Introduction and History of Psychology

1. Ask your parent, grandparent, sibling, or a friend that has not taken this course what they think an industrial and organizational psychologist is? Were they close?
During lunch with a friend, we began discussing how school was going for each of us and I thought of this week’s assignment. I asked my friend what she thought I/O psychology was. While she knew it had something to due with behaviors and work, she was unable to really specify what I/O psychology actually is.  She was quite surprised when I explained it to her.
When asked the question, she was partially right. The word “psychology” gave her the impression that it was psychology, or behavior related; and the word “organization” led her to believe it was work-related. I think what likely stumped her was the word “industrial”; it is not a word most people would associate with psychology.

2. Why do you think so few people know about this field?
As mentioned previously, most people wouldn’t associate “industrial” with psychology. “Organizational” is a word that most people are familiar with and naturally assume that it refers to a job or the workplace.
I think most people would likely associate many of the functions of an I/O psychologist with those of those of the human resource department (HRD). Many people working in medium-to-large organizations are familiar with the evaluations, assessments and programs conducted in the HRD. It is possible that many people would not consider the functions listed on the SIOP website as areas of I/O psychologist functions, as these functions are associated with the HRD. Examples of these functions include; legal, workplace health, compensation and benefits, employee behavior, employee issues, WorkLife programs and performance evaluations and assessments (SIOP Brochure, sect. 5, 2006).
3. Do you think it would help if we changed the name of the field to something else, like “Work Psychology”? If the name of the field were to change, what other names would be more descriptive of what we do?
It might be helpful to change I/O psychology to a more familiar term in order to increase familiarity with the work and services of I/O psychologists. If the name of the field was to change, I think it should encompass the services of helping employees achieve satisfaction in their place of employment. The various job titles of I?O psychologists listed on the SIOP website is an example of why people may not know of I/O psychology and related services; there are so many different titles. SIOP, for example, lists the following human resource related job functions:
“Corporate Vice President, Director, Manager, Staff Member of
Organizational Development, Management Development, Human Resources Research, Employee Relations, Training and Development, and Leadership Development” (sect. 7). Names that come to mind that may be suitable for replacing the term I/O psychology are:
·         Employee Relations Psychology
·         Workforce and Organization Psychology
·         Employer and Employee Developmental Psychology
4. Let me know why you are taking this course and what you hope to learn from this class.
I am taking this course to continue learning about the various fields of psychology in order to eventually discover which field I am most interested in pursuing. I hope to learn the inner workings of an organization through the functions of an I/O psychologist and how an I/O psychologist can help employees improve their work experience and increase their chances for success.

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