Has Industrial-Organizational Psychology Lost Its Way?


This paper argues that as a field, industrial and organizational psychology (I-O) is failing at its central purpose of providing evidence-based solutions to real-world management problems.

The way I-O research papers are currently reviewed and approved for publication incentivizes scientists to produce work that’s academically rigorous but completely detached from the concerns of real organizations. Moreover, gatekeeping keeps out people who have big contributions to make but may lack a certain academic pedigree.

As a result, I-O is becoming less relevant at a time when the questions it should be helping to answer are more important than ever. 

Key Points:

  • Good science creates practical knowledge, not just abstract theories.
  • Disciplines like marketing, data science, and behavioral economics are stepping in to answer the business questions I-O isn’t.
  • To get back on track, the field of I-O needs to prioritize practical contribution over theoretical rigor and academic pedigree.


Organizational research is only as valuable as its practical application: Will this help my company make better decisions?

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