Organisational Psychology

Let’s have a look at a few areas of Organisation and Management that perhaps need a little explanation, or at least definition.

Organisational Psychology, Organisational Development, and Organisational Politics are phrases that crop up often in my postbag, with people asking for explanations.

I have taken these definitions from the workplace psychology website, (Link below)
so credit to them.


Industrial and Organizational (I/O) psychology is a field of psychology that studies people, work behavior (performance of tasks), and work settings to understand how behavior can be influenced, changed, and enhanced to benefit employees and organizations (Zedeck, 2011).

“Organization development is a system-wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of the strategies, structures, and processes that lead to organization effectiveness” (Cummings & Worley, 2009, pp. 1-2).

the link between industrial organizational psychology organization development and change-management

Organisational psychology

Organisational psychology is also known as Industrial psychology, occupational psychology, and work and organizational psychology. It is an applied discipline within psychology.

In the UK at least, ‘Occupational Psychologist’ is a protected title in law. This means it can only be used by people who are correctly accredited. You cannot just call yourself an ‘Occupational Psychologist’ in the way that people claim to be consultants or engineers, without being correctly accredited.

To be accredited or qualified as an Occupational Psychologist in the UK normally requires a postgraduate qualification, either a masters or doctorate.

The discipline looks at Human Resource issues, specifically at human behaviour in the workplace, although it is not always part of the HR department.

Its aim is to be instrumental in the effectiveness and profitability of the company, improve working experience and the organisational aspects of the company, and to get the best performance from employees, improving their job satisfaction.

It considers the individual employees, as well as the organisation, and the socio-economic framework

Practitioners may look at topics such as innovative selection methods, key workplace issues, the impact of technology, how work place stress can be reduced, mindfulness and wellbeing, culture, change.

They may be employed in-house, work as consultants, or be self-employed. They can work individually or in teams.

What does an occupational psychologist do?

This is a UK based career advice website, the information bulleted below is largely based on their site

Occupational Psychologist

Responsibilities can vary, but could include areas such as; –

  • interaction between human and machine
  • work environment design
  • assessment and selection of staff
  • performance appraisal management
  • career development advice and guidance
  • counselling
  • personal development advice and guidance
  • analysing the training needs of employees, identifying skills gaps training
  • designing, developing and delivering training and development programmes
  • employee relations
  • motivation
  • organisational development
  • change management

Examples of the areas of work you could be involved in include; –

  • assessing the usability and functionality of a computer system, or workstation.
  • investigating problems or accidents attributed to badly designed human and machine interfaces
    reviewing the ergonomic design of a workplace, considering lighting, noise levels, furniture.
  • input into the design of equipment, such as vehicles, workspaces. Liaising with designers and engineers
  • developing, and implementing employee selection procedures, including psychometric tests, assessment centre exercises and structured interviews and innovative methods.
  • developing talent management processes, so companies can identify and develop their high-potential staff
  • personal coaching and career development
  • conflict mediation

So that concludes our look at Organisational psychology and the role of occupational psychologists.In the next session we will look at Organisational Development and Change Management