Applying psychology to business

People matter to organisations. So why not learn more about them?

It is clear to see that due to modern communications and technology the world of business is operating in a more global market than ever before.

People and governments from all over the world are able to see and understand the working lives of those in different countries; the different cultural backgrounds, business customs, communication practices and the way in which people deal with their emotions in the work place.

As the world becomes more open, some countries aim to improve the work lives of their employees by looking to the West for positive examples of working practices and implementing such practices and policies for their country's work force. Whilst in other countries workers themselves are starting to demand the rights and privileges that they see their counterparts in other countries enjoying.

Organisational psychology is one of the few disciplines that looks at and considers the people within an organisation rather than focusing on the technologies and artefacts of organisations; something that traditional management research would focus on.

It is evident that those who enjoy their work and are happy within an organisation are more productive both as workers and citizens; therefore having an understanding of people at work is a source of competitive advantage, not only for individuals but organisations and economies as well.

Organisational psychology in the UK


“The UK is considered to be at the forefront of knowledge and research into organisational psychology with many practices influencing the new emerging economies”

The UK is considered to be at the forefront of knowledge and research into organisational psychology with many practices influencing the new emerging economies. Many leading academics in this field undertake consultancy for private and public companies not just in the UK but overseas as well.  

Choosing to study organisational psychology in a country with leading academics puts you at the forefront of cutting edge research and enables you to take valuable skills and knowledge back into the global market place. Furthermore many courses will also allow you to undertake practical experience of working within an organisation as part of your research. This gives graduates of organisational psychology the competitive advantage in that they will have faced and dealt with real life problems, giving graduates the insight of how to apply scientific rigour to world problem solving skills.  

It is clear therefore that in the future there is going to be an increasing global demand for graduates that have a better understanding of how individuals operate within organisations and how important the individual and the people that make a workforce are to the success of an organisation and the country in which they live.

Student perspective

“As an organisational psychology master's student, there is a lot more independent reading and study, and the pace is more intense. There is also a significant amount of latitude in directing your study towards areas that interest you.

“Although the programme pushes you to work hard, there is tremendous satisfaction in gaining so much knowledge in a short span of time. I am gaining the skills and knowledge vital to my future career, whilst having the ability to approach my study through topics that interest me”

Jennifer Galvan (USA), MSc Organisational Psychology 2011/12 Leeds University Business School

Written by Rachael Hartley, International Officer, Leeds University Business School