What do the government’s ‘industrial organizational psychologists’ do?

The Washington Post:

The federal government’s industrial organizational psychologists, or I-Os as they are known, aren’t exactly what people might think of when they hear the word “psychologist.”

They don’t provide traditional therapy, meaning one-on-one talk in a warmly lit room, tissue boxes at the ready, a parent figure ready to blame.

One example is when an I-O makes sure testing questions for a department’s hiring and promotions are fair and comply with employment laws and Civil Rights Acts. They also ensure that the testing questions are legally  defensible, designing ways to measure performance and understanding the implications and caveats for each performance measure.

“The work of an I-O psychologist is very different from that of a therapist with a client on the couch,” said Tammy Allen, president of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology or SIOP, which was established in 1982 and has 8,000 members dedicated to applying psychology to people in the workplace. “We are a completely different branch of psychology.”

Alyssa McGonagle, an assistant professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, studies worker health and safety on the job: what causes workers to be injured on the job (including safety climate, or how much managers and employees value safety over production) and what I-O’s can do about it to make workplaces safer.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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