Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
History of Industrial/Organizational Psychology in North America
Laura L. Koppes
The confluence of dynamic external (socioeconomic, business, military, legal, technology) and internal forces (individuals, theories, research, applications) transformed the science and practice of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology from the foresights of a few individuals into a legitimate scientific and applied discipline. Throughout the evolution, an underlying theme persisted: The study and use of psychology for improving the workplace and work lives. As early as 1913 Hugo Münsterberg advocated that the purpose of a new applied psychology was to connect laboratory science with the problems of business. The birth of an applied psychology, then labeled business psychology, economic psychology, or industrial psychology, was linked to the inception of psychology as a scientific discipline at the end of the 19th century. Thus I/O psychology has its roots in experimental psychology, the study of individual differences or differential psychology, and psychometrics. Wilhelm Wundt, in his German laboratory, used the experimental method to control observations ...