NS7121: Occupational Psychology in the Contemporary Business Environment


Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.

NS7121: Occupational Psychology in the Contemporary Business Environment

Module Title Occupational Psychology in the Contemporary Business Environment
Module Code NS7121
Module Tutor Josie Truscott
School School of Natural and Social Sciences
CAT Points 30
Level of Study 7
Brief Description

The occupational psychologist operates within an environment in constant flux which presents new challenges and opportunities for their practice. Whether employed by a large private or public organisation, or acting as an independent consultant, an occupational psychologist must be alert to issues shaping contemporary business in the global economy.  This module develops participants’ awareness of commercial, social and technological contexts affecting the work of a “scientist practitioner”.  Guest lecturers from the business world and case studies draw out the practical implications for working in the contemporary business environment, and practical exercises develop the essential skills required to operate as a consultant.  Students without previous relevant experience will be offered a mentor to help them understand issues facing professionals on a day-to-day basis.  Assessment is based on a portfolio of material demonstrating professional awareness, skills and competencies which will prepare participants for career progression.

Indicative Syllabus

The module makes use of case studies and guest lecturers to illustrate the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary business environment. Practical exercises will develop students’ skills for operating professionally in the commercial world. Topics include:


1. The contemporary business environment: challenges and opportunities:

  • Globalisation and working in a global culture
  • International business cultures, including: cultural awareness and sensitivities, assumptions and stereotypes; different business practices; working in different jurisdictions

2. Changing patterns of economic activity 

  • Impacts of technology
  • Social change and patterns of work: demographic changes with a multi-generational workforce of ‘baby boomers’ to ‘millennials’ in the workplace; jobs for life versus portfolio careers; ‘agile’ working; implications for managers and leaders.

3. Organisational change 

  • Models of change
  • Change management and tools 

4. Organisational effectiveness:

  • productivity
  • performance
  • different leadership styles including ‘western’ versus ‘Asian’ models.

5. Contemporary concerns, including: 

  • cyber / digital security
  • consumer psychology
  • reputation management: the individual employee, the company
  • communications and social media: opportunities and threats 

6. Essential skills for operating in a business environment:

  • Understanding finance: understanding balance sheets, P&L, pricing
  • Legal frameworks
  • Negotiation and selling skills
  • Building personal and professional credibility
  • Media awareness, PR and presentation
  • Ethics
  • Equalities

 7. The Psychologist as Consultant:

  • The role of the scientist practitioner
  • Problem identification—drawing out the client’s needs
  • Bid-writing
  • Pitching to clients, including a ‘Dragon’s Den’ exercise
  • Pricing and managing client’s expectations
  • Project management
  • Report writing
  • The consultancy cycle

8. Personal and professional development 

  • Professional frameworks: BPS and HCPC
  • Identifying career goals and personal development planning
Learning Outcomes

A student passing this module should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a capacity to work effectively and ethically within various organisational structures, mindful of differing cultures, climates and the impact of globalisation on businesses;
  2. Demonstrate confidence applying models of organisational and individual change;
  3. Incorporate contemporary knowledge of the global business environment to improve organisational effectiveness, applying scientist-practitioner models and evidence based practice;
  4. Demonstrate underpinning skills for operating as consultant in-house or external to organisations.
Learning and Teaching Activities Scheduled Contact Hours: 48
Independent Learning Hours: 252
Assessment (For further details see the Module Guide) 001: 30% Coursework: Individual, standard written: 3000 words
002: 70% Coursework: Individual, portfolio: 5000 words
Special Assessment Requirements None
Indicative Resources The current reading list can be found in the Module Guide, which your lecturer should make available via Moodle.

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