3. Minimal standards


This section describes the minimal requirements concerning the size and contents of the W&O curriculum. As said it operationally defines the basic academic qualifications needed to becoming a W&O psychologist. Requirements for specialization within the discipline of W&O psychology are not considered here. Below a definition is given of the units used for quantifying the curriculum components, the total size of the curriculum, and the composition of the curriculum.

 

3.1. Curriculum unit

In order to describe curricula and to formulate requirements a curriculum unit must be chosen. The standard unit opted for is one week of study (study load) of 40 hours, which is equivalent tot 10-15 contact hours for lectures and seminars, and 15-20 contact hours for skills training.

The 40-hours week unit can be related to the Educational Credit Transfer System (ECTS) unit: one unit is equivalent to 1,5 ECTS.

 

3.2. Total size of the curriculum

The W&O psychology curriculum as a whole must cover 42 or more units devoted to curriculum components as described in this document. It may include additional units devoted to other topics.

 

3.3. Composition of the curriculum

The curriculum must cover all curriculum components outlined in the preceding section. However, there may be differences in emphasis on fields of study and/or types of educational objectives. The following figures express the limits within which the composition of the curriculum may vary. They provide a flexible definition of the 'common core' of European W&O psychology in operational terms.

The requirements should be understood as follows:

  1. At least 6 units must be devoted to each of the fields of work, personnel and organization

  2. Minimally 12 and maximally 22 units must be devoted to an orientation course and theoretical courses.

It is assumed that the introduction course will generally not be greater than 2 or 3 units. No requirement is formulated concerning the balance between explanatory and technological theory. Yet, both should be represented in the curriculum.

Table 3: Minimal standards

WORK

(min. 6)

PERSONNEL

(min. 6)

ORGANIZATION

(min. 6)

 
orientation course


min. 12

max. 22


course on explanatory & technological theory

 

 


courses on diagnostic & intervention skills

min. 8 

max. 18


stage & research project

min. 12

max. 22

Total     min. 42

 

 

  1. Minimally 8 and maximally 18 units must be devoted to courses on diagnostic and intervention skills. No requirement is formulated concerning the balance between the two types of skills. Again, both should be represented in the curriculum.

  2. Minimally 8 and maximally 18 units must be devoted to a stage and/or research project. It is held desirable that students follow both a stage and a research project. The minimum size for each is considered to be 6 units.

 

3.4. Content of the curriculum

The requirements concerning the content of the curriculum are described in terms of the specific objectives to be reached and topics to be covered. For each of the curriculum components (cells of the matrix) these objectives and topics are defined.

3.4.1. Orientation course

The orientation course must enable the student to acquire general knowledge about work & organizational psychology as a discipline and professional field, its object of study, typical problems addressed, main theoretical approaches, some typical concepts and methods, forms of practice, ethical and legal aspects of the profession. The course must devote attention to the relationship between work and other domains of human life and activity, as well as to the relationship between W&O psychology and adjacent fields of science (i.e. other disciplines dealing with work and organization, and other fields of psychology), both with special reference to the European context. To be included are the meaning of work, work values and attitudes, quality of work and unemployment.

3.4.2. Courses on explanatory theory

W1. Courses in work psychology should enable the student to obtain knowledge about the main psychological theories on work as an individual and collective activity. Attention should be devoted to the mental, physical and social processes involved in goal-directed action and the regulation thereof, performance (including errors), work outcomes, and adaptation, as well as to various personal and situational conditions and concomittants. To be covered with respect to the person are: knowledge, skills, competencies, motivation, emotions, functional states, fatigue, stress, and satisfaction, and with respect to the situation: tasks, tools, information, working conditions, temporal arrangements, hazards and risks.

P1. Courses on personnel psychology should enable the student to obtain knowledge about the main psychological concepts and theories concerning work careers and the employment relationship. To be covered are theories of careers and career development both within a life-span perspective (needs, values, interests, goals, career anchors, competencies, life span, career stages, career transitions, career choice, types of careers, job insecurity and unemployment), and an organizational perspective (organizational entry, organizational socialization, models of organizational careers, the psychological contract, retirement). Also to be covered are theories on the psychological facets of human resources management and development as far as relating to the employment relationship, including recruitment, appraisal, selection, placement, training, career planning, outplacement, career development, performance management and compensation). Furthermore, attention must be given to contextual factors influencing careers and employment relations, such as changes in industrial relations, the labour market, new organizational forms, and the intersection of work and non-work roles.

O1. Courses on organizational psychology should provide the student with basic theoretical knowledge about organizational phenomena and the way in which they are influenced by and exert influence on psychological factors and processes related to individual and group behaviour. The organizational phenomena include organizational structure, (inter)group processes, power, conflict, cooperation, communication, decision-making, participation, leadership, climate and culture, organizational learning, organizational performance, interorganizational relations and organizational environments. The topics are to be dealt with from the perspective of major theoretical approaches, including organizational growth, bureaucratic theory, systems theory, role theory, field theory, structuration theory and social constructionism. Attention should also be given to empirical trends, i.e. the emergence of new organizational forms, such as network organizations and virtual organizations.

3.4.3. Courses on technological theory

W2. The courses should provide the student with know-how concerning interventions in the field of work, such as job and task design, the design and improvement of work methods and tools, work time arrangements, work teams, as well as skill training and competence development. Attention is to be paid to the main theoretical approaches for optimizing outcomes, including sociotechnics, humanization of work, quality of work, and ergonomics, as well as to the different types of criteria involved, i.e. effectiveness, satisfaction, work load, safety, stress and health.

P2. The courses should provide the student with know-how about career choice and development, management development, training, manpower planning, personnel recruitment and selection, performance evaluation and remuneration, industrial relations techniques. To be included are methods for the analysis of jobs, tests and other assessment techniques, methods for decision-making and utility assessment, as well as methods for career counselling and training (including training need analysis). The students should be familiarized with the design of systems to fulfil these functions, and with various aspects of the professional role of the psychologist using these methods and systems.

O2. The courses should provide the student with know-how about psychological interventions in the field of organizations, both aiming at the design or planned change of systems (or subsystems) and at organizational transformation and development. Students should understand the interrelationships of specific intervention techniques with organizational intervention paradigms. Topics to be covered include: theories of organizational change and learning, approaches to organizational design and redesign and approaches to organizational development. Specific topics like leadership and participation with regard to organizational change, team development, conflict management and resistance to change should also be covered.

3.4.4. Diagnostic skill courses

W3. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for various types of work analysis, show how to find more detailed information about particular methods and tools, and provide the opportunity to select and apply such methods and tools in at least two specific domains. Relevant types of work analysis are: task and job analysis, work requirement analysis, activity analysis, analysis of human functional states (activation and effort, emotions, fatigue, boredom, stress, body rhythms etc.), the analysis of performance and work outcomes, error diagnosis, the evaluation of working conditions, work risk analysis, analysis of work group interdependencies, analysis of social interaction and cooperative work. Among the methods to be covered are: observation techniques, psychophysiological measurements rating scales, questionnaires, qualitative methods.

P3. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for individual assessment, and show how to find more detailed information about particular methods and tools for the assessment of people's needs, interests, values, life goals, and career objectives, as well as abilities, skills, competencies and performance. The student should learn to compose a procedure for either career development, selection, evaluation, remuneration or training, incorporating such methods. Moreover, the student should learn to apply interviews and tests to measure a particular range of individual characteristics and/or performance.

O3. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for various types of organizational analysis, show how to find more detailed information about particular methods and tools for the diagnosis of organizational states and processes, and the assessment of organizational parameters and outcomes. The student should be given the opportunity to select and use two or more of such methods and tools within the context of organizational change and organization development. Among the methods to be covered are: observation techniques, document analysis, survey techniques, work flow analysis, communication analysis, safety and quality audits, analysis of organizational climate and culture, and organizational structure analysis.

3.4.5. Intervention skill courses

W4. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for intervention methods relating to the (re)design of work and the optimization of human work activity, and show how to find more detailed information on particular methods. The student should be given the opportunity to select and appjly two or more intervention methods. The intervention methods may relate to job or task design, the design and improvement of work methods and tools, work time arrangements, work teams, as well as skill training and competence development.

P4. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for intervention relating to career development, selection, evaluation, remuneration or training, and show how to find more detailed information on particular methods. The student should be given the opportunity to select and apply two or more intervention methods, taking into account the results of relevant assessments. Applying the methods implies: organizing and conducting consulting sessions, providing feedback, guidance, advice, or training, communicating with employees, managers, and relevant others, effectively deal with resistance, conflicts and complaints, and implementing administrative measures.

O4. The courses should give the student an overview of approaches and methods for organizational design and functioning, and show how to find more detailed information on particular methods. The student should be given the opportunity to select and apply two or more intervention methods. Relevant are: general approaches to organizational design and development, as well as specific methods such as group feedback analysis, and intervention methods related to the introduction new technologies, quality control and assurance, conflict mediation, conflict management, team development, team building, communication system design, design of safety, health and environmental protection systems.

3.4.6. Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship (stage) should give the student the opportunity to work on a particular type of problem posed by an individual or organizational client, while supervised by a qualified psychologist. This should help the student to develop competencies such as: intake, diagnosis, planning, intervention, evaluation, reporting, and documentation. Special consideration should be given to communication, client participation, and professional ethics are aspects that deserve special attention. Apprenticeships should be performed on the basis of a plan and concluded with a report.

3.4.7. Research project

The research project should give the student the opportunity to answer a generic question in a scientifically valid way. This should help the student to develop research competencies related to the formulating a research problem, retrieving and reviewing existing knowledge, making a research design, sampling, getting access to respondents, data collection, analysis, reporting and documentation. Research projects should be performed on the basis of a plan and concluded with a report.

 

3.5. Didactics

It is acknowledged that educational objectives can be achieved in very different ways. Since the results are considered to be more important than the ways in which they are achieved these Minimal Standards do not pose requirements other than that the didactic methods be appropriate to achieve the educational objectives. It is held desirable, though, that guidelines on didactics be developed in the near future and that 'best practice' examples are being disseminated.

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