Original Research

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 | a2262 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2262 | © 2023 Rudolf M. Oosthuizen, Annelize van Niekerk, Melinde Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 February 2023 | Published: 07 December 2023

About the author(s)

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
Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: The general goal of the professional industrial and organisational psychology (IOP) master’s coursework and internship programmes is to enable the qualifying student to contribute to organisational strategic and operational human resource practices and people behavioural dynamics, assessment, and intervention design.

Research purpose: The study explored the perceived effectiveness of the professional IOP master’s coursework and internship programmes in qualifying intern psychologists as employable industrial and organisational psychologists (IOPs).

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

Research approach/design and method: The sample involved South African intern psychologists specialising in IOP (n = 17). Qualitative research methods with thematic data analysis were employed.

Main findings: Guided by self-determination theory, the findings suggested that the IOP master’s coursework and internship programmes promote holistic development and embed confidence in practical and theoretical competence on both a personal and a professional level. Intrinsic and autonomous motivation regarding the IOP’s role and identity are also crystallised while the importance of continuous personal and professional growth, as well as a good support network, are acknowledged.

Practical/managerial implications: Understanding the intern IOPs experience and required competencies for employment may help to improve the design and development of the professional IOP master’s coursework and internship programmes.

Contribution/value-add: The study especially emphasised the need to enhance the effectiveness and support offered within the professional IOP master’s coursework and internship programmes by incorporating the principles of self-determination theory.


Keywords

industrial and organisational psychologist; intern psychologist; internship programme; master’s professional coursework degree; employability; applied competence; self-determination theory

JEL Codes

I23: Higher Education • Research Institutions

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Metrics

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