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Explained: Evolving trends in Industrial psychology!

Keywords: Trends, organisations, organisational psychology, work life integration, organisational culture, e-recruiting, training, employees


Dunnette (1990) discussed the science and practice of industrial and organisational psychology in an introductory chapter to the four-volume second edition of the Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. It was apparent that the field had grown explosively since the first edition of the Handbook was published in 1976.

Cascio (1995) discusses the likely impact on industrial and organisational psychology of current rapid changes in the world of work. They include increasing global competition, exploding growth of information technology, re-engineering of business processes, a shift from an economy focused heavily on product manufacturing to one with greatly increased emphasis on providing services and rapid changes in what jobs entail-rapidly shifting areas of responsibility instead of fixed bundles of tasks. Obviously, these trends recognised by Cascio have important implications for the activities of industrial and organisational psychologists both immediately and over the years ahead.

This article discusses some of the other emerging and evolving trends in Industrial psychology over the past few years.

Work-life integration

“Work-life integration creates a mindset that allows an individual to look at the big picture and synergistic interaction of all these components,” explains Michelle Marquez, Associate Dean of Human Resources and Administration at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

The term Work-Life Integration is used instead of Work-Life Balance because the latter evokes a binary opposition between work and life. In fact, the traditional image of a scale associated with work-life balance creates a sense of competition between the two elements. One of the most alarming statistics is that 94% of workers in the professional service industry work over 50 hours a week. Work-Life Integration instead is an approach that creates more synergies between all areas that define “life”: work, home/family, community, personal well-being, and health (BerkeleyHaas).

Professionals practising work-life integration care less about what’s “work time” and what’s “personal time” and focus instead on what’s the best time to do these things. That could mean working later in the day in order to focus on a personal project in the morning or checking email after hours but also checking and responding to personal email during the work day. (Atlassian 2020).

Internet recruitment/ e-recruiting

Internet recruiting is the act of scouring the Internet to locate both actively searching job seekers and also individuals who are content in their current position (Wikipedia). 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search (glassdoor) And, a whopping 70% of hiring managers say that they’ve hired successfully through social media (Betterteam).

Companies can implement e-recruiting in several ways. They can formulate their own e-recruiting platforms in-house to be managed by human resources personnel within the organization; use e-recruitment software that fits their particular needs, or retain a recruiting agency that can help advertise and manage available open positions.

According to Dr. John Sullivan, these are a few predictions for the future of internet recruiting:

  • Focus on quality, not volume.

  • A more global approach.

  • Search engines will replace many job boards. Job boards make it easy for managers and recruiters to find a large number of candidates all in one place.

  • A shift from large sites toward niche sites. Specialized sites that focus exclusively on high-quality recruits will become the norm.

  • The primary users will be managers. Currently most Internet recruiting is done by recruiters and HR people. However, as companies become more geographically dispersed, firms will find that responsibility for most corporate recruiting will need to shift closer to the customer (to the line manager).

  • Shifts in Other E-Recruiting Services and Tools Executive search will be done primarily through the Internet.

Technology enabled training

With new advances in artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and machine learning, technology is transforming the training industry at an accelerated pace. Emerging technologies have the potential to add context, relevance and personalization to the learning experience.

Proper use of technology can help improve employee performance. We know that the power to do so has a great impact on skill development and these new technologies can support that power. Technologies allow us to go beyond the development of basic skills to improve employee performance.

A 24X7 Learning survey revealed that only 12% of learners say they apply the skills from the training they receive to their job. This suggests that learner needs aren't being mapped effectively before developing a program and calls for more light to be shed on creating better learning and training methods and modules, technology plays a major part in helping organisations map this process out.

A flourishing Organisational culture

“As the world becomes more complex, it is essential to tap into ideas and expertise from people with different backgrounds and experiences. “

Organizational culture is the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members.

In a recent survey of CEOs by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 41 percent cited workplace culture as the aspect of their talent strategy that would make the greatest impact on attracting and retaining the people needed to remain competitive. Past FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For lists foretold that culture would become a top strategic priority.

Based on a research by Great place to work as well as current and projected trends, they believe that the workplace culture of the future will be defined by three key trends:

Prediction 1: A fairer workplace for all employees.

Employees across all surveyed companies who said they have a great workplace were 12 times more likely to express a commitment to stay with their employers for a long time. A shared sense of fairness is an essential component of this type of high-trust environment, and one that has changed more dramatically than any other area over the past 20 years.

Prediction 2: Increased focus on developing all employees.

Over the past 20 years, best Companies have consistently stood apart for their efforts to help employees reach their full potential. This trend is still true today. For example, the average company on the 1998 list offered employees approximately 35 hours per year of training and development. By 2017, that number grew to more than 58 hours for hourly employees, and 65 hours for salaried employees - a 76% increase since the first FORTUNE 100 Best Companies list.

Prediction 3: A deeper sense of purpose for all employees

Across the 100 best companies, 84% of employees reported that their work has “special meaning: this is not ‘just a job’ and 87% feel they “make a difference here”. While fostering a sense of purpose at work has always been crucial to a strong workplace culture, this is an area where leaders are now placing renewed focus. And, studies show that employees too (Millennials in particular) are placing a higher premium on feeling a sense of purpose at work. Given this, they predict that this area will become an increasingly significant priority for organizations.

The younger generations also want to burn without burning out, which means that they feel less of a need to earn lots of money. They would instead work for little money in a job they love than for lots of money in a job they hate. All they want is to earn enough.

If we look at all these trends the common link that we can establish between them is the importance of the human force and well-being and the significance of technology which plays a major part in the emergence and evolution of a few of these trends.

While there are rapid changes and expansion of technology and various other sectors in the workplace, it is important for organisations to be equipped to handle them and therefore, evolve and master and implement these emerging trends to thrive. What can we do to effectively improve the implementation of these trends?”


About the author

Hi! I am C G Abilasha, I am doing my triple major in Psychology, English literature and journalism from Mount carmel college, Bangalore. I love all things related to the mind and how it works and how we can use and change it. But, Do I know any psychology jokes, you ask? I am A-Freud not. I’m interested in pursuing I/O psychology in the future. In my free time, you will find me playing with my dog and reading books.



Marvin D. Dunnette (1998).Emerging Trends and Vexing Issues in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. , 47(2), 129–153. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.1998.tb00018.x

Work/Life Integration. (2019, March 20). Berkeley Haas.

Boogaard, K. (2020, May 6). What is work-life integration anyway? Work Life by Atlassian.

Gourani, S. (2019, May 4). This is How the Future of Work-Life Balance Will Look Like. Forbes.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, February 4). Internet recruiting. Wikipedia.

Training Industry, Inc. (2019, April 3). The Future of Corporate Learning: Stepping Into Another Dimension. Training Industry.


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