Slide 5 of 5
Henry Ford took one of the great industrial leaps in efficiency with the assembly line
and scientists, engineers, and I-O psychologists have been improving on it since. General
Motors Saturn Corporation has taken the line concept, combined it with teams at each
stop (instead of individuals), and created one of the more recent advances in production
The automation at most manufacturing plants is just one of the reasons that new skills
have been required. Training for the workers and the managers who must now supervise a
different workforce has been essential.
Similarly, with the expansion of the internet and other forces, business has truly gone
global. With globalization has come increased competition from countries that can produce
more and do it at a fraction of the cost. While globalization has created competition, it
has also brought co-workers from different countries and cultures together. The need for
diversity training (training that raises awareness of employee differences, etc.) has
exploded as a result.
Finally, the 1980s and early 90s left companies and employees reeling following
downsizing. Typically downsizing is followed by a drop in productivity as employees sort
out the implications for themselves. I-O psychologists have helped employers identify the
concerns of their employees and designed programs to address those concerns. They also
help employers deal with the employees who have lost their jobs.