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A continued blurring of the distinction between “work” and “life” is likely to be the No. 1 influence on the organizational psychology industry over the next decade, according to the results of a study released today. A Foresight Circle of organizational psychology professionals with almost 190 years of combined experience also expect a greater focus on mental health and increasing use of artificial intelligence to be the main drivers of change in their industry. 

The first in a series of reports from Foresight Psychology examining the future of various sectors of the economy through the eyes of industry experts revealed two themes that may have an overweight influence on the future of organizational psychology: automation and workplace practices. At its extremes, the march of technology could support the development of more advanced organizational psychology tools, or render the industry irrelevant. And the trend toward remote and freelance work could result in the disintegration of organizations, even as they increasingly appreciate the value organizational psychology can provide. 

Combined, these dimensions result in four possible scenarios for the following decade:

  • Golden Age – Data drives the development of increasingly effective tools the support the objectives of organizations to improve productivity by taking a greater interest in minds of their current and future employees. 

  • Individualization – Increasing freelance and remote work reduce the influence of organizations, the primary consumer of organizational psychology services, creating a need for greater integration and services to individuals. 

  • Dehumanization – Technological developments accelerate the automation of not just of jobs, but of human resources processes, increasing the emphasis on computers at the cost of humans. 

  • Irrelevance – The decline of organizations and automation of psychology spells the end of the industry as we know it today.   

While generally optimistic about the forthcoming decade, the Foresight Circle members nevertheless emphasized the need to demonstrate value, as well as find ways to integrate their activities with related functions and professions. Numerous questions remain, including:

  • How, and how quickly, will technology transform the workplace?

  • How will shifting demographics impact the way companies do business?

  • What kind of competitive pressures will the organizational psychology profession encounter?

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