Organizational Psychology: An Overview
While many people think of psychology as a discipline that is performed within the strict confines of the healthcare field, there are other uses of psychology that can benefit businesses. Organizational psychology is an example of this. This is a way to apply the basic study of human behavior to an industrial or corporate setting. By employing the techniques used in this type of psychology, businesses can theoretically increase their employee satisfaction and drive up productivity. It's helpful to take a closer look at this field to understand what is involved.
What is Organizational Psychology?
Organizational psychology, also known as industrial and organizational psychology or work psychology, is the study of workplace behavior. It is a way to quantify and study the behavior of workplaces, organizations, and individual employees, to help them work together in harmony. Some businesses will keep a psychologist on staff to assist with hiring practices, employee training, and management systems. Others will require temporary assistance to help during times of transition within the company. Professionals who work in this field perform a variety of research and management-based tasks, to help boost workplace productivity. They must be extremely skilled in recognizing and analyzing human behavior, and must be excellent communicators.
Functions Performed by Organizational Psychologists
Organizational psychology is a diverse field, with many different potential functions involved. A typical work day for an organizational psychologist could include everything from leading a training session to conducting a survey to assess employee attitudes. These professionals may help with product development, the human resources and hiring process, and restructuring a corporate office into new departments. Some psychologists will work in research or academic positions, while others will work directly with employees. A few of these specific job functions include but are not limited to the following:
- Training and evaluation – Developing new training programs and evaluating existing ones to determine which techniques are most effective
- Job analysis – Using statistics to analyze the current positions within a company to streamline the work process
- Employee recruitment and hiring – Many organizational psychologists will work in the human resources department, to review incoming personnel and assess their qualifications
- Workplace motivation – Psychologists will analyze the best ways to motivate employees, to increase overall productivity and job satisfaction
- Individual assessment – An organizational psychologist may assess each employee on an individual level, to determine if there is a more effective way to use their skills and behavior patterns
Overall, organizational psychology is concerned with using models of human behavior and psychological principles to increase harmony and logic in any workplace.
It's possible to find employment as an organizational psychologist with a bachelor's degree in Organizational Psychology. Those with a degree of this level will most likely work in the human resources department. However, individuals will open up a far wider range of potential opportunities by pursuing a graduate-level degree in this field. At the moment, there is a high demand for qualified organizational psychologists, leading to one of the highest salaries in the field of psychology.
Typical Work Settings for Organizational Psychologists
There are many different potential places where organizational psychologists might find employment. This includes the business, academic, and government workplaces. A great deal of research is needed to succeed in this field, so you must have a solid background in statistics and analysis. While some interaction with others is to be expected in this field, there is not as much of the one-on-one therapy as there would be with other specializations such as clinical psychology or counseling psychology. Instead, organizational psychologists tend to work behind the scenes or in group settings. Within this framework, there are many potential settings where a professional in this field could thrive.