Briefly: Industrial-Organizational Psychology is a branch of psychology which incorporates ad applies psychological theory to social systems in the
workplace. It is the study of workforces, productivity, diversity, global integration, personnel training, and leadership development. Most I/O
Psychologists attempt to make working environments cohesive to overall growth of the employees and organization.
I first was interested in I/O Psychology after seeing people I loved hate their jobs, drink because of their jobs, cry because of their jobs, and
thought ‘there has to be a better way’. The second passion I had was considering leadership/followship attitudes among particular individuals, as
well as the interactions and cultures which develop with certain organization. Regardless, here I am, working on a PhD in I/O Psychology.
In studying the various facets of I/O Psychology, the topic of diversity and cultural sensitivity are given a lot of thought, especially considering
cultural differences. In example, in certain Asian cultures taking naps at work
is considered respectable
has worked so hard for me they are exhausted). In certain western European cultures, great encouragement is given to tend
to work-life balance
. In the Pacific Island culture, there is a laissez-faire approach to work as
so long as expectations are met with an emphasis on creating near familial
bonds with peers
. As an American boss having a Japanese employee nap on the job while a Swedish employee leaves early for the 5th time this
month, and the Hawaiian is continually hugging and inviting everyone for drinks, may be unnerving. Understanding, navigating, and coaching through
these stark differences can help a business leader thrive or die.
Recently I was asked to write a 9 page paper on the diversity needs of African-Americans. I was given articles to reference and critically think about
one of which was entitled: Dear White Boss,
published by the Harvard Review in 2002. What first
disturbed me about this article was there are absolutely no academic citations or references. The entire article is based off the feelings of an
African-American executive. Secondly the article is now 15 years old, which if not foundational, is not acceptable to use in current theoretical
I became apprehensive. I am a Hispanic/white woman with centrist with slight liberal leftist leanings, though independent views on some a few subjects
swing either very right or very left. Continually throughout my “University Experience” I have noted a distinct trend to form perspective on a
more left, and authoritarian mindset. The impending feeling if you dare to disagree with an established narrative your academic career is over. I have
dredged through books which are more interested in placing blame for perceived injustices than actually resolving the issue.
In example, the wage-gap. As a female I have never once, ever, experienced this phenomenon. Just like a man, I have earned every penny in my pocket. I
have usually outperformed many of my peers. I have never known any woman to experience being paid 73 cents for every dollar a man makes based on being
a woman. It made no sense to me. It still makes no sense to me. As a business owner if I could get away with that, I’d just hire all women! There
should be no men left in the workforce. Discussing the four main contributing factors (career field, career choice, work/life balance that is to say
the choice to have children and hours worked, and relationship status) to the wage gap is out rightly taboo in my academic setting. I am usually met
with eye-rolls and claims of ‘internalized misogyny’. I feel there is a continual shut-down of people who want to explore issues in terms of what
is ‘decided talking points’. Instead of looking at cultural norms (e.g. mothers taking time off work to tend to sick children instead of the
father, resulting in less time worked and therefore harsher critique upon promotional review to the man who is at work every day), there’s some huge
cone of silence around most ‘politicalized’ subjects. Race, gender, sexual orientation, the gambit.
Again. I was apprehensive. After 7 years I am so tired of indoctrination.
Yet reading this work was, in a word, amazing. The article discusses the very issues that a dichotomous racial society produces in the attempt at
‘compensation’. How ‘white guilt’ can backfire. In this article, it follows the career of an African-American executive who was not promoted
and exalted by merit, but by tokenism. He was not considered a company strategist, but a master on race relations. He notes an inherent drive of white
people to lower standards and expectations woven through the narrative demonstrates a sense of ‘so you think I can’t do this because I’m
black’. Internal unspoken quota systems to promote unqualified persons up the chain based not on the content of their character, but the color of
their skin. The expectation of productivity to drop and people offering to take more complex work away from the cases cited here all in a misguided
attempt to seem ‘racially proactive’.
The situation then grows more complex. The ‘white fear’ of reprimanding and lay-offs prevented individuals from being hired into positions they
…he was afraid to hire black leaders because, he said, “If I fire them, they will sue me.” Do you think people hired under such circumstances
are really given the opportunity to succeed? I don’t. Do you think our white counterparts are scrutinized for positions based on the preconceived
idea that they will fail? No, I don’t think so either. How can we possibly succeed in an environment where our new bosses have already thought about
what’s going to happen when they have to fire us? I think stereotypes based on fear that have festered into “fact” are what’s behind this
The article speaks to several layers of areas I have wanted to speak out on. To shout out and go ‘Can you all not see by holding individuals to
different grouped standards, you are telling them they are not good enough on their own to succeed? You set them up to fail?’. In a desperate search
to ‘appear’ diverse without actually embracing the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, the pendulum can swing exactly in the opposite
direction. These are the dialogues I think society needs to be having, and I wanted to share with you my experiences, my insights, and my excitement
at being assigned it!
I encourage you all to take time to read and start some of that good discussion on how to approach these issues as a person, online community, and
society. Do the political issues we face today with antifa, alt-right, snowflake, kek, blm, lbgt pull us to a point where we end up just throwing up
our hands, thus causing more harm?
TL : DR – I/O Psychologists try to make work suck less for everyone. I study I/O Psychology and feel the University tends to discourage
counter-narratives on 'hot button' topics. I was happily surprised by an article giving heartfelt insight to culture at the workplace and wanted to
share it with you all for consideration.
edit on 7 27 17 by KaDeCo because: (no reason given)