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The Identity Zone: A Place to Mingle about the IWOP Declaration of Identity


The Identity Zone: A Place to Mingle about the IWOP Declaration of Identity

Barbara Kozusznik & Sharon Glazer


The Identity Zone appeared for the first time at the EAWOP congress 2023. What is it?

Photo of the Identity Zone


The history of the Declaration of Identity (DoI) dates back to 2005, when Division 1 of the International Association for Applied Psychology (IAAP) surveyed its membership and discovered that colleagues from around the globe were concerned that people outside the field did not know us. Globally, Industrial, Work, and Organizational/Occupational psychology professionals (IWOPs) reported a lack of visibility and a lack of voice with important decisions that policymakers and heads of organizations were making, which affected people’s work lives. Respondents also remarked that there was a lack of accessibility to IWOPs in majority (population) nations. Consequently, in 2013 and 2014, Kozusznik and Glazer organized several sessions at IAAP, EAWOP, and SIOP conferences to discuss this matter. The sessions drew in well over 50 different attendees at each session

Prepared with the qualitative responses, we set out to synthesize the main points derived during the session to create behaviorally-driven broad declarations about IWOPs’ contributions to key government, policy, and organizational decision-makers. This DoI is meant to unify the identity of IWOPs worldwide and to serve as a tool for IWOPs to communicate why they should have a seat at the table with key decision-makers.
IWOP is now considered a profession and professions affect societies to support difficult decisions at the societal, organizational, and group levels so as to always ensure that workers and worker-eligible people are reaping benefits rather than are harmed by their work engagements (Lowman, 2006; Lowman & Cooper, 2018) and Lefkowitz (2005; 2017).

IWOPs have a clear understanding of their abilities to navigate between well-being and performance effectiveness, however few people external to our field know about our profession or how we can contribute. This IWOP DoI is an international joint initiative to draw attention to IWOPs’ roles and highlight the value-add to organizations and to society by focusing efforts on enhancing psychological well-being and performance of people in the domain of work and employment. The DoI serves a brief guide for IWOPs to share with non-IWOPs to inform them of IWOP’s professional responsibility concerning the welfare of people in the work domain. Below are 10 belief statements and descriptions organized around four major themes: communication, contextualization, dissemination, and integration. Please visit the following URL for more information on the statements:



1. We communicate broadly and are active partners in social dialogues.


IWOPs have evidenced-based views on unemployment, precarious work, fairness and equal opportunities in the workplace, selection, performance appraisal, occupational stress, health and well-being, counterproductive work behaviors, leadership, and followership, teamwork, telework, and many other work-related topics. We share, disseminate, and exchange these viewpoints with all relevant stakeholders.

2. We communicate in the language of different stakeholders.

As scientists and practitioners, we are getting more and more technical and advanced in our quest to understand people’s behavior. Nevertheless, we have created a language of internal discourse that is not always fully understood by others. In order to increase the effectiveness of communication we should tailor our language to reach our intended audience clearly and effectively.

3. We strive to have an ethical, evidence-based impact on decision makers.

IWOPs provide expert analyses and recommendations that enable politicians and policy-makers to deliberate and decide on matters related to human behavior, affect, and cognition in the workplace and work-related settings.


4. We voice needed change.

IWOPs utilize theories, methods, and instruments to guide change initiatives. IWOPs’ international codes of conduct guide ethical application of psychology for the betterment of individuals and organizations.

5. We provide rigorous and relevant answers to critical questions.

IWOPs can demonstrate their ability to tackle important humanitarian and social issues, such as poverty reduction, and be known as a discipline that can contribute to solving problems of social and global significance.

6. We ideate and innovate in all working situations and environments.

Innovations in sciene and practice feed off of each other. IWOPs are acutely aware of changing work contexts and conditions within varying social circumstances. With this information, IWOPs create change and improvements to working conditions, situations, and contexts, and are constantly in search for new ideas to improve work processes and experiences under many different circumstances. Through scientific methods IWOPs validate creations that are implemented and evaluate the utility of innovations to benefit the workplace, workers, and job seekers.


7. We value well-being and human welfare.

IWOPs advocate for the well-being of workers, unemployed workers, and precarious workers, and make sound business cases for company investment in their people and community. We present scientifically valid evidence to address worker and worker-eligible issues.

8. We share scientific research, empirical methods and scientific achievements with stakeholders.

IWOP competencies are readily demonstrable in small-scale to large-scale changes, that make positive impact in the world of work.


9. We bridge organizational science and practice.

One of the unique strengths of IWOP is that it is based on the science- practitioner model. According to the model, psychologists are to be trained to integrate science and practice, such that activities in one domain (e.g., science) informs activities in the other domain (e.g., practice).

10. We balance individual and group needs with organizational goals.

IWOPs balance the well-being of workers with the organization’s need for productivity, effectiveness, and innovation. We use scientific methods to derive valid research results and apply psychological principles to solve workplace problems and reconcile the interests of organizations’ members with the interests of organizations.

Our experts expressed that IWOP is an explanatory and problem-solving science. IWOPs are change orientated; we want to improve and make things better for the workers and leaders. We aim to ensure descent work. We are values-driven and action-oriented. Our discipline has a broad-reach and we address diverse in topics, from environmental phenomenon like climate change to individual psychological wellbeing. We engage with society and are now bringing into the fold the role of technology and artificial intelligence on worklife. Our engaged audience members also reminded us that IWOP is transformative.

Photo of the Session Panelists

(from left to right: Sharon Glazer, Alex Haslam, Annemarie Hiemstra, Richard Griffith, Vicente Martinez-Tur, Barbara Kozusznik)


To promote the DoI, panelists agreed that people who are drawn to the discipline want to know the community they are joining and that the DoI is a tool to inform others what IWOP entails. It is imperative that IWOPs promote the DoI amongst the incoming generation of learners. To do so, the DoI needs to be inspirational, promote equality, and serve as a non-prescriptive tool. We should promote the DoI through social networks, social media, podcasts, and through engagements with the United Nations, and perhaps to translate it into local languages of IWOPs. A member of the audience recommended aligning the DoI with the European Network of Organizational Psychology’s Competency Reference Model.
A connection to curriculum was also presented in a panelist’s idea of championing the DoI with signatures from program directors and pictures with the signed document could help promote it. Finally, the DoI must remain a living document and the document that is distributed needs to be shorter.

In order to get the attention of non-IWOP decision-makers, the panelists recommended creating a clear connection with the economic environment, which has global implications. We also need to show how the DoI promotes adherence to ethical standards. The DoI must also be presented in accessible language. (Ironically, accessible language is one of the statements presented in the DoI). Concern over brevity was reinforced, but so was inviting discourse around the statements: discourse amongst decision-makers and amongst students to solidify their meaning of the DoI. There was resounding support for a panelist’s idea of replicating the session at a meeting in different countries’ conferences.
To conclude the session, the co-chairs asked which DoI theme most resonates with them. Overall, the audience most resonated with the Dissemination and Integration themes. In their concluding words, the panelists shared that Communication and Contextualization need greater attention, we must focus on our ethical influence as a way to set apart the IWOP profession from other business-oriented professions, emphasize the transformative nature of our work that is evidence-based.

Together with the panelists, we called for IWOPs to rally around an understanding of our identity and to act collectively. We urge IWOPs to:

(a) write about each of the unique statements in various media outlets,
(b) educate non-IWOP colleagues about what IWOPs do, using the DoI as a tool to communicate,
(c) prepare a handbook on IWOP competencies that help us bring global visibility to the 10 core action statements,
(d) post on IWOP organizations’ websites,
(e) share the DoI with prospective students to the field, and
(f) distribute the DoI broadly and frequently to all relevant stakeholders and partners so that it becomes a firm set of expectations.

Finally, we invite readers of this contribution to provide us with your constructive feedback about the DoI, its content, and thoughts about this initiative. As noted earlier, the DoI is a living document that will change as the field changes. Please email with your comments to: and/or