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SIOP Award Winners: Meet Alexander Glosenberg, the Joel Lefkowitz Early Career Award for Humanistic Industrial-Organizational Psychology Winner

Liberty J. Munson

As part of our ongoing series to provide visibility into what it takes to earn a SIOP award or grant, we highlight a diverse class of award winners in each edition of TIP. We hope that this insight encourages you to consider applying for a SIOP award or grant because you are probably doing something amazing that can and should be recognized by your peers in I-O psychology!

This quarter, we are highlighting SIOP’s 2022 Joel Lefkowitz Early Career Award for Humanistic Industrial-Organizational Psychology award winner, Alexander Glosenberg.


Share a little bit about who you are and what you do.

I am an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University. I focus my research on how socioeconomic factors influence the psychology of work, in particular, for entrepreneurs (of all sorts, including intrapreneurs and social entrepreneurs).

Describe the research/work that you did that resulted in this award. What led to your idea?

I worked alongside many talented colleagues to more prominently highlight the work of so many I-O psychologists devoted to applying the discipline to the greater good—in particular, to humanitarian work and to work in marginalized communities. One of my papers was highlighted by the committee: I utilized an innovative dataset from Time magazine that generated one of the largest samples of respondents providing both their vocational interests and actual/dream jobs. The breadth of this sample (across 74 countries) allowed us to analyze how socioeconomic development might influence the validity of our models of vocational interests—and associated predictions. Broadly, we found evidence for cultural and socio-economic limitations to our understanding of how interests might predict person–vocation fit.

What do you think was key to you winning this award?

Appreciating and working with the amazing group of I-O psychologists devoted to making the world a better place through their research and applied work.

What did you learn that surprised you? Did you have an “aha” moment? What was it?

That there was so much work being done by so many in our profession without sufficient recognition for their contributions to society.

What do you see as the lasting/unique contribution of this work to our discipline? How can it be used to drive changes in organizations, the employee experience, and so on?

Broadly, I hoped to have helped to underscore the extent to which not only cultural but also socioeconomic dynamics help to shape important aspects of how we think and work.

Who would you say was the biggest advocate of your research/work that resulted in the award? How did that person become aware of your work?

There are too many people that have inspired and/or supported me to name and thank, but they prominently include those involved in the creation of the Global Task Force for Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology —and the many who are researching how I-O psychology might be applied to benefit humanitarian work and global sustainable development.

Are you still doing work/research in the same area where you won the award? If so, what are you currently working on in this space? If not, what are you working on now and how did you move into this different work/research area?

I am very interested in the entrepreneurial mindset and approaches to enhancing an entrepreneurial mindset among marginalized populations. Often, such populations have incredible reservoirs of innovativeness, proactivity, and resilience (what I believe are the components of an entrepreneurial mindset), and a critical step in them becoming successful entrepreneurs (besides the critical component of social, political, and economic support) is for them to identify their personal strengths and skills and apply them in a work setting. The question I’m exploring is, how can we help these entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs accelerate this process?

What’s a fun fact about yourself (something that people may not know)?

Everyone who knows me likely knows this already, but I discovered the potential of I-O psychology while serving as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in a township of South Africa. I was tasked to help assist the managers of underperforming schools, and I quickly realized the importance of I-O psychology tools and theories in organizational change and development. However, I also realized that many of those tools and theories were only partially applicable to the context I was working in. This inspired me to find and begin working with the I-O psychologists who were focusing on issues of poverty and international development.

What piece of advice would you give to someone new to I-O psychology? (If you knew then what you know now…)

Find your passion, and ideally a societal problem that you hope to address. This passion will focus and drive your research in a way that will lead to both better science and superior practical impact.

About the author:

Liberty Munson is currently the director of Psychometrics of the Microsoft Worldwide Learning programs in the Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification programs. Her passion is for finding innovative solutions to business challenges that balance the science of assessment design and development with the realities of budget, time, and schedule constraints. Most recently, she has been presenting on the future of testing and how technology can change the way we assess skills.

Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp with her husband, Scott, and miniature schnauzer, Apex. If she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors or in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens.

Her advice to someone new to I-O psychology? Statistics, statistics, statistics—knowing data analytic techniques will open A LOT of doors in this field and beyond!

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