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Calling all Organisational Change consultants

#1 Calling all Organisational Change consultants
04/02/2005 07:06


What I need to know is whether an HR focused degree or an Industrial Psychology focused degree, both with a second major of Business Administration, will increase chances of entering a career in Organisational Change?

HR or Industrial Psych? Which one would you recommend?

I still have time to change my major from Industrial Psych to HR if need be.

I'm currently in my first year in this degree, after eight years in IT management, I'm changing careers.


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#2 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
04/02/2005 10:45



Difficult question. Not sure if you're in the US as you refer to Industrial Psych. I'm UK based so it may be different in the US.

In the UK, it depends on the level of knowledge of the organisation recruiting. Many do not understand that much of the Org Change theory is born out of Org Psych research. Therefore, seeing that on a CV may not mean much to an employer. However, my experience of the US is that they are more advanced in Psych and it is more understood over there.

That said, I think that it is certainly useful to have a related degree but it will probably not determine whether you get a job or not. I have an MSc in Organisational Psych and recently entered into Org Change Consulting. My degree has certainly been useful in being prepared for the job and my colleagues seem to acknowledge my expertise in certain areas.

Overall, I would say that it won't get you the job on its own. The degree may help you understand the area of work and I think will give you an advantage when you come to do the work.

Hope that helps a bit. Kev

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#3 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
04/02/2005 10:55


Thanks Kev. It's very interesting to see though that most Org Change vacancies in the UK require an HR related degree, even though Ind & Org Psych focus quite a bit more on OD and Change than the HR degrees I've seen.

Anyone else have insight into this? What do those who have degrees in HR think?


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#4 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
04/02/2005 16:37


This seems to be a matter of degrees, and employability. It is a difficult question because I have seen Organisational Change in both my degrees and read about it and experienced it in several organisations. HR featured in my business administration course, and HR is frequently talked about in many UK organisations. That said I first heard about Change Management from Andersen's, in fact, now called Accenture).

By degree I mean emphasis in this email. I suspect HR is emphasised in the workplace and industry, whereas Organisational Change tends to frequent the talk of those at a higher level and/or academics and/or consultants. Organisational Psychology is really Social Psychology, but re-branded and updated. Industrial psychology is more obviously branded for specific industrial needs, whereas HR is less well branded for academia in comparison to the 'outside world', by which people often mean the 'workplace.' All of this is a statement of my opinion.

More controversially I would suggest that HR competes with OD and Change on the jobs side of life. I think the best thing is to see through the job ads that are simply asking the impossible, so the decision makers assistant can cut down their workload, from those that are really opening up fair opportunities and/or require top knowledge. It is not always fair how human resources are allocated, but then who said it was going to be? I can answer that question by the way, but the weekend approaches.

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#5 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
07/02/2005 06:36


You make an interesting point.

From what I've seen, it seems that an HR specialised degree is the way to go. I think the development of HR policies and procedures issues form a very important part of Org Change, compared to Industrial Psych, which my degree focuses on. I understand that Psychology in the workplace forms a very important part in developing change that is "people friendly" so to speak, but at the end of the day, it seems that the HR management side of things is what counts in these situations, and that one can pick up the necessary Org Change skills that may be missing.

Looks like I'm going to be changing my Industrial Psych major to an HR major.

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#6 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
07/02/2005 12:04


Good luck. I am not convinced your decision is one where one career track is right, and another is wrong. However one might well be better than the other.

It seems a well reasoned choice - one thing you might want to think about though now or before you return to the workplace though is the industry/service sector or sectors you want to work in. For example if you can do an HR project dissertation within a particular sector you will not be so reliant on your IT skills.

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#7 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
07/02/2005 21:40


Hi, I am not sure if I contribute to your decision. I am working for a multi national company in the financial service industry with 1800 employees. In total we have less than 10 HR people. Our organizational changes are done by our middle management without any specific qualification for doing this.

I think the question is not what you have studied, the question is what are you able to do.

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#8 Re: Calling all Organisational Change consultants
10/02/2005 12:09

Big Nev

My background is operational management, my subsequent training is in HRD - management & org development. I try and integrate both the Human issues and the Organisational issues in my work as a change consultant for the last 20 years.

The overwhelming perspective in business in the UK is that HR tends to rely on a reactive and systems based contribution, whereas org psych is a complete mystery to it.

Ergo, it's not what you think you know, it's what you do that's important.

Which course of study will you most enjoy, and aligns closest to your heart? That's where your answer lies!

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