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The history of the Division of Occupational Psychology

Find out more about the foundation and formation of the division

Foundation and formation

1919: Was originally founded in 1919 as one of the first three sections of the society.

1927: Its membership had risen to 49 members, although this fell slightly to 44 in 1928.

1956: The membership suggested that the title of the section be changed from Industrial to Occupation and, under the society's new Articles and By-Laws, the Industrial Section was rechristened as the Occupational Psychology Section in 1958.

1971: The BPS Council elected 131 founder members to the Division of Occupational Psychology, with the DOP officially coming into being on the 2nd of July, at which point it ran alongside the previously established Occupational Psychology Section.

1974: It was agreed that the DOP should be primarily concerned with professional matters, and the Occupational Section with scientific matters.

2001: The Division was reconstituted to include members of the former Occupational psychology section, and now covers both the professional and scientific aspects of occupational psychology.

The first DOP committee consisted of:

Chair: Professor Sylvia Shimmin  

Honorary Secretary: Gilbert Jessup 


  • Dr Alec Martin
  • Dr Edgar Anstey
  • Dr R. B. Buzzard
  • Mr Donald Wallis
  • Mr D. C. Duncan 
  • Mrs S. M. Downs
  • Professor Hywel Murrell

Sources: BPS Annual reports.

Significant contributions to occupational psychology

This section highlights significant contributions made to the Division of Occupation Psychology over the years by several of its most prominent members:

Dr Edgar Anstey
Jim Dukes
Professor Clive Fletcher
Professor Hywell Murrell
Professor Victor Dulewicz  


Dr Céline Rojon conducted interviews with individuals who were instrumental in the foundation of the Division of Occupational Psychology; were influential in its early history; and have made significant contributions to the field of occupational psychology.

These interviews, no longer than 40 minutes each, have now been made available online to the public at the following link:

The interviewees

  • Dr Pat Lindley
  • Professor Dave Bartram
  • Professor Gerry Randell
  • Professor Ivan Robertson
  • Professor Peter Warr

Each gave generously of their time to allow us to benefit from their knowledge and experiences.

The videos should therefore provide a great way to learn about how these esteemed occupational psychologists entered the field, their reflections on their work, and their insights into the future of occupational psychology.