IWP About Sheffield

About the Institute of Work Psychology

Our history: The Institute has a strong history of fruitful collaboration with organisations, having commenced as the Social and Applied Psychology Unit in 1968. (See the interview with Peter Warr presented here.) The earlier unit was financed by government research councils and departments, whereas the Institute of Work Psychology (created in 1994) receives core funding from the University of Sheffield. Funds for specific projects are provided by private and public organisations, research institutions, and from international collaborations.

IWP today: The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) is a world leader in understanding the way people drive organisational effectiveness. The IWP is dedicated to conducting applied research in work settings, in both the public and private sectors, and employs over 30 consultants and researchers to evaluate and implement programs that aim to improve team performance, employee engagement and wellbeing, and leadership. We are an evidence-based and scientific organisation so we use approaches that have been validated in work settings and that can be linked to a wide range of performance outcomes.

IWP has worked with hundreds of companies to apply psychology to workplace issues. We have specific expertise in supporting organisational improvement through practical activities based on research. We are particularly concerned to ensure users are involved in the research we conduct. With a culture deeply rooted in research excellence, IWP has been responsible for the development and introduction of a many new tools and techniques that have helped collaborating organisations audit existing practices and plan and manage change. IWP uses a range of methodologies to evaluate processes in organisations. We have worked with organisations across both public and private sectors including Rolls-Royce, Twinings, EasyJet, BUPA, the NHS, the Department for Education and Skills and Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Illustrative issues we have addressed include creativity training, idea capture schemes, empowerment, employee engagement, organisational change, leadership, management support, team-working, bullying and violence, employee wellbeing and small business needs. Our work has been published in both national and internationally recognised academic journals as well as a wide variety of practitioner outlets. All projects are conducted in collaboration with organisations with a goal of improving the quality of outcomes for participants.

Key aims

  • Advance knowledge about the causes of individual, team and organizational effectiveness at work
  • Increase understanding of the well-being of people at work
  • Advance knowledge about innovation and creativity at work
  • Disseminate this knowledge in the scientific community, in the workplace and in the wider public domain
  • Design, implement and evaluate methods of promoting effectiveness, innovation and well-being at work
  • Develop staff and students to high levels of expertise in work psychology