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The People Business

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The People Business

Psychological Reflections of Management

Palgrave Macmillan,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Stop thinking of psychology as touchy-feely. The insights it offers can be crucial to the success of your business.

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Editorial Rating



  • For Beginners


In this unusual book about the relationship between psychology and management, Adrian Furnham does not present a management system based on psychological principles, but rather a collection of observations arranged in loose alphabetical order, beginning with "the aging workforce" and ending with "workplace romantic relationships." Furnham says his purpose is "to educate in an entertaining way." For the most part, he succeeds. The book resembles an old-fashioned commonplace book, full of random ideas, quotations and lists. Some are striking, as when Furnham notes the similarities between CEOs and convicts – both tend to be paranoid, narcissistic and antisocial. Others seem not particularly earth-shattering, but no doubt time, mood and circumstances will determine the degree of relevance or utility readers find in any particular observation. getAbstract finds that the book seems written as much for occasional doses of inspiration as for cover-to-cover reading.


Psychology and Business

Managers whose duties involve supervision must keep in mind the following basic principles of human psychology:

  • Love and work, as Sigmund Freud said, are the most potentially fulfilling activities life offers. People require both interesting jobs and a humane work environment.
  • Most people need to derive some psychological satisfaction from their jobs.
  • Everyone has his or her own special strengths and talents. Identify and apply them for the greater good.
  • Most people do not change much once they reach adulthood.
  • Both heredity and environment are important, but the influence of environment is strongest in childhood.
  • People choose to work at jobs and companies that suit their personalities, and organizations exercise a homogenizing effect. Therefore, over time, diversity and variety decrease in an organization.
  • Gender is a source of differences, which you should neither deny nor exaggerate.
  • Culture (not race) is another source of differences in people's ideas about work, justice, cooperation and other aspects of job performance.
  • Because people are by nature social beings, the ...

About the Author

Adrian Furnham is professor of psychology at University College, London. He is a consultant and the author of more than 600 journal articles and 42 books. He writes regular columns in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

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