Organizational psychology and social issues

The place of the place

Authored by: Mary Jane Paris Spink , Peter Kevin Spink

Handbook of Critical Psychology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848722187
eBook ISBN: 9781315726526
Adobe ISBN: 9781317537182


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For most psychologists and the professional public at large, organizational psychology is seen as a derivative of – or even a synonym for – work psychology. From the very first volume of the Annual Review of Psychology in 1950 until well into the late 1990s, key words such as work, industrial, personnel, organization, training, development, and engineering would continually be present in review titles that had as their focus questions arising in work-based relationships in large, hierarchical businesses, and government and military bureaucracies. For critical psychology this focus – which still continues to inform courses, classes, and textbooks – poses a number of issues and concerns. By associating organization with work and the latter with paid employment in large hierarchical bureaucracies (the basis of much of the earlier discussion about the welfare state), not only do work and organizational psychologists ignore the many other ways that people seek to sustain livelihoods (Spink, P. 2011) but they also ignore the many other reasons for which people gather together. Worse still, when they eventually do get around to these and related issues the answer is – more often than not – to seek solutions framed by the same original assumptions: that is, of a specific type of economic relationship with an entity – organization – within which behaviour takes place.

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