Organizational psychology, also known as industrial and organizational psychology or I-O psychology, is the study of human behavior in the workplace. Organizational psychology allows social scientists to improve the health, safety, performance, job satisfaction and well being of an organization’s employees. Organizational psychology is one of 14 recognized specialties in American professional psychology.
The foundations of organizational psychology can be traced back as far as Wilhelm Wundt, but it was the work of James McKeen Cattell and Walter Dill Scott that brought the field to the forefront in America. It was Scott who first developed scientific methods for choosing and training sales personnel.
Organizational psychologists employ a number of research methods in the collection of data, including surveys, observational studies and experiments. From there, they choose either qualitative or quantitative analysis from which to further research.
Many I-O psychologists work with Human Resource professionals in designing recruitment processes and selection systems for potential employees. They are also responsible for creating performance evaluation standards, training programs, and job analysis, as well as creating programs to deal with employee motivation, occupational stress and safety issues in the workplace.