The Nature of Organizational Psychology

Steve W. J. Kozlowski

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Psychology, Volume 1

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199928309
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Nature of Organizational Psychology

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



Organizational psychology is the science of psychology applied to work and organizations. This field of inquiry spans more than a century and covers an increasingly diverse range of topics as the nature of work and organizations continue to evolve. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a concise overview of organizational psychology as a field of inquiry and the topics covered in this handbook, which endeavors to encapsulate key topics of research and application, summarize important research findings, and identify innovative directions for research and practice. The chapter is organized around four sections. First, it begins with a brief overview of the evolution of the concept of work and the changing career model to provide a backdrop to our examination of the psychology of organizations. Second, it describes several dialectic tensions—industrial and organizational psychology, employee well-being and organizational effectiveness, basic and applied science, science and practice activities, and individual and organizational levels—that characterize organizational psychology as an applied, translational science. The tensions are a source of challenges that require a dynamic balance, but they also create important synergies for the field. Third, I highlight important trends over the last 35 years in the evolution of the field—it is increasingly multilevel, encompassing teams, studying dynamic phenomena, and expanding its breadth of coverage—that are shaping the field, as well as its future. Finally, I close with a tour of the structure of the volume and the topics that illustrate the breadth and diversity of this field that studies the science of psychology applied to work and organizations.

Keywords: introduction to organizational psychology; the evolution of work; dialectic tensions; evolutionary themes

Article.  13295 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »