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Organisational Psychology

This page is designed to provide some help with literature searching for students of organisational psychology. I've divided it into a number of sections to make it easier to navigate.

The searching techniques you use will be the same as those used by other postgraduates in psychology, but your focus will be on some rather different databases.

  • The next section provides details of the databases you may find useful

Just remember that not everything of interest will appear in a database. There's some interesting material out there on the web.

The deign of work needs to change to prevent mental illness
The Conversation, February 10th 2016. An article by Carlo Caponecchia, Senior Lecturer, School of Aviation, UNSW.

The rise and fall of the hot desk: say hello to activity-based working
From The Conversation, May 27th 2014. An article by Graeme Ditchburn, Academic Chair - Organisational Psychology, Murdoch University.

Steelcase: Think Better
Steelcase is a company that specialises in office design. It was  founded in 1912 as the Metal Office Furniture Company.

Where office meets prison
From Radio National's Blueprint for Living - it's an interview with Professor Alex Haslam, (Researcher and organisational psychologist, University of Queensland)

Workplace health: policy and management practices overview (NICE Pathways)
NICE Pathways is an online tool for health and social care professionals that brings together all related NICE guidance and associated products.


For a complete list of databases I think may be relevant for psychology use the tab in the toolbar at the top of the page. The list below is a selection of databases of particular relevance for organisational psychology.

The major psychology database is PsycINFO

The PsycINFO database, produced by the American Psychological Association (APA), is the largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed literature in behavioral science and mental health. It contains over 3 million records and summaries dating as far back as the 1600s. Journal coverage, which spans from the 1800s to the present, includes international material selected from around 2,500 periodicals in dozens of languages.

There is also PsycARTICLES, but as all of the journals from PsycARTICLES are included in PsycINFO there's no need to search it as well.

Much smaller than PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, also from the American Psychological Association (APA), contains full-text, peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific articles in psychology. The database includes over 150,000 articles from nearly 80 journals published by the APA, and its imprint the Educational Publishing Foundation (EPF), and from allied organizations including the Canadian Psychology Association and Hogrefe Publishing Group. It can be searched alone, but its contents are also included in PsycINFO

Australian Databases

Australian Bureau of Statistics Website. Statistics Section
Everything on the ABS web site is now accessible free of charge. There's a useful "How do I?" option at the right hand side of the home page.

Informit offers a wide range of databases and full content publications that deliver Australasian scholarly material published in journals, monographs, conference proceedings and other research material. Informit Plus Text databases include links to thousands of articles from hundreds of leading Australasian journals. Subject areas covered include arts, education, health, law, business, science, and humanities and social sciences.

When you reach the Informit site, scroll down the list of databases, and select the Business collection.

International Databases

Business Source Complete
Business Soure Complete provides full text for thousands of scholarly business journals, including full text for more than 1,000 peer-reviewed business publications. Coverage includes virtually all subject areas related to business

Emerald Fulltext
Emerald publishes a wide range of management and library & information services journals, as well as a strong specialist range of engineering, applied science and technology journals. Emerald Fulltext is a collection of over 40,000 articles from over 100 of the most prestigious management journals, complete with full text archives back to 1994 and abstracts back to 1989. This includes all major management disciplines, from marketing, human resources management, and library and information management, to quality management, and operations management .

Health Business Elite
This database provides full text coverage for nearly 450 well-known administrative journals. Health Business FullTEXT Elite provides comprehensive journal content detailing all aspects of health care administration and other non-clinical aspects of health care institution management.

Scopus is our largest abstract and citation database. It has the broadest coverage available of scientific, technical, medical and social sciences literature, including 15,000 peer-reviewed journals from more than 4,000 international publishers.
While subject, author and title searching is available on Scopus, its great asset is its citation searching capability.

News Databases

Access to global news and business information, including full text coverage of thousands of newspapers (including Australian titles), same-day news wires, and company reports. Available for University of Adelaide staff and students only.

ELibrary Australasia
A resource which includes a large amount of general news material in full-text.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre
This resource provides access to many Australian and New Zealand newspapers and magazines in full text.

Newspaper Source Plus
Provides selected full text for 25 regional, national (U.S.) and international newspapers. In addition, full text television & radio news transcripts are provided from CBS News, FOX News, NPR.

Indexes Australian television news, current affairs and selected documentaries from the free-to-air networks with links to the digitised video content in a compressed format. All individual stories from a particular broadcast are indexed with a detailed synopsis. TVNews enables the searching, browsing, tracking and alerting of television events/items and programs. It is updated daily, with stories appearing on an evening news broadcast generally being available for access the next morning.

Searching Methods

For an excellent (and highly entertaining) example of what NOT to do, read the article below!

A surrealistic mega-analysis of redisorganization theories
Andrew D Oxman, David L Sackett, Iain Chalmers, and Trine E Prescott
J R Soc Med. 2005 Dec; 98(12): 563-8.

On a more serious note - have a look at my page on the essentials of searching.

There's an example of a higher degree PsycINFO search on my Advanced Literature Searching page. The example is a clinical one, but the principles are exactly the same for searching any topic in PsycINFO.


Databases vary greatly in structure and complexity. Of the databases you are likely to use, PsycINFO has the most highly sophisticated thesaurus of standardised indexing terms. This means that when you search PsycINFO you need to be aware not only of the words you may use to describe a subject, but also of the thesaurus terms used to describe the same concept.

Let's look at a simple search - organisational culture and its effect on employees - and see how we would search for articles on this topic in PsycINFO. The search below is not intended to be comprehensive, but is designed to show you the principles involved in constructing a search.

My help notes for PsycINFO are here.

Go to PsycINFO  Advanced Search option

1.  Try searching organisational culture

Choose Customize Display from the widget at the left of the display screen – then select

Citation + Abstract + Subject Headings

You'll see that the Subjects (from the Thesaurus) used to index these articles include NOT organisational culture, but organizational climate. This means that PsycINFO's thesaurus uses the term organizational climate instead of organisational culture, so we now have two terms we need to search.

2.  Try searching organizational culture - the difference in spelling makes a huge difference to the results, so we will need to search both British and American spellings.

3.  Try searching organizational climate.

4.  Now try searching organisational climate - the results are quite different.

5.  Add each of these terms to the first column of your logic grid. We also need to tell the database where to look for words and phrases  - in the Subjects (from the Thesaurus), in titles of articles, in abstracts of articles... This involves specifying field names

For this example we will use

SH - subject headings (thesaurus terms)

TI - words or phrases in article titles, and

AB - words or phrases in abstracts.

Another really useful option is:-

TW - text word. In PsycINFO this includes title, abstract, table of contents, and key concepts (NOT thesaurus terms), so you can see that it is more comprehensive than just titles and abstracts.
e.g. organizational

As PsycINFO has a useful wildcard (#) which can be used to replace a character, searching variant spellings such as organizational or organisational becomes simple - just use organi#ational. This will allow for either an S or a Z

organi#ational climate.TI

organi#ational climate.AB

organi#ational climate.TW


organizational climate.SH - spelling of thesaurus terms is NOT NEGOTIABLE

6.  The second concept I've made deliberately vague. This is to demonstrate that in many cases you will need to "unpack" a concept in order to search it. We can simply search "effect on employees" , but this is not likely to be successful. Try searching effect on employees.TI

7.  Now try a thesaurus term -  occupational adjustment.SH

8.  This search retrieves more articles with subjects like Quality of Work Life, Person Environment Fit, Well Being, Employee Interaction, Job Satisfaction, Occupational Stress. You may decide to choose any or all of these, depending on your focus. Before you do - check the Thesaurus to see when the terms were introduced, and if there are other related terms which may be useful.

9.  Now add the terms you have selected to the second column of your logic grid.

As you can see searching at postgraduate level is rather more complex than searching at undergraduate level - and this is where a logic grid is an invaluable aid. Each concept has its own column in which variant terms are listed.

Organisational Culture      AND     Effect on Employees

Organisational Culture  Effect on Employees

organi#ational culture.ti
organi#ational culture.ab
organi#ational climate.ti
organi#ational climate.ab

quality of work
well being.ti
well being.ab

The purpose of your initial searches is to find appropriate terminology, and to test various options, until eventually you are satisfied with the range of terms in your logic grid.

How could you improve the second column? There are some obvious omissions!

10.  Now you simply remove all of your search history.

11.  Copy the list of the terms from your first column - as these are alternative terms they will be connected by OR

organi#ational culture.ti OR organi#ational culture.ab OR organizational OR organi#ational climate.ti OR organi#ational climate.ab

12.  Paste this list into the PsycINFO search box, and search.

13.  Now copy the list of terms from your second column

occupational OR quality of work OR well OR well being.ti OR well being.ab OR job

14.  Paste it into the PsycINFO search box, and search.

15.  Now use the search history box to combine the two searches using AND

16.  Once you have completed your search you can add limits - such as date, or publication type.


Most other databases, including Scopus, do not have a Thesaurus. This means that when you are compiling logic grids for these databases you simply create a list of synonymous words and phrases, remembering to allow for British and American spelling.

My help notes for Scopus are here

Its greatest strength is its citation searching capacity. While a Scopus search may produce many of the same articles as a PsycINFO search, there will be lots of additional material, and you will have some extra options available.

To see these additional features:-

Go to Scopus

1. Copy and paste the title of the article below (enclosed in inverted commas) into the Scopus Search box.

The mediating role of psychological capital in the supportive organizational climate - Employee performance relationship

2. Set the in box to Article Title, and search ;

Once the result is displayed click on the title of the article.

This will allow you to see :-

  • the abstract for the article
  • a link to more recent articles which have cited this article
  • the list of references from the bibliography at the end of the article, along with a link to other articles which have cited each reference.

Each reference in the list also has links to full text, as well as its own abstract and references, and number of times cited.

So from a single article you can explore a wide range of related material. Although PsycINFO also allows citation searching, the range of journals it covers is only a fraction of the range included in Scopus.

If we "translated" our PsycINFO search for Scopus, this is what the logic grid might look like.

Organisational culture      AND     Effect on Employees

Organisational Culture Effect on Employees

"organi?ational culture"
"organi?ational climate"

"work life"
"well being"
"job satisfaction"

Scopus uses ? to substitute for a letter within a word, whereas PsycINFO uses #

Scopus needs inverted commas to enclose phrases for searching whereas PsycINFO does not.

You'll notice that "occupational adjustment" has been shortened to adjustment, and "quality of work life" has been shortened to "work life". This is because Scopus will not find PsycINFO Thesaurus terms, as they don't exist in the database, and it's rather unlikely that authors would consistently use those exact phrases.

Here is how the search would look

"organi?ational culture" OR "organi?ational climate"

Copy and paste this into the first Scopus search box


adjustment OR "work life" OR "well being" OR "job satisfaction"

Open a second search box (click on Add search field) and paste this into it.

Now click on Search

To make the number of results more manageable try changing the first search box setting to search in Article Title