Striving for more: Work and Organizational Psychology (WOP) and living wages

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Research focusing on the lower end of the wage spectrum has typically centred on the economic business case for, and against, a living wage. But as work and organizational psychologists (WOPs) know, there are important psychological consequences of low wages too. Wages have far-reaching consequences for work motivation, employee performance, and job losses or gains, as well as for broader questions of wellbeing and quality of life. It is surprising, therefore, given the depth of existing WOP knowledge about wages, that psychological research on living wages has only emerged relatively recently (e.g., Smith, Citation2015). Over the past five years or so, there has been notable growth in the psychological study of living wages (see Searle & McWha-Hermann, Citationthis issue, for a review). Our goal in instigating this special issue was to gather together this interesting current work, stimulate further psychological research on living wages, and facilitate further theoretical development which incorporates psychological perspectives on this topic. In this editorial, we first introduce the topic of living wages to provide context to the five papers that comprise this special issue, before summarizing the contribution of each paper. Building a synthesis of these papers, we then identify some important avenues for future research. In doing so, we highlight how research on the living wage is an integral part of a broader agenda within work psychology to enhance social impact (Arnold et al., Citation2021;, further extend the value of our discipline (Lefkowitz, Citation2008, Citation2017), and consider how WOP science can contribute to creating decent work for all workers (Bal et al., Citation2019; Grote & Guest, Citation2017; Parker & Jorritsma, Citation2020).
Living Wages, Decent Work, Social Impact
McWha-Hermann I, Searle RH, Carr SC. (2021). Striving for more: Work and Organizational Psychology (WOP) and living wages. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. 30. 6. (pp. 771-776).