Introduction to Industrial-Organizational Psychology Basics

What you’ll learn to do: describe the purpose of industrial-organizational psychology and examine its application to hiring and evaluating employees

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The field of I-O psychology had its birth in industrial psychology and the use of psychological concepts to aid in personnel selection. However, with research such as the Hawthorne study, which you’ll learn about, psychologists discovered that productivity was affected more by human interaction and not physical factors; the field of industrial psychology expanded to include organizational psychology. Both WWI and WWII had a strong influence on the development of an expansion of industrial psychology in the United States and elsewhere: the tasks the psychologists were assigned led to development of tests and research in how the psychological concepts could assist industry and other areas. This movement aided in expanding industrial psychology to include organizational psychology.

Industrial psychology studies the attributes of jobs, applicants of those jobs, and methods for assessing fit to a job. These procedures include job analysis, applicant testing, and interviews. It also studies and puts into place procedures for the orientation of new employees and ongoing training of employees. The process of hiring employees can be vulnerable to bias, which is illegal, and industrial psychologists must develop methods for adhering to the law in hiring. Performance appraisal systems are an active area of research and practice in industrial psychology.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the scope of study in the field of industrial and organizational psychology
  • Describe the history of industrial and organizational psychology
  • Explain the aspects of employee selection, including candidate testing and interviewing
  • Describe types of job training and employee performance assessment
  • Describe the laws designed to prevent bias and discrimination in hiring
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