Th-DEB-6 - Alliance Special Session: Ethical, Rigorous And Relevant Research

Thursday May 18   04:15 PM to 05:45 PM (1 hour 30 minutes)
Icon Theatre
Gudela Grote, ETH Zurich (Switzerland) (Co-Chair & Panelist)
Jose Cortina, George Mason University (Virginia, USA) (Co-Chair & Panelist)
Ron Landis, Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois, USA) (Panelist)
Rosalind Searle, University of Coventry (England, UK) (Panelist)
M. Gloria Gonzalez-Morales, University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) (Panelist)
Tine Koehler, University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (Panelist)

There currently are two very active debates in academia concerning (un)ethical scientific conduct and (re)balancing academic rigour and relevance. We will report and discuss the memorandum of understanding written by an international and diverse group of organizational scholars who have worked on identifying the root problems and outlining potential solutions.
Description of the Proposed Session:
In February this year, a group of dedicated individuals joined Gudela Grote (President of EAWOP) and José Cortina (Past president of SIOP) in a two-day meeting, which has resulted in a memorandum of understanding on fostering ethical, relevant and rigorous research that does not only include a firm perspective on the current problems and their causes, but also on actions to be taken by all of us in our various roles. The proposed session will serve as a vehicle to disseminate this information to organizational psychologists. It will be organized around three parts:
Part 1. (30 minutes)
Alliance for Organizational Psychology Memorandum of Understanding on fostering ethical, relevant and rigorous research
We will present the MoU and describe its main points. This memorandum of understanding on fostering ethical, rigorous and relevant research has been developed during the first Alliance for Organizational Psychology (AOP) Small Group Meeting held in Zürich, Switzerland, on 12 and 13 February 2016, with several representatives of the three founding organizations of the AOP—Division 1 of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP), the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)—participating.
There currently are two very active debates in academia concerning (un)ethical scientific conduct and (re)balancing academic rigour and relevance. We will report and discuss the memorandum of understanding written by the group participants of the AOP small group meeting. The presentation will be structured around the following 4 points of the MoU:
(1) Research quality, impact and reputation are compromised by publication policies that
  • place too little emphasis on cumulative theory building and testing and by contrast place too much emphasis on empirical studies having to test novel theory;
  • place too little emphasis on real-world importance of the problems addressed in research and encourage authors to produce results sections that are flattering to introduction sections.
(2) Common academic systems share some of the blame by incentivizing quantity (rather than quality) of individual output, which leads to an overloaded review and publication process and encourages unethical behaviour (among those so inclined).
(3) Academic systems promote theory novelty rather than major innovation and the use of a small range of scientific methods, both of which hamper research relevance.
(4) There are few if any institutional mechanisms for influencing policy-makers.
Part 2. (20 minutes)
Redefining theoretical and empirical contributions
One of the most important points of the MoU is the need redefine theoretical contribution and empirical contribution so that there is room for theory trimming, theory refining, constructive replications, intervention studies, null findings, and multidisciplinary and multi-method research. During this part of the session we will present and discuss these ideas.
Part 3.
Audience discussion (30 minutes)
The most important part of this session is to actively involve participants in a discussion around the problems, solutions and initiatives presented. We will engage the audience in an active discussion to motivate their involvement in the initiative to promote ethical, relevant and rigorous science. If the size of the audience requires it we will facilitate the initial part of the discussion in small groups.

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