1 Universitat de Barcelona (SPAIN)
2 University of the Bundeswehr Munich (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 4857-4863
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.1287
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
Organizational behavior (OB) case studies are one of the most important and popular teaching tools in management studies in the Higher Education Area (HEA). Case teaching allows students to develop critical thinking skills, learn from the experiences of others and fosters them to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. Available cases from major publishers or case-oriented educational non-profit organizations focus on business-related, rather than organizational psychology theories, targeting business and management curricula. Teaching cases that can be used to assess OB from an organizational psychology (OP) perspective remain scarce. However, OP curricula would benefit from case-based teaching tools, as future Human Resource (HR) practitioners need to understand the real-world complexity of occupational health and stress management, focusing on employee well-being as pillar of success and quality of HR.

Therefore, the project “Improving management competences on Excellence based Stress avoidance and working towards Sustainable organisational development in Europe” (Reference: 588315-EPP-1-2017-1-ES-EPPKA2-KA funded by Erasmus+) developed an innovative teaching case for HEA students in Europe focusing on OP competencies.

The case was based on a validated version used in official quality assurance assessment exams necessary for the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) certification. Area of the case was the health sector, as it is highly relevant for organizational psychology and occupational health interventions. Namely, the Grafen Hospital, a publicly owned hospital, was the case subject.

To identify the lacking but relevant information around psycho-social processes, the theoretical content of a Bachelor course of OP provided the requirements basis. Topics included motivation, affect, attitudes, diversity and inclusion, well-being, group processes and leadership, climate, culture, as well as the influence of organizational structure and HR management systems on OB.

To enrich the existing business case with this information, it was split into three parts:
1) Introduction of background information of the Hospital, including its vision and mission, organizational structure, design, and HR management systems. Various problems of the hospital’s current situation, results of kick-off workshops including diverse perceptions of different stakeholders were presented. Launched the general setting of the case, familiarizing the students with their role of organizational psychologists as external consultants;
2) Actions of a steering committee composed of managers, physicians, nurses, etc. from the Hospital (e.g., creating a vision for the system and the change effort, discussing diagnostic data of part one) were mentioned, highlighting topics around participation, group processes, conflict and negotiation, and work redesign;
3) Interview passages with stakeholders of the hospital collected during the diagnostic phase provided specific information relevant to the current situation.

The case was implemented in form of a tutorized student group work in the curricula of an OP course of a Bachelor in Psychology degree at the University of Barcelona. Learning objectives included the correct application of OP theories, diagnosis of the complex case, and development of adequate intervention solutions, among others.

The evaluation of taught competences after two years of the implementation showed satisfactory results and high students engagement levels.
Organizational psychology, occupational health, stress management, case development.