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HISTORICAL INFLUENCES IN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY The year 1992 marked the hundredth anniversary of the field of psychology. To mark this...

Attached is lists of major historical influences on the development of organizational psychology.

Pick one of the influences and:
1. Describe what it is and why it was important to the development of the field.
2. Describe how that influence could be seen in your work environment, or one that you have been in.



HISTORICAL INFLUENCES IN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY The year 1992 marked the hundredth anniversary of the field of psychology. To mark this centennial, much was written about the history of industrial/organizational psychology. This section, therefore, will not provide a detailed, comprehensive history of the field of organizational psychology. Rather, the intent is to provide a relatively concise summary of some of the people and historical events that have shaped the field. Historical Beginnings As Katzell and Austin (1992) point out, interest in the behavior of individuals in organizational settings undoubtedly dates back to ancient times: ‘‘In the organizational field, perhaps the earliest recorded consultant was the Midianite priest, Jethro, who advised his son-in-law, Moses, on how to staff and organize the ancient Israelites (Exod. 18)’’ (p. 803). Formalized attempts to study and influence such behavior, however, have a much more recent history. In order to understand the more recent historical roots of organizational psychology, we must first examine the beginnings of the broader field of industrial/organizational psychology. Based on most historical accounts of the development of the field of I/ O psychology, the industrial side of the field was much quicker to develop than the organizational side. Chronologically, the beginnings of the field of I/O psychology can be traced to work, during the early part of the twentieth century, by pioneers such as Hugo Munsterberg, Walter Dill Scott, and Walter Bingham (Katzell & Austin, 1992). Most of the work at that time dealt with topics such as skill acquisition and personnel Historical Influences in Organizational Psychology 9 selection. Very little work dealing with the organizational side of the field was conducted. Table 1.1 provides a chronological summary of some of the major events that shaped the development of the field of organizational psychology in the twentieth century. Ironically, the beginnings of the organizational side of the field were heavily influenced by the work of several nonpsychologists.
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Perhaps the best known of these was Frederick Winslow Taylor, who developed the principles of scientific management (Taylor, 1911). Although for many the term scientific management typically conjures up images of time-and-motion study, as well as piece-rate compensation, it was actually much more than that. Scientific management was, to a large extent, a philosophy of management, and efficiency and piece-rate compensation were the most visible manifestations of that philosophy. When one looks past these more visible aspects of scientific management, three underlying principles emerge: (1) those who perform work tasks should be separate from those who design work tasks; (2) workers are rational beings, and they will work harder if provided with favorable economic incentives; and (3) problems in the workplace can and should be subjected to empirical study. COMMENT 1.4 THE INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND APPLICATION (IPRA) ONE OF THE most important features of the graduate program in I/O psychology at the Bowling Green State University is the experience students receive working on projects through the Institute for Psychological Research and Application (IPRA). IPRA was created by the I/O faculty at Bowling Green in the late 1980s in order to provide graduate students with the opportunity to apply, in actual organizational settings and under the supervision of faculty, what they learn in the I/O program. A secondary pupose of IPRA is to provide graduate students with funding to attend professional conferences. Typically, local organizations approach the IPRA director (or some other I/O faculty member) with some proposed organizational need that might match the expertise of the I/O faculty at Bowling Green. Examples of projects that have been done through IPRA include employee opinion surveys, training needs assessment, customer service satisfaction surveys,
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