The Science Behind Better Business

In my first journal entry, I mentioned that alongside my interest in pursuing a career in the College of Communications here at Penn State, I have a passion for business and wish to enter the Smeal College of Business eventually in my time here. I am interested in studying how people communicate effectively and how to best work within the business world, and to achieve this I wished to take an approach that had legitimate scientific research on business methods and strategies that could make working more enjoyable and profitable. One popular new major in many colleges across the United States is organizational psychology, which is defined by the Association of Business Psychology as the science that researches organizational practices in order to make an organization or business more productive and efficient. This field of study also utilizes applied research in order to study how to make people work more efficiently and happily within an organization. The end goal is to ultimately conduct studies and produce research that fosters a generally more productive and sustainable environment so employees can conduct work as efficiently as possible in a comfortable setting.

Is it possible that science could lead to a more efficient and successful business culture? Could those not naturally inclined to the business workplace use science to improve their abilities and productivity?

Organizational psychologists utilize various scientific means of research when attempting to better various aspects of a business, and these methods include standard scientific methods such focus groups to gather information for actual employee’s, and similarly utilizes questionnaires and surveys to the same affect albeit less personally. Additionally, they also analyze content and statistics to gain a better understanding of an organizations wants and needs (ABP) Practitioners of organizational psychology use these data collection methods to help businesses in several ways. The first way is to study tasks in a systematic fashion while attempting to improve the way they are being performed. By overseeing how an employee goes about completing a task, a thorough analysis could be conducted and the psychologist could dictate ways the worker could save time and maximize efficiency.

For example, a study in 1975 conducted by Latham and Kinne used a time-series design experiment and collected data on the net weight of a logging trucks operation for 12 months. The company found that upon challenging their workers with a hard goal of quickly harvesting a large quantity of timber in exchange for increased wages, performance was found to enhance immediately and the company would have had to pay closer to q-uarter of a million dollars in trucks alone to see the results achieved by practicing goal-setting. By theorizing and testing a new method, this logging company was able to increase production and provide their employee’s with additional wages, proving mutually beneficial for both parties and helping to reinforce the idea that science is applicable and useful to various disciplines.

Another example of the benefit of organizational psychology or the use of science to cultivate healthier business environment was a study conducted in 2015 by Professor Çetin Bektas of Turkey. In this study, Bektas attempts to define administrative workers’ preconceived notions of what their colleagues should be like and vice versa at a state University in Turkey. This study was essentially created in order to find out what workers expected in a colleague, which in turned helped to better understand what tendancies workers inhereited and which ones they did not.

Bektas considered human resources the most influential and defining aspect of a business, as employees and their colleagues combine together to create an efficient or inefficient business depending on how coherent and collaborative these workers are. By clearly defining the behaviors that workers covet as idealistic and essential, Betkas would be able to understand what character traits workers expected or desired out of their counterparts. This in turn would reduce managerial costs and increased worker satisfacation by encouraging these wanted traits or behaviors and making them more prevalent within a business. While studying a college may not sound entirely like business, colleges are generally first and foremost a business that run with the intention to have as much financial income at their disposal. Bektas conducted research upon both teachers and their administrators, and found that if the teachers thought they were well supported by their supervisor in terms of having the proper means to receive support or knowledge if necessary, then they were found to adapt better into the workplace and had higher rates of worker satisfaction. This was probably due to the fact that they felt they could turn to someone if they felt under duress or unable to competently teach a specific topic.

In another study conducted by Betkas, he found that personel empowerment or allowing individuals a certain freedom in making decisions along side increased collaboration with other workers provides a sense of contributing to the whole with work that is engaging and consequential. This cooperation and teamwork lead to overall greater job satisfaction, as the business itself works together more cooperatively and people feel that their individual contribution to work is more significant and beneficial to the business. This seems quite obvious to me in some regard, as if people work together enthusiastically and intelligently; they can produce greater results with combined efforts and individual contributions.

In conclusion, it appears that there are a host more of studies conducted on organizational psychologists that study the business world scientifically and critically. By conducting research and analyzing employees’ wants and business practices, organizations were able to find key traits in individuals and benefit from this knowledge either finananically or intrinsically. Also, by theorizing ways to motivate workers collectively, a timber company was able to increase production and therefore benefit from additional profits. Both examples provided above are brief glimpses into the dense subject of organizational psychology, and other professors have various other theories that attempt to make organizations both more meaningful and profitable.

2 thoughts on “The Science Behind Better Business

  1. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    Hey Jeffrey, loved the post! I am also hoping to enter into the Smeal College of Business and I really enjoyed your article because I never thought of the science that could be behind making a successful business. However, after reading your blog post, I strongly agree with this theory. Especially the theory of the psychology aspect. It is clear that when you use scientific mechanics to enhance your business, it will help in the long run. Great job!

  2. Maura Katherine Maguire

    Hey Jeff, I really enjoyed your post. I too am part of the College of Communications and hope to pursue maybe a minor is something regarding business. Since I am not a science person I never thought of how science correlated with business, however this post really got me thinking. I never thought of business being psychological so the studies you provided really intrigued me. Good work!

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