Meet the expert: Exploring business psychology with Professor Andrew Neal
Published 20 May, 2022 · 4-minute read
Professor Andrew Neal’s ultimate goal is to enhance the performance, safety and effectiveness of people and the systems in which they work.
As a professor of business and organisational psychology here at UQ, Andrew leads a large program of applied research into human performance and safety in complex environments. His expertise in human performance and motivation has led to these programs receiving more than $10 million in funding from the ARC, Federal and State Governments, and industry.
In this Q&A, we discuss everything business psychology with Andrew, pick his brains on the highlights of UQ’s Master of Business Psychology, and delve into the types of students best suited to this program.
What is business psychology?
Business psychology gives you an understanding of what does and doesn’t work in business, and allows you to develop practical solutions that are mutually beneficial for organisations and the people that work in them.
It’s used to ensure all facets of the business that include people are performing to their best – this includes:
selecting and developing the best people
developing more effective leaders
enhancing teamwork and motivation
improving business processes
facilitating organisational change
transforming the culture of an organisation.
What’s involved in the Master of Business Psychology program at UQ?
The Master of Business Psychology will equip you with the skills required to become a consultant specialising in the use of psychology to enhance the productivity and effectiveness of individuals, teams and organisations, while improving the quality of working life.
“The program is unique in that it equips you with both the foundational psychological expertise and the business acumen needed to solve business challenges across a range of business, government and not-for-profit settings.”
You'll undertake coursework designed to meet industry demand for consultants who understand business. Your coursework and placements can be tailored to match your career goals, giving you the skills needed to design high-performance work systems, improve the quality of professional leadership and create a culture in which people are valued and rewarded.
Why should I choose this program at UQ?
There are 2 features of this program that make it especially unique.
The first is the expertise of the staff.
For example, Alex Haslam is one of the most influential researchers working within the field of leadership, having developed the social identity approach to leadership, which fundamentally changes how we think about leadership in organisations.
The second is the amazing network of businesses and organisations that support the program, and the opportunities for work integrated learning that they provide. Each student gets to work on a mix of projects covering different areas of practice and work settings. Types of settings may include:
small consultancy firms
large consultancy firms
publicly listed companies
The projects are challenging and require students to apply what they learn in class to a wide range of complex problems.
Want to know more about how you can use business psychology to get the best out of individuals, teams, and organisations? Watch our business psychology panel discussion on demand and hear from UQ current students, alumni and staff.
How do I know this program is right for me?
There are 2 groups of people that the program is targeted at.
The first are people working in the business, government or not-for-profit sector, who want to use psychological science to improve organisational effectiveness. Many of the people who enter the program have 8-10 years of managerial or professional experience working in areas such as finance, strategic HR and change management.
The second are people who have an honours degree in psychology and want to pursue a career in business or management consultancy.
“The career outcomes are excellent. There is strong demand from employers for people with a mix of psychology and business.”
Most of our students get jobs or promotions before they graduate, with these often coming from the projects they carry out during their studies.
Exciting projects you could be working on, in the field of business psychology
Examples of some of Andrew’s projects include:
the development of models that can predict how many aircraft an air traffic controller can safely handle (which are used to determine minimum staffing levels)
the assessment of the safety risks associated with introduction of automation
work design for next-generation remotely piloted aircraft systems (determining how many crew are needed, and who should do what).
Study a Master of Business Psychology at UQ
Ready to kickstart an exciting career in business psychology? Further your skills and learn how to use psychological science to improve leadership, performance and collaboration in business, while making work safer and more rewarding for people.