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Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology is the application of psychological research and theory to workplace issues. For many students who enjoy both business and psychology, industrial-organizational psychology offers a perfect fit. Our program is unique in that we offer the option of an International and Cultural concentration in addition to our core I/O curriculum. I/O Psychologists apply their knowledge of human behavior and research to areas such as:

  • employee selection
  • employee training and development
  • performance evaluation
  • motivation in the workplace
  • teamwork
  • cross-cultural issues
  • occupational stress
  • work-life balance
  • job attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction, organizational commitment)
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace

How is I-O different than human resource management (HRM) or organizational behavior (OB)?

This is a common question for students torn between business and psychology. Whereas I/O Psychology is taught in psychology departments, HRM and OB tend to be taught in business departments. Industrial psychology (the “I” side of I/O) covers many topics that overlap with HRM, such as employee selection, training, and performance appraisal. Organizational psychology (the “O” side of I/O) covers many topics that overlap with OB, such as leadership, motivation, job attitudes, and teamwork. One difference between the business and psychology majors is that business tends to focuses more on the organization as a whole, whereas psychology places greater focus on individual and small group behavior. Additionally, most degrees in I/O Psychology heavily emphasize quantitative methods used in psychological settings including psychometrics assessments, experimental and non-experimental research designs, and inferential statistics.

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