Lecture looks at the reality of ‘virtual’ teamwork

Thursday, 09 January 2014
Lecture looks at the reality of ‘virtual’ teamwork

Year 12 Worth School student, Dan Montagu, appraises a recent lecture from organisational psychologist Professor Tissington, Head of Department at Birbeck, University of London.

In my opinion Professor Tissington gave a fascinating lecture in a suitably relaxed setting here at Worth School on the world of psychology, which included his personal account on life as an academic and his experiences thus far.

The Professor began by giving us a short – but surprising – biography of having achieved substandard A Levels, a short period in the army and several failed business ventures. It was then, however, that he ‘stumbled’ into the world of psychology, which set him on a path for a successful and joyful career.

His honest account of his earlier years provided a refreshing reminder to me as a Sixth Former, who is looking towards the next step, that we don’t always know what to do – and in some respects we don’t need to because our lives aren’t set in stone. Something that the Professor said that resonated with me in this regard was that ‘it’s a mistake to assume that everyone knows what they want to do’.

Organisational psychology covers topics such as understanding and evaluating employee behaviours and attitudes, and how these can be improved, right from the hiring process to staff training programmes and management systems.

Professor Tissington’s description of the studies he is currently conducting offered a fascinating insight into the world of psychological research. In particular I enjoyed listening to him talking about his research into the increased digital environment that we live in and how this affects our interpersonal relationships.

He is currently studying what the optimum conditions are for working in a ‘virtual’ team i.e. over the phone or internet rather than all sitting in the same room. His study, he hopes, will tell us more about the role of social media in enhancing team effectiveness. In his own words, it’s about ‘looking to figure out what the real impact of social media is on teams’. He has recently published papers on the role of video/computer games in learning too.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the diverse sectors of employment psychology students go into and about the number of opportunities a psychology degree could offer, ranging from business management to therapy.

Professor Tissington also shared his knowledge about which university to attend if continuing psychology studies and I came away feeling well informed and more confident going forward in the great search for the perfect university for me while I continue my studies here at Worth School.

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