The history of Industrial-Organisational (I-O) Psychology

The history of Industrial-Organisational (I-O) Psychology-

The Industrial-Organisational (I-O) Psychology is a relatively new discipline developed in early 1900s.

Important events in the development of Industrial-Organisational (I-O) Psychology.

1910– American industrial engineer Frederick W. Taylor (1856–1915) led the development of an entirely new discipline – Scientific Management Approach or Taylorism. His book The Principles of Scientific Management  In this approach,  on improving industrial efficiency. The managerial functions of planning and coordination were applied throughout the production process.

1910- Hugo Munsterberg publishes ‘Psychology and Industrial Efficiency’ in German. he wrote ‘how psychology could be used for industrial, occupational, and organizational purposes’.

1910 – James McKeen Cattell was an early proponent of looking at how individual differences influence human behaviour.

1911- Walter Dill Scott  publishes ‘Increasing Human Efficiency in Business’

1913– ‘Journal of Applied Psychology’ first published.

1917Robert Yerkes developed the Army Alpha &  Army Beta Intelligence Tests for the U.S. Army, WWI. Scores on the tests were used to determine respondent’s capabilities, including the ability to serve and leadership potential.

1918– World War I provides I/O psychologists with the first opportunity for large-scale employee testing and selection

1921– First Ph.D. in I/O psychology awarded to Bruce Moore and Merrill Ream at Carnegie Tech.

1924Frank Gilbreth and Lillian GilbrethTime, motion, and fatigue study;

1932Hawthorne studies published by  Elton Mayo and found out Hawthorne effect in the series of experiments in Western Electric plant in Cicero, Illinois. To study the effect of environment Employees, under supervision; Effect of lighting on the productivity of employee. This lead to his Human relations movement- which examined the effects of social relationsmotivation and employee satisfaction on factory productivity

1945– Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) of American Psychology Association (APA)



  • Aamodt, M.G. (2007). Industrial and organizational psychology: An applied approach. US:
    Thomson & Wadsworth
  • wilipedia


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