eye on society

Applying the Concepts and Methods of Organisational Psychology to Society


Standard Four Part Seminar Outline

This seminar will be divided into four parts.

Part I will deal with the Raven's Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary Tests. The theoretical background to, and current uses of, the tests will be described. Results from recently-completed studies will be summarised. These deal with the stability of the norms across cultures and their change over time. Research into the sources of variance in test scores (such as education and ethnic origin), into the effectiveness of training programmes, and into the predictive validity of the tests will be reviewed.

Relevant Publications for Part 1

Part II will summarise research into the nature, development, and assessment of high-level competencies. Such competencies include initiative, managerial ability, and the ability to communicate effectively. A new psychometric model for assessing these qualities will be described and the results of studies in which the model has been applied will be discussed. Studies underlining the importance of these qualities in society will be presented. Research into their origins in upbringing, education, and the workplace will be summarised.

Relevant Publications for Part II

Part III will deal with the developments which are needed to manage the educational system for truly effective schooling. Research clarifying the qualities to be nurtured by schools and the barriers to doing so will first be summarised. It will be shown that the developments which are most needed cannot be achieved through the kind of centralised prescription and checking procedures introduced over the past decade. Instead, they necessitate the creation of a pervasive climate of innovation. This has three components: (i) extensive "parallel organisation" activity; (ii) changes in the behaviour of public service bureaucrats; and (iii) a new, network-based, supervisory structure to monitor and facilitate the work of the educational system.

Relevant Publications for Part III

In Part IV, the concepts and methods of organisational psychology will be applied to the management of society. Modern society is very different from what most people take it to be. Radical change is needed. Neither market processes nor current governmental arrangements are capable of introducing the necessary developments. The way forward hinges on: (i) finding better ways of getting public servants to create a ferment of innovation and, especially, to initiate the collection of information, sift it for good ideas, and act on it in an innovative way in the long-term public interest: Getting them to do these things means introducing new forms of staff and organisational appraisal and a new interface with the public. (ii) Developing better ways of thinking about, mapping, measuring, harnessing and intervening in the invisible networks of mutually reinforcing social forces that overwhelmingly determine individual and collective action - an endeavour which is, perhaps, best conceptualised as "socio-cybernetics".

Relevant Publications for Part IV

Click Complete List for a full list of all relevant publications relating to Prof. Raven's Standard Four Part Seminar. To obtain any of the publications listed click "order" to obtain it from the publisher or "pdf" to download it directly from this site (if it is available).

A shortened, 2-page (ie back and front of a single page), version of the above outline, incorporating the main references that are listed in more detail on the “Publications relating to the Standard Four Part Seminar” pages of this site, can be found in the “Handouts for Standard Four Part Seminar” section. This 2-page summary version can be obtained as a separate PDF and printed out to circulate in advance to advertise the seminar and/or used as a handout which participants can take away with them to facilitate their quest for follow up reading material.