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Industrial psychology is the field of psychology dedicated to understanding and managing employment and organizational relationships. Industrial psychologists may work directly for a business in an advisory role, provide counseling to employees, or offer businesses tips on finding and hiring the right employees. No matter their specific role, industrial psychologists can have a positive impact on a company's productivity and employee morale.
Implementing New Policies
Industrial psychologists can use their knowledge of human psychology and organizational relationships to help companies implement new policies that promote a better work environment. For example, new businesses may use industrial psychologists to help them devise strategies to identify which employee characteristics are needed to fill a particular job. Established businesses may contract with psychologists to remedy a specific problem, such as high turnover, or to help their employees navigate a major transition, such as a change to new management.
Improving Productivity and Job Satisfaction
According to a 2014 industrial psychology study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, people work harder when they are happier. Industrial psychologists can help employers tackle challenges with employee productivity by offering solutions that improve workers' mental health. For example, they might provide a consultation on the most effective management styles for a particular type of employee or how to help employees navigate work-family conflicts.
Navigating Career Changes
Industrial psychologists can provide one-on-one counseling to individuals who need help navigating career changes or adapting to a change in the workplace. For example, an industrial psychologist might help a new father struggling to return to work after the birth of his child. Likewise, an industrial psychologist might provide counseling to a recently fired employee, to an employee planning a career change, or to an intern seeking guidance on the career he should pursue.
Boosting Workplace Cooperation
Employers frequently implement team-building exercises, and industrial psychologists can maximize the effectiveness of these activities. Psychologists can advise employers on how to foster more cooperation and respect between workers, and help devise policies that make workplaces more cohesive and friendly. When there is a specific challenge -- such as workplace bullying -- industrial psychologists may talk to all parties to determine a mutually agreeable solution.
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- Warwick: New Study Shows We Work Harder When We Are Happy
- Georgia Institute of Technology: Industrial and Organizational Psychology at GT
- United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics: Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
- Edward Professional Advisors: Why Is Industrial-Organizational Psychology Important?
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.