The purpose of this paper is to review the current status of work psychology mainly by a content analysis of all the issues in Volume 21 of this journal in 2006.
The aims are achieved by conducting a content analysis of one volume to try to discover themes and issues using also a Q sort methodology to identify a parsimonious number of tensions within the area.
The analysis identified seven “tensions” in the area: the individual vs the group; work‐specific vs out‐of‐work behaviour; science vs practitioner values; bright vs dark side interests; qualitative vs quantitative measurement; fairness vs efficiency; and universality vs culture specific focus.
The analysis was limited to one journal. It would have been preferential to try a longitudinal study tracing the themes over a number of years to spot trends. Also generalisability would be improved by doing a content analysis of all the major journals (around six) in the area of applied, I/O, managerial, organizational and work psychology.
It is not unhealthy to have disagreements, tensions and different foci in this area as it can encourage development and growth. It can be dysfunctional, however, if tensions informed by ideology lead to the traditional disinterested model of science being compromised.
The value is achieved by the identification of the seven tensions which help inform readers of the particular perspective of researchers.
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