Course Outline: Psychology 331

Course Information

  • Department: Psychology
  • Prepared By: Psychology Department
  • Prepared Date: Fall 2017
  • Course Title: Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Course Code: PSY 331
  • Credits: 3
  • Contact Hours: 45

Catalog Description

Students will explore how the science and practice of psychology is applied in the world of work and organizations. Among the topics that will be examined are the history and research methodology of industrial/organizational psychology, job analysis, employee selection, performance evaluation, training, work motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, group dynamics, and organizational development. The course will highlight emerging trends in the modern workforce and examine how these changes will impact research and practice in today's organizations. Students will examine the factors influencing cross-cultural diversity and globalization, the theoretical and practical implications of these workforce trends, and how current organizational theories and practices apply to cultures outside of the United States. Implications for the full range of topics discussed in the course will be examined including how cultural diversity and globalization affect employee selection procedures, group dynamics, preferences for leadership, training needs, work motivation, and organizational development.  Prerequisite(s): PSY 101. Credits: 3 (3,0)

  • Prerequisites: PSY 101, PSY 130, or PSY 131 or permission from Department Chairperson.
  • Required For: Aeronautical Science-Professional Pilot, Aviation Administration, Industrial Technology, Facility Technology
  • Elective For: All curricula with upper level social science elective.
  • Required Text: Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Understanding the Workplace, 5TH edition by Paul Levy, Houghton-Mifflin Publishing.

Core Area

Psychology 331 meets the Social and Behavioral Science competency goals

Course Behavioral Objectives

Psychology 331 is designed to teach students the theories and practice of psychological principles as they apply to modern organizational life. An appreciation and understanding of the influence of the organization on the individual and the influence of the individual on the organization is developed. Students learn the use of the scientific method in the development of theory regarding human behavior at work and in the evaluation of interventions based on such theory. Students learn the methods of collecting data regarding the human requirements of work (job analysis). Students demonstrate knowledge in the areas of personnel psychology (employee selection, performance appraisal, organizational training) and organizational psychology (work motivation, organizational behavior, job satisfaction, leadership, organizational change and organizational culture).

At the conclusion of the course students will be able to:

  1. Use the scientific method to study individuals and groups in their interactions with others in institutional settings.
  2. Use scientifically collected data to analyze hypothesized behavior in terms of current organizational theories and research.
  3. Critically examine potential organizational interventions based on an understanding of the scientific method and its application in organizations.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the employment selection process from a scientific, legislative and ethical perspective.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the theory and practice of measuring human performance in organizations.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the theory, practice and evaluation of organizational training.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of the theories of work motivation and implications for organizational policy and structure.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of individual leadership.
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of organizational behavior, change and culture in including the reciprocal effects of the individual, culture and the organization.


Psychology 331 meets the goals and objectives of a General Education core course in the area of Social and Behavioral Science because it enables students to apply scientific methods to study individuals and groups in their interactions with others in the institutional setting (the workplace) where most graduates (and other adult members of society) will spend the majority of their lives. The ability to make organizational decisions based on what is known from the study of behavioral science in the workplace is an important component for graduates to critically examine... the behavioral and ethical implications of their personal, social and political involvement with the goals of resolving contemporary societal problems and becoming productive citizens. To ignore the social and behavioral science of the workplace as a component of a social and behavioral science education leaves out the institution where a majority of human experiences occurs for most adults. In summary, the course prepares students to fulfill the stated goals of the Social and Behavioral Competencies in that major aspect of society called the modern organization.

Course Description

Current issues in the field of industrial/organizational psychology will be examined as they relate to the relationship between people and the world of work.  A dual perspective will be offered which focuses on the influence of the organization on the individual and the individual on the organization.  Among the topics that will be examined are the history and research methodology of industrial/organizational psychology, the employment process, job analysis, testing, and selection, performance appraisals, training, work motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, organizational development, and job stress.  By the end of the semester the student should have a working knowledge of classic and cutting-edge topics in industrial/organizational psychology.

Course Outline

The following is an overview of the topics to be covered in this course.  Each unit will include relevant theory, current research, and its application.

Unit 1:  The History of Industrial/Organizational Psychology

The history of the field will be presented beginning with the forefathers (e.g., Scott, Taylor, Munsterberg, Bryan), the influences of the two World Wars, the Hawthorne Studies, the Civil Rights Movement and the advent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and conclude with current issues and concerns.  The different subfields of Industrial/Organizational psychology, and career opportunities will also be discussed.

Unit 2:  Research Methods in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Research methodology typical in this area of study will be presented.  This will include a review of the empirical research cycle, and discussion of the laboratory and field experiments, field study, sample survey, and correlational methods.  Descriptive statistical methodology will be presented including concepts of central tendency and variability, basic measurement scales, and correlations.  Finally, ethical issues associated with organizational research will be discussed.

Unit 3:  The Employment Process

The area of personnel psychology will be presented so that the student is fully grounded in the theoretical and applied elements of this organizational system.  This includes understanding of conceptual and actual criteria, different types of criteria, the criterion problem, job analysis, job evaluation, predictors, predictor validity and reliability, different types of tests, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other legal issues surrounding testing in industry.

Unit 4:  Performance Appraisal

Issues in measuring how well someone works will be presented as a vehicle for designing a performance appraisal system at the workplace.  This will include uses of performance appraisal information, sources of appraisal data, types of rating errors, types of performance appraisal formats, rater training, self and peer appraisal, and feedback interviews.

Unit 5:  Organizational Training

The area of personnel training will be presented as it addresses an organization's goals.  This will include discussion of a training needs analysis, methods and designs of training programs, evaluation of the programs including relevant criteria and research designs, and legal influences on training.

Unit 6:  Organizational Impact on the Individual

Theories of organizational behavior will be presented including:  classical, human relations, contingency, and systems.  Components of social systems including roles, norms, power, and culture will be discussed, as will the concept of person-environment congruence and functional and dysfunctional responses to a lack of fit.

Unit 7:  Worker Motivation

Theories of why we do what we do in organizational settings will be discussed.  This will include:  need, equity, expectancy, goal setting, reinforcement, and intrinsic theories.  An evaluation of each theory will be presented along with discussion of the research of each, and each theories contribution to our understanding of work place motivation.

Unit 8:  Job Satisfaction

Theories of our attitudes about work and why they are important will be presented.  This will include the intrapersonal and interpersonal comparison theories, and the Two-Factor theory.  Issues related to the measurement of job satisfaction will be covered.  Discussion will focus of a review of the research related to job satisfaction and work behavior, health, employment conditions, and life satisfaction.

Unit 9:  Leadership

The field of leadership theories and research will be presented and include classical, contemporary, and current approaches (e.g., trait, behavioral, contingency, leader-member exchange, charismatic, and transformational theories, as well as a discussion of substitutes for leadership.  An evaluation of the strength and weaknesses of each theory and as well as their ability to explain behavior will be included.

Unit 10:  Organizational Development

The principles of organization development will be presented and included discussion of:  models of change, major interventions, job redesign, job enlargement and enrichment, the job characteristics model, evaluation techniques, and current concerns in the field.

Unit 11:  The Influence of Work Conditions

Current research and understanding related to the influence of work conditions on employee behavior and health will be presented.  Areas to be covered will include:  physical stressors, human factors engineering, safety, accidents, work schedules, alcoholism and drug abuse in the workplace.

Farmingdale State College

Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm