5 Concentrations for a Master’s in Organizational Psychology

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Updated August 4, 2020

5 Organizational Psychology Specialities

  • Leadership
  • Talent Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Employee Development
  • Human Resources Management

A Master's in Organizational Psychology degree program may offer concentration options so that students can obtain specialized skills and knowledge. Some of the most common organizational psychology topics include leadership, job design, social psychology, work motivation, conflict management, workplace attitudes, and work/life balance.

Resource: 19 Most Affordable Master's in Organizational Psychology Online

1. Leadership

This degree specialization combines theory and practice to identify, address and manage contemporary executive issues. Leadership concepts are connected to psychological theories within the framework of organizational leadership. This specialization usually uses research, case studies, and real-world business example to illustrate how psychological tools and techniques can be used for assessing, improving and monitoring, leadership performance. This could involve concepts like values, culture, power, organizational structure, and external environments. Students will usually be exposed to contrasting leadership style approaches and theories within historical, industry, and cross-culture perspectives.

2. Talent Management

Talent management involves aspects of general management and human resource administration, such as job analysis and staffing. This involves individual and team job formation, competency modeling and outcome evaluation. It also involves employee selection, training, development, compensation, and performance appraisal. For example, students may learn the legal, ethical, financial, and operational challenges of employee selection systems and performance appraisal methods. This may require the collecting and analyzing of employee data to create actionable plans that could benefit organizations and employees.

3. Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is a preferred specialization for graduates who want to become hands-on managers who focus on people's interactions with the peers, leadership, technology, work spaces, and the business environment. Students will learn about contemporary social psychology issues, research, theories, and classic studies related to topics like identity, conformity, obedience, and attitudes. Students will evaluate the relevancy, perspectives and usefulness of modern social psychology principles to real world problems. Discussions in organizational change may cover change development, situational assessments, strategic planning, and executive evaluation.

4. Employee Development

Employee development is similar to talent management, but it focuses exclusively on training and skill/knowledge enhancement. This degree track covers key elements like needs analysis, program design, delivery development, and technology administration. Other topics include budgeting, career planning, job counseling, instructional techniques, and adult learning theory. After graduation, students will know how to assess, design, and offer various methods, techniques, and sources of training. The pros and cons of commercial and in-house HR software systems may also be discussed.

5. Human Resources Management

Human resources management lies at the heart of applied organizational psychology in business settings. This degree teaches students the theoretical skills and practical knowledge needed to manage HR functions in various corporate environments. Students will learn about the development and implementation of personnel policies and practices that achieve organizational goals, support departmental objectives, and help staff work effectively as teams. HR management involves administrative functions like legal compliance, compensation and benefits, and employee/management relations.

There are a few other concentration options available for Master's in Organizational Psychology degrees. These include industrial and organizational (IO) psychology, which applies psychological science to work settings, as well as organizational planning and assessment, which involves psychometric theories, measurement techniques, and employee performance administration. Readers can learn more about organizational psychology through the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology website.

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