Psychology is a study that focuses on mental processes and behaviour. Industrial and organisational psychology (I-O) is an applied branch of psychology that deals with scientific studies of human behaviour in organisations. I-O applies psychological theories and principles to shape the practice and conduct of employees in the workplace. Industrial and organisational psychology aims at improving the mental wellbeing of employees together with increasing their productivity (Ilgen, 1999). Corporate success is shaped by the nature of the employees and their psychological and physical status. When employees are satisfied the outcome is always good performance and increased productivity. To ensure that employees behave accordingly and their needs are met, there is a need for leadership and management of industrial psychology (Ilgen, 1999). Leadership and management of IO help in studying worker attitude, evaluating company performance and offering leadership training. Understanding human behaviour in the workplace is the primary objective of studying I-O.
There are two sides to industrial and organisational psychology whose focus includes personnel psychology and regulatory side of psychology. Personnel psychology assesses employee characteristics that makes them fit for specific jobs. On the other hand, the organisational part of psychology focuses more on employee training, measuring job performance and developing job standards. Leadership and management in I-O psychology influence the behaviour and performance of employees through training and assessment of job performance. It is the role of leaders and the management of an organisation to apply psychology when dealing with an employee. This paper aims at discussing leadership and management that confine to industrial and organisational psychology. Moreover, this paper will examine the effectiveness and applications of industrial and corporate psychology and the role it plays in shaping employee's behaviour.
I-O psychologists study essential functions of personnel in an organisation including how they are selected, how they are trained and how their performance is measured. An Industrial psychologist also has to understand underlying work behaviours such as worker's feeling towards the job, job stress and job satisfaction. The above factors play a vital role in the total output that employee gives and to the productivity of an organisation at large. Managing organisational psychology requires a full understanding of corporate processes and interaction between groups of people. Psychologists also need to understand group process that exposes relationships between leaders and their subordinates. Moreover, understanding group processes dig deep into how workers coordinate with their seniors to get the job done. Because psychology is a social science, managing I-O psychology analyses organisational structure and culture that exist in an organisation to decide on mitigation procedures when problems arise.
Reasons for Managing Organisational Psychology
Applying psychology to people in their workplace enhances understanding and measurement of human behaviour. Psychologists in industries and organisations ensure that an organisation selects and employ the right people in the organisation for improved productivity. Moreover, leaders of an organisation may use psychology to decide on whom to promote in the workplace according to their behaviour and performance. Thus, psychology techniques and principles are necessary while making selection and promotional decisions. Making the workplace a better place is the primary objective of managing I-O psychology and making good use of the human resource in profit-making organisations.
Additionally, I-O psychology helps in detecting the origin of problems in a group of people by determining the probable cause of the problem. Interestingly, I-O psychology offers solutions to the issues using selection procedures, learning interventions and providing frameworks of change.
The ever-changing nature of work has necessitated the application of psychology in organisational and industrial leadership to cope up with the evolving world. Organisations are being broken into small subunits that require advanced communication systems to serve and work as teams. According to Muchinsky & Margoris (2006), organisations are adapting to technological changes, and many of their processes are becoming more sophisticated. Thus, telecommunication has made it possible for employees to work from various locations. Therefore, structural and technological changes are implemented with the help of psychologists who help employees adapt to the changes.
Moreover, psychologists help the managers to redesign jobs to improve efficiency by creating a new and more flexible organisational culture and structure (Landy, 2016). By doing so, employees become more motivated engaged, and they can deal with all stress related to the changes. Technological advancements are increasing job complexity making them more demanding to the employees. The employees are required to process more information and to make more decisions that count to the wellbeing of organisations. To ensure that employees make sound decisions, psychologists intervene to prepare their information processing capacity through training.
According to Muchinsky & Margoris (2006), organisational downsizing is at its peak in the 21st century, and organisations are reducing their workforce to improve efficiency. The initiative results from technological advancements that allow computer-assisted and robotic manufacturing. Furthermore, economic turndowns increase the number of laid-off workers. Thus, organisations are forced to depend on fewer workers to produce more (Muchinsky, 2006). The trend necessitates psychological consultation on how to handle such situations and to help the few employees to cope with the new environment.
The other trend that needs the help of I-O psychology in management is employee and work outsourcing. Outsourcing brings diversity in an organisation and hence creating the need for psychologists to assess the employee attitudes and behaviours that should require changes in the culture and structure of the organisation. A diverse workforce is demanding to the management and bringing the best out of an employee, needs the application of psychological principles and theories of managing conflict.
Conflict is an element that cannot be overlooked in a diverse workforce. Indeed, conflict can arise due to differences in cultures and beliefs, and therefore managers should apply psychological I-O theories to establish a common perception that is acceptable and favourable to all employees (Muchinsky, 2006). Though diversity brings with it challenges to an organisation, it is a tremendous opportunity and strength to the organisation.
Diversity comes with increased organisational innovation and creativity that improves the competitiveness of an organisation. I-O psychology help in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce that would work towards the achievement of set goals and objectives. Landy (2016) suggests that companies that embrace diversity attract the most qualified personnel that leads to reduced conflicts, innovation, increased flexibility, and greater cooperation among workers.
Areas Where I-O Leadership Applies
Training and Development
Employees require constant training and in-servicing to keep them up to date with new trends in their areas of specialisation. It is the responsibility of leaders to use I-O psychology to train employees on how to cope with changes in their areas of speciality. Training also allows a psychologist to equip employees with stress management skills that promote teamwork in an organisation.
Leaders and managers need to design equipment and procedures that minimise injury and maximise performance. I-O psychology aids in making the right decisions concerning the nature of work procedures by analysing their effects on the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees.
Making profit is the main aim of industries and organisations, and hence, employee performance reflects organisational achievements. With poor performance management, competitive advantage may be lost which reduces the financial capacity of the organisation. It is the responsibility of leaders to ensure that employees are motivated and satisfied. Psychology is applied to determine the level of employee satisfaction and the required incentives to boost employee morale.
Employee satisfaction is derived from the work-life balance. I-O psychology helps in designing appropriate strategies to help employees balance their family responsibilities with their daily work duties. Employee productivity can be maximised when they are allocated time to be with their families or designing procedures that allow working remotely. Besides, the quality of workplace matters a lot to employee productivity and psychologists' aid in improving the quality of life in the workplace.
Leadership and management in organisational psychology improve the performance and productivity of employees. Psychological theories and principles, when applied in the workplace, manage diversity, conflict, and innovations. Organisations that embrace new technology are in more need of I-O psychology because they use a few people to achieve more success. Employee's motivation and satisfaction is crucial, and hence leaders should design strategies that promote employee wellbeing. Therefore, it is the role of the leaders and management of organisations to apply psychological principles and theories while running organisational activities.
Ilgen, D. R., & Pulakos, E. D. (1999). The Changing Nature of Performance: Implications for Staffing, Motivation, and Development. Frontiers of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Landy, F. J. & Conte, J. M. (2016). Work in the 21st century, Binder ready version: An introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. John Wiley & Sons.Muchinsky, P. M. (2006). Psychology applied to work: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. Cengage Learning.
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