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 appear. These and other issues are handled 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 can 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 go deeper.
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 Wits for Sciences published by Juan Huarte San Juan in 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 swept through 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, a great need for recruits who were capable of developing advanced tasks at a technological level spread in the training camps: all these people were assigned specific positions in which they could be useful.
However, when the war ended, all these former military men had to return to other types of jobs; their retraining problems led to growing psychological distress and a high unemployment rate.
In order to solve this labor crisis situation, 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 because its 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 to analyze the behaviors of workers at the individual level to studying 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 dedicate oneself 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 enters fields such as motivation , stress or culture .
However, it is not strictly necessary to have psychology training to work in the human resources department . The functions of these positions, for the most part, are related to the preparation and analysis of budgets, personnel expenses, contracts or legislative matters. 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 greater detail its tasks, we describe below some of the fields it studies:
Personnel orientation: it may be the area with the most weight within this branch of knowledge. Its main objectives are: plan the tasks of the work teams and 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 implement the best solutions so that the company’s staff acquire all the necessary knowledge to properly carry out their 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.
Direction and management: finally, business psychology deals with the tasks of direction and management of company policies, which include personnel management and the definition of the responsibilities of each position. Furthermore, and very particular, it should help to properly manage work teams.