Social Psychology

This course will introduce and critically discuss, from a psychological point of view, some of the most fundamental topics in group life and organizational behavior. More specifically, the course will center on four broad themes: the psychological bases of group formation and change; the role of individual vs. group cognition and emotion in shaping social interactions within society and organizations; the role of motivated psychological reactions to ‘risk’ and uncertainty perceptions in group life; and the psychological roots of interpersonal, inter-group, and societal communication strategies, as commonly enacted by individuals and groups.

Psychological and Psychosocial Foundations of Organizational Psychology

  • Psychological and psychosocial bases of organizational behavior
  • Dynamics of group formation and change
  • To what extent do attitudes really predict behavior?
  • Perceiving and acting as ‘unique individuals’ vs. ‘group members’
  • Social identification, self-categorization, and organizational culture

Cognition, Motivation, and Emotions in Organizations

  • Commitment and motivation in organization
  • When commitment backfires: static vs. dynamic thinking in organizations
  • Determinants of the intensity of motivation (MIT theory)
  • Difficulty appraisals: The mood-behavior model (MBM)
  • The emotional control of behavior (EIT theory)

How Risk and Uncertainty Perceptions Systematically Affect Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior

  • Risk and uncertainty from a psychological and psychosocial point of view
  • Uncertainty-reduction theories in social and organizational psychology
  • The consequences of risk perceptions: risk-motivated cognition and behavior
  • Orienting vs. multiple perspectives in understanding individual and group behavior in organizations

Psychological and Psychosocial Roots of Interpersonal Exchange and Group Communication

  • Group brainstorming: psychological processes beyond the myth
  • Social performance in groups: working for the other’s perspective
  • Ironic effects of strong motivations: the case of self-symbolizing in work teams
  • How symbolic self-completion shapes structure and contents of communication in social groups
  • Social psychological processes for overcoming communication barriers: The case of psychologically-based health communication strategies

Course instructor: Prof. Pantaleo

Semester: Spring