On-line version ISSN 2071-0768
SA j. ind. Psychol. vol.36 n.2 Cape Town Jan. 2010
Special issue dedicated to professor Deo Strümpfer
It gives us great pleasure to honour, with this special issue of the South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, Professor Deo Strümpfer for his contribution to the development of Positive Psychology in South Africa. He established a new field of research and practice, called fortiginesis, which has inspired a large group of South African academics who, along with their students, have pursued human strengths, resilience and virtue in their research. We are grateful to Professor Strumpfer for his pioneering work, his constant support, leadership and friendship.
Thanks are due to all authors and reviewers of manuscripts that appear in this special issue and to Merwelene van der Merwe for the photography.
GUEST EDITOR: DEON DE BRUIN (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DEO STRÜMPFER - THE POSITIVE DEVIANT
Deo may be labelled as a positive deviant. What do I mean by this? Traditionally, a 'deviant' is regarded as someone who deviates from expected norms and patterns in a negative manner. A 'positive' deviant does so in a virtuous, honorable and extraordinary manner (cf. Cameron, Dutton & Quinn, 2003).
Deo, the giver of content to positive deviance
When others were content with the state of Psychology and the application thereof, Deo introduced Antonovsky's idea of 'salutogenesis' - the Latin, 'salus' means health and the Greek 'genesis' means origin - to the South African Psychology fraternity. It soon became a hot research topic.
When others concluded that 'salutogenesis' was the most suitable paradigm for psychological well-being and the research thereof, Deo initiated a paradigm shift, by coining what he deemed to be a more embracing and holistic term, namely 'fortigenesis' - from the Latin, 'fortis', which means strong.
This construct of Deo's provided Wissing and Van Eeden (1997, 2002) with the lexicon to derive the term 'fortology' for the construct of psychofortology (as opposed to psychopathology), to suggest a new sub-discipline focusing on the origins of psychological well-being and the nature, manifestation and ways of enhancing psychological well-being and development of human capacities (i.e. positive deviance).
When others at the turn of the new millennium stated that they had introduced a new movement - Positive Psychology - it came as no surprise to us as psychologists in South Africa, since we already had an established brand of positive psychology, thanks to Deo and a few others.
Deo, the embodiment of positive deviance
Where managerialism is becoming the norm at universities, Deo stands out as the embodiment of collegiality. Apart from being a distinguished professor, researcher par excellence and scholar of note, Deo also held various leadership and managerial positions as dean, chairperson of academic departments and the Professional Board for Psychology. He nevertheless remained humble, supportive and engaging, the embodiment of servant leadership.
Where others are keen to take credit for their work, Deo gives credit to those who inspired him, mentored him, discovered with him and learnt from him.
Where others cling to their titles, Deo has always insisted on simply being addressed by the abbreviation of his first name.
When others wanted to divide our profession along political lines, Deo refused to be part of such an undertaking. Later he contributed towards reconciliation.
When others tried to bring about and maintain a chasm between Industrial/Organisational Psychology and its parent discipline of Psychology, Deo convincingly reasoned that IOP is inextricably part of Psychology.
When others stopped publishing and presenting papers at conferences upon retiring, Deo produced some of his most original and thought-provoking work.
Deo is more than the embodiment of positive leadership and scholarship. In the words of Deon de Bruin, he is a 'fortigenius'.
GUEST EDITOR: FREDDIE CROUS (email@example.com)
Cameron, K.S., Dutton, J.E., & Quinn, R.E. (Eds.). (2003). Positive organisational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. [ Links ]
Wissing, M.P., & van Eeden, C. (1997). Psychological well-being: A fortigenic conceptualisation and empirical clarification. Paper presented at Annual Congress of the Psychological Society of South Africa, Durban, South Africa. [ Links ]
Wissing, M.P., & van Eeden, C. (2002). Empirical clarification of the nature of psychological well-being. South African Journal of Psychology, 32, 32-44. [ Links ]