Original Research

Industrial psychologist intern: Professional purpose, skills and practice confidence

Melinde Coetzee, Rudolf M. Oosthuizen, Annelize van Niekerk
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.2016 | © 2022 Melinde Coetzee, Rudolf M. Oosthuizen, Annelize van Niekerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 April 2022 | Published: 19 October 2022

About the author(s)

Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Rudolf M. Oosthuizen, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Annelize van Niekerk, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Internships are a practical way for students to operationalise their professional purpose, acquire key occupation-related skills and practise their professional capability in real-world work settings.

Research purpose: This study explored industrial and organisational psychology (IOP) interns’ views of their professional purpose and their perceptions of the applied skills they developed as a result of the internship programme, including their confidence about setting up an independent practice.

Motivation for the study: There is currently a dearth of South African research on IOP interns’ views about the internship programme.

Research approach/design and method: The study utilised a qualitative research approach. An open-ended question survey was conducted among 17 South Africa-based IOP interns. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the collected data.

Main findings: Data analysis revealed the intrinsic motivational self-determination of the interns as an influencing force for their personal purpose and vision as practising industrial psychologists (IPs). Views about the skills developed were aligned with HPCSA minimum competency requirements as manifested within the digital-era work space. Interns felt more confident about practising within an organisational setting rather than a private practice.

Practical/managerial implications: Understanding the psychological self-determination needs that motivate the IOP intern may help to improve coursework training and supervision support practices for the IOP intern.

Contribution/value-add: The study extends the internship research literature and revealed the dire need for enhancing the confidence of the IOP intern about setting up and successfully managing an independent professional IP practice.


Keywords

industrial and organisational psychology intern; psychologist internship programme; industrial psychologist professional purpose; psychologist intern applied skills; psychologist private practice confidence; self-determination theory

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Crossref Citations

1. Industrial and organisational psychology Master’s coursework and internship as enabler of employability
Rudolf M. Oosthuizen, Annelize van Niekerk, Melinde Coetzee
SA Journal of Human Resource Management  vol: 21  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2262