Where in the World are the Workers? Cultural Underrepresentation in I-O Research

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


Few would dispute that the nature of work, and the workers who perform it, has evolved considerably in the 70 years since the founding of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) as the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) Division 14, focused on industrial, business, and organizational psychology. Yet, in many ways the populations sampled in industrial–organizational (I-O) psychology research have failed to keep pace with this evolution. Bergman and Jean (2016) highlight how I-O research samples underrepresent (relative to the labor market) low- or medium-skill workers, wage earners, and temporary workers, resulting in a body of science that is overly focused on salaried, professional managers and executives. Though these discrepancies in the nature of individuals’ work and employment are certainly present and problematic in organizational research, one issue that should not be overlooked is that of adequately representing nationality and culture in I-O research samples.

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