Psychology is a fascinating topic that helps us analyze why we do what we do. In the workplace this can relate to our personality, how we manage stress or what other people we work best with in a group setting. It can also range into personal development and how to maximize our own potential. In the posts in this blog category we look at both historical and contemporary views of major topics in psychology, with a focus on how they relate to our career search and performance on-the-job.

Hugo Munsterberg

Hugo Munsterberg: Author of Psychology and Industrial Efficiency

We at The Career Project begin our series with the founding father for industrial-organizational (IO) psychology. Hugo Munsterberg (1863-1916) was a German-American psychologist who sought to improve the lives of workers through his gift for writing in science. Munsterberg was raised in an artistic family, where he spent his childhood writing poetry and playing the violin. When his mother passed away, his personality changed drastically. He became serious and sombre, which led him to dive nose-deep in his research. His paper Psychology and the Market, published in 1909, detailed the applications of psychology in many sectors. Some topics include: management, …

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Walter Scott

Walter Scott: A Shift in Applied Human Resources

Walter Dill Scott (1869-1955) was an American professor who taught psychology at Northwestern University. In 1903, he wrote The Psychology of Adversting, Theory and Practice. It’s one of the oldest copywriting books in print—a gem in the industry. His finesse with words and personal charisma drove sales and won him many business partners over his life. His contributions to the field of industrial-organizational (IO) psychology focused upon personnel selection and has influenced modern-day human resources (HR). He saw a future with a kinder, more tolerant workplace filled with peace and productivity. His egalitarian viewpoint earns the admiration from IO psychologists …

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Frederick Taylor

Frederick Taylor: Engineer Turned Psychologist

Engineering and psychology? How in the world is there any overlap between the two? For mechanical engineer Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) turned industrial psychologist, the answer lied in worker motivation. Taylor believed that all workers were motivated by their wages and monetary gain. Interestingly, in 1881, he won the tournament in doubles tennis at the U.S. National Championship (now “Open”). He conducted a study which showed that, with planned breaks in-between work, employees were more productive. His umbrella term for thinking is referred to as Taylorism. “In the past the man has been first; in the future the system must be …

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Lillian Gilbreth

Lillian Gilbreth: The ‘Mother’ of IO Psychology

Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972) was a successful doctorate and remarkable jill of all trades—the first woman to become a professor of engineering at Purdue University, in 1935! She was born in Oakland, California, in 1878 and was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology from Brown University in 1915. Gilbreth was a pioneer in applying the principles of psychology to industrial management, particularly in the areas of time and motion studies, workplace efficiency, and human factors engineering. Gilbreth was particularly interested in the way that motion and time interacted in the workplace, and she developed new methods for …

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James Cattell

James Cattell: Workplace Controversy and Objectivity

James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944), the first professor of psychology in the United States, taught at the University of Pennsylvania. His experimental methods were famously objective and focused on data and statistics. In his spare time, he also wrote for and edited numerous scientific journals, including Popular Science and Psychological Review.  Cattell is known for his work in the areas of mental testing, individual differences, and psychometrics, and he played a key role in establishing psychology as a distinct field of study in the United States. He founded the Vocational Bureau of Boston, which provided career guidance and counseling services to …

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs… and His Big Revision

This post introduces you to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and explains how you can use it for a more fulfilling life, not just via self-actualization but also self-transcendence. Introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943, the hierarchy proposes that human motivation is a result of attempts to fulfill five very basic hierarchical needs. In order to live a joyful and fulfilling life, we must satisfy all the needs in the hierarchy. But, as the name suggests, we must first satisfy the lower needs before the highest ones are fulfilled. Maslow’s Original 5 Needs The first 4 needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are …

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The Three Viennese Schools of Psychotherapy: What Drives Human Behaviour

Vienna, the capital city of Austria, was the hometown of three of the most famous psychotherapists who have shaped much of how the modern western world views psychotherapy. Together the theories and work of Freud, Adler and Frankl make up what is referred to as the Three Viennese Schools of Psychotherapy. We’ll analyze and compare each school of thought in a moment.  But first let’s consider the question: what is psychotherapy? What is Pyschotherapy? The term ‘psychotherapy’ covers a wide range of approaches and methods used in therapy. These approaches can use sessions that involve one to one talking. Or, …

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Nature Versus Nurture: How is our personality developed?

Without a doubt, one of the oldest debates in psychology is the nature versus nurture debate. It is applicable to anything: our intelligence, our mental well-being and our interests, for example. However, it is also widely considered in relation to our personality. Is our personality developed over time, or are we born with it? Personality really is a complicated topic. If you’ve been following along with my posts, you’ll remember that I talked, in quite a lot of detail, about the debate as to whether we have personality traits or personality types. Or, whether our personality is state based or …

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Managing COVID-19 anxiety while at work

It is undoubtable that coronavirus anxiety has impacted the lives of every single one of us in ways that we could never have imagined.  But with all of the obvious negatives, a worldwide lockdown (with some countries introducing strict curfews and quarantines) has had some positives. We had more time to relax. More time do the things we love. We spent time with our families. And we have increased our skill set, with many of us taking up new hobbies. However, unfortunately this worldwide lockdown has also increased our anxiety levels. In the US, 3 out of 5 Americans are …

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Personality Assessments for the Workplace: a Scientific Review of 13 Top Models

In this blog post we’ll go through a comprehensive review of 13 of the most popular personality assessments that are being used in the workplace setting. We compare the different models and assess their validity, reliability, cost and overall applicability to both employers and job seekers. Ready? Let’s get into it! “Trait vs. State” Workplace Personality Assessments First a primer on personality assessments in general…  You may recall from my other posts that personality has two key components: trait-based and state-based. Generally speaking (and please don’t take offense to this), state-based personality is far too complex to measure for the …

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