Explore workplace culture and conflict from a psychological perspective.

If you want to make positive change and manage cultural differences and conflict issues within any organisation, you need to understand the reasons for human behaviour.

Join expert psychologists online to explore human behaviour at work. You’ll examine:

  • the role of culture and impact of cultural variation on organisations
  • the causes of conflict at work, its effects on workers, safety and performance
  • strategies to help manage and avoid conflict in the workplace.

Study anywhere, online, with academics and active researchers from the School of Psychology. And set your own study hours on this flexible short course that fits around full-time work.

Who can join this online organisational psychology course?

This distance-learning course is for anyone keen to understand and manage the factors influencing human interactions within their company or organisation.

You do not need a background or qualification in psychology to join this course.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards these postgraduate qualifications.

What you’ll study

You’ll study two areas vital for the performance and safety of organisations and their workers: culture and conflict.

Culture: ‘The way we do things around here’

  • Organisational culture and norms are the implicit rules or guidelines around accepted behaviours within an organisation.
  • Organisational safety culture is the shared perception of safety, guidelines and hazards.

Together, these should guide employee behaviour and interactions.

But there are other cultural influences that impact our perceptions and worker interactions. In this first half of the course, you’ll focus on these four culture types:

  • Organisational culture.
  • Safety culture.
  • Professional culture.
  • National culture.

Looking at the latest research literature, including Human Factors research, you’ll examine:

  • the impact each culture type has on worker effectiveness and safety
  • cultural influences within accident reports
  • cultural influences within your own job role and organisation, to better understand how these cultural issues play out in practice.


In the second half of the course, you’ll focus on issues surrounding conflict and resolution in the workplace:

  • Sources of conflict – including differences in staff values, needs, opinions or goals.
  • Incivility and rudeness.
  • Harassment and bullying.
  • Conflict management and resolution.

Research indicates that conflict in the workplace can have a range of adverse impacts, from emotional distress to performance reduction – including increased errors and reduced levels of safety.

You’ll use the latest research to examine each aspect of workplace conflict. We’ll also cover the impact on worker well-being, job satisfaction and performance.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Apply knowledge and understanding of both culture (organisational, safety, professional, national) and conflict in a workplace setting.
  • Evaluate the impact of cultural variation on employee behaviour (including non-technical skills) within the workplace.
  • Evaluate the impact of conflict on employee behaviour and wellbeing within the workplace.
  • Reflect on culture and conflict within your own organisation in order to conceptualise both factors in practice.

Choose the University of Aberdeen for online organisational psychology courses

Fits around full-time work

This course is designed to fit around work. With flexible hours and 24/7 study access.

You’re in expert hands

We’ve been delivering online and distance learning for decades.

NHS and alumni discounts

NHS staff get 10% off this online course. University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off.

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning organisational psychology course is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn with us anywhere in the world, no student visa required, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources available, including:

  • video lectures to stream or download
  • slide shows
  • quizzes
  • reading materials, including journal articles and latest research
  • discussion boards with your tutors and peers
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from experienced academics and active researchers from our School of Psychology.

You’ll be assessed entirely online via:

  • two short answer questions – one on culture, one on conflict (worth 40% of your total course grade)
  • multiple-choice questions (40%)
  • discussion boards (10%).

The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes. This includes time for independent study, as well as teaching and assessments.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

There may be some activities scheduled for fixed times. This could include coursework and assessments with deadlines, or online meetings with your tutor. Otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

Your course coordinator

Dr Amy Irwin

Amy is an Applied Psychologist and your Course Coordinator. She leads our Applied Psychology and Human Factors group and Non-Technical Skills in Agriculture group. Amy has collaborated extensively with industry and government contacts in pioneering human factors research within engineering, offshore drilling, agriculture, aviation and healthcare.

View Amy’s profile

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

PgCert Human Factors and Organisational Psychology

Earn human factors certification online. Study flexibly with expert psychologists and and learn to make workplaces safer.

View PgCert Human Factors and Organisational Psychology

PgCert Psychology in the Workplace

Explore occupational psychology online with UK university psychologists. Choose from a range of online workplace psychology courses and build a graduate qualification tailored to you.

View PgCert Psychology in the Workplace

Masters in Psychological Studies

A full-time, on-campus MSc programme designed to introduce graduates from other disciplines to the study of psychology, as a first step to pursuing a career in this area.

View MSc Psychological Studies

Build your learning

This course is part of our series of online workplace psychology courses.

Use these short courses to build your skills and earn more credits towards postgraduate qualifications:

All these online courses are part-time and fit around full-time work.


In today’s global economy, with multicultural organisations and teams, understanding culture and its impact on staff behaviour is more important than ever.

Completing this online organisational psychology course will help you:

  • better understand people, teams and organisations
  • make positive change towards managing cultural differences and conflict within any organisation
  • progress in a career in Human Factors
  • move towards a career in Human Factors consultation.

You’ll gain valuable skills and expertise in Human Factors, applicable to industries including:

  • aviation, healthcare, oil and gas, renewables, manufacturing, farming, nuclear, water, transport.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You do not need to provide proof of your qualifications.

But you do need to check the entry guidance above to understand the level of teaching delivered, to decide if this course is right for you.

If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check the equivalent teaching level for your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a student visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

You do not have to provide proof of your English language skills to join this course. But we want to make sure that you can use English well enough to study successfully.

Recommended level of English

For this course, we recommend the following level of English language proficiency.

These are our Postgraduate Standard requirements, and these are minimum scores.

IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI Academic, and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 6.0 for writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 18 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 169 for writing

LanguageCert Academic/LanguageCert Academic SELT

  • 70 overall
  • 60 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 65 for writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken) – Online / In-centre

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

Oxford ELLT Digital – English Language Level Test Online

  • 7.0 overall
  • 5.0 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 6.0 for writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For full information about language requirements, see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your studies each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Fee payment

Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.

We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.

Ways to save

You may be able to get help funding this course via:

  • discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
  • employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 UK undergraduate degree (or equivalent), or
  • relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 September 2024
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