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Industrial and Organizational Psychology

In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Hawthorne plant at the Western Electric Company created an Industrial Research Division, headed by Bill Dickson, Harold Wright, George Pennock and Mark Putnam. The subsequent findings from the studies undertaken in the Hawthorne plant were eventually published by Elton Mayo in The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation (1933) and by a student of his, Fritz J. Roethlisberger, along with Bill Dickson (and the assistance of Harold Wright) in their book Management and The Worker (1939). The latter is often considered the authoritative account of the studies, and was voted the 10th most influential book on management. These studies led to the discovery of the "Hawthorne effect," the human-relations movement, which continues today in the disciplines of industrial and organizational psychology and its cousin, organizational behaviour.

With its origins in the human-relations movement, Daniel Katz and Robert L. Kahn's The Social Psychology of Organizations1 concerns itself with research on the problems of morale and motivation, productivity and effectiveness, power and control, and leadership and change processes in large organizations. It applies open-system theory to the study of large-scale organizations, suggesting that the interdependent nature of behaviour within these organizations cannot be examined from an individual perspective.1 It is known as the "bible" of organizational psychology.2

Today, industrial and organizational psychology is applied to (1) job analysis, (2) personnel recruitment and selection, (3) performance evaluation and reward systems, and (4) training and training evaluation. It addresses aspects of the organization including (a) motivation in the workplace, (b) organizational culture, (c) building and managing teams, (d) stress and emotions, (e) leadership, and (f) change management.



1. Katz, D. and Kahn, R. L. (1996). The Social Psychology of Organizations. Information retrieved from a book review by Dhiren N Panchal, retrieved from:
2. Bedeian, A. G. and Wren, D. A. Most Influential Management Books of the 20th Century. Retrieved from:

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