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  • Steve Nguyen, PhD

Book Review: Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) by Riggio & Johnson

NOTE: I am reviewing this I/O psychology textbook from a reader’s perspective (i.e., the student’s/learner’s point of view) and not from an instructor’s perspective.

According to Routledge (publisher of the book), the eighth edition has been updated to include:

  • A spotlight on diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout, including coverage of LGBTQIA+ inclusion and racial justice

  • Expanded coverage of ethics in I/O psychology practice

  • Increased emphasis on cross-cultural and international issues

  • Coverage of the changing nature of work, post-pandemic, including remote working, worker stress, and burnout

  • A new focus on technologies related to I/O such as virtual reality and computer adaptive testing

Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) by Ronald E. Riggio and Stefanie K. Johnson is a major and important update. The addition of and contributions by Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson as a co-author is clearly evident from the start. The 8th edition immediately leverages her expertise (intersection of leadership and diversity) in Ch. 1 with an important emphasis on how I/O psychology and I/O psychologists can help ensure workplace equity.

I reviewed Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (7th ed.) in 2017 and the newly released 8th edition in 2022 contains the same great coverage of four (out of five) topics I looked at: (1) training and development; (2) the four-fifths rule (or 80% rule) used to determine adverse impact in employee selection; (3) use of cognitive ability tests in personnel selection; (4) job analysis; and (5) motivation.

I wrote in my book review of the 7th edition about Riggio's inadequate coverage of the four-fifths rule (the second topic in my review). Upon seeing that this did not improve in the 8th edition, I will reiterate my displeasure at its sparse treatment.

One of the topics well-covered in many I/O psychology textbooks is the four-fifths rule (or 80% rule) used to make an adverse impact determination in employee selection. This is such an important area for I/O Psychology students to grasp. In several other I/O Psychology textbooks, the four-fifths rule is explained with charts, tables, or written formulas to describe what the four-fifths rule looks like in practice. It would have been helpful for students to see a longer and clearer description of the four-fifths rule in Riggio and Johnson's Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.).

Just like in the prior edition, the coverage of the four-fifths rule (or 80% rule) in Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) is much too short:

“The guidelines led to the establishment of the four-fifths rule, which states that a hiring procedure has adverse impact when the selection rate for any protected group is 4/5, or 80%, of the group with the highest hiring rate” (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, p. 22).

New or Updated Areas in 8th edition

Rather than doing what I've done with previous industrial/organizational psychology book reviews, for this particular review, I'll focus specifically on new or updated areas in the 8th edition.

New Area No. 1: Spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

In the 8th edition, Riggio and Johnson added research on diversity and inclusion throughout the book and used a "D&I insights" emblem to call attention whenever the D&I topic was discussed. They also updated the cited research used in the book to ensure that they were "citing male and female scholars equally." In addition, they also wanted to ensure that they recognized research of scholars of color (Riggio & Johnson, 2022).

Diversity and Inclusion

". . . industrial/organizational psychologists must be well versed in topics related to diversity and inclusion. Throughout the text, we will discuss the impact of bias in all aspects of the employment cycle. When we touch on an insight related to diversity and inclusion, we will include this symbol: [a "D&I insights" emblem]" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, p. 24).

"Despite all of the federal laws aimed at reducing unfair treatment (described earlier in this chapter), the workplace continues to be fraught with bias. Bias is often subtle, but it is pervasive, resulting in severely negative consequences among those who are targeted (Jones et al., 2017). This includes workers with disabilities (Hernandez et al., 2020), workers who are older (Suh, 2021; Zaniboni et al., 2019), people of color (Hernandez et al., 2019; McCord et al., 2018; Rabelo et al., 2020), women (Chang & Milkman, 2020; Hideg & Krstic, 2020), and those who do not fit normative expectations on gender identity and sexual orientation (Christensen, 2020; Christensen et al., 2020; Dray et al., 2020; Melson-Silimon et al., 2019, 2021). When an individual holds more than one marginalized identity, they face different and unique biases based on that intersectionality (Crenshaw, 2017; Voyles & Nadler, 2020)" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, p. 24).

"Even within a broad category such as race, there is evidence of subtle and nuanced bias. For example, those with darker skin tones experience greater discrimination than those with lighter skin (Harrison & Thomas, 2009), particularly in high clientfacing roles (Derous, 2017). Black women who wear their hair in a "natural" style experience greater discrimination than those who straighten their hair (Koval & Rosette, 2020). In fact, many states have passed laws to prohibit discrimination against natural hair, including California, Washington, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Although anti-Black racism has received the most attention since events such as the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, it is important to also examine racism against Hispanic workers and Asian workers (Aguinis et al., 2020; Roth et al., 2017) and, more broadly, confront the problems that colorblind ideologies elicit in the workplace (Offermann, Basford, Graebner et al., 2014)" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, pp. 24-25).

"Each of us can be an ally by learning more about bias and discrimination and stepping in to interrupt it (Brown & Ostrove, 2013). Being an ally involves offering appropriate assistance and advocating for those with marginalized identities, being willing to learn about others' identity, making personal connections, and communicating effectively (Ostrove & Brown, 2018; Ostrove et al., 2019)" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, p. 25).

"As we go through this textbook, we will examine the various ways that organizations can improve their processes to remove bias and more effectively foster diversity and inclusion. Diversity training is among the most popular approaches, although it is clearly not sufficient to eradicate bias (Robinson et al., 2020). There are important steps that can be taken in recruiting diverse candidate pools, designing less biased selection methods, utilizing training to improve inclusion, ensuring performance evaluations are free of bias, employing inclusive leadership, and fostering an inclusive culture, among others" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, pp. 25-26).

"I/O psychology has had an important impact in how we select, train, develop, and motivate employees; there is huge potential for I/O psychology to play an even bigger part in helping to improve work performance and make the conditions for workers better, more rewarding, and equitable. I/O psychologists can work toward this by researching and taking action on equity. Although increased diversity presents challenges to organizations and managers, this increased workforce diversity also represents a tremendous strength and opportunity. An obvious advantage of increased workforce diversity is the opportunity for different viewpoints and perspectives that will lead to organizational creativity and innovation (Jackson & Joshi, 2011). Increased workforce diversity can also help an organization understand and reach new markets for products or services. An organization's commitment to diversity can also help in recruiting and retaining the best workers. For instance, not only do cutting-edge companies that value workforce diversity attract the most qualified workers, but also the valuing of diversity permeates the entire organizational culture, leading to reduced organizational conflict, greater cooperation among workers, and increased flexibility and innovation (Loden & Rosener, 1991)" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, p. 26).

"D&I Insights" Emblem Does Not Always Indicate New or Updated Materials

Earlier, I wrote that the book uses a "D&I insights" emblem to call attention whenever the D&I topic was discussed. It's important to note that not every single area where the "D&I insights" emblem is used will be "new" or even different. For instance, the "D&I insights" emblem was used in Ch. 6 in the 8th edition to highlight a section titled "Equal Employment Opportunities Issues in Employee Training." HOWEVER, this is the EXACT same section, using the EXACT same WORDS, in the 7th edition. Nothing was changed or updated, not even the cited research from 1984.

New Area No. 2: Coverage of the Changing Nature of Work, Post-Pandemic, including Remote Working, Worker Stress, and Burnout

Remote Work

"The first major opportunity for I/O psychologists to change the future of work is by focusing on the most effective ways to work in a largely remote environment. The vast majority of workers had to change the ways they did work as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Even when the virus is gone, workers will still expect to work remotely, and I/O psychologists can assist with identifying ways to most effectively attract, select, and hire workers in a remote environment (Phetmisy & King, 2021; Rudolph et al., 2021). I/O psychologists can help companies determine which workers should be remote, how much of one's work time should be spent in the office, and how and when different combinations of employees should be working together in the office. As we go through each of the chapters, consider how basic human resource functions such as recruitment, selection, onboarding, training, performance management, and separation might be different in a fully or partially remote workplace. These are questions that will need to be addressed over the next 5-10 years, and I/O psychologists are well trained to help. Other ideas, such as how to motivate employees in a virtual work environment, how to lead others, and how culture will shift, are all open doors for future inquiry. As we go through the textbook, we will raise this idea of virtual and remote work to ensure that we are capturing the realities of the 21st-century work environment. More employees are doing virtual job interviews, going through employee socialization and onboarding processes in a remote way, and engaging in online training. There is a lot of opportunity to uncover the best practices for how to carry out these tasks in a remote way and the circumstances in which remote options are superior or inferior to face-to-face engagement" (Riggio & Johnson, 2022, pp. 23-24).

Worker Stress and Burnout

I did a close examination of Worker Stress and Burnout in the 8th edition vs. the 7th edition and, for the most part, they are nearly identical. The only real change I noticed was that the "Counterproductive and Deviant Work Behaviors" section was moved out of the chapter on worker stress and negative employee attitudes and behaviors (Ch. 10 in the 7th edition) to the "Evaluating Employee Performance" chapter (Ch. 5 in the 8th edition).

New Area No. 3: Focus on Technologies Related to I/O such as Virtual Reality and Computer Adaptive Testing

I'm not sure what exactly "new" areas were added, but from what I could find (and I really looked), the coverage of technologies such as virtual reality and computer adaptive testing was very minimal; in some instances, almost nil.

For example, other than promoting it in the preface, "virtual reality" was ONLY mentioned on p. 110. The same thing can also be said regarding "computer-adaptive testing", "video interviews", and "gamification." They were only mentioned on p. 120-121.

However, that particular "On the Cutting Edge" section (that covered "computer-adaptive testing", "video interviews", and "gamification") was almost IDENTICAL to the one in the 7th edition, with a bit added about video interviews (on p. 120-121) and gamification (on p. 121).

Job Analysis + Employee Recruitment, Selection & Placement

In the 8th edition, Riggio and Johnson combined the chapters on job analysis (Ch. 3 in the 7th edition) and employee recruitment, selection & placement (Ch. 4 in the 7th edition) into one single chapter under the title, "Pre-Employment Planning" (Ch. 3 in the 8th edition).

Summary: Overall, I really enjoyed Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) by Ronald E. Riggio and Stefanie K. Johnson. Like the previous edition, the 8th edition is easy to navigate and the writing style is very readable, making it student-friendly. The book is solid and packed with information, but it never feels overwhelming. With the eighth edition, Riggio and Johnson offer readers, students, and professors an I/O psychology textbook that provides substantive coverage of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) while preserving the book's fresh, reader-friendly, and relevant style. Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) maintains its ranking as one of my most trusted and preferred industrial/organizational psychology textbooks.

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.

Organizational & Leadership Development Leader


Riggio, R. E. (2018). Introduction to industrial/organizational psychology (7th ed.). Routledge.

Riggio, R. E., & Johnson, S. K. (2022). Introduction to industrial/organizational psychology (8th ed.). Routledge.

Disclosure: I received a hard copy of Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (8th ed.) as a complimentary gift in exchange for an honest review.



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