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Guidelines for Education and Training at the Master's Level in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Prepared by the Master's Education Subcommittee of the Education and Training Committee of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.[1]

Approved by Executive Committee: January, 1994

Published by Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. 
440 E Poe Rd, Ste 101
Bowling Green, OH 43402
Reprinted, 1995, 1999

 Copyright
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.
Citation: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (1994).
Guidelines for education and training at the Master's level in Industrial- Organizational Psychology. Arlington Heights, IL: Author

Purpose of The Guidelines

These guidelines have been written to aid faculty and curriculum planners in the design and change of master's level graduate programs in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. master's level training in I-O psychology is widespread. Lowe (1993) identified 55 programs designed to award a master's degree in I-O psychology as a stand-alone degree, but she acknowledged that this was a conservative estimate. The large majority of these programs are not affiliated with a doctoral program (Koppes, 1991).  

The impetus for these guidelines is threefold. First, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (SIOP) is interested in providing guidance to, and supporting, such programs. Second, the National Conference on Applied Master's Training in Psychology (1990) has recommended the adoption of specialty guidelines such as this. Finally, this is a companion document to the Guidelines for Education and Training at the Doctoral Level in I-O Psychology (1985)[2] that called for the creation of guidelines for master's level education. As the content of this document is an outgrowth of the work that was done for the doctoral level guidelines, there is much similarity between the two sets of guidelines.

These guidelines were not written to provide the basis for graduate studies program certification, determining eligibility for specialty licensing as an I-O psychologist, establishing eligibility for membership in the Society, or highlighting the continuing education and training needs of the profession. In addition, these guidelines were not designed to be a set of recommendations for education in related fields (e.g., Labor and Human Resources, Organizational Behavior). Although it is recognized that many academic disciplines or specialties are concerned with developing related subject matter and skills, these related areas are beyond the scope of the guidelines.

Perspective of the Guidelines

These guidelines list, categorize, and describe competencies that should guide curricular and pedagogic decisions by faculty responsible for training I-O students at the master's level. Because almost all of the competencies listed here are also contained in the doctoral guidelines, the reader might ask the obvious question: What distinguishes master's level and doctoral level education? The distinctions include:

Breadth of Training

Master's level students will typically receive a narrower breadth of training compared to doctoral students. This stems largely from the fact that fewer hours are required for the master's degree. Thus, the competencies listed in Table I may not be covered as fully at the master's level as they might be at the doctoral level. As a result, there may be considerable variability in program content among master's level  I-O programs (e.g., one program may emphasize organizational issues, while another emphasizes industrial issues). Lowe (1993) provides evidence of the variability of master's level I-O programs.

Depth of Training

Master's students are expected to demonstrate basic level competencies (e.g., regression analysis, classical test theory), but only to be exposed to higher-level concepts (e.g., causal modeling, generalizability theory). For example, whereas a doctoral student may take several courses in statistical analysis, the master's student may have just one or two courses. Besides fewer hours, master's education is typically delivered with a lower faculty-student ratio than is true of doctoral level training (Lowe, 1993). This type of training is consistent with the generalization that master's level students will typically be consumers of I-O knowledge, rather than producers of new knowledge. As such, they are engaged in applying this knowledge to issues involving individuals and groups in organizational settings. Those involved in research usually do so under the guidance of a doctoral level psychologist.

Career Options

The career options are different for master's level versus doctoral level graduates. Schippmann, Schmitt, and Hawthorne (1992) reviewed the work roles of I-O students whose terminal degree is the master's degree versus the Ph.D. They concluded that there are substantive differences between the kinds of work performed by these two groups. There were very few master's graduates in academic roles, whereas master's graduates were more highly represented in jobs such as compensation, training, data analysis, and generalist human resource management positions compared with doctoral graduates.

Further Education

Some master's level students are interested in continuing to doctoral study. Master's programs may be designed to serve students who want either (1) predoctoral training, (2) practitioner-oriented training (terminal master's degree), or (3) both. Since doctoral level education in I-O psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model, programs that provide predoctoral training should also have a scientist-practitioner focus. Thus, when designing such programs, research skills probably should be weighted more heavily (category II competencies) compared with specific content issues (category III competencies). This type of program would also be appropriate for master's level I-O practitioners who work in research settings. Programs designed to meet the needs of students for whom the master's degree will be their highest degree may opt to place greater weight on content issues relative to research skills.

These and other distinctions between master's level and doctoral level training lead to substantial differences in the two levels of training. However, none of the differences highlighted above suggests that the basic content of the field changes as a function of the level of education. Thus, the competencies in this document and the companion guidelines for doctoral programs are similar. The perspective of these guidelines is that the competencies identified in Table I (particularly sections II and III) are ideals that probably no program will meet completely. They are provided to aid faculty and curriculum planners as they start new programs or try to improve their current programs. 

Title

A semantic difficulty is encountered in a document such as this. What is the appropriate title, or label, for persons who have completed a master's degree in I-O psychology? The term psychologist is inappropriate because the use of that term is regulated by law in some states, and is usually restricted to persons who have completed doctoral training and/or have been licensed. Further, the employment settings in which these graduates work are so diverse that a job-based title is also inappropriate (e.g., human resource manager, trainer, organization consultant). Titles assigned to other psychological subdisciplines at the master's level (e.g., mental health specialist, case worker, school counselor) are inappropriate.

The following title is used in this document: master's level I-O practitioner. While it is descriptive, it is both unwieldy and, in some cases, misleading. A shorter title would be preferable (e.g., MBA), but the fact that many people are presently unfamiliar with the discipline of I-O psychology makes the use of a very short acronym inappropriate (e.g., MIOP). Further, some master's level graduates will work in research and/or educational settings, which makes the use of the word practitioner problematic. However, since most master's level graduates work in applied settings (Ekeberg, Switzer, & Siegfried, 1991; Schippmann et al., 1992), practitioner is often an appropriate term.

Admittedly, a document such as this cannot mandate the use of a particular title. Nor is it the committees desire to do so. If, and when, a different title achieves popular acceptance, these guidelines should be changed to reflect that fact. Meanwhile, it is important for students in master's level I-O programs to be identified with the discipline. The title master's level I-O practitioner serves that purpose. 

Competencies  

A competency-based approach is adopted here (as it is in the doctoral guidelines) as opposed to recommendations about specific curriculum designs and educational experiences. These guidelines focus on the outcomes of training, and on the knowledge, skills, behavior, and capabilities necessary to function as a master's level I-O practitioner. The primary rationale for this approach is contained in the concept of equifinality. It is frequently the case that several alternative curriculum arrangements are equally effective at producing competent graduates. There are several means to the same end. Focusing on curriculum design loses sight of this.

The competencies presented in Table I are taken largely from the doctoral level guidelines. However, there are some significant dissimilarities. First, they are grouped into four major categories. These categories are meant to make some molar distinctions among the competencies. Category I competencies are those that any person who obtains a graduate degree in any field of psychology should possess (see also National Conference on Applied Master's Training in Psychology, 1990). Many students will acquire a substantial portion of this information in an undergraduate psychology program. Master's level I-O programs should ensure that their students have exposure to the broad field of psychology.

Category II competencies relate to data collection and analysis. These competencies are important even to consumers of knowledge because they enable them to make informed judgments about new research. This training can be very useful to organizations in a variety of applications. Category III competencies are at the core of the I-O discipline. Ideally, these should receive substantial coverage by any program. However, of necessity an entire course may not be devoted to each of these competencies, but they could be grouped together in a variety of ways. Category IV competencies are beneficial, but are not at the core of the discipline. Many programs might find that other departments or colleges can provide the training for these competencies (e.g., consumer behavior in a marketing department).

A second difference is that some of the competency descriptions have been rewritten to reflect a lower level of sophistication. For instance, the statistical methods/data analysis competency description notes that students should be familiar with (as opposed to competent in) path analysis, factor analysis, and so on. Third, two doctoral level competencies (decision theory and individual assessment) were eliminated completely. Decision theory is partially subsumed under other competencies (the cognitive-affective bases of behavior section under Fields of Psychology, Employee Selection, Human Performance). Within I-O psychology, the practice of Individual Assessment is generally conceded to require licensure, and thus a doctorate. Finally, two competencies have been added (both in Category IV), namely, Compensation and Benefits and Industrial/Labor Relations. These are areas for which many master's level I-O practitioners are responsible (Schippmann et al., 1992).

The additions, deletions, and changes described above were based on four sources of information. First, SIOP sponsored a survey of I-O and organizational behavior programs, and specifically extended this survey to include master's programs (SIOP, 1992). The second source was the personal experience of the committee members as master's level educators and their exposure to a variety of master's level I-O programs. Third, the job analysis information reported by Schippmann et al. (1992) and by Ekeberg et al. (1991) was consulted. Finally, each of the committee members asked several of their colleagues, both in industry and academics, to critique a draft of these guidelines, and their suggestions and comments were incorporated as appropriate.

Related competencies. The bulk of this document describes the areas or domains recommended specifically for training in I-O psychology. However, before presenting them, it is useful to comment on other areas considered, but judged not to be appropriate as part of this document.

One such set of competencies that had been suggested might be termed personal skills. These include effective oral and written communication skills, facility at developing interpersonal relationships, effective work habits, critical analytic thinking ability, and so forth. It is quite clear that success in graduate school depends on possessing these attributes. They are also needed for success in ones career. Yet these personal skills are of universal importance, and thus are not included in the domains list.

A second set of issues was suggested by the National Conference on Applied Master's Training in Psychology (1990). All graduate students in psychology should possess these competencies. These include library research skills and sensitivity to social and cultural diversity. These are important skills, but do not merit inclusion in this list because they are by‑products of quality graduate study, and are not specific to I-O training.

Another cluster of competencies that was not explicated involves areas in which it would be desirable, but not necessary, to have training to ensure career success in I-O psychology. A list of these areas could easily be expanded to include much of the social sciences and business (e.g., content mastery in Economics, Marketing, Labor and Human Resources, and even Accounting). Potentially important process skills would include those needed for employee counseling or individual rehabilitation. Competencies in all these areas would be appropriate and desirable, but they are not made part of these guidelines.

Finally, some think that a good graduate program provides guidance to students in their own career planning and in the use of career enhancement strategies. Such activities help a student in drawing together personal information and experiences in a formal effort to make a career decision and to map out a suitable career path. Once a decision has been made, appropriate developmental experiences could then be provided in a systematic way. Many schools already incorporate such planning, often using a variety of mechanisms (e.g., assigning formal advisors). However, once again, while this was viewed as a desirable feature of a graduate program, it is not considered to be a competency that graduates ought to possess.

Strategies for Building Competence

Program designers and faculty may develop a students capabilities in a competency domain by using one or more methods or techniques. For many (or most) competencies, multiple means are preferable. A given course is likely to touch upon more than one area, particularly in comparison to doctoral level training. Moreover, the resources and capacities of a given program also will shape curriculum design. For these reasons, the guidelines do not detail a specific curriculum plan.

Table 2 describes curriculum options identified by the Master's Education Subcommittee as useful methods for master's level training. While other approaches and variations do exist, the list in Table 2 is reasonably inclusive. It would be consistent with the spirit of these guidelines for a program to develop skill or knowledge in several domains using a single particular educational experience (e.g., a seminar, a supervised field project, or an assigned reading list). 

Competencies are Dynamic

The competency-based approach of these guidelines is advantageous for several reasons. It maintains a focus on what is to be taught and learned, provides desirable flexibility to curriculum planners, and recognizes the multiple paths to developing most important skills. Nonetheless, it also is true that the recommendations based on such an approach might become dated. Therefore, the present guidelines should be reevaluated regularly. They must be kept up to date by continuous reference to the nature of work and conditions surrounding the I-O practitioner at work.

TABLE 1 

Areas of Competence to be Developed in Master's Level I-O Psychology Programs

This table lists the recommended areas of competence to be developed in students in master's level I-O programs. Competencies listed in section I may be obtained as part of the students psychological training at the undergraduate level. Competencies listed in section IV are optional.

I. Core Psychological Domains (may be acquired at the undergraduate level)  

      A. History and Systems of Psychology

      B. Fields of Psychology  

II. Data Collection and Analysis Skills

       A. Research Methods

       B. Statistical Methods/Data Analysis 

III. Core Industrial-Organizational Domains

A. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Contexts

B. Measurement of Individual Differences

C. Criterion Theory and Development

D. Job and Task Analysis

E. Employee Selection, Placement, and Classification

F. Performance Appraisal and Feedback

G. Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation

H. Work Motivation

I. Attitude Theory

J. Small Group Theory and Process

K. Organization Theory

L. Organizational Development 

IV. Additional Industrial-Organizational Domains (educational experiences in these domains are considered desirable but not essential)  

     A. Career Development Theory

     B. Human Performance/Human Factors

     C. Consumer Behavior

D. Compensation and Benefits

E. Industrial and Labor Relations

Competency Descriptions  

I. CORE PSYCHOLOGICAL DOMAINS

(See preceding discussion, especially the Competencies section, for distinctions among the four domains.)

I.A. History and Systems of Psychology

If I-O students know how the discipline of psychology developed and evolved into its present configuration, then each generation will share the common bonds and language of the discipline. They will also possess a knowledge of the intellectual heritage of our field. Such common knowledge is important for the pragmatic functional role it plays in communication and in preventing frequent repetitions of the mistakes and dead ends of the past. Many historical schools and systems of psychology have a contemporary representative, either in a pure or a diluted form; a knowledge of the roots of these different theoretical positions is important. For example, many contemporary debates about theoretical perspectives appear dysfunctional when viewed against the background of historical developments in our field. A knowledge of our history enables us to appreciate these different approaches both for their unique contribution to psychology and for the alternatives they provide for an understanding of observable phenomena.

Finally, an understanding of history and systems of psychology allows integration of I-O psychology into the broader discipline by tracing our roots back to American functionalism, radical behaviorism, views of Freud, Titchener, Tolman, Spearman, and Cattell and other perspectives that have shaped our thinking about psychology. As consumers of current and future psychological research, master's level I-O practitioners should understand the relationship of these findings to the broader discipline of psychology.

I.B. Fields of Psychology

I-O psychology is basically the study of behavior of individuals that occurs in a particular setting, that is, organizations of almost any kind. This focus differentiates it from fields of psychology that study basic processes (perception, memory, learning); from fields that study particular populations of individuals (children, mentally disturbed, developmentally challenged); from fields that study analytic procedures or assessment procedures (psychometrics); and from fields that study mechanisms of behavior (physiological psychology, brain research). Although the populations of individuals and the locations are diverse, in this emphasis on behavior in a special setting we are eclectic. Because we borrow ideas, procedures, and paradigms from the other fields of psychology, it is important that we have an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and sources of our often-unacknowledged borrowings. 

While we draw freely from other fields of psychology, we do not borrow equally from all fields. We share a great deal with social psychology, psychometrics, motivation, learning, and personality. In our current work (as a group), we borrow less from clinical, developmental, and physiological-sensory psychology. The importance of these fields of psychology to the I-O area changes over time and varies with the particular interests of the individual I-O practitioner. It is difficult to predict which of the related fields will develop research in the near future that will have an impact on I-O psychology.

In any event, to be consistent with American Psychological Association (APA) and Council for Applied Master's Programs in Psychology (CAMPP) recommendations, students should be exposed to the following broad areas:

a) Biological bases of behavior: physiological psychology, comparative psychology,neuropsychology, sensation and perception, psychopharmacology.

b) Acquired or learned bases of behavior: learning, thinking, motivation, emotion.

c) Social bases of behavior: social psychology, group processes, organizational and systems theory. 

d) Individual differences: personality theory, human development, abnormal psychology.

Master's level I-O practitioners should be familiar with the relevant perspectives and applications from these areas.

II. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS SKILLS

II.A. Research Methods

The domain of research methods includes the methods, procedures, and techniques useful in the conduct of empirical research on phenomena of interest in I-O psychology. The specific topics encompassed by research methods include the scientific method (with attention to issues in the philosophy of science), inductive and deductive reasoning, problem statements and research questions, hypotheses, study designs (experimental, quasi-experimental, and nonexperimental), the nature and definition of constructs, the manipulation of variables (in experimental research), the concepts underlying and methods used for the assessment of the reliability and validity of measures, the administration of various specific types of measures (questionnaires, interviews, observations of behavior, projective measures, etc.), the use of various sampling procedures (probability and nonprobability types) especially as applied to survey research, the conduct of research with various specific strategies (field study, laboratory experiments, field experiment, sample survey, simulation, case study, etc.), the use of statistical methods to establish relationships between variables, the formulation of research-based conclusions, and the ethical standards that govern the conduct of all research involving human participants. Specific knowledge about relative strengths and weaknesses of different research strategies as well as a tolerant appreciation of the benefits of alternative strategies must be developed. While master's level I-O practitioners will need more expert guidance in using these methods and procedures in complex applications, they should develop the skill to use them in less complex applied situations (such as training evaluation and attitude surveys) and the ability to interpret and evaluate others research.

II.B. Statistical Methods/Data Analysis

This domain has to do with the various statistical techniques that are used in the analysis of data generated by empirical research. The domain includes both descriptive and inferential statistical methods; it spans both parametric and nonparametric statistical methods. Among the specific competencies, issues and techniques encompassed by the domain are: estimates of central tendency; measures of variability; sampling distributions; point and interval estimates; inferences about differences between means, proportions, and so forth; univariate analysis of variance; linear regression and correlation; and multiple regression. These topics are likely to be particularly useful in mainstream organizational research settings such as survey analysis and program evaluation. Knowledge of this domain implies a basic understanding of the statistical foundation of such methods, asymptotic sampling variances of different statistics, the assumptions underlying the proper use of the same methods, and the generalizations, inferences, and interpretations that can legitimately be made based on statistical evidence. In addition, familiarity with the following techniques would be useful to students in their role as consumers of research: multivariate analysis of variance, nonlinear regression and correlation, path analysis, factor analysis, meta-analysis, and causal modeling.

Students should be skilled in using at least one of the major statistical software packages designed for social science research so they can perform appropriate analyses for applied research projects in work organizations.

III.  CORE INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL DOMAINS

III.A. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Contexts

This domain has to do with the ethical, legal, and professional contexts within which the master's level I-O practitioner will operate. I-O master's graduates should have knowledge of, and should behave in accord with, relevant ethical guidelines (e.g., Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 1992). I-O master's students should know relevant federal, state, and local laws, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 1978). Since a fair amount of professional work done in organizations is covered by negotiated labor contracts, competency in this domain would also include an awareness of opportunities and constraints imposed by such agreements as well as an appreciation of the labor/management dynamics associated with them. Finally, all master's level I-O practitioners should have knowledge of the various professional norms, standards, and guidelines relevant to the profession (e.g., Specialty Guidelines for the Delivery of Services by Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, 1981; Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures, 1987; and Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests, 1985).

III.B. Measurement of Individual Differences

I-O psychology emphasizes the importance of individual differences in the study of individual behavior. This topic is foundational to many applied issues, such as employee selection, performance appraisal, employee attitude surveys, and training evaluation. A sound background in classical measurement theory is essential (e.g., reliability, validity) and exposure to modem measurement theories and their respective areas of application is highly desirable (e.g., generalizability theory, item response theory, causal modeling). The areas of measurement that are relevant include all knowledge, skills, abilities, and other personal characteristics that affect behavior in work contexts. Master's level I-O practitioners would not typically be involved in the creation of new measures except under the direction of a Ph.D. level psychologist.

Much of what master's level I-O practitioners do in this area is subject to close scrutiny by courts of law, civil rights groups and professional colleagues. Because of these external and internal pressures, master's level I-O practitioners, should be competent to monitor practice and to apply measurement principles in conformance to the highest standards of the discipline. 

III.C. Criterion Theory and Development

Almost all applications of industrial-organizational psychology (e.g., selection, human resources planning, leadership, performance appraisal, organization design, organization diagnosis and development, training) involve measurements against criteria (standards) of effectiveness for individuals, groups, and/or organizations. The selection of criteria is not a simple issue and represents a significant area of concern for I-O psychologists.

The knowledge base of this domain incorporates understanding the theoretical and practical issues such as single versus multiple criteria, criterion dynamics, the characteristics of good and acceptable criteria (relevance, reliability, practicality), and criteria as a basis for understanding human behavior at work and in organizations. Beyond this knowledge, the master's level I-O practitioner should have the skills necessary for developing valid criteria and methods of measuring them. These necessarily include skills in many other domains identified in the document (e.g., job analysis, measurement).

III.D. Job and Task Analysis

This domain encompasses the theory and techniques used to generate information about what is involved in performing a job or task, the physical and social context of this performance, and the attributes needed by an incumbent for such performance. Tasks are basic units of activity, the elements of which highlight the connection between behavior and result. A job is a grouping of tasks designed to achieve an organizational objective.

The fundamental concern of job and task analysis is to obtain descriptive information to design training programs, establish performance criteria, develop selection systems, use job evaluation systems, redesign machinery or tools, or create career paths for personnel. The specific steps taken and the type of information gathered will vary depending on the purpose of the job and task analysis. Relevant information that should be considered includes: what worker behaviors are involved; the knowledge, skills and abilities required; the standards of performance wanted; the tools, machines, and work aids used; the sources of information available to the incumbent; the social, environmental, and physical working conditions; and the nature of supervision. Similarly, some steps involved in job and task analyses include: identifying the purpose of the analysis; preparing, designing, or selecting a job analysis system; collecting job or task information; summarizing the results; and documenting the steps taken for future reference. The individual competent in this domain should have a knowledge of the different approaches to job and task analysis, as well as skill in applying these techniques in the field.

III.E. Employee Selection, Placement, and Classification

This domain consists of the theory and techniques involved in the effective matching of individual needs, preferences, knowledge, skills and abilities with the needs and preferences of organizations. An organizations needs are defined by the jobs assigned to positions in the organization.

More specifically, this domain encompasses theory and research in: human abilities; test theory development and use; job analysis; criterion development and measurement; classical and decision theory models of selection, placement, and classification; alternative selection devices (e.g., interviews, assessment centers); and legal and societal considerations that affect selection, placement, and classification. In particular, the individual must keep current with the legislation and court decisions related to these issues as well as with responses of the Society to laws and their interpretations. This domain also includes various specialized statistical techniques.

The level of knowledge of the master's level I-O practitioner should be sufficient to: (1) determine the most appropriate selection procedure for measuring knowledge, skill, ability, and/or personal characteristics and the appropriate validation strategies; (2) recognize when a higher level of expertise is necessary to develop and evaluate a selection system; and (3) work under the direction of a Ph.D. psychologist when conducting criterion-related and/or construct validation studies. In addition, the individual should be skillful in applying the theory and techniques of this domain to develop content valid selection procedures typically found in an employment setting (e.g., interviews, work samples).

III.F. Performance Appraisal and Feedback

Performance appraisal and feedback have a knowledge and skill base. This area centers on the methods of measuring and evaluating individuals as they perform organizational tasks and on taking action (administrative and/or developmental) with individuals based on such appraisals. The knowledge base includes a thorough understanding of rating scale construction and use, as well as understanding of the relative advantages of different rating sources (e.g., supervisory vs. peer). Also relevant are the areas of measurement theory, data analysis, criterion theory and development, motivation theory, and the factors that underlie interpersonal perception and judgment. The skill base includes procedures for communicating performance evaluations to job incumbents and counseling them in appropriate means of improving their performance. Also, skill in designing a complete performance appraisal and feedback system which meets organizational needs while maintaining and/or enhancing worker motivation and/or performance is desirable.

 III.G. Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation

This domain includes theory and techniques used to design, conduct, and evaluate instructional programs. The instructional process begins with a needs assessment, including organizational, job, and task analyses to determine the goals and constraints of the organization and the characteristics of the job and trainees. Familiarity with basic phenomena of learning (e.g., modern learning theory, principles of adult learning, conditioning principles) as well as knowledge of the different approaches to training (e.g., computer-assisted instruction, simulation, behavior modification) are necessary for designing programs. Transfer of training to the desired setting is an important consideration. In order for programs to be conducted as planned, the instructors must have good instructional skills. Thus, training the trainers may be necessary.

Both the process and the outcome of the program may be evaluated to determine if it has been conducted as planned and whether it has had any effect. Knowledge of design issues such as pre- and post-testing and control groups, as well as organizational constraints, is necessary for planning an evaluation strategy.

III.H. Work Motivation

Work motivation refers to the conditions within the individual and his or her environment that influence the direction, strength, and persistence of relevant individual behavior in organizations when individual abilities and organizational constraints are held constant. Master's level I-O practitioners need to have a sound background in work motivation at three levels. First, they must be familiar with the theories of human motivation including (but not limited to) need theories, cognitive theories, and reinforcement theories. In all cases, there must be a good understanding of the extensive research and theory that exist outside the domain of work in the basic psychological literature. At the second level, there must be an understanding of the research and theory in relevant domains of I-O psychology that represent general applications of one or more motivational perspectives (i.e., general strategies for work motivation such as goal setting, job design, incentive systems, and participation in decision making). Finally, there must be an awareness of very specific practices that adapt motivational constructs to specific cases. An example of the latter is the use of management-by-objectivesa combination of goal-setting principles with participation.

III.I. Attitude Theory

Attitudes, opinions, and beliefs are extremely important in organizational settings. They are important in their own right because of humanitarian concerns for the quality of working life of those who are employed in organizations. They are also important for diagnosing problems in organizations. Finally, they are important because they relate to the behavioral intentions and to the behavior of individuals at work. In particular, master's level I-O practitioners should be aware of the extensive literature on the determinants, consequences, and measurement of job satisfaction and related constructs such as involvement and commitment.

III.J. Small Group Theory and Process

Much of human activity in organizations takes place in the presence of other people. This is particularly true of work behavior. The pervasiveness of interpersonal relationships and task interdependencies in organizations demands that master's level I-O practitioners have a good understanding of the behavior of people in social groups. Such an understanding requires that they be familiar with research and theory related to interpersonal behavior in small groups. This body of theory and research draws from social psychology, organizational psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior. A suitable background in group theory involves an understanding of leadership and power, interpersonal influence, group effectiveness, conformity, conflict, role behavior, and group decision making.

III.K. Organization Theory

It is well accepted that the structure, function, processes, and other organizational level constructs have an impact upon the behavior of individuals in organizations. Therefore, it is necessary that master's level I-O practitioners have a good understanding of the nature of complex organizations. This understanding should include, but is not limited to, classical and contemporary theories of organizations, organizational structure, organizational design, technology, and the process of organizational policy formation and implementation.

III.L. Organizational Development

This domain encompasses theory and research about facilitating change in individuals, groups, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. This body of theory and research draws from such related fields as social psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, vocational psychology, engineering psychology, and organizational theory.

More specifically, this domain concerns theory and research related to: individual change strategies including training, socialization, attitude change, career planning, counseling, and behavior modification; interpersonal and group change strategies, including team building and group training, survey feedback, and conflict management; role or task oriented change strategies, including job redesign, role analysis, management by objectives, and temporary task forces; and organizational system directed change strategies, including survey feedback, open systems oriented change programs, human resource accounting, flexible working hours, structural changes, control system changes, sociotechnical systems and quality circles.

IV. ADDITIONAL INDUSTRIAL-ORGANIZATIONAL DOMAINS

IV. A. Career Development Theory

 

 

Theories and empirical research on career development are concerned with the interplay between individuals and environments and attempt to describe the nature of the patterns of positions held and resultant experiences during an individuals working life. Included in this domain are models and explanations of the origin and measurement of individual aptitudes and interests; how individual, social, chance, and environmental factors shape educational and training experiences; specific skill training and development; early work history, occupational choice, organizational/job choice and change; the sequence of jobs taken after organization entry, and preretirement planning.

Knowledge in this area would reflect an understanding of these interactional processes, developmental events and phenomena as they are considered both by the individual employee and from the perspective of the employing organization. Knowledge of how organizational practices such as recruitment, selection, job placement, training, performance appraisal, and career planning programs enhance or retard career development is also necessary.

IV. B. Human Performance/Human Factors

Human performance is the study of limitations and capabilities in human skilled behavior. Skill is broadly construed to include perceptual, motor, and cognitive activities, and the integration of these into more complex behavior. Emphasis is on the interaction of human behavior and the task environments, ranging from detection and identification of simple events to problem solving, decision making, and control of complex environments. Included among the variables that affect human performance are individual differences, organismic variables, task variables, environmental variables, and training variables.

 

 

Competency in this area assures awareness of issues of experimental design, some knowledge of computer programming, and quantitative modeling based on techniques from mathematical psychology, engineering, and computer science. Familiarity in the subject areas of basic experimental psychology is combined with an awareness of applied research in such areas as work station design, workload measurement, control systems, information display systems, and person-computer interactions.

IV. C. Consumer Behavior

The focus of this area is the systematic study of the relationship between the producers (and distributors) and actual or potential consumers of goods and services. This involves many of the following concerns: consumer preferences for product features, product testing, consumer attitudes and motivation, buying habits and patterns, brand preferences, media research (including the effectiveness of advertisements and commercials), packaging design and features, estimating demand for products or services, and the study of the economic expectations of people. There is a substantive or content basis to this domain because there is a body of theory and data amassed dealing with the antecedents and correlates of consumer behavior that can be learned. There is a skill component as well, since the area is built upon the appropriate application of a variety of social science research methodologies (e.g., sampling theory, questionnaire and survey protocol design and execution, individual and group interviewing, stimulus scaling, and mathematical model building).

 

 

IV. D. Compensation and Benefits

The reward system for employees can be critical to the success or failure of an organization, and is of intense interest to individual employees as well. Employee benefits comprise a substantial proportion of labor costs. Retirement plans, medical plans, family and parental leave, vacation time and alternative work schedules are but a few of the issues that an organization must address. This is an applied domain that incorporates many of the competencies identified above including job and task analysis, work motivation (e.g., equity and expectancy theory), attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction), and legal and regulatory contexts. In addition, there are specific methods or approaches to the design and implementation of a reward system that should be well understood (e.g., point system of job evaluation).

IV.E. Industrial and Labor Relations

The presence of a union, either formal or informal, in an organization strongly influences human resource management activities. Particularly relevant are the limitations imposed by seniority and job security rules, grievance and arbitration procedures, wage and benefit administration, and union versus management rights regarding job assignments, promotion, discipline, training, attendance, and termination. In addition, the role of unions in supporting system-wide organizational change is critical to the functions of employee and organizational development. Competency in this domain includes familiarity with major labor legislation and with contractual obligations that affect human resource policy implementation, as well as familiarity with labor contract administration processes, with the effects of union-management relationships on disciplinary systems, job and employee evaluation systems, recruitment, selection, placement and training systems, motivation and reward systems, and on processes for effecting organizational change.

TABLE 2

Curriculum Options Considered in the Guidelines

1. Formal course work is classroom instruction common to university settings in which material pertinent to the domains is covered. This method itself can involve a variety of different techniques including lectures, discussion, presentations, case analysis, experiential exercises, and so forth.

2. Independent reading/study is nonclassroom instruction in which the student, in consultation with qualified faculty, assumes responsibility for and commitment to the accomplishment of domain objectives. This method includes all forms of nonclassroom instruction for which self-initiated effort is of central concern and for which such effort can successfully result in the achievement of relevant domain objectives. Examples would include self-initiated effort through reading; generating appropriate review manuscripts, proposals or reports; designing and conducting a research investigation; and acquiring interactive computer skills.

3. Supervised experience (internships, practica) is nonclassroom instruction in which the student is actively engaged in projects under the direct supervision of qualified personnel. Such projects would be aimed at fulfilling specific training objectives mutually agreed to by the student, the supervisor, and program faculty with special emphasis given to the acquisition of skills. Participation would not be motivated primarily for compensation. This method will often be characterized by in vivo learning opportunities such that the student learns skills that will transfer to settings in which the student will eventually be working.

In all cases, however, there is meaningful professional supervision of the training experience. Although internship supervisors may not be I-O psychologists, their skill and knowledge base, job duties, scope of practice, and ethical principles should be congruent with those of I-O psychology. Students are also supervised by a faculty member who is an I-O psychologist. Examples would include practicum and internship experiences, field work teaching/training, thesis/dissertation research, and so forth.

4. On-the-job training is nonclassroom instruction in which capabilities are learned through hands on experience with applied tasks under the explicit guidance of a professionally qualified task expert. Such training is typically done in conjunction with ones job, and participation involves compensation. On-the-job training provides firsthand knowledge of how the skills and knowledge within the domains of I-O psychology can be used to address problems and allows for the opportunity to focus on solutions that will have an impact on the setting in which the student is working.

5. Modeling/observation is nonclassroom implicit instruction that is obtained as a result of studying under, working with, and paying attention to professionally qualified personnel in the daily conduct of their jobs and special projects. This method implies that learning of important skills might well be obtained without explicit instructional intent on the part of the model. On the other hand, modeling may also be done in a purposeful and self-conscious manner. Modeling/observation, because of its personal nature, cuts across several of the above training methods.

REFERENCES

 

American Psychological Association. (1977). Standards for providers of psychological services. Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (1981). Specialty guidelines for the delivery of services by Industrial-Organizational Psychologists. American Psychologist, 36, 664669.  

American Psychological Association. (1985). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: Author.  

American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Washington, DC: Author.  

Ekeberg, S., Switzer, F., & Siegfried, W. D. Jr. (1991, April). What do you do with a master's degree in I-O psychology? L. L. Koppes (Chair), I-O psychology master's level training: Reality in search of legitimacy. Symposium conducted at the sixth annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, St. Louis, MO.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (August 25, 1978). Uniform guidelines on employee selection. Federal Register, 43(166), 3829038315.

Koppes, L. L. (1991). I-O psychology master's-level training: Reality and legitimacy in search of recognition. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 29(2), 5967.

Lowe, R. H. (1993). Master's programs in industrial-organizational psychology: Current status and a call for action. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 24, 2734.

National Conference on Applied Master's Training in Psychology. (1990). Executive summary: Resolutions and standards on education and training for applied master's programs in psychology. (Available from Rosemary H. Lowe, Department of Psychology, The University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514).

Schippmann, J. S., Schmitt, S. D., & Hawthorne, S. L. (1992). I-O work roles: Ph.D. vs. master's level practitioners. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 29(4), 3539.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (1985). Guidelines for education and training at the doctoral level in industrial-organizational psychology. Arlington Heights, IL: Author.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (1992). Graduate training programs in industrial-organizational psychology and related fields. Arlington Heights, IL: Author.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (1987). Principles for the validation and use of personnel selection procedures (3rd. ed.). Arlington Heights, IL: Author. 

[1] Jan Cleveland (Committee Chair), Gordon Simerson (Subcommittee Chair), Ken Carson (Guidelines Editor), Laura Koppes, Bill Siegfried, Loraine Summers. Rosemary Lowe and Greg Dobbins (previous E&T Committee Chair) provided significant assistance to the subcommittee.

[2] A revised version was approved by the American Psychological Association in August 1999.  

 

 

American Psychological Association. (1977). Washington, DC: Author.  

American Psychological Association. (1977). Washington, DC: Author. 

The focus of this area is the systematic study of the relationship between the producers (and distributors) and actual or potential consumers of goods and services. This involves many of the following concerns: consumer preferences for product features, product testing, consumer attitudes and motivation, buying habits and patterns, brand preferences, media research (including the effectiveness of advertisements and commercials), packaging design and features, estimating demand for products or services, and the study of the economic expectations of people. There is a substantive or content basis to this domain because there is a body of theory and data amassed dealing with the antecedents and correlates of consumer behavior that can be learned. There is a skill component as well, since the area is built upon the appropriate application of a variety of social science research methodologies (e.g., sampling theory, questionnaire and survey protocol design and execution, individual and group interviewing, stimulus scaling, and mathematical model building).The reward system for employees can be critical to the success or failure of an organization, and is of intense interest to individual employees as well. Employee benefits comprise a substantial proportion of labor costs. Retirement plans, medical plans, family and parental leave, vacation time and alternative work schedules are but a few of the issues that an organization must address. This is an applied domain that incorporates many of the competencies identified above including job and task analysis, work motivation (e.g., equity and expectancy theory), attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction), and legal and regulatory contexts. In addition, there are specific methods or approaches to the design and implementation of a reward system that should be well understood (e.g., point system of job evaluation). 

If I-O students know how the discipline of psychology developed and evolved into its present configuration, then each generation will share the common bonds and language of the discipline. They will also possess a knowledge of the intellectual heritage of our field. Such common knowledge is important for the pragmatic functional role it plays in communication and in preventing frequent repetitions of the mistakes and dead ends of the past. Many historical schools and systems of psychology have a contemporary representative, either in a pure or a diluted form; a knowledge of the roots of these different theoretical positions is important. For example, many contemporary debates about theoretical perspectives appear dysfunctional when viewed against the background of historical developments in our field. A knowledge of our history enables us to appreciate these different approaches both for their unique contribution to psychology and for the alternatives they provide for an understanding of observable phenomena.Finally, an understanding of history and systems of psychology allows integration of I-O psychology into the broader discipline by tracing our roots back to American functionalism, radical behaviorism, views of Freud, Titchener, Tolman, Spearman, and Cattell and other perspectives that have shaped our thinking about psychology. As consumers of current and future psychological research, master's level I-O practitioners should understand the relationship of these findings to the broader discipline of psychology.  

The competencies presented in Table I are taken largely from the doctoral level guidelines. However, there are some significant dissimilarities. First, they are grouped into four major categories. These categories are meant to make some molar distinctions among the competencies. Category I competencies are those that any person who obtains a graduate degree in any field of psychology should possess (see also , 1990). Many students will acquire a substantial portion of this information in an undergraduate psychology program. Master's level I-O programs should ensure that their students have exposure to the broad field of psychology.Category II competencies relate to data collection and analysis. These competencies are important even to consumers of knowledge because they enable them to make informed judgments about new research. This training can be very useful to organizations in a variety of applications. Category III competencies are at the core of the I-O discipline. Ideally, these should receive substantial coverage by any program. However, of necessity an entire course may not be devoted to each of these in a variety of ways. Category IV competencies are beneficial, but are not at the core of the discipline. Many programs might find that other departments or colleges can provide the training for these competencies (e.g., consumer behavior in a marketing department). 

The competencies presented in Table I are taken largely from the doctoral level guidelines. However, there are some significant dissimilarities. First, they are grouped into four major categories. These categories are meant to make some molar distinctions among the competencies. Category I competencies are those that any person who obtains a graduate degree in any field of psychology should possess (see also , 1990). Many students will acquire a substantial portion of this information in an undergraduate psychology program. Master's level I-O programs should ensure that their students have exposure to the broad field of psychology.Category II competencies relate to data collection and analysis. These competencies are important even to consumers of knowledge because they enable them to make informed judgments about new research. This training can be very useful to organizations in a variety of applications. Category III competencies are at the core of the I-O discipline. Ideally, these should receive substantial coverage by any program. However, of necessity an entire course may not be devoted to each of these in a variety of ways. Category IV competencies are beneficial, but are not at the core of the discipline. Many programs might find that other departments or colleges can provide the training for these competencies (e.g., consumer behavior in a marketing department).

The following title is used in this document: master's level I-O practitioner. While it is descriptive, it is both unwieldy and, in some cases, misleading. A shorter title would be preferable (e.g., MBA), but the fact that many people are presently unfamiliar with the discipline of I-O psychology makes the use of a very short acronym inappropriate (e.g., MIOP). Further, some master's level graduates will work in research and/or educational settings, which makes the use of the word practitioner problematic. However, since most master's level graduates work in applied settings (Ekeberg, Switzer, & Siegfried, 1991; Schippmann et al., 1992), practitioner is often an appropriate term.

These guidelines have been written to aid faculty and curriculum planners in the design and change of master's level graduate programs in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. Master's level training in I-O psychology is widespread. Lowe (1993) identified 55 programs designed to award a master's degree in I-O psychology as a stand-alone degree, but she acknowledged that this was a conservative estimate. The large majority of these programs are not affiliated with a doctoral program (Koppes, 1991).   

These guidelines have been written to aid faculty and curriculum planners in the design and change of master's level graduate programs in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. Master's level training in I-O psychology is widespread. Lowe (1993) identified 55 programs designed to award a master's degree in I-O psychology as a stand-alone degree, but she acknowledged that this was a conservative estimate. The large majority of these programs are not affiliated with a doctoral program (Koppes, 1991).