Information on the SIOP White Paper Series
The SIOP White Paper series organizes and summarizes important and timely topics in I-O psychology for business and HR professionals, members of the press, and interested individuals. SIOP White Papers are produced by three SIOP committees: International Affairs, Scientific Affairs, and Visibility.
Opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, or the Association for Psychological Science, unless so stated.
Mission: Three committees produce the SIOP White Papers. Each has a separate focus and mission.
International Affairs Committee: One of the principle goals of the International Affairs Committee (IAC) is the publication of SIOP white papers on topics of interest to the international practitioner and academic I-O community. The International Affairs Committee is geared toward ensuring that SIOP members and affiliates have a means of collaborating and communicating with international affiliates and members of similar international associations.
Scientific Affairs Committee: This committee is concerned with all aspects of industrial and organizational psychology as a science. Its members encourage, promote, and facilitate greater contributions of a scientific and technical nature. For example, members of this committee work on projects such as providing input to the APA committee that wrote the Standards.
Visibility Committee: The purpose of the Hot Topics white paper series is to provide short briefs on high-interest topics in I-O. These papers are written with a non-I-O audience in mind, and SIOP members are encouraged to use these papers as a resource to share with clients, business partners, and others who are interested in learning more about a topic.
The Visibility Committee Hot Topic white papers are written by I-O PhD students, researchers, faculty, and practitioners and undergo reviews from both a committee member and an external reviewer who has expertise in the topic area. This work is managed by the HR/Business subcommittee of the SIOP Visibility Committee. The committee was created to enhance the visibility of I-O Psychology to inform thought leaders in business, HR, and government, as well as students and the general public, of the ways in which I-O can improve the profitability of business and the productivity and well-being of the workforce.
Purpose and Intended Audience
These white papers are designed to share information about I-O with non-I-O HR and business practitioners and leaders. As a result, many readers will have little to no familiarity with the role of I-O psychology in organizations; further, they will not be familiar with an academic style of writing.
The writing style should be straightforward and accessible so that someone with limited knowledge of I-O topics will be able to read the paper and walk away with a clear understanding of the topic. Each paper should be a short read that describes the most essential aspects of topic in a way that excites them about I-O psychology, provides enough information to whet their appetite to learn more, and provides practical recommendations for applying these concepts in their organizations. Limit technical language and avoid jargon.
As part of the process, all papers undergo an external review before publishing. In addition, the SIOP Committees reserve the right to make final suggestions and edits on the paper style before publishing the paper on its SIOP website and again in the future in order to ensure that the paper is as straightforward and accessible to non-I-O readers as possible. Every attempt not to change the content of the paper will be made.
Papers should be approximately 4-6 pages in length with no more than 1 page of references. Follow these guidelines when writing your paper:
- Use APA format for citations and the references page.
- Use 12 point Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins.
- Include in-text citations as appropriate and include the associated references on a “References” page.
- Include tables and figures as appropriate and if they add value, but keep them simple! Keep in mind the intended audience for these papers.
Given the intended audience and applied focus for these papers, limit the number of citations and references used. Include only those that are the most essential sources for your topic.
In addition, please provide the following for SIOP Administrative Office use when formatting and promoting the papers:
- Author bios
- Author photos
- At least one pull quote per page of text
- A promotional paragraph, suitable for posting on LinkedIn. Length not to exceed 500 characters, including spaces.
The SIOP Administrative Office handles all formatting and copyediting of the white papers. Although the Communications department attempts to post new white papers in a timely manner, each one is different so no distinct deadline for posting is available.
SIOP Administrative Office staff will format and publish a white paper, after it has been through the committee review process and all the deliverable items listed in the above section on paper format have been received. Please allow a minimum of two weeks for this process.
Below is the outline for the papers; please include these sections as titled.
- Introduction - Define the topic, why it matters, where it applies in business, and implications. The most important question you should answer is “WIIFM – What’s in it for me?” for the audience – why should they care? What is the business importance of this topic?
- Background – Provide a brief history of the topic, focusing on research that provides the background for what’s currently being done in the area and/or provides context for practical recommendations. Any historical information that is included should clearly add value to the paper (i.e., it can be linked to current views around the topic and/or current applications in organizations). Don’t provide historical context for the sake of history. Focus on the most groundbreaking, cited, useful, relevant research from the past 10 years. If there is a research model for the topic, include it, and describe its processes and components.
- Implications for practice - Make connections between the research/literature and application in the workplace. You may want to explore non-I-O sources for useful data that will resonate with the intended audience (e.g., "the International Coach Federation reports that there are 6 million coaches in America"), practice-based publications (e.g., SHRM magazine, Harvard Business Review), or even mainstream media (e.g., "Wall Street Journal reports Millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce in the next 10 years"). This section should be at least 30% of the paper.
- Next Steps - Include essential closing thoughts and key take-aways. Provide suggestions for where they can go to learn more or actions they can take. Be specific about the practical implications and applications of the research presented. Reiterate the WIIFM.
Tips for White Papers
Before you begin writing, make sure you can address the following topics:
- Ensure that the papers do not sell or promote any products and services. The goal is for information and action.
- Grab the reader’s attention quickly. Begin paragraphs with main points to generate interest and draw the reader in.
- Use the most active voice possible. For example, “managers calibrate their teams on performance criteria” (active voice) vs. “performance criteria are used to help managers calibrate their teams” (passive voice).
- Use graphics to illustrate processes and complex concepts where needed.
- Do not use academic jargon or lingo. Pretend you are explaining the concept to a friend who has no background in I-O.
Why is the topic important? Why would the reader want to know more? What’s in it for them?
How can you most simply explain what the topic is about, including research/information you’ve gathered? What are the most important aspects of this topic?
What recommendations do you have for the reader regarding next steps? What is the “So what?” of the paper? Provide suggestions where possible to help readers see the value in I-O. Discuss the positive impact or benefit of these methods, processes, and suggestions.
Identify text that would be appropriate as a sidebar or callout (e.g., an interesting or catchy quote or statistics that business leaders would find compelling), and ensure the text is accurate.
Be as concise as possible. Remember that the goal is to demonstrate thought leadership and generate interest in a topic and how I-O can help. The purpose is not to do a deep dive on all aspects of the topic in question. Think “cliff notes.”
Include questions to engage the reader.
For additional tips on business writing, check out: http://www.bizcoachinfo.com/archives/6493
SIOP is always interested in soliciting ideas for our white paper series from our members. If you are interested in proposing a paper, contact Allison Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, please contact:
SIOP Administrative Office
440 East Poe Road, Ste 101
Bowling Green OH 43402-1355
Telephone: (419) 353-0032