Business Psychology: Ft. FAQ’s (Part 1)

Team IIBP Business Psychology

“Study of Psychology is more important in business than the study of business itself”

Business psychology is one of the most lucrative and exciting fields in psychology as a career option. If you type in any search engine, which psychology career makes the most money or the highest paying psychology career, ‘Business Psychologist /Industrial organizational Psychologist
will surely come on top.

The establishment and advancement of this field in advanced countries (UK, USA, Europe, Australia etc.) had been well known to many. Recognised regulatory bodies such as, “Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology (SIOP), British Psychological Society (BPS), and European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology (EAWOP)” are the pillars that are fostering the development, regulation, and advancement of the field. Business Psychology is an emerging field and only some countries have graduate-level courses.

There are still many unknowns and unregulated practices being followed across many countries. In this article, an attempt was made to answer all the FAQs related to “Business Psychology”.

What is Business Psychology?
The term ‘Business psychology’ is very wide and is often interchangeably used with other popular terms such as Industrial – Organisational Psychology/Occupational Psychology/Work Psychology; its easiest definition is “applying psychology to business” or “study and practise of improving working life” Business Psychology is an applied science that investigates how to make people and organisations more effective.

It employs a wide range of research methods to find the best organizational practices. It is the rigorous study and evidence-driven practice of improving work life. Focuses on understanding the science of human behaviour in workplace settings to attain sustainable and effective solutions for individuals and organisations.

What is the difference between a Business Psychologist and I/O Psychologist?
I/O psychologists generally study (not limited to) the workplace and small group theories and apply them to personal and individual workplace issues. They focus more on employees, company culture, productivity, morals, and team-building. Whereas business psychology is broader than industrial-organisational psychology, and business psychologists apply psychological practice and theory to big-picture issues. That might include business strategies, stakeholder relationships, market performance, and business operations.

What are the most common topics of study/sub-fields in Business Psychology? What are the top careers in Business Psychology?
Business Psychology is a vast field and the most common topics of study are the following (however, not limited to) :

There are diverse career paths in the field of Business Psychology including (but not limited to) but here are the top careers in Business Psychology:
A) Researcher, Lecturer/Professor
B) Consultant (HR/L&D/Assessment/ Psychometrics Specialist)
C) Career Counselor, Executive Coach, Independent/Freelancer Consultant

How to become a Business Psychologist?
Business psychology is an emerging field especially in a developing nation like India. The field is unregulated wherein the title of “business psychologist” is not protected. Because of lack of regulation an individual with a masters degree in business/i-o psychology calls themselves a Business Psychologist or I-O Psychologist. However, individuals with either PhD or niche expertise (generally 3-5 years of work experience) are more recognized, valued, and have an edge in the competitive market.

A typical career path to becoming a business psychologist in India is by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology (not fixed, there are a lot of lateral entries from other fields such as HR, marketing, management, and a few other wandering souls). During bachelor’s, students were introduced to various topics and theories of psychology, along with exposure to research methodologies and statistics.

Followed by a master’s degree in business psychology/I-O psychology/occupational psychology. Generally, a master’s degree is sufficient to work in public and private schools, private practice, and general industry as a Business Psychologist.

In addition to that, a Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy is not typically required but may give an edge to individuals in certain competitive fields such as education or research. A niche expert is generally, one who has more than 5-10 years of professional experience in any of the sub-field of business psychology.
It is important to note that, business psychology as a field is yet to concretely get established in India and is currently decentralized. Because of which many inferences, guidelines, and protocols are followed from other international regulatory bodies such as BPS, SIOP, EAWOP and many others. There are a lot of other FAQs associated with business psychology (particularly in India) which we will attempt to cover in the upcoming articles.
Stay Tuned with us to learn more…

Note: To learn more about the basics and introduction to business psychology, check out the enriching webinar by the Indian Institute of Business Psychology Webinar on Business Psychology. Further to stay tuned with all updates related to business psychology you can join IIBP Memberships (including a variety of membership options that are suited for all).

About the Author :Vipul Paliwal, M.Sc. Business & Work Psychology, MBPsS, IIBP Greetings! I’m a learner, facilitator, and business psychology trainee with the purpose to serve all things, people. Currently, supporting as an HR Advisor, Indian National Youth Foundation, Business Psychology Trainee at The Psychometric World. Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Community Development Coordinator of Indian Institute of Business Psychology (IIBP). Skilled in Evidence-based Research, Counseling, and Consultation. I’m curious about, “How Psychology can be applied in various Business settings”?