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The psychological advantage in today’s workplaces

The   increasing   deployment   of   smart   technologies,   artificial   intelligence   (AI),   robotics   and 

algorithms across every area of human endeavour is changing work in unprecedented ways. 

As fast as roles become extinct, new ones emerge.  Skills-sets are constantly remodelled.  The 

21st Century   worker   doesn’t   just   have   to   be   digitallyadept,   they   must   have   more   types   of 

intelligences   and   literacies,   as   well   as   different   knowledge   and   skills   compared   to   their 

predecessors.    Rapid   tech-driven   evolution   in   workplaces   intensifies the  urgency   for   South 

Africa’s tertiary education institutions to adapt and ensure they are developing future workers 

who are fit and capable of succeeding and thriving in the 4iR context.

The Academic Dean of one of the country’s top private institutions, Dr Jaclyn Lotter of  SACAP

(the South African College of Applied Psychology) says, “There are several leading workplace 

trends that have shaped the modern design of SACAP’s education programmes offered by our 

Faculties of Management & Leadership, and Applied Psychology.  Today’s organisations have 

significant, unmet demands for emotionally intelligent employees with key skills such as critical 

thinking, problem-solving communication, and collaboration.  They also face the challenges of 

building agile, diverse, and inclusive organisational cultures.  Social forces such as the younger 

generation’s focus on purposeful work, mental health, well-being, work-life balance, and family 

are shaping today’s workplaces in very different ways.   These developments are driving an 

increased awareness   of   the   advantage  of   bringing   a  psychological  lens   into   the  workplace 

beyond the traditional role of the Industrial Psychologist.  It includes having key managers and 

leaders   in   the   organisation   who   are   self-aware   and   have   a   deep   understanding   of   others 

because Psychology as a  major subject was  embedded in  their business degree education 


The Psychological Lens in the Workplace

SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science Degree is considered their gold standard of social

science qualifications. The qualification boasts a core subject major in psychology, and students 

can then select second major subject in counselling or human resource management or

business management.

Bringing a psychological lens to the workplace enables business professionals to better

understand and address the unique needs of employees, customers and all other stakeholders.

It empowers them to responsibly manage people at the individual, team and systemic levels

while crafting a work environment that is conducive to productivity, performance, and well-being.

Agility and Diversity in Organizational Culture

Agility and diversity have become foundational to success in organisations of the 4iR era. It falls 

on team leaders and managers to foster agility so that employees can adapt to rapid changes

and seize opportunities. Diversity and inclusion are essential to harnessing the full spectrum of

human potential, enhancing competitiveness, and attracting and retaining in-demand talent.

Business professionals with a strong grounding in psychology are capable of guiding and

enhancing an optimal organisational culture. They have particular strengths in key areas such


Promoting inclusivity – Knowledge of psychology can help managers identify and productively 

address unconscious biases and design initiatives that foster greater understanding leading to

diversity and inclusion.

Facilitating change - Agility in organisations is dependent on employees’ willingness to change 

and adapt quickly. Psychology provides insights into human resistance to change and ways to

overcome it. Business professionals who understand the psychological aspects of change

management are better prepared to guide their teams through business transformations


Fostering resilience - In the face of constant disruption, resilience is a critical attribute at both

the individual and organisational levels. Psychologically informed managers can help

employees build resilience by offering support, teaching coping strategies, and promoting

mental well-being.

When you understand people, you understand the world

“Success starts with understanding people,” concludes Dr Lotter. “A SACAP undergraduate

qualification with Psychology as one of your subject majors sets you up for achievement in

further studies or opens up a variety of career pathways. Whether you see your future in

entrepreneurship, in blue-chip corporate boardrooms, or in caring careers such as therapy,

counselling and coaching, the fact that you get people is what will take you far in life. If you can

figure out people, you can figure out solutions. For school leavers who are unsure of where to

start when it comes to tertiary studies, SACAP’s  Bachelor of Applied Social Science Degree    

programmes are ideal pathways to learn about yourself and others, gain research and analytical 

skills, enhance your communication and collaboration skills, learn sought-after conflict resolution 

skills, develop self-compassion and compassion for others while getting an expert grounding in

human behaviour which you can apply to a myriad of career options.”


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