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Partnering With a Purpose: Psychologists as Advocates in Organizations

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Partnering With a Purpose: Psychologists as Advocates in Organizations

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Abstract

To ensure that psychological issues are on policymakers’ agenda, psychologists often focus professional advocacy efforts in the political and social realm. Psychologists working in organizations, however, also have a role in ensuring that professional issues rise into the consciousness of organizational decision makers. In an era of health care reform, the advent of program-based management, limited resources, and managed care, psychologists are under increasing pressure to show their worth inside organizations and often have limited ability to communicate with organizational leaders. Psychologists typically report to nonpsychologists who may have only a general understanding of what psychology offers and can often misunderstand requests from psychologists about patient care alternatives, time for research, ability to present at conferences, and so forth. Advocacy is one avenue for increasing effective communication of psychologists’ perspectives and interests that can serve to educate leaders about the value of psychology and how to best use psychological expertise. A major benefit of organizational advocacy is learning advocacy skills in a known environment, which can then be transferred to broader social advocacy. The article discusses the development of advocacy skills in organizations and suggests possible advocacy activities that are consistent with the professional role. It is argued that clarity of the message and partnering with decision makers are important as psychologists advocate for the role of psychology in service delivery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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