Original Research

The digital-era industrial/organisational psychologist: Employers’ view of key service roles, skills and attributes

Melinde Coetzee, Dieter Veldsman
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a1991 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.1991 | © 2022 Melinde Coetzee, Dieter Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2022 | Published: 23 May 2022

About the author(s)

Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Dieter Veldsman, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: The nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s technology-driven work and business profoundly alters the foundational assumptions upon which industrial/organisational (I/O) psychologists in future will base their understanding of their professional roles in the modern workplace.

Research purpose: The objective of the study was to gain deeper insight into South African employers’ views of the service roles, skills and attributes of the future-fit digital-era I/O psychologist.

Motivation for the study: More research is needed on the service roles, skills and attributes that employers require from I/O psychologists as companies are transitioning to technology-enabled hybrid and flexible models of work.

Research approach/design and method: The study utilised a qualitative research approach. An open-ended question survey was conducted amongst (N = 14) executives and human resource managers of South African companies. Thematic analysis was utilised to analyse the collected data.

Main findings: The data analysis revealed a shift toward key technology-enabled service roles and several intradigital, interdigital, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and attributes that employers require the digital-era I/O psychologist to bring to the digital-driven workplace.

Practical/managerial implications: Digitally dexterous I/O psychologists should be at the forefront of technology and its impact on workplaces and the profession’s scope of practice.

Contributions/value-add: The study adds to the Industrial/Organisational Psychology research literature and reveals the dire need for I/O psychologists to adapt and evolve their scope of practice services and products to ensure the continued relevance of the IOP profession.


digital-era industrial/organisational psychologist; industrial/organisational psychologist service roles; industrial/organisational psychologist skills and attributes; technology-driven workplaces; hybrid/remote models of work


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