Type of Activities

1. Symposia and Newsletter

Annual thematic symposia (see Appendix 1) and a biannual newsletter were conceived to provide the primary means to achieve the first immediate objectives: information exchange and informal contacts to facilitate further collective but decentralized work. The uninterrupted series of 14 well-attended annual thematic symposia and meanwhile a body of 24 issues of the ENOP-Newsletter (cf. ref. 1) provide ample proof of the adequacy of chosen means.

2. Workshops

From its very beginning ENOP has intensified its substantative work through the organization of thematic workshops, many of which have led to publications (see Appendix 3). These three to four day thematic workshops, of which ENOP has organized 34 up until 1994 (see Appendix 2), are designed to address scientific issues at the very front of scientific discovery or methodology. They are not confined to ENOP-members, but open to European research teams directly involved in advancing the state of the art in the chosen thematic domain. Their problem orientation frequently demands an interdisciplinary composition of participants.

A special case of these workshop activities is constituted by the workshop series on “New Technologies and Work” which is jointly sponsored by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and the Werner Reimers Foundation (Bad Homburg, Germany). By 1994 altogehter 12 consecutive annual workshops on various subthemes to the overall theme will have been carried out (see Appendix 2, asterisked workshops), practically all of them leading to publications (“NeTWork” publications series with Wiley and Lawrence Erlbaum, see Appendix 3). In recent years the focus of the workshop series has been safety and reliability of complex socio-technical systems with high hazard potential. An international, interdisciplinary “core group” of reputed scholars provides the requisite planning, implementation and evaluation of the NeTWork activities which all are initiated by ENOP members.

3. Educational Programs

In view of the fact that in virtually no European university system exist coherent curricula for postgraduate education of doctoral students, ENOP started a series of European Summer Schools on “New Information Technology and Work Psychology”. Sponsored by ENOP, four Universities (Universities of Paris XIII and Tilburg, Universities of Technology Delft and Berlin) accepted to take on the organization of the first two four-week European Summer Schools in Berlin (September 1989) and Tilburg (July 1992) which were supported by grants from the German Volkswagen Foundation and otherwise financed through participant fees and support from the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and the organizing universities. Teaching staff came from various European countries and disciplines. The 20 – 25 postgraduate participants were proposed and selected by ENOP and came from a dozen East and West European countries. The European Summer School can be considered as a first contribution towards the development of European doctoral training schemes. As a measure of success of this initiative may be considered the fact that the contacts established among the participants are continued through electronic networks and the emergence of joint research projects (cf. refs. 27, 28).

Based on a comprehensive survey of European university curricula in W/O Psychology, ENOP began in 1990 to develop a comprehensive framework and individual sample modules for a university curriculum in W/O Psychology. This work was supported by the ERASMUS program of the European Community in view of its potential to harmonize university education in W/O Psychology on an European level. Although not intended to bring about a thorough standardization of educational programs in W/O Psychology, the framework and modules of this model curriculum may be seen as a means to stimulate European-wide comparability of university education in W/O Psychology for the sake of facilitating easier student and staff mobility within Europe and mutual recognition of diplomas and certificates. The next steps in this curriculum development activity of ENOP is planned to tackle projects of improving teaching materials and didactics. It is intended to publish the results of this curriculum development as part of this ENOP Report Series in order to ensure its wide distribution.

4. Exchange Programs

ENOP began to initiate staff and student exchange programs among European countries (East and West) already in the early 80ies, i.e. long before the EC-programs ERASMUS or TEMPUS entered the European scene. This exchange activity was a direct consequence of common interests that were identified by colleagues participating in ENOP-symposia and workshops. Support for such echanges came from the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, host universities and national academic exchange programs. Meanwhile many universities of ENOP members are involved in an ERASMUS supported exchange program for students and staff. At present, the major bulk of personnel exchange takes place with East European universities (see point 6. below).

5. Research Programs

ENOP provided fertile grounds for the development of a great variety of international comparative research projects. Sponsored by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme or national and international research support organizations, ENOP members organized meetings of research teams to facilitate the conduct and progress of such research ventures. The following projects were thus promoted:

Industrial Democracy in Europe (IDE)
During a first research phase the study investiged the impact of different formal national participation systems upon the de facto participation in 134 comparable enterprises of twelve countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK, Yougoslavia (publications, Appendix 3, refs. 10-13). A second research phase, “10 years after”, constituted the longitudinal characteristic of the study in ten of the original twelve countries and added samples from Japan and Poland (cf.refs. 10-13).

Work Socialization of Youth (WOSY)
This longitudinal research investigates the transition problems and coping strategies of young entrants to work life at three measurement points in time, each one year apart. Research teams participate from Belgium, Germany, Israel, Portugal, Spain.

Managers of Tomorrow (MOT)
The study investigates work snd self representations of young aspiring managers in Australia, Canada, China (Peoples Republic), Germany, India, Israel, UK. The research is presently extended to Russia.

Meaning of Working (MOW)
The research focusses on the study of work meanings in representative and target group samples of eight countries: Belgium, Germany (former FRG and GDR), Israel, Japan, Netherlands, UK, USA, Yugoslavia. Replications in Belgium, Germany, Japan, and USA enable to scrutinize changes of work meanings over time. The research is presently extended to East European countries (Poland, Tchequoslovakia, Hungary, Russia).

International Handbook of Participation (IHP)
An editorial team from France, Germany, UK, USA and Yugoslavia (now: Croatia) has over the years been working on the edition of a series of standard reference volumes (Handbook/Yearbook series) on developments in the field of participation and industrial democracy (cf. refs. 5,14,15,23,26).

Safety in Nuclear Power Plants (SNPP)
ENOP members from Hungary and Germany have developed a joint research program on safety and reliability of nuclear power plants. The program is supported by the participating universities and national research support organizations. The cooperation is presently expanded to France and Bulgaria.

6. East-West Cooperation

The annual plenary business meeting of ENOP decided in 1986 to place a major emphasis of its future work on encouraging cooperation with colleagues in Eastern Europe. The decision resulted in special recruitment efforts for East European members and a first Annual Symposium in one of the then still East Block countries: Hungary 1987 (see Appendix 1, # 7). As a sequel, four thematic workshops with topics of particular relevance for the host countries were held in Eastern Europe with the assistance of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and hosting national institutions (see Appendix 2, #17,26,27,31). An increasing number of East European colleagues participated ever since in ENOP’s annual symposia as regular participants as well as especially featured speakers. The European Summer Schools and thematic workshops in Western Europe have always made sure that an increasing ratio of East Europeans were able to take part.

Rigorous attempts were made to include East European teams in ongoing research projects of ENOP members, resulting in joint ventures which extended the scope of the projects as well as providing opportunities to acquaint East European colleagues with West European research approaches and methodologies. At the same time, the intimate working relations facilitated a better understanding among Western colleagues of the often impressive level of scientific research in Eastern Europe. Joint applications to TEMPUS.JEP projects are presently pending with the respective EC offices for joint work on “Ergonomic Design of Man-Computer Interfaces” (Universities of Delft, Tilburg and Budapest) and on “Information Technology and Human Factors” (Universities of Delft, Berlin, Loughborough, Tilburg).

ENOP has laid a special emphasis on encouraging and facilitating East European staff and student study tours to Western Europe. More than a dozen young East European researchers have used this opportunity of spending a minimum of four weeks in West European research institutions focussing on topics such as training methods,environmental psychology, test psychology, transition problems to market economies, marketing, consulting services, work analysis). Particularly successful have been the study visits from Hungary, which have led, among others, to the establishment of an office of a major test publisher in Budapest. Recently visitors of senior and junior researchers from Russia are increasing in numbers as well.

Presently underway is a major effort of a Library Support Project. Based on a survey among ENOP members a list of some 100 basic text books and research monographs was compiled. The list is considered to represent important reference materials for educational and training programs in W/O Psychology. It is envisaged that a set of these basic publications will be donated to selected libraries in East European countries to improve access of students and staff to modern educational and research literature. A TEMPUS.JET application on “Training Work and Organizational Psychology on the Undergraduate Level” is presently also pending with EC offices (participating universities in: Bulgaria, Roumania, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, Spain).

7. A Look Ahead

Above account of past ENOP achievements may be seen as a solid basis for a continuation of the main program items. The major emphasis is, however, likely to be in the following domains:

1. Curriculum Development

It will be in the interest of Eastern as well as Western European countries to continuously strive towards an improvement of scientific and professional training of W/O psychologists. General socio-economic changes in Eastern European countries and dramatic changes in the world of work due to technological advancements in all of Europe present new and awe inspiring challenges to those in position to design work places and work organizations. W/O Psychology as a discipline, more than any other scientific discipline, covers the whole gamut of aspects in work: from physiology and stress to cognitive demands and competences, from work motivation and group work to personnell selection and training, from job design and training to man-machine interfaces and safety, from psychopathology of work to management. Hence, a joint European effort is called for to offer the best training for those in position to tackle these tasks. The aspect of European mobility of students, staff and professional practitioners, their familiarization with opportunities and constraints of the life of academic and professional W/O psychologists in other countries, will then be a natural side effect of the best possible and Europe-wide comparable education in W/O Psychology.

2. East-West Cooperation

ENOP has been a spearhead of East-West cooperation years before the socio-political transitions in Eastern Europe. The keen awareness that we are standing only at the very beginning of establishing close links to East European colleagues is similarly present as the knowledge that the facilities for such improved cooperation still need drastic improvement. Annual ENOP symposia have with increasing frequency addressed problems of particular importance to Eastern Europe (see Appendix 1, symposia 7,11,12 and Appendix 2, workshops 17,26,27,31).

Apart from continuing the practice of expanding East European participation in all ongoing programs (Annual Symposia, Workshops, Summer Schools, Student anmd Staff Exchange), already specific plans exist for activities in Eastern Europe for the coming years:

  • 1995 Workshop “Simulation Methods in Work and Orghanizational Psychology”, Prague
  • Workshop 1996 “Work and Organizational Psychological Practice in Changing Societies”, Lake Balaton, Hungary

Joint research projects will be continued and attempts are made to initiate new ones. An important element in this cooperation will be constituted by the implementation of the library support project mentioned under point 6 above. The magnitude of this project is likely to go beyond the moderate means available at present. Additional support will have to be obtained. However, concluding this report it must be stressed, the contribution of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, the unfailing and unbureaucratic support of its directors and staff, have been critical to facilitate ENOP’s achievements in the past and will remain so in the future.

Bernhard Wilpert
Paris, May 1994