The changes in Industrial Psychology since 1964 reflect dynamics of Industrial Management via the psychological perspective. The role of work given the role of employees within the workplace environment has shifted over the past 50 years. According to Landy & Conte, “The interesting aspect of “good” and “bad” work is that the individual worker and the employer together have the power to define good work or to transform good work into bad and vice versa.” (Landy, Conte, 2013)
The main difference between the workplace of new in comparison to the early to mid-1960s is in the amount of psychometric research derived from industrial organizational psychologists that seek to produce more work-oriented workforces. “Since the mid-1990s there has been a rapid and substantial increase in I-O research related to the feelings that workers bring to and take from the workplace. In addition, there has been a dramatic increase in research directed toward work-life balance issues.” (Landy, Conte, 2013) Perhaps the most obvious difference since the early days of industrial organizational psychology is the shift to a more appropriate work-life balance given the demand for a higher salary that pushed the efforts of the early workforce.
The early workforce offered a more mechanized or Taylorism environment where the job was mostly machine-based to which the employee became a machine operator. Productivity became less about physical effort and raw human effort and more about quantity over time, or what essentially became working quotas. The mid-20th century realized a shift into American manufacturing and more office based work which enabled industrial psychologists to further refine and define the role of the employee in the work environment. Today’s workforce faces obsolescence as automated computers can do the job that once required direct human input.
- Landy, F., & Conte, J. (2013). Work in the 21st century. (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.