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The Social Psychology of Organisational Behaviour


Admission requirements

Master’s students Psychology with specialisation Social and Organisational Psychology or Occupational Health Psychology.


This course aims to integrate recent developments in social psychology with insights derived from organisational and economic psychology. The emphasis will be on the relevance of social psychological insights for the understanding of organisational behaviour.

Topics covered will include:

  • negotiation

  • social dilemmas

  • the functioning of groups and teams

  • relationships and trust

  • rationality of decisions

  • the importance of distributive and procedural justice concerns and norms.

The course meetings are based on classic journal articles as well as reports of applied research, conducted by former S&O-students. On the basis of these readings, students prepare written assignments and oral presentations in which they analyse organisational issues from various theoretical perspectives, develop interventions and thereby apply the theory to practice. The course meetings will provide further explanation and discussion of the relevant theory. Guest speakers will discuss the way in which they apply social psychological theories in their own professional practice in organizations.

This course will be offered twice during the academic year.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire advanced knowledge and insights about social psychological issues in organisational behaviour and about the methodological underpinnings of these insights.

  • Students learn how to refer to primary sources of this knowledge, i.e., articles in international top journals.

  • Students learn how to apply this knowledge by analysing and conceptualizing real-life issues in organisational settings and to present their analyses orally as well as in writing.

  • Students will be challenged to reflect on their academic attitude in anticipation of their work as a professional in organisational settings.


The Social Psychology of Organisational Behaviour (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

  • The course is given in 10 workgroup meetings. When enrolling, you can choose between two otherwise identical options: (1) You can follow all 10 workgroups on Tuesday afternoon 15-18, or (2) You can follow the workgroups in principle on Monday afternoon 15-18, except for the 1st and one of the last workgroups, which will be held on a Tuesday, even if you enrol for the Monday group.

  • Oral presentations

  • Written assignments

Assessment method

  • Rated oral presentations

  • Written assignments

  • Exam with multiple choice questions

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information available on

Reading list

One book

  • Buunk, A.P., & Van Vugt, M. (2008). Applying Social Psychology. From problems to solutions. London: Sage.

And 18-20 additional readings (available from the library), among which

  • Austin, J. (2003). Transactive memory in organizational groups: The effects of content, consensus, specialization, and accuracy on group performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 866-878.

  • Steinel, W, Utz, S, & Koning, L. (2010). The good, the bad and the ugly thing to do when sharing information: Revealing, concealing and lying depend on social motivation, distribution and importance of information. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 113, 85-96.

  • Wit, A. P., & Kerr, N. L. (2002). Me versus just us versus us all categorization and cooperation in nested social dilemmas. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 616-637.


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Exam registration

Students must register for each examination. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in an exam

Contact information