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What Is Industrial Psychology?

Industrial psychology combines the principles of psychology with a methodical investigation of various work settings. Often referred to as industrial-organizational psychology (i/o psychology), this discipline analyzes numerous aspects of the working world and the attitudes of individuals toward their respective careers. The following article defines the main aspects of industrial psychology.

How to Define Industrial Psychology

Industrial psychology concerns itself with the application of psychological concepts to the work environment. Professionals who hold degrees in the discipline often perform consulting work for companies. Some functions and goals of industrial psychology are:

  • Increase worker productivity
  • Design safe work environments
  • Train new employees
  • Help organize the company's management structure

Important Facts About Industrial Psychologists

Median Salary (2018) $97,260 (for all industrial-organizational psychologists)
Entry-level Education Doctoral degree
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (for all industrial-organizational psychologists)
Similar occupations Postsecondary teaching, counseling, social work

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Similar careers include human resource managers and organizational development.

Examples of Industrial Organizational Psychology Goals

Worker Productivity

One of the main goals of industrial psychology is to improve worker productivity. Industrial psychologists research workplaces to find ways of increasing worker satisfaction and boosting productivity. These professionals design and implement workplace procedures in order to improve employee efficiency. They also consult with employees to find practical ways to improve working conditions in the hope that content employees will be more productive.

Workplace Safety

Another function of industrial psychology is to design safe workplaces. Industrial psychologists study the company's operating procedures, equipment used, and types of work performed in order to determine ways to make employees safer. Professionals in this field can recommend new equipment such as ergonomic chairs or updated machinery, if needed.

New Employee Training and Orientation

Industrial psychologists are often in charge of creating orientation and training programs for new employees. They apply concepts of industrial psychology to create programs that teach new workers about a company's operating procedures and business philosophies in ways that make employees feel welcomed and valued.

Organizing Management Structure

Those who work in industrial psychology often participate in organizing a company's management structure. Industrial psychologists can encourage companies to reduce redundancy and increase accountability. They can create organizational structures that clearly define the job duties and responsibilities of each position.