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Thread: Industrial/Organizational Psychology?

  1. #1
    Member Array Skip Foreplay's Avatar
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    Dec 2010

    Default Industrial/Organizational Psychology?

    My name is Lance, and it’s a pleasure to be here.

    I’m going to ask for some specific advice, so if you don't think you have anything to offer about I/O, you might find this post an enormous waste of your time. Just a warning.

    Whether or not anyone who reads this post will have much relevant information to share depends on how many people read it. If you’re one of the people who does have the information, you know who you are, and you know why I’ve said this. In terms of those who receive undergraduate degrees in America, Psychology is ranked #5. However, those who are trained in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, whether at the Baccalaureate level or further, are few. There just aren’t many programs, and the majority of them are doctoral, rather than terminal masters programs, which is something many people don’t want to do, or can’t afford, and of course there are other reasons as well. In all of the universities in my state, Texas, which I have been told is comparably large (though I haven’t verified that information myself) there are approximately 20 slots, perhaps less, for training in I/O Psychology – that includes both master’s and doctoral levels. At the end of Summer, I will be receiving my undergraduate Psychology and Philosophy degrees. My GPA and GRE scores are very high, and I’m undertaking an internship at a psych institution until the end of Summer. I’ve done as well as I can, but whether or not it is good enough is impossible to tell. For now, I’m not shutting any doors, and I just want to gather as much information as possible.

    Does anyone here work in the field or know someone who does closely?
    Might it be a fit for me?

    (Identifying specialized programs that may yield long-term satisfaction is extremely difficult for me because I have such varied interests. I am a mathematically capable person, but I would not enjoy being an engineer. I am sensitive to the plights of others, but I feel a career based entirely on that aspect would lack intellectual stimulation. I am more scientifically inclined than many others I know who are interested in Psychology. My favorite area of psychology is behavior, which I like to consider through an evolutionary lens. Though I also love existential-phenomenological psychology, I consider this a philosophical branch. That’s a different discussion entirely. I am NOT a typical white-collar guy. I hate nothing more than following rules for their own sake – it quells ingenuity. Innovation creates freedom, and I would love to be able to exercise that side of myself. The freedom to maneuver intellectually and move physically are both very important to me. I understand that business is everywhere, and that it is virtually inescapable. From what I have heard, I/O allows for a large amount of personal freedom, but I may be misled.)

    What's the job market like for related professions?

    How might one start out in any of these professions?

    What is a workday like in any of these professions?

    Thank you so much, anyone who took the time to read this thread. We all have lives to live.

  2. #2


    Hi. Your interests sound a lot like mine.

    I have a technical background, (two engineering degrees, etc). and quickly got into psychology (including organizational psych). A large part of my overall research involves investigating how people solve or look at problems, and helping them determine how they should be solving or looking at them.

    Having a technical background helped me, but mostly because people will trust that you understand their technical processes if you have a background in it. Carrying over an analytical ability from a technical background helps, too.

    Rules for their own sake are dumb. Part of an organizational psychologist's job would involve examining a company's rules and regulations and determining the policy- and rule-level changes that would enhance the efficiency of an organization.

    As far as psychology is concerned, organizational psych is great because companies are starting to see the importance of such changes; it's thus easier to get a job doing it than in other social fields. If you want a start, you might try to see whether any of your psych professors have a background in organizational psychology and perhaps talk with them about the companies that they consult for.

    In general, consulting allows for a great deal of personal freedom. Most organizational psychologists are consultants rather than employees of the company that they're trying to fix.

    And so on. I've got more stuff to say when I can..

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