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Social and Organisational Psychology


Entry requirements



Social psychology studies how others influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviour in personal or work-related situations, and how we in turn affect others.This course introduces students to the main theories and findings in this field. The underlying processes relate to:

  • Social observation and social cognition (e.g. how do we form an impression of others);

  • Attitudes ( e.g. how do we form an opinion, and how can it be influenced); and

  • Behaviour in groups ( e.g. how are joint decisions made).

A good understanding of these processes helps us to gain insight into how people function in work situations such as:

  • Assessment and selection ( e.g. can we prevent stereotyping from affecting career decisions?);

  • Motivation and leadership ( e.g. can a manager make people feel committed to their work?); and

  • Cooperation and team performance ( e.g. can the team perform better than its individual members?).

Course objectives

Students will be familiar with general theoretical principles, and will know how to apply theoretical knowledge to gain a better understanding of people’s behaviour in organisations and social settings more broadly. They will gain an overview and understanding of theories and research in the area of social and organisational psychology. In the work-group sessions, students will practise analysing real life phenomena in light of social and organisational psychology theory and developing interactive exercises to illustrate this theory. Both are crucial professional skills for social and organisation psychologists working in fields such as consultancy, assessment and training, and (applied) research. Student assignments and presentations will be marked and this mark will be combined with the examination mark to determine the final mark.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December.
The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC). First year Bachelor students as well as premaster students will be registered by the Student Service Center; they do not need to register themselves.

The registration period for all courses closes five calendar days before the start of the course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

14 2-hour lectures and 4 2-hour work group sessions

Assessment method

  • Written examination with multiple-choice questions.

  • Presentation and writing assignment in work group sessions

The final mark reflects the weighed average of the exam grade (70%) and the average grade for the two work group assignments (30%).

Knowledge and insight are tested through a multiple choice exam. Application of knowledge and insight are tested through the two workgroup assignments involving a presentation and a written analysis. If the grade average of these two assignments is insufficient (i.e. if the workgroup grade is below a 5.50) students can again hand in the written analysis as a retake. Because all students have already received both plenary and individual feedback on this writing assignment, the maximum for this retake assignment is a sufficient grade (6.00).

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

Reading list

  • Neck, C. P., Houghton, J. D., Murray, E. L., & SAGE Publishing. (2019). Organizational Behavior - International Student Edition. SAGE Publications.

  • Heinzen, T. E., & Goodfriend, W. (2021). Social Psychology - International Student Edition. SAGE Publications.

When you purchase both books as a set with ISBN number, you will receive a discount: ISBN 9781529791297

Contact information

Dr. Hester Ruigendijk (coördinator)

Teachers: Dr. L. van Dillen and Dr. H.A.H. Ruigendijk (Prof.Dr. E. van Dijk and Dr. E.A.C. van Leeuwen will teach the Dutch version of this course)