PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 1: Nature and Scope of Industrial Psychology

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Role / Scope of Industrial Psychology

The aim of industrial psychology is to give the worker greater physical and mental ease at work. To achieve the aim of industrial psychology, the work of the psychologist in industry can be described as follows:

  1. To investigate in an unbiased manner the ways in which psychological problems are handled at present.
  2. To develop new methods and to modify the methods which have been tried out and evaluated.
  3. To formulate certain principles that will help in the solution of human relation problems.
  4. The scope of industrial psychology is research rather than administration. The scope of industrial psychology is limited to material and social environment to which an individual adapts him-self while he is at work and by which his attitude is modified. 

Thus, the role / scope of industrial psychologist can be further divided into 3 major groups and their sub groups as follows:

Personnel Psychology

1. Job Analysis

A process of collecting information about various components of a job such as duties, condition of work, individual qualifications of the worker.

2. Recruitment

A process of attracting, screening and selecting qualified people. Personnel recruitment is the process of identifying qualified candidates in the workforce and getting them to apply for jobs within an organization. Personnel recruitment processes include developing job announcements, placing ads, defining key qualifications for applicants, and screening out unqualified applicants.

3. Selection

Picking applicants from a pool of job applicants, who have the appropriate qualifications and competency to do the job. Personnel selection is the systematic process of hiring and promoting personnel. Personnel selection involves both the newly hired and individuals who can be promoted from within the organization. Common selection tools include ability tests (e.g., cognitive, physical, or psycho-motor), knowledge tests, personality tests, structured interviews, the systematic collection of biographical data, and work samples. 

4. Employee Performance Appraisal and Determination of Salaries

Performance appraisal is a process of obtaining, analyzing and recording information about the relative worth of an employee. Performance appraisal or performance evaluation is the process of measuring an individual’s or a group’s work behaviors and outcomes against the expectations of the job. Performance appraisal is frequently used in promotion and compensation decisions, to help design and validate personnel selection procedures, and for performance management. Performance management may also include documenting and tracking performance information for organization-level evaluation purposes.

5. Training and Development of Employees

Training is an attempt to improve a current or future employees’ performance by increasing the employee’s ability to perform through learning. Training is the systematic acquisition of skills, concepts, or attitudes that results in improved performance in another environment. Training can be beneficial for the organization and for employees in terms of increasing their value to their organization as well as their employability in the broader marketplace. Many organizations are using training and development as a way to attract and retain their most successful employees.

Organizational Psychology

1. Leadership

A process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. It is a process of influencing others to agree on a shared purpose, and to work towards shared objectives. Leaders typically focus on inspiring followers and creating a shared organizational culture and values, deal with initiating and adapting to change. And undertake the tasks of setting a direction or vision, aligning people to shared goals, communicating, and motivating.

2. Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is the amount of contentment (or lack of it) arising from the interplay of the employee’s positive and negative feelings towards his/ her job. It reflects an employee’s overall assessment of their job, particularly their emotions, behaviours, and attitudes about their work experience. Job satisfaction has been linked to important job outcomes including attitudinal variables, absenteeism, employee turnover, and job performance. A 2010 meta-analyses found positive relationships between job satisfaction and life satisfaction, happiness, positive effect, and the absence of negative effect.

3. Employee Motivation

Motivation is a driving force that propels people to action and continues them to action. It is the process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goal. Industrial psychology probes into human behaviour at work to determine the condition in which a worker feels motivated and works willingly and whole heartedly to maximise productivity.

4. Conflict Management

Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment. Learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of non-productive escalation.

5. Organizational Culture

Organizational culture can be described as a set of assumptions shared by the individuals in an organization that directs interpretation and action by defining appropriate behavior for various situations. There are three levels of organizational culture: artifacts, shared values, and basic beliefs and assumptions. Artifacts comprise the physical components of the organization that relay cultural meaning. Shared values are individuals’ preferences regarding certain aspects of the organization’s culture (e.g., loyalty, customer service). Basic beliefs and assumptions include individuals’ impressions about the trustworthiness and supportiveness of an organization, and are often deeply ingrained within the organization’s culture. Organizational culture has been shown to have an impact on important organizational outcomes such as performance, attraction, recruitment, retention, employee satisfaction, and employee well-being. 

6. Group Dynamics

The system of getting people in a company or institution to work together effectively. The idea behind it is that a group of people working together can achieve much more than if the individuals of the team were working on their own.

Human Factor / Ergonomics

1. Fatigue and Boredom

Fatigue is commonly used to denote a decrease in the capacity or efficiency of a person to do the work because of previous work. It affects the worker’s muscles, nerves and mind. Boredom is a mental state resulting from the continuous performance of a repetitive and uninteresting activity.

2. Stress

Physical and psychosocial working conditions (termed stressors) that can elicit negative responses (termed strains) from employees. Stress refers to an individual’s reaction to a disturbing factor in the environment. It can lead to physiological discomfort, some kind of emotional unhappiness and strained relationships with other people.

3. Accident and Safety

An industrial accident is an unexpected occurrence in an industrial establishment causing bodily injury to one or more persons. Meaning of safety at industries can be understood as the fulfilment of the following conditions: zero accidents, freedom from danger or risks, attitude change towards unsafe acts and conditions by employees and process of hazard identification and safety management.

4. Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job. A field that combines engineering and psychology and that focuses on understanding and enhancing the safety and efficiency of the human–machine interaction. Applying ergonomics to the workplace can: 

  • Reduce the potential for accidents; 
  • Reduce the potential for injury and ill health;
  • Improve performance and productivity.

Taking account of ergonomics and human factors can reduce the likelihood of an accident. Sample activities in this subfield have included designing the optimal way to draw a map, designing the most comfortable chair, and investigating the optimal work schedule etc.

In summary it would appear that psychologist employed by an industrial organisation is likely to find himself required to tackle nearly any problem involving people.

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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