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There are various influences on the field of industrial/organizational psychology. Who
do you think was most influential and why?
Many interesting influences contributed to the rise of I/O psychology. Some of them go
as far back as the ancient Greeks; however, many of them were unfortunately nonintegrated.
The interest arose again between 1900 and 1917. First reviews of studies mostly directed
towards gaining knowledge of specific skills and personnel selection were published in the
psychology bulletin. Around 1915, the Bureau of Salesmanship Research was established with
its focus on sales personnel. Walter Dill Scott, who was a professor and who with his colleagues
formed a multi-component selection plan, directed it. However, it was not until few years later,
around 1935, when psychologists finally began to pay greater attention to the social and
industrial aspects in the work environment. Many of the developers of I/O psychology at that
time were trained in general experimental psychology and working in the academic filed. This
includes names such as Hugo Münsterberg from Harvard and Walter Dill Scott from
Northwestern. Just as is stated in our textbook, I believe greatest influences on the field of I/O
psychology are these two significant psychologists, Hugo Münsterberg and Walter Dill Scott.
Walter Dill Scott’s influence came from his work as a consultant and the authorship of books
about psychology of advertising and industrial effectiveness. This work led him to be considered
“America's first industrial psychologist”. Hugo Münsterberg shares this accreditation with Scott
because after being called to Harvard from his native home Germany, he continued to apply his
knowledge to I/O psychology and published the textbook Psychology and Industrial Efficiency
in 1913. It is also important to point out the influence and work of Frederick Winslow Taylor
and the Gilbreths (Frank and Lillian) in the field of I/O psychology. Taylor, an engineer and
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senior executive at Bethlehem Steel, and the Gilbreths (management consultants) were some
additional influences strongly interested in the I/O nature. Even though none of them was a
psychologist, they still contributed enormously to the development of I/O psychology.
Therefore, I come, once again, to the conclusion that psychology itself (including the I/O) is such
a diverse discipline that it surely took more than one significant influence to help its ascension
(Katzell & Austin, n.d).
Katzell, R., & Austin, J. (n.d). From Then to Now: The Development of Industrial-
Organizational Psychology in the United States. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(6),
803-835. Retrieved from SocINDEX with Full Text database.

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