Skip to Main Content

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists


The beginnings of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology can be traced to the mechanical engineer Frederick W. Taylor, who conducted the first time-and-motion study (a business efficiency technique) of workers at the Midvale Steel plant in Pennsylvania. Other pioneers in I-O psychology include Walter Dill Scott (who applied the principles of psychology to advertising and worker motivation and productivity), Hugo Munsterberg (who focused on developing ways to identify quality workers based on their mental abilities and personalities, and is considered the “father of industrial psychology”), and Lillian Gilbreth and Frank Gilbreth (who made significant contributions in such fields as motion study and human factors).

In 1982, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology was incorporated as a division within the American Psychological Association (APA). In 1996, the APA recognized the field of industrial-organizational psychology as a distinct sub-discipline. Since then, the field of I-O psychology has enjoyed steady growth.

Related Professions