Advise management concerning personnel, managerial, and marketing policies and practices and their potential effects on organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
Analyze data, using statistical methods and applications, to evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of workplace programs.
Assess employee performance.
Observe and interview workers to obtain information about the physical, mental, and educational requirements of jobs as well as information about aspects such as job satisfaction.
Write reports on research findings and implications to contribute to general knowledge and to suggest potential changes in organizational functioning.
Facilitate organizational development and change.
Identify training and development needs.
Normal work activities for an Industrial Organizational psychologist might include: getting information, providing consultation and advice to others, interpreting the meaning of information to others, establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, making decisions and solving problems.
In addition to those, an I/O psychologist would analyze data, organize, plan and prioritize work, interact with computers, judge the qualities of things, services or people, and, finally, communicate with supervisors, peers, and subordinates (O-net, 2008).
An individual accepting a position as an I/O psychologist would also have to have the following abilities as part of his or her work: Oral comprehension -- a real ability to listen and understand information, oral expression, written comprehension, written expression, deductive reasoning -- apply general rules to specific problems to produce solutions that make sense, inductive reasoning -- combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions among seemingly unrelated events, problem sensitivity -- the ability to tell when something is heading in the wrong direction or is likely to go wrong, speech clarity, speech recognition, and information ordering -- arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (O-net, 2008).
Where Do I/O Psychologists Work?
Approximately 39% of I/O's work at consulting firms or as independent consultants. 35% work in academia, mostly at the university level. About 20% work for corporations, and the remaining 6% work in government or government-related jobs (Steve, n.d.).
I/O Psychology Specialties
There are six specialties under the Industrial Organizational psychology job description. Personnel psychology involves the selection, training and assessment of employees.
Organizational Behavior has to do with social & group influences, communication, organization structure/hierarchy, leadership, and motivation issues. Ergonomics/Human Factors deals with human-machine interaction, job design, and optimizing human abilities. Vocational/Career Counseling involves career path, retirement preparation, and Employee Assistance Programs.
Organizational Development is diagnosing organizational problems, planning, implementing, and assessing change. And Industrial Relations works with labor issues, and management -union liaison to resolve conflict (Steve, n.d.).
The Future of I/O
Collaboration will increase with other scientists in order to develop new multi-disciplinary approaches to solving problems. The real value comes when I/O psychologists are able to work alongside computer scientists, statisticians, and a variety of other folks who are helping to use technology and advanced techniques to create new ways of doing things.
I/O psychologists are adding value to the work of entrepreneurs, especially those who focus on using technology to help establish new and more efficient hiring products and processes.
New job analysis methods will include techniques for describing the work that will be done in the future. Job analysis tools will change. I/O psychologists describe a method for learning about future work by understanding planned changes to jobs, working with the people planning the change, and working with people performing similar tasks now in order to identify the critical tasks of the future.
Industrial psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2009, from a2zpsychology.com: http://www.a2zpsychology.com/ARTICLES/industrial.htm
McCarthy, P. (2002). Brief outline of the history of I/O psychology. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from Middle Tennessee State University: http://frank.mtsu.edu/~pmccarth/io_hist.htm
Morris, L. (2000). Careers in industrial organizational psychology. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from Westchester university department of education: http://www.wcupa.edu/_Academics/sch_cas.psy/Career_Paths/Industrial/Career06.htm
O-net. (2008). Summary report for industrial organizational psychologists. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from o-net online: http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/19-3032.00
SIOP. (2006). What are siop and i/o psychologists? Retrieved April 15, 2009, from Society for industrial and organizational psychology: http://www.siop.org/media/What.aspx
Steve, D. (n.d.). Historical background to industrial/organizational psychology - ppt presentation. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from University of west Florida: http://uwf.edu/psych/skass/i-o_presentation/Present1/Chapter1_INP3004.ppt
U of M. (2008, July 21). Industrial/organizational psychology. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from University of Minnesota, department of psychology: http://www.psych.umn.edu/areas/industrial/more.htm