Orientation: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a ‘coronafication’ of research and academia, including the instrumentalisation of academic research towards the demands of society and governments. Whilst an enormous number of special issues and articles are devoted on the topic, there are few fundamental reflections on how the current pandemic will affect science and work and organisational psychology in the long run. Research purpose: The current overview, written by a group of members of the Future of Work and Organisational Psychology (FOWOP) Movement, focuses on the central issues relating to work and organisational psychology that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Motivation for the study: The study discusses the inability of dominant theories in work and organisational psychology to understand contemporary problems and the need to advance the theoretical realm of work psychology. We also discuss the need for pluralism in methodologies to understand the post-COVID-19 workplace, the urgency of attending to neglected voices and populations during the COVID-19 crisis and teaching during COVID-19. Research approach/design and method: This article uses conceptual argumentation. Main findings: The COVID-19 crisis forces work psychology to address at least its theorising, methods, unheard voices and teaching in the COVID-19 crisis. Practical/managerial implications: On the basis of this article, researchers and practitioners may be better aware of the neglected perspectives in the current pandemic. Contribution/value-add: This article adds to the understanding of the future directions for a sustainable Work and Organisational Psychology as an applied scientific discipline during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
This paper introduces the concept of fictional science to the field of work and organizational psychology. It describes the necessity of such introduction, and the intended benefits for the field of work psychology. Work psychology is a scientific discipline dominated by a positivistic paradigm, which stifles the possibilities of abductive reasoning in the field, and thus the envisioning of possible future workplaces. Fictional science as the imagined, made up scientific thinking and argumentation holds the possibilities for such imagination. Fictional science, therefore, offers work psychologists the means to postulate possible futures for workplaces, and thus the potential to bring about positive change to workplaces. I will also explain the importance of form, and the role of the literary in fictional science. The paper will finish with a fictional example of the University of Harderwijk, showing the potential of fictional science for the study and imagination of future workplaces.
What is the response of work psychologists to the current Covid-19 crisis? What do work psychologists have to offer in these times of uncertainty? The Future of Work and Organizational Psychology (FoWOP) Movement calls for academics worldwide to contribute to sustainable solutions for workplaces, the economy, and individuals. The current crisis offers possibilities in the midst of all horror unfolding - a chance for change - a chance to reorganize the workplace and the economy in a fundamentally different way, that protects the dignity of each individual human being and the planet. this piece is a brief call for contributions. Please do get in touch with us!
For anyone interested in becoming a more critical researcher, or conducting research from a more critical perspective, we have now made a Checklist for Critical Work and Organizational Psychology. In this checklist you will find some background as well as many questions that stimulate thinking about critical issues in our work.
It was not long ago that technology and robotization were not of any interest to work psychologists or organizational scholars. The impact of technology on people and organizations was not something worth researching, and there were more pressing issues, such as the aging workforce, engagement, or work-life balance. However, this has changed dramatically during the last years. In this paper, I discuss four main fantasies that are present in our discourses around technology and work, and debunk these myths.
To improve the way in which research is currently conducted and communicated, Hartgerink and van Zelst (2018) have recently suggested a new research communication infrastructure. In their vision, research output is communicated continuously “as-you-go” as opposed to the current system where research is only communicated after the entire cycle has been completed (i.e., “after-the-fact”). This “as-you-go” system offers a host of advantages, including more transparency and a more rapid dissemination of research output. To examine the viability of their system, I aim to build a functioning implementation of their proposed infrastructure to investigate the research question “Does power corrupt?”Specifically, in this application I propose the Many Paths model, which starts with one research question and allows an emergent process to occur thereafter. Given that results are often path dependent and many paths can be taken in a research process, it is worthwhile to study which what paths a research project initiated, pruned, and merged. The Many Paths model offers insight into how researchers from different disciplines approach and study the same research question in a different way, and how that may relate to different conclusions being reached. As such, the project offers insight into the value of the “as-you-go” form of research communication. Furthermore, by inviting researchers from various disciplines to collaboratively address the question “Does power corrupt?” the Many Paths project offers a collaborative and integrated approach to that age-old question. The funding will be used primarily to set up the communication infrastructure that will allow the emergent collaborative project in the form of Many Paths to happen. Here, researchers communicate each step of the research process directly after it occurred, thereby linking each step to a previous one. This structure allows for the paths of the research process to be investigated. Moreover, the “as-you-go”-communication infrastructure allows collaborators to prune their own research progress into different areas, as they observe and get inspired by the other collaborators. The remainder of the funding will be used for a data scientist to analyze the paths via which researchers communicate on the Many Paths project, to support data collection (if needed) and for organizing meetings on the project.
Today, we face a burnout crisis in universities. More than half of UK academics experience high or very high levels of work related stress. Early career academics are at least 6 times more likely to develop mental illness than people working outside academia. Universities and governments typically address these problems by using psychological interventions to make academics more resilient to stress. Prescribing CBT or meditation for stressed-out researchers suggests that the reason we cannot cope lies with us as individuals, and fails to address and treat the fundamental sources of the problem. The reason for the burnout epidemic in universities is not that overly sensitive people self-select for an academic career, but that work in academia is organised in ways that make us sick. Some of these factors are the obsession with performance metrics in universities, the perpetual competition among academics, the expectation of excellence in all areas, job insecurity and the rise of temporary and unstable contracts, the utilization of free academic labour by publishing houses, the pressure to publish in high impact journals, and the pressure to obtain external funding. Psychology is often seen as the ultimate tool to understand and 'fix' mental health problems: to improve individuals' coping strategies to enhance their resilience and adaptiveness, so that they can function better and become more productive in their work. However, helping individuals adapt to the system that caused their suffering in the first place is clearly a limited and sometimes misguided use of psychological knowledge. A more responsible approach to psychology would provide both a systemic analysis of the causes of individual suffering, support for individuals in responding to it, and the empowerment of individuals as change-makers. Within a flawed system, individuals have agency that extends beyond their ability merely to cope and function at work. We can take action aimed at changing the rules of the system that makes academics collectively miserable. For this, we need a collective form of agency. As academia is ultimately constituted of us academics, we must recognize our own responsibility in perpetuating the competitive logic of the academic system. Instead of competing, we should envision and try to create an academic system in which we want to work. We, a group of work and organisational psychologists, have written a manifesto that describes how this might happen. In this manifesto, we offer ten recommendations for a sustainable future for universities, in which academics can both thrive and conduct meaningful work that delivers on academia's social responsibilities. We call on academics to do research that is truly independent from corporate agendas, prioritize societal interests instead, and engage in continuous dialogue with other stakeholders to identify and research the most relevant issues. We want to collectively stop aspiring to be the mythical ideal academic who delivers excellence in every aspect of their job (and often pays with their health for pursuing this fantasy). Instead, we need to co-construct healthier objectives and standards, working in ways that are more collaborative, caring and relational, and much less individualistic, competitive and self-exploitative in nature. We invite academics to break the silence in universities and engage in dialogue with colleagues about discrimination, bullying, and
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The idea of meritocracy, according to which every individual has a fair chance to succeed and rise to power, is central to the neoliberal university. At the core of it rests the assumption that we are all players on a level playing field. But the moment one looks at figures, meritocracy gets exposed for what it is: a myth, as numbers show that women and minorities are systematically underrepresented in universities when it comes to positions of power. Inequality comes in many forms and shapes, but due to time constraints, in the session of ‘Promoting equality in academia’ at the Future of Work and Organizational Psychology (FoWOP) day we zoomed in on ethnicity and gender. In this session, we challenged the idea of meritocracy, shared our own experiences of inequalities in academia, listed what we would need to tackle inequalities in our working lives and around us, and translated those needs into action points.
In this short reflection piece, I summarize the main inspirations, outcomes and impressions of the Future of WOP Day held preceding the EAWOP Conference, taking place on 29 May 2019 in Torino, Italy. During this day around 70 people got together to talk about the future of our field, including the need for better methods, more critical research, more equality in academia, and a healthier system for us all.
This manifesto presents 10 recommendations for a sustainable future for the field of Work and Organizational Psychology. The manifesto is the result of an emerging movement around the Future of WOP (see www. futureofwop.com), which aims to bring together WOP-scholars committed to actively contribute to building a better future for our field. Our recommendations are intended to support both individuals and collectives to become actively engaged in co-creating the future of WOP together with us. Therefore, this manifesto is open and never “finished.” It should continuously evolve, based on an ongoing debate around our professional values and behavior. This manifesto is meant, first of all, for ourselves as an academic community. Furthermore, it is also important for managers, decision makers, and other stakeholders and interested parties, such as students, governments and organizations, as we envision what the future of WOP could look like, and it is only through our collective efforts that we will be able to realize a sustainable future for all of us.
In this short piece I make the observation that the field of Work and Organizational Psychology (and/or OB) is primarily white and dominated by white people. As a white WOP-scholar myself, I ask myself three questions: why is WOP so white?, what are the effects of WOP being so white?, and what can we do to enhance diversity in WOP? I explore the questions in a bit of detail, but this is also an open invitation to anyone to come up with suggestions, ideas, research, references, comments and so on. This may also serve as input for further discussion at the EAWOP 2019 Conference in Turin, and the Future of WOP-day preceding the conference.
In this piece, I make the argument that we should stop measuring performance and well-being in Organizational Behavior, Work and Organizational Psychology and HRM. I bring forward various arguments why so, and in particular explain why well-being is not a valid substitute for performance. I would like to thank Edina Doci for her comments on an earlier draft of the piece.
This paper explores the role of neoliberal ideology in workplace practices and in work and organizational psychology (WOP) research. It analyses how neoliberal ideology manifests in these two domains by using a prominent framework from the field of political theory to understand ideology through three different logics: political, social and fantasmatic logics. We explore the main neoliberal assumptions underlying existing practices in the workplace as well as in WOP research, how individuals are gripped by such practices, and how the status quo is maintained. The paper analyses how individuals in the contemporary workplace are henceforth influenced by neoliberalism, and how this is reflected in the practices and dominant paradigms within WOP. In particular, we focus on three ways neoliberalism affects workplaces and individual experiences of the workplace: through instrumentality, individualism and competition. The paper finishes with practical recommendations for researchers and practitioners alike on how to devote more attention to the, often implicit, role of neoliberal ideology in their work and research. The discussion elaborates on how alternative paradigms in the workplace can be developed which address the downsides of neoliberalism.