Organisational Social Psychology

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

 Dr Lucia Garcia, Dr Ilka Gleibs and Dr Tom Reader 


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology. This course is not available as an outside option.

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 and seminars will cover key social psychological concepts and theories and their application to the understanding of organisations and the implementation of change processes. The topics covered will 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.

The course also operates a Bridging Theory and Practice seminar and workshop series which centres on discussion of practical and research applications in domains where organisational social psychological investigation and analysis play a leading role. Topics will be presented by faculty or an external expert working practically in the domain.


15 hours of lectures, 10 hours of seminars and 10 hours of online Q&A sessions in the MT.

Additionally, 15 hours of Bridging Theory and Practice in Organisational and Social Psychology seminars/workshops accross MT/LT/ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 1 case study in the LT.

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 (75%, 3000 words) in the MT.
Case study (25%) in the LT.

  • 1 x 3000 word essay (75%) submitted in MT
  • 1 x 1500 word case study development (25%) submitted in LT


Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2019/20: 50

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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