A Century of Organizational Psychology

Mar 15, 2018
As Featured In 
Journal of Applied Psychology

100 Years of Progress in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

When the Journal of Applied Psychology celebrated its centennial in 2017, the publication, led by its editor Gilad Chen, who is also the Robert H. Smith Chair in Organizational Behavior at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, asked a group of thought leaders to reflect upon the progress made in the field of industrial and organizational psychology (IOP) over the last century. In an article for the journal’s Centennial Issue, Chen and two co-authors selected a collection of papers that “clearly represent the significant advances” made in the science and practice of IOP.

“Our science is alive and well, maturing and increasingly relevant,” the authors say. “It is in demand in the health care, space exploration, technology, oil and gas, corporate, manufacturing, military, education and science sectors. Such high and diverse demands for our science require more, better, timely and relevant research and findings.”

In the article “A Century of Progress in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Discoveries and the Next Century,” the authors summed up the most salient findings in 19 domains built around four broad themes: 

Building the workforce

  • Individual differences and measurement
  • Research methods, design and analysis
  • Staffing: recruitment and selection
  • Training and development
  • Socialization and mentoring

Managing the workforce

  • Work motivation
  • Job attitudes and affect
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Employee stress and well-being
  • Work and job design
  • Performance management and appraisal
  • Leadership
  • Work groups and teams
  • Organizational culture and climate

Managing differences within and between organizations

  • Diversity
  • Discrimination
  • International and cross-cultural issues 

Exiting work

  • Employee withdrawal and turnover
  • Career management and retirement

Looking to the future, Chen and his co-authors suggest that “the coming decades of this century are riddled with further challenges and opportunities for IOP.” They argue that new forms and practices for organizing, developing and managing the workforce must be created. 

“These might include new leadership approaches, new forms of recruiting, selecting, training and retaining a workforce, and new ways of motivating and securing the well-being and the safety of the workforce,” they say. “The challenge for us is to keep our science and evidence-based practice fresh and relevant.”

Read more: A Century of Progress in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Discoveries and the Next Century is featured in the Journal of Applied Psychology.


About the Author(s)


Dr. Gilad Chen is the Robert H. Smith Chair in Organization Behavior, at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. He received his bachelor degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1996, and his doctoral degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University in 2001. Prior to joining the Smith School, Dr. Chen was on the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University, and a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Technion, and Tel-Aviv University.

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