5 Key Contributions of Industrial-Organizational 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 within a specific 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.

Related resource: 10 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

1. Optimizing Work Environments

The physical layout and accessibility of a workspace can have a defining impact on the overall efficiency of the environment. Access to information, resources, and equipment are all important factors that IO psychologists consider. 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.

2. 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 within an organization. This includes adjusting job responsibilities to better match individual abilities and pushing for ongoing training or development opportunities to benefit all parties involved.

3. 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. This can include coaching for people in leadership positions, broadening avenues of interdepartmental communication and establishing clear chains of authority to improve overall cohesion, according to the American Psychological Association.

4. 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 single 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.

Related Resource: What Are Psychomotor Skills?

5. 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 may have found its roots in the examination of individual behavior and therapy for various medical conditions, but 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 and government agencies.

Related Resources: