PSYCH304: Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Course Syllabus for "PSYCH304: Industrial/Organizational Psychology"

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This course will introduce you to the major concepts of and debates surrounding industrial and organizational psychology. Industrial and organizational psychology is the application of psychological research and theory to human interaction (both with other humans and with human factors, or machines and computers) in the workplace. The phrase “industrial and organizational psychology” (sometimes referred to as “I/O”) may be somewhat misleading, as the field deals less with actual organizations and/or industries and more with the people in these areas. As mentioned above, “I/O” is an applied psychological science, which means that it takes research findings and theories that may have originally been used to explain a general phenomenon of human behavior and applies them to human behavior in a specific setting (here, the workplace). Consider, for example, the fact that many jobs require applicants to take a personality test. Psychologists originally developed this test to detect and diagnose abnormal personalities; they are now frequently used to determine whether a given applicant will be a good “fit” for a position or the dynamic of a company’s staff. In this case, we are applying traditional psychology research to the workplace. Or consider the traditional job interview. Everything from the interaction between interviewer and interviewee to the nature of the Q&A can be examined from a psychological standpoint. While these quick examples pertain to only one area of human workplace interaction (the employee selection area), there are a number of additional areas that we will learn about in this course. We will begin by taking a look at how we evaluate jobs and candidates for jobs (employees) before exploring how we evaluate and motivate employees, noting what encourages versus discourages employee job commitment. We will then study leadership and group influences in the workplace and conclude with units on working conditions and humans factors. In addition, performance management and work teams will be discussed. Leadership interaction and the leadership theories are also covered. Note: Because this is an applied psychological science, you should have a strong background in theory and have taken an Introduction to Psychology course prior to taking this course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • perform a thorough and systematic competency model (job analysis);
  • develop and validate a job specific selection design;
  • design, develop, and evaluate a job specific training program;
  • define a performance appraisal process and form;
  • identify research methods for conducting experiments;
  • explain organizational recruitment, selection, and retainment;
  • evaluate the work performance of employees;
  • describe the motivating factors of employees;
  • identify teamwork problems and issues;
  • compare and contrast models of motivation and leadership;
  • explain organizational issues including: teams, attitudes, and occupational health; and
  • define work-life balance and its impact on organizations and employees.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    be competent in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

√    have completed all courses listed in the Core Program of the Psychology Major (PSYCH101 through PSYCH206).

Course Information

Welcome to PSYCH304! Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Dr. Boyd

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Pay special attention to Units 1 and 2, as these lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, exploratory material presented in the latter units. You will also need to complete:

  • Unit 1 Quiz
  • Unit 2 Quiz
  • Unit 3 Quiz
  • Unit 4 Quizzes
  • Unit 5 Quiz
  • Unit 6 Quiz
  • Unit 7 Quizzes
  • Unit 8 Quiz
  • Problem Sets for Each Unit
  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the quizzes listed above.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 100 hours to complete. Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 10 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 (a total of 2 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (a total of 3 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: As you are going through the units, it is helpful to make notes for each unit whether it was a reading or presentation. Later, you can make note cards to study from your notes. In addition, reading your notes into a recorder and then playing them back will also enhance learning. We know in psychology that in order to have material learned it must be read, spoken, written, and/or heard seven to nine times. The problem sets provided will give you “hands on” experience with developing and creating many usable work products and documents from each unit. Good luck! 

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.