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Industrial And Organisational Psychology

26th June 2020
Harshita Soni

Industrial and Organisational Psychology


One can think of industrial-organizational psychology as having two major sides. First, there is the industrial side, which involves looking at how to best match individuals to specific job roles. This segment of I-O psychology is also sometimes referred to as personnel psychology. People who work in this area might assess employee characteristics and then match these individuals to jobs in which they are likely to perform well. Other functions that fall on the industrial side of I-O psychology include training employees, developing job performance standards, and measuring job performance. 

Six Key Subject Domains

  1. Training and Development: Professional in this area often determine what type of skills are necessary to perform specific jobs as well as develop and evaluate employee training programs.
  2. Employee Selection: This area involves developing employee selection assessments, such as screening tests to determine if job applicants are qualified for a particular position.
  3. Ergonomics: The field of ergonomics involves designing procedures and equipment designed to maximize performance and minimize injury.
  4. Performance Management: I-O psychologists who work in this area develop assessments and techniques to determine if employees are doing their jobs well.
  5. Work-Life: This area focuses on improving employee satisfaction and maximizing the productivity of the workforce. I-O psychologists in this area might work to find ways to make jobs more rewarding or design programs that improve the quality of life in the workplace.
  6. Organizational Development: I-O psychologists who work in this area help improve organizations, often through increasing profits, redesigning products, and improving the organizational structure


Roles of an Industrial/organizational psychologist


The I/O psychologists focus on employee behavior at the workplace. By applying psychological principles and research methods, help improve the overall work environment including employee performance, communication, work satisfaction, and safety. They look into areas like decision making and communication inside the organization to identify problematic areas and bring solutions. Some of the common questions that the I/O psychologists ask to identify problems and issues are:

How decisions are made inside an organization?

How effective is communication at each level and among the various levels inside the organization?

How team members interact and what is the level of collaboration between them?


Applications of Industrial and Organizational psychology

As Industrial psychology is the study of human behavior at work, it applies to every field of industry where human understanding is required. 

Recruitment of Personnel: Psychology may help in recruiting the right man for the right job. Accurate job analysis, standardized application forms, scientific screening of applications, use of psychological tests for vocational fitness, final overall rating, and continuous review and follow up of the entire program are some of the areas where the psychologists can make an important contribution.

Selection and Placement: To select the right person for the right job in the organization, one should measure the candidate’s aptitudes, intelligence, skills, abilities, interests, and temperaments. Industrial Psychology helps in this effort also. It develops various devices such as interviews and psychological tests in order to achieve the objective of the selection; it also helps in the placement of employees at different jobs. 

Training and Executive Development: After careful selection of the executives using tests and interviews, the next step is training the executives so that they can perform better at their present jobs.  In organizing an executive development program, the Industrial Psychologist keeps a range of goals in mind to increase the effectiveness of the executive group. The technique of sensitivity program helps the executives to develop his areas of strengths and weaknesses while working in groups is a clear example.

Promotional Schemes: The promotion, demotion, transfer, etc. of an employee should be based on abilities, usefulness, and seniority. Performance appraisal is one of the psychological techniques to recognize people’s abilities. Mere seniority should not be considered as the guiding principle for promotions. 

Public Relations: Industrial Psychology helps the management to develop effective and systematic public relations machinery in order to create a high image of the organization. With the rapid expansion and growth of industrial undertakings, the management is facing problems in effectively communicating its policies, procedures, and practices to its employees, shareholders, consumers, and the general public. 

Human Engineering: Human Engineering is designing and laying out equipment in order to get the greatest efficiency of the man-machine system. The industrial psychologists working in human engineering provide data on which management can decide to improve the design and the product for the comfort and to increase the sale to the satisfaction of the customers. 

Eligibility criteria for an I/O psychologist

A candidate can take up any stream in class 12th for this career. Obviously, having psychology as one of the subjects can be an added advantage (Note: Some colleges mandate psychology as a subject in class 11th-12th for pursuing a graduation course in the discipline).  Students who take up mathematics as a subject will have an edge as in graduation as well as in post-graduation, statistics is one of the papers in the course. In India, a bachelor’s degree in I/O psychology is not available. Students interested in pursuing industrial psychology first have to graduate in general psychology (for 3 years) and then can opt for industrial psychology as their specialization (for 2 years).


Colleges in India for I/O Psychology

Some of the best colleges for psychology at the graduate level are: 

Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Sciences, Noida

Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi

Christ University, Bangalore

Presidency College, Chennai

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Dayanand Anglo Vedic College, Chandigarh

Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi


At post-graduate level, colleges offering a course in I/O Psychology are: 






Bharathiar University, Coimbatore

M.Sc. Applied Psychology in Organizational Psychology


MS University, Baroda

Offers post-graduate-level specialization in Industrial Psychology


Fergusson College, Pune

M.A. Psychology ( Industrial Psychology)


Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Sciences, Noida

M.A.(Organizational Behaviour)


Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

M.A in Psychology (Organizational Psychology)


Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology

M.Sc. in Applied Psychology: I/O Psychology


Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Rewari

M.A Industrial-Organizational Psychology


Careers in I/O psychology


Industrial-Organizational Consultant
As consultants, Industrial-Organizational psychologists may be employees of firms that specialize in industrial-organizational issues, such as human resources and management psychology consulting firms. I-O consultants provide expertise in the areas of benefits and compensation, career planning, changes in management, development, and training, employment law, evaluation, and testing.

Behavioral Analyst 
The main role of Industrial-Organizational psychologists as behavior analysts is assessing the behavioral problems of employees, with a focus on observable and measurable conduct, and implementing strategies to eliminate unacceptable conduct in the workplace. 

HR Organizational Development Specialist
Human resources organizational development specialists maximize workplace efficiency by understanding the goals, strategies, and systems of
a company and applying the principles of behavioral science. They create, implement, and manage programs that assess the existing and potential needs of a company in regard to employee and organizational development.

Senior Research Consultant
As senior research consultants, I-O psychologists are very skilled in all aspects of market research and help with designing research projects and processes. They are responsible for coordinating project steps with focus groups, project teams, and other staff, and they might manage several projects within a certain budget.

Talent Management Specialist
In the position of talent management specialist, I-O psychologists develop and implement strategic initiatives that enhance the performance of talented employees and leaders as well as prepare for the future talent needs of a company.

For students aspiring to enter the corporate world as psychologists, Industrial, and Organisational Psychology could be a promising field. 



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