WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management meets new demand for experts in Business Psychology

WHU member spotlight

This Member Spotlight highlights WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany and its new bachelor’s programme in Business Psychology. A special thank you to Bernadette Wagener, Associate Director of Public Relations, for the contribution. 

WHU professor

To combat the upset of the past few years, the world of business has had to race through an incredible transition process at breakneck speeds. To ensure that nobody is left behind during this period, organisations today find themselves in need of human behaviour experts who are able to fully integrate themselves into the systems they already have in place. In its research activities, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management paid close attention to this growing concern and, in a bid to meet new market demand, has conceived a new bachelor’s programme in Business Psychology, starting later this fall.

The working world is rapidly changing and moving online, a phenomenon accelerated largely by the COVID-19 pandemic. With all the efforts made in recent years to practice more modern methods of conducting business—with particular regard to digitisation—there is now an unprecedented need to consider how transitional phases affect the working environment. Having gained new insights from the field of business psychology, WHU sees an opportunity to educate students on how to cope with such developments and help their future employers come out ahead.

WHU student

At the office, managers and those active in human resources have been forced to tackle difficult questions, for which there were often no clear answers: How can we prevent a team from fragmenting and falling apart when it hardly ever meets in person anymore? What personal problems could arise on the team, and how should we react? How has this upset the market, and what can we do to stabilize it? As we are all slowly designing our new normal, now is the time to make a concerted effort to fill some of the gaps left behind when the world was abruptly forced indoors and online. To put it clearly, even if we have weathered the worst of the storm, what do we do now that things are calming down? And what happens if there are other significant changes or periods of uncertainty in the future? After all, a pandemic is only one such event that can wreak havoc on the corporate world.

According to Professor Christian Hagist, Academic Director of the upcoming programme, “Business psychologists must be able to understand human behaviour, offer professional support when problem-solving, fully integrate themselves into a company’s business model, structures, and corporate goals, and meet managers and employees—across all departments and areas of expertise—where they are. This requires both a solid education in psychology and a broad knowledge of the world of business.” Notably, the skills of a business psychologist also help strengthen the relationship between the business and the customer base. Specifically, their contributions allow marketers to better understand the rapidly evolving needs and wishes of their consumers.

WHU student

To take on sciences such as psychology may, at first glance, seem an unexpected step for a business school like WHU. Yet, research conducted at WHU over the past few years began to paint a clear image that there is a need for these skills in today’s market. Alongside her colleagues, Professor Fabiola Gerpott, holder of the Chair of Leadership at WHU and business psychologist herself, seeks to understand through her research how colleagues interact in today’s “hybrid” working paradigm and has found that the consequences of the disruption have stretched far and wide: Employees working remotely are more inclined to work through signs of illness. There are new concerns for commuters and how they can best optimise their day to avoid negatively impacting their mental health.

In light of such developments, which we cannot afford to ignore, companies need a skilled mediator who is able to bridge the gap between all departments and come to an end result desirable to all parties. With this new bachelor’s programme in Business Psychology, WHU intends to fulfil that need, offer a 360-degree view of the business world, and further instil in its students a developed, future-focused mindset.

For more details on the WHU Bachelor in Business Psychology please visit the programme website.

WHU professor

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management has been an EFMD member since 1987. The school has been EQUIS accredited since 1998. Learn more about our Member Spotlight series here. If you are interested in participating in the Member Spotlight, please contact us.


Photo 1 by Anna Kaduk.
Photos 2 & 3 by Berlin&Cramer.
Photo 4 by Kai Myller.