Industrial/Organizational psychology has not been around as long as psychology, but I/O psychology is rapidly growing. The evolution field of I/O psychology shows how I/O psychology has become part of psychology. I/O psychology is part of psychology, but it is different by focusing on the industrial and organizational portions of organizations. Organizations hire I/O psychologists to help them have a properly functioning organization. I/O psychology uses research and statistics to look at an organization and find the proper solution to helping an organization function properly. Evolution of I/O psychology
Industrial/Organizational psychology can be traced back to the 1800s and early 1900s, but did not become known as a part of psychology until the twentieth century. In 1921, the first PhD was awarded and Psychological Corporation was founded (Spector, 2008, p. 10). In 1913, the first I/O textbook was published.
“The first psychologists to do I/O work were experimental psychologists who were interested in applying the new principles of psychology to problems in organizations” (Spector, 2008, p. 9). Hugo Munsterberg and Walter Dill Scott are the two experimental psychologists who were the main founders of I/O psychology. “A major influence on the I/O field was the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor, an engineer who studied employee productivity throughout his career during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” (Spector, 2008, p. 10).
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth worked together to understand how people perform tasks in his or her workplace. I/O psychology was first used by the U.S. military during World War I. How I/O Psychology is Different from Other Disciplines of Psychology “Psychology is the science of human (and nonhuman) behavior, cognition, emotion, and motivation. I/O psychology falls into the latter category of being concerned with both psychological science and its application to issues of people in organizations” (Spector, 2008, p. 5).
I/O psychology is divided into industrial and organizational psychology. I/O psychology was originally called industrial psychology. Industrial focuses at the management portion of a business. Industrial will give management the tools to use to run a business. Some of those tools are: job design, employee selection, employee training, and performance appraisal(Spector, 2008, p. 5).
Organizational psychology focuses on the individual employee portion of a business. Organizational will help a business understand the reactions and attitudes of his or her employees. Some of the tools that will be used in organizational psychology will look at: employee attitudes, employee behavior, job stress, and supervisory practices (Spector, 2008, p. 5). I/O psychologist will not handle an employee’s personal problems; instead he or she would recommend the company to hire a clinical psychologist to help their employees deal with his or her personal problems. How I/O Psychology is used in Organizations
I/O psychology is used so that organizations can function effectively.
The I/O psychologist can put a plan into motion to help an organization work effectively. I/O psychologist will help understand and: analyze the nature of the job, conduct an analysis to determine the solution to an organizational problem, conduct a survey of employee feelings and opinions, design an employee performance appraisal system, design an employee selection system, design a training program, develop psychological tests, evaluate the effectiveness of an activity or practice such as a training program, and implement an organizational change such as a new reward system for employees who perform well (Spector, 2008, p. 7).
These steps will be individualized for each organization.
A program set in place for one organization does not mean that it will work for another organization. Each program will need to be individualized so that it will work effectively for the organization. “I/O psychologists also attempt to change organizations to make them healthier and safer places for people to work, even if the effectiveness of the organization is not improved” (Spector, 2008, p. 7). The Role of Research and Statistics in I/O Psychology
Research is done in I/O psychology to help find the correct way to help I/O psychology be effective in an organization. There are six important research design concepts: variables, research setting, generalizability, control, random assignment and random selection, and confounding. The experiment, survey designs, observational designs, qualitative studies, classical measurement theory, reliability, and validity are parts of the research design.
Taking all the proper steps and doing the proper research will help an I/O psychologist understand and be able to help an organization. The I/O psychologist will be able to use the answers to all the research to organize a plan to help the organization. Descriptive and inferential statistics are two types of statistics used for data analysis.
“Descriptive statistics summarize the results of a study, and inferential statistics help interpret the results using a variety of statistical tests” (Spector, 2008, p. 39). Descriptive statistics uses measures of central tendency, dispersion and also uses correlation. The measure of central tendency and dispersion are the arithmetic mean, median, variance, and standard deviation. “Correlation is a statistic used to indicate the degree to which two continuous variables are related and the direction of the relation” (Spector, 2008, p. 41). Inferential statistics uses meta-analysis and also uses mediator and moderator variables. Conclusion
The evolution of I/O psychology began in the 1800s, but did not completely evolve until the twentieth century. I/O psychology started as part of psychology, but then became a division of psychology. There were many psychologists who helped evolve I/O psychology. I/O psychology focuses on the industrial and organization portions of psychology. Organizations will hire I/O psychologists to help provide a plan to help them function properly.
The I/O psychologists will use research on the organization and statistics to assemble the proper plan so the organization will be able to function properly. I/O psychology has evolved since the twentieth century and is being used in more organization today, and is still a strongly growing field of psychology.
ReferenceSpector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.