What is I/O Psychology?

The Basics of Industrial/Organizational Psychology

At the most basic level, I/O Psychology is the scientific study of people at work, and it’s comprised of two branches:

  • Industrial involves systems and processes for the selection, assessment, and management of talent to maximize employee performance and organizational productivity.  
  • Organizational involves systems and processes to promote employee engagement and well-being, effective leadership, and organizational development.

What Exactly Do Industrial/Organizational Psychologists Do?

We study and advance the disciplines of training, leadership, mentoring, selection, promotion, organizational change, diversity, and (the almighty) performance, just to name a few. And we use a rigorous, scientific approach (think: hypothesis testing, validity coefficients, and statistical significance, oh my!). I/O Psychology hinges on a scientist-practitioner model, with some of us studying what matters in the workplace (and why) and how to make it better, while others work with or in organizations implementing our discoveries to drive performance, engagement, and employee well-being at work.

I/O psychology is a rapidly growing field, and was recently listed as the fastest growing occupation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Why? As the nature of work changes to a knowledge-based economy, employees are increasingly becoming critical to organizational success. In turn, organizations are increasingly seeking expertise in effectively managing their employees. As a field that provides evidence-based solutions to the problems facing organizations, I/O Psychologists have become an integral driver of competitive advantage. You will find us in consulting firms, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and college/university psychology departments and business schools. For a group of professionals numbering around 6000, we’re everywhere.

But I’m in HR…

There is a lot of overlap between the field of human resources and I/O psychology. Both drive organizational performance and employee well-being by designing systems for recruiting, hiring, managing performance, and retaining talent. Regardless of which line of work you are involved in, our reviews consist of relevant information that can benefit you and help your organization reach its goals.  

What About OB?

Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior both serve to improve the quality of organizations through the effective management of an organization’s human resources. I/O and OB both focus on leadership, employee motivation, and employee engagement. The research articles reviewed here include studies from both I/O and OB to help keep you up to date with what is going on in the field and the ways in which you can more effectively manage your talent to maximize your organization’s effectiveness and the well-being of your workers.