Gudela Grote on the Alliance for Organizational Psychology

Gudela Grote is a past president of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) and the current president of the Alliance for Organizational Psychology (AOP). In this episode, we talk about the mission of the AOP and the importance of global collaboration among work and organizational psychologists and practitioners.


This is an AI-translated transcript and may not be completely accurate. Please do not quote myself or any of my guests based on this transcript.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  00:00

Welcome back, everyone to the department 12 podcast. I’m your host, as always, Dr. Ben Butina. Joining me today is Professor Gudela Grote, how are you today? Good. Hello.

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  00:10

Hi, how are you?

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  00:13

I’m doing good. So, Gudela is the professor of work and organizational psychology in the Department of Management technology and economics at ETH Zurich. She is also a past president of the European Association of work in organizational psychology and the current president of the Alliance for organizational psychology. And that’s what I’d like to talk to you talk with you about today. So let’s start here. What is the Alliance for organizational psychology?

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  00:47

The Alliance is an alliance of several working organization psychology associations, so the the founding members was saya and you up and the division one of the International association of Applied Psychology I pee. In the meantime, there’s also the Canadian science part of it with the overall idea to really increase visibility globally of work in organizational psychology, and how could we all strive for to use our knowledge to increase quality working life for as many people as possible.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  01:26

Great goal. So help us understand then what a federation is what that means. Exactly. So it’s not something that hey, you know, I could send in a check and join, right. It’s a an organization of organization, so to speak.

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  01:40

Yes. So it’s we don’t have individual members, I mean, individual persons as members, but associations. And with that, also, there’s always this question of how can we, how can we serve them the associations and through the associations, the members Have those associations differently from for instance, I have our eo. The real idea is that we can create maybe connections internationally that the individual associations couldn’t create as easily. And I guess then through the associations feed that back to the individual members.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  02:24

Okay, that makes sense. And I think that’s something that something that that we could use. I mentioned in my email setting up the show, I think that, you know, in my experience, at least a lot of industrial and organizational psychologists here in the United States are focused pretty heavily on the united states don’t get a lot of international exposure. And, you know, in addition to sort of broadening our perspective as well, finding areas where we can all cooperate to raise the profile of, of work in organizational psychology around the globe. Makes a lot of sense. So you’ve, you’re in a position where you were a past president of your current president of Alp, like, What? What do you see as the biggest differences? I mean, we talked about the goals. But for example, how is it that people are selected to be a part of the Alliance? For example, how is it that people get involved in doing things with the Alliance?

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  03:28

And the Alliance is, I mean, originally those those three organizations now for us to broaden our reach, we recently started an initiative which we call the big tent, which allows much more easily for other associations around the globe to join with the basic idea to just increase networking between organizations and I guess for me, when you talk about the US, I mean, there I mean, people are very well represented. By say up, there’s a lot going on at cya, but many other countries, there’s just very small communities of work and organizational psychologists so they can benefit a lot through the lines to reach out and to other associations as well. And then, of course, you can ask the other way around what does a member of sighup I mean, can benefit through the Alliance and through those networks? And they could say, first of all, it is yes, more more kind of global exposure. But it’s I think, also then maybe belonging to a profession that overall globally is more visible, and I think many things that we try to achieve in the end we have to achieve internationally. So when you look at for instance, standards for decent work as the International Labor Organization strives to establish, I mean, that’s really something that you cannot really do in a country of obviously, you have to do it there also, but as soon as standards differ than Work wanders around the globe, wherever it can be done cheapest. So we really need to work together to prevent such a thing. That’s maybe one element, but then it can be also very, very practical if I mean, if I’m in the US and I feel it would be great to do an internship somewhere, anywhere in the world, really, then the Alliance cannot kind of directly help but through knowing all these network partners as part of this big 10, then you would know which Association maybe to to contact in, I don’t know, in Latin America and Africa and Asia, then you might not be so familiar with.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  05:42

Okay. You mentioned sort of collaborating together on things like you know, standards for decent work. Are there other areas or topics where you think working organizational psychologists could benefit with more global cooperation than we have currently.

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  06:00

I think generally as it seems, whatever topic we work on, there’s always another profession that kind of has been there already or actually takes over from us. A lot of work that we used to do now is kind of done by behavioral economists. And if you look at the kind of policy impact that they create, it’s much higher than unusually what we achieve with our own work. So, I mean, learning along all those different fields, what it takes to really get our knowledge to where it can be most impactful is quite important. And that is really part of the Alliance also and to to just exchange how more impactful work can be done. So for instance, when they started advocacy work a few years back, he is kind of doing trying something similar, obviously It’s more difficult when you look at more countries than just one. So it’s not just Washington but it’s Brussels and who exactly in Brussels and then how to go back to associations also. But just to learn from each other, I think and then to just increase awareness among them, the individual members also to offer trainings for reaching out to policymakers, or even I mean, some work in organizations, psychologists work and those places, right. So how can we build bridges that the knowledge gets to where you can be most powerful is one important goal.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  07:39

That’s great, cool. What if any role do you see practitioners playing in the Alliance?

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  07:47

They’re very important, obviously, because I mean, there are the bridge. Usually, I mean, academics don’t really achieve a whole lot by themselves, but they achieve it through knowledge transfer into practice. SIOP I think is very good there because there you have about half half academics and practitioners. So I think that transfer works pretty well. Ewok is not doing that. Well. That’s usually mostly academics and I guess at the what we’ve been working hard to, to get more practitioners involved. So that’s one reason also why we love to cooperate with SIOP because that we have that link to practitioners or. Okay.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  08:33

So, I have a question. And it’s it’s almost more of a personal curiosity on my part. So I’m interested in your opinion on something and it doesn’t have to be sort of as in your official role as president of the Alliance, but just your personal opinion. Do you think that the profession as as a profession suffers because we don’t share a common name. So you know, if you go around the world, and In the United States, of course, and in Canada, we’re, you know, we refer to ourselves as industrial and organizational psychologists, you know, this 15 syllable thing. And in Europe Of course, it’s a work in organizational psychology. In the UK, as I understand it, it’s usually more occupational psychology are using that kind of terminology and in South Africa, do you think that we have trouble because we’re not using the same terminology there?

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  09:31

Then maybe might be part of the story. But I think overall, we have more trouble because we don’t really stand behind our knowledge as much as we could, under whatever name and, and that to me something important also that I mean, we’ve had all this push towards evidence based management that reaches then obviously into work and organizational psychology. But I guess we’re just so tough on ourselves all the time. Really now and have we really studied it all sufficiently to make recommendations to, to really go out and try and change practice? And I think we’re just kind of often, I don’t know, stepping on our own toes in the way of trying to do this, as when I mentioned behavioral economics or also medicine, where am I a lot of the health work? I mean, this kind of taken over by by public health people, right? And yeah, and they go out there and they make their recommendations. And we usually have all the ifs and buts always. I think that’s probably more reasonable idea. Yeah, as impactful as we all would like to be. The name might be an issue or sort of, but I think the general idea that we are the people that deal with people’s work and well being at work, I think that gets across I think people do understand that under whatever they really are.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  11:00

Well, thank you very much. This was a very enlightening conversation and I really appreciate you taking the time out of your afternoon to speak with us today.

Gudela Grote, Ph.D.  11:10

You’re very welcome.