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Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Psychology’

IWP Graduate Wins Practitioner of the Year Award

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Congratulations to Kate Bonsall Clarke, an alumna of the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP), on winning the coveted Practitioner of the Year Award for Occupational Psychology.

This prestigious award is granted by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology, and is annually awarded to a Chartered Psychologist who demonstrates excellence in the practical application of Occupational Psychology.

Kate received the award for her work with the Rail Safety and Standards Board, where she developed, implemented, and evaluated a programme for non-technical skills training for train drivers in the British rail industry.

Almuth McDowall, Chair-Elect of the Division of Occupational Psychology, commended Kate’s work as standing out from others in the shortlist, in that it evaluated its effect at the individual, team and organisational level.  Such an evaluation approach was inspired by the work of Dr Kamal Birdi, a researcher at the world-leading IWP, and one of Kate’s lecturers during her Masters course.

Hidden cyberbullying is as common as conventional counterpart in the workplace

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Cyberbullying through e-mail, text and web posts is as common in the workplace as conventional bullying but even more difficult to uncover, research by experts from the University of Sheffield has revealed.

Occupational psychologists Dr Christine Sprigg, Dr Carolyn Axtell and Sam Farley of the University of Sheffield, together with Dr Iain Coyne of the University of Nottingham, turned the focus of their investigation onto cyberbullying of adult workers, instead of younger people in schools, for which more research has taken place.

The results of their research was revealed at a seminar during the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Festival of Social Science at an event in the Showroom Workstation, Paternoster Row, on Wednesday 7 November 2012 from 5pm until 8pm.

The team will also make suggestions on how employers should tackle and prevent cyberbullying in the workplace. Researchers believe that cyberbullying will become more important as communication technologies continue to evolve and become more widespread.

The study included three separate surveys among employees in several UK universities, asking people about their experiences of cyberbullying in the workplace.

Survey respondents were given a list of what can be classed as bullying, such as being humiliated, ignored or gossiped about, and were asked if they had faced such behaviour online and how often.

Of the 320 people who responded to the survey, around eight out of ten had experienced one of the listed cyberbullying behaviours on at least one occasion in the previous six months.

The results also showed 14 to 20 per cent experienced them at least once a week – a similar rate to conventional bullying. The research team also examined the impact of cyberbullying on workers’ mental strain and wellbeing.

“Our research showed that cyberbullying has a stronger negative impact on employee mental strain and job satisfaction than traditional, face to face bullying does,” said Dr Axtell.

The research team also found that the impact of witnessing cyberbullying was different than that seen for conventional bullying.

“In more traditional, face to face bullying, seeing someone else being bullied also has a negative impact on the wellbeing of the witness,” said Dr. Sprigg. “However, we didn’t find the same negative effect for those who said they had witnessed others being cyberbullied.

“This might be because we are less aware of other people’s reactions online, and so the witnesses might not empathise so much with the victims.  This could potentially mean that they are less likely to intervene,” Dr Axtell added.

The results of the research, which was partly funded by Sheffield University Management School, will be presented at a seminar to business representatives. “We believe our research will likely have implications for the way that employers formulate policies and guidelines relating to cyberbullying, and the seminar will be an opportunity for us to discuss our findings and learn about the experiences of other employers,” Dr Coyne said.

The research has attracted widespread press coverage including the Daily Mail, French Tribune and the newsworks website.

University of Sheffield Management School experts address key workplace issues.

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

A one-day event ‘Good Work for Good Health’  hosted at Electric Works in Sheffield  on Wednesday 17th October of set out to explore some of the critical issues in health and wellbeing in the 21st Century workplace.

Dr. Christine Sprigg, Lecturer in Occupational Psychology, spoke on the topic ‘Interventions to reduce the Health Impact of Workplace Bullying: Where do we go from here?’  While there is limited research in the area, research evidence leaves little doubt that those who see themselves as being targets of workplace bullying report detriments to their psychological health.

While there is  limited academic evaluation of the effectiveness of workplace interventions on bullying Dr Sprigg suggested that it may be time to consider a more novel way of tackling this issue.  This could include protecting employees from the harmful impact of bullying on their health by boosting personal self esteem and optimism, rather than using policies and staff training to highlight what bullying behaviours are.  The audience were also encouraged to get involved with current research on cyber bullying.  Find out more about this research at:

A seminar on this topic will be held at the University of Sheffield on 7 November  as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science.  The seminar is free of charge.  You can register here

Dr Pauline Dibben Reader in Employment Relations was invited to run a seminar on ‘Job security, disability and return to work: controversies, costs and equity’. The session was very well attended, and stimulated lively group discussion. Some key themes included: the lack of attention to disability in research on job security; the need to manage absence effectively through drawing on 6 points of good practice; and the challenges of measuring the cost effectiveness of interventions for return to work. Dr Dibben also encouraged participants, who held various positions within the NHS, the voluntary sector and private sector, to continue discussions after the event in order to take forward positive initiatives.

For further information see:


Consider IWP Postgrad students as a resource for your business!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

If you have a specific business need that perhaps you do not have the funding or time to address at present then let our capable postgrad students help fulfil that need! Our postgrad students are able to carry out critical strategic projects or research in key areas of your business.

The postgraduate students concerned are studying for an MSc in Occupational Psychology. All of our students have a good quality first degree and are now being trained in a range of areas including:

– Recruitment and retention

– Leadership

– Satisfaction, stress and well being

– Performance management and appraisal

– Staff development

– Organisational change

– Job design

– Use of new technologies

They are being taught project management skills, and will be briefed on etiquette for business consultancy assignments. Examples of the types of projects that have been undertaken in the past are set out below:

*Antecedents of proactive behaviour in a public sector organisation

*Flexible working: The underlying link between work-life balance, social support, stress and well-being

*Safety Attitudes and its relationship with Safety Performance

*Importance of Trust

*Workplace Bullying – An Investigation into Perceptions and Responses

*Career Development Pathways

*Employee Insight: Using Employee Insight to create Employee Value

*Evaluation of Coaching Programmes

Host organisations have included:

*Solaglas Windowcare



*Rolls Royce

*Royal College of Nursing

*South Yorkshire Police

*Sheffield City Council

*Firth Rixon

What is delivered by the Student?

A research proposal:
Following receipt of the client’s brief, the student will produce a research proposal that will explain their understanding of the project requirements and will set out a plan of action to complete the research. This plan will include objectives, proposed method and timing. The proposal will be subject to discussion and negotiation but we will require the client’s approval of the proposal before the student fully commences work.

A quality project: This means a project that addresses the client’s brief and provides useful information to help inform strategic decisions. The project will be supervised by a leading expert in the field at IWP to ensure the research methods and data sources being used are appropriate and are being executed in a professional and objective way.

Report: An organisational report will be produced outlining the main findings of the research conducted and a set of recommendations based on the findings (and a presentation – depending on the client’s requirements). The report will be provided by the end of September 2012.

Confidentiality: All information collected by students in the course of the project, and the final report itself, will be treated in complete confidence and will not be disclosed to third parties.

Project Management and Costs:
Subject to mutual agreement, the project can work in either of two ways.
Option 1: Participating organisations would be expected to pay the student expenses, i.e. travel. The academic supervisor provides normal academic supervision, which may include liaison with the organisation where necessary but the student would provide overall project management. If your organisation also wishes to pay the student a modest bursary for carrying out the work, that would of course be welcome but not a necessity. However, the bursary is an arrangement between the student and your organisation – no monies will pass through the University.

Option 2: The project arrangement includes a formal consultancy contract with the University. Like with Option 1 the organisation will cover students expenses. In addition your organisation benefits from approximately three days of the supervisor’s time over and above normal academic supervision of the student. This will normally cost about £2k.This means that as well as providing academic supervision in the normal way, the supervisor will provide overall project management; maintaining regular contact with your organisation throughout. The supervisor (a leading expert in their field) will also work with the student to produce an exceptionally high standard of organisation feedback report complete with expert recommendations. It is the supervisor’s time being paid for, not the student’s.

Our students are now choosing project titles and wishing to engage with organisations. Their project would commence in early May with completion in September. If you wish to discuss further or if you do wish to engage, please complete the attached project specification form and send to Kate Shepherd on or call 0114 222 3259.