Energy Fellow Christiane Spitzmueller Professor, Industrial Organizational Psychology Ph.D.


Christiane Spitzmueller, Ph.D., is Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston (UH), where she conducts research and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in technical training and occupational health psychology. Through her research, she has examined mentoring solutions and workforce nationalization programs across national contexts. She has served as a visiting faculty member at Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany) and at Lagos Business School (Nigeria) and is a recipient of a Fubright Scholarship.

She has conducted research for the World Health Organization, the Global Fund and companies including BP and ExxonMobil. She currently serves as the Director for the Center for Applied Psychological Research at UH, and is the Managing Director for the University of Houston's NSF funded ADVANCE Center, as well as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s consensus study on mentoring in STEMM.

Dr. Spitzmueller received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University. Her research interests are in four major areas:

  • Technical training and workforce nationalization: With the graduate students in my group, I have conducted applied research projects on the optimization of engineering training for non-Western settings. Our focus in this area has been on companies in the energy industry. We have conducted projects for ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, BP and Willbros on technical training, training needs analysis, and training climate in the energy industry. Through our research, we help companies identify means to effectively translate their Western-developed technical training programs for application in other cultural settings (particularly the Middle East and West Africa).
  • Work-family research: What work factors impact whether employees are healthy and productive contributors at work and in their personal lives? What specific work characteristics are detrimental to employee and family health and well-being? What steps can organizations take to ensure employees can meet both their work and family demands? Through our work-family research, we aim to answer these questions in order to better understand the work-family interface and ultimately contribute to the well-being of families and organizations.
  • Employee and patient safety: What keeps employees from engaging in unsafe work behaviors? When and why do employees decide to skip what they know is safe behavior in order to get a job done faster? What can organizations and managers do to ascertain their organizational climate supports employee health and well-being? What can hospitals and health care settings do to maximize patient and employee safety? What type of safety training programs are effective in ensuring employees behave safely? In our research, we examine employee survey and health records to identify links between organizational and individual difference predictors of safety outcomes.
  • Employee Engagement and Organizational Surveys: Our group has, over the past ten years, worked with numerous organizations on employee engagement and employee attitude surveys. Our clients include the World Health Organization, ExxonMobil, Willbros and WorleyParsons. Through our survey work, we investigate company-specific challenges with a focus on identifying human resource solutions with a measurable impact. For instance, we help organizations identify drivers of employee engagement and show how positive changes in employee engagement can lead to improved business outcomes through reduced absenteeism and enhanced customer relationships.

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