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What is Industrial/Organisational (I/O)

The study of behaviour in work settings and the application of psychology principles to change work behaviour.


OP Topics include:

-Recruitment and Selection
 Training
 Measurement of employee job performance
 Motivation to work
 Job satisfaction and job stress
 Group processes in the workplace
 Conditions of work


Walter Dill Scott

The Beginnings (Early 20th Century)
 First to apply psychology to advertising, employee
selection, and management issues
 Wrote The Theory and Practice of Advertising (1903)
 Formed first consulting company in industrial


Hugo Munsterburg

Advocated the use of psychological tests in selection


How did WW1 and the testing movement impact the history of organisational psychology?

U.S. Army commissioned psychologists to
devise intelligence tests for the placement of
Army recruits. Developed two tests:
 Alpha Army: For recruits who could read and write
 Beta Army: For recruits who could not read
• After the war, the tests were adapted for
civilian use and new ones were designed for a
variety of situations


How did The Hawthorne Studies and Motivational Issues impact the history of organisational psychology?

• In 1927, management wanted to boost
productivity in the Hawthorne plant of
Western Electric Company
• Put workers in test rooms and increased
illumination levels for some workers but not
• Results: Productivity increased in both rooms
• Made other changes (e.g., more rest periods,
free lunch etc.)
• Results: Productivity levels always increased!


Hawthorne Effect

The classic Hawthorne
studies apparently showed that worker
productivity was increased by the attention
paid to the workers (Mayo, 1933)


Human relations movement

Emphasises the importance of social factors in influencing work performance.
• BUT recent research has debunked the classic
Hawthorne studies (Kompier, 2006).


How did WW2 impact the history of organisational psychology?

Psychologists called to improve selection and
placement of military personnel
• The need for state-of-the-art machinery, and
the increase in complexity of that machinery,
sparked the development of human factors


Later Developments in Organisational Psychology

• Explosive growth in field paralleled the growth
in U.S. business and technical enterprise
• New technologies meant that employees
needed enhanced and redesigned training
• Organisational issues also assumed greater
importance (e.g., human relations skills)


What is a Job Analysis?

The procedure for determining
the duties and skill requirements of a job and
the kind of person who should be hired for it.
• The information obtained is then used for
developing job descriptions (a list of what the
job entails) and job specifications (a list of a
job’s human requirements, or what kind of
people to hire for the job).


Why Conduct a Job Analysis?

• The criteria from a job analysis become the basis for:
–Generation of job descriptions
–Specification of worker characteristics
–Hiring employees (e.g., test selection)
–Performance appraisal and promotion
–Job classification
–Job evaluation
–Vocational counselling
–Job design and redesign
–Ergonomic interventions
–Worker safety
–Staffing planning
–Research criteria
–Training employees
–Legal requirements*


Main Steps in a Job Analysis Project

1. Identify purpose
2. Who to include*
3. What methods to choose*
4. Communicate the project
5. Collect all relevant materials
6. Analyse the job
7. Write up and integrate the data
8. Review
9. Feedback outcomes


Sources of Job Information

• Subject Matter Experts (SME, i.e., person
who has direct, up-to-date experience with the
job for a long enough time to be familiar with
all of its tasks)
1. The job incumbent
2. The supervisor
3. Trained job analyst
• In general, incumbents and supervisors are the
best sources of descriptive job information, and
job analysts are better qualified for
comparisons among a set of jobs


Methods to Collect Job Analysis Information

1. Review written materials
2. Standardised measures
3. Job participation
4. Interviews
5. Job diaries/Activity logs
6. Observations*
7. Survey questionnaires*
8. Focus groups*
Multiple methods are preferred, but select the
most appropriate for the purpose


1. Review Written Materials

• E.g., previous job descriptions, O*NET
• Existing data should always be checked to
make sure that it conforms to the job as it
is currently performed and also to ensure
that it accounts for the inclusion of new
technology in the job


2. Standardised Measures

• E.g., Position Analysis Questionnaire
(PAQ): A structured questionnaire that
analyses various jobs in terms of 187 job
elements that are arranged into six
 Information input
 Mental processes
 Work output
 Relationships with other persons
 Job context
 Other job characteristics


3. Job Participation

• A job analyst actually performs a particular
job or job operation to get a firsthand
understanding of how the job is performed


4. Interviews

• Ask SMEs about: the major duties of the
position; the education, experience and skill
required; the physical and mental demands etc.
• Accounts may be biased, so job analysts may
want to interview the job incumbent, the
incumbent's supervisor, the incumbents’
subordinates, and other people with same job.


5. Job Diaries/Activity Logs

• Job incumbents record their daily activities in a
• Provides a detailed, hour-by-hour, day-by-day
account of the worker’s job.
• But can be quite time consuming for the job
incumbent and analyst


Case Study Example
Frontline Police Officer Job Analysis

• Purpose: to identify the “inherent requirements”
of frontline policing
• Inherent requirements must be:
 Actually performed on the job
 Universally required of all employees in that
 A fundamental part of the job
• When defending a claim, employers must draw
on objective and current evidence regarding
essential aspects of the role


Case Study Methodology

Job analysis
• Observations
• Survey
• Focus groups


Job Analysis: Observations

• To validate previous police job descriptions
• To enable the researchers to better understand
the nature of the job
• Almost 300 hours spent observing 36 frontline
police officers (9 female, 27 male) from rural
and metropolitan areas


Observation strengths & weaknesses

• Provides detailed information about job
• Observer can learn about culture and jargon
• Costly and time consuming to get large
sample size
• Time sampling– amount of time and
frequency of sampling
• Observed participants may behave differently
• Observer’s may not be able to determine
what was required to undertake task
• Critical/infrequent tasks not observed


Job Analysis: Survey

• To address the considerations of the
observations study
• To survey the frequency and importance of
several abilities for police officers
• 1000 questionnaires were distributed to 13
• 268 police officers completed and returned
the questionnaires (185 male, 66 female)
• 13 participants excluded using validity
screening questions


Survey strengths & weaknesses

• Large, representative sample easier to obtain
• Can inform about infrequent events
• Anonymous
• Response biases of self-report measure
• Does not allow for qualitative assessment
•Information obtained is limited by the
questions asked. Cannot probe deeper


Job Analysis: Focus Groups

• To obtain a more qualitative assessment of
frontline officer’s own perceptions of the
skills and abilities required
• To qualify information gained from the
questionnaire study
• Groups of 5-8 police officers from 5 different
regions participated in the study


Focus Groups strengths & weaknesses

• Allowed for open-ended feedback from
• Subjective information enhanced
understanding of survey findings
• Small sample size
• Influence of researchers or senior officers


Job Analysis: Police Findings

• Key characteristics often include: honesty,
reliability, sensitivity, communication
skills, motivation, problem solving skills,
and team work (e.g., Pozzulo, Bennell, & Forth, 2009)


Job Analysis Issues

• Jobs change over time, so job analyses
should be conducted on a periodic basis
• The concept of a ‘job’ has been changing over
the past few years. Organisations need to be
flexible and responsive to compete in the
global environment. Thus, jobs are less well defined
now and tend not to have a clearly
delineated set of responsibilities.