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Workplace Psychology Definition

Workplace Psychology Definition

Workplace Psychology Definition

Workplace psychology is the study of day-to-day individual and collective human behavior in organizations to understand how work behavior can be influenced, changed, and improved to benefit both employees and companies.



Workplace Psychology FAQ’s


What is Workplace Psychology?

Workplace psychology — sometimes referred to as Industrial and Organizational Psychology — is concerned with understanding, explaining, and ultimately improving the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups in organizations and applying this knowledge to problems at work. Some problems that workplace psychology studies help to solve include psychological trauma in the workplace, worker productivity issues, and managing worker stress levels.


How Can Psychology be Used in the Workplace?

Using psychology in the workplace can have many benefits to both employees and employers. Typically, the goal is to improve the mental well-being of employees so they feel safe, valued and equipped to do their job in an effective manner. This in turn reduces stress levels and increases productivity of employees, which can contribute to better business outcomes for employers.

Many large organizations have organizational psychologists on staff to deal with psychological issues in the workplace. These professionals use psychology and worker research strategies to assess workplace environments, identify areas in need of improvement, and develop strategies to address those issues. They also study company culture and job requirements to help develop better hiring and training processes.

Other ways that workplace psychology is used in organizations:


Stress Management in the Workplace

Stress in workplace psychology is a topic that is of great interest and concern to staff and organizations. Stress at work is almost unavoidable, whether people are dealing with a difficult boss, poor working conditions, tight deadlines, excessive workloads or insufficient pay. However, when work stress becomes chronic, it can become harmful to physical and emotional health. Organizations are increasingly turning to psychologists, nutritionists and other experts to implement workplace wellness programs that aim to achieve better mental well-being of employees by providing healthy meals, yoga classes, quiet spaces, and other tools to better understand their stress levels such as EEG-based cognitive assessment exercises (brain games).


Color Psychology in the Workplace

The psychology of colors and how different colors evoke different moods and feelings is an important consideration in workplace psychology. Interior color schemes in the work environment can have a serious impact on the mood and productivity of workers and the behavior of customers. For example, a recent University of Texas study found that bland gray, beige and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression, green and blue colors create a sense of well-being that improves efficiency and focus, yellow might be able to inspire innovation and red creates a sense of unease and alarm that might harm productivity.


Diagram depicts the four psychological primary colors that help influence psychology in the workplace.
Psychological Harassment in the Workplace

Psychological harassment is any behavior that is hostile or unwanted from one individual or group in the workplace to another individual or group. This misconduct usually occurs in the form of verbal comments, gestures or actions that affect the targeted person or group’s dignity and mental well-being, resulting in a hostile work environment. Employers have a moral and, many times, legal obligation to ensure that none of their employees are subject to unwanted psychological harassment in the workplace as this negatively impacts workers’ ability to do their job. This includes sexual harassment, overbearing supervision, constant criticism or the blocking of promotions.


Psychological Safety in the Workplace

According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, who coined the term: “Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” This type of environment has been shown to foster innovation in the workplace because team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other without the fear of psychological harassment, ridicule or even losing their jobs. It’s about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from other team members, so that everyone is improving and becoming less stressed at work.


Positive Psychology in the Workplace

Positive psychology in the workplace focuses attention away from the more negative aspects of a work environment such as violence, stress, burnout, and job insecurity through the purposeful promotion of positive psychology and positive work. This emerging field of positive psychology seeks to increase productivity in the workplace by implementing policies and organizational behaviors that nurture a work environment that is fun, safe and fulfilling for workers and reduces psychological issues in the workplace. This can be facilitated by psychologists and HR teams that specifically focus on creating this type of environment through employee training and support initiatives.


What is a Psychologically Healthy Workplace?

Psychologically healthy workplaces are work environments that consistently facilitate a culture where workers feel safe, valued and productive. Management in these types of workplaces oftentimes implement comprehensive workplace wellness programs, enable psychological safety, participate in stress management, promote positive psychology and take psychological harassment seriously, while working to reduce employee turnover.


Social Psychology in the Workplace Environment

Social psychology is how an individual’s personality, attitudes, motivations, and
behavior influence their larger social groups. Since workplaces are essentially a type of social group, it can be considered important for employers to help their employees become more adept in aspects of individual social psychology to better contribute to the whole. Employers can contribute to their employees’ social well-being in a variety of ways, such as providing off-site or team building experiences, training on how to be more attentive or pick up on body language cues of coworkers, guidance on appropriateness towards coworkers and allowing time-off – especially in the form of mental-health days.


What is a Healthy Psychological Contract in the Workplace?

Originally developed by organizational expert Denise Rousseau, the psychological contract is an informal agreement that includes arrangements, mutual beliefs, common ground and perceptions between two parties. A healthy psychological contract in the workplace is a version of this between an employee and employer with the intention of setting expectations in the workplace from a psychological standpoint. It is distinguishable from the formal written contract of employment that identifies mutual duties and responsibilities in a generalized form.


Does EMOTIV Offer Solutions for Workplace Psychology?

Emotiv offers solutions that unlock the power of the mind with affordable brain sensing eeg neurotechnology. EMOTIV’s wearable EEG devices make brain data accessible for everyday use and self-quantification so individuals can track their brain throughout the day and optimize their cognitive potential. This trove of EEG data can be analyzed by researchers and organizational psychologists to advance the field of workplace psychology and help to increase employee engagement, job satisfaction and performance. EMOTIV’s performance metrics measure the brain’s cognitive and emotional states and give objective feedback on brain state in the moment and over time. This helps to improve focus and reduce stress.

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