Original Research

An overview of industrial and organisational psychology research in South Africa: A preliminary study

Dries Schreuder, Melinde Coetzee
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 36, No 1 | a903 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v36i1.903 | © 2010 Dries Schreuder, Melinde Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2010 | Published: 22 October 2010

About the author(s)

Dries Schreuder, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology UNISA, South Africa
Melinde Coetzee, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Orientation: The generation and development of knowledge for the benefit of the discipline of industrial and organisational psychology by means of research is a core academic focus.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore general research trends in the field of industrial and organisational psychology in South Africa from 1950 to 2008.

Motivation for study: Research in the field tends to be influenced by either the changing needs of business or the occupational or personal fields of interest of academics, which often lead to an overemphasis on specific subdisciplines at the expense of others. This research aims to critically review dominant trends in the research focus areas in the field, in the light of present challenges in the changing work context. Recommendations are also made for possible future research.

Research design, approach and method: A broad systematic review was carried out to analyse documented published and accredited South African research in the field (n = 2501).

Main findings: Although there has been a proportional decline in personnel psychology research since 1990, there has been a proportional increase in both organisational psychology and employee wellness research since 1980 and 1990, respectively. Some areas of the industrial and organisational psychology field appear to be consistently under-researched.

Practical implications: The insights derived from the findings can be used by academia and researchers in the field to plan future research initiatives.

Contribution/value-add: The findings provide preliminary insights that contribute to the body of knowledge concerned with the industrial and organisational psychology field in the South African context.


career psychology; employee- and organisational well-being; personnel psychology; psychometrics; organisational psychology


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