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Psychology in the Business World

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Psychology in the Business World: The Opportunities and Challenges for a Psychology Major

1. Background of the Study 2.1 How can psychology be defined?
Ciccarelli and White (2012), defines psychology as the “scientific study of behavior and mental processes”. Merriam-Webster dictionary (2014), on the other hand, defines psychology as “the science of mind and behavior”. It generally is a field that revolves about how and why a living thing act and behave and the processes in the mind that comes with the behavior. The American Psychological Association (2014) furthermore defines psychology as a study concerning the mind and behavior of the human being, involving everything from how the brain functions to why a certain person behaves. Basically, psychology is a field that studies human and their behavior with the goal of analysis on the mind as to why their behavior is such. 2.2 What are the uses of psychology in the business world?
Psychology can be used in the business world by means of helping the employees achieve their optimum performance level and still be happy about their job (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. [SIOP], 2014). Psychologists work in the human resources department, in the managerial department, in the administration, and more. It is use to develop and utilize an employee’s ability to perform even better at his job. Psychology is used to ensure harmony amongst the people in the organization. It is also concerned with trainings and development given to employees and to the company (San Diego State University [SDSU], 2014). According to the Victoria University of Wellington (2013), every business organization aims to supply a form of commodity, whatever it is, in an efficient and inexpensive method to the public. It is the duty of the psychology department of the company to have that desired outcome without spending too much. Their role is to be able to come up with ways to attain their goal in a more practical and inexpensive way. 2.3 How is the demand for psychologists in the business world here in the Philippines?
Compared to other countries such as the United States of America, psychology here in the Philippines are seemingly given little attention; the more that its application not much recognized in the business world. In the United States, the field of industrial-organizational psychology will be growing 3% more than the personal care aides from the years 2012-2022 (Boutelle, 2014). Doug Reynolds stated that organizations begin to recognize the advantages of having their employees’ skills and talent managed with the use of methods that has scientific and evidential basis which can be related to psychology.
As the use of psychology in the business world slowly increases in foreign countries such as the United States, it however remains stagnant and generally unknown here in the Philippines. In an interview with Rose Gimongala (2014) of Wellmade Manufacturing Corporation she said, “The demand for psychologists in the business world is generally unknown…” She adds that there should be a further study of the field here in the Philippines. On the other hand, Harvey Uy (2014) of Eureka Electric Appliances Philippines Corporation thinks that the demand for psychologists should be high here in the Philippines since psychologists take care of the well-being of the workforce of an industry or organization to ensure their effective performance in their perspective job descriptions. 2.4 How are psychology majors evident in the business world?
Psychologists may work in different departments in the business world. They are most evident, however, in the Human Resources Management department (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2014). They work in the human resources department as HR officers to see to it that the workforce in the company work in harmony together; they handle recruitment and placement for the employees, and also train the employees (Appalachian State University, 2014). Psychology majors use their knowledge to increase productivity in the workplace; they provide counseling for workers and help with the policies in the office to the advantage of the employees and employers (Careers in Psychology.org, 2014). Psychologists are also evident in the business world as consultants and advisers to the company when they are needed in implementing policies or even for transactions. 2.5 What improvements can be made for the topic in the context of research?
As stated, psychology in the business world is relatively new or perhaps “generally unknown” (Gimongala, 2014) in the Philippine context. Thus this field needs more improvement with its local sources to inform the public of its advantages and disadvantages. Unlike in the United States that has information about jobs and demands of the said field, the Philippines are still venturing on the discovery of the said field. It is quite new for people to know. There are no sources of the approximate income for an industrial-organizational psychologist, nor is there statistics of how high the demand is for the course. Business proprietors will know how important psychology is for the development and uplifting of their company, but psychology majors venturing to be an industrial-organizational psychologist do not know what they will get as a career if they do take the course.
1.6 Hence, this paper aims to identify what an industrial-organizational psychology major is and the challenges and opportunities they have. Specifically, this paper answers the following questions: 1.6.1 How can an industrial-organizational psychology major be defined? 1.6.2 What are the challenges for an I/O psychology major? 1.6.3 What are the opportunities for an I/O psychology major?

2. Discussion 3.6 How can an industrial-organizational psychology major be defined?
There is a specific branch of psychology that deals with matters in the workplace and that is industrial-organizational psychology or I/O psychology for short. The Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology or SIOP (2014), defines industrial-organizational psychology in their article Industrial and Organizational Psychology as the study of behavior in an organization or workplace, and the application of psychology to individuals and groups that is in an organizational and workplace settings. The American Psychological Association (2014), on the other hand defines I/O psychology as the scientific study of the behavior of a person in an organization or workplace. I/O psychologists are behavioral scientists that specializes human behavior in the workplace recognizing the relationship of individuals, organizations, and society; and the influence of factors such as the government influences, consumer awareness, skill shortages, and whatnot. I/O psychologists help solve issues involving an organization by working as advisers and catalysts for different organizations. They are scientists who attain principles of behaviors in an organization through research; consultants who aids in solving issues in an organization; and teachers who teaches students of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Lou-Ann Alfonso of Fonterra Brands Philippines similarly defines industrial-organizational psychology as the “study of human behavior in organizations”.
Industrial-organizational psychology achieves its goal of ensuring the productivity and wellness of the workforce with two approaches: industrial and organizational. In an interview with Jolly Ann Cua Ong [Ong] (2014) of EM-O Industrial and Manufacturing Corporation, the role of industrial-organizational psychology in an industrial setting is to counsel regarding recruitment and placement; also, it helps with the relationship of the employees of the company. The industrial approach is to know what abilities and skills are needed to complete a job resulting to finding just the right person who has these abilities with the purpose of hiring. This does not just include recruitment and placement but also training (Aamodt, 2010). I/O psychologists in the context of industrial trains hired employees to cultivate and nourish the abilities and skills they already have for them to perform better in their respective job descriptions (Aamodt, 2010). This field of I/O psychology may be known as the personnel psychology. It basically concerns with the employees’ job description, what they should do, where they should be. This is the field that gives the needed training and seminars for the employees.
The second approach, the organizational approach deals more of the social aspect amongst the employees. Ong (2014), states that it concerns with “communication, conflict management, social influence and motivation”. This is where whether an employee satisfaction in his respective job enters. Psychologists see to it that employees are motivated to do their job properly. This is the area where psychologists study an employees’ behavior in a group and how they can make it better. Motivation makes the workplace seem bearable thus making the employees works harder. Gimongala (2014), states that organizational setting refers to an individual’s identification or the lack of it in a group. It also focuses on how the diversity of each person in the workplace affects a person’s effective performance and lastly, it studies how authorities affect an employee thus affecting their performance. It is an I/O psychologist job to help give solutions to problem such as alienation. When there is too much diverse personality in a workplace, it might affect the employees and may not do well for the business (Below, 2014). I/O psychologists that work under the organizational field may also act as consultants or guidance counselors in the workplace for the employees. They conduct surveys amongst the employees regarding matters of the workplace, and their satisfaction with their job. They practically take care of the employees’ psychological wellness and help improve their situation (Aamodt, 2010).

3.7 What are the challenges for an I/O psychology major?
Since there are two distinct areas for I/O psychology and more distinct sub-areas, practitioners, for instance Charlie Samuelson had the hard time balancing the two fields of I/O psychology (Roch, 2008). He had a hard time what to focus on first, whether to conduct researches, which technically is the organizational setting or be in the industrial setting, attending meetings to meetings. Linda Shanock’s challenges, on the other hand, were her exposure to the industrial field of I/O psychology since her graduate studies focused more on the organizational (Roch, 2008). In an interview with Harvey Uy of Eureka Electric Appliances Philippines Corporation, he mentioned that every field of an industry is distinct in itself; therefore an I/O psychology must be trained hard to be familiar with each and every aspect of the industry and this might take a while. Lou-Ann Alfonso states that industries are “constantly evolving” and therefore psychologists must constantly come up with ideas and solutions with every situation there may be in the workplace. Jolly Ann Ong state that psychologists in the workplace need not only to provide immediate solutions and planning but also a lasting solution; they “foresee” future happenings and plan actions for the future.
It might take long before one can become an industrial-organizational psychologist. According to SDSU (2014), for one to become an I/O psychologist, one must obtain a master’s degree in I/O psychology. Graduate school usually lasts for two to three years and another two to three years to have a doctoral degree which most I/O psychologists have. The type of degree that one has finished will be the determinant on what job he is qualified to do. I/O psychologists with a doctoral degree may work in any areas of I/O psychology, whereas those who only have master’s degree may work in an organizational setting focusing on more traditional aspects of I/O psychology (i.e. personnel psychology, trainings, tests). Industrial-organizational psychologist is practically a master’s degree of psychology (Open Education Database [OEDB], 2014). One has to finish general psychology first before taking up I/O psychology as master’s degree and eventually become one. Furthermore, according to Aamodt (2010), I/O psychologists with a doctoral degree are more likely to be hired and have more opportunities. I/O psychology itself is still quite broad and can be specified still. Therefore if one really wants to pursue this field, he has to invest his time and money for the said area of study. As stated earlier, one does not end their study to be an I/O psychologist in school, it is somewhat the beginning. I/O psychologists, once hired, must know the ins and outs of the industry, and then proceed to learning about his chosen organization, and then to learning each and every detail about each of the departments in an organization or company.
It might also be a challenge for an I/O psychologist to establish just the right relationship with the workforce and the authority of a company. In an interview with Hanna Alvaro, people might have the tendency to think that she has the knowledge of everything since she graduated with a psychology degree. She also stated that as a member of the HR department, employees have the tendency to think that she would understand the employees’ problems. On the other hand, Rose Gimongala states that a challenge for an I/O psychology is the alignment of an individual’s goals and needs to the organization. Since, people are diverse from each other, they have the tendency to have different necessities and purposes, and it may or may not match that of the organization. This put I/O practitioners in the middle of solving the problem, which may be hard in their perspective. I/O psychologists can be as diverse as the employees and employers can get, they are still humans. Roya Ayman had no one to talk to with during her early years in SIOP because it was generally a male dominated field during the 80’s; it also took her time to “establish relationship with companies” (Roch, 2008).

3.8 What are the opportunities for an I/O psychology major?
Although having distinct fields in I/O psychology may be a challenge for practitioners, it may also be a benefit for them. Once mastered, practitioners make themselves be versatile in their respective area of study. I/O psychologists can work in different departments of an organization. According to Open Education Database or OEDb (2014), graduates of I/O psychology have the job opportunities in different industries like healthcare, marketing and sales, and human resources. A graduate may also apply for positions such as customer service trainer, diversity manager, or employee relations and organizational development manager; some may also be employed as consultants of businesses and organizations. Furthermore, according to Jolly Ann Ong, I/O psychologists can work in the HR, consulting, government officers and private sectors. There are may be two job descriptions where an I/O psychologist can apply his knowledge in the said subject: the academic job or the practitioner job. The academic area of course, concerns teaching and educating students of I/O psychologists (SDSU, 2014). They may either educate their students through teaching and lecturing them or have them do researches. On the other hand, practitioners are those who apply I/O psychology in the business world itself. They work in human resources, as consultants, and they are the ones who do researchers regarding the companies employments, if the employees are still happy with what they are doing, how are the performance of the employees and such. I/O practitioners do not just work in a company or the business industry, but they do their practice even in law firms, health industries, the government agencies, even the military and more (SDSU, 2014). I/O practitioners are practically present anywhere an organization or industry exists. I/O psychologists also do the communication with clients. They research on what consumers need and want and relate it to the production of commodity in the company (SIOP, 2014). They do not just see what the consumers need, but also see fashion on what the public would need and want in the future (SIOP, 2014). There are seemingly many job opportunities available for I/O psychologists.
Since there are many areas where I/O psychology can be applied, once an I/O psychologist mastered his study, it will be easy for him to transfer from one career to another. For example, a practitioner in a consultation area can become a professor in a university, teaching future I/O psychologists students; researchers can be consultants at the same time; and as stated earlier, they are practically present in every field. Lou-Ann Alfonso state that some of her colleagues, from being an HR officer eventually become consultants, some even teach as part time. She said, “Switching careers and undertaking additional related roles is not uncommon for HR practitioners”. Harvey Uy also supports the versatility of being an I/O graduate, according to him, I/O psychology practitioners can be present in every field and therefore make it easier for them to find jobs. The rest of the interviewers simply agreed that yes, it is versatile degree in the context of finding a job.
There will be an increase in demand for I/O psychologist in the United States. According to Boutelle (2014) of SIOP’s public relations, I/O psychology will be “the fastest growing occupation over the next decade” which is reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. I/O psychology will be increase by 53% between the years 2012-2022. However, due to its educational requirements to qualify as an I/O psychologist, the said field remains to be small. Companies and organizations start to recognize the need and benefits of having an industrial-organizational psychologist in their respective industries. Organizations begin to hire I/O psychologists to be an aid in employment and to help motivate employees for the employees to have a satisfied and happy experience in the workplace thus increasing their productivity in their work (OEDB, 2014). Furthermore, with its demand, I/O psychologists with a master’s degree can expect around $38,750 as their starting salary, I/O psychologists with a doctoral degree can expect around $55, 000 as their starting salary. I/O psychologists with more experience in the field however receive more demand making their approximate salary to $80, 000. These statistics, however, is in the American or Western context. In the Philippine context, according to Lou-Ann Alfonso of Fonterra brands, she cannot say that it is increasing. Also according to Alfonso, “HR processes here are becoming more streamlined due to the introduction of outsourcing”. Rose Gimongala, on the other hand, believes that there must be a research conducting about it, because according to her, I/O psychologists are “generally unknown”. Jolly Ann Ong, however, thinks that the degree grows in demand in the Philippines; international and multinational organizations employ I/O psychologists to look out for their employees. For Hanna Alvaro of master Sports Corporation and Harvey Uy of Eureka Electric Appliances Philippines Corporation both believes that an increase in demand for I/O psychology degree holders will take time here in the Philippines. Harvey Uy furthermore states that I/O psychology will grow, but not as fast as IT program holders. In time, I/O psychologists may be appreciated and recognized by the public, and people especially organizations will start to demand for those I/O psychology degree holders, but as of now, it remains to be “generally unknown” as stated by Rose Gimongala.

3. Conclusion 4.9 Summary
Industrial-Organizational psychology may be defined as the scientific study of human behavior in an organizational setting. It concentrates on the workforce’s ability, skills and productivity in attaining their own personal goals and that of the company’s goals. Psychologists with this degree aims to give motivation to employees to keep them happy therefore making them more productive in work. They also seek solutions to problems that deal with the workforce and the authority, promotes harmony in the workplace for it to become a better place to work in. I/O psychologists may work in different areas of different organization; they exist where an organization exists. The main challenge for I/O psychologists, however, is that since there are many areas and field they can work on, it might confuse them. I and O are to distinct yet closely related fields and one can only focus on one. Another is the amount of time they will spend just to learn about the degree itself and eventually the organization they are going to work for. Learning about the facts and the books may not be enough when it comes to the real job itself. Again, every field is different, also every organization is different, every person is different and yet I/O psychologists see to it that everything comes in harmony with each other. Some employees may even see them as someone who knows everything and may come to them for different types of problem. Every employee yearns for different things from the others, and sometimes, it will be hard to find a common ground amongst the diversity. There are opportunities that come with being an I/O psychology. Since there are organizations in almost every part of the world, it will be easy for them to find a job or a subject to conduct their research on. As businesses start to slowly recognize the services I/O psychologists may offer them, the demand will for these psychologists will increase in time. Their degree is also versatile when it comes to switching career paths, for example, from being an HR to consultant then to being an educator. Since this field is relatively new, there are actually more unsaid opportunities for an I/O psychologist that has yet to be researched on.
It was actually hard to allocate resources for this research paper, therefore it is suggested that future work will find more resources and invest more time to find these resources. Instead of just interviewing officers, why not survey I/O psychologists or HR officers. References found for this research are mostly from university and college websites that briefs their potential students of what they offer, those universities and colleges, however, are situated in the United States or other foreign country. It is suggested for future work to find more sources that is locally situated for people to be able to relate more. It may not be just students who should research about it; even professional researchers are recommended to research about the said topic. As Rose Gimongala has stated, “there has to be a formal research about it”. I/O psychology is a good topic to be researched about. People have to know what it is and what it can benefit them if the topic starts to grow. Organizations especially, they have to recognize the need for I/O psychologists in their company, what can it benefit them for. The workforce is the very important factor of an organization and the way they are satisfied and motivated in their work affects their performance and the performance of the organization. Some people do not even know that there are people who make solutions for the problems in the workplace, nor do they even see the benefits of it. In a nutshell, future work is recommended to focus more on the local setting for I/O psychologists.

4. Reference
Aamodt, M. G. (2010). Industrial/organizational psychology : an applied approach (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

American Psychological Association (2014). How does the APA define "psychology"?
Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/support/about/apa/psychology.aspx#answer

American Psychological Association (2014). Public description of industrial and organizational psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/industrial.aspx

Appalachian State University (2014). Frequently asked questions | industrial organizational psychology and human resource management program | Appalachian State University. Retrieved from http://iohrm.appstate.edu/faq

Below, S. (2014). Diversity at work. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/article_view.aspx?article=1210#.UtvM2xCwrIU

Boutelle, C. (2014). Industrial-Organizational psychology tops list of fastest growing occupations. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/article_view.aspx?article=1219

Careers in Psychology.org (2014). How to become an industrial or organizational psychologist | education requirements | CareersInPsychology.org. Retrieved from http://careersinpsychology.org/becoming-an-industrial-or-organizational-psychologist/

Ciccarelli, S., & White, J. (2012). Psychology (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (2014). Industrial organizational psychology careers | job field | The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Online. Retrieved from http://psychology.thechicagoschool.edu/masters-industrial-organizational-psychology/career-outlook

Open Education Database (2014). Industrial organizational psychology – salary, stats, & job resources. Retrieved from http://oedb.org/careers/psychology/industrial-organizational-psychologist/

Psychology – Definition and more from the free merriam-webster dictionary. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychology

Roch, S. (2008). Benefits and challenges of industrial-organizational psychology faculty members with nontraditional backgrounds. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/tip/april08/PDFs/454_075to078.pdf

San Diego State University (2014). What Is i/o psychology. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.sdsu.edu/advising/IO%20psychology.htm

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (2014). Building better organizations. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/visibilitybrochure/memberbrochure.aspx

Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Inc. (2014). Industrial and organizational psychology. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/history/crsppp.aspx

Victoria University of Wellington (2013). Industrial psychology —The use of psychology in business —Relations between output and work technique. Selection of operatives | NZETC. Retrieved from http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov04_07Rail-t1-body-d3.html…...

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