On the different aspects of consumer and employee needs that are included within the psychology of business

The modern world is dominated by global businesses and corporate houses and any large scale enterprise requires a systematic understanding of employee and consumer demands, both material and non-material. The performance of business organizations depends on the performance of employees and the needs and expectations of the consumers, and so the ‘human’ factor is central to the success of any business. In recent years, say from the last part of the 20th century, there have been several changes in our understanding of human nature as it relates to work and performance in organizations and the primary focus in now on communication, leadership skills, and employee satisfaction. All these factors are important in enhancing the overall performance of any business organization

The psychology of business is thus primarily the psychology of employees and the psychology of consumers and it’s the organization that is responsible for maintaining the balance between consumer demands and employee demands

The Psychology of Employees – First let us talk about the psychology of employees. Any business house is operated by a number of employees and some of them are part of the higher management and are also considered as partners of business. The major elements that should be part of understanding the psychology of employees would be

Communication – Employee communication and understanding of business goals is an integral part of success and it is the duty of the management of an organisation to maintain direct and clear communication procedures through video conferences or seminars and presentations that would clearly state the mission and vision of the company. The communication between management and the other employees is thus a key aspect of employee or personnel psychology

Leadership – Any human resource manager or career counselor would focus first on developing leadership skills and leadership is an integral part of business because our inner leadership skills help us to break the mould and do something different and pioneering. Leadership skills in employees are important as team leaders in an organization are required to motivate other employees to attain certain company objectives. Leadership is thus closely related to motivation as a highly motivated individual will also be more likely to show leadership skills

Satisfaction – Employee satisfaction is an important aspect of business and we hear of several companies declaring large pay packages and incentives to retain the best talent. Job satisfaction, material satisfaction in terms of salary and bonuses, and social satisfaction with regard to the work ambiance are essential aspects of business and all businesses will have to pay specific attention to employee social, financial and emotional satisfaction. Fulfilling the needs of employees should be the primary focus of companies and this could be in accordance with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in which it has been suggested that financial security, personal safety would be very important to humans followed by emotional need for social contact and connection and then we have esteem needs for social status and reputation

Employee psychology is thus based on these three major factors or elements of business and all businesses should pay considerable attention to employee communication, leadership and motivation and employee satisfaction as essential aspects of psychology of business that can in turn enhance performance.

The Psychology of Clients/Consumers – Apart from employees, the consumers or customers are an integral aspect of business and the business management or corporate heads will have to understand the needs of customers as well in order to expand their business potential. Consumer psychology is based on several elements and this has a direct relation to whether businesses will thrive in a competitive global environment. Consumer psychology is shaped by the following related factors

Innovation – Consumers are ever curious and eager to buy new products and services and their own expectations and satisfaction tend to drive business innovation. Innovation is the direct result of consumer necessities and any innovative or novel product immediately gets consumer attention. The apple iPod or iPhone attracted consumer attention with the novelty so innovation as it relates to business has a direct impact on consumer psychology

Branding – Brands indicate social status and many individuals prefer to buy branded products as these products promise quality and enhances social prestige. Women spend thousands on Gucci or Chanel products simply they want to be seen with designer clothes, shoes and accessories. Designer brands apart, regular brands for food products let’s say Kellogs or Nestle are company names which are perceived as brands signifying quality. Consumers are not just interested in innovation and innovative products but they are also interested in familiarity and thus innovative products of renowned/familiar brands or companies are the most successful in the market. Psychologically we are seekers of novelty and we are also seekers of familiarity and a certain amount of routine. Thus both these needs have to be balanced in case of consumer expectations and only then businesses can be successful. Brands are synonymous with company reputation and increase consumer confidence

Performance – Company performance in terms of stock market indications, annual reports, projections of company profits improve consumer confidence and in business performance drives performance. Thus if a company’s prospects are bright and company growth is projected, the business halo effect works immediately and further improves business. When employee psychological factors should be considered to enhance company performance, performance in turn is a factor to meet consumer psychological demands. So business performance is a two way process, it is driven by consumer expectations and drives employee contribution

Thus consumer psychology which is based on demands and expectations for products and services are guided by these following factors of the extent of innovativeness of a company, the brand or reputation of the company and the performance of the business organization. Employee psychology which in turn is also based on demands and expectations of employees highlights the extent to which they have communication facilities and the extent to which employees are motivated or satisfied in their jobs

Thus the psychology of business has two distinct branches – that which deals with employee interests and that which deals with consumer interests and although these can at times overlap, the elements are distinct and I have tried to differentiate between the key elements of consumer business psychology and employee business psychology. Thus any composite organizational business psychology will consist of both these aspects of employee personal development through human resource management consisting of elements of motivation/leadership, communication and satisfaction; and expansion of consumer base through organisational goal achievements through performance, innovation and branding

Apart from the elements discussed here, business psychology involves a whole gamut of psychological aspects considering needs of consumers, employees and the organization in general and this is also closely related with advertising, marketing, and business orientation and objectives of a company. In fact business psychology should also include company strategies as basic elements of an organizational psychology as well. Thus business psychology is comprehensive including consumer needs and employee needs and although these needs may encompass organizational needs, a distinct organizational psychology could well be drawn out from this and I will take this up in a latter discussion of this ongoing series in psychology


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