The Benefits and Uses of Business Psychology

July 12, 2019
Business psychology is responsible for the study of individual and collective behavior in the workplace. Learn all about it in this article!

In the business world, it’s important to get to know the work environment inside and out, as well as all the different factors that play a part in it. Because of this, it’s essential to be aware of both the capabilities of the work teams and the possible problems that may arise. These and other issues are dealt with by business psychology. This is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of human behavior in the workplace.

This area of psychology specializes in all the factors that may have an influence on the development of work tasks. This can either be at an individual level or at a group level. Its objective is to correctly define all possible outcomes in order to improve the workers’ performance. Let’s take a closer look.

Some workers in a business meeting.

The Origins of Business Psychology

The first definition of business psychology appeared under the name of industrial psychology. This area mainly dealt with scientific work in Europe at the end of the 16th century.

In fact, you can find all the details about how this area of study started in the book The Examination of the Ingenuities for the Sciences, published by Juan Huarte San Juan in 1575. Experts consider this to be the first piece of work that dealt with business psychology in an effective way.

Several centuries later, World War II and the resulting financial crisis that spread throughout the world gave rise to a new interest in business psychology. The main reason was the obvious need for many companies to recover from these world-changing events. This was due to the consequences experienced at both an economic and organizational level.

Let’s take the Armed Forces as an example. During the War, there was a great need for new recruits in the training camps capable of developing advanced tasks at a technological level. All these people were assigned specific positions with this in mind.

After the War

However, when the war ended, all these former soldiers had to return to other types of jobs. Rehabilitation-related problems gave rise to growing psychological distress and a high rate of unemployment.

In order to resolve this labor crisis, the research carried out in those years helped the concept of industrial psychology evolve into the field of business psychology as we know it today. This was due to the fact that their research and applications extended out to all areas of the work environment, and not only to the industrial ones.

One particular change was how the applications of Industrial Psychology went from analyzing workers’ behavior at an individual level to studying their behavior in groups. It’s in a company environment where you can effectively carry out this type of group study.

The Differences between Business Psychology and Human Resources

The field of business psychology shouldn’t be confused with the management of Human Resources in any given organization. The former is a branch of psychology, and, to practice it, you’ll need adequate training.

It’s true that business psychology may include work related to Human Resources. However, it also deals with factors such as motivation, stress, or culture.

It’s not strictly necessary to have psychology training in order to work in a Human Resources department. To work there, you’ll mainly be dealing with the preparation and analysis of budgets, staff costs, contracts, or legislative issues. Because of this, the knowledge you require is more related to economics and law than to psychology itself.

A lady in a job interview.

The Functions of Business Psychology

Having said that, business psychology can fulfill many functions within a company’s organization. In order to illustrate these tasks in more detail, we’ll break them down into the following areas:

  • Personnel orientation. This may be the most important area within this branch of psychology. Its main objectives are to plan the work teams’ tasks and to clearly define their goals.
  • Personnel development. Another aim of business psychology is to get to know the workers’ needs in relation to their training. In addition to this, you’ll have to implement the best solutions in order for the company’s staff to acquire all the necessary knowledge to properly carry out their work. It’ll also help them progress in their roles and develop new skills.
  • Marketing. This area consists of carrying out surveys and working with group dynamics. In addition to this, it carries out research into the product or company image and its level of acceptance by potential consumers.
  • Management. Finally, business psychology deals with the management and administrative tasks regarding the company’s policies. These include personnel management and the definition of the responsibilities involved in each position. This branch of psychology particularly aims to help companies run the different work teams within a company effectively.
  • Robbina, S.P. (1996): Comportamiento Organizacional. Teoría y Práctica. Editorial Prentice – Hall, Hispanoamericana. S.A. 7ma Edición, México.
  • Rodriguez Fernández, A. (1995): Los Recursos Humanos en las Administraciones Públicas. Editorial Tecnos, Madrid.