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Work design - an untapped opportunity for organisational psychologists?

Professor Sharon Parker presented at a recent professional development event of the College of Organizational Psychologists in Western Australia (COPWA). Sharon outlined results of preliminary research (Parker, Andrei, & van den Broeck, under prep.) suggesting that organisational psychologists tend to design more motivating and mentally healthy jobs relative to other professionals and students (see link below).

Attendees at the event discussed some of the attributes of organisational psychologists that might mean they are especially qualified for designing good work. For example, organisational psychologists tend to have a strong a systems-thinking approach to organizational problems, as well as the ability to think from the perspective of an individual as well as the wider team or organization. Other positive attributes of org. psychs include: an understanding of causality and research design, a commitment to evidence, and high-level quantitative skills.

Attendees also discussed opportunities for greater engagement in work design, such as more involvement in: organizational restructuring (too often led by accounting consulting firms), the redesign and implementation of new technology, and facilitating return to work (e.g., of women who have been out of the workplace).

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