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Chapter 1

Psychology 2660A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Lillian Moller Gilbreth, American Psychological Association, Walter Dill Scott

Course Code
Natalie J Allen

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Chapter 1: The Historical Background of I/O Psychology
Psychology scientific study of thinking and behavior
Uses rigorous methods of research
Stereotype of a psychologist is actually just a clinical psychologist
o Most psychologists don’t treat mental disorders, nor do they practice psychotherapy
Many psychologists are united through membership in the American Psychological Association (APA)
o Very diverse 54 divisions of special interest subgroups
o There aren’t many different specialty areas of psychology, just many fields where the same
basic psychological principles are applied
o APA publishes many journals psychologists can communicate their research findings to others
o APA holds regional/national conventions, sets standards for graduate training in certain areas of
psych (clinical, counseling, and school), develops and enforces a code of professional ethics,
and helps psychologists find employment
American Psychological Society (APS)
o Founded because APA had shifted toward the health care practice areas of psych
o Purpose of APS: to advance the discipline of psych primarily from a scientific perspective
o Members are academic psychologists, mostly
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
I/O psych is one of the specialty areas of psych
Society for I/O Psychology (SIOP) the professional organization that represents I/O psychologists in
the US
Increasing number of women entering the field
I/O psychology (US) = occupational psych (UK) = work and organizational psych (Europe) = industrial
psych (Africa)
Increasing interest in I/O psych membership in SIOP as doubled
4% of all psychologists work in the I/O area
I/O psychology strives to enhance both the institution and the individual, but the image of the field is
often portrayed as more aligned with institutional welfare
Knowledge of I/O psych is fairly low in the general public
I/O psychology - an area of scientific study and professional practice that addresses psychological
concepts and principles in the work world
The I/O psychologist is concerned with behavior in work situations
o They pose questions to guide their investigation and then use scientific methods to obtain
Two sides of I/O psych: science and practice
I/O psych is an academic discipline
The professional side of I/O psych is concerned with the application of knowledge to solve real
problems in the world of work
I/O psych can use research findings to hire better employees, reduce absenteeism, improve
communication, increase job satisfaction, and solve countless other problems
The education of I/O psychologists is founded on the scientist-practitioner model a model for
education in an academic discipline based on understanding the scientific principles and findings
evidenced in the discipline and how they provide the basis for the professional practice
o It trains them in both scientific inquiry and practical application
I/O psychologists work in four main employment settings: universities, consulting firms, industry, and
o Universities and consulting firms are the primary employers
o Universities hire more scientists; consulting firms hire more practitioners; business and
government hire good mix of both
Fields of I/O Psychology
The professional activities of I/O psychologists can be grouped into five general fields:
Selection and Placement
Concerned with developing assessment methods for the selection, placement, and promotion of

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Involved in studying jobs and determining to what degree tests can predict performance in those
Individual-job compatibility identification
Training and Development
Concerned with identifying employee skills that need to be enhanced to improve job
Areas of training: technical skills enhancing, managerial development programs, and effective
group work training
Must determine if these programs are successful
Performance Management
Process of enhancing the contributions of the workforce to facilitate attaining the overall goals of
the organization
Involves designing ways to assess employee work behavior and provide helpful feedback to
improve performance
Concerned with accuracy and value of assessments made of individuals and work teams
Organizational Effectiveness
Broadest area
Concerned with maintaining/improving the quality of the workforce, relationships with customers
and suppliers
Issues of central importance: motivation, leadership, and helping the organization adapt to
continuous change
Quality of Worklife
Concerned with factors that contribute to a healthy and productive workforce
Find ways to make the conduct of work more compatible with employees’ personal life
High quality worklife = greater productivity of the organization and to the emotional health of the
I/O psych is not really a single discipline; it’s a mixture of subspecialities bonded together by a concern
for people at work
Licensing of Psychologists
One way professions offer high-quality service to the public is by regulating their own membership
o Selective admission into the profession
The practice of professional psychology is regulated by law in every state
Licensing law a law that regulates both the title and practice of psychology
Licensure the process by which a professional practice is regulated by law to ensure quality
standards are met to protect the public
o Involves education, experience, examination, and administrative requirements
Major functions of any professional board are to determine the standards for admission into the
profession and to discipline its members when professional standards are violated
Currently, psychologists must pass a uniform national exam to obtain a license
o Must also pass a written exam that focuses mainly on questions pertaining to health care psych
o This is an ongoing problem for I/O psychologists when trying to obtain a license
Licensing of I/O psychologists is controversial because the need for licensure to protect the public is not
so pressing since they don’t deal with health care
The History of I/O Psychology
The two world wars served as major catalysts for changing the discipline of I/O psych
The Early Years (1900-1916)
Before 1900, most psychologists were strictly scientific and avoided studying problems that
strayed away from pure research
Major forces in the evolution of the discipline:
W.L. Bryan emphasized examining real skills as a base upon which to develop scientific
Not the father of I/O psych, but rather a precursor
Desire of industrial engineers to improve efficiency
They developed “time and motion” studies to prescribe the most efficient body
motions per unit of time to perform a particular work task
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