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What is an Organizational Psychologist?

What IS an Organizational Psychologist?

An organizational psychologist is a person who uses the combined knowledge of people, business, management, assessment and organizational change to help businesses (and other organizations) work more effectively.

Organizational psychologists differ from many other psychologists in a number of key ways. They work in the client's world - away from their offices and universities. While there are organizational psychologists who do only teaching and research, many organizational psychologists are applied consultants who do their work at their clients' offices. They work with individuals, small and large groups and entire organizations -- always with the same general goal: to improve the effectiveness of the client organization in achieving its goals.

A "PEOPLE EXPERT" - Like most psychologists, an organizational psychologist is someone who has earned a Ph.D. in the study of behavior, what it means and how to change it. He has learned to "read people" more quickly and more accurately than most and develop insight into why people behave as they do. He uses this insight to develop ways in which people can change that behavior if they wish to function more effectively.

A "MANAGEMENT EXPERT" - As part of their training, organizational psychologists study management (typically in the same business schools as MBAs). They have an understanding of Accounting, Marketing, Sales, HR, etc.. Most have run businesses and know what it's like to handle business problems and meet payrolls. Their focus, however, is on how these functions interface with the people in organizations.

An "ORGANIZATION EXPERT" - Evaluating and changing organizations is one of the key roles of the organizational psychologist. They know how various kinds of organizations operate, how to recognize when problems are likely to occur and (perhaps most importantly) know how to intervene to avoid or fix those problems.

An "APPLIED CONSULTANT" - Many consultants are seen by some merely as "data gatherers" - people who ask about problems, write down the answers, combine those answers into a report that goes to the CEO and disappear. Unfortunately, that is sometimes correct. The work of the organizational psychologist truly begins after the report is accepted. The analysis of the problems is the precursor to the engagement. The organizational psychologist stays around and works with the organization to bring about the recommended changes.

An "ASSESSMENT EXPERT" - Assessment is an integral part of the training of most psychologists. The organizational psychologist not only learns about assessments and tests, it is a daily part of their practice. They recommend and implement testing programs at all levels of the organization. They understand which tests are best in each situation, and are adept at interpreting the results and "translating" that into management terms. They have in-depth expertise in one-on-one evaluation of individual candidates for executive and other key positions. The feedback to the hiring manager can be seen as a method to validate their own interviews and improve their technique.

A CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCE who can talk with them about:

  • people, because he is a psychologist:
  • their people, because he gets to know them individually; :
  • organizations, because he is an organizational expert; :
  • their organization because he gets to understand it in depth; :
  • management techniques because he is a management expert; :
  • their management techniques as applied to their employees. :

Most organizational psychologists work with companies that are changing -- experiencing rapid growth, entering new markets, developing new products or dealing with increased competition.

They also work with companies that have immediate problems -- an executive team in conflict, a lack of leadership depth, a disgruntled workforce or lack of collaboration within the departments.

Sometimes they call upon organizational psychologists to anticipate and avoid problems -- smooth the transition of two merging companies or prepare for anticipated changes in market conditions.

Whatever the reason, using an organizational psychologist is a "highly leveraged" situation. The costs of their services are typically a tiny fraction of the new profits they generate or the expenses they save the company.

If you have any questions or want more information, call today for a free consultation.