Membership Opportunities for Industrial-Organizational Psychology Professionals

8 Professional Organizations for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Emotional Intelligence Consortium
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
  • Society of Psychologists in Management
  • State and Local Organizations
  • Academy of Management
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • American Psychological Association

Industrial-organizational psychologists work either for companies or as consultants to analyze current systems and plan and implement strategies to increase productivity and job satisfaction throughout the company. They use statistical analysis to study employee performance and evaluate the effects of different incentive programs and training tracks. According to the U.S. News and World Report, while the field is growing, it is currently one of the smallest branches of psychology in terms of employment. As such, professional organizations for I-O professionals like those mentioned below are important for the development of the industry.

Employment Outlook for I-O Psychologists

8 Professional Organizations for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says this branch of psychology has a projected growth rate of 12.3 percent. The average salary is $102,530. Both of those statistics may vary according to the places employing the psychologists. These specialists are found working in scientific and technical research, in consortiums for management and technology, in government positions and in management positions in private and public enterprises. It is a branch of psychology that is still in its adolescence, and the development of individual practitioners is vital to the development and growth of the field as a whole.

Reasons to Join a Professional Organization

Career and personal development opportunities are two of the reasons listed by Psych Central.com for affiliating with professional organizations and associations. One of the important functions of such groups is advocacy. Membership in a professional organization gives psychologists, especially those in smaller fields of psychology such as I-O psychology more political presence to lobby for needed changes as the field evolves. There are several other reasons for joining professional psychology organizations. Some of these are:

  • Networking: The opportunity to network with peers for support and even for the occasional nudge about upcoming job openings.
  • Colleagueship: This is an important aspect, as people have discovered during the Covid-19 pandemic, the negative impact of isolation. Conferences and conventions offer a wealth of opportunities, but when they are not available, the ability to “face-time” individuals online is invaluable. These connections are made and fostered through professional organizations.
  • Education: When the meetings can resume, there will be workshops and symposiums. Until then, professionals can get continuing education through articles in organizational publications and through podcasts and videos available only to members.
  • Career development: Members of these associations often get the opportunity to present at conferences and to publish papers in organization magazines that can increase their credentials as I-O specialists.
  • Financial: Organizations such as professional associations can negotiate group rates for things such as malpractice insurance, health insurance and other things directly applicable to the profession, but they also may offer special rates on travel, lodging and even things like car rental.

Things to Consider about Joining Professional Organizations

8 Professional Organizations for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

All professional organizations require paying dues. They can be expensive, so it is important to be selective in joining groups. Although industrial-organizational psychologists will be primarily interested in I-O psychology organizations, there may also be some value in joining an association that is geared to professionals that adhere to a specific theory of psychology. That is because I-O psychology involves the use of general principles or tenets of psychology “constrained by characteristics of employment settings and assumptions about those who populate them.” There are several different theories in this branch of the science, one of which focuses upon individual differences as a motivating factor in organizational behavior. I-O psychologists who adhere to this focus on the individual might gain insight from a general psychology association that specializes in Jungian theory, for instance.

As far as the dues go, they may range from below one hundred dollars to several hundred dollars a year. Intuit.com points out that professional organization dues are not currently deductible. Additionally, most professional psychological organizations have state, national and international branches. Because one of the purposes of joining organizations is the educational opportunity, going to conferences and workshops is vital, and these can be expensive. They also involve taking time from the work place. Professionals who have private practices might have an easier time getting away than those who are employed within an organization.

Organizations for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

The list below contains several of the best professional organizations for I-O psychologists. Some of the careers within this psychology branch are IO Consultant, behavioral analyst, HR specialist, research consultant, talent management specialist, and even educator. That means membership in an organization with supports in HR or behavior analysis could be as important as one that spotlights I-O psychology and its tenets. Some of these organizations, then, are specific to this branch of psychology while others are general psychology associations and even groups outside the psychology realm but related to business management.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology publishes resources for professionals, professors, and students, and individuals from each of these groups are welcome to join the association. They also put out press releases for the media about current events and government policy related to the field. There are different levels of membership, but all of them offer access to continuing education modules in the areas of data collection and interpretation, talent acquisition, and employee training and assessment. The SIOP website hosts a job board and a members’ forum for discussion of different methods and case studies. This is a great resource to the I-O professional.

Emotional Intelligence Consortium

This is a very selective professional group for industrial-organizational psychologists who specialize in the study of emotional intelligence in the workplace. The organization has developed numerous assessments as well as guidelines for using them with employees. While membership is limited to those who have extensive research in this sector of industrial-organizational psychology, many resources are available for everyone in the industry, and they offer in-person training sessions and other events.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

A completely non-selective industrial-organizational psychology association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society offers memberships to students, professionals, and anyone interested in the field. The group specializes in studying ways to provide the best working experience for employees. This is important to employers because happy employees generally equal more productive employees. Some topics discussed at conventions and in articles include the biomechanics of the human body, reducing physical strain, and safety concerns as well as the ways technological advancements affect employee satisfaction.

Society of Psychologists in Management

Industrial-organizational professionals are one of the groups of psychologists involved in business and management. The Society of Psychologists in Management organization brings different branches of business psychology together so that they can collaborate on methods of maximizing profits while also providing a positive fulfilling environment for employees. The SPIM focuses on employee motivation and finding common ground between managers and the workforce. This organization provides a platform for discussion about management psychology topics through online forums, a YouTube channel, and conferences.

State and Local Organizations

Most states and some metropolitan areas have local associations for industrial-organizational professionals. The Bay Area Applied Psychologists, Chicago I/O Psychologists, Georgia Association for I-O Psychology, and Portland Industrial and Organizational Psychology Association are some examples. Since this field is just now starting to grow, these face-to-face local meetings are key to helping this area of psychology grow and professionals to feel a sense of unity. Additionally, these organizations are smaller than national or international groups and offer more opportunity for interaction among peers. The Houston Area I-O Psychologists organization contains only 80 members. Associations such as the American Psychological Association have well over 100,000 members.

The Academy of Management

While the function of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology will probably be of little interest to a small business manager, The Academy of Management is a great supplement to the “wheelhouse” of industrial-organizational psychologists. This association says their function is to use “member-driven efforts to further the scholarship of management across many areas.” That means affiliates can dialog with other professionals across several disciplines to get insight on issues in the psychology of the workplace. The group gives members access to a video library as well as to a regular library of books on business and management and holds workshops and conferences. Of course, currently these opportunities are virtual events. The group is intended for scholars of management and organizations and has a membership of 20,000. Dues are nominal at $188 per year.

Society for Human Resource Management SHRM

Although this is not an organization specific to I-O psychologists, it is an important resource for them. In addition to offering a cross-discipline conversation like the Academy of Management, this huge association performs advocacy tasks, provides educational opportunities and even awards grants and scholarships to members. It is a conglomeration of business professionals, academics, certified practitioners and political lobbyists, all working to improve the human resource arena. Where do I-O psychologists fit in? Of course, many who work in research would be termed “academics,” but I-O psychologists may also become certified through SHRM. That is a great addition to their credentials. Additionally, many IO psychologists are employed in the HR departments of businesses and organizations. The powerful SHRM membership is well over 400,000.

The American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association is another organization that is not specific to I-O psychology, but which offers many important resources. It addresses all branches of psychology, as proven by its large selection of articles on the website. For instance, some articles connected to I-O psychology are about workplace issues. The APA cites a statistic that says one third of adult’s lives are spent in the workplace. People face bullying, racism and discrimination, the aging workforce, and gender issues in the workplace.

Some of the benefits of belonging to this organization are:

  • A large reduction in professional liability and other insurance premiums
  • A one-year subscription to the APA magazine
  • A Covid-19 pandemic hotline dealing with issues affecting practice
  • Public education campaign plans
  • Data bases
  • Continuing education
  • Financial wellness assistance
  • Many discounts on travel, office products, subscriptions and other things.

The APA also has mentors to help people just beginning their careers as well as career advancing counselors. There are grants available for education and research and even training in using digital communication to assist practitioners in teleconferencing with clients.

8 Professional Organizations for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

The take-away from looking through this list of organizations is that membership in a professional association is important to career development and staying on the leading edge of information in the field. Membership also provides mentorship and practical tools such as legal advice and continuing education as well as certifications to add to credentials. Today, in a time of restricted gathering for conferences and workshops, professional organizations are a resource for online training and virtual networking along with ideas on how to manage a consultant business or work within partially functioning businesses. Creativity matters, and I-O psychologists can pair a membership in an organization like the APA with a membership in a specific arena of the field such as HR. Professionals can belong to more than one organization, and the benefits will most likely outweigh the multiplied dues. This is particularly beneficial to the industrial-organizational psychologist.

An I-O psychologist whose name regularly appears in the online forums of a professional organization or who has articles in the publication of the organization will soon gain visibility and advance his or her career. The I-O professional who carries certification from the APA or SHRM has a valuable addition to a job application. The association member who connects with a peer through such an organization will gain support and give it in return.

Whether becoming a member of a general organization or one that focuses on a more specialized field, professional groups in every industry provide opportunities for career advancement and tools to keep skills up to date. This is especially important for industrial-organizational psychologists because their field is becoming increasingly relevant in the business world today.

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