Our History

The Association was set up in 2000 by a founding group of practicing Business Psychologists as a home and a voice for those working or having a strong interest in Business Psychology. 

It was recognised that Business Psychologists came from a variety of psychology disciplines including Clinical and Educational, as well as Occupational, and at the time there was no professional home that accommodated all of them.  The founding members had previously sought to establish a Division within the British Psychological Society (BPS) which was business-focused and attuned to the practical and fast-moving needs of their organisational clients.  This option not being available, they decided to form their own professional body, which they named the Association of Business Psychologists.

The ABP held its first Annual Conference in 2001 and was shortly thereafter incorporated as a limited liability company.  Like any new organisation, the Association in its early years experienced vigorous debates about its role and direction but the Board now hold regular strategy sessions to ensure that the ABP is focused on the needs of its members and on its purpose:

"To champion the use of Psychology to achieve effective & sustainable performance for organisations and people at work"

The ABP and the BPS

The ABP has its own space and a different focus to the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP), which is part of the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

The ABP is committed to increasing the awareness of the importance and value of a practical, business-led, evidence-based approach to the practice of Business Psychology.  The ABP does not compete with the BPS, and many of the Association’s members subscribe to both organisations; in recent years the ABP has been seeking more opportunities to collaborate with the BPS for mutual benefit. 

The Association welcomes members from the BPS (as well as other organisations such as the CIPD) who feel that ABP membership, through CPD, networking, attendance at events, or professional recognition, can support them in their personal development.

Significant Dates & Achievements

In 2005 the ABP sponsored a book entitled Business Psychology in Practice; (and now by Wiley-Blackwell) which showcased the work of the profession through the activities of ABP Principal Members. The book, which was edited by Pauline Grant, assisted by Sarah Lewis and David Thompson, was described by Brian Baxter in his forward as “the collective creative energy of some of the best and most experienced practitioners in our field”.

In the period between 2007 and 2009, the Association was focused on the UK Government's decision to have the HCPC regulate many of the psychology professions.  Members of the ABP Board at that time were instrumental in ensuring that business psychology remained self-regulating and that the use of the term “psychologist” did not become protected under the HCPC regulations.

In the late 2000s the ABP saw the creation of new regional groups which actively encourage member networking and knowledge sharing.  A branch was also established in the North West which runs its own calendar of events, giving better access to membership benefits in that region.

In December 2013 the Association was re-launched to reflect its diverse membership and its strategic focus, becoming the Association for Business Psychology, emphasising a more outward-looking approach and an emphasis on being both a home and the voice for both the profession and practitioners of Business Psychology.  The ABP’s vision is to champion the application of psychology to business and the name change underlined the increased focus on building greater awareness, outside the profession, of how Business Psychology can benefit organisations.

In 2014 onwards the ABP will continue to raise awareness of the value of Business Psychology and introduce new initiatives and membership benefits, such as ABP Connections (a searchable database of practitioners), the ABP’s Workforce Experience Awards and a new training programme which will help members to apply their theoretical knowledge in practical business settings.

Past Chairs
  • 2001 - 2003            Dr Brian Baxter
  • 2003 - 2003            Annie Gray
  • 2003 - 2006            Kevin Kingsland
  • 2006 - 2009            Francis Butler
  • 2009 - 2013            Steve Whiddett
  • 2013 - 2015            Clodagh O'Reilly
  • 2015 - 2018            Steve Apps
  • 2018 - Present        Ben Williams