What Do I-O Psychologists Really Do?
Sometimes one of the most difficult things for industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists to explain to non-I-O psychologists is what exactly it is that they do.
The field of I-O psychology is, in fact, a varied one, encompassing almost any aspect of the workplace and people within organizations. I-O psychologists’ job titles and employment environments can be even more varied—ranging from employment consultants in private firms to testing and assessment experts in government agencies to psychology and business professors in university or research settings. (For a PDF explaining potential job titles of I-O psychologists, read “What’s in a Name?”here. For informational brochures about I-O, click here.)
Continue reading for information on what it’s like to be an I-O psychologist for SIOP Student Affiliate Katie Gerson!
Name: Katie Gerson
Job Title/Company: Talent Analyst/ U.S. Strategic Command (Offutt, AFB)
Job responsibilities: Research, program evaluation of leadership development, training development, and creative team selection assistant.
My specific I-O interests (research and/or practice): Leadership, succession planning, motivation, culture, O- & P-fit, and executive coaching.
My career path/job history: MS in I-O psychology, interned at Offutt AFB for the Global Innovation & Strategy Center (governmental research), Knowledge Management Division, Leadership Institute (talent analyst), and Mission Assessment Division (program analyst).
How I became interested in I-O psychology: I learned more about myself through undergrad and life and realized that counseling was not for me, at least right now in my lifetime. I then became aware of I-O psychology in one of my classes and was instantly fascinated. I knew this was a perfect match for me and my interests. I love this area of psychology.
A typical day at my job includes: Applying literature research to assignments with provided professional recommendations.
What I like best about my job: The autonomy and interesting research topics. I also like to help the office in their business goals.
Some of the challenges of my job: Lack of management understanding the breadth of my talent and knowledge from my education/training.
Something others may find interesting about me: I served 6 years in the NE Air National Guard as a personnelist (HR staff).
My other I-O and SIOP-related activities: Chicago I-O Psychology Group, used to be a member of Omaha OD Network group.
My advice to future I-O psychologists: Explore the field recreationally, find what interests you, and learn about it on your own time. This will also develop your skills, and you will naturally know the topic well and can one day apply it to the workplace.
Why I-O psychology matters: We bring psychology and research to the workplace. We help the business environment and improve the culture. We are more than MBAs but still similar. We make a difference in the work environment, which influences the employees’ and customers’ lives; ultimately, we develop the society.
To read archives of SIOP’s Psychology at Work series, click here!