Book Review: Top Business Psychology Models

Business psychology: Studies and theories which help us understand or explain human behavior, emotions and cognitions at work. Business psychology has linkages with other areas like human physiology, spirituality and philosophy which have implications on performance at work.

In this  book the authors, Cantore and Passmore, have picked 50 business psychology models that:

  • have been tried and tested by them and their colleagues over many years and found to work well with a wide range of clients and organizations in many contexts;
  • are practical and have some evidences to support them;
  • are easy to comprehend without being too simplistic;
  • are drawn from diverse domains of business and positive psychology to provide variety that sparks interest among the readers to refer to more detailed literature;
  • are a mix of well-recognized “classics” and emergent ideas;
  • encourage a positive, optimistic and appreciative outlook on life and the work.

These models are introduced in short chapters (around 4-5 pages per chapter).
Each chapter is split into  five short sections:
1. The Big Idea – explains briefly what the model is all about.
2.  So What ? – explains the implications of the model, what it might mean for those working in an organization.
3. What Else ? – offers some of the limitations of the model and  arguments against the model.
4. Leadership Challenge – provides exercises for the leaders to try out the model.
5. More Help – provides one or two key references supplemented by additional references for further study of the model.

The chapters are  categorized under three parts in the book :

Part One – The Individual at Work, focuses on difference between individuals, their personalities and the way they interact with their colleagues, managers and the environment.
It also looks at – ways people can get a better understanding of their own preferences and approach to work; impact of change on individuals and how a leader can create positive responses to change while acknowledging the loss and emotional transitions people experience. The models chosen  by the authors offer insights into matching people with roles and get the best out of them.
The twenty two models  discussed in this part include – Maslow’s Theory, GROW Model, Learned Optimism, Psychometrics, Emotional Intelligence, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Part Two – Team Effort, reveals some of the assumptions leaders have about the dynamics of people working together. In groups or teams people’s motivations change and understanding this shift is the key to help people work well together. The models selected for this part  help bring clarity and practical help when handling complex human relationships.
The sixteen models discussed in this part include – the Hawthorne Effect, Theory X and Theory Y, Groupthink, Belbin Team Roles, Tuckman’s Group Development, Social Loafing Theory and Cynefin Complexity Model.

Part Three – Organizations, provides models for creating and sustaining positive organizations that enable employees to make excellent contribution to organizational goals while offering great relationships, and high level of job satisfaction. It also has some models that challenge the way we understand learning, leadership styles and the nature of organizations.
The twelve models discussed in this part include – Appreciative Inquiry, Psychological Contract, Force Field Analysis and the Vitamin Model of Stress.

To provide a concise overview of 50 models in 200 pages is a daunting task by any standards. But the authors have done a pretty good job here in introducing the reader to these models and giving pointers to further information. The writing style could have been a little bit more engaging and interesting for the readers.

A very good reference book which should be on the bookshelves of business leaders, consultants and coaches.

Publication Details:
Authors : Stefan Cantore and Jonathan Passmore; Published:2012; Publisher: Kogan Page ; Paperback: 224 pages.



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