Passed by the Industrial-Organizational Section of the
Canadian Psychological Association (Canadian Society for
Industrial and Organizational Psychology). CSIOP, May, 1996
Ratified by the Canadian Psychological Association, August,
The opinions expressed in this document are those of the
Industrial-Organizational Section of the Canadian Psychological
Association (Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational
Psychology), CSIOP. They do not necessarily reflect those
opinions of the Canadian Psychological Association, its
Officers, Directors, or employees.
The Industrial-Organizational Section of the Canadian
Psychological Association, also known as the Canadian Society
for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (CSIOP), is putting
forward a position paper in response to an increased demand for
defining the training, research, and practice specific to
Industrial-Organizational Psychology. The goal of this document
is to clarify for both members of CSIOP, as well as individuals
outside the Section, what the phrase "Industrial-Organizational
Psychology" means. I-O Psychology is a professional as well as a
research field and it is important to distinguish the profession
from other professional areas of psychology such as Clinical,
Educational, Counselling and Neuropsychology.
The defining process is expected to contribute to several
constituents. First, it will encourage some standardization of
post-graduate training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
Second, it may assist provincial governing bodies by providing a
common metric to assess a "Specialist in
Industrial-Organizational Psychology". Third, it may catalyze
the advocacy of Industrial-Organizational Psychology in Canada
by ensuring its distinctive status separate from other
professional areas of psychology. Fourth, it will hopefully
stimulate discussions with other areas of professional
psychology to note where there are overlaps and where there are
clearly defined boundaries in theory, research, and practice.
This paper was based on several documents relevant to
Specialty Designation issues including: 1) Report of the
CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation (1989), 2)
Specialty Designation in Psychology: Developing a Canadian Model
(1994), 3) Guidelines for Training and Education in Industrial
and Organizational Psychology in Canada (1989), 4) Policies and
Procedures for the Creation of Diplomats in Professional
Psychology (1990), 5) Volume 7, No. 1 of the Professional
Practice of Psychology, (1986) and 6) the College of
Psychologists of Ontario Transitional Council Draft Discussion
Paper on Specialty Designation (1993).
We regard this document as a "white paper" in that it is
expected to be revised and updated as necessary. The document is
not meant to be exclusive of the other areas of professional
psychology (e.g., clinical, counselling, educational,
neuropsychology). Indeed, we welcome their interest and are
aware that there are several areas of overlapping competencies
where it would be mutually beneficial to work as a single entity
under the rubric of "Professional Psychology".
This document is not legally binding in any way. It is meant
to be a current description of the field of
Industrial-Organizational Psychology and to lend guidance in the
development and maintenance of post-graduate I-O training
programs. Regulation of the licensure of individuals remains in
the jurisdiction of provincial governing bodies. It is hoped
that these bodies will, however, look to CSIOP, the national
organization representing Industrial-Organizational Psychology
in Canada, when designing their guidelines for licensure and
specialty designation. Granting of a specialty designation in
I-O Psychology does mean something quite distinct from a
specialty designation in other areas of professional psychology.
We feel it is in the consumers' - and our own - best interests
to ensure that a common basis for designation as an I-O
Psychologist be developed.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology is a field of both
scientific research and professional practice that aims to
further the welfare of people by: understanding the behaviour of
individuals and organizations in the work place: helping
individuals pursue meaningful and enriching work; and assisting
organizations in the effective management of their human
resources. The field is a broad one; I-O Psychology shares with
other disciplines an interest in industrial relations,
organizational behavior, organizational development, vocational
and career counselling, training and development, and
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists are able to apply
psychological theories to explain and enhance the effectiveness
of human behaviour and cognition in the work place. In addition,
the practice of I-O Psychology informs its scientific endeavors.
These theories are drawn from a number of basic research areas
including: psychometric theory /testing, social psychology,
personality theory, learning theory, cognitive psychology,
sensation and perception, human physiology and psychomotor
performance. I-O Psychology stems from strong academic
traditions, fostering the generation and testing of sound
theoretical models. Because it is also an applied field,
important components of I-O Psychology are the implications and
application of research findings to applied settings.
ETHICAL, PROFESSIONAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS
The Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (Canadian
Psychological Association, 1991) outlines the principles that
guide the day-to-day activities of I-O Psychologists. In the
realms of research, practice, and teaching, all ethical
standards are expected to be observed in the principle areas of:
1) respect for the dignity of persons, 2) responsible caring, 3)
integrity in relationships, and 4) responsibility to society.
The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of
Psychologists and Code of Conduct (1992) offers additional
guidance on ethical issues.
I-O Psychologists must be familiar with the legal aspects of
their profession. Psychology Acts in the provinces and
territories regulate the practice of psychology including the
registration, licensure, and disciplinary actions of individual
practitioners. Due to the frequent use of measuring instruments
in areas such as selection and evaluation of employees, I-O
Psychologists must be familiar with the 1987 Canadian
Psychological Association's Guidelines for Educational and
Psychological Testing, and the 1987 Society for Industrial and
Organizational Psychology's Principles for the Validation and
Use of Personnel Selection Procedures. Being current in the area
of psychometrics is essential for I-O Psychologists, and they
should be familiar with the relevant writings in this area.
Specialists in I-O Psychology may be called upon to be expert
witnesses in their area(s) of expertise (e.g., decisions
regarding selection, promotion, etc.)
ACTIVITIES OF INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS
I-O Psychologists typically carry out their practice in
organizational settings, and/or in
instructing/counselling/assessing individuals so that they may
pursue meaningful and enriching work. Their clients can be in
the private, public, and/or not-for-profit sectors.
I-O Psychologists can be employed in Universities and
Colleges, Independent Practices, Government Research Agencies,
Consulting Firms, and Military, Industry, and Mental Health
Services (Muchinsky, 1993).
The services provided by I-O Psychologists are diverse. They
- carrying out task analyzes,
- determining the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal
characteristics needed for certain jobs
- providing recommendations on how to assess potential employees
or actually conducting the assessments,
- providing guidance on how to train employees,
- assessing work performance and motivate employees,
- determining group effects on work performance,
- examining communication within and commitment to the
- understanding the human-machine system and the complexities of
- assisting in the selection and training of competent leaders,
- assisting in career assessment and career development
- assisting in changing the organization to become more
- assisting in managing relationships between employees and
This list is by no means exhaustive - it is a sampling to
demonstrate the "breadth" of the field.
KNOWLEDGE AND COMPETENCY BASE
I-O Psychologists should be capable of critically evaluating,
conducting and applying research in their field. These skills
will largely be developed from course work, thesis and
dissertation research, and field experiences, and include: 1)
specific areas of I-O Psychology (elaborated on later in this
document), 2) the general areas of the social, cognitive, and
biological bases of behaviour, as well as individual
differences, 3) measurement, research design and statistical
analysis, and 4) ethical standards and professional practice.
Consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, graduate
students are expected to be exposed to both the research and
practice of I-O Psychology, implying the are expected to be
exposed to both the research and practice of I-O Psychology,
implying the need for a formal internship period. "Real-world"
experiences should follow a rigorous academic program so that
the students can develop experience in applying the scientific
method in identifying and solving organizational problems.
Due to the vast amount of knowledge in I-O Psychology, it is
impossible for any one person to be fully-competent in all
possible areas. It is up to the individual to "know their
limitations" with regard to the research, teaching and practice
of I-O Psychology.
TRAINING OF INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS
The Guidelines for Graduate Training and Education in
Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada as put
forward by Section 9 (CSIOP) of CPA (1989) form the basis for
both doctoral and master's level course work training
(Appendix). An implicit assumption in training an I-O
Psychologist, is that they have the requisite background in the
form of a recognized undergraduate psychology degree. In
addition to content-based course work, it is also recommended
that I-O Psychologists have applied experiences and/or
internships in the I-O area to gain competencies in the practice
of human resource management and consultation skills. This
training should be carried out under the supervision of an I-O
It is noted that different provinces/territories have
different regulations regarding the licensure of individual
practitioners. The individuals themselves should be familiar
with the licensing rules and regulations of their governing
body. However, it is our hope that all of the provincial and
territorial licensing bodies will use the information presented
in this document when making decisions about the certification
(i.e., specialty designation) of individuals as specialists in
COMPETENCIES OF INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS
Although any one individual is not expected to be competent
in all areas of the field, the competencies and skills that an
I-O Psychologist are likely to have are many. A list of these
competency areas are outlined in the Guidelines for Graduate
Training and Education in Industrial and Organizational
Psychology in Canada (CSIOP, 1989). Programs aspiring to train
I-O Psychologists and individuals working in the field of I-O
Psychology should use these as a development guide. Clearly it
is not be feasible for most, if not all, graduate training
programs to ensure competency in all 22 areas listed. Diverse
capacities of faculty members and resources available to
programs will determine which of the competencies are able to be
fully developed in any graduate student.
The CSIOP document provides recommended training strategies
for each of these areas. The strategies include: graduate course
work, advanced undergraduate course work, independent study,
research, supervised experiences, on-the-job training, and
professional workshops. See the Appendix provided for
clarification on this issue.
1. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in I-O
2. Organizational Theory
3. Work Motivation Theory
4. Statistical Methods/Data Analysis
5. Research Methods
6. Personnel Selection, Placement, and Classification
7. Performance Appraisal/Feedback
8. Measurement of Individual Differences
9. Organizational Development Theory
10. Job and Task Analysis
11. Criterion Development Theory
Complementary Areas: 12. Individual Assessment
13. Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation
14. Attitude Theory
15. Career Development Theory
16. Human Performance/Human Factors/Ergonomics
Second Areas: 17. Small Group Theory and Processes
18. Decision Theory
19. Program Evaluation
20. Consumer Behavior
21. Fields of Psychology
22. History and Systems of Psychology
This list of competencies reflects the training specific to
I-O Psychology. Although other competencies such as effective
oral and written communication skills, developing interpersonal
relationships, critical thinking, sensitivity to cultural
diversity, and employee counselling skills are important,
desirable and appropriate - they are to all areas of
professional psychology and thus not included in this list. We
would like to reiterate that the practical competencies of human
resource management and consultation skills are essential for
those planning to practice I-O Psychology in non-academic
settings, and will most effectively be gained through
MAINTENANCE OF COMPETENCY IN INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL
It is expected that I-O Psychologists will remain current and
active participants in their professional community. This
includes activities such as attendance at relevant professional
conventions (e.g., CPA, SIOP, Academy of Management)
conventions, participating in workshops offered at conventions,
subscription to relevant journals, and other continuing
American Board of Professional Psychology, Inc. (1990).
Policies and Procedures for the Creation of Diplomats in
American Psychological Association (1992). Ethical Principles
of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychologist, 47,
Canadian Psychological Association (1991). Canadian Code of
Ethics for Psychologists.
Canadian Psychological Association (1987). Guidelines for
Educational and Psychological Testing.
Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational
Psychology. (1989). Guidelines for Graduate Training and
Education in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada.
College of Psychologists of Ontario Transitional Council
Draft Discussion Paper on Specialty Designation (1993).
CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation (1989). Report
of the CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation.
Muchinsky (1993). Psychology Applied to Work (4th ed.).
Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Professional Practice of Psychology, Volume 7, No. 1. (1986).
Service, J., Sabourin, M., Catano, V., Day, V., Hayes, C., &
MacDonald, W. (1994). Specialty Designation in Psychology:
Developing a Canadian Model. Canadian Psychology, 35, 70-87.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (1987).
Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection
Procedures. Arlington Heights, IL: Author.