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International honour for Massey Master

Staff Reporter – 

A Massey psychologist has received a global honour for his research tackling the intractable issue of reducing global poverty.

Professor Stuart Carr, an industrial and organisational psychologist in the School of Psychology, has been awarded a Fellowship to the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology (SIOP) at its annual conference in Philadelphia

He was recognised as “A thought leader and key driving force for the evolution of Humanitarian Work Psychology which promotes humanitarianism and social advocacy on a global scale.”

His global research on work-related humanitarian issues have been embraced at the highest levels through the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Workplace Dynamics

Professor Carr has spent over 25 years showing how everyday workplace dynamics impact global and local poverty, and poverty reduction. His work has led major international organisations to change their remuneration schemes for international and local workers, to improve motivation and decrease dependence on aid.

Dubbed by his peers as the world’s leading psychologist applying organisational and social psychology to the challenges of poverty reduction, Professor Carr said that his recent Award would encourage others working in the field.

“It signals the extent to which his profession is contributing to empowerment at work, sustainable livelihood, and to global poverty reduction,” he said.

Collective effort

He considered the fellowship a big personal honour but acknowledged that most of the outcomes happened through team work.

“Collectively, for example, our teams have helped to highlight the injustice of ‘dual salary’ systems that are funded globally, and which pay expatriate versus in-country workers radically different wages, even though they are often equally qualified and experienced. More recently, in conjunction with MPOWER at Massey University, we have been looking at the humanitarian work psychology of living wages, and whether there is an evidence-based business case for shared prosperity,” Professor Carr said.

Inspiring works

He is inspired by working closely with like-minded colleagues, for example, in the newly formed End Poverty and Inequality Cluster (EPIC) in the School of Psychology, and before that the Poverty Research Group.

“Many people are drawn to study psychology precisely because they want to work with people, and to make a useful contribution towards a better quality of life. This human focus has been a guiding motive throughout my own career,” he said.

African connection

Professor Carr is currently in South Africa under a Memorandum of Understanding with Tshwane University of Technology working with its Department of People Management and Development on living wages in South Africa and New Zealand, and their contribution towards poverty reduction.

He is also working with the Kliptown Youth Programme, a local organisation, which enables education for children from the Kliptown Squatter Camp in Soweto.

Professor Carr said that there is a ‘huge, unmet demand’ for transferring theory and research on poverty reduction and sustainable livelihood into policy and action by companies, supply chains, multinational and multilateral organisations, joint ventures, small to medium enterprises, education and health departments in government and the private sector.

EPIC Team

In alignment with the launch later this year of what he describes as the United Nations’ “most ambitious and integrated plan for human development ever conceived,” the EPIC team is aiming to create a new international 180-credits Masters qualification.

Named ‘Psychologies of Sustainable Development,’ it will create new pathways for bringing about change. The degree will cover all 17 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from enabling sustainable health and education to promoting decent work.

Last year, Professor Carr was made a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Professor Stuart Carr (middle) with Jabu Thomo, Kliptown Youth Programme; Professor Dean Rankhumise, Tshwane University of Technology (Faculty of Management Sciences); Monwabisi, Kliptown Youth Programme; and Professor Molefe Maleka, Head of the School of People Management and Development, Tshwane University of Technology.

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