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Industrial Psychology

Course CodeBPS103
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study the psychology of industry and organisations with this distance learning course.

This course helps develop knowledge and skills for anyone involved in workplace situations, such as managers, supervisors, small business owners, union representatives and anyone working in businesses and organisations.  By understanding the thought processes that take place in the minds of people at work, a manager or supervisor can develop empathy with their staff, and apply this empathy to the way they manage the workplace.

  • Suitable for professional development/CPD.
  • This course covers 10 lessons and covers topics such as personality and temperament, recruitment, managers and management and much more.  Enrol now and improve your people skills.




Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Free Will versus Determinism, Developmental and Interactive Expressions of Behaviour, NATURE versus NURTURE, Influence of Environment on Learning Behaviour, Modelling and Conformity, Conditioning involves Certain Environmental Factors which Encourage Learning to Take Place, Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, Reinforcement & Punishment
  2. Understanding the Employees Thinking
    • Sensation and perception, thinking and day dreaming, the Gestalt approach, unconscious and conscious psychic elements. explaining behaviour, knowledge of brain processes, personal interpretation of a given situation, instinct. Terminology including: Mating, Curiosity, Maternal, Acquiring, Repulsion, Constructiveness, Rivalry, Laughter, Fighting, Walking, Swallowing, Play, Imitation, Sleep, Modesty, Domineering, Religion, Self Asserting, Sneezing, Thirst, Cleanliness, Workmanship, Parenting, Food seeking, Flight, Collecting, Sympathy.
  3. Personality & Temperament
    • Mature & immature temperaments (eg. Sanguine, Melancholic, Choleric, Phlegmatic), emotional types, fear, intelligence, knowledge, deviation, etc
  4. Psychological Testing
    • The Application Form; Psychological Test; The Interview; Intelligence Tests; Laws of Learning; Devising Tests; Selecting Appropriate Tests.
  5. Management & Managers
    • Qualities of Managers, Understanding morale, discipline, training, etc
  6. The Work Environment
    • Noise, Space, Light, Temperature, Speed of Work, etc. Accidents, Breakages, Fatigue etc.
  7. Motivation and Incentives
    • Maslows model of self actualisation, Security, Money, Ambition, Companionship, Social reinforcement, Labour wastage, etc
  8. Recruitment
    • Ways of seeking applicants, types of interview, ways of selecting staff.
  9. Social Considerations
    • Group Behaviour, Conformity, Industrial Groups, THE HAWTHORNE EFFECT
  10. Abnormalities and Disorders
    • Psychosis Neurosis Personality Disorders, Variance, Partial Disability (eg. arm.leg injuries; epilepsy, digestive disorders etc), The Psycho Neurotic

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss basic concepts that may be relevant to understanding industrial psychology.
  • Identify similarities and differences that occur in the way different employees perceive their workplace.
  • Discuss the effect of personality and temperament upon industrial psychology.
  • Identify applications for psychological testing in industrial management.
  • Discuss the psychology of management
  • Identify ways that the work environment might impact upon the psychology of people in a workplace
  • Explain how motivation influences work productivity.
  • Discuss the application of psychology to recruitment.
  • Explain the impact of social factors upon work productivity.
  • Discuss the significance of psychological disorders or abnormalities in a workplace.

People in industry are engaged in various forms of work, and in order to know how each individual is suited for a particular job, it is necessary to know why they behave as they do and also to find out how people behave under differing circumstances. To find the answers to these questions it is necessary to study a person’s emotional and mental make up, and their reactions to external stimuli and to internal thoughts.  To do this we must understand the processes of sensation and perception.

The study of perception is one of the oldest objectives of psychology. Artists, philosophers, physicists and psychologists have long been intrigued by this phenomenon, and there is good reason for this fascination with how we sense the world.  Sensation is a stimulus to the brain, which causes an emotional reaction, while perception is the understanding through memory, ideas or imagination.

There is pleasure and profit in being sensitive. There are beautiful things around us - things that our senses alert us to, which provides us with an opportunity to explore. Our eyes are used to telling us about colour and design. Smell and taste are gratified by attractive scents. We can be soothed by soft touch and wakened by a caress. Our senses however are not only for pleasure. We can just as easily be displeased by what we sense. We tend to avert our eyes and ears when our senses tell us that information being received is too intense. Bad smells & tastes also repel us.

Consider an every day example of perception:

Suppose we visit a restaurant to which we are regular customers. We are accustomed by force of habit to the height of the chairs and tables. This is a perception. Now, if the chairs have been replaced with chairs that are lower, and this fact goes unnoticed, we can experience a shock as our body falls lower than we had subconsciously allowed for. We have, in this case, experienced an emotional sensation, which could be a fear of falling, or annoyance at being caught off guard.

Sensation normally has a sensory context in which it is associated. In referring to the example above, each time we take a seat in the restaurant, we are consciously aware what to expect. If this experience is called to mind in circumstances quite different from the original, then the perception will be isolated.

To illustrate this, imagine the smell of newly turned earth. This sensation is lined with a perceptive emotional background (eg. a flower garden, the scent of flowers, warm summer days, etc.). Now, try to recall the earthy smell of a garden when you are driving a car along a freeway. The perception is now isolated, all you have is memory, which is a poor substitute for the original aroma.

Our perceptual systems collect information from our surroundings, and monitor our activities. These collection systems can be seen as links in a chain, which stretches, from the external environment through the individual and back into the environment. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and each segment of this chain is essential if the environment is to be reliable, and if the outcomes of our actions are to be as desired.

There are seven links in this chain (described below).

 1. The Environment
This is the commencement of the chain and the environment possesses many properties, which are sources of final perception.

 The questions, which can be asked, are:

  • Which properties do the environment possess, that are sources of the final perception.
  • What objectives and energies does it contain?
  • What is their location and distribution.
  • What are the physical attributes that permit us to experience size, colour, hardness, movement, duration, change etc.

2. The Medium
This is the second link in the chain by which the environment transmits its properties to our senses. Some objects transmit by projecting light to our eyes. Some send sound waves or chemicals through the air. One type of object will dissolve in the mouth, others will resist skin pressure, and others still will affect the skin by means of radiant or reflected heat. Other objects act on the body by means of a force, like strong wind or gravitational force.

3. Interaction
This is the third part of the chain -it is the interaction of various forms of energy with the sensitive receptors in the perceptual system. It should be noted that interaction is referred to, not merely reception. If a receptor is stimulated its condition may be so altered that any further stimulation will produce effects that are different from the effects produced by the first stimulus. Example: a bright light will cause the iris of an eye to close so that less light can enter the eye.

4. The Sensory Nerves
This link consists of the sensory nerves which lead from the receptor organs to the brain. The sensory neural pathways may be short, as is the path from the ears to the brain, but others from the toes for example, may be long.

5. The Brain
This is the fifth link in the perception chain. The relevant part of the brain is the sensory areas where the sensory pathways first meet the cerebral cortex. Other parts of the brain are still concerned however, because neurons arising from the first sensory areas travel to other regions of the brain for further processing.

6. The Two-way Loop
A full appreciation of the chain of perception requires that we think of the process as a two-way loop. There are many cases where a neural pathway going "up" the chain is matched by a neural pathway going "down". The impulses of the "down" pathway can have an effect upon the signals of the "up" pathway. If this happens, the effect of the various environmental properties on the perceptual system may be changed or modified.

7. Muscular Movement
Some of the "down" pathways contribute to perception in other ways. These signals cause the muscles to move so that the body or parts of the body move in order to gather information. At first thought it may seem strange to think of moving ones fingers as an aspect of perception, but how would one, for example, tell the smoothness of skin without such movements.

Difficulties arise when a link in the chain is disrupted or broken. This can be shown if we consider light waves being deflected in passing through water, or if a sensory area of the brain is damaged.

If you would like to learn more about improving employee performance, the psychology of organisations and industry, this is the course for you.

Enrol now and find out more.


Meet some of our academics

Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Kate GibsonKate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and experience as a project manager. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia. Kate has a B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR).

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