GRA 2245 Economic Psychology: Selected Topics

GRA 2245 Economic Psychology: Selected Topics

Course code: 
GRA 2245
Department: 
Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Credits: 
6
Program of study: 
Master of Science in Leadership and Organisational Psychology
Course coordinator: 
Laura E. Mercer Traavik
Product category: 
Master
Portfolio: 
MSc in Leadership and Organisational Psychology
Semester: 
2019 Autumn
Active status: 
Active
Teaching language: 
English
Course type: 
One semester
Introduction

Economic decisions are ubiquitous and interwoven into many of our everyday experiences and especially in the context of work. We can define an economic decision as any decision related to the expenditure and saving of time, money and effort. For example, behaviors like negotiation, choice behavior, work effort, or knowledge sharing. All these behaviors occur in a social context.

In traditional economics it is assumed that people's actions are fuelled only by self interest, that they make rational decisions which maximize their utility, and that context is hardly relevant. This economic thinking has affected organizational theory and research for decades. Newer research in behavioral economics and finance, and economic and neuropsychology paint a very different picture. The social nature of human beings, the hardwiring of the brain, and the critical importance of context makes the assumptions of many microeconomic models incorrect and/or incomplete. People are not "homo economicus", they can operate with both self and other-interest simultaneously; people are human and fundamentally social and connected to one another.

Economic predictions fail to explain why we give money to a charity, value fairness over outcomes, walk away from a profitable deal, or why we help a co-worker. Economic psychology aims to describe, predict and explain the actual economic behavior of individuals, and groups.

In this course we focus on selected topics within the field of Economic psychology. We examine the psychological evidence that demonstrates the social and connected nature of work relations, and apply this specifically to interdependent decision situations- negotiations, groups, and social relationships at work. Throughout the course we demonstrate the applicability of psychological research for understanding and predicting some economic behaviors. We take the students through theory, empirical evidence and their own experiences and assumptions.

We begin the course with an overview and trends within economic psychology, and then we examine problems with the core assumption of self interest in the standard economic model. The third section of the course focuses on the work context examining interdependent decisions situations (e.g. negotiation).

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Describe and give a brief overview of the field of economic psychology.
  • Give examples of decision anomalies
  • Critically present evidence of social connectedness and explain how this research can improve the standard economic model.
  • Know both integrative and distributive negotiation theory. 
Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Utilize the research findings from economic psychology to improve decision making at work.
  • Plan and execute different negotiation strategies. 
General Competence
  • The importance of cooperation and the role of cooperation in work life. 
  • To be able to critically reflect on high quality joint outcomes in interdependent decision making. 
  • An awareness of the ethical challenges with decision framing and negotiation tactics. 
Course content
  • Introduction and overview of economic psychology
  • Selected examples of anomalies in our economic thinking
  • The fallacy of self interest only: social connectedness
  • Interdependent decision making
  • Negotiations
  • Summary and applications
Teaching and learning activities

The course is structured as a combination of lectures, discussions, and compulsory in-class activities.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.

Qualifications

All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Required prerequisite knowledge

GRA 2204 Judgement and Decision Making in Organizations or GRA 2205 Organisational Behaviour or equivalent

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA22451
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
70No1 Semester(s)Group (2 - 3)
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA22451
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
30No1 Semester(s)Individual 2 class activities
Exams:
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:70
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Group (2-3)
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:
Exam code:GRA22451
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:30
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Individual
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:2 class activities
Exam code:GRA22451
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
ECTS
Total weight: 
100