A psychological move

role is head of personnel and development, but that is about to change in a
major restructure of HR. I have diplomas in management and HRD. On my
development plan I always thought my major decision was which should I see
through to the next stage – MBA or MSc? I am now wondering whether a psychology
qualification would help me achieve my ultimate career goal – to work in a
senior HRD function or development-focused HRM function. Which area of
psychology should I focus on to achieve my goals?

Malcolm Bennison, director of learning, Cambridge Online Learning, says:

choice of which area of psychology would be most suitable for your ultimate
career goal depends on how much you wish to offer specialist advice which
requires a psychology qualification. The HR world is changing rapidly. Many of
its functions are being outsourced and its main focus in the future is likely
to be increasingly business-oriented.

design of jobs, appraisal of employees, design of performance management
systems – tasks in which the skills of a psychologist are likely to be used –
are the jobs HR functions are outsourcing. They find that the specialist
knowledge required is expensive and they prefer to be able to choose between
alternative suppliers to ensure they get the best advice.

this is the route you wish to go, you should contact a management consultancy
which offers this type of advice and ask which area of psychology would be most

you wish to stay in mainstream HR, you need to build up your knowledge of
business and how HR can work as a fully effective business partner. In this
case, an MBA which uses work-based assignments as a learning vehicle is the
best choice. An alternative might be the MA in Strategic HR Management,
supported by CIPD and offered by some business schools and universities.

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