Effects of 5 Workplace Trends on Industrial-Organizational Psychology

  • Globalization
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet Recruiting
  • Work-Life Balance and Employee Health

Industrial-organizational psychology is the scientific study of the workplace and how people behave individually in that environment as well as in teams. Identifying trends in the field means looking at some of the major changes ahead in the workplace and how they will affect workers in that context.

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1. Globalization

Workplaces are becoming more globalized, and this means there will need to be a greater awareness of cross-cultural issues in the workplace. The more diverse workforce means that rather than imposing a set of organizational standards throughout global companies, it will be more effective for teams to have standards that are reflective of local practices. Along with globalization comes an increasingly remote workforce. This presents challenges for collaboration, communication and building a sense of teamwork that industrial-organizational psychologists may wish to address.

2. Sexual Harassment

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology has identified sexual harassment in the workplace as the top trend at present. A majority of American women voters have experienced sexual harassment, and most of them experienced it at work. From an industrial-organizational psychology standpoint, organizations will need to look at their culture, policies and training and start to address the conditions that lead to workplace sexual harassment.

3. Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Over the next decade, a growing number of jobs will be automated, and this is expected to lead to widespread disruption in the workplace. Organizations may need to address issues such as morale and training. As artificial intelligence begins to perform increasingly sophisticated tasks, organizational psychologists may begin to look at whether and how people form relationships with the AI they work with. The increasing use of big data that will be able to improve performance and track a number of other things. These technological innovations may also raise ethical questions that psychologists will examine.

4. Internet Recruiting

Employees are now largely recruited through the internet rather than the help wanted section of newspapers. Although older populations are increasingly comfortable using computers, this type of recruitment might still tend to skew toward younger workers, and this may be something organizations need to address. Computer-based job applications can provide feedback to applicants. Organizations may want to consider how they can make the best use of the opportunities offered by online recruiting and information gathering combined with interviews and other more traditional methods of recruiting and selecting people for employment. The use of social media in selecting or rejecting candidates might also come under increased scrutiny.

5. Work-Life Balance and Employee Health

Unhealthy employees mean lower productivity, more time missed from work and possibly even more turnover. When an organization addresses work-life balance and employee health, it benefits both the employee and the workplace. However, there may be privacy and other implications for workplace health and wellness programs that organizational-industrial psychologists will examine.

Rapid innovations in technology mean that workplaces are changing rapidly as well. All of these have implications for how people work within organizations, and for the field of industrial-organizational psychology, it means new ways of conceptualizing the workplace and the effects on employees.