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An organizational consultant is primarily a psychologist who assists businesses experiencing extreme loss of employees and profits due to reorganization or restructuring. These consultants were previously known as industrial, organizational psychologists. They examine the company's current practices and offer suggestions for improvements based on psychological theories and principles. Persons in this position determine the effects of uncertain or hostile working environments on employees, and they offer suggestions on how to improve situations. The primary focus of the organizational consultant is to maximize company profits and efficiency while retaining employees.
Specific duties of an organizational consultant vary on a daily basis, and most duties mirror that of upper management. Consultants analyze data, job descriptions, and possible candidates for certain positions within the company. They hire employees, and evaluate current employees’ job performance to decide where improvements may be made. They make recommendations to management teams based on research and reports that will generate profits for the company while reducing loss. Organizational consultants are also responsible for developing new training programs, implementing those programs, and deciding the effectiveness of them.
Since this job is so involved, a master’s degree or a doctorate in psychology with a concentration in business practices is required. A specific degree plan, offered at select universities, is more beneficial for persons seeking employment in the industrial organizational psychology field. The curriculum at these schools focuses on principles of organizational psychology and sociology along with management and psychological practices. The degree gives the student a complete understanding of the psychology behind personnel behaviors and organizational work place issues. There are also classes devoted to research, strategy, and development which prepare organizational consultant candidates to understand and assess workplace performance issues.
In addition to educational requirements, an organizational consultant must possess a particular personal skill set to perform this job effectively. First and foremost, a person in this position must have superior listening skills in order to understand and decipher management and employee concerns. A consultant must be effective at communicating difficult ideas to all members in a failing company, and they must be able to implement those ideas without objections from employees or management teams. The ability to research problems, analyze research and situations, and manage others is also crucial to consultants if they are to implement plans for a healthier, more profitable business. Most companies will require the consultant to provide proof of performance and references before hiring, and most consultants work up the ladder through an established firm.