What Is Organizational Psychology? How fast is it growing?

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  1. Understanding organizational psychology
  2. Need for industrial organizational psychology
  3. Key tasks of an organizational psychologist

Understanding organizational psychology

The American Psychological Association defines organizational psychology as “the scientific study of human behavior in organizations and the workplace.” 

Industrial-organizational psychology is the study of people and their behavior in work environments. It aims to understand people and work function with an emphasis on influencing, changing, or enhancing them to benefit the organisation and its employees. They use psychological principles and research methodologies to improve a variety of aspects of the workplace, including performance, communication, professional satisfaction, and safety.

According to the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology, IO psychologists’ job demand and growth are expected to grow by 12.8% through 2028. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics also points out a 2.2% increase in IO psychology job roles throughout 2020-30. In 2022, the projected growth was 53% for the US market. It also predicted that I-O psychology would be one of the fastest-growing careers. 

So, what makes IO such an increasingly pivotal and important need for organisations today? There are multiple reasons for this. If you are looking to empower yourself in navigating business environments, check out our Online BBA program

Need for industrial organizational psychology

Industrial organizational psychologists are in high demand because businesses recognise how they can help increase employee retention, productivity, and engagement. 

Industrial organizational psychologists’ work serves new, established, successful, and struggling businesses alike. The interaction between workers and supervisors is critical to the success of most businesses. As a result, companies will require the support of industrial-organizational psychologists to devise strategies for creating frictionless environments of operation.

Workers that work in a positive environment are usually more efficient and productive.

Many firms, on the other hand, struggle to create these types of conditions for their employees, therefore they rely on industrial or organizational (I/O) psychologists to create a joyful work environment that enhances productivity.

IO psychologists work with businesses closely, and conduct research, reviews, and surveys to understand gaps and problems in the existing environment. Their research and evaluation could be targeted at raising staff productivity, developing new application screening techniques, improving overall workplace quality, or determining the root of a performance-related issue.

Another main advantage held by the industrial organizational psychology domain is that it is not very easy to replace with automated tools and technologies. Since IO psychology job roles entail working with clients personally in work environments, it is not possible to automate the skill. 

Key tasks of an organizational psychologist

The role of an IO psychologist can entail a variety of tasks as per the needs and requirements of the organization in question. However, most IO psychologists work for a few domains that are more common and familiar than others. 

Screening of employees: The screening and selection function of IO psychologists entails creating employee selection evaluations, such as screening tests, to determine whether job candidates are qualified for a specific role. This can also include observing and noting employee work patterns, as well as interviewing employees to gauge workplace outlook. Personality tests can be used to determine whether staff are likely to work well together. With the execution of these, the hiring processes may also be scrutinized and possibly amended. IO psychologists also develop assessments and techniques to determine if employees are doing their jobs well.

Training and development: Psychologists in this domain mostly focus on researching and determining the necessary skills required for an individual to carry out a specific role. They help develop and evaluate training programs in areas like leadership and management to name a few. They will also determine what kinds of motivations might work best for a particular team by conducting a needs analysis. 

Revision of existing policies: IO psychologists may review and offer recommendations to existing business employee policies which may be harmful to employee performance. 

Improving organizational structure: Working with the management to develop improvements within the organization that increases worker productivity is one example. In many cases, it may be required to implement restructuring based on successful business models. Once a new plan is in place, psychologists are in charge of communicating it to employees and assisting with this transition.

In their day-to-day line of work psychologists design, implement, and analyze employee and business needs with the help of psychological research. They apply their findings in various ways to help solve human and organizational problems in the workplace such as identifying training and development needs and working towards bridging the gap between the same, evaluating the effectiveness of training needs and gauging if they create any impact, improving the work life quality of employees and assessing consumer preferences, customer satisfaction, and market strife.

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