History of Organizational Psychology
Organizational psychology represents an important theoretical and practical field of contemporary psychological science that studies mental and behavioral phenomena that take place in individuals and groups belonging to social organizations. From a historical point of view, the roots of this specialty can be traced to the psychological approaches to the world of industry and work that began to appear in the beginning of the 20th century. The discovery of the relevance of individual differences in both mental and behavioral processes paved the way to the creation of a scientific and technical knowledge that could maximize an adaptation of humans at work that would benefit industrial activities, would increase worker satisfaction, and bring progress and peace to all of society. Such specialized knowledge has evolved during the past century through a series of stages that permitted a growing theoretical complexity and more efficient technological interventions. The relevance of social powers influencing the world of labor have made possible the creation of a rigorous and complex body of scientific knowledge that continuously provides information, advice, and help to modern society in its economic, social, and political structures.
Organizational psychology is the science of psychology applied to work and organizations. This field of inquiry spans more than a century and covers an increasingly diverse range of topics as the nature of work and organizations continue to evolve. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a concise overview of organizational psychology as a field of inquiry and the topics covered in this handbook, which endeavors to encapsulate key topics of research and application, summarize important research findings, and identify innovative directions for research and practice. The chapter is organized around four sections. First, it begins with a brief overview of the evolution of the concept of work and the changing career model to provide a backdrop to our examination of the psychology of organizations.
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