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University of Exeter Business School

Issues in Occupational Psychology

Module titleIssues in Occupational Psychology
Module codeBEMM268
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Levke Henningsen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The purpose of this module is to introduce Occupational Psychology – a branch of applied psychology that focuses on human workplace behaviours and organisational settings. Many theories and concepts are regularly applied in organisations to increase organisational effectiveness and ensure the satisfaction of people at work. Organisations want and need to select employees with the best fit, and to enable them to become more creative and engaged. Managers need to foster citizenship between team members and effectively deal with diversity issues, misbehaviour, and organisational changes to provide fair environments and to capitalize on the innovation potential among their employees.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The primary objective of this module is to introduce you to some of the core issues in the applied field of occupational psychology. The module is structured around several fundamental workplace issues that commonly require psychological expertise, including selection, performance, training, wellbeing, creativity, citizenship and counterproductive behaviours, gender diversity in leadership, organisational change, and future directions of the field. You will enhance your knowledge of concepts, models, theories, and research findings that are central to the study of human workplace behaviour and organisational settings. You will be encouraged to think critically about research and practical applications of theories in organisations and to engage with key debates in the field about issues such as providing enriching, healthy, and fair work environments for all employees. This course also focuses on developing analytical and practical skills to enable you to critically reflect future directions in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Engage with major psychological and management theories and concepts to develop arguments about their application within organisations
  • 2. Critically discuss debates about core issues in occupational psychology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Outline key theories and published literature related to occupational psychology
  • 4. Discuss behaviour of people in organisations

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Develop arguments and justify them effectively.
  • 6. Research and present best practice solutions to potential organisational stakeholders.

Syllabus plan

This module makes use of a variety of learning methods, enabling students to gain a broad understanding of contemporary and future theory and practice in the field of occupational psychology. Starting with introductory material, we will move on to explore and debate a wide variety of issues that deal with the selection, training, wellbeing, and performance of people at work and close with an outlook to future directions in the field. Our taught sessions will cover the following major topic areas:

    • An introduction to occupational psychology 

    • Selection and assessment 

    • Work performance  

    • Learning, training, and development 

    • Wellbeing at work  

    • Creativity at work  

    • Diversity management 

    • Gender and leadership 

    • Organisational culture and change 

    • Future directions 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities30Lectures, workshops, group activities, analysis of case studies and best practice examples, online content
Guided Independent Study30Preparatory reading prior to taught sessions
Guided Independent Study30Reflection and further reading following taught content sessions
Guided Independent Study60Assignment preparation: Researching and writing your assignment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar discussions and presentations in class1-6verbal in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual assignment 702500 words1-6Written tutor feedback
Group assignment 30Short Presentation1-6Written tutor feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual AssignmentRe-workindividual assignment 2500 words (70%) and re-submit the original report (100%)1-6Next re-assessment period
Group AssignmentIndividual assignment (30%), recorded short presentation 1-6Next re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Arnold, J., Coyne, I., Randall, R., & Patterson, F. (2020). Work psychology: Understanding human behaviour in the workplace (7th edition). Pearson.

Fraccaroli, F. & Sverke, M. (2017). An introduction to work and organizational psychology: An international perspective (3rd edition). Wiley

Furnham, A. (2005). The psychology of behaviour at work (2nd edition). Psychology Press

Ones, D. S., Anderson, N., Viswesvaran, C., & Sinangil, H. K. (2017). The SAGE handbook of industrial, work & organizational psychology: V1 Personnel Psychology and Employee Performance (2nd edition). Sage

Ones, D. S., Anderson, N., Viswesvaran, C., & Sinangil, H. K. (2017). The SAGE handbook of industrial, work & organizational psychology: V2 Organizational Psychology (2nd edition). Sage

Ones, D. S., Anderson, N., Viswesvaran, C., & Sinangil, H. K. (2017). The SAGE handbook of industrial, work & organizational psychology: V3 Managerial Psychology and Organizational Approaches (2nd edition). Sage

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. (2019). Organizational behavior (18th edition, global edition). Pearson Eduction Limited

Stavroula, L. & Houdmont, J. (2010). Occupational health psychology. Wiley-Blackwell

Zibarras, L. & Lewis, R. (2013). Work and occupational psychology: Integrating theory and practice. Sage Publications Ltd

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Anderson, N., Poto?nik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40(5), 1297-1333.

Demerouti, E., Nachreiner, F., Baker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499-512.
Heilman, M. E. (2012). Gender stereotypes and workplace bias. Research in Organizational Behavior, 32(0), 113-135.

Kremer, H., Villamor, I., & Aguinis, H. (2019). Innovation leadership: Best-practice recommendations for promoting employee creativity, voice, and knowledge sharing. Business Horizons, 62(1), 65-74.

Simha, A., & Cullen, J. B. (2012). Ethical climates and their effects on organizational outcomes: Implications from the past and prophecies for the future. Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(4), 20-34.

Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The impact of job crafting on job demands, job resources, and well-being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230-240.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

You will have access to an online searchable and resources database, with links to several ebooks available through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE). Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities.

Key words search

Occupational psychology, organisational behaviour, management, selection, performance, training, wellbeing, creativity, gender, organisational culture

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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