January 2016


Volume 53     Number 3    January 2016      Editor: Morrie Mullins

/ Categories: 533

Who Started When: Origins of I-O Related Companies

Logan J. Michels, Courtney C. Gear, Daniel Sachau, and Dick Olson

Who Started When: Origins of I-O Related Companies

 Logan J. Michels, Courtney C. Gear, Daniel Sachau, 

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Dick Olson

 Olson Consulting


In our final installment of the Who Bought Who series (Who Bought Who, April 2015, and Who Bought Who II, July 2015), we take a look at the years in which today’s prominent I-O firms began. The histogram summarizes the historical trends of I-O firms listed in the SIOP member list as of fall 2014. We examined a combination of company websites, LinkedIn profiles, and SEC filings to determine start dates for each of the organizations. 

The number of I-O start-ups increased for decades and peaked between the years of 1985 to 2005, then began to decline thereafter. This trend complements our previous findings that mergers and acquisitions grew during this period. Thus, the field is moving towards a smaller number of large firms, which may be influenced by the political climate and economic conditions. This makes us wonder if the rise of the large firms may put a damper on startup growth because it may be harder to compete with one-stop shops. A final observation is that the growth of I-O offerings in traditionally non-I-O firms may be due to the recognition of the value of I-O psychology. 

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