SHRM’s Alex Alonso’s New Talking Taboo Book Is Now Available

Alexandria, Virginia — SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Chief Knowledge Officer Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, announced his new book, Talking Taboo: Making the Most of Polarizing Discussions at Work (SHRM; 2 Jun 2022; ISBN: 9781586445980), is now available.

It’s always been common practice to stifle the urge to bring up divisive topics at work, but it’s become increasingly difficult for management and HR to maintain that line. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplace conversations have begun to deepen into discussions of personal trials and tribulations.

In talk tabooAlonso uses in-depth findings from SHRM 2020 Poll on Politics and Polarizing Discussions in the Workplace to examine the topic of uncomfortable speech in the workplace. His latest book explores the cause of downplaying specific topics in the workplace, how HR can mediate in situations when issues arise, and how diverse opinions can embolden an organization’s mission.

“Based on research we found at SHRM, 92% of workers witnessed or participated in taboo conversations in the workplace,” Alonso writes. “Now more than ever, companies must learn to navigate these new precarious work environments. talk taboo offers concrete examples of respecting differing viewpoints while maintaining a strong sense of community in the workplace. »

As an expert in organizational psychology, Alonso speaks from both a personal and professional perspective on team diversity as a source of strength. SHRM research has reported that stifling certain types of speech leads to knowledge silos and anxiety. The key is to equip leaders with the tools and information to engage in these conversations and create effective workplaces.

talk taboo is the perfect book for today’s work climate,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO of SHRM. “We should encourage employees to speak up and make them feel ready to push back. HR needs to have the tools they need to best support their workforce, and this book provides a roadmap on how to approach each of these topics with respect and honesty.”

talk taboo is now available as an e-book through major book retailers. The paperback edition will be published in early June 2022. All proceeds from the author benefit the SHRM Foundation, which is committed to making HR a social force for change. Learn more about talk taboo.

About the Author

Alexander Alonso, PhD, SHRM-SCP is the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Knowledge Director who leads operations for SHRM’s Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional certifications, research functions, and service of SHRM Knowledge Advisor. He is responsible for all research activities, including the development of the SHRM competency model and SHRM benchmarks.

Over the course of his career, he has worked with many subject matter experts around the world to identify performance standards, develop competency models, design organizational assessments and conduct job reviews. . He was also responsible for working on contractual task orders involving the development of measurement tools for content areas such as professional knowledge (such as teachers’ knowledge of teaching processes) and organizational climates (such as forecasting). organizational climate in military health care).

Dr. Alonso received his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Florida International University in 2003. His work has been recognized for its contribution to real-world problems. They include recognition by the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (APA Division 14; SIOP) with the 2007 M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Workplace Research for developing the Federal Standard for Training Medical Teams , TeamSTEPPS; receiving a Presidential Citation for Innovative Practice in 2009 from the American Psychological Association for supporting the development of a competency model for team triage in emergency medicine; and received the SIOP 2013 Distinguished Early Career Contributions for Practice Award.

Throughout his career, he has published work in peer-reviewed journals such as Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, Journal of Applied Psychology, International Journal of Selection and Assessment, People and Strategy, Personality and Individual Differences, Quality and Safety in Health Care and Human Resource Management Review. He is also the author of several chapters on community change initiatives in workforce readiness, as well as co-author Defining HR Success: A Guide to the SHRM Competency Model in Practice.

Dr. Alonso has also been a columnist analyzing major workforce trends for The Industrial Psychologist and HR Magazine. In addition, he has served on several boards of professional societies, including SIOP and the Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting the changing workplaces of today. With more than 300,000 HR members and business leaders in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families around the world. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.

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