HR workers and industrial-organizational psychologists share a similar aim: forming a suitable organizational environment and improving workplaces to attract both existing employees and new ones. The latter, as opposed to the former, is more focused on research that can contribute to fostering these locations and providing the necessary data to ensure that the legal, ethical, and psychological aspects will be met in a proper manner.
Since I/O psychologists are focused on research, they use various methods to access certain features of a given workplace. Some of them include non-experiment, quasi-experiment, and qualitative research (Cascio & Agunis, 2019). With the help of a quasi-experiment, one can see the real context of the reviewed events. That way, they can observe possible issues such as discrimination or harassment. Non-experiments can take the form of surveys, without controlling the variables. Thus, I/O psychologists may collect data on consideration of safety precautions and workplace environment. Finally, qualitative research can raise awareness of a certain issue they may be concerned about. This will provide HR workers with a better understanding of the legal and ethical aspects of the workplace.
There are some concerns that need to be considered in the process of research. I/O psychologists need to be aware of ethical guidelines and ensure that their study is acceptable and that they are qualified enough (Muchinsky & Howes, 2019). These aspects are to be reviewed prior to gathering the necessary data, i.e., when the research is being planned. That way, psychologists will demonstrate their respect for the employees’ rights.
At one of my workplaces, I had to deal with a rather toxic environment. Harassment was quite commonplace, especially towards newer employees, which then caused severe distress. In this situation, an I/O psychologist may either start qualitative research, while justifying it on the basis of various features, or a non-experiment by conducting a survey about the employees’ attitude towards their environment. While the accuracy of results may be debatable, as some may not consent to participate, it could at least trigger a conversation regarding workplace toxicity and how it should be handled.
Cascio, W. F., & Aguinis, H. (2019). Applied psychology in talent management (8th ed.). SAGE Publications.
Muchinsky, P. M., & Howes, S. S. (2019). Psychology Applied to Work (12th ed.). Hypergraphic Press.