European Curriculum in W&O Psychology

Reference Model and Minimal Standards




        Abril 1998



European Network of Organizational and Work Psychologists


Maison des Sciences de l'Homme,
54, Boulevard Raspail, 76005 PARIS, France


Secretary: Anna Rocha Perazzo


Table of contents

0. Preface

1. Introduction   

2. The Reference Model         

o                       2.1. Dimensions    

o                       2.2. Structure of the model        

o                       2.3. Content of the model           

o                       2.4. Didactics         

3. Minimal Standards  

o                       3.1. Curriculum unit         

o                       3.2. Total size of the curriculum           

o                       3.3. Composition of the curriculum    

o                       3.4. Content of curriculum         

o                       3.5. Didactics         

4. Use of the Reference Model and Minimal Standards           

o                       4.1. Curriculum design   

o                       4.2. Curriculum evaluation        

o                       4.3. Assessment of students    

o                       4.4. Accreditation of psychologists    

o                       4.5. Promotion of W&O-psychology   


0. Preface


The European Network of Organizational and Work Psychologists (ENOP) is a network of university professors in work and organizational psychology. It was established in 1980 and currently includes around 40 professors from 20 European countries. The network has organized a wide range of scientific and educational activities, including comparative research programmes, conferences and workshops, student and teacher exchange programmes, summer schools etc. Members of ENOP are editors of European journals, such as the European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology and the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, and of several books. ENOP is facilitated by a small administrative support structure and modes but critical programme support provided by the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme. Supplementary support for programme activities are sought and obtained from different sources, including the European Union.

During the 1990's ENOP has developed a model of the curriculum for the training of work and organizational psychologists in Europe. Initially these efforts have concentrated on the clarification of the state of affairs concerning the training in the various countries of Europe and at the development of a common frame of reference model that would facilitate the comparison of curricula and the design of more harmonized curricula. The first so-called 'Reference Model' was discussed in ENOP at its Symposium on February 25-27, 1993, and in a special session at the 6th European Congress of Work & Organizational Psychology (Alicante, April 14-17, 1993). Further comments were solicited from associations and interest groups in the various countries of Europe, as well as from readers of 'The European Work and Organizational Psychologist'. A revised model, established at the ENOP Symposium of March 10-12, 1994, served as a basis for a survey of the actual situation with regard to the teaching of W&O psychology in Europe. This survey, conducted in the fall of 1994 has revealed which parts of the model were (and were not) present in the curricula of the various European universities, and has thereby identified the common core of W&O psychology as well as the variations across the curricula of the different universities.

The present document represents an important step forward in the process of harmonizing the teaching of W&O psychology in Europe. It defines a standard for the basic training in W&O psychology, that is to say the minimum requirements that curricula should meet in order to be considered as providing the necessary academic preparation for professional work and research in W&O psychology. The standard laid down in this document can be used in a number of ways, the main of which is the evaluation of existing curricula with the purpose of modifying them as to incorporate the necessary common core. The experiences ENOP will gather in this process and the resulting effects on the academic curricula are expected to be of importance for developments in related domains, including the development of educational standards for European psychology as a whole and a system for the accreditation of European work& organizational psychologists.


1. Introduction


This document describes the structure and contents of an academic curriculum that provides the necessary preparation to those who want to become a qualified 'W&O psychologist' in Europe. The occupational title 'W&O psychologist' refers to a specialty within general occupational category of 'psychologist' which includes professional work and research with respect to human behavior in the context of work and organization.

It should be acknowledged that the curriculum described here only covers the basic training for these types of occupational activity, and thereby addresses only part of the process by which W&O psychologists acquire and maintain their qualifications. It should be acknowledged that in most European countries there exists a system of further preparation for professional activity as well as for continued education meant for those who have graduated from the university. For professional work such ongoing education typically includes post academic training courses, supervised practice and accreditation. For research work there are advanced training courses and workshops, Ph.D. programmes etc.

The structure of the curriculum is laid down in a model, the so-called Reference Model, while its contents is specified in Minimal Standards. These two parts together can be considered to define 'common core' of qualifications W&O psychologists need to have, i.e. the required knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies.

The curriculum is supposed to be part of a university based training programme in psychology. This means that certain knowledge and skills are assumed to be acquired outside the framework of the W&O curriculum, preferably before the curriculum starts. As entrance requirement a general training in psychology of 2 to 3 years with the following content is supposed:

        -           general psychology

        -           developmental psychology

        -           personality psychology (& individual differences)

        -           social psychology

        -           human physiology

        -           psychopathology

        -           psychological assessment

        -           research methodology (design and data analysis)

        -           overview of fields of applied psychology

        -           professional ethics

The study of psychology typically consists of three cycles: a first cycle leading to a Propaedeutic or Bachelors Degree, a second cycle leading to a Master's Degree, and a third cycle ending with either a Doctor's Degree or a professional qualification. The first two cycles are normally considered to be sufficient for becoming a psychologist (in some countries only after a special examination). The W&O curriculum outlined here is supposed to be integral part of the study during the first two cycles. The curriculum does not cover any areas of specialization within W&O psychology, which is supposed to take place after completion of the second cycle, that is in the preparation for professional work or a third cycle training programme.

The Reference Model only pertains to the training of W&O psychologists in sensu strictu. It does not apply directly to training programmes for related specialities of professions, even though such programmes may contain elements from W&O psychology, and those who studied W&O psychology are among those who practice such specialties or professions. Thus, the model does not pertain to the training in Engineering Psychology, Traffic Psychology, Managerial Psychology, Consumer Psychology or Health Psychology, nor to the training in Ergonomics, Cognitive Engineering, Human Resource Management, Business Administration, Industrial Relations, and the like. However, as will be outlined below, the model can be used in verifying and improving the content of training programmes in such fields.

The starting point for the development of the Reference Model has been a view of 'what W&O psychology is' both as a discipline and a professional speciality, rather than the state of affairs at the labour market for work experts with a background in the behavioral sciences. It is recognized that the labour market is of great importance in determining the actual shape of W&O psychology as an occupation, but it is held inappropriate to let the diverse and changeable conditions of supply and demand for professionals, and the underlying economic mechanisms define the boundaries and content of the training of W&O psychologists. A consequence of this choice is that the model offers a balance between theory and methodology on the one hand, and practical skills and competencies on the other hand.

The following sections of this document describe the structure and content of the model. The Reference Model and the Minimal Standards are normative in character, that is to say they represents the view of ENOP on the requirements a university curriculum should minimally meet in order to provide W&O psychologists with the proper academic qualifications. The way in which the model can be used in designing and improving university curricula will be outlined in a separate paragraph.


2. The Reference Model


The Reference Model shows the basic dimensions and structure of the curriculum, i.e. the major facets to be distinguished and the main content areas to be covered. Below the model's dimensions and overall structure are presented, and a generic description of its content is given. Moreover, a list of didactic methods suitable for presenting the content is given.


2.1. Dimensions

The model has four dimensions, i.e. educational objectives, fields of study, type of science, and depth-of-specialization which are described here below.

2.1.1. Educational objectives

Generally speaking three sets of educational objectives can be distinguished:

        a.         the acquisition of knowledge

        b.        the acquisition of skills

        c.         the acquisition of competencies for professional activity

        d.        the acquisition of competencies for scientific research.

The term 'knowledge' is used to refer to theories and concepts on work and organizational phenomena, to methods and techniques for studying them, and to empirical data. Knowledge should be conceived in a broad way. It includes the awareness of different approaches, the relationships between theories, etc. The term skills denotes the ability to apply knowledge and to effectively use methods and techniques. Professional competencies are complex sets of knowledge and skills by which problems encountered in professional practice can be solved. And research competencies are similar sets of knowledge and skills needed in designing and conducting research studies.

While the dimension of educational objectives is of a general nature it is used in the Reference Model to refer to knowledge, skills, and problems that are typical for the world of work and organization. General research methods and strategies, although certainly important, are supposed to be dealt with in the context of the psychology curriculum as a whole, and hence be left out of consideration.


2.1.2. Fields of study

It is generally recognized that the discipline of W&O Psychology covers three fields of study, each of which focuses on different parts and aspects of human work activity. These fields are:

        -           work psychology

        -           personnel psychology

        -           organizational psychology.

Work psychology concerns people's work activity, i.e. the way in which people deal with their tasks. Persons are seen as workers who (individually and collectively) perform tasks that are derived from the work processes taking place in the organization. Important subjects are: tasks, work environment, time arrangements, performance, error, effort, load, fatigue, task design, tool design (cf. ergonomics), etc.

Personnel psychology concerns the relationship between persons and the organization, in particular the establishment of the relationship, its development, and termination. Persons are seen as individuals who at a certain stage of their career become 'employees' of an organization. Important subjects are: choice processes of individuals and organizations, abilities and capabilities, needs and need fulfilment, commitment, methods of selection, career development, appraisal, pay, training, etc.

Organizational psychology concerns the (collective) behaviour of people in relation to the shaping and functioning of socio-technical arrangements designated as organizations. People are involved in this arrangement as 'members'. Important subjects are: communication, decision making, power, leadership, participation, cooperation, conflict, organizational culture, organizational structure, technology, organizational change, interorganizational relations etc.

It should be noted that in some countries different notions are being used, pertaining to combinations or cross-sections of the three fields mentioned here. Examples are: Industrial psychology and Occupational psychology. The three fields of study have been chosen because they can be differentiated from one another rather well, in scientific as well as professional respect. In spite of some overlap, there are differences in terms of object of study and research methods on the one hand, and diagnostic and intervention methods on the other hand.

The relative development of the fields and the importance assigned to them have shown differences in the various European countries. In some countries there as been a single dominant area (e.g. work psychology in France, or in some Eastern European countries), in other countries one could see two main fields emerge (e.g. work psychology and organizational psychology in Sweden, or personnel psychology and organizational psychology in Spain), and so on. In other cases there has been a more balanced situation with a more or less equal position of the thee fields (e.g. in Germany and the Netherlands). Although differences in emphasis are still visible in both scientific research and teaching, and in professional activity, there is an apparent trend towards more balance between the three fields and a growing convergence between the European countries.


2.1.3. Type of science

The third distinction to be made is that between explanatory science, or science that tries to understand existing reality on the one hand, and technological or change-oriented science, that aims at changing reality on the other hand. While some disciplines are characterized by the prevalence of one of these types of sciences, this is not true for W&O psychology. As this discipline deals with a reality that is by its very nature created and modified by man, it has components of both technological and explanatory science. E.g. one finds both theory on work performance and on performance optimization, on workers' abilities and personnel selection, or on organizational analysis and organizational design. The relative emphasis on either type of science shows some variation from country to country, though.

The distinction between science and technology referred to here, should not be confused with that between fundamental research and application. Both explanatory science and technology have their fundamental research, and both can be applied by practitioners to singular problems of people or organizations. Research on principles of selection can be considered as an example of fundamental technological research. The explanation of a particular state of conflict that a client organization is in, a case of organizational diagnosis, represents an example of applied explanatory science. And so on.


2.1.4. Depth-of-specialization

Theories and methods of W&O Psychology can be dealt with at various levels, differing in breadth of scope and degree of detail. It is assumed that in general three levels can be distinguished: (a) the level of systematic introduction, covering principles, methods and facts of a certain subject area, (b) the level of focused study of problems and methods, and (c) the level of detailed study of a particular issue. The curricula offered by different universities differ with respect to the level of depth reached and the topics of greater specialization. In this way universities show their unique profile and history. The Minimal Standards allow for such diversity, but they also emphasize the need for commonality at the lower levels of specialization.



2.2. Structure of the model


By crossing the four dimensions mentioned above a multidimensional matrix is obtained that shows the structure of the curriculum. For the purpose of graphic presentation the first three dimensions (educational objectives, fields of study and type of science) are selected and arranged in a two-dimensional layout in the following figure. The fourth dimension (level of specialization) is not displayed, since it does plays a minor role in the Minimal Standards. It should be borne in mind that existing curricula may differ in level of specialization, and that all curriculum components represented by the cells of the figure may differ with respect to this dimension.


Table 1: Reference Model




objective /

type of science

General course (G)






Knowledge of theories





Knowledge of theory





Diagnostic skills





Intervention skills


Professional training

(e.g. stage, ethics course)

Professional competencies

Research training

(e.g. research project, advanced method courses)






2.3. Content of the model


The model as presented here helps to set a standard for the content which European curricula in W&O-psychology should meet. That is, it helps to provide an operational definition of the 'common core' of W&O-psychology as it has developed till the end of the 20st century. The model is described in two parts. First, the educational objectives are specified, taking into account the distinction between types of science. The objectives correspond to the rows of the above presented matrix. Secondly, a generic description is given of subject matter to be covered by each of the curriculum components. These components correspond with the cells of the matrix. A more detailed description of the curriculum components is given in the section on Minimal Standards.


2.3.1. Educational objectives

The following educational objectives should be met:

1. Orientation

Orientation means: the acquisition of (meta)knowledge about W&O psychology, the context in which it is developed and practised, especially nationally and in Europe, and the general methods of research and application.

2. Knowledge of explanatory theory

The knowledge to be obtained includes empirical knowledge about psychological phenomena related to work, employment relations and the functioning of organizations, as well as knowledge of theories by which such phenomena can be ordered and explained. It also includes meta-knowledge like the awareness of different approaches, the relationships between theories, etc.

3. Knowledge of technological theory

Technological knowledge or 'know-how' pertains to the ways in which the empirical reality of work and the psychological phenomena related to it can be influenced. It includes knowledge of the possibilities for the design of work, personnel management systems, and organizations, and the ways by which they can be changed. It includes meta-knowledge about different technological paradigms (e.g. selection, training, development) and their relationships.

4. Diagnostic skills

These skills relate to the use of methods, techniques and instruments by which psychological phenomena can be assessed, including tests, interviews, observation techniques, job analysis instruments, content analysis, etc.

5. Intervention skills

These skills concern the (re)design of tasks and tools, as well as personnel management programmes (especially selection and training), and organizational arrangements, as well as the implementation thereof. Skills also cover training and participative interventions.

6. Professional competencies

These competencies include intake, diagnosis, problem solving, planning, intervention, evaluation, reporting, and documentation with regard to a particular type of problem posed by an individual or organizational client. Communication, client participation, and professional ethics are aspects deserving special attention.

7. Research competencies

Research competencies relate to the formulating a research problem, retrieving and reviewing existing evidence, making a research design, sampling, getting access to respondents, data collection, analysis, reporting and documentation.


2.3.2. Curriculum components

Curriculum components are defined as parts of the curriculum covering the knowledge, skills, and competencies to be acquired by the students with respect to the various combinations of fields of study and types of science. They are described in terms of topics to be studied and mastered by the students.


1. Courses

Most curriculum components can be operationalized by means of courses or other teaching activities. For the sake of convenience we make a distinction between: courses, apprenticeship (stage) and research projects. It should be kept in mind courses may take on different didactical forms. The same is true for stages and research projects.

In terms of their content courses may be either 'pure', that is only deal with the particular subject falling into a single cell of the model or be 'integrative' (or 'mixed'), that is cover two or more cells. Courses can also be differentiated in terms of depth-of-specialization. In a good curriculum both types of courses should be present. Pure courses offer a basis for a systematic development of declarative or procedural knowledge, while integrative courses help to make connections between various components and domains of knowledge. Integration is often sought along the lines of a problem, a theme and a professional role. Integration can also take place along specific dimensions of the model, e.g. from theory to skills (dimension I), across fields of study (dimension II), from existing reality to change (dimension III). Moreover, integration can be achieved on the basis of a theoretical or methodological approach (e.g. cognitive theories, or qualitative methods).


2. Apprenticeship (stage)

The general aim of the stage is to familiarize the student with the professional setting and activity of W&O psychologists, and to acquire basic professional competencies as described above. This is achieved by involving the student in an professional activity that brings him into contact with a client (organization) and a typical problem. Typically the student learns to work independently while being supervised by an expert. Different types of stages can be distinguished, like e.g.:

1.     orientation type: familiarization to a certain professional setting

2.     safari type: temporary presence in the setting for a particular purpose (e.g. the collection of data)

3.     rotation type: systematic familiarization with different parts of an organization, different roles, etc.

4.     role type: learning to fulfil a particular professional role

5.     project type: performing a project (individually or in a team) defined by a company or the university.


3. Research project

The general aim of the research project is to develop research competencies as were described above, by setting up and executing a research study under supervision by an experienced researcher. Projects can use a variety of methods, and include field experiments. Field studies, case studies, surveys, laboratory studies, and so on. They can be performed in companies as well as in university settings. Typically research projects include a study of the literature on a certain issue.



2.4. Didactics


Didactic methods are of great importance for in the training of W&O-psychology. Particularly important is that methods used confront the students with the reality of work and organization, as it exists in Europe, both in the classroom setting and outside of it. The professional and research competencies deserve special attention as well, as they have some unique features not found in other fields of psychological study. There is a need to disseminate the best didactic methods in order to improve the general effectiveness and efficiency of training.


Table 2: Didactic methods



1. Lecture

2. Lecture & questions

3. Demonstration

4. Audiovisual

5. Computer demonstrations

6. Practitioner's report / guest lecture

7. Student reading

8. Exercise (use of technique r tool)

9. Computer exercises

10. Simulation / role play

11. Student assignment

12. Student group assignment

13. Case study

Knowledge & skills

14. Discussion meeting

15. Small group discussion

16. Student oral presentation

17. Student paper

18. Site visit / excursion


The table above shows the didactic methods currently in use in European W&O curricula, structured according to the type of educational objective served.



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

min. 6

min. 6

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




min. 42



3.     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.

4.     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.



4. Use of the Reference Model and Minimal Standards


The Reference Model and Minimal Standards can be used for various purposes. Its main functions are to serve as

1.     a guideline for curriculum design

2.     a standard for evaluating curricula

3.     a tool for assessing qualifications of exchange students

4.     a tool for the accreditation of psychologists

5.     an aid in promotional activities.

These five functions are specified below.


4.1. Curriculum design


The Reference Model and Minimal Standards should, first of all, be considered as a guideline to be followed by those who wish to provide a basic training in W&O psychology to psychology students. The model will help curriculum designers and teachers to give current W&O programmes the appropriate content and stimulate curriculum innovation. A wide-scale use of the Reference Model will help to achieve convergence of curricula in terms of structure and contents, which enhances the opportunities for the harmonization of teaching in Europe, and indirectly facilitates future cooperation and exchange, as well as the mobility of professionals across Europe.



4.2. Curriculum evaluation


ENOP will promote the use of the Reference Model and Minimal Standards as a standard for evaluation by installing an evaluation body, consisting of university professors, that will invite various European universities to submit their existing curricula for evaluation. Universities may also submit their curriculum upon their own initiative and ask for an evaluation. Curricula which satisfy all requirements will be recognized as conforming to the Reference Model. When a curriculum does not fully meet the criteria its deficiencies will be noted and recommendations for revision will be given.

This procedure will be applied during a trial period of 3 years, starting in the Spring of 1998. At the end of this period a permanent system for the recognition of W&O psychology shall be set up, if needed after modifying or fine-tuning the Reference Model and optimizing the evaluation procedure.



4.3. Assessment of students


The Reference Model and Minimal Standards can be of use for assessing the qualifications of students participating in exchange programmes. During the 3 year trial period mentioned this use of the model will be left to the teachers involved in such programmes, both at the receiving and the sending side. At the end of that period, and after eventual improvements, the model should be put at the disposal of organizations engaged in educational equivalence testing.



4.4. Accreditation of psychologists


In the future the Reference Model and Minimal Standards can also be used for the accreditation of psychologists who want to prove their qualifications in W&O-psychology. It should be kept in mind that for such accreditation a basic training in W&O psychology will not be sufficient. Candidates will have to meet additional requirements, such as:

-       having at least a year of supervised practice in W&O-psychology

-       having followed at least 21 units of additional courses, either aiming at specializing or deepening knowledge, skills, and competencies,

-       having participated in a number of specialized conferences and workshops,

-       having studied a series of cases in the W&O domain.

It is considered to be a joint task of the European Federation of Professional Psychologists Associations (EFPPA), the European Association of Work & Organizational Psychology, and ENOP, to develop such an accreditation system. This task can probably best be taken up after the period for the try-out of the Reference Model will have come to an end.



4.5. Promotion of W&O psychology


A final use of the Reference Model and Minimal Standards will be to support promotional activities aiming at exhibiting the profile of European W&O psychology and its differences compared to other specialties in psychology as well as other professions.



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For further information concerning the Reference Model and Minimal Standards, please contact Prof. Robert A. Roe


Updated March 7th, 2005



For further information concerning the ENOP, please contact Anna Rocha Perazzo