The relevance of psychology in business .


Rudyard Kipling – “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….” it will help you to find and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

“The science of psychology is to get the right outcome, the art of psychology is to achieve it.” Dr. Mark Banham

The Association for Business Psychology defines Business Psychology as “The study and practice of improving working life. It combines an understanding of the science of human behaviour with experience of the world of work to attain effective and sustainable performance for both individuals and organisations” 

Perhaps the biggest challenge that businesses will have to face as a result of the 4IR will be that the speed of change is quite likely to be greater than man can instinctively manage. Whilst technological advancements are moving at a rapid rate, man fundamentally has not changed and many of our “instincts” which kept us alive in the jungle remain and conflict with what will be needed to survive and thrive in today’s dynamic and disruptive markets. We live in an age where you have a great idea and tomorrow someone else is doing it bigger and better, today’s latest technology is out of date tomorrow. To be a successful business and maximise opportunities the modern entrepreneur will have to:

  • Constantly be aware of likely changes that will affect his/her business
  • Manage the required change in a timely and effective way and bring everybody with him/her

May be a little understanding of what makes us all tick and why at times we can behave in a totally illogical and irrational way can help us to prevent confrontation and, when things do get out of hand, help us to deal with it effectively. To help with this understanding we need to recognise that there are two types of change:

  • One is where there is an opportunity for us to try something that will/may have a positive impact on our life, it is more linked to our life style, and it is at a level that if it does not work out so be it we will go back to the “old tried and tested” after all “nothing ventured nothing gained”, it is linked to us, we decide whether to buy it and try it or not, it is our decision.
  • The other type of change is where it will have a fundamental impact on our life such as the way we work and earn our living, and the final decision is being made by someone else, and/or we are in a situation where change is clearly inevitable because circumstances dictate it but we are not totally in control or control is being taken away from us.

What we are looking at in this section is the way man reacts to the second type of change. In the previous section, we touched on the first type when we looked at disruptive marketing which plays on making it all exciting, tell the punter what they want to hear, your life needs some spice in it, go for it “live for today”. The key here is who is in control and this section is focussing on man’s natural instincts when he is confronted with change and he feels that he is not in control.

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