Our day-long nested event offers a varied programme of talks and interactive sessions around the theme: engaging employees and organisations to build a safe and sustainable world. This presents an opportunity for us as psychologists to reflect critically, examine assumptions and consider how we can apply our science to meet the challenges we currently face, and those which will confront us in the future.
The sessions will also be of interest to public policy decision makers and practitioners specializing in Human Resources and other related fields.
In addition to invited speakers and interactive sessions, the programme includes a symposium, and sessions with short oral papers about wellbeing at work, performance at work and leadership.
The event on 5 July will be convened by Dr Andrew Clements.
Wednesday 5 July 2023
Keynote title: “SARChl Chair Creation of Decent Work and Sustainable Livelihood”
Convenor: Dr Andrew Clements
Speaker: Professor Ines Meyer
Ines Meyer is a Professor in Organizational Psychology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Before becoming an academic, she worked in industry and with community-based organizations in South Africa. The latter shaped her academic focus: how organizational psychology can add value in alleviating poverty, reducing inequality, and creating more humane workplaces. She currently holds the National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair Initiative’s chair in Creation of Decent Work and Sustainable Livelihood, through which she advocates that the question about what the economy needs becomes secondary to what humans need. Ines has headed UCT’s Section for Organisational Psychology, served on and chaired her Faculty’s Transformation Committee, was Acting Dean for Transformation, and represented the faculty on the university’s social responsiveness committee.
Ines has supervised over 100 Honours, Masters’, and PhD students to completion. She has presented her work in more than 20 conference presentations, winning a best paper award at the 7th Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion International Conference. Her publications feature in Sustainability Science, The Journal of Organizational Behavior and Psychological Science, amongst others. She serves as a reviewer on local and international journals and is the Editor-in-Chief of International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation. She initiated and co-organized the first Political Psychology in South Africa conference and co-hosted the 15th Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion International annual conference in Cape Town. She is a founding member of Project GLOW (Global Living Organisational Wage), an international network of researchers seeking to determine a wage level which would allow people, organisations, and communities to prosper and thrive. She is also a member of the Society of Industrial Psychology (SIOP), the American Psychological Association (APA) and its Division 52, and has served as an executive board member for the Global Organisation of Humanitarian Work Psychology (GOHWP). She represents the Society of Industrial Psychology at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva as a badged UN representative.
Ines offers an idea that may be provocative to occupational psychologists, namely that human needs should be prioritised over economic needs. This keynote challenges us to question our assumptions about the nature and future of work. By attending this keynote psychologists can be better placed to contribute to the critical debates taking place now, and in the future.
Since the 1990s economic growth has been the chosen path to inclusive prosperity in South Africa, and greater participation in the labour market is seen as key to socioeconomic upliftment. Implicitly, what seems to count primarily is that employment is created, not as much what this employment looks like.
To date, this strategy has shown limited success: Poverty in South Africa has increased between 2011 and 2016, and directly affects over half the population. Poverty is not restricted to the unemployed. Low-income earners also get trapped in poverty cycles when have to rely on loans to cover basic needs or unexpected expenses.
An increase in labour participation rates without at least equal focus on what the created employment looks like can thus result in less sustainable livelihoods. Such employment would not qualify as decent as decent work is characterised by respect for human dignity, the securing of an adequate livelihood and supporting individuals and their families to fully develop their capacities and talents.
This suggests the need for a shift – or at least more nuance – in how we see the link between work, income and inclusive prosperity. This is what the Research Chair seeks to contribute towards.
The initial five-year research programme is embedded in the broader area of developing innovative ways in which to see work, the purpose of work, and the role of work, employers and employees in society. The programme is grounded in Sen’s (1999) proposition that prosperity is the degree to which individuals perceive to have choice about various aspects of their lives.
What makes the research novel is the assumption that, first, it is insufficient to determine wage levels based on economic factors alone without considering psychological variables; second, that a wage level allowing for a decent life, i.e. a living wage, can be empirically determined via these psychological variables; and third, that paying such living wages benefits individuals, organisations, and communities.
Keynote title: “The consequences of precarity: Understanding poverty as a stressor”
Convenor: Dr Andrew Clements
Speaker: Professor Eva Selenko
Eva Selenko, FRSA, is a Professor of Work Psychology at Loughborough University. Her research focusses on precarious work and job insecurity and how these affect people’s well-being, identity, work behaviour and even behaviour in wider society. She has published widely on the health damaging effects of unemployment, personal bankruptcy and falling under the poverty line in leading international journals.
Using mostly quantitative methodologies Eva’s work shows that precarious work undermines people’s identity and their access to meaning and well-being. Eva’s work on precarity has been widely published across leading academics journals such as the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior or European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.
In 2020 her efforts for research “into the relationship between work, crisis, well-being and performance” have been recognised by a Fellowship to the Royal Society of Arts.
Eva will discuss poverty as a major life stressor, and methods of addressing poverty. This will be of interest to occupational psychologists because the work that individuals attain (or its absence) shapes the resources available to them. This keynote will offer opportunities to think about the role organisations have in employees’ quality of life, and support psychologists in being better advocates for employees.
Money worries consistently rank among the top stressors in adult life across the globe, according to representative national surveys and the cost-of-living crisis only exacerbated these. People under financial strain eat less well, live less comfortably, often have worse jobs and are exposed to more hassles. Still, poverty is often seen as an individual issue, occasionally blamed on individual characteristics or choices.
This talk will argue that poverty is a major stressor in peoples’ lives, embedded in a social context, with pervasive effects on psychological functioning. Given the centrality of money in people’s lives, any financial deterioration will arguably trigger a host of negative consequences in a domino-like fashion. This talk will present a wealth of empirical research evidence from across applied psychology on the health damaging, as well as the behavioural and attitudinal consequences of poverty and income loss. Extrapolating from this and embedded in an understanding of poverty as a stressor, the talk will then explore strategies that could help people out of poverty and critically examine those that likely don’t. In sum, this talk aims to make the case that in order to understand people’s capacities, it is essential to pay attention to the financial strain people are under. By highlighting the individual, organisational and societal risks of poverty and income loss, this keynote hopes to provide much needed psychological arguments as to why mitigating financial strain and poverty should be at the forefront of the political agenda.
Invited Programme: “A journey into the H-WORK Project: Raising the bar in promoting mental health in the workplace”
Convenor: Dr Andrew Clements
Format: Invited Symposium
Participants: Marco DeAngelis & Professor Luca Pietrantoni
The EU-funded H2020 project H-WORK aims to promote mental health in the workplace, focusing on SMEs and public workplaces. The symposium will provide a valuable forum for sharing the project’s findings and outcomes and will present a logical progression of contributions, from the theoretical foundations of the project to concrete results and recommendations.
Marco DeAngelis, Assistant Professor, University of Bologna,
Professor Luca Pietrantoni, Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology, University of Bologna
The EU-funded H2020 project H-WORK aims to promote mental health in the workplace, focusing on SMEs and public workplaces. The symposium will provide a valuable forum for sharing the project's findings and outcomes and will present a logical progression of contributions, from the theoretical foundations of the project to concrete results and recommendations.
The first contribution will describe the theoretical principles that led to the development and validation of the H-WORK intervention toolkit. The presentation will describe the psychosocial risk assessment (HAT), the multilevel intervention (HIT), and the effect and process evaluation (HET) protocols that have been implemented and tested in 10 European intervention sites.
The symposium will then report the concrete experiences in a public healthcare institution, from the project's initiation phase to the evaluation phase of the implemented interventions.
The third contribution will present the H-WORK innovation platform and will demonstrate the various online functions, learning modules, and interactive tools developed to help end-users effectively promote mental health in their workplace.
Finally, the symposium will present the work done by the European association partners involved in the project, which resulted in developing a comprehensive set of policy briefs and recommendations. These aim to guide policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in understanding how to raise political and normative standards to ensure that mental health at work is a requirement that managers and CEOs must consider. They also focus on how to manage and tackle the counteractive effect of mental ill health at work. The symposium will therefore follow a logical chain of contributions, moving from theory to practice, from practice to outputs, and from outputs to recommendations in a clear and compelling way, providing an opportunity for experts, academics, and practitioners from all over Europe to learn from the experiences of H-WORK.
G1 Performance at Work
Session Chair: Dr Noreen Tehrani
G2 Wellbeing at Work
Session Chair: Ms Karen Walsh
G3 Leadership, engagement, and motivation
Session Chair: Ms Christine Hamilton
G4 Wellbeing at Work
Session Chair: Dr Andrew Clements
Title: “Tackling the Climate Crisis – What can occupational psychologists do with organisations to support, encourage and enable climate action?”
Convenor: Dr Jan Maskell
Format: Interactive session
Dr Jan Maskell, DOP representative on the BPS Climate and Environmental Action Coordinating Group
In this short interactive session, Jan will:
Title: “How to get published”
Convenor: Professor Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt
Format: Interactive session
Professor Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt, Psychology Editor of the DOP’s new peer-reviewed title, Occupational Psychology Outlook (OPO)
Whether you identify as a practitioner or an academic (or both) DOP invites you to consider publishing your work, thereby contributing to our understanding of occupational psychology as both science and practice.
Using OPO as its focus, this session will be of particular interest to new as well as established authors and covers how to take your idea for a paper from initial conceptualization, through development and writing up, and submission to a peer-reviewed publication. It covers common pitfalls and how to avoid them, along with tips for improving your submissions.
Title: “Action Learning Session”
Convenor: Karen Walsh, DOP Committee
Format: Interactive session
Action learning, pioneered by physicist and Olympic athlete Reg Revans, provides the space to reflect on complex problems in a small group which meets every 6–8 weeks. The group, bringing a range of perspectives, offers challenge and support.
This short interactive session creates an opportunity for you to find out more about action learning and see for yourself how it could support your practice and development both personally and professionally.
Title: “Occupational Psychology professional practice issues”
Convenor: Noreen Tehrani, DOP Deputy Chair
Format: Townhall session
This session focuses on issues in professional practice. The townhall will start with discussion of safeguarding and supervision, both of which are important for safe and effective practice in occupational psychology.
Delegates are also encouraged to bring their own practice topics to the discussion, as well.
Safeguarding of at-risk and vulnerable people is everyone’s business, and safeguarding issues can arise in many different settings. The level of knowledge and skill you require will vary depending on the nature of your work, however, all Occupational Psychologists need to be suitably equipped so that they can respond appropriately as part of meeting the Standards of Proficiency (HCPC).
Supervision helps you to meet the requirements for your registration, enabling you as an autonomous professional to reflect, review and develop your practice, extend and enhance your learning, and also maintain your own wellbeing.
By taking part in the townhall, participants will:
Join our choir for 30 minutes
Arrangements are being made for an a cappella choir session with the help of a choral director.
We all have music in us, and this session will be open to all registered delegates.
So, whatever your level of experience or skill, come along and join in. This promises to be an enjoyable way to find out if singing could be good for your wellbeing and if taking part in choirs can help you build new relationships quickly and develop useful workplace skills, e.g. for collaboration!
DOP Member event
Following the close of the nested programme at 6pm, there will be a DOP Member networking event at a venue nearby starting at 6.30. This is open to all DOP members.