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The City of I-O Love


by Stephany Below, SIOP Communications Manager

SIOP’s 30th Annual Conference Boasts Third Highest Attendance Ever!

The “City of Brotherly Love” gave a warm welcome to more than 4,300 industrial-organizational psychologists from around the world April 23-25, as SIOP celebrated its 30th Annual SIOP Conference in Philadelphia.

With 4,325 registrants, this year’s conference was the third highest attended conference SIOP has ever held, behind Chicago and New York City. The culminating event of the year for SIOP was once again buzzing with the latest research and practice in I-O psychology.

The conference, always a highlight of SIOP’s year, was held at the Philadelphia Marriott, located near many of Philadelphia’s most famous sites. Attendees could enjoy all of the sessions and fun at the SIOP conference and then make the quick walk across the street to the famous Reading Terminal Market for a wide array of food and shopping choices. Philadelphia’s historic sites and landmarks, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, were also within walking distance of this year’s hotel.



As always, the conference was preceded by a variety of workshops in which attendees could gain in-depth insight on specialized topics. The workshops were very popular this year, with nearly 300 attendees participating in eleven engaging topics.


The SIOP Visibility Committee once again organized a Top Minds and Bottom Lines event Wednesday night to reach out to local business leaders and HR practitioners about the science and practice of I-O psychology. The event, titled “Developing Women Leaders: Evidence-Based Approaches from Academia, Consulting, and Corporate Experts” was led by Jolene Skinner, with presentations by Mikki Hebl, Lorraine Stomski, and Anna Marie Valerio. The event attracted around 30 local students and professionals.



The SIOP Foundation also held its annual dessert reception Wednesday evening, which included the presentation of Foundation awards, fellowships, scholarships, and grants. 

The opening plenary kicked off the conference Thursday morning with Conference Chair Eden King welcoming attendees to Philadelphia and then introducing Awards Chair David Baker, who presented this year’s recipients. (See the awards story this week for a complete list of winners!) This year, the SIOP Foundation was especially proud to present the inaugural Dunnette Prize to Frank L. Schmidt. This award is designed to honor living individuals whose work has significantly expanded knowledge of the causal significance of individual differences through advanced research, development, and/or application. With a $50,000 cash award, the Dunnette Prize is the most significant ever presented by SIOP.

Fellowship Chair Ron Landis presented the 26 newest Fellows, elected to the honor for their outstanding contributions of performance in I-O psychology through research, practice, teaching, administration and professional service. (The SIOP Fellows are listed in a full article here.) Foundation President Milt Hakel also brought members up to date on the Foundation’s activities.


Incoming president Steve Kozlowski announced the presidential address of outgoing president Jose Cortina with a humorous overview of Cortina’s career and accomplishments, including childhood photos and an homage to Cortina’s numerous talents and hobbies. Kozlowksi then continued with an overview of Cortina’s many career accomplishments as well as an introduction to his passion, “to advance rigorous research methods” and “to discourage the dubious practices of ‘torturing data’ and ‘cherry picking’ analyses to support a priori hypotheses ‘that are anything but’.”

Cortina’s address focused on his presidential theme, titled “The Revolution with a Solution: Culling the Madness from our Methods.” During his address, Cortina first thanked his wife, his collaborators, mentors, and various other I-O psychologists and colleagues who have helped build his career, including his mother. He then continued to explain that “We have a review process that has been too ad hoc and driven by the wrong forces for too long” and outlined various issues and problems with review processes in I-O publications. Cortina encouraged SIOP members to start a “revolution” and fix some of these issues for the sake of better research and practice. (Watch the entire video of the Opening Plenary address later this month on SIOP’s YouTube channel.)



Following the plenary, the conference continued with more than 800 symposia, panels, posters, special events, and presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from “Getting Rid of Performance Ratings: Genius or Folly?” to “Uncharted Waters: Navigating Selection, Disclosure, and Employees With Disabilities.” Other topics included women in leadership, workplace deviance, bullying, incivility, an aging workforce, talent management strategies, workplace teams, the impact of cultural differences in the workplace, worker turnover, mergers and acquisitions, workplace surveys, employment testing, hiring, social media in the workplace, and work and family issues.

Thursday offered several Theme Track sessions focusing on “Rethinking Our Approach to Organizational Science.” New this year was the HR Practitioner Track. The SIOP Program Committee assembled this highlighted track for those with specific interests in the practice of HR. All of the sessions were held in the same room on Friday, and included topics such as “Developing Human Resources Standards: Tools for Organizational Effectiveness” and “Data Science in Human Capital Research and Analytics.”

The rest of the conference continued with hundreds of sessions, including invited speakers, panel discussion, master tutorials, Communities of Interest, Friday Seminars, and poster sessions.

A highlight of any conference is the opportunity to network, greet colleagues, and meet new friends.  SIOP offered plenty of venues for those exchanges, including several lovely receptions for everyone as well as special receptions for international members, and LGBT and alumni groups.




The Exhibit Hall was bustling with visitors Thursday and Friday, with attendees engaging with representatives at nearly 60 booths. In the exhibit hall, attendees were able to ask questions, gather literature, test samples, and chat with representatives from some of the leading organizations in the I-O field. Cambridge University Press was also present to, among other things, present the new look of SIOP’s journal, Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice.

Just outside of the exhibit hall, attendees could view the SIOP time capsule, which was formally presented at the opening plenary. SIOP Historian Jeff Cucina will gather items for the capsule, and later this year, it will be sealed for 30 years.  It will be unveiled and opened at the 2045 SIOP conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Division 14 and the 60th SIOP conference. (Learn more about this project here! If you would like to suggest an item to be donated for the capsule, please send your suggestion to jcucina@gmail.com.)




Other popular spots were the Wi-Fi lounge and the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) social media booth in the exhibit hall. At the social media booth, SIOP’s ECC members handed out SIOP and conference swag—t-shirts, water bottles, mugs, luggage tags, and sticky notes—to attendees who participated in SIOP’s social media coverage of the event. Visitors could stop by and learn about SIOP’s social media platforms or take a seat to watch the live Twitter feed from the conference. SIOP’s Twitter presence was especially robust this year, with many attendees posting about their favorite sessions and SIOP conference experiences.


The conference also included several professional development opportunities, such as CE sessions, the always-busy Placement Center, and the sixth annual speed mentoring event, where attendees discussed various pertinent I-O topics with seasoned professionals. For the second year, attendees could participate in the popular Science Funding Speed Mentoring event as well. As a part of SIOP’s efforts to strengthen the science foundation of I-O psychology, this event aimed at assisting participants interested in pursuing scientific funding opportunities.

Bright and early Friday morning, SIOP greeted runners taking part in the 23rd  annual Frank Landy 5k Run, coordinated by Paul Sackett. Participants ran through a beautiful course at Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River, a short bus ride or a modest warm-up jog from the hotel.

To round out the conference, SIOP outgoing president Jose Cortina introduced the closing keynote speaker and also thanked the many people who made the conference a success, including Conference Chair Eden King, Program Chair Kristen Shockley, members of the Conference Committee, the many volunteers and the SIOP Administrative Office.



The closing keynote address was given by Amanda Cox, data visualization expert and Graphics Editor at The New York Times. Cox gave an overview of data visualization, providing various interesting and useful examples from her work at the Times as well as others’ work. Her address was one of the most well-attended in SIOP’s history, and the crowd enjoyed Cox’s mixture of engaging information and humor.

Outgoing SIOP President Jose Cortina then passed the ceremonial gavel to incoming President Steve Kozlowski, who outlined his goals for the coming year. During his address, President Kozlowski praised the SIOP leadership for being proactive in promoting the I-O brand, but also explained that he believes “lasting systemic change comes from the bottom-up.” Kozlowski outlined some of his goals for SIOP over the next year, including expanding horizons to enhance impact, promoting translational and evidence-based practice, and leveraging self-organization.

We need to better fuse science findings and evidence-based practice, he said.

“It’s about finding those real-world problems where the science can actually make a difference,” he added.

This goals aren’t going to happen from the top, he continued. This is really something that needs to happen from the bottom-up.

“We need to develop an infrastructure that enables engaged and like-minded I-O psychologists to self-organize,” he explained. “Because… it’s a signaling mechanism, for the leadership to understand what is important to the membership.” (Check out SIOP’s YouTube page later this month for a video of the closing plenary session!)

The conference concluded with a hopping Philadelphia Bandstand reception that featured music from the 1950s and beyond, giant vinyl record décor, and sample of some of Philadelphia’s iconic cuisine, including a Philly cheesesteak station and soft pretzels.



Next year’s SIOP Conference will take place April 14-16 in Anaheim, California at the Hilton, so begin making your plans now!

We hope to see you next year in sunny Anaheim!


Photo credit:  Clif Boutelle, Bob Muschewske, Stephany Below, and Jen Baker.