What Does an Organizational Psychologist Do?

Organizational Psychologist talking to a client

There is more competition in business than ever before. Business leaders are looking for an edge that will put their companies ahead. Organizational psychology may be just the way that leaders can make their teams more efficient. 

So, what does an organizational psychologist do for businesses exactly? They help workplaces run smoothly and with more success. They help to build organizational infrastructures that benefit the people and the processes as well as help to resolve conflicts when they arise. They do this by using the principles of psychology and research to solve problems. The responsibilities of an organizational psychologist include:1

  • Using quantitative research methods to evaluate the company’s goals
  • Observing the work environment
  • Using best practices for conflict resolution
  • Addressing challenges in the workspace based on human behavior

How To Become an Organizational Psychologist

Organizational psychologists often work in the background of business operations, which means they need to possess certain skills. For example, they need to have a positive attitude, be able to communicate easily with team members, and be well-versed in small group theory.2

In order to become an organizational psychologist, you must have certain educational credentials. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field is your first step. The next step to becoming an organizational psychologist is to earn your master's degree, preferably with an emphasis in industrial and organizational psychology. This degree will give you the skills and practice to help optimize worker efficiency and development within your organization

If you are interested in applying your organizational psychology skills to field research, business consulting or teaching at the college level, you should consider earning your PhD or PsyD.

The Perks of Using an Organizational Psychologist

When an organizational psychologist begins working with a company, they will spend time observing, doing interviews and researching workplace dynamics. They want to know all about the projects that are underway and any pain points that the teams feel while doing their work. Once they've gathered and analyzed their research, these skilled professionals will begin making action plans to improve the workplace.

Here are top four perks of an organizational psychologist:

1. They Work With HR

Organizational psychologists are a huge benefit to human resources. They help create programs that celebrate employees and train them in ways that best fit with the company culture. Organizational psychologists bring psychological research to their work with human resources offices so that employees feel like they are being respected and listened to.

2. They Engage Employees

Organizational psychologists understand human motivation. This helps them develop the best trainings for a company’s workforce. They also understand how to best use benefits and perks to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. When conflicts between employees arise, they can mediate and help create collegial working environments.

Organizational psychologists use certain tools to help engage with employees in the workplace. Some of the essential tools include DISC Assessment, Hogan Personality Inventory, Occupational Personality Questionnaire and 16 Personality Factors. All of these tools help build organization in the company along with good relations between employees.

3. They Understand Organizational Charts

Companies that have been in business for a long time may have a complex organizational structure. This often happens because people who were hired at one level are promoted into jobs that may not have existed before, or jobs that were created especially for their skills. As this growth occurs, the company’s organizational structure does not often change to reflect reality. An organizational psychologist will research how people work together and create a comprehensive organizational chart that reflects the company's dynamics and processes.

4. They Work With Consumers

Organizational psychologists understand consumer behavior. So, instead of just working internally with the team, the psychologist may help them understand and conduct market research. The organizational psychologist can help explain the buying patterns and customer thought processes that the company may be unaware of.

Learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences provides students with ways to bring psychological practices to the workplace.

Retrieved from:

1 American Psychological Association, Pursuing a Career in I/O Psychology in August 2022 

2 Alliant International University, What Does an Organizational Psychologists Do in August 2022 

Approved by the Assistant Dean of Behavioral Health for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Oct. 18, 2022

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.