Study organisational psychology online at home to work in:

  • human resources,
  • as an industrial psychology advisor
  • or personnel manager.


Access guidance of your tutor, 5 days a week.

Become a valuable member of the personnel department of an organisation or company

Organisational psychology is concerned with optimising work conditions to improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Those with an understanding of this area may assess individual factors such as employee motivation and morale, leadership qualities, physical and mental health of employees, and factors associated with group work. They may also review the physical aspects of a workplace such as improving ergonomics, sensory stimulation, optimising light, and reducing noise. In larger organisations personnel officers may use aptitude tests in order to match the right person to the right role.  

Organisational psychology calls on a range of different psychological theories from different areas of psychology to understand and explain people in work situations, including - developmental, educational, personality theories and social psychology.

An organisational psychologist is involved in:

  • Selection, supervision and training of personnel
  • Managing and organising employees
  • Motivating and improving morale
  • Developing tests for personnel selection
  • Studying and providing training for management communication and effectiveness
  • Relating all of the above to increasing production and efficiency

Study this course to:
Learn about workplaces, commerce, industry and understand how people think in the context of these and other organisations to improve company performance.

Develop knowledge which is valuable to anyone working in the management of people in a work context from personnel managers to business owners, and marketing staff to careers advisors.

Help motivate employees so that they gain more satisfaction in their work.

This course delves into all aspects of organisational psychology to produce a graduate with skills that can be applied directly to the workplace environment.

The learning package in Organisational Psychology is comprised of 10 modules - 5 core modules, and 5 elective modules. This gives the student a strong foundation in organisational psychology whilst allowing the student to specialise in an area that most interests them.


Core Modules

These modules provide foundation knowledge for the Learning Bundle 1,000 hours in Organisational Psychology:

  • Counselling Skills I BPS109
  • Industrial Psychology BPS103
  • Introduction To Psychology BPS101
  • Personnel Management VBS107
  • Psychology & Counselling BPS102

Elective Modules

 In addition to the core modules, students study any 5 of the following 17 modules.

  • Industry Project BIP000
  • Biopsychology I BPS108
  • Educational Psychology BPS105
  • Leadership BBS110
  • Management VBS105
  • Marketing Psychology BPS107
  • Motivation VBS111
  • Sales Management BBS102
  • Stress Management VPS100
  • Supervision VBS104
  • Workplace Health & Safety VBS103
  • Careers Counselling BPS202
  • Conflict Management BPS201
  • Relationships & Communication Counselling BPS208
  • Social Psychology I BPS205
  • Business Coaching BBS304
  • Life Coaching BPS305

Note that each module in the Learning Bundle 1,000 hours in Organisational Psychology is a short-course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Learn to Understand how People Behave in the Workplace



In order to prepare a selection of tests for specific jobs, first analyse the job to be performed:

By interviewing people who actually do the job

By observing people doing the job 

If it is a new job, by defining, then analysing the elements which comprise the job; then determining the skills required to perform the job.
The observation of people at work requires a comparison between the participants with a view to comparing efficiency and effectiveness of the better workers with those not as adept. The observation should take note of the component actions required to perform the job.The next step is to determine the abilities necessary for good performance.

This can be approached either of the following ways:

1) The investigator may learn how to do the job, noting all difficulties and mistakes, the effects of the environment and the amount of fatigue which is felt in carrying out the task.

2) The investigator may observe operatives being taught the work and note how they react to the task with reference to difficulties, mistakes, accidents and the environment.

It isn't enough for the investigator to just stand around making notes! This could incur hostility from workers. He must interact with the workers, gain their confidence and see that they understand what is trying to be achieved. By doing this, the possibility of obtaining a good work study will increase.

Once useful data has been obtained, the investigation can then prepare a series of tests designed to measure abilities, temperaments, and special traits required for a job. When the tests have been compiled they are then tried out on selected personnel. The selection of these personnel is based upon such items as input, accident ratios, losses due to error and breakages, length of service, level of responsibility, their qualifications and their professional status. The results of these tests are then examined and from these results a mean is taken which is then used as the criterion for future employees.


The basis of vocational guidance is - "What vocation is this person most suited to?"

Before appointment to a position a medical doctor should examine an applicant andinform the Personnel officer/department of any conditions which might affect the performance of the job (examples follow).

Physical Characteristics to be considered in determining a person’s suitability for a job include:

  • Muscular strain
  • Constant walking
  • Constant standing
  • Constant sitting
  • Constant stooping
  • Right handedness
  • Left handedness
  • Hot working conditions
  • Cold working conditions
  • Damp working conditions
  • Exposed working conditions
  • Acute hearing
  • Acute vision
  • Discrimination between colours
  • Dry (non sweaty) hands
  • Food handling Safety (sinus, sniffles, coughing)
  • Dusty work conditions
  • Indoor work
  • Nervous strain
  • Climbing
  • Risk of falling


Such testing can be time-consuming, and may have limitations; but can also be a useful tool in selecting an appropriate person for a job. Intelligence testing is mainly devised to obtain an intelligence quotient for the individual concerned.

The Nature of Intelligence
Though intelligence might be easy to identify, it is not easy to describe. We all may be very sure that a certain individual is intelligent, but unable to explain why. Each of us also has assumptions about what intelligence is. Some of us automatically label people with highly mathematical and scientific minds as highly intelligent. Some of us are more impressed by people who are well read on politics and philosophy. Others invest a lot of importance in ability to be original and creative in thought.

In spite of the amount of time that psychologists have spent studying human intelligence, they find it difficult to reach any broad agreement on what intelligence is. Some psychologists regard it as one "unitary general ability" which cross cuts all kinds of skills -that is to say that an intelligent person is one who can perform very well on a "wide range" of skills, such as mathematical problems, verbal exercise (such as reading complex material), visual spatial (such as understanding a map or plan) and so forth. This approach sees intelligence a one overall general ability. These psychologists would claim that a student who gets B+ for all subjects is more intelligent than one who consistently gets A for mathematics and lower grades for everything else.

Others see intelligence as a composite of many specific skills, where some skills may be more developed than others. Intelligence according to these theorists consists of a variety of different abilities, such as solving maths problems, having good memory, good communication skills, etc. They differ from the previous approach in that they believe that each of these skills operates independently from the others.

Many disagree with the unitary approach because it is seldom that one person performs equally well with a wide variety of different skills. Researchers have found that people rarely perform the same with different types of intelligence tests.

Measuring Intelligence
Psychologists who have a "composite view" of intelligence object to measuring intelligence based upon one single (limited) test, because this might not reveal anything about skills a child has problems with, or where strengths lie.

Another problem is that if psychologists cannot agree on a definition of intelligence, how can they claim that they are able to measure it?

The aim of an intelligence test is to evaluate the intellectual competence of an individual. It is not like an exam which is aimed at measuring performance in one particular field. Rather, an intelligence test is used as a way of predicting how well a person will perform in the future. For this reason the exercises and problems presented must be such that participants will not be unduly disadvantaged through previous experience. It would not be fair, for example, if one child could do better than another because they had been receiving extra tuition in mathematics.

Cultural Bias
This can be a controversial issue within intelligence testing. Such tests are very often based on American first world models which don't cater sufficiently for (in particular) third world countries. Children in even other developed countries may not be raised the same way as in middle class America, and this may reflect on test results. In different cultures, tests may need revision before use, to make them relevant.


Remember it is the role of the counselor to listen to your client, and help them come up with their own solutions to their problems. It is not your job to give your clients advice and tell them what to do. Giving advice can be counterproductive and even damaging to your client, your professional relationship, and your reputation. Consider what would happen if your client followed your advice and it didn’t go well for them. The counselling process should be empowering for the client, building self-reliance and confidence in making decisions.

This can be true also in your personal life. Most of us have had an upsetting experience that we have shared with a family member or a friend to get it off our chest and (with the best intentions) they have dived in and started coming up with solutions to the problem. The solutions may be suitable, but we may or may not be ready to start thinking about solving the problem, and the resolution will be more powerful if we have come up with the solution ourselves.

It is more useful in this situation for the listener to use active listening techniques such as encouraging the speaker to continue speaking, and giving guidance where appropriate for the speaker to come up with the best possible solution.


Although most people are not trained in the skills of counselling, there are instances where lay counselling can be useful.


There is profound potential for positive change in personal relationships by adopting some of the counselling techniques mentioned previously. By using active listening your partner will feel supported and heard. Being aware of your own, and their body language can allow you insight to how you are both really feeling, and showing empathy will help your partner to feel understood. In conflict, using these techniques to fully hear the other person’s point of view will help them to feel cared about and in turn they will (hopefully) be more open to hearing your point of view.


Truly listening to your child and taking the time to hear their point of view is very empowering for the child. They will feel supported and safe through having an adult encourage them to express how they feel. Guiding your child to come up with solutions and deal with whatever issues are troubling them will boost their confidence and self-esteem, as well as develop a skill set they will be able to draw on for the rest of their lives.


Counselling-related professions are many and varied.There is a wide variety of options for counselors working in the social service industry. Some areas where you will specifically use counselling skills include:

  • Counselor
  • Youth Services
  • Emergency services/Crisis support
  • Government agency e.g. Centrelink, defence forces
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health service
  • School counselor
  • Careers counselor
  • Employment consultant
  • Disability services
  • Refuges and shelters
  • Phone counselor e.g. Lifeline
  • Life coach


Counselling skills can also be used in a wide variety of other job roles. Some examples are as follows:

Teachers will come across situations where they will need to draw on counselling skills to interact effectively with students. For example, if a student is struggling with their schoolwork, a teacher may use counselling skills to get to the root of the students problem and together with the student may be able to work out a way to re-engage the child.

As an employer it is very useful to have counselling skills to use when relating to employees. Counselling skills can build your relationship with your employees, allowing them to feel valued and appreciated. Being open to discussion and hearing your employee’s point of view you will also benefit from their ideas and opinions.

Work Colleague/Team Member

Using counselling skills in the workplace will help you to support your work colleagues through any problems they may have. In a team environment, using counselling skills is likely to result in optimal team performance, as team members will feel supported and enthusiastic, and all members will be heard- allowing for the best possible ideas to be utilised.

Health Practitioner
Counselling skills are essential for health practitioners. They are often dealing with people who are in distress, and by utilising counselling skills they will be able to provide the best support and service possible. Some health practitioners such as Doctors will have to deal with sensitive issues so developing good interpersonal skills will result in better experiences for their patients. Other health services such as massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc will use counselling skills to make client’s feel at ease so they can provide the best possible treatment.

The best way to make a sale is by being able to fill your client’s (real or perceived) needs. To do so, the salesperson must first gain an understanding of what their client requires. Using counselling skills of active listening, encouraging people to speak, and making them feel at ease will help a salesperson to get information so they can fill their client’s needs.

Human Resources
Human resource professionals often have training in counselling skills or similar. In this way, they are best able to serve the workplace to support the employees.

Anyone that deals professionally with people will benefit from using counselling skills, be it a business consultant, weight loss consultant, real estate agent, banker etc. By establishing a relationship where the customer is feeling heard will allow the professional to deliver the best possible service and leave the customer feeling positive.

Counselling skills are very important within the role of a police officer. They will often be dealing front line with people in distressing situations. They also need to be well trained in skills such as reading body language so they can pick up on attempts at deceit, as well as be prepared to react should they perceive that a person is going to attack, escape, reveal evidence etc.

Are you interested in this line of work?

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