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Industrial And Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology, also known as I-O psychology or work psychology is the scientific study of employees, workplaces and organizations. Industrial and organizational psychologists contribute to an organization’s success by improving the performance, satisfaction, safety, health and well-being of its employees. An I-O psychologist conducts research on employee behaviors and attitudes, and how these can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, feedback and management systems. I-O psychologists also help organizations transition among periods of change and development and are related to subjects like organizational behavior and human capital.
You can think of industrial organizational psychology as having two major sides. First, their is the industrial side, which involves looking at how to best match individuals to specific job roles. This segment of I-O psychology is also sometimes referred to as personnel psychology. People who work in this area might assess employee characteristics and then match these individuals to jobs in which they are likely to perform well. Other functions that fall on the industrial side of I-O psychology include training employees, developing job performance standards, and measuring job performance.
The organizational side of psychology is more focused on understanding how organizations affect individual behavior. Organizational structures, social norms, management styles, and role expectations are all factors that can influence how people behavior within an organization. By understanding such factors, I-O psychologists hope to improve individual performance and health while at the same time benefiting the organization as a whole.
The Six key areas industrial psychologists work under are:
According to Muchinsky (2000), most industrial organizational psychologists work in one of six major subject areas:

  • Training and development: Professional in this area often determine what type of skills are necessary to perform specific jobs as well as develop and evaluate employee training programs.
  • Employee Selection: This area involves developing employee selection assessments, such as screening tests to determine if job applicants are qualified for a particular position.
  • Ergonomics: The field of ergonomics involves designing procedures and equipment designed to maximize performance and minimize injury.
  • Performance Management: I-O psychologists who work in this area develop assessments and techniques to determine if employees are doing their jobs well.
  • Work Life: This area focuses on improving employee satisfaction and maximizing the productivity of the workforce. I-O psychologists in this area might work to find ways to make jobs more rewarding or design programs that improve the quality of life in the workplace.
  • Organizational Development: I-O psychologists who work in this area help improve organizations, often through increasing profits, redesigning products, and improving the organizational structure.

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