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industrial and organizational psychology (I/O psychology)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology is an area of study that applies psychological research, principles and practices to improve the functioning and experience of people in the workplace.

Some areas of focus in industrial and organizational psychology:

  • Personnel psychology is concerned with recruiting and hiring the best employees for jobs and ensuring that positions, tasks and employment conditions are a good match for individuals. Psychological and personality profiling are among the tools used in this area.
  • Ergonomics/human factors explores how humans behave physically and psychologically in relation to particular environments, products or services. Usability, a subset of human factors, examines the potential of a given technology or product to accomplish the goals of the user.
  • Employee experience management seeks to ensure that an organization’s workers are as happy and fulfilled on the job as possible through attention to a company's physical workspace, the work-life balance the company supports, corporate culture and management style.
  • Productivity management is concerned with optimization of labor efficiency both from the perspective of the organization and from that of the employee. To that end, research explores time management, attention management and procrastination as well as areas like the types of environments and policies that best facilitate work.

Industrial and organizational psychology is one of 16 areas of specialization recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA).

This was last updated in July 2019

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