5 Key Contributions of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

benefits of i/o psychologists

How I-O Psychologists Provide Value to Employers

  • Optimizing Work Environments
  • Training and Professional Development
  • Organizational Structuring
  • Identifying Process Flaws
  • Improving Customer Service

Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychologists serve an increasingly valuable role for companies and organizations of all sizes. They study all of the aspects of operations in a company or organization to identify potential problems as well as opportunities for improvement. Their contributions range from implementing minor workplace changes to improve efficiency to broad structural shifts that fundamentally change the way personnel interact with each other.

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Optimizing Work Environments

The physical layout and accessibility of a workspace can have a defining impact on the overall efficiency of the environment. Important factors that IO psychologists consider include:

  • Access to information
  • resources
  • equipment

Even simple changes, like moving certain pieces of equipment or creating clear usage policies for communal spaces, can lead to significant improvements in employee performance.

Training and Professional Development

People are the most important asset in any kind of business. So it’s no surprise that human resources are a focal point when it comes to optimization. Organizational psychologists often focus their efforts on maximizing the value of people in an organization. This includes:

  • adjusting job responsibilities to better match individual abilities
  • pushing for ongoing training or development opportunities to benefit all parties involved

Organizational Structuring

As a discipline within the field of psychology, IO professionals apply their skills to enhance the structure of an organization from top to bottom. According to the American Psychological Association this can include:

  • coaching for people in leadership positions
  • broadening avenues of interdepartmental communication
  • establishing clear chains of authority to improve overall cohesion

Identifying Process Flaws

Every organization has flaws, even if they aren’t obvious or crippling. While an IO expert may not be able to solve every one of these issues, they can help leaders identify key problems that are impacting their overall value. Identifying procedural flaws often requires thorough research and examination of the details of each stage of basic operations throughout the organization. This can include anything from improving hiring habits to mitigating stress factors that jeopardize employee health or productivity.

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Improving Customer Service

Company leaders and employees aren’t the only people that IO psychologists worry about. Customer satisfaction is a decisive factor in the success and survival of a company, so ensuring a positive and rewarding experience for consumers is one of their primary responsibilities. Psychologists leverage their understanding of business and human behavior to reduce elements of friction between products and their users, as well as creating a more positive impression during interactions with company personnel.


The field of psychology has roots in the examination of individual behavior and therapy for various medical conditions. However, it has grown well beyond these boundaries. Modern industrial-organizational psychologists can make numerous valuable contributions to all kinds of organizations, including:

  • emerging start-ups
  • massive corporations
  • non-profits
  • government agencies.

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