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Has Industrial-Organizational Psychology Lost Its Way?

By: Deniz S. Ones, Robert B. Kaiser, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, and Cicek Svensson

Work is important. It’s how society gets things done, largely through organizations – commercial enterprises, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and more (Hogan & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2013). It’s where people spend much of their lives and establish a big part of their sense of self. Work groups provide social identities, hierarchies provide status, and difficult work problems provide a chance to be creative and innovate. More than any other discipline, industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology is focused on better understanding and improving this important aspect of life.

There is no need to catalogue the historical contributions of I-O psychology—a high-level reminder of a few things like enhancing organizational and individual effectiveness, improving working conditions and enriching jobs, and promoting justice in the workplace more than makes the point. I-O psychology is probably more relevant than ever to work lives, organizations, and society at large. But there is a problem: We see the field losing its way, in danger of becoming less relevant and giving up ground to other professions with less expertise about people at work—but perhaps better marketing savvy and business acumen.Continue reading in the Spring 2017 issue of TIP!

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