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i-o_chapter_108 - Part One The Practice...

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Unformatted text preview: Part One The Practice oflrrdttstrictl-Organizational Psychology iiow did I-O psychology become so necessary to modern organizational life? The field was formed and fashioned of necessity. An urgent practical problem needing a novel solution gave the initial impetus to the field, and the demands of crisis and need have continued to stimulate its growth and influence. Pioneers in Personnel Selection Industrial psychology had its formal beginning in the early years of the twentieth century. The honor for sparking the development of the field is usually given to Walter Dill Scott (1869—1955}. A college football player at Northwestern University, Scott graduated from a theological seminary, intending to be a missionary in China. By the time he was prepared to undertake this caliing, however, he learned that there were no vacancies for missionaries in China. And so he be- came a psychoiogist instead. Scott was the first to apply psychology to advertising, employee selection, and management issues. At the turn of the twentieth century, he spoke out on the po- tential uses of psychology in advertising. Encouraged by the response of business leaders, Scott wrote several articles and published a book entitied The Theory and Practice of Advertising (Scott, 1903), which is generally considered to be the iirst book about using psychology to help solve problems in the business world. In 1919 Scott formed the first consuiting company in industrial psychology, pro« viding services to more than 40 major American corporations, primarily in the area of personnel selection. in 1913 Hugo Miinsterberg (1863—1916), a German psychologist teaching at Harvard University, wrote The Psychology of Industrial Efiicienry. He was an early advocate of the use oi psychological tests to measure a prospective employee’s skills and to match that person with the requirements of a particularjob. He con— ducted considerable research in real-world work situations and workplaces, with the goal of improving on-the-job efficiency. His writing, research, and conSulting activities helped spread the influence of industrial psychology, and he became a celebrity—unmerica’s most famous psychologist. Miinsterberg befriended kings, presidents, and movie stars and was one of only two psychologists ever accused of being a spy (the accusation was untrue). World War i and the Testing Movement The work of Scott and Miinsterberg provided a beginning for the fieid, but it was a request by the US. Army during World War 1 (1917—1918} that marked the emergence of industrial psychology as an important and useful discipline. Faced with the task of screening and classifying millions of men recruited for military service, the army commissioned psychologists to devise a rest to identify people of low inteliigence so that they could be eliminated from consideration for training programs. Two tests resulted from their efforts: the Army Alpha, designed ior re- cruits who could read and write, and the Army Beta, which used rnazes, pictures, and symbols for recruits who could not read. The Army Beta was also suitable for immigrants who were not fluent in the English language. Additional tests were prepared for selecting candidates for officer and pilot training and for other military classifications that required speciai abilities. A per- sonality test, the Personal Data Sheet, which could be administered to large ...
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