What is Organizational Psychology? Tiffany Newman Psy 570/Organizational Psychology February 20, 2012 Jon Cabiria Organizational Psychology Organizational psychology is a critical part of getting an organization or workplace to function in a productive and positive manner. Organizational psychology gives a glimpse into how a business is doing in terms of the workers. Some aspects looked at are the worker’s morale, attitudes, abiding policies, problems, etc.
The subject can also help an organization to find possible routes that can help the organization thus creating a better working environment for the employees. In this paper organizational psychology will be defined, the evolution of organizational psychology will be examined, a comparison and contrast of social psychology, occupational health psychology, and organizational psychology will be conducted, and an analysis of the roles that research and statistics have in the field of organizational psychology.
Organizational Psychology Defined According to Jex and Britt (2008) organizational psychology “is a field that utilizes scientific methodology to better understand the behavior of individuals working in organizational settings” (p. 1); “is the study of individual and group behavior in formal organizational settings” (p. 2). Some claim that organizational psychology can be defined within formal and informal organizations but organizational psychology is more focused and concerned with formal organizations.
Formal organizations can be family owned businesses, moderately sized corporation serving multiple cities, or even a company that has a name that is well known and has many facilities all over the United States. An organizational psychologist can be hired to see if set policies are working, if there could be tests made that help to better fill positions within to organization, make sure the employees at the organization are a fit for the department he or she is a part of, etc. Personal Insight
Organizational psychology is a part of most jobs and organizations if not all organizations and jobs. Most of the jobs that I have encountered were after I had received my bachelors in psychology. The jobs I applied for needed to see my degree to make sure I had the right credentials to fulfill the job. This would be considered a type of test to make sure people applying for certain jobs were truly qualified based on education required for the job. Evolution of Organizational Psychology
According to Schein (1996) organizational psychology has been evolving slowly over time with influences taken from social psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Organizational psychology has been around since the early 1960s (Schein, 1996) and has since changed and evolved into what it is today. It all started with trying to be able to understand how an organization functions and how an organization can thrive. It was found that early on when organizational psychology started that organization were being mean to people and that those attitudes were then adopted by the workers (Schein, 1996).
The cycle continued and helps to shape organizational psychology to be a field that would help with the treatment of the workers to produce more productive behaviors. In today’s time, organizational psychologist help to develop testing to help position future employees as well as develop or reconstruct polices to help make a positive and productive working environment. Personal Insight When thinking about the evolution of organizational psychology, it is easy for me to recognize people in the field.
My last job had a department head that was named “Quality Management Officer. ” What this person did was to look over policies and procedures and made sure that it was in the best interest of the employees as a whole. Making sure policies and procedures are up to date and are in good workings for the employees makes for happier more productive employees. Comparison and Contrast Comparing and contrasting social psychology, occupational health psychology, and organizational psychology can help to see the differences as well as similarities within the fields.
Comparing gives a look into how similar disciplines may have influenced others and contrasting can do the same as well. Social Psychology In the discipline of social psychology one looks at a person’s environment to see how it may have or will influence a person’s actions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. Organizational psychology does look into how a person’s environment influences said person, but it is more about the work environment of a person instead of being the work, family, friends, and home environments of a person.
According to Seijts and Latham (2003) “the bridge between I/O and social psychology has always been quite strong. These two subfields of psychology have systematically examined similar ideas albeit in different contexts. ” Both fields do influence each other because one can look at the social psychology of a person in everyday life and then take a closer look into their work environment. Some theories can be taken from social psychology and be adapted within organizational psychology, and organizational psychologists have done just that (Seijts and Latham, 2003).
Also according to authors Seijts and Latham (2003) social psychological process influences a person’s behavior and that behavior can then be taken into the workplace. Occupational Health Psychology In the field of occupational health psychology, one is looking to take stress out of the workplace to make that workplace a healthier environment for the workers (Westman & Piotrkowski, 1999). Some ways that occupational health psychology does this is by “meaningful prevention and intervention strategies” that “must rest on sound theory and evidence” (p. 301).
Also occupational health psychology does different studies to make sure that stress in prevented or intervened before it can be brought to the home and affect relationships. Organizational psychology and occupational health psychology both are trying for the betterment of people. The big difference is that occupational health psychology is more focused on an individual within a workplace or organization than the people as a whole within an organization like organizational psychology. Personal Insight As mentioned before, the Quality Management Officer was worried about both.
The person had to not only make sure that policies were fitting to all but that if complaints were made between co-worker and co-worker that the issue would be resolved quickly to eliminate stress. If a complaint was filed, the Quality Management Officer would gather the complainant and the person the complaint was about and try to find a solution to the problem. This person also did the same for patients within the behavioral hospital if the patient felt that he or she was being mistreated by staff. The Role Research and Statistics
Like with any subfield in psychology all depend on research and statics to provide evidence for hypothesis or against hypothesis. Research and statistics and the best ways to figure out if a theory has any truth to it or if the theory is complete hogwash. According to Bond and Smith (1996) in regards to research, “research in organizational psychology is examined with respect to work motivation and work behavior” (p. 205). When doing research within the field of organizational psychology, a person is looking at the behavior of the person within a work setting.
Jex and Britt (2008) claim that in organizational psychology statistical analysis along with research methodology is critical within the field. “Organizational psychologists often use systematic research methods to provide organizational decision makers with information regarding employees’ attitudes” (p. 21). Both statistical analysis and research methodology have come into their own as being respected fields within the study of organizational psychology. Personal Insight I had to use research methodology within my last job to help facilitate the right after care treatment for patients.
Yes organizational psychology and the research within the field deal with workers within an organization but I also believe it can translate to workers helping patients. The patients “work” behavior had to be researched in order to find the appropriate after care treatment. Without research methodology I could not have gotten the right treatment for the patient after he or she left the hospital. Talking to the psychologist, observing behaviors, and talking with the patients was a part of the research that I did. Conclusion
Organizational psychology has evolved into becoming a big part within the broad field of psychology and has proved its importance throughout the years. Some organizations might have failed without the help of an organizational psychologist. Also an organizational psychologist might have helped to eliminate a negative organization and in turn helped many workers to find a more productive and positive organization. Organizations cannot improve without the help of organizational psychology and organizational psychologists.
Not only are the organizations impact by this field but the workers that make up the organizations are impacted. References Bond, M. H. , & Smith, P. B. (1996). Cross-cultural social and organizational psychology. Annual Reviews Psychology, 47. 205-235. doi: 0066-4308/96/0201-0205. Jex, S. M. , & Britt, T. W. (2008). Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach (2nd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Schein, E. H. (1996). Culture: The missing concept in organization studies. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(2). 29-240. doi: 0001-8392/96/4102-0229. Seijts, G. H. , & Latham, B. W. (2003). Creativity through applying ideas from fields other than one's own: Transferring knowledge from social psychology to industrial/organizational psychology. Canadian Psychology, 44(3). 332-339. Retrieved from ProQuest. Westman, M. , ; Piotrkowski, C. S. (1999). Introduction to the special issue: Work-family research in occupational health psychology. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 4(4). 301-306. doi: 1076-8998/99.