Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Industrial/Organizational Psychology Worksheet

1.         Describe the evolution of the field of industrial/organizational psychology.
          I/O psychology’s invention occurred in the twentieth century, and its roots are from the late years of the 1800s to the early years of the 1900s (Spector, 2012). The beginnings of I/O psychology as a subfield of psychology almost date back to the beginnings of psychology. Experimental psychologists, Hugo Munsterberg and Walter Dill Scott were the first psychologists to perform I/O work because of their interest of applying psychology’s new principles to problems within organizations. For this reason, Munsterberg and Scott hold the distinction of founding American I/O psychology. Munsterberg and Scott also wrote two foundational books concerning I/O psychology, which are Psychology and Industrial Efficiency (1913) by Munsterberg, and Theory of Advertising (1903), by Scott. Frederick Winslow Taylor also made contributions to I/O psychology by developing the theory of Scientific Management, which included principles for guiding organizational practices (Spector, 2012).
          I/O psychology advance further when engineer Frank Gilbreth and psychologist Lillian Gilbreth (husband and wife), combined their respective fields. Therefore, they contributed the motion and time study, which dealt with measuring the time of an individual’s motions when performing a certain task with the goal of developing increased efficient means of working (Spector, 2012). Furthering I/O psychology’s evolution occurred during World War I, when its first applications occurred, whereas for assisting with the war effort in the United States and the United Kingdom. During this time in the United States, Robert Yerkes led other psychologist to help the army by developing the Army’s Alpha and Beta group tests, which was for testing mental abilities for unit assignments (Spector, 2012). During this time in the United Kingdom, the Health of Munitions Committee (HMC) establishment occurred in 1915, to handle issues of employees’ safety, health, and efficiency, which were worse because of productivity demands as a result of World War I (Spector, 2012).
          Between World War I and World War II, I/O psychology expanded tremendously into areas it currently serves. In the United Kingdom, in 1921, Charles Myers a psychologist helped found the National Institute of Industrial Psychology (NIIP); devoted to the improvement of working conditions and the efficiency of British workers (Spector, 2012). Also during this time in the United States, Bruce V. Moore earned the first Ph.D. in I/O psychology from Penn State in 1921. Also during this time I/O psychologist started consulting firms, which provided free assistance to organizations. In 1921, well-known Psychological Corporation, an American corporation (currently referred to as Harcourt Assessment), whose founder was James McKeen Cattell; offered free services and established the Hawthorne studies (Spector, 2012). The Hawthorne studies proved the difficulty of separating the productivity of employees and organizational life’s social aspects, which drew attention to the organizational aspect of I/O psychology.          
          Before World War II, the APA had little to no concern with practices of psychology in organizational areas and focused on experimental psychology. However, in 1944, within the APA what occurred was the formation of Division 14 of Industrial and Business Psychology. This occurred to address needs of practicing the I/O psychology subfield of psychology. Spector (2012), “in 1970, Division 14 of the APA changed its name to the Division of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and is today called the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)” (p. 13). In the United States what also occurred which also shaped I/O psychology was the 1964 Civil Rights Act passage. This act affected how organizations hired and treated employees in the United States and other countries. Currently I/O psychology’s applications occur in laboratory scientific research and the field to handle issues, which affect organizations.  
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.
          One should consider I/O psychology as a science because of its use of scientific research and its practice and because of its use of descriptive and inferential statistics. Spector (2012), “I/O psychologists do many different jobs in a wide variety of settings” (p. 6). One divides I/O settings into two areas of concern, which are scientific research and practice. The research area provides certain principles, which one applies in practice. The activity of practice involves using psychological principles for solving problems of the real-world. Scientific research and practice are both important in I/O psychology. I/O psychologist perform studies were the requirements of statistical methods are necessary for analysis of data. Statistical methods used to perform studies are descriptive and inferential statistics. I/O psychologists use descriptive statistics for summarizing study results. I/O psychologists use inferential statistics for the purpose of interpreting the results of studies by using different statistical tests.   
3.         Discuss the influence industrial/organization psychology has had on organizations. Provide examples.
I/O psychology has had a substantial influence on organizations. 
          World War I and II saw the influence of I/O psychology on American organizations because they employed I/O psychologists for addressing employee issues in relation to productivity. An example of this is the  development of the developing the Army’s Alpha and Beta group tests, which was for testing mental abilities for unit assignments (Spector, 2012). The influence in the United Kingdom around the same time saw I/O psychology advance studies to improve working conditions and the efficiency of British employees in certain organizations. I/O psychology had such an influence during this time that the development of I/O psychology consulting firms occurred, and today there is the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). I/O psychology has had such an influence worldwide that many organizations now employee I/O psychologist to improve efficiency and functioning.  

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