Two Major Ideas from Social Psychology

Social psychology is a unique field that integrates elements of both sociology and psychology. There are many ideas that doctoral learners can take from the study of social psychology, and these ideas can influence their future research?  For example, as a doctoral learner in I/O psychology, the doctoral study should apply the principles of psychology to the workplace for the purpose of enhancing “the dignity and performance of human beings, and the organizations they work in, by advancing the science and knowledge of human behavior” (Rucci, 2008).  For someone with intended research of human behavior in job market and workplace, these two major ideas from social psychology could the most influential:  attribution theory and social conformity.


Attribution theory reveals how people perceive behaviors of themselves and others and how they explain causation of behaviors and social events. In the process of attribution and social cognition, biases may be introduced and stereotypes built.  As Aamodt (2010) mentioned, “because we have a tendency, called the fundamental attribution error, to attribute others’ failure or poor performance to personal rather than situational factors” (p. 272), such attribution error would cause conflicts among workers and managers in workplace.   Social Conformity is the dominant form of social control and social influence through which "an individual accepts (or complies with) the group’s view" (Hogg, M. A. & Cooper, 2007, p. 312). Because social norms were often built in a workplace, workers may yield to peer pressures by changing their beliefs or behaviors in order to fit in with the work group.  Social Conformity could affect workers' performance and corporate operations either positively or negatively.  Both ideas of attribution theory and social conformity can lead me to in-depth studies about human behaviors in workplace.

References

Aamodt, M. G. (2010). Industrial/organizational psychology: An applied approach (6th ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Hogg, M. A., & Cooper, J. (Eds.). (2007). The sage handbook of social psychology: Concise student edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rucci, A. J. (2008). I-O psychology’s “core purpose”: Where science and practice meet. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 46(1), 17–34

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