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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
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”.

providing safe and enjoyable work condition Role / Scope of Industrial Psychology The aim of industrial psychology is to give the worker greater physical and mental ease at work.providing information . etc. aptitudes. Individual Differences: Individual differs in physical characteristics.Staffing with employees . the work of the psychologist in industry can be described as follows: i.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. personality. sentiments and feelings which cannot be separated from the skills he is using on the job. every person should be selected. To achieve the aim of industrial psychology. His performance at work is influenced by his past and present environment. To formulate certain principles that will help in the solution of human relation problems 2 . To investigate in an unbiased manner the ways in which psychological problems are handled at present ii. sentiments and aspirations which have to be respected by the organization.motivating structure and culture . Therefore. Whole Person: The concept of whole person signifies that behaviour of a person at work can’t be studies in isolation. it is necessary to understand the causes of behaviour before making an attempt to improve upon it.” Key Pillars of Industrial Psychology Various concepts and techniques of industrial psychology are based on the following key principles:1. He can’t be treated like a machine or commodity which has no sensitivity at all. trained and treated on the basis of the kind of person he is. intelligence. Human Dignity: A person has emotions. 4. Keeping this in mind we can define aim of industrial psychology as: Industrial approach (Personal factors) . To develop new methods and to modify the methods which have been tried out and evaluated iii. It is the situation which stimulates him to behave in a particular manner. 2. He must be treated with respect and dignity. Myres. skills. ‘The aim of industrial psychology is primarily not to obtain greater production or output but to give the worker greater ease at his work’. He has his background. 3. Causation of Human Behaviour: An individual does not just behave in one way or the other.Determining competencies . emotions. Aim and Objectives The aim of industrial psychology is to give the worker greater physical and mental ease at work.Increasing competencies Organisational approach (Environmental factors) . According to C.S. Therefore.

5. Job Analysis: A process of collecting information about various components of a job such as duties. The scope of industrial psychology is research rather than administration.. And undertake the tasks of setting a direction or vision. Thus. 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. 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. structured interviews. and screening out unqualified applicants. and to work towards shared objectives. knowledge tests. the systematic collection of biographical data. or attitudes that results in improved performance in another environment.g. cognitive. Performance management may also include documenting and tracking performance information for organization-level evaluation purposes. Organisational Psychology 1. 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. Personnel recruitment processes include developing job announcements. Personnel recruitment is the process of identifying qualified candidates in the workforce and getting them to apply for jobs within an organization. Leaders typically focus on inspiring followers and creating a shared organizational culture and values. placing ads. deal with initiating and adapting to change. or psycho-motor). individual qualifications of the worker. 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. and work samples. Recruitment: A process of attracting. 2. to help design and validate personnel selection procedures. and for performance management.iv. who have the appropriate qualifications and competency to do the job. physical. Common selection tools include ability tests (e. 3 . communicating. screening and selecting qualified people. It is a process of influencing others to agree on a shared purpose. Personnel selection is the systematic process of hiring and promoting personnel. and motivating. Personnel selection involves both the newly hired and individuals who can be promoted from within the organization. 3. 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. defining key qualifications for applicants. concepts. Selection: Picking applicants from a pool of job applicants. condition of work. Training is the systematic acquisition of skills. 4. Employee Performance Appraisal and Determination of Salaries: Performance appraisal is a process of obtaining. analysing and recording information about the relative worth of an employee. Performance appraisal is frequently used in promotion and compensation decisions. aligning people to shared goals. the role / scope of industrial psychologist can be further divided into 3 major groups and their sub groups as follows: Personnel Psychology 1. personality tests. Many organizations are using training and development as a way to attract and retain their most successful employees.

3. absenteeism. 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. nerves and mind. Boredom is a mental state resulting from the continuous performance of a repetitive and uninteresting activity. There are three levels of organizational culture: artifacts. positive effect. Human Factor / Ergonomics 1. 4. It reflects an employee's overall assessment of their job. Stress: Physical and psychosocial working conditions (termed stressors) that can elicit negative responses (termed strains) from employees. ideas.g. employee satisfaction. and employee well-being. Learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of non-productive escalation. Group Dynamics: The system of getting people in a company or institution to work together effectively. behaviours. attraction. self-awareness about conflict modes. 4 . Stress refers to an individual’s reaction to a disturbing factor in the environment. freedom from danger or risks. A 2010 meta-analyses found positive relationships between job satisfaction and life satisfaction.2. particularly their emotions. and job performance. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution. Organisational 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. happiness. or goals. Meaning of safety at industries can be understood as the fulfilment of the following conditions: zero accidents. 6. and basic beliefs and assumptions. and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment. 2. 5. Conflict Management: Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs. It can lead to physiological discomfort. conflict communication skills. customer service). 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. Artifacts comprise the physical components of the organization that relay cultural meaning. employee turnover. loyalty. shared values. and the absence of negative effect. beliefs. some kind of emotional unhappiness and strained relationships with other people. 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.. attitude change towards unsafe acts and conditions by employees and process of hazard identification and safety management. Job satisfaction has been linked to important job outcomes including attitudinal variables. retention. recruitment. and attitudes about their work experience. values. It affects the worker’s muscles. Shared values are individuals' preferences regarding certain aspects of the organization's culture (e. Accident and Safety: An industrial accident is an unexpected occurrence in an industrial establishment causing bodily injury to one or more persons. and are often deeply ingrained within the organization's culture. 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. Organizational culture has been shown to have an impact on important organizational outcomes such as performance. Basic beliefs and assumptions include individuals' impressions about the trustworthiness and supportiveness of an organization. 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.

It is also necessary where the man on the job does not fell rightly placed. degree of supervision. etc. experience. safety. These tests help in choosing right type of people for the organisation. higher productivity of employees and higher job satisfaction among the employees. learning theory. attitude measurement. Designing Training and Development Programme: The psychologist help in determining the training needs of employees and designing the training programmes which can deliver good results.” It emphasised the use of psychology in the field of personnel testing. interest test. Munstreberg developed an extremely active interest in seeking out ways in which psychology could be applied to the problems in industry. and for the development of executives. • Improve performance and productivity. there will be lower rate of labour turnover. sensitivity training. aptitude test. Burtt. Performance Appraisal: The results of performance appraisal are more reliable and they can be used for certain important personnel decisions like promotion. 6. counselling. Motivation of Personnel: Industrial psychology probes into behaviour of people at work to determine the conditions in which an individual feels motivated and is willing to work wholeheartedly to maximize his productivity. Employment Testing: Modern industrial concerns use many psychological tests like intelligence test. dexterity test. 3. degree of risk. 5. Job Evaluation: Job evaluation helps in designing a rotational wage structure within an organisation. 2. If these tests are properly applied. etc. A field that combines engineering and psychology and that focuses on understanding and enhancing the safety and efficiency of the human–machine interaction. Hepner and Munstreberg made significant contributions to the field of industrial psychology. Counselling: Counselling can be done when the individual register himself with an employment exchange. 4. Important job factors like education. role playing etc. The knowledge of industrial psychology can be applied in the following areas: 1.4. etc. job analysis and human engineering. Applying ergonomics to the workplace can: • reduce the potential for accidents. training. designing the most comfortable chair. Sometime workers have personal problems for which they require counselling by the experts. 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. Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker. training and monotony study. Sample activities in this subfield have included designing the optimal way to draw a map. The important techniques include teaching machine. personality test. are considered to evaluate different jobs and determine their relative worth. Applications Applications of Industrial Psychology The importance of industrial psychology would be reflected in what it does for the industrial concerns. training. and investigating the optimal work schedule etc. • reduce the potential for injury and ill health. rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job. Industrial psychology introduced “matching of employees to jobs. Taking account of ergonomics and human factors can reduce the likelihood of an accident. A number of psychologists such as Poffenberger. 5 . interviewing. programmed learning. for different jobs requiring different skills and abilities.

2. Improvement of Morale: It can go into the causes of low morale of employees and can determine the factors influencing the relationship between attitudes of employees and their performance. reduce machine breakdowns. and training time to workers to minimise accidents and to introduce better performance and job satisfaction. to get the greater efficiency of man-machine system. Since industrial psychology is concerned with the research and procurement of vital information out of that research for causes and effects of human behaviour. improve the product for the comfort of the users and increases the sale of product and satisfaction of customers. 5. The data provided by industrial psychology is essential for the design engineers to design the proper machine and equipment. 8. by the plant engineers will also be planned to prevent employee fatigue and to heighten his productive efficiency. etc. tools. The finer aspects of counselling principles in industrial psychology can often greatly help to plant and safety engineers to prevent accidents and ensure the plant as “safety zone”. It helps to improve the design. noise control etc.7. The knowledge and techniques of motivation provided by industrial psychology helps the engineer to get the work done through the efforts of the worker without much hardship. 6 . 7. The study of lighting system. Human Engineering: Human engineering is concerned with the designing and laying out the equipment in order to get the greater efficiency of man machine system. 6. Specific Areas of Concern • Recruiting and selecting employees for jobs • Training employees • Assessing performance • Defining and analyzing jobs • Determining people feel about work • Determining why people act as they do at work • Effects work has on people • Effects people have on one another • How organizations are structured and function • Designing work • Designing tools and equipment • Employee Health and Safety Importance for Engineering 1. Since the physical aspect of the work environment have great influence on the output and safety of worker’s. 4. The principles of ergonomics or human engineering which is the part of industrial psychology concerned with the study of relationship of the worker and his job can help the design engineer or an architectural engineer to design equipment. the engineers by properly manipulating this aspect can greatly improve the output of the employees as plant engineers and also avoid accidents as safety engineers 3. ventilation. wastages of raw materials. solving human related problems that occurs in plant situation is easy for the plant engineers. furniture and work places with the object of fitting their design and characteristics to workers needs.

Considerable attention was focussed on various human relations and social problems of industry during the later part of 1940's and in the 1950's. Also developed were selection programs for officers. job satisfaction. In the 7 . and England soon after. Society occupational psychology and ergonomics are two journals. condition of work. “The Psychology of Industrial Efficiency”. Ergonomics society. 1901. accident and safety measures and other work related matters. contributed to the development of industrial psychology in a major way. employees' interaction with others. During the war years. that was the evening that Dr. leadership. although it began in America in 1901. Problems related to supervision. As in World War I. started in 1927 by the famous Hawthorne group. During the First and Second World War when various industrial organizations and plants faced a number of problems related to production. efficiency and individual employees. The first book. importance of communication and other associated areas were investigated. the applied psychology research unit of the Medical Research Council of Great Britain carried out several researches and investigations to solve many industrial and organizational problems. group dynamics. Journal of applied psychology made its appearance and at the same time it introduced as a subject of applied psychology. it was the huge psychological contribution to the war efforts which proved to so many people that applied psychology has important and practical contributions to offer. In 1925. the help of industrial psychologist are in great demand. 20. the Fatigue Research Board was organized in Great Britain to discover the problems connected with working hours. In 1917. Without much question World War II was a major factor in growth of psychology in industry. it was British counterpart of human factor. problems associated with fatigue and monotony/boredom. morale. At this stage. it was associated with the American group of applied psychology with interest in human engineering problem. Walter Dill Scott. Human factor society. employees attitude. written by Hugo Munsterberg in 1913 was dealing with various problems faced by the industries and analysis of such problem from the psychological point of view. communication process and others. industrial psychology received a special status. great emphasis was placed upon the development of tests for selecting and classifying recruits. interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. The classical studies. Although the American Association of Applied Psychology was formed in 1937 as the official organisation of industrial psychology (it later became Division 14 of the APA). theories of motivations. During the Second World War. from the work-oriented attitude to a workers-oriented attitude. social psychology of industry entered into the arena of industrial psychology therefore. Their finding ultimately changed the trends and approach of industrial psychology from economic to social.Historical Development of Industrial Psychology Bryan & Harter (1897) published a first paper describing the study and application of psychology to work activities (Morse code telegraphic) coined the term “industrial psychology” by mistake. various training programs of specialized types and job analysis and performance evaluation techniques. Industrial psychology may have gotten its start on December. a psychologist at Northwestern University gave an address discussing the potential application of psychological principles to the field of advertising.

supervisors. then the result is strikes and lockouts which have a widespread impact upon the economy of the nation. economical. special emphasis was given to the organizational inputs in the industrial situation. Psychology 1 Psychology pertains to the study of the human mind 2 Psychology can be said to be a science that deals with individual mental behaviour 3 Psychology deals with individuals or small groups 4 Psychology deals with human emotions 5 Psychology can be termed as an experimental process 8 Sociology Sociology pertains to learning human behaviour Sociology is a science that deals with the origin and development of the human society Sociology deals with a larger group or the society itself Sociology deals with the interaction of people Whereas sociology as an observational process .beginning of the 1960's organizational psychology began to enter the area of industrial psychology and as such. it got special recognition from Indian psychologists. their behaviour will be influenced by their relationships. Though industrial psychology was a neglected branch of applied psychology in India. Industrial sociology studies problems concerning human relations in industry from the sociological point of view. after the Second World War and particularly after Independence. S. educational and other spheres. Psychology is a normative science of behaviour which can be observed in the social. this particular field of human behaviour becomes extremely important. It is the aim of industrial psychology to study the principles governing human behaviour in the organisational setting. Difference between Industrial Psychology and Industrial Sociology Industrial psychology is a branch of psychology which studies human behaviour in industrial firms. In 1970's. research in industrial psychology has been accelerated after 1950's. Since the future of every nation depends upon its industrial development and progress. An eminent industrial and organizational psychologist of India Professor Durganand Sinha (1971) has made a valuable survey of the important topics of research in industrial psychology in India. the division of industrial psychology was renamed as the division of industrial and organizational psychology. managers and industrialists. The industrial psychology division of American Psychological Association was established in 1945 and gave professional recognition to industrial psychology. In business. the individual is never alone because he constantly comes into contact with other workers. centre and institutes in India. If in the industrial field. human relations deteriorate. With the establishment of various universities. The psychologist who has made valuable contributions to the development of industrial psychology was Walter Dill Scott. Even when working in an industry. Wherever there are human beings. the worker has to deal with all kinds of people. No.