For his outstanding accomplishments in social psychology and management, Ramadhar Singh, a Distinguished University Professor at the Amrut Mody School of Management of Ahmedabad University, Gujarat, India was honoured with the Purdue University Distinguished Alumni Award by the College of Health and Human Sciences at West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Only two psychologists in Purdue’s history have been such honourees before him. For the man who has been single-minded in his dedication to study as well as deployment of psychology in multiple disciplines, the Purdue Award comes as a culmination of a lifetime of work. Professor Singh says, “Being recognised with this award makes me fully satisfied with my life journey as a psychological scientist.”
Professor Singh’s commitment to excellence in research has been globally acknowledged by students, colleagues, experts, and professional associations of psychology. In 2009, the undergraduate students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) voted him as an Inspiring Mentor. In 2013, the Association for Psychological Science, Washington DC, USA, included him among the Faces and Minds of Psychological Science, a website of the most influential psychologists, world over. As of today, Professor Singh alone represents India on this site. In 2021, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Indore bestowed its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research upon him to celebrate “his commitment to and a quest for knowledge of human behavior in organisations and society.”
He has previously held faculty positions at key national and international institutions: Patna University (1968-73), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur (1973-79), IIM Ahmedabad (1979-90), NUS (1988-2010), and IIM Bangalore (2010-16). In recognition of his outstanding and unusual contributions to the science and practice of psychology, he was elected Fellow of five international bodies of psychology (American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, British Psychological Society, Singapore Psychological Society, and Society for Personality and Social Psychology) in the early 1990s. In 2008, the National Academy of Psychology (India) also bestowed upon him its Fellowship.
Professor Singh has conducted experimental research in management and psychology at the levels of individual (decision making, impression formation, and interpersonal attraction), group (age-related changes and intergroup relation), organisation (diversity, job satisfaction, leadership effectiveness, prediction of performance, and reward allocation), and society (cross-cultural differences, justice and fairness, intuitive prosecution, and prediction of donation). Most of his publications are in top international journals, and they have had interdisciplinary impact right from the early 1970s. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of IIT Kanpur recently established an annual Prabha and Ramadhar Singh Distinguished Lecture in Psychology to celebrate the sustained contributions of Professor Singh to the advancement of psychology and management as a science in Asia. According to Professor Singh, his spouse Dr Prabha Singh, who is herself a developmental psychologist with international publications, has been a constant source of encouragement and support in his ongoing academic pursuits and the national and international visibility attained so far.
Asked about the status and prospect of psychology in India, Professor Singh said, “The ubiquitous influence of psychology is too hard to miss. Psychological sciences not only provide invaluable inputs to fields such as defence, forensics, health, law, management, public policy but also serve as a guide to channelise public services to the society by various local, state, and national agencies. In the United States, there are President’s Medals for psychologists who advance psychological knowledge. Two psychologists have also won Nobel Prizes in Economics. The experimental methods used widely by psychologists have led to the establishment of Experimental Economics in academia. In contrast, the impact of psychology and that of psychologists in India is barely visible. Thus, I urge both my fellow psychologists and the Government of India to work together, first, to accord the status that psychological sciences deserve in nation building and, second, to apply the facts and principles of psychological sciences to the welfare of our people of diverse backgrounds. By associating myself with Ahmedabad University, I have been working toward such goals since 2016.”