The goal of GIT is to help more students learn about I-O Psychology in their Introductory Psychology courses (by adding the topic to textbooks).  For this blog post, I wanted to hear from a student that had this experience.  How can learning about I-O in Intro affect students’ academic careers and post-college plans?

Enter Isaac Lindquist, current I-O graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Isaac first learned about I-O back in his undergraduate Intro Psych class.  As you’ll see below, Isaac was originally a business major, but learned about I-O in his Intro Psych course and in it found a new way to work with businesses beyond what he was learning in his business courses.

Below is an interview I (Nick Salter) conducted with Isaac:

Nick:  What did you think of I-O Psychology when you first learned about it in your Intro Psyc class?  What were your first impressions?

Isaac: I was first actually a Business Administration student, but then added a Psychology major to better understand people for business purposes. When we first touched on it in my Intro to Psych class, I was impressed that there was an actual field concerning psychology in the workplace. I didn't fully understand it at first; it kind of went over my head. But then a former external consultant gave us a presentation on the topic and I felt like I was discovering a "hidden process" that people in the business world didn't really understand.

Nick: That's so interesting!  I think your perspective is exactly what I-O's hope for people to realize: that Psychology can offer a lot to the business world! 

Isaac: Businesses obviously understand that retaining employees and coaxing satisfactory work out of them is essential, but there's a tendency to view it from an overall operation perspective. When I learned about how social psychology can be applied in the workplace, I felt a "well duh!" moment in my head. There is science to base personnel and operation decisions on, but often businesses see it only from the perspective of a cost-benefit analysis, especially in the short-term. While understanding the bottom line and the capabilities of the organization is important, adding knowledge of I/O Psychology can create competitive advantages that businesses might not be aware are possible.

Nick: That makes sense - I get that.  Can you also tell me - you said that when you first learned about it in your Intro class, it "went over your head?"  How so?

Isaac: I think that it didn't click with me because of my perceptions of how businesses worked. I took psychology because I believed it would help me relate to people interpersonally--understand how they worked one-on-one, how to negotiate better. I didn't understand how applying social psychology theory could make a difference in an organization until the former consultant talked with us. To that point, I didn't realize the intricacies of businesses and how they could enact large-scale change on employees through policy or procedural changes.

Nick: That's neat that it shifted your expectations as to what Psychology can provide!  So now that you are a PhD student in I-O, what are your future career plans?

Isaac: Well, at this point, I am considered going into consulting work after I graduate, and that wouldn't have been an option without studying I/O Psychology. I still may go into a more traditional business roll such as management or human resources, in which case I feel like I have a leg up on my understanding of what makes people tick and how to properly capitalize and build on the abilities of a business's employees. I can help businesses understand human capital beyond CBA and financial numbers, incorporating the science of the mind into what businesses generally deem "best practices".

Nick: This sounds great.   I wish you the best in your future career endeavors and am glad I-O will be part of it!

What exactly is GIT?  Check out our first blog post explaining who we are!

Do you have any other thoughts on how SIOP members can be involved with GIT’s efforts?  We would love to hear from you!  If you have any questions, ideas, thoughts, or suggestions, please feel free to contact anyone from the task force!  This blog is maintained by Nick Salter

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