Indeterminateness in industrial and organisational psychological research: A root metaphor analysis

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Problematisation: Efendic and Van Zyl (2019) attribute the so-called replication crisis in psychological research and industrial and organisational (I/O) psychological research in particular to a series of systemic issues. Be that as it may, their opinion does not consider the worldview/world hypothesis/world theory/paradigm with its distinct, underlying logic/ cognitive pathway and root metaphor in which the replication crisis is embedded. Implications: By considering the worldview in which they operate, researchers and practitioners may come to understand the basis of the reproducibility and replicability challenge in psychological research. By ignoring it, those researchers and practitioners may become increasingly frustrated with their research efforts. By understanding it, they should appreciate and value Efendic and Van Zyl’s (2019) recommended strategies. Purpose: The purpose of this rebuttal in the form of an opinion paper is not to provide an opposing argument or dispute but rather to offer an extension to, or refinement of, these authors’ opinion. This effort is initiated by the following question: what is the problem of indeterminateness (suggested by the replication crisis), which is endemic to the dominant I/O psychological research paradigm? By going beyond the systemic issues identified by Efendic and Van Zyl, this problem is addressed on a worldview level. Recommendation: In view of the evidence provided, it is concluded that – contrary to belief – psychologists employ a formistic, rather than a mechanistic, root metaphor or logic. As imprecision is an inherent weakness of formism, psychologists who research and practise from this worldview have no choice but to adhere to the recommendations or strategies proposed by Efendic and Van Zyl. In doing so, however, they will not be able to completely do away with the problem of indeterminateness in I/O psychology, but these authors’ recommended strategies will provide them with the means for dealing with this weakness inherent in their research paradigm in a responsible manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1756
JournalSA Journal of Industrial Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cognitive pathway
  • Formism
  • Industrial and organisational (I/O) psychology
  • Precision/imprecision
  • Replication crisis
  • Root metaphor
  • World hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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