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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200

SA j. ind. Psychol. vol.41 n.1 Cape Town  2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v41i1.1297 

EDITORIAL
http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v41i1.1297

 

South African Journal of Industrial and Organisational Psychology: Annual editorial overview 2015

 

 

Melinde CoetzeeI; Llewellyn van ZylII

IDepartment of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
IIOptentia Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa

Correspondence

 

 

Introduction

The South African Journal of Industrial Psychology (SAJIP) celebrated its 40th anniversary in the previous year and continuous to provide high-quality scholarly research articles of importance to the study of various areas of specialisation in the field of industrial and organisational psychology (IOP). An extensive study by Porter and Schneider (2014) of the global evolution of the field of industrial and organisational (I-O) psychology indicates a continued strong preference for the traditional term 'industrial and organisational psychology' because of the field's rich history of theory, research and practice in organisational settings. The term 'I-O psychology' denotes a historically sound theory-scientific basis with a broad range of research and practice domains. In the South African context, the research and practice domains in I-O psychology are generally guided by the scope of practice of industrial psychologists. The South African Professional Board for Psychology describes the scope of practice of the industrial psychologist (<http://www.hpcsa.co.za>; HPCSA, 2011) to include the following: (1) applying principles of psychology to the work situation of relatively well-adjusted adults; (2) conducting assessment and utilising assessment practices; (3) facilitating individual and group processes; (4) exercising consumer psychological practices; (5) doing ergonomic evaluations; and (6) performing psychological interventions and short-term therapeutic counselling interventions. These tasks of the industrial psychologist are focused on optimising individual, group and organisational well-being, performance and effectiveness (Coetzee & Schreuder, in press; Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014a).

The SAJIP, as the only I-O psychology publication in Africa, serves as an accredited publication medium for scholars, scientists and practitioners who are interested in publishing original research of relevance and interest to the development of concepts pertaining to this scope of practice domains (Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014b). The core focus and scope of the SAJIP are for its publications to ultimately contribute to the success and performance of organisations, the effectiveness of leaders and teams and the well-being of people in the organisation (SAJIP, 2013, p. iii). This focus is in line with the long-standing tradition of IOP to follow the scientist-practitioner model, which has the implied goal of research to influence practice. Porter and Schneider (2014) emphasize in this regard that the key challenge for scholars and practitioners in the I-O psychology field remains whether future research studies and their findings will have increasing impact on managerial practice. The SAJIP 2015 annual review therefore focuses on a brief review of the potential contribution of the publications to the advancement of IOP theory and practice as well as highlighting some important legislative policy factors impacting on the Journal.

 

Contribution to IOP theory and practice

A review of the publications published in the SAJIP vol. 41, no. 1 (2015) shows the trend of robust attention to knowledge creation and confirmation in the predominant field of organisational psychology, followed by contributions to the fields of wellness and personnel psychology and, to a lesser extent, psychological assessment, career psychology and consumer psychology. Table 1 (see Appendix) outlines the various manuscript contributions with regard to primary I-O psychology theme, research design, originating research institution and the potential implications of the relevant research to IOP theory and practice.

The research focus areas of the articles that contributed to the field of organisational psychology mostly address aspects concerning human relations in the workplace (i.e. trust, stereotyping, individual-organisational link, attachment or commitment, leader behaviour, paradigmatic lens in studying human relations and work identity). The theme of human relations is highly relevant in the context of a culturally diverse South African society. The role of leaders in influencing employee attitudes and behaviour in the organisation-employee relations sphere seems to remain a popular theme in the annual SAJIP editions when considering that the article by Mester, Visser, Roodt and Kellerman (2003) in SAJIP vol. 29, no. 2 (Leadership style and its relation to employee attitudes and behaviour) has to date been the most downloaded article (66 000 downloads) since 2003.

The wellness or and/or well-being-related research themes mostly build on burnout theory and research and extend coping and job stress research by studying wellness constructs (i.e. recovery experiences, PsyCap, emotional intelligence, hardiness, role identity) from the perspective of positive psychology. The notion of positive organisational behaviour theory and research is highly relevant to the contemporary workplace.

The research themes addressed in the articles that contributed to the field of personnel psychology focus on selection and retention factors. The contributions to selection theory and research focus on graduate application intentions and cross-cultural differences with regard to social desirability and cognitive ability. Positive psychology constructs (i.e. PsyCap and satisfaction) are studied in relation to reward preferences of various socio-demographic differences, all of which are highly relevant to the retention of staff. The concept of technology acceptance is also introduced which provides evidence of the increasing role that technology will play in today's work setting.

The psychological assessment research themes contributed empirical evidence of the psychometric properties of three measuring instruments (i.e. a managerial decision-making self-efficacy questionnaire, the Rahim emotional intelligence questionnaire and a corporate social responsibility leadership questionnaire) that can be used in the South African organisational context.

The career psychology research themes are in line with contemporary global trends in the career psychology field to explore positive psychological constructs in enhancing individuals' success and satisfaction (i.e. proactive behaviour, strengths use, deficit improvement, hope, efficacy, life satisfaction, emotional intelligence, psychosocial career meta-capacities).

The consumer psychology research theme made a contribution to not only the field of consumer behaviour but also psychological assessment by presenting the psychometric properties of a measuring instrument in assessing consumer awareness.

The SAJIP vol. 41, no. 1 (2015) edition also showcases a contribution to the IOP profession or practice area with the publication on professional human resource (HR) competencies in the contemporary South African workplace (see Schutte, Barkhuizen, & van der Sluis). I-O psychologists function also in the HR realm of the business-the competencies outlined in the article of Schutte et al. are therefore very relevant as additional competencies to the current I-O psychology scope of practice specialist competencies. The competencies may potentially be considered in the education and training of the industrial psychologist and HR practitioner.

The populations that were used in the various research articles reflect a variety of industries, including participants from multi-culturally diverse groups. The type of research designs of the articles appearing in the SAJIP vol. 41, no. 1 (2015) edition remains stable when considering previous editions. The predominant research design is the cross-sectional quantitative approach with only three articles following a qualitative research design and one article a mixed-method design. The article by Görgen-Ekermans, Delport, & du Preez provides a prime example of an evidence-based practice article with its study of an emotional intelligence intervention and data collected about the efficacy of the intervention.

Overall, in line with the SAJIP manuscript guidelines for authors, the SAJIP vol. 41, no. 1 (2015) edition includes predominantly theory-research-practice articles, implying the presentation of foundational theory and theoretical constructs, research questions or hypotheses, participants, measurement, data analysis, results and discussion and implications for practice. In the light of the IOP scientist-practitioner model, it is recommended that future SAJIP editions encourage scholars to critically review the contribution of the theory and research presented by them with regard to a more in-depth discussion on specific techniques, resources or strategies for practice. I-O psychology is seen as "carving a unique identity as a profession in South Africa" and I-O psychologists and scholars contribute to the discipline through scientific research that reflects an evidence-based orientation (as preferred by practitioners) and a commitment to ensuring best practices in the application of psychology in the workplace (Zugec, Garbharran & Dowdeswell, 2015, p. 41). Evidently, a closer relationship between the IOP discipline (science) and profession (practitioner) would ensure that both areas develop synchronously in order to ensure effective cross-pollination between academia and industry.

The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa's (SIOPSA) annual conference is one avenue through which evidence-based research practices are showcased and effective cross-pollination between the discipline and profession manifests. The associative oral presentation and research themes presented at the conference could provide an indication of the latest practice-focused areas of interest within the profession (Moyo, 2012). Comparison of the publication themes of SAJIP with those of the SIOPSA conference may provide insight into the (mis)alignment between the scientist and the practitioner. Table 2 provides a summary of the SIOPSA's 17th Annual Conference IOP presentation themes (SIOPSA, 2015).

A relative descriptive comparison between the publications in SAJIP and the oral presentations within the SIOPSA conference (see Table 3) indicates that there may be a potential misalignment between the discipline and the profession within the 2015 cycle. Only the organisational psychology (SAJIP: f = 30.43%; SIOPSA: f = 37.04%) and consumer psychology or psychological assessment (SAJIP: f = 4.35%; SIOPSA: f = 1.85%) themes enjoyed relatively the same amount of attention within the 2015 cycle. Interestingly, popular academic (Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014a) and practitioner (Moyo, 2012) IOP research and presentation themes that dominated the last decade within South Africa, such as wellness or wellbeing (SAJIP: f = 17.39%; SIOPSA: f = 7.41%) and career psychology (SAJIP: f = 13.04%; SIOPSA: f = 1.85%) received less attention in both domains.

From an academic perspective, personnel psychology research (SAJIP: f = 17.39%; SIOPSA: f = 0%) increased dramatically as opposed to the 2014 publication cycle within SAJIP (Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014a, 2014b) and received no attention within the SIOPSA conference. Similarly, research on psychological assessment measures, techniques and approaches (SAJIP: f = 13.04%; SIOPSA: f = 25.93%) as well as IOP professional practice (SAJIP: f = 4.35%; SIOPSA: f = 16.67%) themes seemed to be more popular within the practitioner sphere than within the academic domain. Similarly, emerging psychological practice areas such as neuro-psychology, ergonomics and sustainability, coaching psychology and forensic psychology (SAJIP: f = 0%; SIOPSA: f = 1.85%) featured within the SIOPSA conference. None of these areas have been covered in the most recent edition of the SAJIP. However, the SIOPSA themes are aligned to trends within the early part of the last decade within both SAJIP (Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014a) as well as high impact international journals (Cascio & Aguinis, 2008). The profession may only now be catching up to the 'latest' research trends of 2004. Morris, Wooding and Grant (2011) indicate that there is a significant time lag of up to 17 years in translating research into practice. As such, practitioners may be slow in their adoption of cutting edge research trends

(Grimshaw, Eccles, Lavis, Hill & Squires, 2012) which could explain the significant difference between the areas covered in SAJIP and the SIOPSA conference. This does, however, present various unique challenges and opportunities for the SAJIP that could be explored as part of its strategy to enhance its impact to stimulate an increase in its citation ratios and to stay relevant.

In summation, the future is not without its challenges. It is imperative for IOP scholars, scientists and practitioners to ensure that their research areas and practice domains remain relevant. They should keep an open mind for interdisciplinary collaboration, innovations, and application of I-O psychology research and theory on the practice of IOP in the fast-changing global and local economy. Collaboration amongst scholars, scientists and practitioners to integrate theory, research and practice innovations will help to move the field forward and maintain its energy and dynamism over time.

 

Changes in the DoHET research output policy: Implications for SAJIP

On the 11 March 2015, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) published the new Research Outputs Policy [ROP] (DoHET, 2015a) which will take effect on 01 January 2016 (DoHET, 2015b). The DoHET has been mandated to manage the implementation of South Africa's drive to develop into a knowledge-based economy. As such, the DoHET is the body which is responsible for the implementation, allocation and management of the research output subsidy system through the ROP within South Africa. The policy is an extensive update from the original Research Outputs of Higher Education Institutions policy, which was published in 2003 (DoHET, 2003). The overall purpose of the ROP (DoHET, 2015a) is to facilitate the publication of higher quality, as opposed to quantity, research outputs and to empower higher education institutions to facilitate such through public funding or subsidy. At its core, the policy aims to provide guidelines on the measurement and evaluation of research outputs in line with the implementation of the DoHET's mandate.

Although the ROP's (DoHET, 2015a) policy framework provides more structured and measurable criteria for the evaluation of research outputs, a number of the proposed changes will affect the publication of scientific journals within South Africa. As custodians for research in the field of industrial and organisational psychology within South Africa (Coetzee & Van Zyl, 2014a), the South African Journal of Industrial Psychology (SAJIP) needs to inform its constituents of the proposed changes and its possible impact on the publication process. Table 4 highlights the new provisions within the policy and the possible implications for SAJIP.

 

Concluding remarks: SAJIP annual review 2015

The focus during the next five years would be to enhance the international exposure of the SAJIP as well as to enhance its impact and span (through increased international citations). One envisioned strategy would be to pull more international researchers to publish within the Journal by involving the SAJIP's national and international board members more actively in developing the strategic direction of the Journal. In this regard, the SAJIP welcomed new additional board members:

National board

  • Prof. Mark Bussin - University of Johannesburg, Optentia Research Unit (North-West University), South Africa

  • Dr. Rica Viljoen - Mandala Consulting Group (Pty) Ltd, South Africa

  • Dr Steve Bluen - University of Witswatersrand, South Africa

International board

  • Prof. Peter Cappelli - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America

  • Prof. Elias Mpofu - University of Sydney, Australia

  • Prof. Lize (A.E) Booysen - Antioch University, United States of America

  • Prof. Mike Aamodt - Radford University, United States of America

  • Prof. Jerome Rossier - University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Similarly, the SAJIP's national operational editorial board have also increased in capacity. The SAJIP editorial board are privileged to welcome another two research methodologists to the section editor team, Dr. Leon De Beer (NWU, Potchefstroom) and Prof. Matthew Cole (Lawrence Tech University, USA).

The SAJIP is privileged to welcome individuals with such impact and influence to the SAJIP editorial team, and national and international boards. The Journal's editorial board will aid the editorial team to uphold and maintain SAJIP's stature as one of Africa's premier Industrial Psychology journals, in line with international standards and compliance to the revised South African research output policy. Although the ROP (DoHET, 2015a) provides clarity on important matters which were previously open to interpretation, it has introduced significant changes which may impact the research behaviour of individuals and the function of academic journals within the South African context. Although only new aspects directly impacting on the Journal were highlighted in this editorial, it is suggested that researchers and scholars from academic institutions carefully study the contents of the ROP (DoHET, 2015a) as various provisions may have serious implications for stakeholders. However, the editorial team believes that the ROP (DoHET, 2015a) is a valuable document which may lead to higher quality research outputs and evidently contribute to enhancing the stature of science within the South African context.

The SAJIP 2015 mid-year report (AOSIS, 2015) shows that the journal attracted during 2015 54 815 new visitors, with 18 041 returning visitors. The visitors originated mostly from the following countries: Africa (18 628 new visitors, 10 658 returning visitors), America (8852 new visitors, 1297 returning visitors), Europe (9484 visitors, 2297 returning visitors), Asia (15 517 visitors, 3350 returning visitors) and Oceania (2334 new visitors, 439 returning visitors). The SAJIP had 3 246 872 downloads in total since 2009 and received 210 citations since 2015. As a further testament to the impact and span of the SAJIP, its Scopus impact factor has dramatically increased during the past three years and the Journal will be taken up in a new Thomas Reuter Indexer during the 3rd quarter of the 2015 cycle.

For more than 70 years (since 1945), researchers and scholars globally have been contributing to the I-O psychology literature and, in South Africa, the SAJIP has been a major role player since 1974 (41 years) in that evolution. It is evident from the past SAJIP editions and, again, from the present edition, that the extant literature and research in the I-O psychology domain as represented by the publications continue to present valuable insights into a vibrant discipline and its practice. The editors would like to express their sincere gratitude toward the scholars who continue to submit high-quality manuscripts to the SAJIP in order to evolve the South African perspective on I-O psychology, the reviewers who assist with the review of manuscripts and, most importantly, the section editors of the SAJIP who selflessly devote their time and energy to the peer review process. Their contributions to the SAJIP are highly valued!

The Editorial Board would also like to issue a special word of thanks to AOSIS, the publishers of the Journal, the system administrators, Duncan Hooker and Kyle Paulse, for the efficient support provided to SAJIP authors, editors, section editors and reviewers, and specifically Ms. Trudie Retief for managing the processes associated with the Journal's listing in the high ranking international indices. Specifically, the Board's gratitude is expressed for the Journal's listing in the new Thomas Reuter Index list during the 3rd quarter of this year. Finally, reflecting on the SAJIP's achievements over the years and the year of 2015, the Board feels confident that the SAJIP will only grow from strength to strength!

 

Acknowledgements

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contributions

Prof Melinde Coetzee wrote up the editorial review. Prof Llewellyn van Zyl contributed extensively to the content of the editorial review.

 

References

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Correspondence:
Melinde Coetzee
PO Box 392, University of South Africa, Pretoria 0003
South Africa
Email: coetzm1@unisa.ac.za

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