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Precision Business Psychology – applying the findings
of a scientific revolution to the human dimension of
Growth in understanding of human psychology has accelerated over the past decade. Of course, there is
much to discover but we often hear statements like:
We don’t know how people learn things. People are different so there’s no one way to change
Actually, we do and there is.
Increasingly sophisticated technology – computer modelling and brain scanning, for instance – are driving
new findings in areas such as individual cognition, behaviour, perception, and creativity as well as the
behaviour of people in social and organisational situations. We increasingly understand how specific mental
processes relate to the physical architecture of the brain and how those physical structures are changed by
new learning and experiences. Better information about how the brain works underpins our increasingly
sophisticated accounts of how people actually behave. We are moving away from theory-based
descriptions towards more sophisticated, predictive models of behaviour.
These very recent findings are published in scientific journals using language meant for specialist, academic
Advances in the human sciences have been matched by profound changes in international society and
politics, cultural manifestations and attitudes, legal frameworks, economic theory and business practice. Yet
we still use decades-old techniques to manage, lead and develop people at work – team role theory and
classic models of performance management and human needs are examples. Recent work challenges the
basic assumptions underlying such techniques: there is contradictory evidence about how well these earlier
models work, and whether they deliver consistently and sustainably.
As we argue below, we are in a time lag where new paradigms have not crystallised into practical tools and