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The "Scientist-Practitioner" Model Related to I-O Psychology

If a development executive is employed at a large communications company, an international communications and technology company. He has completed his PhD in I/O psychology and has been working at this communications company for seven years. Although he did research during his PhD studies, he has not been involved in academics since that time.

My questions are:

1. Can this man be considered a scientist/practitioner?

2. Why is the scientist/practitioner model useful in I/O psychology?

3. How are the scientists and practitioners models distinct be problematic?

4. I'm wondering how the scientist/practitioner model has been demonstrated throughout the history of I/O psychology?

Solution Preview

1. The development executive has completed his P.hD in I/O Psychology and has been working at an international communications and technology company. He has not been involved in academics since the completion of his Doctoral degree. But, he can still be considered both as a scientist as well as a practitioner. It is due to the fact that "any theory which is true and nontrivial has potentially useful applications." (Locke,2007). So, the development executive has already studied the theoritical aspects of I/O Psychology along with presenting his thesis during the P.hD course, and currently working as a development executive, thus utilizing the learnt aspects of his course in a real life situation. In other words, his knowledge has potentially useful application as he is working as a top level executive to develop the organization for which he is working. It is the nature of I/O Psychology, as the very fact that it is psychology implies that it is scientific and follows the scientific method. The fact that it is industrial-organisational reveals the fact that it has implications for practice. Thus, irrespective of whether we are motivated by a pursuit of psychological understanding or practical relevance, whether our careers involve research, practice, or both, "we are all scientists-practitioners" (McHenry, 2007). Thus, it can be concluded that the development executive can be considered to be a "scientist-practitioner."

2. The 'scientist-practitioner' model of training emerged in the United States following a conference of academic psychologists, the American Psychological Association and government stakeholders in Boulder during 1949 (Hays-Thomas, 2002; Baker and Benjamin 2000; Barlow, Hayes and Nelson, 1985). Its 'core value' is that research and practice are deeply intertwined (Stricker, 2002), thus, the practitioner must be trained in the research practices of the discipline to the level of participation. According to the model, psychologists need to be trained in such a way so as to integrate science and
practice to such an extent that activities in one domain would inform activities in the other domain. Graduate students are to learn about research and practice, and carry out research and practice under the supervision of faculty and professionals
with expertise in both areas. Thus, the curriculum for I/O Psychology should be structured to integrate scientific research and practice activities to the maximum ...

Solution Summary

The solution throws light on the application of the 'scientist-practitioner' model in relation to Industrial/Organizational Psychology and the history of the model right from its emergence in 1949.

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