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An Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Updated on May 25, 2017
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Kerry is a self-confessed psychology nerd, with degrees in both psychology and metaphysical science.


What is Industrial Organizational Psychology?

Industrial/organizational psychology (I/O) is the scientific study and application of psychological concepts and theories to the workplace. I/O psychology consists of two portions as the name denotes; the I in industrial refers to the selection, placement, and training of suitable employees to ensure the smooth and effective running of the organization, while the O refers to the safety, wellbeing, and exploration of the employee’s fullest potential.

Some I/O psychologists work as consultants to organizations, whereas others work in-house to address problems as they arise. Other I/O psychologists work in academic settings, such as universities, and in addition to teaching classes, they spend a considerable amount of time conducting research and contributing those findings to scientific publications. Research and statistics are vital for I/O psychologists working with organizations. The results of prior research contribute to resolving workplace issues, although occasionally, further research may be necessary.

I/O psychology has proven valuable to both private organizations as well as government institutions since the 1800s. The I/O psychologist is such a valuable asset to an organization because of the number of tasks he is able to perform.

The Evolution of Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Experimental psychologists and university professors, Hugo Munsterberg and Walter Dill Scott, are credited as the first to apply psychological concepts to resolve problems within organizations (Spector, 2008). Another pioneer in the field was Frederick Winslow Taylor whose research on worker productivity inspired many other I/O psychologists, including husband and wife team Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The Gilbreths studied the physical movements of workers and how long tasks took to complete.

With this information, they went on to design user-friendly mechanisms, which helped protect the health of the worker and increased efficiency and output (Spector, 2008). In addition to efficiency and productivity, I/O psychologists assisted the government by matching match soldiers to roles best suited to them.

World War I was a historical time for I/O psychology. “This was the first large-scale application of psychological testing to place individuals in jobs” (Spector, 2008, p. 12). During World War II, I/O psychologists were again retained to help boost morale, work on developing effective team strategies, and of course, place soldiers into roles where they could work to their fullest potential as part of the war effort. I/O psychology was well on its way to where it is today. The “APA opened its doors to applied psychology, and Division 14 of Industrial and Business Psychology was formed in 1944 ‘(Benjamin, 1997)’” (Spector, 2008, p. 12). (at the present time, the organization is known as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).


I/O Psychology is Different From Other Disciplines of Psychology

I/O psychology is different to other branches of psychology because it does not deal with the pathology of mental processes. Instead, I/O psychology uses theories and concepts from various other branches and utilizes them to maximize the full potential of organizations and the staff they employ. For example, Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs that include physiological needs, food, water, safety, esteem needs, love, and self-actualization. By applying this and other theories to organizations, I/O psychologists can enhance the wellbeing of workers, which in turn creates motivation, increases productivity, and ultimately benefits both employee and employer. Sadri and Bowen (2011) offer an example relevant to the workplace:

The premise of Maslow’s research is that employee motivation requires more than a good wage or salary. Not all people are at the same level of the needs hierarchy; therefore, they are not motivated by the same types of incentives. Motivation requires that managers identify the needs that are operational for an employee at any one point in time and develop benefit packages that help satisfy those needs, each time building on the benefits that were provided before. (p. 5)

What does an Industrial Organizational Psychologist do?

The Industrial/Organizational psychologist applies theories borrowed from several fields of psychology to the workplace. The role of the IO psychologist can change from one project to the next, according to whether the individual was retained by the organization to work on issues with employees by motivating workers or assessing job performance, or whether the role involves implementing change across the entire organization.

A company might retain the services of an IO psychologist to help with the interview process and to ensure the hiring procedures are legal. According to Spector (2008), “Employers, feeling government pressure, turn to I/O psychologists to help design legally defensible hiring procedures” (p. 13). Some other tasks the IO psychologist may perform for an organization are: conduct surveys, design employee appraisal systems and training programs, and evaluate employee performance. Jobs can also be redesigned so that tasks are completed more efficiently, and with less stress on the workers. The health and wellbeing of the organization’s employees is equally as important as helping the organization improve its overall efficiency and financial returns.

An IO psychologist might also work with top level executives, coaching them on behavioral techniques and better ways to interact with others. From the glossary of this week’s reserve reading, from the Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology (2004) this training was referred to as sensitivity training which is“a process of helping individuals to develop greater self-awareness and become more sensitive to how they affect and are affected by others” (Organizational Development, 2004).

Research Psychology

Although some IO psychologists work to apply psychological theories to organizations, many others work in academic settings. These IO psychologists teach classes, conduct research, and publish articles in industry journals (Spector, 2008). IO psychologists who work in the field also conduct research, although their primary job is to apply the findings of research to improve the functioning of private organizations, government agencies, and perhaps to the university system where they are employed.

The IO psychologist may be self-employed, work for a consulting firm, or employed in-house for a large organization. The work settings and tasks vary greatly from one job to the next, and the research and strategies employed by IO psychologies can be useful in a seemingly limitless number of situations.

Ethics and Values

Values and ethics determine the ways people think and behave. Values can be similar across groups, yet vastly different between group members.

Values evolve, and often change as people age, and they generally represent personal ideals, and not necessarily their actions. What one person may deem as morally correct according to their personal values, however, is not necessarily ethically correct. You may have noticed that your own values have changed over the years. It is likely that your values now, are far different to values you had as a teenager.

Similarly, if you are a a grandparent, you will possibly have different values to those you had when your own family was young, although the difference is probably not as great as the change between those teen years to now. The decisions people make on a day to day basis are guided by their values. Values are a set of principles that guide the decision making process, and are influenced by beliefs. Among other things, values are often formed according to religion, gender, or culture, and by what an individual deems as morally right or wrong.a grandparent, you will possibly have different values to those you had when your own family was young, although the difference is probably not as great as the change between those teen years to now. The decisions people make on a day to day basis are guided by their values. Values are a set of principles that guide the decision making process, and are influenced by beliefs. Among other things, values are often formed according to religion, gender, or culture, and by what an individual deems as morally right or wrong.

Values are demonstrated by an individual or group’s behavior and their reactions to circumstances. Collectively, these behaviors are referred to as ethics; a behavioral code of conduct expected from the society we live in or the organization we are a part of. Various professions also conduct business in accordance with a strict code of ethics, or code of conduct, and violations of that code results in penalty. For a health care professional or an individual with legal credentials, this could mean a loss of license. Real estate agents also work in accordance with a code of ethics.

Values determine the roles people play in life; how they interact with others, and what career choices they make. A person who embraces cultural diversity may be best suited to a career helping others. Others may be less tolerant if their personal beliefs and values are influenced by their religion. In many cases, the society, state and country a person belongs to often determines what is ethically and morally correct.


Research and Statistics in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Research is vital to the existence of I/O psychology. Research is either conducted in a laboratory or in the field. Applying the research to the workplace is the role of a practitioner in I/O psychology, although these psychologists often conduct research of their own. I/O psychologists in the academic setting also conduct research and publish articles in industry journals. It is the findings of these studies that I/O psychologists use to devise new concepts applicable to business environments.

Research designs vary depending on the subject. Some research is purely observational, while other research can take the form of a questionnaire. Some studies continue over a long period and are known as longitudinal studies. A longitudinal study measures the occurrence of something at its beginning and will measure again periodically, and at the end of the prescribed time allocated for the study.

Descriptive statistics offers a method for reducing the amount of data to a summary from which conclusions result (Spector, 2008, p. 39). Another method of measurement is known as inferential statistics. Inferential statistics allow the researcher to make predictions about a much larger number of subjects than the number tested. It is possible to generalize about a large group of individuals based on probability that is calculated using statistical tests (Spector, 2008). It is often not practical or possible to test masses of individuals and interpret that data, therefore, statistical testing is useful in such cases.

Regression and Multiple Regression Methods

There are many other methods of measurement, two of which are Regression and Multiple Regression (MR). Regression involves using a mathematical formula that makes it possible to predict the value of something based on an already known value. MR allows the use of several known values to increase the likelihood of discovering the unknown value. Spector (2008) provides a clear example by stating “both high school grades and scores on the SAT could be combined to predict college grades” (p. 44). Another more complex example of the use of MR by Lebreton, Hargis, Griepentrog, Oswald, & Ployhart:

…trying to understand the relative contributions various job attitudes make to the prediction of turnover or the relative contribution various individual difference variables make to the prediction of job performance. Although in practice there are a multitude of relevant factors external to the MR model to consider... (p. 2) I/O psychology is rapidly advancing and offers numerous opportunities for the advancement of organization and individuals within the workplace. For I/O psychologists, the countless theories borrowed from various other branches of psychology allow for creativity in successfully applying psychological concepts to produce tangible, positive results.

I.O psychologists work to improve productivity, design effective training programs, performance appraisal systems, and to assist organizations by selecting the most appropriate candidates for employment and promotion. Many I/O psychologists work as consultants on a contract basis whereas others are hired to work within one organization as a permanent member of staff. Some work settings are in the private sector, while others may be government institutions such as the military, governments at all levels, or community colleges and universities.

I/O psychologists conduct research and measure data using various statistical methods. From this output, conclusions are drawn, and the findings are applied to any or all of the settings where productivity and motivation are necessary for not only organizations but also for the personal and professional development of employees.

The Function of Statistics

Statistics are an organized collection of data derived from research. The information that statistics provide helps determine the frequency of something occurring, or the likelihood that something will occur again. When data is collected on a particular topic or event, it is assigned a form of measurement to allow it to be interpreted into more usable information. For example, by assigning numerical values to a dataset, it is possible for anyone to interpret and use the data because numbers make the data universally recognizable. Mathematics, after all, is a universal language.

Researchers can use statistical data to identify patterns. For example, a geologist who explores and records data from a soil sample can see that changes in the texture and types of soil show periods of flooding. The flooding may have been from a freshwater event, or a salt-water event such as a tsunami. By analyzing this information and identifying patterns that show how often soil and sand layers change in the sample, the geologist may predict with some accuracy, when another earthquake may occur. Statistics provide a starting point for further research into similar subjects.

Statistics are beneficial to consumers as well as researchers. A prospective homebuyer may look at statistical data to see how home values in a specific area have fluctuated over a period of years. This information will help the new homeowner decide whether a purchase in a certain area will be a sound financial option, or whether resale values have been too low in the past.

The way researchers record statistics is also important because some methods of presentation will show detail, whereas others can lack information that may be necessary for drawing accurate conclusions. “The first task of the researcher is to select the most appropriate descriptive statistics to give an accurate picture of the data” (McHugh & Villarruel, 2003, para. 2). Charts, graphs, and histograms are just some of the methods used to present statistical data.

How Effective are Pie Charts for Explaining Statistics?

Pie charts are a great example of how information can be displayed without being too difficult for the reader to understand. Pie charts will use color as well as numbers/percentages to convey information to the reader. Pie charts can be used to display information about the popularity of one product when compared to another, or how sales trends for one product have been over a specific period. Math is a universally understood language, and pie charts can be easily interpreted because of the graphical nature and the lack of textual language necessary in presenting data.

Sales advertisements are accompanied by pie charts. A good example would be car sales, and the various models of cars can be shown as segments of the pie. One misleading quality of pie charts, however, is that they don’t include as much detail as other charts or graphs, and the potential customer will not be getting as much information as they can before making a decision to purchase. For instance, a pie chart might how that a certain make of vehicle is outselling another brand, but it may fail to illustrate that some of those cars are four cylinder cars, while the others have six cylinders. In general, although it may not be the case in reality, people consider four cylinder vehicles to be more economical, and therefore sales of four-cylinder vehicles could be higher for that reason.

What is a Job Analysis?

A job analysis is yet another assignment for the I/O psychologist – a job analysis is a detailed list of every aspect of a job. The job being described lists each single task involved in successfully performing and completing the job. A job analysis is important, because it allows individual to examine aspects of a job they may be interested in to see if they have the necessary skills to perform the job. It is not uncommon to have perceptions about what a job may involve, and then find out the job is far more complicated and includes tasks that may be outside the applicant’s skill set. A systematic investigation into the various aspects of a job results in detailed, written report which clearly describes every single part of the job, and what human knowledge, skills, or abilities are required to perform the work (Spector, 2008).

How is a job analysis conducted?

There are two methods of conducting a job analysis, one method is the job-oriented approach, and the other is the person-oriented approach. The job-oriented approach focuses on the breakdown of the task for the job, while the person-oriented approach lists the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that a potential employee will need to have to get the job done. Knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics are called KSAOs (Spector, 2008).

Applications of a job analysis

Job analyses are useful for a number of reasons. They are used for:

Career development - outlining the KSAOs necessary to perform jobs at levels above where an employee currently works. Individuals can see in advance, what competencies they will need to have to be promoted to a new position. According to Spector (2008), “Job analysis contributes to career development by providing a picture of the KSAO requirements for jobs at each level of the career ladder, and by identifying the key competencies (p.58).

Legal issues: a job may involve essential functions that some individuals are not able to perform. For example, climbing on scaffolding is an essential function of some construction jobs, but individuals with some physical limitations will be unable to perform such a task. For this reason the job analysis must be very specific so as not to be discriminatory. Other uses for a detailed job analysis are; performance appraisal, setting salaries, job design or redesign, and for designing effective training programs.

What Types of Recruiting Challenges do Organizations Face?

The implementation of technology creates issues for organizations when recruiting new employees. Due to the rapidly changing nature of electronic tools and the invention of new and more effective computer programs, changing and implementing new training programs is essential for a corporation to remain competitive in the global arena. Spector (2008) notes that the aging population will become a larger part of the workforce than is seen today, and the origins of employees will also vary to a greater extent than in recent times.

What might organizations do to overcome these challenges?

All of the above-mentioned situations require organizational strategies different than those used at the moment. For example, older employees must be accommodated differently where health insurance is concerned. As we know, attractive benefits are one way to encourage new applicants to accept and keep a position within an organization, yet some of the practices of health insurance companies apply limits to what health problems are covered, and which are not.

Pre-existing conditions will be one problem for health insurance companies to change if their services are to be included in an attractive benefits package. For this reason, the organization will have a continuous job ahead seeking better and more affordable health coverage for employees. Spector (2008) also mentions that “Organizations can also offer flexibility in the content of jobs so that potential employees can modify the job to their liking” (p. 156). This will be necessary with an aging population in particular, otherwise discriminatory practices will lead to legal issues for the organization.

Aside from the aging population, the nationality of employees can vary and this also has an impact on how business is conducted. Telecommuting s one practice already used by many organizations, however, there will be changes necessary to account for training methods, performance appraisal methods and in general, globally friendly human resource practices that are legally defensible. What is considered discriminatory in one country is not so in others. Bi-lingual employees will be not only be an asset to the company, they will become a necessity as workers will be required to interact with employees whose native language is different to their own.

Interview or Application Form? Advantages and Disadvantages In Your Job Search

Several methods exist for screening applicants for employment. In addition to the familiar job application form, there are a wide array of tests including emotional intelligence test and personality tests. While no one method can provide everything an interviewer needs to know to make the perfect selection, one or more of the tests coupled with a follow-up interview can provide the interviewer with a myriad of invaluable information, and the ability to determine how well an applicant is likely to perform his job.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Interviewing Prospective Employees.

A structured interview is a good opportunity to gauge an applicant’s behavior and to ask questions of the applicant which are important, but not included on the application form. The interview also provides a good opportunity for both parties to elaborate on specific questions or answers. One of the disadvantages could be communication style of one of the parties. If the interviewer is perceived as condescending or abrasive, the applicant could become nervous or disgruntled. The tone may not be intended, but occasionally the interaction between two people is not as good as it could be. The problem may also be distorted thing by the applicant, and overreacting to perception and not what was asked, could draw an inappropriate response by the interviewee.

Unstructured interviews are of a conversational nature in comparison to the structured interview. The unstructured interview is thought to be less effective and can allow bias to creep into the interview process. Spector (2008) reports that the average correlation is greater for structured interviews, than for unstructured interviews where interview outcome and the resulting performance are concerned. This is according to research conducted by Weisner and Cronshaw (1988), and although that research is more than 20 years old, there has been considerable research published more recently which confirms those findings (p. 126).

Job Applications and Tests

A personality test for traits that are relevant to the job would be a useful tool for selection and/or placement. These types of tests are often a good predictor of job performance (Spector, 2008, pp. 118, 119). In addition, Spector (2008) points out that “standard personality inventories often are used as integrity tests” (p. 120), therefore, a combination of an application or test as well as an interview would be extremely helpful in establishing which candidate is best suited to a particular job. After submitting a basic application and taking the test, the potential new employee could still be ruled out if the interview was a disaster. One would need to allow for some element of anxiety during the interview, because that does not necessarily mean the person lacks self-esteem or other necessary traits relevant to the job or its tasks. Still, this is also a good opportunity to identify those areas of weakness that could be improved with training and practice. In lieu of time, I believe that these tests, or some similar, would be useful in establishing some familiarity with the applicant.

Coupled with a questionnaire or test, a well structured interview would provide invaluable information which will help the interviewer make predictions about the applicant’s job performance (Spector, 2008).


Employee Selection and Training

Many industrialized countries throughout the world have laws in place to ensure fair practices for selecting employees. The laws protect minorities from discrimination and also apply to fairness in evaluating job performance. With reference to performance appraisal, the laws against discrimination offer protection to women and other minority groups should they seek promotion or an increase in salary. The antidiscrimination laws protect the mentally and physically disabled, individuals whose gender may place them as a target of discrimination, an individual’s race, fairness regardless of one’s religious beliefs, and employees discriminated against due to age. Strictly enforced in all 50 states in the United States, antidiscrimination laws have severe penalties which apply to any individual or organization that fails to comply.

Civil Rights

The introduction of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was a monumental triumph for Industrial/Organizational psychology. The introduction of antidiscrimination laws required I/O psychologist to develop methods for fairness when dealing with employees. Following the Civil Rights Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 extended protection to those with mental and physical disabilities (Spector, 2008). In the past, it was not uncommon to exclude individuals with physical disabilities from employment opportunities because representatives of organizations believed individuals with limitations could not fulfill the necessary job requirements. In some instances, this may be the case; however, the laws prevent organizations overlooking individuals with disabilities based solely on the belief that a job demands more than the disabled individual is capable of producing. For this reason, it is illegal to exclude, terminate or deny promotion to any individual based on non-performance related factors. An example of non-performance related discrimination is terminating a physically disabled individual for his inability to climb a ladder, when climbing a ladder is not part of the job description. Therefore, a fair performance appraisal must exclude any non-related task as a reason for denying promotion or terminating employment.

Conducting a Legally Defensible Appraisal System

Spector (2008) describes a list of methods for conducting a legally defensible appraisal system. The points he identified as; performing a thorough job analysis to determine what the necessary tasks are to perform a job correctly, assessing dimensions using a rating form based on an individual’s performance history, training individuals in the appropriate assessment practices and including upper-level management as part of that rating system, allowing employees to appeal decisions following the appraisal, and keeping records regarding performance to identify any need for counseling (p. 103).

Subjective methods in performance appraisal can contain bias information. It is possible for personal conflict between employee and supervisor to result in opinion regarding the personality of the employee and not the performance according to the job description. It is also possible for discrimination to creep into the appraisal if a supervisor is intolerant of a particular minority, therefore; training is vital for the individual whose role it is to conduct the appraisal in a legally defensible manner.

A more reliable source of information for appraisal purposes is objective measures. Objective measures provide concrete evidence of incidents such as absences, productivity numbers, and tardiness reports. These reports, maintained and updated regularly, are useful in identifying patterns of behavior useful for cross-referencing when conducting a performance appraisal.


International Considerations

Some practices considered ethical and legally defensible within an organization in the United States will not apply when one considers the global expansion of many industries and organizations. To accommodate for the growth of competitors, more organizations face the challenge of expanding operations into other countries where opportunities for advancement are growing exponentially. With the advent and implementation of technology, and in particular, the popularity of social networking, the opportunity to grow on a global scale exists today where once this was once impossible for economic reasons. With expansion of this nature; however, there are also opportunities for failure brought about by illegal practices regarding the hiring, promotion, and appraisal of international employees.

In a detailed article of diversity in HR practices Shen, Chanda, D’Netto and Monga (2009) noted that the inclusion of a diverse selection of managers on the performance appraisal panel can assist in reducing negative appraisal for minorities. In addition, the authors highlight scholarly suggestions including ideas such as “when assessing each manager’s performance, actions taken by the manager to hire and promote minorities and women can be used as performance criteria in order to promote diversity ‘(Morrison 1992; Sessa 1992)’”(p.10). Indeed, the more diverse the population of each organization on a global scale, the more likely one will encounter tolerance, whereas discrimination is reduced. With the aforementioned technology, future populations of organizations worldwide continue in the direction of diversity, more so than ever before.


Basic Steps in Developing a Training Program in an Organization

Developing a training program is a step-by-step procedure beginning with a needs assessment. The needs assessment is essential because it identifies which employees need to participate in training, and what type of training is necessary. Training employees is expensive and time consuming, so it is important to make sure that only the employees who need those resources are the individuals who receive the training.


According to Spector (2008) “Training objectives should be based on the results of the needs assessment” (p. 175). The objective of the training program is what the organization should expect to have occurred as a result of the training process. For example, the objective of a training program that teaches secretarial staff to use new accounting software will be achieved if those secretaries are able to use the program after the training has been completed. We know if the program has been successful if the secretaries can use the software without any problems. The criterion which has been met following the training will inform the trainer that the objective has been fulfilled and that the training has been successful.


The design of a training program also needs to take into account variables that can hinder its effectiveness. Learning styles are important because some individuals learn best by reading a manual whereas others prefer to hear a lecture and can comprehend and retain that information. Are you aware of your own learning style? there are several...

Feedback is also important to the progress of the training. Discussing progress, or the lack of it, can help the trainee identify skills that need work or knowledge that needs clarification. Among other things, the training should also simulate the conditions where the training will be utilized, and whether or not automaticity has been achieved. Automaticity refers to the process of performing a task in its entirety without having to focus on the incremental aspects of that task (Spector, 2008).

Mentoring, modeling, and on-the-job training are all effective ways for a trainee to learn new skills. There are other method such as conferences, lectures, audiovisual instruction. A combination of methods can be used to deliver training so each individual is catered to and each learning style can be addressed. Some methods are better than others as stand-alone instruction. For example, the autoinstruction method is “self-paced and does not use an Instructor(Spector, 2008, p. 181). Self-discipline is necessary to learn the training material in this instance, however, it is not possible to ask questions as the training progresses. Notes could be made to ask questions later.


Training can only be evaluated by following a step-by-step procedure.

  1. Set criteria
  2. Choose a training design and a method to measure results
  3. Collect data
  4. Analyze results to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the training program

The trainee must be able to show what they have learned in the training environment in addition to showing improvement in job performance in their work environment (Spector, 2008). Control groups and pretest-posttest designs are used to measure how effective training was compared to no training, or how the trainees felt, behaved or performed both before and after participation in a training program. Data must be analyzed to decide whether the training program was successful or not. Inferential statistics are used for this process(Spector, 2008).


Teamwork - Advantages of Working in a Team Environment

Individual diversity and conflict management relate to team work

When I started work on my bachelor’s degree in college, the class was immediately divided into learning teams for a period of five weeks, the duration of those classes. During my associate degree studies, this was not the norm so I became accustomed to doing things to fit my own schedule. As the teams were formed and team assignments were allocated for the particular weeks we were to collaborate, the attitudes of a handful of team mates began to take a turn for the worst.

The primary reason for team placement is to encourage students to share ideas and work toward a common goal – achieving good grades on assignments where each student has an equal share of the workload. An obvious benefit of learning to work in a team environment is to learn how to transition from the classroom to the workplace, with a clear understanding of what it takes to be a follower, a leader, and an enthusiastic member of a team whose priority it is to work for the greater good of their team, and the organization.

Being thrown into the team environment when one is not accustomed to working with others is a rude awakening for some individuals who often become disgruntled at having to co-operate and seek approval and feedback on their work, prior to their portion being included in the team assignment and submitted for grading. If you have ever witnessed a grumpy baby who does not like the thought of sharing his toys…I am sure you see where I am headed with this analogy.

The Advantage of Group Conflict

There are some advantages to having conflicts arise within a group. Conflicts can promote in-depth discussion and prompt spontaneous brainstorming for better ways to tackle a problem. Onlookers might be prompted to think of a way to incorporate both views into the team structure or process, whereas those who are part of the “discussion” might be too set on their own opinion to realize how that could be done. Suggestions should be backed up with valid reasons/evidence why the ideas will be useful to the group, rather than just giving an objective opinion.

Unresolved conflict between team members will be detrimental to the overall success of the group. Attempting to discredit another team member purposely can impact the morale and productivity of everyone in the group.

Competition between teams and among team members is something else that needs to be addressed as soon as the problem becomes apparent. The need to be competitive can have a negative impact on how people perform a task. Intrinsic motivation can reduce the effectiveness of a person who works in a team environment, although this is not always the case. Some people naturally find their need to achieve is greater than their need to affiliate and work toward a common goal within the team environment.


Lebreton, J. M., Hargis, M. B., Griepentrog, B., Oswald, F. L., & Ployhart, R. E. (2007). A MULTIDIMENSIONAL APPROACH FOR EVALUATING VARIABLES IN ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH AND PRACTICE. Personnel Psychology, 60(2), 475-498. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00080.x

McHugh, M. L., & Villarruel, A. M. (2003). Descriptive Statistics, Part I: Level of Measurement. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 8(1), 35. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Organization Development. (2004). In Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. Retrieved from

SADRI, G., & BOWEN, R. (2011). Meeting EMPLOYEEE requirements: Maslow's hierarchy of needs is still a reliable guide to motivating staff. Industrial Engineer: IE, 43(10), 44-48.

Shen, J., Chanda, A., D'Netto, B., & Monga, M. (2009). Managing diversity through human resource management: an international perspective and conceptual framework. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 20(2), 235-251. doi:10.1080/09585190802670516

Spector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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