A macropsychology perspective on humanitarian work psychology

Morrie Mullins, Ishbel McWha-Hermann , Mary O'Neill Berry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The relatively new discipline of humanitarian work psychology (HWP) naturally benefits from the adoption of a macropsychology perspective because of its goals to address embedded issues of inequality and marginalisation and make contributions to the efforts of humanitarian and aid organisations. In this chapter, we describe the HWP domain, which recognises the importance of local, regional, national, and cultural contexts in applying findings from work and organisational psychology (WOP). After grounding HWP in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we note problems inherent in how research is often conducted in psychology – problems that HWP seeks to overcome. We then describe examples of both WOP as applied specifically to humanitarian organisations and the application of WOP to enable all organisations to understand and begin to address the kinds of inequality and inequity that remain far too common. Finally, we return to the SDGs, suggesting that such broad humanitarian goals, which inherently require a macropsychology focus, where micro-level issues can be ‘understood up’ to influence macro-structural issues, reflect an important means of guiding not only HWP but the entire field of psychology, going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMacropsychology
Subtitle of host publicationA Population Science for Sustainable Development Goals
EditorsMalcolm MacLachlan, Joanne McVeigh
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030501761
ISBN (Print)9783030501754
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • humanitarian work psychology
  • work and organisational psychology
  • corporate social responsibility
  • United Nations
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • diversity and inclusion
  • informal economy
  • Project FAIR


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