What is occupational psychology? Definition and examples

Occupational Psychology is the study of human behavior in the workplace. It is an applied discipline within the field of psychology. An ‘applied’ discipline is one that uses knowledge and techniques to solve real-world problems or address practical situations.

The terms Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Organizational Psychology, and Work and Organizational Psychology mean the same as Occupational Psychology.

According to the British Psychological Society:
“Occupational psychologists aim to increase the effectiveness of the organization and improve the job satisfaction of individuals. The specialty is broader in scope and less formalized than many areas of psychology and it touches on diverse fields, including ergonomics, personnel management, and time management. Work can be in advisory, teaching, and research roles, and to a lesser extent, in technical and administrative roles.”

Occupational Psychology
Occupational Psychology is one of sixteen recognized specialties by the American Psychological Association.

Occupational psychologists contribute to a company’s or any organization’s success by improving job satisfaction, motivation, leadership development, team dynamics, organizational structure, employee well-being, and training efficacy. This field of psychology also covers occupational safety and health and workers’ overall health and wellbeing.

Occupational safety and health refers to the safety, health, and welfare of employees in the workplace. It also includes the safety and wellbeing of anybody present in the workplace, such as employers, suppliers, and customers.

Occupational psychologists carry out research on worker behaviors and attitudes. They also find ways of improved attitudes and behaviors through training programs, management systems, and hiring practices.

Video – What is Occupational Psychology?

Occupational psychology careers

If you are interested in psychology and how people behave in the workplace, you should consider a career as an occupational psychologist. You must also have good communication and interpersonal skills.

According to Graduate Prospects Ltd:

“As an occupational psychologist, you’ll apply psychological knowledge, theory and practice to organizational issues in the workplace, such as culture and change, as well as issues at an individual or team level.”

“In doing so, you’ll improve employee job satisfaction and increase the overall effectiveness of the organization.”

Occupational psychologists can work either in-house as an employee or a consultant.

Occupational psychology professionals liaise closely with HR officers, careers advisers, management consultants, and training and development officers. They also collaborate with trade union representatives, ergonomists, psychologists, and business coaches. HR stands for human resources.

Occupational psychologist
If you want to be an occupational psychologist, you must have excellent people skills.

Activities of an occupational psychologist

Below is a description of some of an occupational psychologist’s activities: (Source: gradireland.com)

– Designing payment and reward systems as well as advice on health and safety issues to motivate employees.

– “Identifying abilities and developing potential through using tests and job-relevant exercises at selection and in career counseling.”

– Advising on the best type of management systems and designing jobs to fit employees’ skills. Also identifying effective HR strategies.

– Designing appraisal systems to asses performance both in and away from the workplace. Stress management advice. Also, helping employers adapt to change by advising how to change behaviors and attitudes to improve customer service.