Orientation: Personal growth initiative (PGI) is an important characteristic of workplace counsellors. Industrial and organisational (I-O) psychologists often assist employees with counselling for work-related and personal problems, and therefore PGI is an important research topic for this profession. Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the PGI of I-O psychology students in a higher education institution in South Africa, as well as to explore differences in PGI between demographic groups. Motivation: According to the scope of practice for psychologists, growth and development of employees form part of an I-O psychologist's responsibilities. PGI is an important characteristic of I-O psychologists as it enables them to efficiently assist employees in growth and development processes. Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used. A purposive non-probability sample (N = 568) of I-O psychology students was taken from a higher education institution in South Africa. A biographical questionnaire and the personal growth initiative scale (PGIS) were used as measuring instruments. Main findings: The results indicated that (1) the PGIS is a valid and reliable measure of PGI, (2) PGI is prevalent amongst I-O psychology students and (3) PGI differs between certain demographic groups. Practical implications: The findings of this study will assist in the future development of a training programme for I-O psychology students to equip them with the counselling skills they need to function in a counselling role.
Contribution: This study contributes to knowledge regarding the importance of PGI for I-O psychology students. The study will also assist higher education institutes to adapt their training programmes in order to prepare I-O psychology students for their role as counsellors. More knowledge will also be provided with regard to the functioning of the PGIS.