior Officer, UNOPS Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, Geneva; Dr. Lichia Yiu, President, Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND), Geneva; and Dr. Raymond Saner, Professor em. in International Relations & International Management, University of Basel, and Co-Founder of CSEND. Ms. Viale, Dr. Yiu, and Dr. Saner are all authors of chapters in the book.

The text of the Director-General’s Opening Remarks may be read here.

Insight | Work psychology – putting the human in humanitarianism

Article reposted with permission. Find the original article here

By Ishbel McWha-Hermann

The United Nations (UN) recently unveiled its new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A replacement for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), these 17 new objectives outline important aspirations for the global community in addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges.

From ending poverty, promoting well-being and sustainable industrialisation, to ensuring equal access to justice – all by 2030 – the aims are as ambitious as they are admirable.

Challenging as they may be, the good news is – like the majority of the MDGs before them – they are achievable. But only if we support the humans behind the humanitarian effort and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) we rely upon to deliver them.

During the past few years, I’ve joined a growing movement of academics and leading practitioners to apply established work psychology theories and tools to areas of pressing humanitarian and international development need. As well as how to deliver the International Labour Organization’s vision of decent work, for all workers in all contexts.

As part of this ongoing research, I recently co-edited a new book which is the first of its kind to show this new field of humanitarian work psychology (HWP) in action implementing MDG projects.

Examining projects from Nigeria, India and Ghana, to Hong Kong and Sierra Leone, we found five key areas where work psychology can be applied to deliver humanitarian benefits.

1. Addressing workplace well-being

Like all organisations, people are core to the success of humanitarian agencies. Without committed, engaged employees and volunteers they simply cannot deliver positive development outcomes.

So it’s essential NGOs have effective governance and leadership to ensure their workforce is equitably treated and rewarded.

Applying work psychology to the humanitarian process can address a range of issues, from recruitment and selection, managing relationships between multi-cultural and diverse workforces, to pay and benefits. In such a charged environment, for example, work psychology can provide insights on how to mitigate the impact of emotional exhaustion on workers’ health and wellbeing.

2. Establishing partnerships to increase scale and impact

One way to improve workplace well-being and performance, in general, can come from forging multi-stakeholder partnerships to share knowledge, resources and best practices – particularly when these ties cross borders between developed and developing nations.

Collaborations between Higher Education institutions in Europe and North America with those in Africa have expanded skills in student recruitment and supervision to help improve post-graduate opportunities in global health across the continent.

3. Improving inclusiveness and extending participation in training

Expanding the reach of skills training to the lowest realistic levels can deliver vast improvements, not only in workplace participation but also in service delivery.

By identifying suitable candidates and tailoring training to local cultural and situational factors, NGOs in Sierra Leone have successfully managed to address significant shortages of healthcare professionals by training and retaining a vast team of Community Health Workers.

4. Embedding the value of communications and messaging

Applying work psychology’s focus on the value of communication to compel people to action has marked effects on the outcomes of projects. But it can also deliver real benefits to development processes – enabling them to be replicated in other settings or at different scales.

One notable project took this approach to improving goal-setting for frontline healthcare workers in Bihar, India. Using a team-based goals and incentives programme the motivation and performance of frontline workers was significantly improved, resulting in reduced child mortality rates and improved maternal health.

5. Encouraging local participation with projects

Change can be threatening for any community. But enacting it with local conditions and cultures in mind will improve the chance of a project’s success by ensuring it is rolled-out with a community, rather than to it.

In Uttar Pradesh, India, researchers were able to identify how to reduce the spread of communicable diseases by gaining an understanding of how daily behaviours – influenced by poverty and poor work environments – play a role in how they’re spread.

The new Sustainable Development Goals have challenged the international community to do more. Achieving these goals will not be easy, but I believe humanitarian work psychology will play a key role in turning the mission into reality.

 

Ishbel-McWha-Hermann

Dr Ishbel McWha-Hermann is Early Career Fellow in International Human Resource Management, a founding member of the Global Task Force for Humanitarian Work Psychology, and past Chair of the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology(GOHWP).

 

Recap of SIOP 2015 in Philadelphia

Were you unable to attend SIOP 2015? Check out this recap of some of the HWP-focused sessions this year in Philadelphia!

UN Initiatives for Women: How Can I-O Help?

In early 2015, the United Nations is launching important initiatives related to women globally, including women and work. These initiatives are a revitalization of initiatives started at the defining World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The field of industrial/organizational psychology has, for decades, been at the forefront of research and evidence-based practice on understanding and addressing issues related to women and work. This session provided information on these re-vitalized UN initiatives and engage an expert I/O psychology panel and the audience on how the profession of I/O psychology can help. One way is for researchers to include the gender wage gap in their research regarding a living wage. Another is keeping in mind that while many problems are global, solutions are local. Finally, panelists stressed the importance of partnering with economists in this work.

I-O for the Greater Good: Prosocial Applications of Our Expertise
This community of interest was a discussion forum for potential applications of our expertise in prosocial arenas as well as a debate about IO Psychology’s responsibility in this area. One major point of discussion was whether, as a field, we should separate prosocial applications as a sub-area of IOP or incorporate it as a basis for all that we do. While some argued that it should be developed as a specialty area for IOPs. Others believed it should be foundational to all research and practice. Another interesting point of discussion pertained to how to measure business performance in non-profits and other organizations which do not use ROI as a metric. This is a major gap in our current understanding of operational effectiveness in non for profit organizations.

Industrial Organizational Psychology and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in 2015, set global priorities for everything from improving working conditions and enhancing gender equality to reducing poverty. Human work-related behavior is central to meeting all of the SDGs, therefore I-O psychologists have much to contribute to these goals. As a non-governmental organization with official consultative status to the UN, SIOP prepared a list of I-O psychology topics that pertain to each goal. Attendees broke into groups to discuss specifically how their skills could contribute to the SDGs. As an IOP, you are encouraged to visit www.tinyurl.com/SIOPUN to contribute your thoughts and use this tool to contribute what you know about IOP as it pertains to the SDGs. Check out this video for more information:

Decent Work, Sustainable Development Goals, and Humanitarian Work Psychology
Promotion of locally sustainable decent work in inclusive business economies has been the focus of recent efforts by the United Nations and ILO. This symposium explored the role of I/O and HWP in promoting decent work and influencing positive psychological outcomes for the global working poor, including an examination of missing competencies for the business of inclusion, the UN Global Compact’s Local Networks Initiatives for sustainable organizational practices, a report on the recent advocacy efforts by the psychology coalition for UN for the upcoming sustainable development goals, and two South-Asian case-studies on fair-trade by humanitarian work psychologists.

Prosocial IOP and HWP Posters

There were a number for great posters this year! Lots of great research about burnout, distributive justice, and commitment. There was also some interesting work regarding employee reactions to organizational sponsored volunteer programs. Check out the full list below!

Testing the Relationship between Volunteerism and Commitment Using Organizational Surveys
Shawn Del Duco
Camille Estime
This paper explored the relationship between volunteerism and organizational commitment. We also tested the effect of survey instrument type on organizational commitment. Results from our field study indicate that volunteerism is strongly related to organizational commitment, but survey instrument type did not impact organizational commitment after controlling for employee characteristics.

Employee Reactions to a Volunteering Program: Mediated and Moderated Effects
David Jones
Hypotheses were tested to explain changes in employees’ beliefs about their company’s identity after introducing a volunteering program. Beliefs about the company’s identity were linked to feeling proud about its community involvement. Employee pride predicted their organizational identification, moderated by prosocial identity, in turn predicting several job attitudes and behaviors.

Bad Luck Reduces Perceived Psychological Distance and Increases Prosocial Behavior
Sreedhari Desai
Jonathan Keeney
Four studies explored the relationship between luck and prosocial behavior. Using archival, laboratory, and field data, we found that individuals who recall or experience bad luck are more likely to behave prosocially. This effect is mediated by reduced psychological distance. Good luck, however, did not consistently predict prosocial behavior.

Distributive Justice for Volunteers: Extrinsic Outcomes Matter
Christine Quick
Lisa Scherer
Joseph Allen
Drawing on the employee justice literature, the role of distributive justice on volunteer intention to quit was examined. The indirect relationship between distributive justice and intention to quit through satisfaction was stronger for volunteers who placed lower rather than higher importance on extrinsic outcomes.

Moderating Effects of Volunteers’ Motives on Satisfaction and Burnout
Kailey Perez
Kimberly Schneider
Kamila Gabka Ashley McCarthy
Kelsey Stephens
Aaron Whitely
F. Andrew Eichler
Volunteers may not have the same motives as paid employees for working and remaining in an organization. This paper examined volunteer motives as moderators of the relationship between organizational constraints and work satisfaction, work engagement, and burnout. Results suggest motives moderate these relationships, particularly helping motives.

Influence of Individual Differences on Sustainable Behavior Commitment and Engagement
Shelby Anderson
Carol Shoptaugh
Michelle Visio
Robert Jones
Climate change knowledge, belief in science, green-self-efficacy, commitment to environmental sustainability and self-reported sustainable behaviors were examined. Green-self-efficacy scale was developed to assess individual beliefs. A hierarchical regression indicated green self-efficacy and commitment to environmental sustainability mediate the relationship between climate change knowledge and sustainable behavior relationship.

Stepping Up or Stepping By: Bystander Intervention in Sexual Assault
Amanda Palmer
L. Witt
Daniel McDonald
This paper tested a psychological process in which command intolerance of sexual harassment/assault has direct and indirect effects on bystander intervention. Results revealed that low-conscientiousness personnel paid attention to proximal cues (i.e., their coworkers) rather than distal cues (i.e., their leaders) in determining to what extent to intervene.
Climate for Environmental Management and Environmental Management Effectiveness
David Zoogah
Integrating organizational climate and environmental management theories, we examine climate for environmental management (CEM) and its relation to corporate environmental management effectiveness. Results suggest that CEM relates positively to environmental management effectiveness through ecological behavior at the individual level. We discuss implications and limitations.

Ecological Transcendence and Ecological Behavior
David Zoogah
Based on 176 responses of employees from 46 organizations we find that ecological transcendence has a sigmoidal relationship with ecological behavior suggesting deficiency, goading, and lulling effects. We discuss implications for theory and practice

Volunteer Program Assessment: Lessons Learned and Opportunities from I-O Outreach
Joseph Allen
Tammy Allen
Mark Poteet Lisa Finkelstein
Emily Medvin
Jessie Olien Lisa Scherer
Kimberly Schneider
This session provides information about the Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA), an innovative initiative that expands I-O to nontraditional audiences. Using student consultants, the VPA provides nonprofits with information about the perceptions and concerns of its volunteer workforce. Topics will include strategic start-up issues, lessons-learned, operational concerns, and future opportunities.

New Year, New Board!

The results are in. Welcome to our Executive Board members for the 2014/2015 term!

Congratulations to Ashley Hoffman, our incoming Chair, as well as our other re-elected board members – Doug Maynard (Vice-Chair), Stu Carr and Mary O’Neill Berry, and Tara Behrend.

We also welcome two new members – Peter Baguma and Laura Sywulak, as well as our new student representative, Drew Mallory.

To learn more about each of our Board Members, check out the Leadership page on the GOHWP website:

The Board has already been working hard to promote HWP, increase membership and member involvement in GOHWP, and add even more value for our current members.  With SIOP members voting the growth of corporate social responsibility as one of the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2015, it’s looking to be a big year for GOHWP! We have a number of goals this year, including but not limited to:

  • Linking members with each other, with organizations, internships, job opportunities, and relevant research to encourage strategic partnerships
  • Expanding GOHWP’s outreach to organizations and institutions, especially in Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe
  • Developing and distributing resources like papers, teaching materials, and guides to increase knowledge-sharing and awareness of humanitarian work psychology

We look forward to a productive year!

*Interested in contributing something to the GOHWP newsletter or blog? We’d love to hear from you! Email lsywulak@gc.cuny.edu for more information.