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Experiencing Work: An Essay on a Person-Centric Work Psychology


  • The authors would like to thank Stefanie Plemmons and Mahima Saxena for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Howard M. Weiss. E-mail:
Address: Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907


In this essay we argue for a more person-centric direction for research in industrial–organizational (I–O) psychology. We argue that the prevailing paradigm within I–O treats workers as objects and in so doing limits the ability to develop a deep and continued understanding of the important ways in which humans relate to work. In response, we think there is a need for a more coherent focus on the worker and on the subjective experience of working. After describing the current paradigm we suggest an alternative—a person-centric work psychology that takes the worker as its focus and worker experience as a topic of study.