Industrial-occupational psychology is the study of psychological issues such as behavior, cognition, emotion, and motivation as it is applied to the problems of people in organizations. Industrial psychology is the older branch of the field and is concerned with the management perspective of organizational efficiency through the appropriate use of human resources, or people. Organizational psychology is focused more on understanding behavior and enhancing the well-being of employees in the workplace. However, some topics in the field cannot be classified as either industrial or occupational so when put together they can explain the broad nature of the field (Spector, 2008). This paper will discuss the history of industrial-occupational, how it is different from other fields of psychology, how industrial-occupational can be applied in organizations, and the role that research and statistics plays in industrial-occupational psychology. The History of I/O Psychology
I/O psychologies origins can be tracked back to the late 19th century crusade to understand and gauge human abilities and drives. In 1903 Walter Dill Scott wrote a book that was the first to link psychology and business together. Scott has been considered to be the founding father of I/O psychology along with Hugo Munsterberg who was a German psychologist teaching a Harvard University. Munsterberg published a book in 1913 titled “The Psychology of Industrial Efficiency.” However, I/O psychology truly came into its own when the United States entered into World War I in 1917. The military convened a committee of psychologists to investigate solider drive, incentive, and the commonness of psychological impairment. At this time psychologists also developed the Army Alpha a group-administered intelligence test. There were 1,726,000 soldiers and officers tested but little come out of the information gathered because the war ended three months after the test was administered. Studies found that the test scores were related to solider accomplishments. After the war the Carnegie Institute of Technology started a university-based facility for the study of the applications of psychology to business this was the first of its kind. The center was called the U.S. Bureau of Salesmanship Research and at that time it was sponsored mainly by the life insurance industry. The research conducted was for the selection and enhancement of secretarial, executive, and sales staff (Spector, 2008). During World War II psychologist developed the “Army General Classification” test, which was used for the assessment and placement of the recruits as well as identifying precise aptitudes and capabilities of the soldiers. During this time the psychologist also investigated accidents, plan crashes, morale, and solider attitudes. After the war I/O psychology come out as a specific specialty of the broader field of psychology. In 1970 I/O psychology got another push after the court decisions interoperating the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In this decision the courts placed a substantial responsibility on employers to explain the validity of their recruiting, selection, and promotional procedures. Many employers determined that it was smarter to employ the skills of I/O psychologist to defend against this and other possible anti-discrimination legislation. Maintaining an I/O psychologist on staff would also provide defense against lawsuits brought about by employees who claimed that he or she sufferer from discrimination (Spector, 2008). The Difference between I/O Psychology and Other Field of Psychology There are many similarities between I/O psychology and other fields of psychology however; I/O psychology focuses mainly on applying psychological practices to the business industries. The other disciplines many study or apply similar topics...
References: Cascio, W. F., & Aguinis, H. (2008). Research in industrial and organizational psychology from
1963 to 2007: Changes, choices, and trends. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(5),
Spector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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