Organisational Social Psychology

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tom Reader QUE.3.10 and Dr Lucia Garcia QUE.3.23


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Psychological and Behavioural Science and MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course addresses both the social psychology of organisations and social psychological processes within organisations. It also provides multidisciplinary coverage of the organisational contexts in which social psychologists may work in a variety of professional domains. A basic familiarity with social psychological methods is assumed, but their application within organisational processes and contexts will be examined in detail within the course. Issues and techniques in organisational analysis, discourse, decision-making and change management are covered with emphasis on their social psychological aspects.


Lectures/seminars in the MT: These will cover key social psychological concepts and theories and their application to the understanding of organisations and the implementation of change processes. The specific topics covered include: 1) Introduction: critique of the tradition and logic underlying organisational psychology; history and frameworks in organisational analysis; "Scientific" management; Taylorism and Fordism; the Human Relations movement and the Socio-Technical approach; 2) Frameworks for analysis: for example, the cultural image of organisations; culture and identity in organisations; power, knowledge and organising; 3) People organising: for example, motivation; work groups and teams; decision-making; leadership, networking and collaborative work ; 4) Implications for practice: for example, managing organisational change.


Professional Seminar Series in the MT: These will centre on discussion of practical and research applications in domains where organisational social psychological investigation and analysis may play a leading role. Each topic will be presented by an external expert working practically in the domain.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Students taking PB402 will also be required to attend PB400 lectures 10 x 120 minutes (MT) and seminars/discussion groups 9 x 60 minutes (MT).

Formative coursework

Formative essay to be submitted in MT.

Indicative reading

Reading lists on specific topics will be distributed during the course. Texts which are recommended for general use throughout the course are: S Clegg & C Handy, Studying Organisations: Theory and Method, Sage, 1998; E H Schein, Organisational Psychology (3rd edn), Prentice Hall, 1988; G Morgan, Images of Organisation (2nd edn), Sage, 1997; A Bryman (Ed), Doing Research in Organisations, Routledge, 1988; Hosking, D.-M., & Morley, I. E. (1991). A Social Psychology of Organizing. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. K E Weick, Sense Making in Organisation, Addison Wesley, 1995. A Furnham, The psychology of behaviour at work: The individual in the organisation, Psychology Press, 2005; S Haslam, Psychology in Organisations: The Social Identity Approach, Sage, 2004. P Spector, Industrial and Organisational Psychology: Research and Practice, John Wiley & Sons, 2012.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the MT.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20.3
Merit 66.5
Pass 11.7
Fail 1.5

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills