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Saxena -

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American Psychological Association's Psych Learning Curve


Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology—what a mouthful! The field originally focused on the prediction and improvement of job performance in industrial and military settings, but after World War II interests in broader organizational phenomena (e.g., leadership, groups, motivation, satisfaction) came into frame. Before APA Division 14 incorporated as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in 1982, it was called Division 14, Industrial and Business Psychology from 1945 to 1962. In 1962, “Business” was dropped from the name, and in 1973 “Organizational” was added to the name.

Considering the field’s historical focus and Division 14’s former names, it isn’t surprising that traditionally I-O psychology has catered primarily to employer-centric interests. However, the eventual addition of “organizational” to Division 14’s name not only reflected a growing curiosity about broader organizational phenomena, but also acknowledged the emergence of a more humanistic I-O psychology. These leanings were influenced by the 20th-century human relations movement, which drew heavily from the work of humanistic psychologists, like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, who were not I-O psychologists. For several decades, I-O psychology has shown its capacity for advancing humanistic ideals and helping improve society at large.


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This is an article published by the American Psychological Association's Psych Learning Curve.

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