Geopolitical Diversity in Occupational Psychology

Professor Bill Puplampu, Pro Vice -Chancellor (Academic Affairs) attended the Annual Conference of the Division of Occupational Psychology where he delivered a paper jointly with Professor Chris Lewis. Both Professor Puplampu and Professor Lewis are Chartered Psychologists of the British Psychological Society. In the 2012/13 Academic year Professor Lewis was a visiting professor at the Central Business School. Their paper was titled: "Geopolitical diversity in Occupational Psychology"


 As Occupational Psychologists, our work enables us to tackle many work related human challenges across the six listed submission categories of this conference and indeed of the science of occupational and organizational psychology. We have made considerable progress in both theory and practice in nearly 100 years of active engagement with society. Apart from direct psychological interventions, much of our work now informs and interfaces various Human Resource and general management initiatives.
In the last decade or so, however, there is increasing disquiet within our science about resource myopia (Drenth and Heller, 2004); narrow range of organisations from which we derive our samples/carry out our research (Patterson, 2001) and the dangers of weak science leading to populist, puerile and pedantic research efforts (Anderson et al, 2001). We also find that there is some disquiet about the issues we investigate with successive editors of our leading Journal: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology – JOOP calling for greater attention to meaning, lived experience, philosophical underpinnings of peoples’ work life and so on (West et al, 1992; Sparrow, 1999; Arnold, 2004). This is probably the crucial issue underpinning ‘Research into Practice: Relevance and Rigour’.

Under-representation of global south
In addition to the issues noted above, a matter of concern to those occupational psychologists who work outside the global north is the rather poor attention to the development of occupational psychology theory beyond the dominant postulations derived from the UK and the USA. There seems to be an assumption that our theories should sit well, context notwithstanding. Johns (2006) has however noted the need for attention to context in research and theorizing in the social human and management sciences.
Using developments in the fields of work motivation and leadership, this paper seeks to show that occupational psychology would benefit from drawing in a diversified field of research sourced from other locations such as South America, Africa and Asia. We suggest that continued neglect of such geopolitical areas of the world which are underrepresented in occupational psychology theorizing undermine the prospect of occupational psychology truly reaching out and tackling global issues from the perspective of those directly affected by these issues.
We argue that the solution lies not only in methodological reflexivity and multidisciplinary inclusiveness but also in deliberate and sustained promotion of efforts to mine work related understandings from an autochthonous and indigenous perspective.
Work motivation theory explores the initiation, maintenance and qualitative direction of work behavior and has key principles such as the intrinsic-extrinsic and drive-process divides. Despite growing evidence of varied approaches to motivation (Latham, 2007), there is hardly any build-up of understandings from non-western areas (Munro, 1986; Puplampu, 2013). In many of these geographic areas, the drive-process and intrinsic-extrinsic divides appear tenuous and artificial.

Meanwhile these are geopolitical areas with many concerns around productivity and work
performance. Must occupational psychology interventions necessarily occur in the theory testing
mode? We argue not.
Leadership theory has grown considerably and in 2011, JOOP attempted to explore leadership in
Africa. Muchiri’s (2011) paper and that of Nkomo and Kriek (2011) suggest that there is
considerable scope for new indigenous learnings from Africa on leadership in Africa. This is backed
up by the current writers who show in previous work that research into the everyday realities and
foibles of corporate executives in an African setting offer rich opportunities to understand the
complexities of executive leadership in emerging African markets.

Essential argument
The position advanced by this paper therefore is that: occupational psychology needs to enter a
phase of deliberate efforts targeted at mining alternative, varied and diverse understandings from
further afield – than that mainstream theory is used to. Of course the question may be asked
about how much testing has already taken place to ascertain the applicability of extant theory to
different locations. The counter argument may be that knowledge generation may proceed with
or without testing of existing theory – as indigenous and autochthonous forms may be accessed
for their value and potential contribution.
Through these approaches, we are likely to facilitate greater diversity of thought in and application
of occupational psychology to emerging real world problems in a globalized and internationalized
age. We argue that relevant theory and research that is impactful on practice must draw in
location specific knowledge. Location specific and autochthonous knowledge needs to feed into
development of indigenous theory.
We argue that in the increasingly globalized international space, relevance and rigour of practice
impacting research cannot be attained without a deliberate attention to varied and mined local
knowledge, context and theory. We suggest that the assumption that our theories as they stand
can travel well, context notwithstanding is flawed. Occupational psychology must recognize that
in places such as the many countries in Africa, there are cultural issues, clashes between tradition
and modernity, economic opportunities in the midst of stagnation, political, institutional and State
level weaknesses, thriving traditions and norms, considerable influence of religion. How much do
these feature in theory development? This is what we mean by geopolitical diversity in theory as
an essential tool for mainstreaming occupational psychology research into practice within a global
space. This paper calls for debate and seeks to engage colleagues who have practiced in either the global
north or south or both and who have experiences about how well or otherwise occupational
psychology theory travels

Anderson, N., Herriot, P. & Hodgkinson. (2001). The practitioner-researcher divide in Industrial,
Work and Organizational (IWO) psychology: Where are we now and where do we go from here?
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 4, 391-412.
Arnold, J. (2004). Editorial. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77(1), 1-10.
Drenth, P. & Heller, F. (2004). The dangers of resource myopia in work and organizational
psychology: A plea for broadening and integration, Applied Psychology – An International Review,
53, 4, 599-613.
Johns, G. (2006). The essential impact of context on organizational behavior. Academy of
Management Review, 31, 2, 386-408.
Johnson, P., & Cassell, C. (2001). Epistemology and work psychology: New agendas. Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 2, 125-143.
Latham, G. (2007). Work Motivation. History, Theory, Research and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Muchiri, M. (2011). Leadership in context: A review and research agenda for sub-Saharan Africa,
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84, 3, 440-452
Munro, D. (1986). Work Motivation and Values: Problems and Possibilities in and out of Africa.
Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 3, 285-296.
Nkomo, S. & Kriek, D. (2011). Leading organizational change in the ‘new’ South Africa. Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84, 3, 453-470.
Patterson, F. (2001). Developments in work psychology: Emerging issues and future trends. Journal
of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 4, 381-390.
Puplampu, B. (2013). Employee Motivation in Africa. In T. Lituchy, B. Punnett & B.B. Puplampu
(Eds), Management in Africa – Macro and Micro Perspectives (pp.270-290). New York: Routledge.
Sparrow, P. (1999). Editorial. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 72, 3, 261-
West, M., Arnold, J., Corbett, M. & Fletcher, B. (1992). Editorial: Advancing our understanding
about behaviour at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 65, 1, 1-3.
CITATION: Puplampu, B.B., Lewis, C. (2017). Geopolitical Diversity in Occupational Psychology:
A ‘research-into-practice’ essential. Paper delivered at the Annual Conference of Division of
Occupational Psychology, British Psychological Society, Liverpool, January, 2017.


Staff and Faculty of Central University crowned an eventful year with a series of activities on Thursday, 22nd December, 2016. The activities included various indoor and outdoor games such as tug of peace, volleyball, cards, draught, lime and spoon race, athletics and football.

The Headquarters Staff of the International Central Gospel Church, the Elsayus Company,a sanitary and cleaning service provider for the university and Panos Security joined the staff of the university in a series of fiercely contested games. At the end of the games, exceptional performances by teams and individuals in the various sports disciplines were presented with awards and trophies.

The highlight of all the activities was the Vice-Chancellor’s Christmas Party for staff which is organized annually to fete the University community. The occasion which was characterized by merry making and quality choral music by the CU Jubilee Choir, was also used to recognize the outstanding contributions of current and former members of the University towards the growth and development of Central University

Professor Joseph Gogo, the outgoing head of the Civil Engineering department won the Best teacher award for the faculty level whilst Miss. Vulate Asare won the best worker award given to the best administrative staff. The award recipients were each given a certificate and a cash prize.

Also, the contributions of recently retired Staff of CU were recognized. The retirees were awarded with meritorious certificates amidst deafening cheers and applause from their former colleagues.

With a choice between traditional and continental dishes, Staff and faculty from the various campuses of the University were feted to a cocktail of good cuisine, great music and refreshing drinks.

Professor Kwesi Yankah, the Vice-Chancellor used the occasion to thank the university community for a very eventful year culminating in the attainment of a charter and also the successful graduation of 1744 students in the year under review.

The Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Mensa Otabil who was a surprise guest at the staff party also prayed for the Staff present to bring the day’s event to an end.


Central University on the 17th of December, 2016 graduated 1744 students at an impressive ceremony at its permanent campus at Miotso, Accra, Ghana.

The Special Guest was an Alumna of the University, Mrs. Phyllis Kuenyehia (Image Strategist - Human Capital & Workforce Development and Managing Partner - Cascade Consult). In an inspiring speech, she called on the graduands to acquire critical soft skills sets such as personal branding and self-development.   Revealing the personal and academic sacrifices she had to endure as a former student in Central during the university`s formative years, Mrs. Kuehyehia charged the graduands to think about building up their alma mater by citing the examples other prestigious university built because of the contributions of their alumni.

The Vice- Chancellor of Central University, Professor Kwesi Yankah in his speech revealed that the University is graduating 1744 students. Of this 1511 or 86.6%, are undergraduates, and 233 or 13.3% are from the graduate school.

Of those graduating from the undergraduate division, 724 or 47.9% belong to the Central Business School, 41% from the School of Applied Sciences, 158 or 10.5% from FASS, and 10 or 6% are from the STM.

He further touched on current academic and social developments currently taking place in the University by revealing the completion of the University’s modern Television and Radio studios which will be inaugurated early next year. The Radio studio, he said, is probably the biggest in any academic institution in Ghana.

He also spoke on the physical development of Central University which has seen over 150 street lights installed at the Miotso campus. The lights, he said, were donated by Pastor Christopher Yaw Annor led Holy Ghost Temple of the International Central Gospel Church and the Chancellor of Central University Dr. Mensa Otabil who is also the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church.

He said a modern Student Plaza to house student related offices has also been completed. The edifice, he revealed is to ensure that services to students are provided in a more centralized location and in a convenient manner.

On the academic front, Professor Yankah spoke on new development such as the introduction of new academic programmes; academic collaborations with other foreign academic institutions of great repute, exceptional performance of Central Students in International competitions which in the past two years have resulted in 14 students benefitting from the opportunity to travel to Netherlands to join their foreign counterparts to work on joint projects.

The Chancellor,Dr. Mensa Otabil,  Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Joyce Aryee, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Bill Puplampu, Registrar, Mr. Emil Afenyo, Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments, Faculty, Staff, Students and their friends, and relatives were all present at the graduation.

CBS Holds Lecture on ‘How to Publish in Top Tier Journals’

The Dean’s Research Club (DRC) of the Central Business School (CBS) held its maiden Lecture on ‘How to Publish in Top Tier Journals’ at Central University, Christ Temple on Wednesday, 30th November 2016. The overall objective of the lecture was to build capacity of the Faculty in the area of research with emphasis on practical ways of writing quality research papers and getting them published in reputable journals. In line with this objective, several topical issues relating to journal article publication were brought to the fore and discussed.  The lecture covered various research types as well as vital research imperatives that could bolster one’s chances of having one’s papers accepted for publication in top tier journals. The lecture attracted 43 participants mainly, faculty drawn from different departments in CBS and the wider university community.

The lecture was delivered by the Dean of the Central Business School, Prof Kwaku Appiah-Adu one of Ghana’s leading Professors in the field of Marketing. The event proved to be Masterclass for learning by providing insights into how to publish in top tier journals.

In addition, attendees were provided with materials in the form of slides which contained relevant information regarding academic publication. Some leading articles written by other renowned scholars were also recommended as sample articles for reference and guidance.

Professor Appiah-Adu with deep insight and resourcefulness answered questions from the participants to bring the exceptionally beneficial lecture to a successful conclusion. One question which gained much interest was a questions on how to deal with the “Managerial Implications” section of journal articles which appears to be a” problem child” in journal article publication. The interactive lecture saw participants making useful contributions.

The Lecture was organized by the Public Lecture and Colloquium Committee (PLCC) whose role among others is to help improve and increase research activities in the Central Business School.



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