According to Spector (2012) “I/O psychology is an eclectic field that has borrowed concepts, ideas, techniques, and theories from many other disciplines.” (p. 5). Industrial and organizational psychology, or something similar can be traced back to the studies of European scientist Herman von Helmholtz (1821-1894). He expanded on the concept of conservation of human energy to determine if the energy levels in the present labor force were sufficient to the increasing demands of the industrial revolution (Koppes, & Pickren (n.d). English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) surmised that knowledge begins with the individual’s sensory experience. He further believed that logical thinking combined with sensory experience was superior to religion as a basis for developing a civil society (Koppes, & Pickren, n.d.). Another philosopher, Karl Marx (1818-1883) argued that freedom defined what it is to be human. He believed that a struggle for freedom existed in a capitalist system because the system attempted to develop a false sense of consciousness or belief of freedom in workers (Koppes, & Picken, n.d.). Emil Kraeplin (1856-1926) performed studies focused on work performance. He surmised that few differences between physical and mental performance existed. He believed that workers experienced fatigue in mental and physical performance in similar ways by interpreting work curve results that showed declines in production over time, and that fatigue could be reduced over time through practice and training (Koppes, & Pickren, n.d.).
Experimental psychology is considered to play a major role in the development of I/O psychology, and provided the principles and techniques (Spector, 2012). At the time, several psychologists were attempting to apply psychological theory to the business sector using techniques like psychological testing (Spector, 2012). In the United States, early work in I/O psychology focused on issues concerning employee performance and organizational efficiency, but in the United Kingdom the focus was directed more toward the health and fatigue of employees (Spector, 2012). Pioneering the I/O psychology movement in the United States were two experimental psychologists; Hugo Munsterberg (1863-1916), and Walter Dill Scott (1869-1955). Their early work placed emphasis on the application of psychology to help solve organizational problems (Spector, 2012). Both Munsterberg and Scott were also credited for writing the first books related to I/O psychology: The Theory of Advertising by Scott (1903), and Psychology and Industrial Efficiency by Munsterberg (1913). During World War I both the United States and United Kingdom began implementing I/O psychology in response to military demand on both the private and government sectors (Spector, 2012). After World War I, I/O psychology continued to expand into most of the areas of application it is used for today (Spector, 2012).
2. Explain why industrial/organizational psychology should be considered a science. Include an explanation of how descriptive and inferential statistics are used in I/O research.
According to Spector (2012) “I/O psychologists do many different jobs in a wide variety of settings.” (p. 6). Psychologists that focus on I/o psychology are often divided between the areas of practice and scientific research. Because the practice of I/O psychology in an organization setting is based on research produced by scientific data, I/O psychology is dependent on scientific research (Spector, 2012). Although there are two distinct classifications of I/O psychology, those who specialize in the fiend are more likely to perform work that crosses both sectors. One major difference is setting. Most research is performed in college or university settings where I/O psychologists are employed as professors. Most practical I/O psychology is applied to consulting firms, government, private sector