SIOP Stands Against Racism

SIOP Stands Against Racism

Industrial-organizational psychology is science for a smarter workplace, and through research and practice, we understand that workplaces are better, healthier, more productive, and more profitable when they are welcoming and inclusive. SIOP strives to create a supportive environment for members as they use their knowledge and expertise to address the issue of racism in work contexts.

What We Are Doing

  •   SIOP is closely monitoring the federal conversation over policing reform and has members with relevant expertise working to advise decision-makers regarding how I-O findings can inform effective policies. As part of this work, we have published a revised policing reform guide for lawmakers describing many ways that I-O psychology can support successful policing reform efforts and offering several specific suggestions for action. It is important to note that policing is a predominantly local issue. SIOP encourages members with relevant expertise who are interested in promoting meaningful change to reach out to government officials at the state and local levels to offer their services in the development of evidence-based reform.  
  •   Funding projects and research intended to promote our understanding of racism and eliminate it from the workplace through the SIOP Anti-Racism Grants.
  •   In April 2020, we welcomed our first Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Derek Avery, to the Executive Board leadership. SIOP’s committee structure was rearranged to include a Diversity and Inclusion Portfolio, giving new and amplified voice and resources to initiatives serving underrepresented communities within our membership and wherever I-O science is applied throughout the world. 

What We Are Saying


Published June 2, 2020

Recent lethal police acts against unarmed Black citizens have caused much stress and anger for many of us. Racism in work and organizations is a concern for I-O psychology. To directly address this problem, SIOP’s Executive Board unanimously approved the following statement:

The senseless killings of Black citizens have sadly shown that racism continues to plague our society. George Floyd died after a police officer had his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor were unarmed when they were shot to death. As this country struggles to deal with these tragic events, it is important to state that SIOP stands against racism and all forms of hate crimes. This statement is relevant for SIOP because police brutality is based on officer behaviors while they are on duty, allegedly performing their jobs. Also, as our science has shown, racism is a major impediment for a healthy and diverse workforce. 

SIOP supports the efforts of our members to research racism in organizations, to promote fair employment practices, and to create safe environments for all people. It is important to have a shared understanding of how racism affects people at work, and what we can do about it. Furthermore, it is important to communicate that SIOP is committed to strengthen our field as a community that welcomes and respects members of all races. Moving forward, I-O psychology has the potential to champion further contributions to our understanding and treatment of racism at work.  Let us not merely witness the problem, but tackle it head on. We are psychologists. We care about people.  

As a woman of color, I have experienced racism personally. To our Black members; I stand with you – SIOP stands with you. To all our members, I hope this statement serves as an initial step to formally express the Society’s position on racism at work.

A statement is important, but we also need to go beyond words. SIOP is exploring several possible actions to further address racism at work. If you have any ideas and/or resources, I would like to hear about them (please send to Tracy Vanneman at

In solidarity,

SIOP President Georgia T. Chao & the SIOP Executive Board


Update: The SIOP Executive Board has also published this Statement of Support for Programs to Improve Diversity and Inclusion to address President Trump's Executive Order curtailing workforce training and activities focused on certain D&I topics, approaches, and perspectives. President Biden revoked this executive order on January 20, 2021.

How You Can Participate

  •   Use your I-O knowledge and expertise to create, lead, or support anti-racism activities in your workplace and your community.
  •   Learn about the effects of vicarious racial trauma on Black student interns, and how to support them through trauma, in the policy brief from the Center for Research on College Workforce Transitions the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  •   Become an advocate on issues of diversity and inclusion that are important to you as an I-O professional (see our Guide to Federal Outreach & Advocacy for a personal advocacy plan)
  •   Engage with the Anti-Racism Grant program to propose a worthy project or give financial support to fund the work of others.
  •   Amplify the voices of Black I-Os and I-Os of color and from underrepresented populations within your professional networks.
  •   Raise your hand to serve on a SIOP committee.