Industrial/Organizational Psychology (IOP) Toolbox

Industrial/Organizational Psychology (IOP)

IOP can be described as the subdivision of psychology dealing with output augmentation within the workplace (Aamodt, 2012). In addition, IOP ensures that the wellbeing of personnel, which includes both mental and physical, is enhanced. In other words, IOP ensures the enhancement of performance, contentment, security and health along with wellbeing of workers in an organization (Aamodt, 2012).

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Besides, IOP involves investigating the conducts and attitudes of personnel in an organizations. Further, according to Muchinsky (2006), IOP often examines the effects of organizational hiring practices, training programs and organization arrangements in augmenting the behaviors and attitudes of employees. Principally, IOP is invaluable in aiding firms and workers during the transformation phase. Moreover, IOP is significant in the selection, training and supporting personnel as well as offering support to executives in enhancing origination (Muchinsky, 2006).

Within the academic circles, IOP encompasses both personnel and organizational psychology. The former deals with the manner in which individual employees can be harmonized without a glitch concerning the precise career roles (Gatewood, Feild, & Barrick, 2010). In fact, personnel psychology involves the valuation of employee attributes along with matching such characteristics with the tasks in which workers’ output can be augmented.

Besides, personnel psychology entails the improvement of job performance principles, training staffs in addition to gauging job output (Muchinsky, 2006; Aamodt, 2012). On the other hand, the latter segment of IOP concentrates on the effects of organizational configurations, social rules and management styles as well as role expectations on individual behavior (Muchinsky, 2006; Aamodt, 2012). Indeed, comprehending the effects of such aspects is significant in enhancing the wellbeing as well as output of employees.

Gatewood et al. 2010 argues that operations of IOP incorporate training and development, employee selection, ergonomics, performance management, work life and organizational development. In terms of training and development, the subdivision explores essential expertise required in the performance of explicit tasks. Besides, the segment is concerned with the evaluation and appraisal of workers’ training platforms. Through training, employees are capable of acquiring the necessary competencies, concepts and attitudes that enhance the output of the firm in terms of greater sales and gross productivity (Gatewood et al., 2010; Aamodt, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006).

Second, employee selection advances staff selection appraisals including screening tests. Such selection assessments are critical and invaluable in defining the credentials of applicants regarding particular job positions (Aamodt, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). Fundamentally, IOP normally makes use of aptitude tests, psychomotor tests, personality tests, integrity and reliability tests and work samples as well as simulation to evaluate the qualification of applicants (Aamodt, 2012).

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Third, ergonomics deals with the procedural designs as well as equipment necessary for output intensification and injury minimization (Gatewood et al., 2010). The fourth segment, which is performance management, involves the definition of how effective employees perform tasks by developing assessment modus operandi (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). Fifth, the work life subdivision stresses on ways to augment employee productivity and consummation. Actually, work life is often associated with bullying, aggression and violence. In this regard, IOP investigates the negative effects of such behaviors among employees in the workplace (Spector, 2012; Aamodt, 2012).

Lastly, organizational development focuses on expanding yields of the firm through processes that include increased proceeds, improved organizational arrangement along with product re-descriptions (Muchinsky, 2006; Spector, 2012;). In order to realize increased output in an organization, IOP ensures that pay discrimination is deterred and workers are offered with competitive remuneration and compensation.

Generally, IOP explores the deriving doctrines behind the behaviors portrayed by employees in workplaces (Spector, 2012; Aamodt, 2012). Besides, IOP addresses various human resources aspects concerning selection and recruitment, training and development, output measurement along with work inspiration and remuneration schemes (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). Further, IOP addresses organizational development and consumer behaviors. In fact, the industrial/organizational psychologists are capable of progressing measures that gauge output of individuals and organizations. Additionally, the industrial/organizational psychologists are also invaluable in designing and elevating job performance and quality of life in organizations (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006).

Careers in IOP

Industrial/organizational psychologists are majorly interested in the behavior of employees within their place of work (Spector, 2012). In other words, industrial/organizational psychologists usually concentrate on activities that are geared towards enhancing the employees’ productivity. One of the ways through which the employees’ productivity is enhanced is by adopting practices that make employees comfortable and have right attitudes towards the work processes (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012).

Careers in IOP cover a wide range of human resource management practices that include the development of employees’ skills through training, recruitment processes and compensation. The human resources practices are aimed at developing the employees’ competencies and skills in various fields such as sales and marketing as well as leadership (Spector, 2012). Additionally, the psychologists engage themselves in constant studies on the best practices that pertain to employee hiring and productivity.

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IOP provides a wide scope of career opportunities to employees within the organization as well as a chance for self-employment (Aamodt, 2012). In most cases, the manufacturing and services industries is one of the main sources of employment for industrial/organizational psychologists. Business departments that handle employee efficiency, development, assessment and human resources form the specific areas of concern for IOP in a business entity (Aamodt, 2012).

Besides, veteran industrial/organizational psychologists can use their experience to provide consultancy services as well as carrying out market research for their respective clients (Spector, 2012; Aamodt, 2012). Other places of employment include various government agencies, education institutions, health practitioners and the private sector.

Aamodt (2012) further argues that the scope of work done by industrial/organizational psychologists depends on the organization. Essentially, industrial/organizational psychologists can work in both blue and white-collar establishments. For instance, industrial/organizational psychologists are always expected to hire and develop the best set of employees for a particular job in one organization. In other circumstances, a firm may seek the services of industrial/organizational psychologists to examine its principles and practices that would increase its capability of maximizing the human resource capital (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). In the process of performing their duties, industrial/organizational psychologists usually work intimately with all the stakeholders in an organization (Spector, 2012).

Like in most professions, the level of education determines the amount of payment industrial/organizational psychologists would receive in an organization (Aamodt, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). For instance, an industrial/organizational psychologist holding a Master’s degree is likely to earn more compared with fellow psychologist holding a bachelor’s degree in a similar position. Therefore, it is critical for industrial/organizational psychologists to enhance their education achievement in order to advance their careers.

Besides, the industrial/organizational psychologists should also adopt the best practices approach in their work in order to build confidence not only with the client but also with the organization (Gatewood et al., 2010; Aamodt, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006). Besides, the observation of ethical standards and professional code of conduct form the basis through which the industrial/organizational psychologists can build trust with the clients and the organizational stakeholders (Aamodt, 2012; Spector, 2012; Muchinsky, 2006).

In terms of skills and competencies required within the job market, industrial/organizational psychologists must be an individual with great passion for research and statistics. The reason is that most industrial/organizational psychologists use a lot of their time conducting studies on diverse issues on workplace environment and employees’ behavior. The grueling nature of research work associated with the profession can at times be quite tiresome and exhaustive to the psychologist. Essentially, the profession brings together a multidisciplinary approach to the study of workplace behavior. Therefore, it is necessary for prospective industrial/organizational psychologists to be individuals of high integrity.

Research Trends and Topics in IOP

Industrial/organizational psychology is an old profession and has existed for approximately over one hundred years. Today, the field has transformed greatly due to the shifting nature of workplace settings (Moran, Harris & Moran, 2010). Technology has played a very big role in the transformation of the workplace environment. In essence, current trends in workplace organizations revolve around technology driven programs such as virtual jobs, rise in globalization and skilled-based management of human resource capital (Kowlessar, Goetzel, Calrs, Tabrizi & Guindon, 2011). The following modern trends play a big role in determining the research topics in IOP.

Globalization and Virtual Workplace

The current global trends characterized by increased communications and information transfer are attributed to rapid technological advancements. In fact, globalization has greatly influenced the business environments (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010; SHRM Staffing Research, 2008). For instance, currently, firms do not only compete against industry players within their environs but also with other firms across the world.

Besides, globalization has ensured a cross-cultural approach to issues of management within organizations (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010). Essentially, firms need to be equipped with new skills and competencies in order to remain competitive within the global environment. Furthermore, the cross-cultural management approach has ensured the inclusion of employees from diverse backgrounds (Ryan & Ployhart, 2000).

Virtual work place is considered one of the major effects of globalization. In an attempt to reach all their employees across the globe, organizations have adopted the use of technology driven communication channels such as Skype (Kowlessar et al., 2011). The nature of globalization has made industrial/organizational psychologists to adjust the structure of their jobs in line with the changes in technology (Kowlessar et al., 2011). For instance, industrial/organizational psychologists may attempt to research on the impacts of the virtual workplace on social relationships among workers.

Internet Enabled Recruitment and Selection

The current state of affairs has seen organizations improve their online representation. In fact, organizations have applied the online technology in almost all the organization processes (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010). For instance, human resources managements are currently advertising job opportunities and recruit prospective employees online. On the other hand, most of the unemployed prefer searching the internet for new job opportunities as opposed to the traditional methods of searching the newspapers or personally visiting the organizations to enquire on employment (Ryan & Ployhart, 2000; Voss, Sirdeshmukh & Voss, 2008).

Organizations transforming into this model of recruitment might need the expertise of industrial/organizational psychologists to research on the pool of expected applicants. For example, it is widely believed that majority of young as opposed to the older job seekers have unlimited access to the internet.

However, many benefits can be derived from online recruitment systems. For instance, the recruiting firm will use less paperwork and easily receive applications from many job seekers across the globe (Moran et al., 2010). Besides, applicants can send in their requests at their own pleasure and in most cases, receive immediate feedback. In spite of the benefits, the field of internet-based recruitment is yet to be exploited. The services of industrial/organizational psychologists would be needed to carry out more research on how organizations can exploit the use of internet and merge it with the usual recruitment methods (Voss et al., 2008; SHRM Staffing Research, 2008).

Technology-Based Employees’ Training and Development

Most organizations are shifting away from the classroom-based training to technology-based teaching methods. In academic settings, scholars continue to provide online lessons to their students in virtual classrooms. Institutions have simulation centers where learners receive trainings that are hazardous and seldom occur in the actual job environment (Voss et al., 2008; SHRM Staffing Research, 2008).

However, such trainings are necessary in preparing the trainees on how to handle the extreme conditions at the workplace industrial/organizational psychologists are expected to carry out more research on the area in order to assist organizations seek for the best alternatives on technology-based training. The best technology based training method would ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness in the use of resources (SHRM Staffing Research, 2008).

Tools for Writing Job Description

Writing effective statement regarding a given job including the duties, job title, working conditions and purpose as well as the designation of the individual to whom the personnel reports utilizes numerous apparatuses (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Voss et al., 2008). Indeed, through job analysis, aptitudes and proficiencies that are essential for the achievement of organizational aims and objectives are clearly understood and enhanced (Voss et al., 2008).

According to a study conducted by SHRM Staffing Research (2008), the analytical assemblage of data concerning the applicants aids in recognizing and describing the responsibilities of a job position. Additionally, job analysis helps in understanding the acquaintance, abilities and capacities that are necessary to perform the job specifications (Moran et al., 2010). Through job analysis, essential gens needed to transcribe job descriptions are obtained.

The tools used in job description incorporate the evaluation of job details, job duties and performance as well as job factors (Moran et al., 2010; Voss et al., 2008). Considering the position details, gens including the current job classification, working title, pay range, exemption status, and department name along with comparable positions are considered. For instance, working titles are often anchored on significant roles of the job. In writing effective job descriptions, working titles are often explicit. As such, apposite explanation of the level of responsibility and the role of job is achieved (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010; Voss et al., 2008).

The next tool used in writing job description encompasses the development of list containing explicit responsibilities and tasks. The development of the list involves the definition of the basic elements of the job position along with the documentation of the detailed activities involved in the job. Another device used in writing job description is performance standards. Actually, performance standards are significant in transmitting the anticipation required of the job as well as offering the foundation for quantifying output (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010; Voss et al., 2008).

Besides, the essential proficiencies, acquaintance as well as the capabilities that are critical in enhancing the success of a job position are illustrated by the performance standards (Kowlessar et al., 2011; Moran et al., 2010; Voss et al., 2008; SHRM Staffing Research, 2008).

Best Practices in Selecting Employees

Firms are currently acknowledging the fact that well designed and implemented employees recruitment procedures have increased benefits (Prien, Schippmann & Prien, 2003). In fact, good recruitment practices reduces the employees turnover, enhances performance, decreases employees misconduct and other tangible indices on returns of investments (Howard, 2001). One of the best practices is the hiring assessment.

The hiring process need to be evaluated in order to employ high quality and skilled employees that would increase the firm’s competitive advantage in the global marketplace (Prien et al., 2003; Howard, 2001). On the contrary, most of the firms and practitioners agree that hiring the wrong person, particularly at the senior management level can contribute to low morale, productivity as well as the loss of focus on the attainment of the organization’s goals (Prien et al., 2003; Howard, 2001; Collins, 2001).

Staffing and selection are concerned with choosing the best candidate from the pool of applicants who have same qualifications (Prien et al., 2003; Howard, 2001). Once the best candidates have been chosen from the pool of applicants, they are taken through the recruitment process before being trained for leadership positions. All the selection and staffing processes have to be aligned to the human capital development strategies and reflect the overall strategy of the organization (Howard, 2001; Collins, 2001).

In fact, Prien et al. (2003) argue that various tools are available to the organization that could be applied in the selection process and ensure that only highly competent employees are selected for a particular job. One of the tools commonly applied in the selection process is the interview. In fact, behavioral-based interview is the most recommended in the selection procedure (Prien et al., 2003; Howard, 2001; Collins, 2001).

Essentially, face-to-face interview is imperative during the first interview in the selection process. Face-to-face interview normally reveals some of the non-verbal information concerning the candidate to be selected (Prien et al., 2003; Collins, 2001). In most cases, the answers to the candidates’ interpersonal skills as well as preferences are normally answered during the face-to-face interview process. The interview as a tool in the selection and hiring should be aimed at getting the right candidate for the job (Prien et al., 2003; Howard, 2001; Collins, 2001).

Measures of Employees Motivation and Attitude

The depths of individual human beings as well as their devotion to deliver tremendous output in the operation of an organization contribute immensely in the competitive ability of the firm (Shields, 2012). In fact, the performance levels of an organization’s personnel play significant roles in increasing competitive advantage of the firm. Several factors affect employees’ job performance. For instance, motivations, rewards, compensation systems among other factors are considered as influencing factors of employee performance (Shields, 2012).

Measures of Motivation

Management relating factors such as compensation system of the organization, management structure, leadership style as well as other related work processes increases motivation on the employees (Grant & Gino, 2010). The way these factors affect the employees’ productivity remains critical to the attainment of the goals of an organization. Therefore, understanding the relationship between the motivating factors and the productivity of employees as well as the way related variables affect this relationship is significant to the organizations’ success (Grant & Gino, 2010; Shields, 2012).

Firms often apply different concepts and models to explain how motivation increases the employees’ performance (Shields, 2012). In fact, employees are highly motivated when their interests are taken into consideration. In essence, the driving force behind any employee’s performance is enthusiasm (Beck, 2000). Therefore, any organization must adopt practices that inspire personnel to increase their productivity.

As indicated, various models of motivation are often utilized by organizations to implement employees’ management procedures that encourage work performances (Beck, 2000). However, the models measure employees’ motivation in terms of performance. Generally, the relationship between motivation and increased performance is positive. In other words, increased motivation would cause an increase in performance (Beck, 2000; Shields, 2012).

Similarly, the motivation within the workforce can be measured by the level of job satisfaction (Grant & Gino, 2010; Shields, 2012; Beck, 2000). In fact, highly satisfied workforce is motivated towards attaining the set goals of the organization. Job satisfaction also causes an increased performance. Generally, increased performance is the main procedure through which motivation among the workforce can be measured (Grant & Gino, 2010; Shields, 2012; Beck, 2000).

Measures of Attitude

Attitudes are the feelings of employees towards their assigned tasks. In fact, it is critical for the organizations to understand the feelings of employees in order to come up with policies and strategies that would satisfy their needs (Grant & Gino, 2010; Shields, 2012; Beck, 2000). Satisfying the employees needs remains critical in their job retention and motivation, which in effect increases their performances.

Factors that influences employees motivation also has effect on their attitudes. However, certain factors such as corporate culture, staffing levels, policies and procedures and relationships within the workplace have increased influence on employees’ attitude (Grant & Gino, 2010; Shields, 2012; Beck, 2000). In fact, these factors are also applied to measure and understand the employees’ attitudes within the workplace.

Principles of Attaining Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Leading organizations understand that creating a healthy environment and leveraging work processes with wellbeing of employees play a critical role in enhancing productivity and increased performance. Besides, creating a healthy environment are some of the factors that contribute to employees retention and job satisfaction. Various principles have been developed to aid organizations in creating and enhancing workplace environments. One of the principles is investments in ergonomics. In fact, organizations are encouraged to put more emphasis on ergonomic factors in workplaces to avoid complications that come with work stresses.

Besides, organizations are encouraged to offer wellness services to their employees. Studies indicate that firms that offer wellness services to their employees have increased chances of success since workers feel being cared for, which in effect improve their satisfaction and performance. As such, firms are encouraged to put some investments in the wellbeing of workers. In addition, organizations should also support healthy environments through their policies and corporate strategies. In fact, the organization management should back and facilitate lively breaks and accept suggestions regarding workplace health and safety environments.

References

Aamodt, M. (2012). Industrial/Organizational psychology: An applied approach. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Beck, R. C. (2000). Motivation: Theories and Principles. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap… and others don’t. New York: Harper Business.

Gatewood, R., Feild, H. & Barrick, M. (2010). Human resource selection. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Grant, A. & Gino, F. (2010). A little thanks goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 98(6), 946–955.

Howard, P. J. (2001). The owner’s manual for personality at work. Marietta, GA: Bard Press.

Kowlessar, N. M., Goetzel, R. Z., Calrs, G. S., Tabrizi, M. J., & Guindon, A. (2011). The relationship between health risks and medical productivity costs for a large employer. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 53(5), 468–477.

Moran, R. T., Harris, P. R., & Moran, S. V. (2010). Managing cultural differences: Leadership skills and strategies for working in a global world. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.

Muchinsky, P. M. (2006). Psychology applied to work: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Prien, E. P., Schippmann, J. S. & Prien, K. O. (2003). Individual assessment: As practiced in industry and consulting. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ryan, A. M., & Ployhart, R. E. (2000). Applicants’ perceptions of selection procedures and decisions: A critical review and agenda for the future. Journal of Management, 26, 565–606.

Shields, J. (2012). Managing employees performance and reward – concepts, practices and strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SHRM Staffing Research (2008). Online technologies and their impact on recruitment strategies. Web.

Spector, P. E. (2012). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Voss, G. B., Sirdeshmukh, D., & Voss, Z. G. (2008). The effects of slack resources and environmental threat on product exploration and exploitation. Academy of Management Journal, 51(1), 147–164.

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