Industrial and organizational psychology


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  • Personnel psychology deals with determining whether people have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality necessary to perform various types of work effectively. It is concerned with the broad topic of employment testing and related topics such as job training, test validation, interviewing, and employment discrimination. The goal is to find the workers who have the right attributes to fit the demands of the job.
    Organizational psychology is concerned with how people adapt emotionally and socially to working in complex human organizations. It focuses on work motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, organizational culture, teamwork, and related topics.
    Human factors (engineering) psychology examines the way in which work environments can be designed or modified to match the capabilities and limitations of human beings. Goal is to fit the work environment or technology to human capabilities in order to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and safety.
  • Consider the simple act of computerizing what had previously been a manual task. This also changes other aspects of the work. A clerk may no longer have to go to the filing cabinet to insert or retrieve documents, since this can now be done electronically without leaving one’s desk. As a result the clerk can become more isolated and lose opportunities for social interaction with other workers. In addition, introduction of the computer changes the skill and ability mix necessary for success on the job.
  • Transformational leadership describes the leader who adapts well to change and persuades his workers to do so also. This is done by making workers more aware of the importance of what they are doing, persuading them to put the good of the organization or team ahead of their own self-interest, and appealing to their achievement and mastery needs.
    Charismatic leadership depends more on the sheer force of the leader’s personality. They elicit trust in others, are willing to take personal risks, and are sensitive to others’ needs. They are able to get followers to suspend disbelief and accept challenges they would ordinarily reject.
    Emancipatory leadership – leaders make sure that those affected by leadership’s decision making play a role in those decisions and are responsible for their implementation. They understand their own boundaries and and biases, and strive to empower their employees rather than to rule them.
  • Different companies cultivate different corporate cultures. The culture of a Silicon Valley company might hinge on innovation; the culture of a fast food corporation on time urgency. Virtually every organization that produces goods and services that could affect public safety at the broadest levelnow attempts to impress on workers the need to commit to a culture of safety.
  • Research in this area has focused on nine topics:
    Work-family conflict
    Work-role stress
    Work-family assistance
    Work schedules
    Job-related relocation
    Career and job-related outcomes
    Gender and the relationship between work and family domains
    Challenges of dual-earner couples
    Relationships among life domains
  • Whenever you get into a new rental car and search for the controls of the lights and windshield wipers, you are dealing with a human factors issue.
  • How could accidents be reduced? Working from a personnel psychology perspective, one approach would be to determine whether particular individuals seem to have more accidents than others. If that is the case, experts could examine the basic abilities of these people and institute either a training or selection program to reduce the accident rate.
    An organizational psychologist might approach the problem by assuming that drivers are being strongly influenced by a speed culture at work.
    Alternatively, it might be just as effective to work from a human factors perspective and prevent a driver from delivering more than one pizza every 30 minutes. A “new” and safer job would have been designed.
    The safest system would probably be achieved by using all three approaches rather than just one. This approach would include a careful selection and training program, a work environment that did not glorify speed and time urgency, and a set of tasks optimally arranged for safe and efficient deliveries.
  • Industrial and organizational psychology

    1. 1. Industrial and Organizational Psychology Michael B. Gladson, MD
    2. 2. What is I/O Psychology?  The branch of psychology concerned with the application of psychological principles in the workplace  Second only to clinical psychology in the number of practitioners  Found in four sectors of the economy: industry, universities, government, and consulting firms
    3. 3. Differences in I/O and other psychology fields  Differs in the settings where it is practiced  Differs in content  Differs in approach  Does not differ in its reliance on the scientific method for its theories and research
    4. 4. Settings  Practiced in work settings  Makes use of findings of other branches of psychology:  Human motivation  Attitude formation  Psychology of groups (team performance, leadership dynamics)  Psychophysiology (job stress)  Theories of adjustment (job loss)  Intelligence testing applied to develop tests that might assist in hiring decisions
    5. 5. Content  Three primary areas of interest:  Personnel psychology  Organizational psychology  Human factors (or human engineering) psychology
    6. 6. A Systems Approach  Changes in one facet of I/O psychology usually affects the other facets  Example – changes in the design of a task so that it is more complex (human factors activity) may have substantial impact on worker satisfaction (organizational topic) or who might do best at that task (personnel topic)
    7. 7. A Brief History  Personnel Psychology was the first of the three I/O subfields to appear  Intelligence testing used in WW I to identify recruits with greatest likelihood to become successful officers  Adapted by industry following the war
    8. 8. Organizational Psychology History  Money was thought to be the only motivator in the early 20th century  Job satisfaction was of little interest to employers  Intelligence was something to be avoided in workers
    9. 9. Organizational Psychology History  Research team led by Mayo (1930) discovered that employees’ attitudes toward supervisors and company had substantial effects on productivity regardless of pay level  This launched the human relations movement, which gave birth to interest in job satisfaction, work motivation, and leadership
    10. 10. Human Factors Psychology History  Began with WW II when aircraft had become much more complex and there were more accidents than ever before (cockpit instrument array not standardized)  Airplane cockpits thus began to be designed with standardization of location of controls & instruments in the cockpit to decrease human error  Human factors psychology was born out of this need to design the best & safest combination of human & machine
    11. 11. In the next slides we will consider each of the three facets of I/O psychology in greater detail
    12. 12. Personnel Psychology  Selecting correct persons for the job  I/O psychologist would go about the selection process for any job in the same way  First step – determining the most important duties of the job in question  Second step – list human attributes (skills, abilities, knowledge, experience, and personality characteristics) that will be necessary for success  Third step – develop a way to measure those attributes in applicants  Final step – deciding who will get the job based on results of those assessments
    13. 13. First Step - Job Analysis  A method for breaking a job into its constituent parts – which parts are the most important?  Then determine the knowledge, skills, abilities, or other personal characteristics necessary for successful completion of the job’s central tasks  When these key attributes have been identified, then an appropriate test can be selected or developed.
    14. 14. Second Step – Test Administration and Interviewing  Standardized tests used extensively  In recent years, personality testing has attracted increased interest as a means to enhance the hiring process – a result of the appearance of standardized tests to measure the Big Five personality traits  Integrity tests – measure trustworthiness but may not be as valid  Credit checks – may be considered intrusive by some employers
    15. 15. Test Administration and Interviewing  Personnel psychologist must verify that the tests used to select the best job candidates are successful in doing so  Involves statistical correlation of test scores with performance measures if the latter are available  This process is known as validation
    16. 16. Interviewing  Two types – structured and unstructured  Structured interviews more like standardized tests  same questions asked of all candidates and are based on attributes necessary for success on the job in question  Have clear guidelines for evaluation of answers  Can give information not otherwise tested, such as oral comprehension, listening skills, and motivation
    17. 17. Interviewing  Unstructured interviews  Nonstandard questions with no clear right or wrong answers  No method of assigning a score to an applicant  Many employers rely heavily on this type of interview but research suggests it is highly suggestive and far from optimal
    18. 18. Equal Opportunity Employment and Testing  Mental ability tests have been portrayed as instruments of discrimination as minorities often score lower  Physical ability tests may discriminate against women, older persons, and persons with disabilities  The EEOC in the US wants to ensure that all testing is fair to all applicants, regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, or age.
    19. 19. Equal Opportunity Employment  This simple goal has led to a complex tangle of legal, administrative, and philosophical disputes  Hiring quotas were in effect until 1991; since then many companies have continued to try to diversify their workforce  Much of the debate is about whether tests used in hiring are valid  When tests focus on several important attributes it is likely that ethnic minority applicants do better
    20. 20. New Trends and Challenges  Training and education  Performance assessment of current employees  Hiring airport screeners by DHS an important part of work of DHS I/O psychologist that has implications on national security
    21. 21. Organizational Psychology  Interest is in how organizational factors influence workers’ social and emotional functioning  Also interested in work motivation, job satisfaction, teams, leadership, and organizational culture
    22. 22. Work Motivation  Why do some workers work hard and others appear lazy and uncooperative?  Herzberg’s job enrichment theory – increasing motivation can be accomplished by enriching the job and giving worker more responsibilities and challenges  Skinner’s reinforcement theory – jobs acquire interest only through their association with extrinsic or external rewards
    23. 23. Work Motivation  Each theory has some value, but neither applies all the time  Expectancy theory – proposes people act on a prediction of what rewards they will receive  Self-efficacy theory – individuals gradually develop confidence (or lack of it) about abilities to overcome obstacles and successfully complete difficult tasks. Confidence can be enhanced or diminished by actual work experiences
    24. 24. Work Motivation  Self-regulation theory  Involves making and executing plans, initiating and inhibiting behaviors, taking responsibility, and exhibiting self-discipline  Important in “fitting in” with colleagues
    25. 25. Work Motivation  Goal-setting theory  Proposes best way to increase effort is to set specific, challenging goals for a worker  Same principle as in athletic training  Even if goal not met, performance better than if you had not set specific goals
    26. 26. Job Satisfaction  More research on this than almost any subject in I/O psychology and have led to basic findings about job satisfaction are:  Interesting and challenging work  Pleasant co-workers  Adequate pay and other financial benefits  Opportunities for advancement  Effective and supportive supervisors  Acceptable company policies
    27. 27. Job Satisfaction  The absence of factors previously listed leads to job dissatisfaction  Job dissatisfaction related to increased absenteeism, sick leave, and employee turnover  Job dissatisfaction can cause physical and psychological damage  Employers job is to remove obstacles to success
    28. 28. Work Teams  A result of downsizing in 1980s – unusual in US before that  Teams have effect of increasing accountability and ownership at lower levels of organization  Virtual teams – came about with advent of internet  Can have problems with time zones, inadequate face-toface contact, and excessive reliance on technology
    29. 29. Leadership  Transformational leadership  Charismatic leadership  Emancipatory leadership  Emotional intelligence in leaders is important – the ability to understand and manage moods in oneself and others
    30. 30. Organizational Culture and Climate  Every organization has a personality, or “culture”  Climate consists of shared perceptions among workers about specific aspects of the workplace environment  I/O psychologists are primarily interested in how employees experience organizational culture and climate
    31. 31. Balancing Work and Other Spheres of Life  Research in this area focuses on the design and evaluation of programs intended to reduce stress at work  Time off from work, extent of non-work related hassles, and level of non-work stress found to be significant correlates of subsequent work-week performance as well as of employee health
    32. 32. Human Factors Psychology  Human factors specialists seek to understand the human-machine relationship in various environments  Design work environments and control panels for equipment in ways to reduce mistakes and decrease work stress  Robotics in the worksite is one newer challenge for human factors specialists; also distance education
    33. 33. Systems Approach to Work Safety  Workplace safety can serve as an example of the interrelation among personnel psychology, organizational psychology, and human factors psychology  Consider the problem of pizza delivery drivers who have excessive accidents when trying to deliver pizzas in under 30 minutes