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Business Psychology: Features and Applications

Business psychology is responsible for the study of individual and collective behavior in the workplace. Discover its main features and functions!

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In the business world it is important to know in detail the work environment and the factors that intervene in it. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of both the possibilities of the work teams and the possible problems that may arise. These and other issues are dealt with by business psychology, a branch of psychology focused on studying human behavior in the workplace.

In addition, this discipline is specialized in all those factors that may intervene in the development of work tasks, either individually or in groups. Its objective is to correctly define all possible behaviors in order to improve the performance of workers. Let’s deepen.

Origins of business psychology

The first definition of business psychology appeared under the name of industrial psychology. Its applications were limited to scientific work in Europe at the end of the 16th century; in fact, the beginnings of this current of study are reflected in the book The examination of the ingenios for the sciences published by Juan Huarte San Juan in the year 1575. This is considered the first treatise that deals properly with psychology.

Several centuries later, the conflicts of the Second World War and the great crisis that spread throughout the world gave rise to a new interest in business psychology. The main reason was the need for many companies to recover from what happened, due to the consequences experienced both at an economic and organizational level.

For example, in the military area, there was a great need in the training camps for recruits who were capable of developing advanced tasks at a technological level: all these people were assigned specific positions in which they could be useful.

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

In order to solve this situation of labor crisis, the studies carried out in those years gave rise to the evolution of the concept of industrial psychology to that of business psychology as we know it today. This was due to the fact that their studies and applications were extended to all fields of the work environment and not only to the industrial one.

In particular, the applications of Industrial Psychology went from serving for the analysis of the behaviors of workers at the individual level to study their behaviors in groups. And it is within a company where this type of group study can be carried out.

Differences between business psychology and human resources

The field of business psychology should not be confused with the management of HR in an organization. The first is a branch of Psychology and to devote to it, adequate training in this area is necessary. And although business psychology may include work related to HR, the reality is that it also necessarily goes into fields such as motivation, stress or culture.

However, it is not strictly necessary to have training in psychology to work in a human resources department. The functions of these positions, mostly, relate to the preparation and analysis of budgets, staff costs, contracts or legislative issues. Therefore, the knowledge required for these functions is closer to economics and law than to psychology itself.

Functions of business psychology

On the other hand, business psychology can fulfill many functions within the organization of the company. Thus, to illustrate in more detail its tasks, here are some of the fields studied:

  • Personnel orientation: this may be the most important area within this branch of knowledge. Its main objectives are: to plan the tasks of the work teams and to clearly define their goals.
  • Personnel development: another of the tasks of business psychology is based on knowing the needs of workers in relation to their training. In addition, you must put into practice the best solutions so that the company’s staff acquires all the knowledge needed to properly develop your work.
  • Marketing: consists of carrying out surveys and group dynamics work, as well as studies on the image of the product and the level of acceptance by potential consumers.
  • Management: finally, corporate psychology deals with the management and management tasks of the company’s policies, which include the management of personnel and the definition of the responsibilities of each position. In addition, and very particularly, it should help to properly manage the work teams.
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