In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Industrial and Organizational Psychology

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Handbooks
  • Data Sources

Psychology Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Kurt Kraiger
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0034


Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology addresses individuals’ attitudes, behaviors, cognition, and emotions at work. More formally, it is the science of collecting, analyzing, and using data to help organizations make better decisions about the selection, placement, and management of workers, as well as the design of organizational systems that enhance the performance, health, and affect of organizational members. The label industrial/organizational recognizes the dual roots of the field. Industrial was once a modernization of the descriptor “personnel” and reflects the classic study of individual attributes and how they fit job demands. Industrial psychology encompasses specific topics such as job analysis, test construction, personnel selection, performance appraisal, and training. Organizational psychology grew out of the human relations movement triggered by the famous Hawthorne studies of the 1930s and encompasses specific topics such as worker motivation, job satisfaction, job design, leadership, and group and team performance. In research and practice, the distinction between industrial and organizational psychology is largely artificial, because most topics cut across both topic areas, and I/O research also draws heavily on advancements in management studies, organizational behavior, social psychology, and cognitive psychology. Research methods in I/O are broad, including both laboratory and field settings, both true experiments and opportunity samples. A recent trend that is likely to continue is the use of sophisticated multilevel sampling and data analysis methods, because these approaches account for the reality that affect, cognition, and behavior have multiple influences at individual, group, and organizational levels.


Multiple good textbooks are available, depending on the topic and level of the reader. Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology is frequently (but not universally) taught at the advanced undergraduate level in American universities; there are also many doctoral and graduate-level programs. The authors listed here are all noted researchers, so their books not only cover the basics but also provide an excellent starting point for understanding past and current research issues. Spector 2008 and Levy 2010 provide solid overviews of both industrial and organizational psychology topics and are good starting points for learning the field. Guion 1998 is an update of a classic graduate-level textbook on industrial psychology but focuses primarily on selection. Cascio and Aguinis 2010 covers a broader array of topics within industrial psychology. Brannick, et al. 2007 and Murphy and Cleveland 1995 are in-depth treatments of narrower topics within industrial psychology. There are far fewer good organizational psychology textbooks, but Jex and Britt 2008 is frequently used in graduate courses, and Robbins and Judge 2010, in both undergraduate and graduate courses. Koppes 2007 is not a textbook but covers a broad array of topics from a historical perspective.

  • Brannick, M. T., E. L. Levine, and F. P. Morgeson. 2007. Job and work analysis: Methods, research, and applications for human resource management. 2d ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Graduate-level textbook, appropriate for seminar course, excellent resource for researchers.

  • Cascio, W. F., and H. Aguinis. 2010. Applied psychology in human resource management. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Graduate-level textbook, covers industrial psychology, excellent resource for researchers.

  • Guion, R. M. 1998. Assessment, measurement and prediction for personnel decisions. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Something of an update of Guion’s classic 1965 text, Personnel Testing, this book is appropriate as a graduate-level textbook. Covers industrial psychology, but Guion’s view of the field is so broad that it necessarily draws in organizational content, as well as theory and research from other areas of psychology.

  • Jex, S. M., and T. W. Britt. 2008. A scientist-practitioner approach: Organizational psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.

    Popular, thorough graduate-level textbook on organizational psychology.

  • Koppes, L. L., ed. 2007. Historical perspectives in industrial and organizational psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Not a textbook, but an excellent historical overview of core topics in industrial and organizational psychology.

  • Levy, P. E. 2010. Industrial/organizational psychology: Understanding the workplace. 3d ed. New York: Worth.

    One of the standard undergraduate textbooks, covers industrial and organizational psychology.

  • Murphy, K. R., and J. N. Cleveland. 1995. Understanding performance appraisal: Social, organizational, and goal-based perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    Advanced undergraduate or graduate textbook, appropriate for a seminar course on performance appraisal. Excellent resource for researchers.

  • Robbins, S. P., and T. A. Judge. 2010. Organizational Behavior. 14th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

    Popular textbook on organizational psychology, appropriate at the graduate and undergraduate level.

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

    One of the standard undergraduate textbooks, covers industrial and organizational psychology.

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