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This essay will discuss the practical impact of Industrial Psychology in South Africa organizations and how they promote sustainable development and growth. The impact of Human Resources Management practices will also be analysed according to how well they the affect the performance of the organization. Furthermore this essay will discuss what the relevance of Industrial Psychology as a profession is in South Africa and how Industrial Psychologists can be beneficial to an organization.
2.1 Impact of Human Resource Management Practices (HRM)
It goes without question that Industrial Psychology can be defined as the "the scientific study and understanding, through scientific inquiry or research, of the internal process, behaviour and experiences in individuals in order to formulate general and unique principles that characterise human nature and behaviour" according to Bergh and Theron (2006). Furthermore Industrial Psychologists use theories, which is a collection of ideas that serves to predict what a person will do, think and feel, to support their arguments of human behaviour (Arnald, Cary, Cooper and Robertson, 2004)
HRM practices are widely believed to improve performance of organizations. More specifically, employee participation, employee empowerment, job redesign, team based production systems; extensive employee training and performance incentives can increase the productivity of employee's performance (Delaney and Huselid, 1996). A few of the above mentioned will be discussed briefly according to how each aspect affects the employee and ultimately the organization.
2.1.1 Employee Participation and Empowerment
Empowerment is a term that has surfaced in South Africa literature and is a multidimensional concept. Three broad concepts arise from empowerment namely; subjective, objective and competence. (Robbins, Judge, Odendaal and Roodt, 2009)
Objective empowerment is described as the exposure to opportunities to exercise leadership, decision making, direct rewards for competency, job enrichment and job rotation (Robins Et al, 2009).
Subjective empowerment on the other hand is described as the development of self-efficacy with relevance to a specific task or function.
Competence empowerment focuses on the growth of knowledge, skills and experiences which could be the most important aspect in the dimension (Robins Et al, 2009).
Overall Empowerment is the delegation of authority to employees on the lowest level of an organization (Bergh and Theron, 2006) and the purpose of is to involve employees in decision making processes and stimulate creativity.
2.1.2 Extensive Employee Training and Performance Incentives
Training of employees may include everyday skills such as teaching employees basic reading skills to advanced courses in leadership. Four general skills will be discussed namely; basic literacy skills, technical skills, interpersonal skills and problem solving skills (Robins Et al, 2009).
Basic literacy such as reading, writing and math skills are amongst the most used programs in South African organizations that employers use to educate their employees (Robins Et al, 2009).
Technical skills involve the training of employee's technical skills. There are two reasons for improving tan employees technical skills - new technologies and new structural designs in organizations (Robins Et al, 2009).
Interpersonal skills are the abilities required by employees to effectively interact with co-workers and employers (Robins Et al, 2009).
Finally problem solving skills have become a part of almost all organizations so as to introduce self-managed teams or implement quality management programs (Robins Et al, 2009).
By training employees to the required level organizations increase the output of each individual which in turn may yield higher returns. To further ensure that employees are working efficiently, performance rewards and incentives can be introduced to stimulate productivity and increase turnover.
2.2 The Relevance of Industrial Psychology as a Profession
According to Stephen Renecle (2001) "the application of the principles of human behaviour in the workplace has, and will continue to have, a central impact on the human condition." Therefore over time thousands of graduates who have, in their studies in HRM, learned the relevant principles will apply them throughout the organization. Furthermore through the application of the learned skills, Industrial Psychologist will aid the organization in the adaption of people's needs so that productivity, quality of work life and self-actualization is promoted (Renecle, 2001).
A specific challenge that an Industrial Psychologists may face in South African terms is that society demands competencies far beyond existing levels, to cope with organizational needs both private and public (Renecle, 2001). Thus it can be said that Industrial Psychologist need to adapt to the variety of cultures in South African society in order to cope with organizational needs.
2.3 Future for Industrial Psychologist
Due to South Africa's expansion into the global markets (globalization) and continues search for competitive advantage, certain factors have surfaced where Industrial Psychologists can have a significant influence on the growth and development of the organization. According to Moalusi (2001) "globalisation and competition has imposed social and economic hardships on people and organisations in the form of costs to employee health, the family, society and organisational performance".
Thus the environment has an influence on Industrial Psychology. According to Schreuder (2001) "drastic changes are currently taking place in political, economic and social areas" which indicates that people in organizations that seek to grow will be affected by the markets they are entering and thus Industrial Psychologists can aid in the transition phases of employees.
In conclusion Industrial Psychologist may influence the organization substantially, especially in South Africa. Sustainable growth and development are two aspects that most organizations seek in South Africa. Organizations can achieve better performance and yield higher returns from its employees through the correct implementation of Human Resources Practices.
Furthermore Industrial Psychologist could assist the Human Resources Management practices by using his/her expertise to fine tune specifics and use interventions to ensure individuals are satisfied and ensure the achievement of the organizations goals and objectives. Finally Industrial Psychologist is still a developing profession in South Africa but could promote growth and sustainable development to an organization, but South African organizations must first have to look past the achievement of bottom line objectives at all cost.