About Industrial Pshchology

What is Industrial and Organisational Psychology?
There is no simple answer to this often posed question as the discipline has evolved into various sub-fields and practice areas.  The result is that while Industrial and Organisational Psychologists (IOP’s) can be generalists they will tend to have a preference or a passion for specialised areas within the discipline.  In general the IOP strives to enhance organisational effectiveness through increasing the efficiency of individuals and/or systems within the organisation, often in response to environmental challenges.  The IOP should not only strive to facilitate increasing efficiency but should also strive to enhance quality in respect of individual and organisational performance and work life.

As such Organisational and Industrial Psychology can be defined as: “an applied field of psychology that engages with employee and organisational behaviour, and which has become a study field and professional speciality in its own right”.

The IOP  utilises and applies knowledge of business and psychological principles in understanding organisational and employee behaviour as well as the nature and demands that the ever changing environment places on organisations and its resources. 

What does the Industrial and Organisational Psychologist do?
Industrial and organisational psychologists (IOP) plan, develop and apply paradigms, theories, models, constructs and principles of business and psychology to issues related to the world of work in order to understand, modify and/or enhance individual, group and organisational effectiveness.  The IOP will assist organisations with developing policies applicable to a variety of sectors and issues, based mainly on psychological theory and research.  The IOP will also design, manage and evaluate industrial psychological intervention programmes in diverse work settings. 

Thus the Industrial and Organisational Psychologists can:

a)Perform a range of standardised psychometric instruments and/or customised assessments in order to determine
potential and/or suitability for:
•    Employment (Read more)
     Pre-employment selection and placement
     Post-employment succession planning and placement
•    Training and development for, amongst others: (Read more)
     Bursary applicants
     Managerial trainees

b)   Perform a range of standardised psychometric and/or customised assessments in order to determine: (Read more)
•     Individual, group and organisational effectiveness
      Employee and organisational “wellness” and quality of work life
      Individual Psychological Fitness
      Organisational effectiveness for Organisational Developmental Interventions
c)   Facilitate individual and group processes for effective organisational function.
d)   Customise solutions by designing and developing assessment tools and procedures,   relevant to the “world of work” or the working environment. (Read more)
e)   Design and implement training programmes for effective organisational function.  (Read more)
f)    Design and develop strategies in consumer behaviour.
g)   Design and implement programmes based on understanding ergonomics.
h)   Develop interventions to identify and improve poor performance in work settings. (Read more)

What qualifications does the Industrial and Organisational Psychologist need?
In order to practice as an Industrial and Organisational Psychologist the individual must complete:
•    a Masters programme at an accredited education and training institution
•    a supervised internship, and pass the HPCSA Professional Board Psychology examination

What is required to become an IOP in Private Practice?
Once the IOP has completed all educational requirements the IOP can practice as a private practitioner and register a practice with the Board of Health Care Funders  and charge according to comparative rates published annually by HealthMan.  In order for a client or IOP to claim for services provided from Medical Aid Schemes the IOP needs to register his/her practice with each Medical Aid Scheme from which claims are to be made.   As such the IOP requires a thorough knowledge and understanding of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) Coding system  and the requirements for each of the Medical Aid Schemes.
What is the advantage of using a qualified Industrial and Organisational Psychologist?
The advantage of using a registered Industrial and Organisational Psychologist lies in their ability to provide a professional service guided by relevant legislation such as the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998), the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No. 75 of 1996), the Labour Relations Act (No. 66 of 1995) , Health Professions Act (No. 56 of 1974)  and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993)  while at the same time adhering to a strict ethical code.

All IOPs need to adhere to the Code of Professional Ethics of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the Professional Board of Psychology.  They should have a thorough knowledge of all psychological practice, and any research conducted should be done in accordance with guidelines specified by the HPCSA.

The registered IOP must, at all times:
•    Operate within the scope of practise as specified by the HPCSA and the Professional Board of Psychology.

In order to administer psychometric assessments  and perform other psychological acts as defined by the HPCSA the IOP must be:
•    Registered with the HPCSA, registration must be up to date, and the individual must annually acquire the required number of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points.   

The IOP is required to refer, to appropriate professionals, persons for assessment or intervention where such intervention falls outside of IOP’s scope of practice or area of specialisation/expertise.

The registered IOP should, at all times, strive to provide a service that is professional and fair to all. 

1  Bergh, Z.C. & Theron, A.L. (2009).  Psychology in the work context. (4th ed.).  Cape Town.  Oxford University Press