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Let's Reduce the Human Footprint Before Building Human Capabilities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2017

Paresh Mishra
Affiliation:
Organizational Leadership, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne
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Extract

The case for making human capabilities the business of I-O psychology is at first glance persuasive. It is indisputable that I-O psychology and its associated fields still suffer from a strong bias favoring POSH (Professionals, Official work in formal economy, Safe from discrimination, and High-income countries) and WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) societies. Gloss, Carr, Reichman, Abdul-Nasiru, and Oestereich (2017) also provide ample evidence of human development indices being low among countries that are underrepresented or unrepresented in industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology studies. Moreover, it cannot be denied that many of the evidence-based recommendations that we now make with confidence will not hold water in these poverty-stricken areas of the world. However, when one juxtaposes the case for building human capabilities with the extant approaches of restoring equity in society, one is confronted with the grim possibility that the idea of human capabilities may not only fail to make significant positive differences in the lives of poor people in the world, but may also worsen the quality of life of everyone on this earth. In this short essay, I discuss two major problems with the human capabilities approach and propose a modification to the approach that can potentially help solve the problem of poverty.

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Commentaries
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Copyright © Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 2017 

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