Industrial/Organizational Psychology Worksheet
The purpose of this assignment is to examine the fundamental concepts of the field of industrial/organizational psychology. Using the textbook, the University Library, the Internet, and/or other resources, answer the following questions. Your responses to each question will vary but overall should be 700- to 1,050-words in length.
Describe the evolution of the field of industrial/organizational psychology.
Industrial/Organizational psychology is an invention of the 20th century, but began in the late 1800s and early 1900s. During this time experimental psychologists were beginning to apply the basics of psychology principles to the problems that were occurring in organizations. It was an effort to capitalize on efficiency and productivity from the employees. At first in the founding stages of the I/O psychology, the psychologists really did not care that much in the safety of workers in as much as they wanted to be sure jobs were done right and as fast as possible. Harry Landsberger a psychologist, performed many studies and experiments trying to understand how an individual’s work conditions influenced the worker’s performance. He found that by placing someone close to the workers that was interested in what they were doing influenced their performance; they performed a better job when someone who was interested was there with them. WWI saw the starting of I/O psychology in the assistance of the war effort in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US). In the UK the I/O is started by the Health of Munitions Committee (HMC) in 1915 to deal with the efficiency, health, and safety of its workers, these needs had been impaired due to the demands of the war (Spector, 2012).
The US entered WWI in 1917 this encouraged many psychologists who were led by Robert Yerkes to offer their services to the Army. Probably the best known achievement of this group was the Army Alpha and Army Beta group tests to determine mental ability. One of the main problems for the Army was the placement of new recruits into the position of work that best suited them. These tests, theorized the psychologists, was an efficient way to solve the problem. This application of psychological testing was the first performed on such a large scale, but has been in use ever since especially for educational purposes the Scholastic Aptitude Test, now the SAT is proof of that (Spector, 2012).
The years between WWI and WWII saw an increase in I/O psychology as it expanded into most of the areas that are seen today. As organizations grew so too did the need for I/O psychologists in the US. Employer’s needed to address their rising employee problems, especially those that were related to the productivity of the product (Spector, 2012).
In 1921, Charles Myers, a psychologist in the UK, co-found the National Institute of Industrial Psychology (NIIP), which is an organization dedicated to improving efficiency and working conditions of Britain’s employees. The focus on an employee’s safety follows the effort of the earlier HMC and characterizes both British and European I/O psychology. At the same time in the US (1921) Penn State University presented what was considered to many the first American Ph.D. in what was, at that time, called Industrial Psychology to Bruce V. Moore. That same year I/O psychologists began establishing consulting firms to provide services to organizations and employer’s for a fee. The best known of these firms was the American establishment, Psychological Corporation, which was founded in 1921by James McKeen Cattell, at present time it is called Harcourt Assessment (Spector, 2012).
WWI and WWII were factors in the increasing development of I/O psychology psychologists had used their knowledge when they had placed soldiers into the positions that best suited the soldier. When the wars were over, the psychologists were again called upon for their skills this