Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why is psychology relevant for the workplace?

As an MSc student in Stirling, you have the opportunity to take Professor Alex Wood's "Psychology of Work" class in the first term. It explores the importance and role of psychology in the workplace and how practitioners apply psychological theories to issues in the workplace, with the aim of increasing organisational effectiveness and ensuring the satisfaction of people at work.  

One of the assignments I submitted this year tackles the broad sweeping question of "Why is psychology relevant for the workplace?" and it provides a detailed summary of five key areas within the British Psychological Society Curriculum for Occupational Psychology: employee engagement and relations; selection and assessment; training; learning and development; and the design of the work environment. I conclude with a discussion of the role personality plays within the work contexts.

The purpose of this post it twofold: to give MSc applicants an insight into this fascinating topic; and to give seasoned readers a resource that they can use in their research or in the design of course syllabus. 

Click here to download the paper in .pdf. 

To summarise:
  1. Employee relations and engagement, defined as “managing fairly and getting the best out of people” (Gamble, 2006), has been seen through the lens of a master servant relationship, the mechanistic worker relationship and now the individual employee relationship.  
  2. Selection and assessment focuses mainly on the need to have people in positions who either have the characteristics required for effective job performance or the capacities for learning and development.
  3. In order to have organisational success, interactive and relative training programmes need to be developed, as do effective and validated career development and appraisal programmes for employees. 
  4. Careful consideration also needs to be placed into the design of the work environment to ensure that it matches the capabilities of human performance and minimises the risks of work to health and well-being. 
  5. Though any individual behaviour is not very predictable from personality, general behaviour is. It is determined by both the situation and the stable individual differences, and individuals’ can also be identified by the extent to which their personalities vary across situations.

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