Industrial & Organizational Psychology


Here are some frequently asked questions about Industrial & Organizational (I-O) Psychology. 

Question (Q): What is Industrial & Organizational (I-O) Psychology?

Answer (A):  Psychology is referred to as the scientific study of behavior and thinking.  Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology is the scientific study of behavior in the area of work (business and industry). 

Extended answer: 
"I-O psychology is the scientific study of working and the application of that science to workplace issues facing individuals, teams, and organizations. The scientific method is applied to investigate issues of critical relevance to individuals, businesses, and society" (SIOP, 2016).  


Q: What are the subfields of I & O Psychology? 


A: There are six subfields of I & O Psychology: Selection and Placement, Training, Organizational Development, Work-life Quality, and Ergonomics (Muchinsky, 2012). 

Q: Where does I-O fit in with the American Psychological Association (APA)?


A: I-O psychology is represented by Division 14 of the APA, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).


Q: What is one word at the core of I-O Psychology?

A: Change. 
The world of work is ever changing and I-O psychologists have been examining the world of work since 1892.  The Great Depression in the 1930's and both World Wars had different challenges for workers and it was during those periods when I-O Psychology gained momentum (Katzell & Austin, 1992). The 1950s and 1960s had a lull (Highouse, 1999), but as the mental health of workers and the work-family balance have become key topics, I-O Psychology has surfaced as a powerful branch of Psychology helping workers to effectively deal with an ever-changing workplace.



Q: How can I find out more about the history of I-O?

A: SIOP has an I-O Virtual History Museum.



Q: What do I-O Psychologists do?

A:  Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists are concerned with work behavior and how research can help improve work life and solve everyday work related problems.  There is a mix of science and practice with I-O and the subfields are listed in question #3. I-O psychologists can do many jobs: career coach, researcher, teacher/professor, consultant, strategist, human resource specialist, etc. 



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more Q & As will be added as needed, please feel free to check back.