Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science

By Jerald Greenberg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
I/O AND OB IN THE MILITARY SERVICES: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Delbert M. Nebeker* Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, San Diego, CA and California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego, CA

Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology and organizational behavior (OB), as applied sciences, have many ties to subspecialties in psychology as well as other disciplines. Also, they have many ties to institutions and industries that have provided impetus and opportunity for them to develop. None of these ties, however, are as strong as the tie between I/O psychology and the military ( Driskell & Olmstedt, 1989). In many respects the early history of I/O Psychology is simply the history of military psychology. Without support from the military, one can only speculate about whether I/O psychology would have thrived or died. There can be little doubt, though, that if I/O psychology had developed apart from the military it would be very different from what it is today.

Beginning with psychologists' efforts to aid the military in "the war to end all wars" ( World War I) I/O psychology was born of necessity. Problems in military organizations needed the solutions offered by psychology. The size and nature of military organizations gave unique opportunities for the field to grow. Its development continued through World War II, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and most recently in Operation Desert Storm. Each of these events spurred the application of psychology to the performance problems of individuals, small groups or teams, and large military organizations. Today as the collapse of the Soviet Block signals Western victory in the cold war and the U.S. budget deficit sends shock waves through the U.S. economy and government, the legacy

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*
The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author, are not official and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of the Navy.

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