Organizations of the Future

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The Changing Face and Place of Work


Organizations of the Future

Changes and Challenges

Lynn R. Offermann Marilyn K. Gowing I lill il IIIiiiIililiil i l lillil

George Washington University US. Office of Personnel Management



ABSTRACT: Widespread societal change is radically altering the traditional face and place of work in the United States. In this article, we examine some of the existing and projected work force changes and the ways in which organizations themselves are evolving. Issues that will demand the attention of psychologists and others interested in human behavior at work are highlighted, and implications for the education and training of industrial/organizational psychologists are presented. It is suggested that we view these changes as challenges that allow psychologists to gain greater understanding of human behavior at work, while at the same time contributing to the creation of healthier, safer, and more productive work environments.

As we approach the year 2000, there is steadily increasing interest among individuals in all sectors of society in attempting to project what the 21st century holds in store for us. Once the purview of science fiction, the incredible pace of change over the last several decades has given new importance to forecasting future trends that will present new challenges. The nature of work, the work force, and the workplace have undergone and will continue to undergo enormous change, bringing both upheaval and opportunity for those involved in organizations. Psychologists interested in organizational behavior are no exception. Psychologists have had a long history of involvement in studying human behavior in organizations, an endeavor that has evolved along with changes in organizations. From the early efforts of American Psychological Association (APA) president Hugo Mfinsterberg to study industrial accidents and human safety, to the efforts of APA president Robert Yerkes in involving...