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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. I-O Psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology to areas such as:

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

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 motivation, job attitudes, and teamwork. One difference between the business and psychology majors is that business focuses more directly on the organization as a whole, whereas the psychology places greater focus on individual behavior and behavior within work groups. 

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