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There is no doubt that in our age of instant and constant communication, our lives and work-places are increasingly becoming less solid and more fluid. The far reaches of the world are now just a click away; communications across vast spaces is immediate; our markets are no longer in our own hinterland and thus, every day, the world of our work becomes more and more complex. The global office of various time zones, languages and cultures connected only through technology and across the World Wide Web has replaced the closed office building where the same people would physically work together every day.
As our workplaces become increasingly multicultural; as the office space becomes fragmented across continents; as technology makes our work life less social and more solitary; as traditional office hierarchies get replaced by more web-like networks of responsibilities that change with tasks and projects, our personnel become disembodied, distant voices or pictures or words. They are slowly ceasing to be real, physical people whose presence in our life was guaranteed, day after day, for all the years of our work life and with whom we would have real interactions, both social and otherwise.
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Companies are fast realizing that their most important resource, their employees, often become disoriented, unmotivated or unsettled in the current work conditions. Many employees do not find it easy to communicate with colleagues from other cultures and misunderstanding between colleagues across cultures is rampant owing to one not knowing the subtext of each other’s social conditioning and values. The many psychological and social barriers to communication also make teamwork difficult. This overall discomfort between personnel often leads to loss of productivity for the organization.
A happy and fulfilled employee is a productive worker. Organizational heads have realized that the mental health, emotional stability and general contentment of their employees are paramount to the success of their company.
Over the years, therefore, the position of the HR Department has gained in importance to become one of the more crucial functions at the core of any business enterprise. Human Resource departments of companies regularly incorporate training in communication and other soft-skills such leadership, motivation, team-building, time management, stress management, as well as fun and bonding out-bound programs for their employees.
This concern to keep the human resource of the organization happy and healthy has also given rise to what, in my opinion, is a very sage specialization in some MBA programs: Organizational Psychology.
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Organizational Psychology: The Program
Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and of human behaviors. When you study for a degree in psychology, the curriculum gives you the fundamental knowledge—both theoretical and applied—that you require to understand how the human mind works, how socialization happens, and what is a normal or abnormal range of behaviors for people living within a social context. Traditional careers for psychologists include counseling and dealing with the mental and emotional health of individuals and groups in a social context.
The MBA degree provides you with the general knowledge of the various components and functions of a business and also gives you the wherewithal to serve at various levels in particular specialized areas of management.
Organizational psychology involves the application of the fundamental principles of psychology within the context of a business. This specialization is of special value to Organizational Behavior and Human Resource professionals. A psychology-MBA degree combination would aid them in understanding the different personality traits of a company’s personnel. It would enable them to construct organizational processes and create strategies for team-building, group work, effective communication, negotiation, conflict resolution etc. It would be an asset in the recruitment, job profiling and training of employees.
Courses, internships and research in a typical MBA in Organizational Psychology are planned with a view to afford students the education and experience they need in order to perform the range of activities required at the upper-management level. Thus, this MBA specialization develops a student’s theoretical and practical knowledge of the human challenges that confront the real world workplace and the course generally includes elements of marketing, economics, organizational behavior, business management, individual personality typing and traits, group dynamics and communication along with analytical psychology.
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Organizational Psychology: The Outlook
As far as I am concerned, this combination of psychology and business administration is indomitable and is going to be extremely in demand in the near future.
This degree program prepares you to use the insights and knowledge of psychology to increase worker satisfaction and productivity. With a degree like this, you would be well on your way to becoming an upper-management professional in HR or OB, an industrial psychologist, a corporate communications facilitator or a valued consultant or counselor.
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See http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm for detailed Occupational Employment Statistics for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists from The Bureau of Labor Statistics
For more information about programs that offer an MBA in Organizational Psychology, see: