Organizational Psychology/PSYCH 570
September 1, 2014
Why are some organizations successful? Why do others fail? Ever heard of “Android”? How many times did you “google” something today? Between 1983 and 1986 commodore dominated the computer hardware industry; where are they now? Organizational psychology seeks to understand the dynamic processes occurring within a complex organizational system. This paper will define organizational psychology, summarize the evolution of this field, compare organizational psychology with a related disciple and describe the role of research and statistics within this field. Terminology
Individuals affect one another. Individual poses a collection of personality propensities. The tendency we select to display is activated by varying context. Organizational psychology focuses on the scientific study, psychological theories and principles related to the individual as they interact with formal organizational settings. Organizational psychology is concerned with making accurate prediction regarding behavior within an organizational setting. Katz and Kahn (1978) suggest the essence of organizations corresponds with individual behavior. People are social by nature and will perform to increase their sense of self-worth and belonging (Fiske, 2010). Individuals are affected by the presence of others: actual, implied and imagined within their organizational environment (Fiske, 2010). Core motives align with developing effective group efforts. Belonging, understanding, control, self-enhancement and trusting are the common thread laced across situation context. Combining personality with context (formal organization) has been found to predict certain behaviors (Fiske, 2010). Societal norms, organizational structures, role expectations, and management styles influence individual behavior within the organization. By understanding these factors individual performance is improved, well-being is enhanced and the organization as a whole benefited. History and Evolution
Though the history of interest in organizational psychology dates back to the ancient Israelites, industrial psychology unfolded as the twentieth-century pioneers attempted to understand skill acquisition and personnel selection (Jex & Britt, 2008). Organizational psychology evolved from the work of non-psychologists such as Fredrick Taylor’s principles of scientific management and efficiency (otherwise known as the philosophy of management) (Jex & Britt, 2008). Within Taylors work three underlying principles emerge: separation of those that perform tasks from those that design tasks; favorable incentives produce harder workers; workplace issues should be subjected to empirical study (Jex & Britt, 2008). The evolution of organizational psychology was spurred by numerous factors beginning with the Hawthorne experiments (Jex & Britt, 2008). Though the experiment was designed to determine the effect of environmental factors on productivity, researchers discovered that any change in the workplace can effect on employees. Other developments from this study included the effect of social factors and leadership tactics on employee behavior. Furthering the evolution of organizational psychology the dawn of World War II ushered the age of women in the workplace. Issues of diversity become a prevalent concern. Following the war integrating military forces with private sector employment raised new concerns. Global issues have caused massive shifts in demographics advancing the organizational psychology movement. Later, as unionization became prevalent, attention was drawn upon on concepts of participation of employees in the decision-making process and work-life balance. Emphasizing factors that stifle creativity and happiness of the organization such as personality, attitude, political issues, societal concerns, satisfaction, family issues, and the effect of stress...
References: Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social beings: a core motives approach to social psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley.
Jex, S. M., & Britt, T. W. (2008). Organizational psychology: a scientist-practitioner approach (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
Katz, D. & Kahn, R. L. (1978). The social psychology of organizations (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
Lowman, R. L. (2012). The scientist-practitioner consulting psychologist.. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64(3), 151-156.
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