The discipline of psychology is largely concerned with interpretation and analysis of human behavior. On the same note, organizational psychology also seeks to offer in-depth understanding of how organizations are affected by the available human resource. Nonetheless, this branch of psychology mainly relates human behavior within organization context. The initiative behind this analysis is to develop tools and techniques that are capable of eliciting the best behavior among employees.
Additionally, it is also worth to note that when employees exhibit desired organizational behavior, the success of impacted organizations is quite often guaranteed. It is also against this backdrop that organizational psychology has become a necessity especially during this era of globalization. The latter has elevated competition among organizations. Consequently, they are expected to improve their functionality in order to survive this cut-throat competition.
What is Organizational Psychology?
According to Jex and Britt (2008), organizational psychology is a branch of psychology that employs scientific techniques to study individual and group behavior within organizational set up. During this study, technical psychological principles are integrated with scientific research methods in order to analyze various factors that affect human behavior in organizations.
Moreover, this study seeks to expose elements that affect individual and group behavior negatively and consequently how this negativity impacts on productivity (Kevin, 2005). Similarly, organizational psychology aims at eliminating negative elements in human behavior in order to improve group performance, which is expected to translate to optimization in organizational output.
In practice, organizational psychology also explores whether groups perform better under formal or informal workplace environments (Kevin, 2005). The latter author presumes the fact that some of the principles of organizational psychology is what has compelled most technological organizations to adopt informal working environments as part of improving workforce performance.
This may be attributed to the fact that formal and informal organizations do embrace various procedures and bureaucracies while dealing with their workforce and subsequently, these elements might impact on employees’ behavior either positively or negatively (Jex & Britt, 2008). Therefore, organizational psychology seeks to identify bottlenecks that tend to attract negative workforce behavior and consequently inject changes to revert negative performance.
Evolution of the Field of Organizational Psychology
The historical evolution of organizational psychology can be attributed to various personalities. However, the mammoth contribution of Frederick Winslow Taylor at the beginning of 19th century had the most impact in development of its tenets (Jex & Britt, 2008).
Talyor came up with the idea of technical administration whereby he proposed participatory decision making between managers ands employees (Jex & Britt, 2008). At the initial stages, most organizational psychologists held the belief that economic incentives contributed very little towards employees’ performance since no amount of monetary payout can compensate the kind of input employees commit at workplace.
Furthermore, philosophical views by Max Weber were of great importance to the progression of organizational psychology (Jex & Britt, 2008). Weber perceived governance as bureaucratic and proposed that if workers knew what was expected of them, they would highly likely perform well than when their duties were dictated by bureaucratic managers (Jex & Britt, 2008).
On the same note, Weber introduced the element of scientific research to organizational psychology when he studied several organization features such as guidance and authority.
However, although numerous publications on the effect of employee motivation on organization performance came to be in the 1950s, it was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s when organizational psychology came to be established as a researchable field (Jex & Britt, 2008). Following this discovery, subsequent researches exposed a very interesting psychological aspect on the relationship between human behavior and job attitudes/ performance (Jex & Britt, 2008).
Consequently, researches also noted another important aspect that employees’ behavior within an organization are defined by both group and organization composition (Jex & Britt, 2008). These aspects have interested organizational psychology researchers up to date as they seek new discoveries aimed at modifying human behavior towards organizations success.
Compare and Contrast Organizational Psychology with at Least Two Related Disciplines
Organization psychology is closely related to the discipline of organizational behavior. The two fields exhibit some similarities if the variable under investigation has to do with employees’ behavior (Jex & Britt, 2008). Kevin (2005) underscores that the main concern in organizational behavior is to study relationship between human behavior and their organization.
Similarly, organization psychology seeks to expose the underlying elements of human behavior that impacts an organization either positively or negatively. The above notion implies that whenever these two disciplines carry out studies aimed at understanding how various elements of human behavior interact with organizational performance, then any disparity between the two is almost non-existent ((Jex & Britt, 2008).
However, the main disparity between them is evident in their definitions since organization behavior underpins close relationship to organization itself and not entirely on human behavior.
Additionally, whereas organizational psychology restricts itself to psychology in order to establish how organizational procedures and adjustments modifies human behavior, organization behavior extends beyond the borders of psychology and seeks answers from sociology, economics as well as anthropology in an attempt to understand how these factors affect organizational performance (Jex & Britt, 2008).
Secondly, organizational psychology can be likened to some elements of organizational socialization. The main concern of organization socialization is to study the orientation and initiation processes that a new employee goes through before they can be fully assimilated into an organizations’ culture (Kevin, 2005). Similarly, organization psychology seeks to understand how socialization process impacts on an employee’s behavior and subsequently whether that behavior elicits negative or positive organization outcome (Kevin, 2005).
Whenever an employee joins a new organization he/she ought to be orientated to understand the history, language, politics, goals and values as well as people within that organization. The above elements form the basis for organization socialization research since researchers seek to understand how newcomers override the above processes before they can become fully fledged members (Kevin, 2005).
Contrastingly, the most obvious disparity between these two disciplines is that whereas organizational socialization seeks to establish employee socialization process, organization psychology extends its analysis to establish how each process impact on human behavior in order to come up with the most effective process that has the least negative impact on organizational performance (Kevin, 2005).
The Role of Research and Statistics in the Field of Organizational Psychology
Generally, the discipline of psychology is informed via numerous research and statistical data. Apparently, without research, psychological issues would indefinitely remain as speculations because there would be no possibility of proving or disproving these formulated propositions.
Research and statistics, therefore, come in handy due the fact that research enables evidence gathering whereas statistics assist in the interpretation of this evidence (Jex & Britt, 2008). Similarly, organizational psychology would be incapacitated without research and statistics to advance its tenets (Jex & Britt, 2008).
The fact that this subdivision is more scientifically oriented implies that research and statistical interpretation of results is mandatory. Moreover, researchers in this discipline should opt for the most reliable scientific research methods to gather information in order to determine the most appropriate organizational intervention measures (Kevin, 2005).
Jex and Britt (2008) underscore that the main goal behind organizational psychology research is to identity the various elements that hinder positive organizational performance. By using statistics, organizational psychologist is able to compare various organizational trends and issues and in the process understand the most common trend across organizations (Kevin, 2005).
For instance, an organizational researcher might decide to carry out an insightful study into organizations that are deemed to be successful (Jex & Britt, 2008). The information gathered therein might then be used to design and implement organization policies for an organization whose performance is wanting.
Finally, research and statistics are significant since in case of organizational failures, current researchers are able to utilize statistics from prior researches to identify gaps that lead to this failure (Jex & Britt, 2008) .Correspondingly, statistical results are more authentic than assumptions. For instance, researchers can utilize various surveying techniques to measure employees’ competence and motivation factors instead of making an assumption that are likely to be biased (Kevin, 2005).
In a nutshell, although organizational psychology is the least popular in the wider field of psychology, it is quite significant in when operating organizations. Empirical research studies clearly indicate that human asset can either break or make an organization.
Therefore, organizational psychology is more than a necessity since by understanding how organizations elements impact on employees’ behavior; managers can modify management procedures and bureaucracies to promote performance. Indeed, human resources managers should work hand in hand with organizational psychologists in order to elicit the most productive behavior among employees.
Jex, S. M. & Britt, T. W. (2008). Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Kevin, M. (2005).Organizational Psychology and Development: A Reader for Students and Practitioners. Personnel Review, 34(4), 504 – 510.