Psychological Interventions in Organizations: An Evolutionary Perspective

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43 Scopus citations


Throughout the 20th century, managers and policy makers have relied on psychological interventions to help solve organizational problems. Yet, the results of these interventions rarely meet expectations. One reason may be that some of the perspectives used in thinking about interventions are at odds with how interventions and organizations function. This article argues that applied psychologists may benefit from an evolutionary perspective. Although it holds an important place in basic psychology and organization theory, an evolutionary perspective is nearly absent in applied psychology. It views the development and use of social technologies as part of sociocultural evolution - driven by variation, selection, and retention. This article provides a framework for theory and research on an evolutionary perspective in applied psychology and suggests implications for practice. Key concepts in the design of interventions include uncertainty, variation, and conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1056
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998


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