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The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward

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Presentation on theme: "The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward
Mark H.B. Radford The 5th International Workshop on Cultural and Ecological Foundations of The Mind, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan April 7, 2003

2 Introduction The last 10 years Employee attitudes, corporate culture
Fad vs. Competitive Advantage Reflection of social psychology? MHBR

3 Some Constraints Behavioural science – the study of psychological phenomena taking into account person, society, culture & environment Applied environment – “What?”, “So What?”, “Now What?” Sharing of ideas Universal ideal Global, generalist approach ‘Ideas in progress’ MHBR

4 Lecture Format Issues in social psychology & cross-cultural psychology
2 examples of current research interests Future & conclusions MHBR

5 Issues in Social Psychology & Cross-Cultural Psychology The ‘Crisis’
Wilhelm Wundt, 1879 – first laboratory Two approaches: Laboratory Approach Descriptive Approach Universal Laws Behaviourism 1940s – Psychology was empirical, mechanistic & quantitative MHBR

6 ‘Crisis’ Continued Behaviourism in crisis in 1960s
Limited internal & external validity Issue of viable paradigms & appropriate methodologies ‘Crisis of confidence’ in many areas of psychology Social Psychology (Hogg & Grieve, 1999): reductionist, immature in theories; positivist & unsophisticated in methods; blind to role of language, history, culture MHBR

7 The Reaction Approaches:
Radical rejection of traditional theories & methods Less radical approaches that incorporated wider range of variables (e.g. culture, society) – ‘social cognition’, ‘social identity theory’ MHBR

8 The Role of Culture Cross-Cultural Psychology Cultural Psychology
Culture is antecedent behaviour, outside individual, ‘universalist’ approach Cultural Psychology Culture is inside individual, ‘contextualist’ approach Indigenous Psychology Folk theories into formal psychological theories, ‘integrationalist’ approach MHBR

9 Culture, expectations & behaviour in real-life
Saudi Arabian bank employees “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Television Show MHBR

10 The challenges Perceptual inference
Globalisation through migration, technology & economy Continual change & adaptation within cultures MHBR

11 Globalisation Long history… Migrant groups & ‘time warp’ cultures
Multinational companies Individual preference & selection Hofstede & collectivism in Japan Massive changes in last 20 years MHBR

12 The ‘Issues’ Consider psychological phenomena in their context
Comprehensive conception of culture Culture is not a ‘static, unchanging’ variable Combining both qualitative & quantitative measures Extension of laboratory research to real settings Application of problems to real-life settings Educating non-psychologists of our research findings MHBR

13 Two Examples Impact of culture on depression & anxiety
Work attitudes & behaviour MHBR

14 Cultural impact on depression & anxiety disorders
Depression & anxiety exist in all cultures so far examined, although variation in prevalence, type, nature & severity of symptoms Biological diversity between some racial groups have implications for efficacy of some treatments MHBR

15 We know… Depression can result from a specific event or experience, or from genetic and/or chemical imbalances Depression can have both adaptive & maladaptive consequences depending on severity & social environment MHBR

16 We know… Differences occur between Asian & Caucasian subject in terms of biochemical tolerance to & absorption rates of medication Food intake, herbal remedies & cigarette smoking can interact with drug treatments to increase or decrease efficacy of drug treatments MHBR

17 So… Understanding the causes of depression & anxiety (biological, chemical, social, environmental, psychological) becomes essential to understanding the ways they are manifested, how they will impact behaviour & thought, & how they can be treated Research from many different disciplines has made clear that there is no simple answer MHBR

18 Culture-biology interactions (Lin, 2002)
cognitive coping social support Culture-biology interactions (cf. Lin, 2002) genetics environment ETHNICITY CULTURE vulnerability ‘BIOLOGICAL MARKERS’ ‘State’ ‘Trait’ psychopathology clinical syndromes course & outcome Stress MHBR

19 An example…Japanese Work Setting
Negative impact of depression often masked by traditional social support systems & norms about what is appropriate behaviour Dramatic changes in society (age distribution, urbanisation, loss of traditional social support) Economic changes (increase in unemployment, change, uncertainty) Deterioration in mental health MHBR

20 Sources of stress in the workplace includes:
Role ambiguity Role conflict Career uncertainty Job insecurity Lack of control & authority Poor relationships with supervisors Poor relationships with colleagues ‘Work overload’ ‘Work underload’ MHBR

21 Japanese work environment
Encourages conformity & consensus at expense of individual responsibility & self-direction greater sense of helplessness & hopelessness Long working hours impact on physical & mental health High prevalence of depressive symptoms ‘Karoshi’ MHBR

22 Research has shown… Hopelessness predictor of suicidal intent & behaviour Markus & Kitayama’s research on self Yamagishi & colleagues’ research on trust Suicide in the workplace MHBR

23 Summary Enormous consequences of mental health problems – psychological, social & economic Understanding the cultural, social, psychological & biochemical interactions helps us devise appropriate treatment programmes MHBR

24 Work attitudes & behaviour
Employee Attitude & Organisational Climate Surveys Philosophy Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Employees Customers Owners MHBR

25 Problems… Lack of theoretical framework Badly designed instruments
“My boss beats me and doesn’t pay me enough” Inappropriate comparisons MHBR

26 Little attempt is made to…
Develop model of employee satisfaction that identifies those elements that drive satisfaction & those that contribute to low morale Ensure instruments are designed appropriately (cf. conceptual, linguistic & metric equivalence Conduct appropriate analyses - not just provide descriptive statistics but also identify causal relationships Understand results in terms of local social, cultural & economic conditions MHBR

27 And so… Lots of statistics but little information telling you what is happening, why it is happening & what needs to be done False conclusions Frustrated employees Wasted exercise? MHBR

28 A model of employee satisfaction & commitment
Four essential ingredients for a happy employee: Satisfying or satisfactory relationship with colleagues & supervisors Personal satisfaction Reward & recognition Brand image of organisation (or product) MHBR

29 The Model © Mark H.B. Radford, 2002 MHBR “Context” “Social Exchange”
Organisational Strategy, Goals, Values “Context” Organisational Environment (culture/style, work organisation, work practices, work environment, communication) “Social Exchange” “Give” (ethics/values, customer focus, quality – products & services) Employee Satisfaction/ Commitment; Productivity “Take” (leadership/management, supervision, training performance appraisal, personal development) “Needs” Affiliation (working relationships, employee involvement, identification & image) Basic Needs (rewards, recognition) Aspiration (career development) © Mark H.B. Radford, 2002 MHBR

30 The Future Old Concept? New Concept?
Universities as places of intellectual learning New Concept? Competitive environment – people & resources Relevance & application of thinking & research MHBR

31 Conclusion The Elephant story Subject vs. discipline based research
Four important questions: What am I looking at? Why am I looking at it? How has it come about? What I am I going to do now that I have that knowledge? MHBR

32 Finally… Perhaps it is time for another revolution in psychology… Thank you MHBR


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