PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 1: Nature and Scope of Industrial Psychology

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4



Industrial psychology is that branch of psychology which delves into the study of human behaviour in industrial organisations. In Industrial psychology, researchers are interested in a broad range of topics related to the work environment, including the selection of the right person for a particular job, the influence of attitudes on job performance, and the ways people work together in groups.

Most of the personnel problems are essentially the problems of industrial psychology. For instance, during the employment process, the personnel department encounters with the problems of selection and placement arising out of individual differences. Many of the psychological studies in industry have been directed to test rating scales, interviews and similar techniques and devices for use in vocational selection.

Definition of Industrial Psychology

Psychology is the science of human mind or, in other words, it is the study of human behaviour. The application of the knowledge of psychology to the industrial situations is known as industrial psychology. Thus industrial psychology is the study of people at work in industry and in business. It is the study of their aptitudes and their qualifications for jobs.


C.S. George – “Industrial psychology is concerned with the entire spectrum of human behaviour.”


Ernest J. McCormick – “Industrial psychology is the study of human behaviour in the work related aspects of life and the application of knowledge of human behaviour to the minimization of human problems in this context.”


Thomas W. Harrell – “Industrial psychology may be defined as the study of people as individuals and in groups and of the relationship between individual and group”. Industrial psychology is primarily concerned with the behaviour of people at work. To be specific, it is the study of people as individuals and in groups and of the relationships between individuals and groups.


Blum and Naylor – “Industrial psychology is simply the applications or extension of psychological facts and principles to the problems concerning human relations in business and industry.” It is the study of human relations, mental health of the workers on the job and ways to help to gain good mental health for the workers who have become confused and upset. That means industrial psychology is the study of principles and practices that affect the behaviour of human beings. Industrial psychology is also concerned with physical aspect of work environment such as lighting, ventilation and temperature and their effect on the output and safety of the workers.


Smith defined industrial psychology as – “For the practical purposes industrial psychology may be defined as the study of conduct of those who exchange the work of their hands and brains for the means to live”.


To conclude we can say that:

“Industrial psychology is that branch of applied psychology that is concerned with efficient management of an industrial labour force and especially with problems encountered by workers in a mechanized environment.”

Key Pillars of Industrial Psychology

Various concepts and techniques of industrial psychology are based on the following key principles:-

1. Individual Differences

Individual differs in physical characteristics, intelligence, aptitudes, personality, skills, etc. Therefore, every person should be selected, trained and treated on the basis of the kind of person he is.

2. Causation of Human Behaviour

An individual does not just behave in one way or the other. It is the situation which stimulates him to behave in a particular manner. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the causes of behaviour before making an attempt to improve upon it.

3. Whole Person

The concept of whole person signifies that behaviour of a person at work can’t be studies in isolation. He has his background, emotions, sentiments and feelings which cannot be separated from the skills he is using on the job. His performance at work is influenced by his past and present environment.

4. Human Dignity

A person has emotions, sentiments and aspirations which have to be respected by the organization. He must be treated with respect and dignity. He can’t be treated like a machine or commodity which has no sensitivity at all.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of industrial psychology is to give the worker greater physical and mental ease at work. According to C.S. Myres, ‘The aim of industrial psychology is primarily not to obtain greater production or output but to give the worker greater ease at his work’. Keeping this in mind we can define aim of industrial psychology as: 

Industrial approach (Personal factors)

– Determining competencies

– Staffing with employees    

– Increasing competencies    

Organisational approach (Environmental factors)

– Motivating structure and culture

– Providing information

– providing safe and enjoyable work condition

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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