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Industrial-Organizational and Social Psychology


Industrial-organizational psychology studies how individuals behave and cooperate in work settings. Social psychology studies how the behavior of people is influenced by the presence or opinion of others (Kuther & Morgan, 2012). Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree holders’ are offered many employment opportunities due to the high applicability of these spheres of psychology. The practical value of industrial-organizational and social psychology may be explained by the fact that human behavior determines everything that is connected with communication and work performance.

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“Industrial psychology is a branch of psychology that studies how an individual behaves and cooperates in work settings” (Kuther & Morgan, 2012, p. 99). Organizational psychology studies the same subject but on a higher level: it studies the interaction of individuals in groups to provide more productive and efficient workflow (Kuther & Morgan, 2012). Social psychology studies how the behavior of people is influenced by the presence or opinion of others and considers such factors as the influence of social approval, subjective interpretation of social messages, decision-making patterns, etc (Kuther & Morgan, 2012).

Industrial-Organizational and Social Psychology within the Field of Psychology

Both industrial-organizational and social psychology are closely connected with other branches since they use the scientific knowledge of different studies in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, and others. For example, the results of the analysis of such cognitive activities as perception and motivation that is performed within the framework of cognitive psychology may be used in industrial-organizational psychology for the selection and placement of employees, performance evaluation, and training of employees (Kuther & Morgan, 2012). Social psychology uses the results of cognitive studies to solve various social problems in education and business spheres on the assumption that all social problems are caused by human behavior.

Levels of Education

To work in the spheres of industrial-organizational and social psychology, one should achieve a certain level of education. Bachelor’s degree gives certain opportunities in management and education services. However, if a student considers a career of an industrial-organizational or social psychologist, they should contemplate obtaining an advanced degree, since it will allow working not only in work and teaching settings but also in academic ones. Master’s and doctoral degrees provide various employment opportunities in management, teaching, training, business consulting, and scientific services (Kuther & Morgan, 2012).

Jobs and Incomes

Industrial-organizational psychologists may be involved in business and teaching settings performing the interviewing and survey work for state or private companies. Industrial-organizational psychologists examine, analyze, and evaluate the abilities, performance, behavior, and interaction of people that work together to develop a scheme that will provide the efficient workflow of a company.

The income directly depends on the level of education, the experience of the employee, and the setting in which he works. Master’s degree holders may count on $65,000 per year, doctoral degree holders’ salary is approximately $80,000 per year. However, if industrial-organizational psychologists are employed in the private sector, their annual income may reach $100,000 (Kuther & Morgan, 2012).

Salaries of social psychologists also depend on the level of education and type of setting. Psychologists with master’s and doctoral degrees are offered more employment opportunities and may be involved in various spheres. For example, they may teach students in colleges and universities, or work in state and private companies, examining the employees’ perception of new policies, developing social campaigns that attract people’s attention to such problems as poverty, violence, and others. The average annual income of social psychologists is approximately $85,000 (Kuther & Morgan, 2012)

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Possible Career

I find both industrial-organizational and social psychology rather attractive career options. Although these branches of psychology do not provide much of the scientific knowledge that helps to save people’s lives, I think that numerous possibilities of their practical application almost in all spheres of human activity make industrial-organizational and social psychology a good choice for a future psychologist. The variety of employment opportunities that are available even for bachelor’s degree holders and considerable average annual incomes are two main factors that speak for industrial-organizational and social psychology.

Interesting Facts

This report helped me understand the practical value of social psychology. It was interesting to learn that social psychologists play a significant role in the development of corporative and even state policies. Previously I was convinced that social psychology is a secondary branch that influences neither science nor social life, but with the possibility to change and reform policies comes the possibility to develop states’ ideologies, and this speaks of great power that social psychology has over social, political, and even economic life of our society.

Everyday Experience

As a follow-up to the above-mentioned practical value of industrial-organizational and social psychology, I want to discuss the Psych Files podcast that suggests five characteristics that affect employees’ motivation. These characteristics include significance, identity, variety, feedback, and autonomy (Britt, 2011). Indeed, as a person that will soon start seeking employment, I could not agree more that my motivation directly depends on the importance of a job, variety of activities that it suggests, the possibility to discuss my progress as an employee, and reasonable freedom of action to develop my professional skills.

Another Psych Files podcast reveals the effect that social psychology produces on people’s personal development. Theoretical bases of social psychology were used in web search engines design: these engines use the information from our social networks accounts and previous search activities to provide us with links that may interest us. As a result, “we get trapped in a ‘filter bubble’ and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview” (Britt, 2012).

Again, this point may be supported by my impressions and the experience of my friends. The advertisements of things that we previously looked for on different sites may be rather annoying and create an unpleasant impression of limitations. It is important to delete the browsing history so that web engines could not offer similar information several times thus trapping us in the “filter bubble”.

Hot Topic

The analysis of the recent scandal that was evoked by leaked Access Hollywood tape where Donald Trump speaks disrespectfully of women may serve as an illustration of social psychology application to real life. In a taped conversation, Trump tells how he sexually assaulted women and explains: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything” (New York Times, 2016, p. 21). Social psychology studies how the behavior of people is influenced by the opinion of others. The opinion is formed based on many factors, and power is not the last one. When people realize that they have power and authority, they feel the freedom of action and start to behave openly. They reveal their true nature because they feel the protection of their power. That is how Trump’s behavior may be explained by social psychology.


Industrial-organizational and social psychology are embedded within the field of psychology and interconnected with its other branches, such as cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and health psychology. Industrial-organizational and social psychology are highly applied branches of psychology because they allow solving different social problems that occur in all spheres of activities. The practical value of these branches may be explained by the fact that human behavior determines everything that is connected with communication and work performance.

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Britt, M. (Presenter). (2011). Episode 142: How to Make Jobs More Satisfying and Motivating. Web.

Britt, M. (Presenter). (2012). Episode 170: Is the Web Making You Narrow-Minded?. Web.

Kuther, T. L., & Morgan, R. D. (2012). Careers in psychology: Opportunities in a changing world (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Cengage Learning.

New York Times. (2016). Transcript: Donald Trump’s taped comments about women. Web.

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