Industrial psychology can be described as the application of psychological concepts to the issues and problems that arise in business, industries, and other organizational settings (Industrial and organizational psychology, 2006). It is the understanding of individuals about motivation, decision making, leadership, teamwork, human resource management, and personnel selection and training. It is a branch of psychology that applies theories and principles in workplaces. Industrial psychology can also be defined as the study of human behavior in workplaces. It is usually applied in picking employees’ characteristics or mannerisms and then associates the characteristics with a given position. For example, it can tell among the employees who are best suited to fill in a given position like the executive position managerial position or the lower-level positions. It also focuses on the employees well being both mentally and physically for the organization’s productivity. It is a specialty of psychology that focuses on scientific-based solutions to individual issues in the workplace or organizations. The industrial psychologist can assess the individual’s effectiveness and consequently strengthen their weak points for the benefit of the organization. This area of psychology deals with job analysis, job definition, performance appraisal, and recruiting and selection. The evolution of the field of industrial/organizational psychology: Industrial psychology traces its roots to the American psychological association in 1892 whose main goal was to advance psychology as a science. However, APA did not recognize applied psychology as an independent field. In 1921, the New York association of psychology was founded. It mainly consisted of educational, clinical psychologists and in smaller numbers, industrial psychologists (Koppes, 2000). It is with the formation of ACP that the field of industrial psychologists emerged. In 1936, the then president of ACP suggested that the development of standards and code of ethics was necessary and also published a journal of consulting psychology. “Tensions within APA were heightened due to its inadequate attention to the interests of applied and professional psychologists” (Koppes, 2000). “Therefore, in 1937 effort to organize applied psychology was established that combined APA clinical selection, ACP, and other groups to form the American Association of Applied psychology. Membership was very limited as it only involved psychologists that were by then practicing” (Koppes, 2000).In 1962, the word business was dropped and replaced with organizational psychology. They later had a proposal to make organizational psychology independent from the group to gain flexibility and responsiveness and also gain more control over their financial affairs. 1980, graduate students in organizational psychology organized their first meeting that was known as, “organizational behavior graduate student conference” (Koppes, 2000). “In 1981, a specialty guideline for delivery of services by industrial-organizational psychologists was published.” “In 1982, APA and ACP signed Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Records of Deeds, Washington D.C” (Koppes, 2000). The name changed to The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.-A Division of the APA (Koppes, 2000). “The ethical practice of psychology in organizations was published and this was in 1998. The Best Student Poster at SIOP was renamed as the John C. Flanagan Award for Outstanding Student Contribution to the SIOP conference” (Koppes, 2000).
The role of research and statistics in organizational psychology: Research and statistics play a major role in industrial-organizational psychology. The use of the evidence-based practice is in the correct use of a good systematic technique to collect data and be able to analyze it in a very meaningful way. Statistics can be taken in different fields of an organization for example, in job performance, employees stress, and job satisfaction. The validity and reliability of the data collected highly depend on the techniques used and the standard of measuring a construct (Reis& Judd, 2000, p.3). In organizational psychology, research and statistics can be used to measure the productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of employees. The term performance is used to refer to the proficiency with which individuals carry out behaviors or activities that are relevant to the organization (Anderson, 2001, p. 8). Productivity can be measured by operational outcomes such as customer satisfaction and production both in quantity and quality. Research and statistics can be used to measure job satisfaction. Job satisfaction occupies a central focus point in many theories and models of individual attitude and behavior. Job satisfaction research has a practical application for the enhancement of individual lives and organizational effectiveness (Anderson, 2001, p.26). It can be measured in terms of pay, promotion, co-workers, supervision, and work itself (Anderson, 2001, p. 32). Research can be used to identify good leadership in organizations. Leadership has always been an important topic in work and organization psychology and especially transformational /charismatic leadership.
The growing importance of global and international world business creates a strong demand for managers who are sophisticated in international management and skilled to work with people. This has to lead to more research work in the leadership field to come up with current trends and also new technologies (Anderson, 2001, p.166).
Anderson, N. (2001). Organizational psychology. London: Sage.
Industrial and organizational psychology. (2006). A Dictionary of Business and Management. Oxford University Press. Web.
Koppes, L. (2000). A Brief History of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.-A Division of the APA. Web.
Reis, H., Judd, C. (2000). Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.