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Why Managerial Psychology is Fast Becoming the Hottest


Postgraduate Ticket in Asia for 2006
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“The future may be made up of many factors but where it truly lies, is in the hearts and
minds of men.”
Li Ka Shing

“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other
nourishment to our top 750 people.”
Jack Welch

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Master of Managerial Psychology is the first of its kind in Malaysia. Dr Goh Chee
Leong, the Director and Senior Lecturer of the Centre for Psychology from HELP
University College tells us more.
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Applying Psychology to the art of management

Psychology is the science of understanding people. The goal of psychology is to


understand how people think, feel and behave. Consequently, managerial psychology is
about applying our understanding of people to creating best practices in the management
and development of people.

The HELP Master of Managerial Psychology will cover all aspects of psychology that are
relevant to the area of organizational management. It is designed to be relevant to a
variety of people from upper management to middle and lower management.

Who are the people attending this program?

The strongest interest for this program has been shown by senior and middle level
executives who are in managerial positions at large to medium sized organizations. Many
of the people who are interested in this program have been serving as managers for many
years but they feel that they are still missing that extra edge that will help them bring out
more from their staff.

This program is also extremely popular among human resource managers, corporate
trainers and people who are planning to move into the corporate coaching profession.
Many of them make the comment that while they have had extensive technical training in
other the areas like business, finance and engineering, they feel that they lack the
psychological know-how required to manage and develop people.
Consider this fact
The following organizations have all engaged the services of people with training in
psychology as managers, human resource managers, consultants, trainers or corporate
coaches.

AT&T IBM Barclays Apple Computers


BMW Shell BP American Express
Kraft Foods Nestle General Electric (GE) Motorola
Petronas Sime Darby Prudential Microsoft

The need for people management skills

A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot
continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively
perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.
Stephen Covey

Research in Asia has shown that many organizations struggle from the effects of conflict
between staff, unmotivated workers, high stress levels, job ambiguity, unstructured
training and development programs, lack of mentoring and staff who are unqualified and
unprepared for their positions. These are in essence people problems.

The answer lies in creating a management culture that focuses on MANAGING


PEOPLE, rather than systems. The first step to developing such a culture is ensuring that
managers and leaders in the organization are equipped with the psychological skills and
knowledge that form the basis of effective people management.

The Master of Managerial Psychology is designed to increase a manager’s knowledge of


human performance and motivation, corporate coaching and training, human resource
consulting, as well as the psychology of entrepreneurship and consumer behaviour.

Identifying and placing the best talent

Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or
to source, but to find intellectual capital - the world's best talents and greatest ideas.
Jack Welch

Research conducted among large companies in Southeast Asia revealed that more than
40% of staff felt that they were unsuitable for their current job definitions and as a result
felt disengaged and disinterested in their work. This result reflects the problems that
many companies have in selecting the right candidate and placing the person in a position
that fits his or her personality and strengths.
As a result, an ever-increasing number of companies are applying psychological tools
like personality tests in the selection process. Managerial Psychology will cover the use
of assessment tools in human resource management and will explore ways to fit these
tools into a comprehensive selection and placement process.

Professor Leonard Yong, the renowned psychometrician who developed the first
Malaysian personality test, will be leading a session on the use of psychometrics in
organizational management. Furthermore some knowledge of human personality would
certainly prove useful when conducting observations and interviews with candidates.

Dealing with conflict and other human factors

Coming together is a beginning.


Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
Henry Ford

The Master of Managerial Psychology program will also address human factor issues that
all organizations face including conflict management, change management and
occupational health. One of the major reasons staff leave their companies is because of
conflict present in the work environment. Conflict between managers and staff, between
colleagues, and between staff and clients are examples of conflict that some organizations
struggle with.

A survey among companies in Malaysia revealed that over 35% of staff resign from a
company because of conflict and strained work relationships.

Many companies lack people trained in conflict management to handle these situations.
The Master of Managerial Psychology will examine conflict management and mediation,
thereby imparting to graduates of this program the required knowledge and equipping
them with the necessary tools to deal with these situations of conflict effectively.

Changing the hearts and minds of people

Change before you have to.


Jack Welch

What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of
fate.
Donald Trump

Another issue that managerial psychology deals with is the challenge of change
management. In today’s fast changing economic environment, companies that are slow to
change become obsolete very quickly. The key therefore is achieving a high level of
organizational fluidity that allows for quick adaptation to market forces.
The barrier to this is often the people in the organization who are comfortable with the
status quo and are hesitant to change their modus operandi. Psychology helps managers
understand why people fear change and what can be done to ease this psychological shift
in thinking and doing.

Creating a culture of thinking-leadership

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great
danger.
Confucius

We are approaching a new age of synthesis. Knowledge cannot be merely a degree or a


skill... it demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction
without which we cannot have constructive progress.
Li Ka Shing

The current reality of a knowledge economy has birthed the necessity for a thinking
organization. It is of course people in the organization who have to develop the culture of
not just individual thought, but of collective thinking. Psychology teaches us about how
people learn and process information. It also teaches us how to form systems and
structures within the organization that encourage thoughtful and purposeful decision
making.

Many organizations also struggle with the process of knowledge transfer. This is linked
to the process of succession planning and many companies face a shortage of new
generation leaders because their current managers lack the ability to mentor and coach
younger staff. This Master of Managerial Psychology program will cover modules on
coaching and staff development and will explore how organizations can set up
comprehensive mentoring structures.

In the end, it’s all about people

The growth in popularity of applied psychology in organizational settings should be seen


as a positive shift. It reflects the realization that at the heart of any company is its people.
People can make a company great, or they can drain a company of its energy and
momentum.

It follows then that the heart of effective management is an understanding of people.


Managerial psychology now gives access to thousands of managers across Asia to
develop this basic understanding of human nature that will undoubtedly give them the
spark they have been looking for in their organization.