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History of I/O Psychology

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Cris H Prada

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of History of I/O Psychology

Hawthorne Studies
Wilhelm Wundt

Founders of I/O Psychology
Important Events in the History of I/O Psychology
Careers in the Field
History of I/ Psychology
First psychology lab

Formally began in the early 1900s (was called industrial psychology because the focus was on the individual at work)

Early Issues
How do telegraph operators acquire their skills

Walter Dill Scott
Hugo Munsterberg
Frederick W. Taylor
Walter Bingham
Walter Dill Scott (Northwestern)

Studied with Wundt and was interested in theoretical psych, but also had an interest in its applications

In reaction to Munsterberg’s book, Walter Bingham began the division of applied psychology at the Carnegie Institute of Technology

Studied with Wundt
Hugo Munsterberg
Walter Bingham

Frederick W. Taylor
Advent of the Journal of Applied Psychology

Reported findings in the field of I/O psychology, among other topics

World War I -> Personnel Testing
Robert Yerkes
After WWI
The first Ph D in industrial psychology was awarded in 1921
Opportunities for Women

Since applied psychology is less prestigious than academic psychology, women are able to gain a foothold in the field
Human factors becomes important becomes of increased mechanization of the armed forces


Change from manufacturing to service industry

Importance of health and stress management to work
Future of the Field: Coates, Jarratt, and Mahaffie (1990)

Seven Critical Forces

Elton Mayo: important for the following reasons

Represent an effort to understand employees rather than simply trying to increase their efficiency (also used more rigorous methods than other I/O studies)
Harvard and Western Electric

Interested in wage incentives, ventilation, lighting, and rest pauses

No clear understanding of the increases in productivity were ever found, but the study showed that workers are motivated by more than money

The work environment is very important to productivity; work is social
A supervisor’s leadership style is important to productivity
Workers, as well as their supervisors, set standards for acceptable behavior and output

Piece rate vs. superior workers cut back not to embarrass other workers
Many I/O psychologists look to this study as the beginning of organizational psychology

I/O psychologists work in organizations, in academia, or both

Gave a famous address to a businessmen’s club in Chicago
It led to articles and books on the topic
Topics included the use of psychology in advertising and incentive pay to motivate employees
Started a consulting firm, the Scott Company, the first of many in the history of I/O psych
Began the field of I/O psychology in Germany
Selection testing was an important field for him
Wrote what is widely considered the first I/O psychology textbook Psychology and Industrial Efficiency (1913) this book facilitates formal training in I/O psych
Bingham hired Scott who became the first I/O psych professor
Used scientific principles to redesign the workplace
Efficiency Expert
Wrote Principles of Scientific Management (1911) which described the principles of his theory
Taylor advocated breaking down the parts of production into the smallest units and having different employees complete different parts of the process to avoid in waste of time and motion
Employers took to his principles because the increase in productivity and therefore profit was clear
Workers however saw his principles as an attempt to get them to do more work
It remains one of the important publications for the reporting of findings in the field
Reviewed intelligence tests and came up with the Army Alpha, which had to be augmented because ¼ of the recruits were illiterate
Then devised Army Beta, used to identify high and low end recruits (high end given officer training, low end disqualified from service)
Walter Dill Scott and Walter Bingham tested recruits for specific abilities and this was used to assign soldiers to different duties (necessary due to increased mechanization of the armed forces)
The field of personnel testing burgeoned in industry and then greatly declined
The use of vocational tests increased
Industrial psychologists hired to increase efficiency and workers’ well-being
Consulting firms used more, Cattell’s Psychological Corporation does well; it is an attempt to find a way to finance research without public funding; money is split between psychologists and the corporation; corporation’s money used to finance research
Board of trustees for Psychological Corporation—Watson, Thorndike, Titchener, Terman, and Walter Dill Scott
Marion Bills (worked at Aetna; wage incentive system, job classification system, job evaluation program) and Lillian Gilbreth (humanize scientific management)
Showed employee attitudes and interpersonal relationships affect productivity
Led to the human relations movement in I/O—studies employee attitudes, interpersonal relationships, and leadership styles in order to increase productivity
When they changed the lighting in three separate departments; but performance increased in all three departments
The researchers spent time with each of the departments, the workers knew they were being studied, the workers began to compete with one another
Women join the workforce in great numbers because men are fighting the war; it becomes important to engineer jobs to fit the personnel that exist
Interest in I/O psych remains high unlike after WWI
Increased technological advancement (computers and robotics)
Increase in role of unions
Legislation—Civil Rights Act, EEOC, OSHA, Family and Medical leave Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Pregnancy Sex-Discrimination Prohibition, Americans with Disabilities Act
Scope of I/O increases greatly
Application of organizational psychology to settings other than work
Organizational behavior modification (Skinner)
Job satisfaction and motivation
Organizational commitment
Employee recruitment
Effect of new technology
Workers staying on the job later in life
Diversity in the workplace
Leisure time
1. Increasing diversity in workforce
2. Reintegration of home life and work life
3. Globalization
4. Expanding human resource planning
5. Change from manufacturing-based to knowledge-based workforce
6. Rising employee expectations and the need to balance the costs and demands of those expectations
7. Renewal of corporate social responsibility
Trained individuals who became the first I/O psychologists
Potential use of psychological principles in advertising
Hawthorne Studies
by Joseph Morrissey, PhD
Full transcript