Psychology and Work Today, 10th Edition
eBook - ePub

Psychology and Work Today, 10th Edition

Duane P. Schultz, Sydney Ellen Schultz

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  1. 456 pagine
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Psychology and Work Today, 10th Edition

Duane P. Schultz, Sydney Ellen Schultz

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For undergraduate-level courses in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Business Psychology, Personnel Psychology and Applied Psychology. Psychology and Work Today provides an invaluable foundation for anyone entering today's global business and industrial world. This informative, sophisticated, and entertaining text teaches students about the nature of work in modern society. By focusing on the practical and applied rather than the scientific ideal, the authors demonstrate how industrial-organizational psychology directly impacts our lives as job applicants, trainees, employees, managers, and consumers.

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The Practice of Industrial-Organizational Psychology

The work of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists will affect your behavior and your physical and emotional well-being, both on and off the job, whether you are applying for your first job, advancing in your career, or planning for your retirement. In chapter 1 we describe the scope of I-O psychology. In chapter 2 we review the research methods I-O psychologists use to collect data, draw conclusions, and make recommendations to management, thus applying their findings to all facets of organizational life.


Principles, Practices, and Problems


Suppose you won $10 million in a lottery. Would you still keep your job? It may surprise you to know that many people do keep working, even when they don’t need the money. We’re not talking about movie stars or athletes or superstar musicians. No, we’re talking about people in traditional jobs who continue to work hard even though they have more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their days. Why do they keep working? Because they love what they do.
Think about the CEOs of large corporations, many of whom receive multimillion dollar salaries. Yet they keep working. Or consider wealthy Wall Street traders who rarely take vacations and who regularly put in long hours, driven by the same intensity they had before they became so successful. Many surveys have been taken of the rest of us, the people working at less glamorous jobs such as teacher, computer programmer, lab technician, or auto mechanic. Results consistently show that approximately three fourths of the people questioned would continue to work even if they suddenly became financially secure and no longer needed the salary from their job.
Some people get so much more from their jobs than just a paycheck. Those who are fortunate enough to have found the type of work that suits their abilities experience a high degree of personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and the pride of accomplishment. These feelings provide their own reward, distinct from income. Thus, work is related not only to economic well-being but also to emotional security, self-esteem, and contentment. Your job can give you a sense of identity and status, defining for you and for others who and what you are. Your work can give you the chance to learn new skills and master new challenges. It can bring positive social experiences, satisfying your need to belong to a group and providing the security that comes from being an accepted and valued member of a team. A job can furnish the opportunity to form friendships and to meet people of diverse backgrounds.
On the other hand, if you are not one of the lucky ones who love what they do, your job can be tedious, monotonous, and even hazardous to your health. Some work environments pose physical dangers; others produce stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. If you are bored with your job, thwarted in your plans for advancement, or angry with your boss, you may bring your discontent home at the end of the workday and take out these negative feelings on your family and friends.
Long-term research has linked work-related stressors with physical and emotional health. Studies conducted in workplaces show that positive social interactions at work are associated with improved cardiovascular functioning and strengthened immune systems (Heaphy & Dutton, 2008). Other research indicates that work is central to psychological health, feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment, and emotional wellbeing (Brustein, 2008). The single most reliable predictor of a long life is satisfaction with one’s job. People who are satisfied with their work tend to live longer than people who are dissatisfied with their work.
Finding the kind of work that is compatible with your interests, skills, and temperament is among the most significant endeavors you will ever undertake. For that reason, this course in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology may be the most personally relevant course of your college career. You will find that I-O psychology will have an impact on your future from the day you apply for your first job until the day you announce your retirement. The findings and practices of I-O psychologists, in conjunction with your own skills and motivation, will determine the positions for which you are hired, the way you are expected to perform your job duties, your rank and compensation, your ultimate level of responsibility, and the personal happiness you derive from your work.


I-O psychologists working in the area of human resources, or employee selection, help initially with the difficult task of choosing a job. Your first formal contacts with I-O psychology outside the classroom are likely to be with recruitment Web sites, application forms, interviews, psychological tests, and other employee selection measures. I-O psychologists have devised these selection measures to help employers determine whether you are the right person for their job and whether that job is the most suitable one for you.
Your work helps to define your identity and contributes to your sense of self-esteem.
After you have satisfied yourself and the organization that the position is appropriate, your advancement will depend on your performance in training programs and on the job. Your employer will use assessment criteria developed by I-O psychologists.
Because of your college training, you will likely qualify for management positions within the corporate hierarchy. These jobs require you to be aware of and sensitive to the diverse motivational factors and personal concerns that affect the people who work for you. To learn how to lead and to motivate your subordinates to put forth their best efforts, you will need to understand the findings of I-O psychologists on these factors.
Even if you have no direct subordinates—if, for example, you are an engineer, information technology specialist, or accountant or if you are self-employed—you will benefit from a knowledge of human relations skills. Knowing how to get along with others can mean the difference between failure and success.
Ideally, you will feel some commitment to your employer and will want to see the organization prosper so that it continues to provide opportunities for your own advancement. The company’s output must be produced efficiently and at a high level of quality. The physical plant, equipment, and working conditions should foster a productive working climate. I-O psychologists help design manufacturing
and office environments to maximize productivity. In addition, a company’s output must be effectively packaged, advertised, and marketed. Psychologists play a role in all these activities.
Thus, at all levels of modern organizational life, psychologists provide essential services to both employees and employers. I-O psychology serves these two masters—you and your company. As it benefits one, it automatically benefits the other.
We offer a note of caution, however. As vital as I-O psychology is, as influential as it will be throughout your working career, it is primarily a tool. And any tool is only as valuable as the skill of the person using it. If the methods and findings of I-O psychology are used improperly by management or are misunderstood by employees, they can do more harm than good. Therefore, it is important for you to know something about I-O psychology, if only for self-defense.


There is more to I-O psychology than its application to the workday world. It also affects attitudes and behavior in other areas of life. Consider how you started your day. What governed your choice of toothpaste or bath soap? Why did you choose a particular brand of breakfast cereal this morning? Most likely your decisions were influenced by the psychological image created for the product, by the perceived attractiveness of the package, or by the emotional need a particular brand was intended to satisfy. Did an ad or a slogan tell yo...

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