What is Organizational Psychology, and Why is it Growing so Rapidly in the United States?

What is Organizational Psychology, and Why is it Growing so Rapidly in the United States?

Have you ever seen a movie in which  a company calls in a “pro” to solve a workplace issue? Whether they are hired to help companies boost employee morale or enhance productivity in an organization, the real-world title for these “pros” is “industrial-organizational psychologist.”

These specialized, rapidly-growing career paths are ideal for people who are interested in both the psychology and the business organization professions. And Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology can help you become a part of this growing field.

What is Industrial-Organizational Psychology?

Industrial-organizational psychology is a specialized branch of psychology focused on “the scientific study of human behavior in organizations and the workplace,” according to the American Psychological Association. The field is relatively young—only around since the turn of the 20th century. However, many of the foundational concepts were being used long before its recognition as a psychological specialty.

What do I/O Psychologists do?

Early industrial-organizational psychologists mainly focused on job efficiency, such as optimizing the amount of items a factory worker could inspect per workday. Today, I/O psychologists use scientific methods to apply principles of psychology across a wide range of areas, including administration, human resources, marketing, management, and training. Their ultimate goal is to identify and solve problems relating to the workplace.

Today’s industrial-organizational psychologists may:

  • Determine barriers to company growth and employee productivity
  • Design measures to examine workplace performance and job satisfaction
  • Formulate more effective training programs
  • Optimize the work environment to promote quality of life for employees
  • Identify core personality traits that work best for specific roles
  • Help companies select and promote the best candidates
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of newly implemented training programs or workplace protocols
  • Research consumer behavior and marketing trends

Industrial-organizational psychologists may be employed in a variety of settings, such as consulting firms, research and development firms, colleges and universities, large corporations, and community organizations. In addition to working in-house or by consultation, I/O psychologists also work with research groups to explore aspects of employment such as methods to improve employee engagement, company culture, sexual harassment, and stigmas in the workplace.

Industrial Organizational Psychology Outlook

Among today’s competition in the business sector, the need for companies to operate more efficiently and to retain the nation’s best and brightest is more important than ever. It has also created a demand for practitioners like I/O psychologists with insider knowledge about how successful businesses operate.

In previous years, industrial-organizational psychology has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing fields in America by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The career path for psychologists in general has been projected to grow by 18% between 2014 and 2024. However, many projections single-out I/O psychology as the career path that will see the most growth over the next decade among the psychological career specializations.

Industrial-organizational psychologists may enjoy competitive salaries based on their given employer and job experience. According to 2016 information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I/O psychologists have a median salary of $82,760. Those who command the highest salaries are employed by scientific, research, and development firms.

How to Get Started

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in I/O psychology? If so, graduate-level training could help you move forward in this growing field. The California School of Professional Psychology offers both a Master’s Program and a Doctoral Program for students wishing to turn their experience into expertise, and expertise into leadership. Coursework involves in-depth training, both in the classroom and in the field, led by experts in the field.

Get started in the field of I/O psychology by enrolling in the Master’s or Ph.D. Program in Organizational Psychology. Contact an Admissions Counselor at Alliant International University for more information.