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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…

 

We Congratulate Our HWP Colleague, Leo Marai!

GOHWP is delighted to announce that Leo Marai, one of our earliest members and a seasoned professional in humanitarian work psychology, has recently obtained his PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology in the School of Business & Public Policy at the University of Papua New Guinea in Papua New Guinea. Leo’s dissertation is titled: “Dual Salaries in Papua New Guinea: Exploring their Links to Perceived Justice, Motivation and Wellbeing.” He was supervised by Professor David Kavanamur of School of Business & Public Policy, University of Papua New Guinea, and Professor Stuart Carr from School of Psychology, Massey University in New Zealand. One of his thesis external examiners was Professor Adrian Furnham of University College London.

With Leo’s permission, we are including a brief form of the abstract of his dissertation below.  Interested readers can reach out to him at leomarai – at – yahoo – dot – com for a copy of the full document.

The present study explored the concept and practice of dual salaries in Papua New Guinea, where local workers are remunerated less than international workers despite often performing identical jobs and having equivalent human capital. The “double de-motivation” hypothesis predicts that dual salaries will de-motivate both locally- and internationally-remunerated skilled employees, but the hypothesis has never been fully explored in the context of Papua New Guinea before. In particular, possible mediators and moderators of the linkage between remuneration type and de-motivation, such as the perceived justice and occupational propinquity (defined as psychological proximity) among workers on the job, along with other outcomes such as health and wellbeing, remain unknown.

The thesis concludes by presenting a new model of dual salaries. It adds to existing knowledge by revealing (a) that remuneration type (local, international) predicted injustice, de-motivation and mobility intentions among local workers; and also double de-motivation among international and locally-remunerated workers in a new country context; (b) that de-motivation mediated between remuneration type and justice; (c) that remuneration type predicted negative wellbeing; (d) that negative wellbeing mediated between remuneration type and de-motivation more than following from de-motivation; and (e) that occupational propinquity added separately and directly to injustice and de-motivation.

We congratulate Leo and applaud his work on dual-salary systems, one of the critical issues in the field. We are sure that this marks the beginning of many more years for him of productive research and practice in HWP.

An introduction to Project FAIR

What is Project FAIR and where did it come from?

by Ishbel McWha-Hermann

GOHWP board member Morrie Mullins approached me after the recent SIOP conference in Orlando to see if I would be interested in sharing some details of Project FAIR with the GOHWP membership, as an example of an HWP-related study that is being undertaken. FAIR stands for Fairness in Aid Remuneration and the project explores the ways international NGOs are structuring their reward systems in an effort to balance the desire to reward local and expatriate employees equitably with the need to attract and retain skilled employees.

The project developed from previous research which looked at the impact of dual salary systems (where national and international workers receive vastly different reward packages) on motivation and performance of both groups of employees. The previous study was carried out across six lower and middle-income countries, and the results largely suggested that disparities in pay and benefits had a negative impact on employees, particularly local employees who tend to receive much smaller packages (see Carr, McWha, MacLachlan & Furnham, 2010, for more details). In 2014 we held a workshop in London to share the results of the project with HR and reward managers from many international NGOs, and overwhelmingly they agreed that the results made intuitive sense, but what they wanted to know was what they should do to address them. Project FAIR was a first step along the path to helping figure out the answer to that question. We interviewed 18 HR and reward managers from 13 international NGOs of varying size and scope, and developed some insights into the different approaches to reward that are being undertaken, as organisations try to find ways to make their reward systems fairer. A full report on the project findings is available on the website www.project-fair.org.

Project FAIR speaks to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular it clearly links to SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), which includes the sub-goal of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’. The momentum behind Project FAIR reflects the current situation in which many international NGOs (as well as other actors within the aid and development sector more broadly) recognise that while they are clearly promoting the SDGs externally through their projects and activities, they also need to look internally to their own policies and practices to ensure they are meeting the SDGs in the ways they operate. Project FAIR is just one example of the great potential I-O psychologists have to contribute to many of the SDGs through the work that we do, be it looking at fair working conditions, equality and inclusion, wellbeing, gender, justice, or much more.

Project FAIR is an ESRC-funded international collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, CHS Alliance, Birches Group and Massey University.

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.

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.

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).

 

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.