Psychology and Work Today
Would you work if you didn’t have to? Nowadays, it is not unusual to hear a great number of people complaining about their jobs, feeling “stuck” in what they do, dreading going to work, etc. However, considering the financial crisis, having a job is better than not having one. Therefore, we are taught to conform and try to be happy with bringing funds to pay our bills, holidays, bare necessities, and, for the lucky ones, to provide them with money for personal hobbies or interests.
It is a fact that our working life accounts for half of our adult life; this has an impact in our health, family, relationships, etc. Would you spend five days in an environment that is harmful for your mental, emotional and physical health, without consequences? There are numerous studies that show the link between physical and emotional health with work satisfaction. In 1871, John Ruskin wrote: “In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it and they must have a sense of success in it”. With this thought in mind, I am going to write about the contributions of I-O Psychology in the modern working world for a man to achieve a certain level of happiness require in the workplace and for organizations to have not only a productive work force but also one that is efficient and motivated. Such as recruitment, regulations of the Equal Employment opportunities, leadership, motivation, organizational styles and stress. Followed by a case study about
1. History of I-O Psychology
Pre-Psychology theories, Aristotle philosophised about management techniques and concepts such as leader selection, departmentalization and authority. In 1527, Machiavelli provided advice on how to structure organizations. The Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economics, Adam Smith, published a book in 1776 “The Wealth of Nations”, suggesting specialized management and centralized labor in factories. However, I-O Psychology beginnings are usually attribute to Walt Dill Scott (1869- 1955). He was the first to use Psychology for employee selection and management issues, arguing that managers were not focus enough on good employee selection and supervision. He published several articles and a book (1903) about the use of psychology in the business world. Around the same time, a German psychologist, Hugo Munsterberg, who was in Harvard University, documented conditions associated with levels of production and suggested ways to improve job efficiency. Together with his consulting activities, he produced a number of literature and research. One of his most influential publications was a book called “Psychology and Industrial Efficiency” in which he wrote the importance of using psychological principles by managers in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organisation. He became a great influence in Industrial Psychology, after his death in 1916, his theories were still influencing organizations until 1950’s. During World War I, a screening process for new recruits was implemented. The U.S. Army commissioned psychologists to develop intelligence tests to identify those with low score not to be considered for training programs. Also, more specific tests were designed for the selection of military personnel that required special abilities, such as officers and pilots.
After the war, the enthusiasm for psychological testing spread to the civilian world on matters of personnel selection for job applicants and school children. Between the years of 1929 and 1933, the psychologist Elton Mayo, conducted the Hawthorn Studies in Chicago at the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company. The research investigated the effects of illumination, length of breaks and working hours on employee efficiency, as original thought that improving these factors the employee’s moral would improve and therefore productivity...
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