Write a brief report relevant to the areas identified in the scenario provided below.
You are a small business advisor working for a consultancy specialising in innovation. A CEO of a small business startup approaches you for advice to help them decide whether their idea is viable as a business. They intend to create a new dating website for people between the ages of 30 and above.
While both the CEO and directors have experience of using dating websites, they want to ensure that they develop their dating site based on what is known about the online medium, and specifically want to understand what psychological aspects are relevant to an online dating context. Your role as an advisor here will be to help them understand their future customers better, and identify some things that might be useful areas for innovation.
The online dating market is a very crowded market for a new business, and so as a result the CEO wants to develop a company that is highly creative, with staff supported in developing innovative ways in which people can interact on dating websites. As the CEO is not a psychologist and has little experience in enhancing creativity in organisations, they want to be briefed on what factors would improve creativity, and what they might do to support creativity in their organisation. They are therefore asking you to provide specific information and advice on what factors would be important in developing creativity in this new company.
Bearing in mind that the CEO is not a psychologist, your task is to provide a report explaining and applying the psychological insights about online communication and creativity to the scenario, and to discuss the different perspectives that can provide some recommendations for the company to move forward.
Student notes for Part 2
This part of the EMA is intended to assess your skills of thinking critically about an applied scenario, in an area that has a multitude of psychological dimensions.
The report you are being asked to write fits a context in which an organisation is planning some organisational change. There are two main issues: the first relates to the use of online communication in an online dating context. The second relates to creativity and the CEO’s desire to create a company that is highly creative. Your focus should therefore be on what the company needs to know about online communication and about creativity as applied to this context.
Your report will need to be concise, and it’s main purpose is to provide an overview of different understandings of online communication and creativity. Given the short word limit, this part of the EMA requires you to use a mainly textual format. You can support your points with appropriate additional elements, such as tables, graphs, or other figures, but please note that tables and figures would still need to be included in your word count and should also be supported by some narrative rather than just be left disconnected to the remainder of the material.
It is appropriate to draw on material that you have found in your independent study time, for example through the Open University Library, as well as the provided module materials.
There are three command words in the Part 2 question: explain, discuss and apply. The real work your report needs to do is to ultimately provide some recommendations. You do this by explaining different approaches to creativity and online communication. By selecting and discussing this material with reference to the scenario you will in effect be applying this material, which should then enable you to make some practical suggestions about what the CEO might do.
You probably need to break down the task into smaller elements and themes based on the psychological theory and research you have found, and present this in a way that mirrors the scenario.
Throughout it is important that you keep your answer grounded in research and evidence, and that you remain critical.
Tips for writing
You have already produced one report for TMA04, and essentially this is a similar piece of work. The main difference, apart from the topic, is that you will be using material from more than one block. Make sure you refer to your TMA04 feedback about report writing to help you with writing Part 2 of this EMA.
An important element of writing this part of the EMA is to remember your audience and write appropriately for them. Your audience has been identified in the scenario as non-psychologists. Therefore, though you should assume that the audience are professionals and educated to a high standard, you should not assume familiarity with psychological concepts, theories or terminology. Where needed, explain concepts but be careful you do not jargonise your report.
You should also try to make good use of the report format, presenting your material in an appropriate style and structure so that it is clear and concise. Remember that you can use non-textual elements if they would help to get your points across, such as tables, graphs, figures or diagrams. However, make sure that any such elements serve a useful function in your report: do not include them just for the sake of it. Those you do use will count towards your word limit for this assignment.
Although this scenario and question are about creativity at work and online communication, not all the reading you will do will necessarily be based on the workplace or the dating context. The important aspect is to ensure you apply your selected psychological theories and research to the specific issues and themes referred to in this case/scenario (e.g. future employees of the company, and future clients on a dating website). For extra marks, you may find it useful to search for one or two relevant articles outside the module materials that specifically address the areas presented in the scenario.
Be careful not to use too many quotations from module materials or other sources, and keep the ones you do use short and to the point, as they will count towards your word limit. It may be better to avoid them altogether, and write in your own words.
Relevant material for Part 2
The relevant material for this part of the EMA is primarily to be found in the following weeks of the module. There is little content directly relevant to this part of your assignment in the chapters of the module book, but you will find the detailed material on the module website helpful.
Week 25 ‘Living online’ provides the bulk of the content here. You can approach this area by looking at how the internet is different to face to face communication and some of the problems that arise from online communication and self-presentation that may be relevant to the dating context.
Week 9 ‘Relationships and creativity’. Section 4, 5 and 6 of the online materials will be particularly useful for your discussion of the second part of the scenario, namely creativity and what factors enhance creativity.
You might find some of the materials (e.g. Chapter 14) on sexuality relevant, particularly in relation to the idea that one of the strengths of online living is that it enables people to make connections with others. However if you use this at all it will only form a smaller part of your report.
When planning and writing the report, you should refer to the ‘Developing your skills’ material in Sections 6.1−6.5 of Week 21, which cover non-research report writing.
Claim Evaluation: Psychological theory and research into how people understand themselves and others has important real-world applications.
Psychological theory is focused on the understanding of human thoughts and behaviours via the description of such behaviours and the making of predictions about future behaviour (Gross, 2015). Extensive research has been done on the realm of psychology, especially on how people understand themselves as well as others. For instance, the study by Heider and Simmel revealed that the interpretations that people make about behaviours are based on their needs, goals, fears, benefits, and mental states amongst other factors (Hewson, 2018). The claim “psychological theory and research into how people understand themselves and others have important real-world applications” is valid to the extent that the research can be used by individuals as well as the researchers to make sense of the world and understand aspects such as sex and sexuality as well as nations and national identities.
Psychological theory and research on people’s understanding of themselves and others can be applied to make sense of various real-world issues. One of those is the theory of mind (ToM), especially for children through the concept of mindreading and being able to understand that other people’s beliefs/knowledge may differ from their own. To be specific, developmental psychologists have used research in psychology to explore how different abilities emerge in children based on their developmental stages (Hewson, 2018). For instance, through laboratory-based experimental methods, it has become easier to assess the mindreading (ToM) abilities of children such as those to do with moral judgements about behaviours. Via the use of classical false belief tasks and visual perspective taking tasks, psychological research has become instrumental in gauging the development trajectories of children. This in turn becomes useful for individuals outside of the research experience, as this knowledge can be used to help track children’s development and any potential developmental delays or differences – such as by diagnosing individuals as autistic (REFERENCE).
Additionally, according to Barker (2015), research can be helpful in aiding in the resolution of conflicts in close relationships. For instance, through understanding the impact that anger has on people’s thought processes and consequential behaviour, the conflict can be understood as the escalating dynamic between people and factors which cause such conflict can be avoided or controlled. Research; whether a basic quantitative or qualitative observational study can be used in the real world to determine the most common features of arguments in relationships (Barker, 2015). Relying on this research can save relationships through an in-depth understanding of how conflicts play out and ways in which they can be avoided; this can in turn be implemented into every day life through the techniques used by a couples therapist.
Research has also been conducted on the different ways in which people understand themselves and others, and how this can be vital in enabling people to understand real-world aspects based on various bodily senses. For instance, people can differentiate when they are dealing with true or false information prone to errors (Turner, 2015). Even when people possess incomplete and distorted information, their brain’s ability to adapt, coupled with neural plasticity, can ensure that they understand worldly aspects. This cognitive approach to psychology therefore suggests that we have schema (information that has been categorised based on its meaning and the information it holds), and these can be used to inform our later judgements and further increase our understanding of different every-day concepts (REFERENCE). For instance, the research on different psychological theories allows people to understand various aspects of sex and sexuality (Bowes-Catton, 2017). For example, there has been extensive research on the categorisation of sex and sexuality, which has led to changing ideas on what, is considered sexually normal or abnormal and even functional and dysfunctional. Psychological research has enabled people to make sense of the different types of sexualities, especially in minorities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) people due to our cognitive ability to add to and alter our schemas relating to these topics. Sexual experiences with different people might lead to an in-depth appreciation of sexuality as a continuum as opposed to only categorising people as gay or straight (Bowes-Catton, 2017). As such, the claim that psychological theory and research on people’s understanding of themselves and others have essential real-world applications is valid and justified, as it demonstrates our psychological ability to process and gain further information on various topics.
The real-world application of psychological research into how people understand themselves and others is therefore demonstrated to be important in a variety of ways. As mentioned previously we must be ensuring that children develop capabilities which can enable them to differentiate between good and bad behaviours (Hewson & Turner, 2018). For example, the experimental study on the developmental trajectories of children can ensure that any measures are taken to rectify children whose developments are not considered normal. Additionally, the research on multiple identities and acculturation enables people to stay in peace and harmony (Andreouli, 2018). Through acculturation, people gain the identities of other nationalities, which then translates to assimilation and oneness. As such, people can know how to relate with one another and ways in which they can use their identities for their mutual benefits. (Add some more about nationalities and immigration)
Moreover, according to Dicks (2014), the application of psychological research on the resolution of conflicts in relationships ensures that people in marriages and other kinds of social arrangements can have productive relationships. Through research on anger management, couples can be helped to deal with marital problems (Barker, 2015). Moreover, understanding sex and sexuality are vital in ensuring that those with minority rights are not discriminated. For instance, by understanding why some people are straight while others are gay can ensure that people are willing to respect the rights and choices of others (Bowes-Catton, 2017).
Despite the importance of real-world applications, there are various ways in which its importance is negated. For instance, the study of behaviours by the online communities can be inaccurate as people tend to hide behind pseudonyms and engage in behaviours which are destructive to others (Fullwood and Fox-Hamilton, 2018). For instance, some of the people engage in cyberbullying online but cannot do so in the real world. Even when the psychologists engage in research intending to understand why people construct their online messages in the manner in which they do, the research demonstrates that the internet has both positive and negative impacts on relationships. For instance, the internet has the importance of enabling people to share information and romantic messages irrespective of their physical locations (Fullwood and Fox-Hamilton, 2018). However, the same internet is used to expose people in the wrong way, which has led to relationships being broken in the real world. Although online forums enable people to access others within their communities, it also allows for the spread of propaganda and hate, which is not suitable for the community. The anonymity and invisibility of the internet are detrimental when it leads to cyberbullying, which has been found to lead to death through suicides (REFERENCE). Research needs to ensure that these differences between peoples online and “real life” personality is considered before claiming to have found important information relating to peoples every day life as the results may not be generalisable outside of the online community.
In sum, the claim “psychological theory and research into how people understand themselves and others have important real-world applications” holds to the extent that it allows for the study of behaviours and makes people make sense of the real-world aspects. The abilities of children have been studied through research into mindreading. Additionally, issues of sex and sexuality when researched enables people to understand the difference relationships that exist and how knowledge and education about these differences can lead to increased awareness and acceptance. Similarly, psychological research allows people to appreciate national identities and acculturation as a way of assimilating into other cultures. Also, psychological studies enable people to understand issues to do with causes of anger and anger management. The importance of such aspects is to ensure harmonious relationships among individuals and groups. Additionally, people can make constructive relationships irrespective of their nationalities and sexualities. However, research on online users’ behaviours has shown that cyberbullying has negative effects on society, but this research is still important in order to increase awareness and inform future research that may be more helpful in differentiating between these online and real life personas.
Andreouli, E., (2018). Nations and immigration. The Open University.
Barker, M., J. (2015). Week 8: Conflict in close relationships. The Open University.
Bowes-Catton, H., (2017). Sex and Sexuality. The Open University.
Dicks, H. V., (2014). Marital Tensions (Psychology Revivals): Clinical Studies Towards a Psychological Theory of Interaction. Routledge.
Fullwood, C, and Fox-Hamilton, N. (2018). Week 25: Living online. The Open University.
Gross, R., (2015). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour 7th edition. Hodder Education.
Hewson, C., (2018). Week 2: Mindreading. The Open University.
Hewson, C., and Turner, J. (2018). Week 4: Mindreading difficulties – examples from clinical psychology. The Open University.
Turner, J., (2015). Making Sense of the world. The Open University.
Psychology of Online Dating.
- Influence of product on people’s psychology
- Privacy for customer preference
- Creative approaches in the business
This report examines how a start-up online dating business can utilize psychological knowledge to develop. Primarily, the role of psychological processes on an individual’s decision-making process is considered. Specific areas of recommendation comprise innovation and online communication.
The success of a business significantly relies on their ability to understand their customers. Primarily, proper customer comprehension makes the entrepreneurs tailor products in accordance with the needs of the people. Notably, the specifications associated with business practices focus on influencing a person’s psychology of choice. In this regard, the way a business is structured and the products it offers makes prospectus customers prefer it over its competitors. Therefore, understanding human psychology and merging it with creative business acumen can lead to profitability. Consequently, the focus of this report is to provide the psychological insights necessary for developing a creative online dating start-up business.
Psychology is vital in creating a dating website because it influences people. According to Bowes-Catton (2017), there exist research on different psychological theories, which allow people to understand various aspects of their sexuality. Consequently, psychology is essential in categorising sexuality and sex behaviours especially in defining what is normal and that which is dysfunctional. Therefore, it is crucial for an online dating venture as it helps define the sexual engagements it supports.
Influence of product on people’s psychology
The first step to developing an online business is defining the product appropriately. Therefore, as the CEO, it is crucial to specify each product in a way that makes its purpose clear to both current clients and prospective, future clients. Currently, the website is designed to focus on individuals aged 30 years and above (Whyte & Torgler, 2017). However, it is vital to decide on other factors, such as the nature of relationships to be promoted and this need to be clearly defined and obvious for the potential customer (Bowes-Catton, 2017). For instance, questions such as whether the dating site only promotes heterosexual relationships or also caters for individuals who participate in same-gender sexual relationships can also increase the websites potential clientele. Ideally, the relevance of defining the nature of relationships among the target audiences is to define the target group. Psychologically, defining the nature of relationships to be supported by the website is ideal in helping people find a platform they can relate with and is suitable for their dating needs. According to Taylor and Turner (n.d), attachment leads to improvement in relationship and influences preference in people. For instance, if the website supports both heterosexual and same-sex relationship, LGBT persons will be attracted to the platform, and this will result in an increased clientele base. The view is also supported by Heider and Simmel’s study as quoted by Hewson (2018) asserting that interpretations, which individuals make about behaviours, are based on their goals, needs, benefits, mental states, and fears.
Privacy for customer preference
Dating activities which make up a relationship are often carried out in secrecy; moreover, some people tend to hide or conceal activities that may depict some weakness in them. In this regard, not being in a relationship is one factor that most people prefer to hide. Bandura (2017) states that most people who opt for online dating prefer the approach because it eliminates some of the difficulties associated with traditional dating approaches where people must meet and begin interacting. One element eliminated is a lack of confidence in meeting new people and in the individuals dating abilities. In this regard, one does not need to have the confidence to approach another person for a relationship on an online platform. Based on these cognitive factors that are specific to different persons interested in online dating, it will be vital to automate some processes on the dating website. As such, people will be able to do activities such as soul mate search on their own (Clemens, Atkin, & Krishnan, 2015). The approach will give them the autonomy and privacy that they prefer. As a result, some will feel that whomever they get to date is their choice and based on their individual needs and preferences in a partner. Moreover, it promotes longevity of the relationship formed as the conflict resolution process becomes simple (Dicks 2014). The approach is based on Dicks’ (2014) view that incorporation of psychological research in relationship encourages to productive arguments.
Primarily, relationships are private. Therefore, people do not want external events to interfere with their activities. Thus, the online dating site will have to be confidential and safe in order for potential clients to trust that their information will not be misused or can get lost. According to Fullwood and Fox-Hamilton (2018), some of the individuals who seek partners from dating sites might be engaged in other activities or be working in professions that require secrecy; thus, the safety of their information is crucial. Therefore, it will be vital for the website to be designed in a way that promotes external communication between participants. In this regard, after identifying a potential partner from the site, there should be a provision for them to communicate using standard approaches and not just via the website. Notably, the approach is ideal because it will give the individuals a feeling of being independent or unmonitored. For instance, most people often feel that online communications on dating sites are monitored. As a result, they do not express themselves openly which may make individuals less likely to use the website or find a successful match.
Creative approaches in the business
Online dating becomes successful when clients can find their match on the platform. Notably, most organisations provide information about the people registered, including pictures. However, to make the start-up more creative and gain a competitive advantage, they can provide a short video of each participant (Menkin et al., 2015). This approach is ideal because it will show how the person is in real life as opposed to pictures, which can be enhanced. Moreover, it enables them to utilize their inert abilities in differentiating what is good from the bad (Hewson, and Turner, 2018). However, to ensure privacy and safety, the videos should not be downloadable and should only be accessible to registered persons.
Many people derive motivation from real stories in life. However, this concept has not been exploited extensively. Therefore, this start-up can utilise that concept by considering employing couples or individuals who are in relationships that emerged from online dating. The technique will encourage many clients, as they will feel that indeed online dating websites work and that they can help individuals find their soul mates.
To conclude, online dating sites require incorporation of psychological knowledge and creativity. In this regard, psychology is vital in determining what prospective clients require or prefer. In summary most people will require privacy, detailed descriptions of their preferred matches, and automated services to maintain autonomy. On the other hand, creativity should include factors such as video descriptions and having examples of couples who have developed effective relationships from online dating to support the start-up.
Bandura, A. (Ed.). (2017). Psychological modelling: Conflicting theories. Transaction Publishers.