SUSS PSY 201 ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY STUDY UNIT 1 What is…
SUSS PSY 201 ORGANISATIONAL
PSYCHOLOGY STUDY UNIT 1
What is Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Definition of I/O Psychology
The branch of psychology that is concerned with the study of
behaviour in work settings
and the application of psychology principles to change work behaviour
Objectives of I/O Psychology
to conduct research in an effort to increase our knowledge and
understanding of human work behaviour
to apply that knowledge to improve the work behaviour, the work environment, and the psychological conditions of workers.
, a movement started by Frederick Taylor, was a method of using scientific principles to improve the efficiency and productivity of jobs.
are procedures in which work tasks are broken down into simple component movements timed to develop a more efficient method for performing the tasks.
human relations movement
was based on the studies of Elton Mayo that emphasised the importance of social factors in influencing work performance
refers to changes in behaviour occurring as a function of participants’ knowledge that they are being observed and their expectations concerning their role as research participants.
History and development of I/O Psychology
Frederick W. Taylor
scientific principles could be applied to the study of work behaviour
to increase worker efficiency and productivity
Taylor’s system for applying scientific principles to increase work efficiency became known as
methods were known as time-and-motion studies
Taylor’s philosophy was quite narrow and limited
. In his day, many jobs involved manual labour and were thus easily broken down and made more efficient through the application of principles of scientific management. Today, jobs are much more complex and often require sophisticated problem-solving skills or the use of creative thinking
World War One and 1920s
and a group of psychologists worked with the U.S. Army to create
for the placement of Army recruits.
This represented the first mass testing efforts and set the stage for future testing efforts. Even today,
employee testing and selection is an important area of I/O psychology
World War Two and The great Depression
and his colleagues studied the effects of the physical work environment on worker productivity.
He concluded that the workers were being affected not by the changes in the physical environment but by the fact that they knew they were being observed (i.e.
This general conclusions resulted in the development of the
human relations movement
, which recognises the importance of social factors and something called “worker morale” in influencing work productivity
Postwar and modern era
One historical event during this time period that had a major impact on I/O psychology was civil rights legislation. One portion of the sweeping Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII,
banned discrimination in employment practices.
Subsequent civil rights legislation protected other groups from discrimination, including older people (Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 1967 and 1978) and people with disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990).
As a result,
have played an important part in helping to
establish and implement fair employment standards.
Key trends in I/O psychology.
Third trend: Increasing diversity and globalisation of the workforce
Employees from different cultural backgrounds working in the same organization have led to greater workplace diversity,
e.g. foreign talent in local companies.
Second trend: Expanding focus on human resources
As our world becomes more globalised, there is an intense competition for highly skilled workers
e.g. Google and Apple compete with each other to recruit talented employees.
Fourth trend: Increasing relevance of I/O psychology in policy and practice
A number of workplace issues affect both the company and its employees which I/O psychologists can effectively address,
e.g. how to improve the well-being of employees by making the company a great place to work in
First trend: The changing nature of work
Both jobs and organizations are
rapidly changing and evolving
in the modern world due to technological advancement,
e.g. using social media to market a product.
In addition, organizations worldwide are reducing their workforces.
is a strategy for reducing an organization’s workforce.
Another trend is the
of work—contracting with an external organization to accomplish tasks that were previously done, or could be done, within the organization
Research in I/O psychology
variety of research approaches in I/O psychology
THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD
The experimental method is a research design characterised by a
high degree of control over the research setting
to allow for the determination of cause-and-effect relationships among variables.
Terms to note
are variables that are manipulated by the researcher using the experimental method.
are the variables that are acted upon by the independent variable(s).
is the group in an experimental investigation that is subjected to the change in the independent variable.
is the group in an experimental investigation that receives no treatment
are variables other than the independent variable that may influence the dependent variable.
is a method of assigning subjects to groups to control for the
effects of extraneous variables.
One of the major drawbacks of the experimental method is its
A researcher who controls the experimental setting may create a situation that is quite different from the actual work setting
follows the experimental design but
lacks random assignment
manipulation of independent variable
Strengthening quasi-experiment results
Researchers often try to measure as many possible extraneous variables to statistically control their effects. This helps strengthen the results obtained in quasi-experiments.
THE CORRELATIONAL METHOD
The correlational method is a research method that
among or between
variables as they occur naturally
Is most often associated with
Does not reflect causal relation
Because the correlation method looks at the relationships among variables as they naturally exist, a correlation design may often be
easier to implement
, particularly in actual work settings,
COMPLEX CORRELATIONAL DESIGNS
the relationship between two variables is hypothesized to be explained by, or
mediated by, a third variable—the mediator variable
For example, the relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover (assuming that less satisfied employees are more likely to quit their jobs) is mediated by a third variable—the intention to quit.
multiple regression design
allows a researcher to examine the relationship between a particular outcome variable and multiple predictors. This allows the researcher to determine how a number of variables correlate with a certain outcome.
THE CASE STUDY METHOD
The case study is a
investigation that involves a one-time assessment of behaviour.
unable to test hypotheses or to determine cause-and-effect relationships.
Case studies can provide rich, descriptive information about
certain work behaviors and situations
Meta-analysis is a technique that
from several different research studies to draw a sum conclusion
yields a summary statistic that tells us something about the
overall relationship between variables
6 steps in conducting research in I/O psychology
3. Selecting the research design
The type of design selected
such things as the
research setting and the degree of control that the researcher has
over the research setting.
Different settings may require different research designs.
The researcher may also be constrained in the selection of a research design by the amount of control the researcher has over the work setting and the workers.
4. Collection of Data
The next step is the testing of hypotheses through data collection. An important concern in data collection is
, or selecting a representative group from a larger population for study. The
results obtained from this sample group are generalized to the larger population
The process of selecting samples must follow strict guidelines to ensure that the sample is indeed representative of the larger population from which it is drawn.
Two such sampling techniques are random sampling and stratified sampling
is the selection of research participants based on categories that represent important distinguishing characteristics of a population
For example, assume that 40% of the individuals in our total worker population are female and 60% are male, we would want to choose a sample that represented these percentages. Forty percent of the individuals in our selected sample should be female, and 60% should be male.
is the selection of research participants from a population so that each individual has an equal probability of being chosen.
For example, if we wanted a random sampling of a particular employee’s typical work behavior, we might study different, random 5-minute time periods throughout a typical workday or week.
2. Generation of hypotheses
The next step in the research process involves taking those elements that the researcher intends to measure, known as
, and generating statements
concerning the relationships
variables. These statements are
known as hypotheses.
The hypotheses will later be tested through the collection and analysis of research data.
By testing hypotheses
through the collection of systematic observations of behavior, a researcher
may eventually develop a theory or model
, which is an organization of beliefs that enables us to understand behavior more completely.
5. Statistical Analyses of Data
Data gathered are subjected to statistical analysis for interpretation.
Statistics are tools used by the researcher to help organise and make sense of the observations that have been collected. Some statistical analyses are very simple and are used to help describe and classify the data. Other statistical techniques are quite complex and help the researcher make detailed inferences.
For example, some statistics allow the researcher to determine the causes of certain observed outcomes.
1. Formulation of the problem or issue
the problem or issue to be studied.
An issue may be developed through:
Researcher's interest in an area
Problem staffed by a client company. I.e. high turn-over rates.
6. Interpretation of research results
Here the researcher
of the findings and their
to actual work behavior as well as their
Other research terminologies
are measurement methods that rely on research participants’
reports of their own behaviours or attitudes.
are a common self-report measure in which participants are asked to report on their attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviours
is research observation in which the presence of the observer is known to the participants.
is observation in which the presence of the observer is not
known to the participants.
refers to whether research results obtained in one setting will apply to another setting.
is the extent to which extraneous or confounding variables are
is when a research participant is fully informed of the nature of the experiment and has the right not to participate in the study