Declaration of Identity

We Need Your Feedback on Our Identity as a Profession!!!

Barbara Kożusznik (1) & Sharon Glazer (2)

(1) University of Silesia, Poland; President of IAAP, Division 1
(2) University of Baltimore, USA, co-Chair of SIOP’s International Affairs Committee



Industrial and Organizational (IO) Psychology, also known as Work and Organizational (WO) Psychology, henceforth referred to as IWOP*, as a worldwide profession, does not have foundational values about its public voice. As Lowman (2006; Lowman & Cooper, 2018) and Lefkowitz (2005; 2017) in various publications note, IWOP is now considered a profession and professions affect societies. IWOP has a responsibility as a profession to support difficult decisions at the societal, organizational, and group level so as to always ensure that workers and worker-eligible people are reaping benefits rather than are harmed by their work engagements.

The IWOP profession is concerned with both individual work-related wellbeing and effective performance. This duality can create ambiguity about IWOPs’ contributions. IWOPs have a clear understanding of our abilities to navigate between well-being and performance effectiveness. We must make this understanding visible and audible to the public we serve, including all stakeholders involved in the world of work, whether employees, employers, governing boards, unemployed, precarious workers, labor unions, and more.

With the aid of over 50 participants at various international congresses and conferences since 2013, plus several surveys that IAAP has administered since 2009, it has become clear that IWOPs wish to have a more globally inclusive identity and to become more visible with relevant stakeholders. Therefore, drawing from communications and discussions that ensued among IWOP affiliates attending IAAP events within Division 1, Organizational Psychology, as well as in cooperation with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), European Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP), Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (C-SIOP), and the Alliance for Organizational Psychology (AOP), President of IAAP, Division 1 (Organizational Psychology) and co-chair of SIOP’s International Affairs Committee, have created a draft Declaration of Identity.

* IWOP is used to be inclusive of the various permutations of our professional title around the globe.


The Declaration of Identity (DOI) aims to create a foundation of who IWOPs are, who IWOP stakeholders are and who are our clients, what IWOPs can contribute to any organizational entity to ensure high performing and healthy workers (involuntary, voluntary, precarious, gig, and more). We envision the possibility that IWOPs and others might use the DOI as a foundation for extending their own views on these beliefs/values. The Declaration of Identity aims to address our action-oriented identity with statements declaring our broad-based, globally shared competencies.


The Declaration of Identity is an international joint declaration intended to be used as a tool by IWOP practitioners and academics to educate decision-makers in policy, governance, board of directors, and others about IWOP’s professional competencies in applying scientifically-grounded findings to practical needs of organizations. Once finalized, IWOP professionals will be able to share this Declaration (or an executive version of it) with others in a decision-making capacity.

The intention of the Declaration is to make our work accessible and visible so that we are called to the discussion table to collaborate and inform decisions affecting working people or people wishing to find work. For decision-makers, such a Declaration demonstrates our commitment to the profession and our fundamental intent of cooperation and support for workers, worker-eligible individuals, and organizations.


Below is an abbreviated list of our action-oriented declarations. Please see below for a more detailed explanation of each of 10 statements.

We invite you, our newsletter readers, to comment on this draft DOI by sending your thoughts to Specifically, we welcome your opinions about:

  • the need for such a declaration.
  • language that might better reach the intended audience of non-IWOP management and decision-makers.
  • whether any parts of this declaration capture your identity and action-oriented goals as an IWOP? 


Below are 10 actions characterizing IWOPs’ professional competencies and identity.

  1. Communicate broadly
  2. Translate to business-speak
  3. Influence decision-makers
  4. Voice change needs
  5. Ask rigorous questions
  6. Ideate and innovation
  7. Value well-being
  8. Share scientific research
  9. Bridge science and practice
  10. Balance individual needs


Lefkowitz, J. L. (2017). Ethics and values in industrial-organizational psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. [ISBN: 978-1138189935]

Lefkowitz, J. (2005). The values of Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Who are we? The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 43(2), 13-20.

Lowman, R. L. (2006). The ethical practice of psychology in organizations (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Lowman, R. L., & Cooper, S. E. (2018). The ethical practice of consulting psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. [ISBN: 9781433828096] 

Barbara Kożusznik (1) & Sharon Glazer (2)

(1) University of Silesia, Poland; President of IAAP, Division 1
(2) University of Baltimore, USA, co-Chair of SIOP’s International Affairs Committee

The Declaration of Identity of IWOP presents 10 statements organized around four major themes: communication, contextualization, dissemination, and integration.


1. We communicate broadly and are active partners in social dialogues.

IWOPs have evidenced-based views on unemployment, precarious work, fairness and equal opportunities in the workplace, selection, performance appraisal, occupational stress, health and well-being, counterproductive work behaviors, leadership, and followership, teamwork, telework, and many other work-related topic. We share, disseminate, and exchange these viewpoints with all relevant stakeholders.

We shall:

  • Voice expert knowledge to the general public’s attention via popular media outlets.
  • Speak in simple, understandable, customer-oriented terms that align with the context of the conversation.
  • Engage third parties that could support our mission (lobbyists, private company management, decision makers, non-profit sector).
  • Engage with society (NGOs or other private or public organizations), with policy-makers and other relevant decision-makers.
  • Continue building evidence by conducting research and disseminating it broadly.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Acquire media and digital communications skills.
  • Supervise and mentor others to build their skills communicating effectively across environments and audiences.
  • Study and practice effective communication with other stakeholders.

2. We translate to business-speak and communicate in the language of different stakeholders. 

As scientists and practitioners, we are getting more and more technical and advanced in our quest to understand people’s behavior. We have created a language of internal discourse that is not fully understood by others. In order to increase the effectiveness of communication we should tailor our language to reach our intended audience clearly and effectively.

We shall:

  • Communicate effectively across disciplines and cultures, and with various stakeholders who use our scientific evidence to address organizational problems.
  • Translate our knowledge and expertise by speaking the language of other stakeholders, such as decision-makers in industry and government. 

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Study and practice the language (and lingo) of other stakeholders in order to be effective at transmitting our knowledge and expertise. 
  • Create a discipline-based translation dictionary of IWOP, business, government, healthcare (and other industry) terms.

3. We strive to employ ethical, evidence-based influence on decision makers.

IWOPs provide expert analyses and recommendations  that enable politicians and policy-makers to deliberate and decide on matters related to human behavior, affect, and cognition in the workplace and work-related settings.  

We shall:

  • Present decision-makers with value-added evidence.
  • Write white papers, trade publications, and engage in social media to give visibility to IWOP expert knowledge and present data that enables decision-makers to tackle difficult problems.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Offer insights through consultations, chairing events, and engaging with decision-makers in and outside organizations whose decisions have an important impact on work-life or potential work experiences of others.
  • Develop action plans, implementation guides and best practices to support IWOPs in their endeavors for informing leaders’ strategic thinking.
  • Provide input and issue statements on legislative contents and processes, via our professional organizations.
  • Identify key lawmakers whose influence can be leveraged to support healthy workplaces.


4. We voice change needs.

IWOPs utilize theories, methods, and instruments to guide change initiatives. IWOPs’ international codes of conduct guide ethical application of psychology for the betterment of individuals and organizations.

We shall:

  • Adopt a proactive stance on ethical issues central to our expertise.
  • Assume a position of support when change is needed in research and practice.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Practice proactivity, forecasting, and risk-taking in the name of worker well-being.
  • Partner with other IWOPs to stimulate visibility and audibility of our professional expertise.
  • Participate in global and local events to stay current.
  • Understand one’s own limitations and overcome them through training and education.
  • Tailor and design change initiatives that align with business needs.

5. We ask rigorous and relevant questions to address critical issues. 

IWOPs can demonstrate their abilities to tackle important humanitarian and social issues, such as poverty reduction, and be known as a discipline that can contribute to solving problems of social and global significance.

We shall:

  • Apply psychology to real world problems and offer our expertise to support working or worker-eligible people.
  • Speak up and facilitate and encourage change that is grounded in scientifically valid findings, even if it seems inconvenient.
  • Our professional organizations should contribute to lawmakers’ understanding of the effects of policies and laws on worklife.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Identify decision-makers and lawmakers who lack evidence-based knowledge on the science of people, work, and organizations.
  • Approach sensitive or uncomfortable issues that would benefit from IWOP input.
  • Create infographics that clearly articulate IWOP competences.
  • Support humanitarian rights everywhere.

6. We ideate and innovate in all working situations and environments.

Innovations in science and practice feed off of each other. IWOPs are acutely aware of changing work contexts and conditions within varying social circumstances. With this information, IWOPs create change and improvements to working conditions, situations, and contexts, and are constantly in search for new ideas to improve work processes and experiences under many different circumstances. Through scientific methods IWOPs validate creations that are implemented and evaluate the utility of innovations to benefit the workplace, workers, and job seekers.

We shall:

  • Share innovative ideas with complementary stakeholders and the general public.
  • Support implementation of new ideas at the workplace.
  • Keep up with societal changes.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Learn how to transfer knowledge to industry.
  • Help create centers for innovations.
  • Promote multi-disciplinary perspectives to support innovation.
  • Innovate and reinforce an entrepreneurial spirit that centers around the person as a contributor to society.


7. We value well-being and human welfare.

IWOPs advocate for worker, unemployed worker, and precarious worker well-being, and make sound business cases for company investment in their people and community. We present scientifically valid evidence to address worker and worker-eligible issues.

We shall:

  • Promote sustainable well-being for job seekers, vulnerable workers, and workers at all stages of working life.
  • Attend to the presses of contextual factors (economics, politics, social, infrastructure) and voice when organizational changes are needed to maintain or uplift others’ well-being.
  • Encourage consideration of how an organization's practices affect the climate and environment (which in turn affects individuals).

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Research and promote decent work and decent pay globally.
  • Embrace and mobilize actions aimed at improving the human condition in the world of work, across all ages, jobs, and cultures.
  • Attend to matters that affect under-supported groups, e.g., the aging workforce, workers in tenuous safety work conditions, vulnerable workers, immigrants, and unemployed/job seekers.
  • Improve the state of economically and educationally deprived individuals to impact humanitarian and social issues for the sake of improving conditions, such as poverty reduction to solve problems of social and global significance.
  • Be role models for social and environmental responsibility.

8. We share scientific research, empirical methods and scientific achievements with stakeholders.

IWOPs competencies are readily demonstrable in small-scale to large-scale changes, that make positive impact in the world of work.

 We shall:

  • Disseminate accumulated knowledge and experience to share with non-IWOPs or related professionals.
  • Employ rigorous research protocols and methods to design solutions that support policies, practices, procedures, and reward systems.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Articulate IWOPs strong research tradition and rigorous research methodologies in easy – to-understand business terms.
  • Accumulate findings with meta-analysis and share the current state of affairs on various IWOP topics with peers and other parties(also via internet).
  • Present state-of-the-art findings in mainstream media outlets.
  • Communicate, through media outlets, successful psychological interventions that have improved human conditions and have been shown to be useful and to improve human conditions.
  • Share and make transparent methodologies and scientific achievements to promote growth in the work domain.


9. We bridge organizational science and practice.

One of the unique strengths of IWOP is that it is based on the science-practitioner model. According to the model, psychologists are to be trained to integrate science and practice, such that activities in one domain informs activities in the other domain.

We shall:

  • Stay up-to-date with the state-of-the-art research and apply lessons learned in the changing work context.
  • Stay tuned with changing work environments to solve real problems (e.g., virtual work and changes in labor market).
  • Take cultural context into consideration, as globalization has brought a significant change in the work context. It is more culturally diverse and geographically dispersed.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Open special platforms on which researchers can publicize their research findings with a focus on implementation.
  • IWOPs should be open to acquiring new knowledge and should participate in raising questions from the “field,” that should be studied.
  • Engage in joint projects with academics and practitioners in different disciplines in order to steer changes, rather than react to changes at work.

10. We balance individual needs with organizational goals.

IWOPs balance the well-being of the worker with the organization’s need for productivity, effectiveness, and innovation. We use scientific methods to derive valid research results and apply psychological principles to solve work place problems and reconcile the interests of organizations’ members with the  interests of organizations.

We shall:

  • Identify with the IWOP aims, which include promoting the well-being of people as related to work, employment, and job-seeking.
  • Proudly promote our discipline as the one that takes care of creating balance between worker well-being and worker performance effectiveness.

Actions to plan and implement:

  • Promote an extensive set of competencies in the field of IWOP.
  • Create and sell IWOP’s image to gain more publicity and stimulate good research and successful consulting assignments.
  • Become more conscientious of the implications of current socio-economic conditions in the global world of work.

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