Bringing I-O Psychology to the Public: But What if We Have Nothing to Say?
9 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022
Date Written: January 25, 2022
In their timely piece, Rogelberg, King, and Alonso (2022) eloquently elaborated the reasons why I-O science experiences difficulties in reaching the public and presented the tactics of how I-O psychologists could elevate scientific findings to the broader masses. Undoubtedly, there is a growing need for advancing the overall communication and representation of I-O psychology in the eyes of the public, especially when issues in the work and psychology domains get more convoluted than ever. Still, we believe that substantial obstacles exist in the current academic system that prevents scientists and the public from meeting on common grounds. Unlike proposed in the focal article, the reasons why researchers fail to engage with the public are not merely operational, but rather structural by nature. In this commentary, we aim to address these issues by providing an alternative perspective, thereby enhancing our understanding of the complexity of the issue.
We argue that viewing communication between scholars and the public as unidirectional, in the way that only scientists act as the senders of messages while the public passively receives them, is providing only a partial and limited view. In the light of examples presented in the focal article and previously published research in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology journal, not only is it evident that scientists and the public are disconnected, but they have very little in common to share. In addition, this gap between research and practice continues to widen. Thus, we seek to unpack the underlying reasons why existing mechanisms do not allow any relevant and meaningful exchange between theory and practice. We further discuss how this lack of meaningful interaction hinders effective communication between scholars, practitioners, and the broader public in general.
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