Organizational Psychology definition

What is the definition of Organizational Psychology?

Organizational psychology is a discipline that focuses on the study of individuals and groups in organizational settings. Organizational psychologists aim to understand how people function, interact, and adapt within organizations. They also aim to increase productivity through optimal work habits and environments. Organizational psychologists have been found to contribute significantly towards the enhancement of organizational effectiveness.

Some common tasks of organizational psychologists include:

• Evaluating and selecting employees;

• Training employees;

• Organizing the work environment;

• Studying, developing, modifying or recommending organizational structure, policies or practices;

• Analyzing/designing compensation plans;

• Providing advice on managing human resources. (The Everyday Psychology Student)

Organizational psychology is the study of the behavior and mental processes of individuals, groups, and organizations; it involves understanding how people function together as a group. Organizational psychologists draw on theories from many fields including organizational theory, social psychology, cognitive psychology, industrial/organizational (I/O) and business psychology, and dynamic systems theory. They also apply research methods from these fields such as action research, organizational surveys, behavior modeling, training design and implementation, goal-setting and problem-solving techniques, leadership development approaches, team integration practices, feedback processes and interpersonal relations strategies.

How is it different from organizational behavior?

Organizational psychology is different from organizational behavior in that organizational psychologists study the behavior and mental processes of individuals, groups, and organizations. Organizational psychologists draw on theories from many fields including organizational theory, social psychology, cognitive psychology, industrial/organizational (I/O) and business psychology, and dynamic systems theory while organizational behavior is concerned mainly with the behavior of people in business and organizational settings that requires management. (Organizational Behavior vs Organizational Psychology article by CareerBuilder)

How is it different from Industrial/Organizational psychology?

Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists study the workplace, while organizational psychologists work on some aspects of group dynamics or work in organizations. I-O psychology focuses on the organizational aspects of people at work, including issues such as hiring, training and developing employees, while organizational psychology also encompasses issues related to leadership, job satisfaction, motivation and productivity.

How is it different from business management?

Organizational psychologists are concerned with how an organization functions and how various factors within the organization relate to each other. Business management, on the other hand, is concerned with principles and activities that enable organizations to function and stay profitable.

How is it different from social psychology?

Social psychologists are interested in how people interact with one another in groups, organizations or society as a whole. Organizational psychologists, on the other hand, are interested in how work groups function and not what people do outside of work.

How is it different from clinical psychology?

The difference between organizational psychology and clinical psychology lies more in the types of concerns being addressed rather than a fundamental difference in orientation or methodology. Organizational psychologists study behavior in work settings. It is the nature of the environment they study that distinguishes their field from clinical psychology, which studies behavior in natural contexts (see “The History and Scope of Organizational Psychology”, 2010).

Organizational psychologists are often involved with applied research projects. Organizational psychologists can be found working as researchers or consultants for different organizations. Organizational psychologists can help assess an organization, perform organizational development and training, and even develop ways to measure the effectiveness of interventions. (Organizations: Psychology for Workplace Leaders article by University of Florida)

How is it different from management?

The difference between the two fields lies in how they approach mental processes. Management is a behavioral science that studies the behavior of people in organizations. Organizational psychologists, on the other hand, conduct research and provide consultation to help with organizational problems or process improvement. They study not only what people do within their organization but also how processes work.

How is it different from leadership?

The field of leadership helps organizations develop and sustain strong leadership while the field of organizational psychology helps organizations solve problems.

What kind of careers does it focus on?

Organizational psychologists work in a variety of realms such as business, education, government and non-profit settings such as hospitals and healthcare organizations. Tasks performed by organizational psychologists include research, consulting, training, designing feedback procedures and testing. Organizational psychologists can have a variety of job titles such as organizational development consultants, behavioral specialist, human resources manager or program coordinator.

Organizational psychologists work in many settings which include schools, businesses and hospitals.

They may be involved in the following activities:

– Evaluate an organization’s structure by studying the way in which employees communicate, interact and cooperate to get their work done.

– Studies the various processes within an organization to improve its effectiveness, productivity and profits. They also study how technology affects organizational processes.

– Improves organizational practices by developing better job design, team structures or practice procedures that are more efficient or effective for the organization.

– Develops training programs to improve performance and employee satisfaction.

– Designs ways to measure the effectiveness of training or organizational change initiatives.

– Assesses organizational culture by studying what employees value, how employees interact with one another and the degree to which they feel their efforts are valued.

– Advises management on a variety of organizational topics.

– Conducts various types of research that includes surveys, focus groups and case studies to help solve problems within an organization.

What are its applications and what skills can you expect to gain with an O psychology degree?

Organizational psychology is a field that not only has numerous career options but also provides many skills to students who are interested in working in the business world. Some of the skills you can learn while studying organizational psychology include:

• Leadership

• Teamwork and collaboration

• Conflict resolution

• Problem solving

• Communication

• Creativity

• Learning and development

• Technology applications for business

Some of the best qualities you can develop while studying organizational psychology are:

• Adaptability and flexibility: The field of organizational psychology demands that people be able to adapt and change in order to meet new challenges, solve problems and work within organizations when they face issues or adversities.

• Initiative: People who work in this field need to be flexible and adaptive, but also proactive. They need to develop creative problem-solving strategies when they encounter problems within an organization.

• Communication skills: Organizational psychologists must be able to communicate ideas effectively to colleagues, clients and various members of the organizations they seek to help or advise.

What are some common misconceptions people have about this field?

Some of the most common misconceptions include:

• Leadership is different from organizational psychology. While there are some overlaps between leadership and organizational psychology, they are two distinct areas of focus. Organizational psychologists study how organizations work while leaders change organizational structure to increase effectiveness, productivity and profits.

• Organizational psychologists are not just “office therapists.” The field of organizational psychology requires students to use research-based techniques to solve problems or improve performance within an organization, but it also involves the ability to design processes that improve employee satisfaction and enhance learning opportunities.

• Organizational psychology is not the same as human resources. Although some people who work in this field are part of a company’s human resources department, the two fields are distinct and often separate. Sometimes HR professionals will need to seek consultation from an organization psychologist on how to best handle difficult personnel situations or organizational problems, but they are two different areas of focus.

What can you do with an O psychology degree? What kinds of careers are available to graduates? See below for possible job titles and types of companies that might hire someone with an O psychology degree:

• Organizational development consultant

• Human resources professional/personnel specialist

• Career counselor or coach

• Learning and development specialist

• Business development manager/consultant

• Small business owner/entrepreneur

How do you become an organizational psychologist?

• Undergraduate degree: An undergraduate degree is required to work as an organizational psychologist. While some schools offer concentrations in this field, many require students to focus on a secondary area such as business or psychology while they complete the courses needed for the job.

• Graduate studies: A master’s degree can be helpful when it comes time to find a job, particularly in organizational psychology. Some organizations give preference to candidates who have completed their graduate degrees.

• Internships: While not all students are offered internships, it is possible for those studying organizational psychology to gain valuable experience through an internship with a consulting firm or human resources department at large companies or organizations. The experience you gain working in this area can be helpful when it comes time to apply for jobs.

• Certifications: The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology offers the Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification designed to demonstrate that professionals have completed 1,000 hours of field experience working in human resources or organizational psychology. Obtaining a PHR designation can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to prospective employers.

• Volunteering: Pro bono work or other volunteer opportunities within an organization can provide you with experience that will benefit you when it comes time for a job interview.

What skills do I need?

Candidates who want to become organizational psychologists must have strong problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills. They must be able to work well with others in a team environment; they also need excellent listening skills when working with employees who require assistance in resolving complex problems within an organization.

What subjects should I study?

Undergraduate candidates seeking a career in organizational psychology should take courses that focus on human behavior and development, organizational structure and behavior, psychology of motivation, human relations and organizational development.

Are there any certification or licensure requirements?

Organizational psychologists are not licensed. There is no certification available specifically for organizational psychologists, although some schools may offer degree programs that prepare students to sit for the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation offered by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). The CHRP certification, which was established in 2001, demonstrates that professionals have completed 150 hours of field experience working with human resources issues. As an alternative to the CHRP designation, some employers may prefer candidates for organizational psychologist positions who hold one or more of the following certifications:

• Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) offered by the International Personnel Management Association.

• The Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification (CPLP), offered by the ASTD, for professionals who work specifically with learning and performance issues.

• Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designation offered by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.

There are a number of organizations that offer career resources specifically for those interested in working as organizational psychologists. Here are some suggestions:

• Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP): an international, nonprofit organization that offers educational resources and professional training to those interested in the field of industrial/organizational psychology. SIOP also offers a variety of certification programs across many areas, including organizational psychology.

• The American Psychological Association (APA): an organization that offers resources specifically for those studying psychology as well as human behavior and development issues. APA also offers special career resources for professionals who are looking to advance within the field.

• The International Personnel Management Association (IPMA): an organization that offers resources, training and opportunities for human resource professionals.

• HRPA: a nonprofit association of human resource professionals and companies dedicated to promoting excellence in the profession.

• American Psychological Society: an organization for psychologists who offer career information and provide networking opportunities with other members.

• Association for Psychological Type International (APT): an organization that provides resources and training for professionals interested in the practice of psychological typing.

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