Your organization is made up of people, and those people all have their own experiences, perspectives, and behaviors that impact how they do their work.
That’s where organizational psychology, the study of human behavior within the workplace, comes into play. Put simply, it aims to understand and improve the dynamics between companies and their employees.
It’s what we’re focused on here at Erudit, too—not just with the product itself, but with our ever-growing body of original research. Our in-house team of data scientists and psychologists stays on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the working world so you can make informed decisions about your own employee experience.
As technology continues to advance, organizational psychology has too—particularly when it comes to using artificial intelligence (AI) to dig deeper into employee behavior. While it might sound a little sci-fi, AI for HR offers advantages for both employees and employers. Employees benefit from:
- Greater job satisfaction when AI helps them perform their work
- Increased employee privacy, as AI is skilled at collecting anonymous data
- Improved performance and a better understanding of their own performance
While organizations that use AI in human resources get:
- Reduced subjective bias when making hiring or advancement decisions
- Higher-quality hiring decisions with more reliable matches between candidates and roles
- More streamlined and systematic HR processes
Yet, despite the benefits, AI for HR can still feel sort of nebulous. How is it actually used? And what sort of impact does it have?
We did the hard work so you don’t have to. Our experts conducted a systematic literature review of 16 different articles and studies to understand AI’s current and future role in organizational psychology. Here are the highlights from that research.
How is AI impacting organizational psychology?
Economists say we’re in the thick of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technology (including AI) is quickly evolving—and that means there’s room for plenty more investigation about how these modern technologies can be applied in the workplace.
However, our literature review revealed five key areas where the implications of AI on organizational psychology have already been tested, studied, and summarized.
1. Quality of work life
AI can often be looked at as a potential negative—it’s yet another tool to master or even a threat to human job security. But academic research reveals a rosier picture. One study found that when AI actually helps an employee do their work, both their job satisfaction and their appreciation for the technology increases.
Literature also shows that AI can not only build a better workplace for employees, but also a safer one. It’s been used to predict and manage employee stress levels as well as reduce occupational accidents and illnesses.
The recruitment process is another HR function that has benefitted from AI—both in reducing biases that can impact hiring decisions as well as streamlining the often costly and time-consuming process of sourcing and evaluating candidates.
In one study, the researchers used an algorithm to understand a candidate’s personality, using only text content from a questionnaire they completed. The results showed that the algorithms were accurate and effective at reducing subjective bias.
But what do applicants think about the potential of a robot reviewing their application? Results are mixed. While one study found that the use of AI in the recruitment process didn’t affect whether or not candidates applied, another study found that candidates preferred when screening was done by a human as opposed to an AI tool.
3. Job and individual task analysis
Employee performance carries weight for both employees (most of whom are eager to perform well in their roles) and for their employers (that obviously benefit from an engaged, productive, and high-performing workforce).
Yet it can be tough to understand what attributes directly influence performance. Researchers in another study used a questionnaire to dig into employee performance and then used an AI model to analyze the results, with the goal of determining whether AI can correctly identify influencing factors.
It turns out AI wasn’t only able to determine the well-being attributes for employees (which vary across industries and work functions), but it did so with impressive accuracy.
4. Decision making
Modern organizations aren’t shaking Magic 8 Balls. They need real, tangible data. Fortunately, data analysis and organization is what AI does best.
In several laboratory experiments designed to test supplementing the decision-making process with AI, HR staff was split into three groups to make decisions about who to hire:
- Group #1: Received a ranking of applicants before they processed applicant information
- Group #2: Received a ranking of applicants after they processed applicant information
- Group #3: Did not receive any ranking at all
The study results showed that satisfaction with the decision was higher for the group that received a ranking after processing on their own. It’s proof that AI won’t replace human decision-making, but it can be a helpful supplement.
The buzz about AI in HR tends to skew towards recruiting—using AI to do the time-consuming and tedious work of creating job descriptions, screening applicants, and reading through resumes. But that’s just the low-hanging fruit.
When growth and development play such a huge role in the employee experience and organizational psychology as a whole, researchers are also starting to study how AI can be used not just for the selection of external candidates, but also to support the current staff.
One study built an AI model that not only assesses the match between outside candidates and open jobs, but also evaluates which of the companies' own employees could be best suited to a particular job. That supports internal mobility, a culture of learning and advancement, and happier and more productive staff.
AI for organizational psychology: only the beginning
Organizational psychology has come a long way from the days of looking at employees as machines that could be tweaked and fine-tuned for maximum efficiency. Today’s approach to organizational psychology prioritizes human needs and overall well-being—but there’s still plenty of room for evolving technology like AI.
AI isn’t meant to take the “human” out of human resources at all. On the contrary, as employees demand more engaging experiences, better conditions, and unwavering employer support, the onus is on employers to meet that demand. Finding AI that feeds their goals keeps them current and competitive in the modern world of work—without a towering HR workload.
Book a demo to learn how Erudit can give you real-time insights to build a happier, more productive workforce.