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Cannons Essays,Reports, Termpapers

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  1. Working With people

  2. Models of Organizational Behavior

  3. Social Systems and Organizational Culture

  4. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior

  5. Managing Communications

  6. Motivational Basics

  7. Motivational Applications

  8. Appraising and Rewarding Performance

  9. Employee Attitudes

  10. Leadership

  11. Empowerment and Participation

  12. Managing Change

  13. Organization Development

  14. Structure, Technology, and People

  15. Quality of Work Life and Socialtechnical Systems

  16. Issues Between Organizations and Individuals

  17. Interpersonal Behavior

  18. Group Dynamics

  19. Informal Organizations

  20. Stress and Counseling

  21. Organizational Behavior in Perspective



Working With people

            Organizational behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people&-&- as individuals and groups&-&-act in organizations. Its goals are to make mangers more effective at describing, understanding, predicting, and controlling human behavior. Key elements to consider are people, structure, technology, and the external environment. Previously known as human relations, organizational behavior has emerged as an interdisciplinary field of value to managers. It builds on anincreasingly solid research foundation that was begun in the 1920s, and it draws upon useful ideas and conceptual models from many of the behavioral sciences.

            Fundamental concepts of organizational behavior relate to the nature of  people (individual differences, a whole person, motivated behavior, desire for involvement,  perception, and value of the person) and to the nature of organizations (social system  and mutual interest). Managerial actions should be oriented holistically to attain superordinate goals of interest to employees, the organization, and society. This can best be done by the understanding and use of human resource. contingency,productivity, and systems approaches.

Models of Organizational Behavior

            Every firm has an organizational behavior system. It includes the stated or unstated philosophy, values, visions and goals; the quality of leadership communications, and group dynamics; the nature of both the formal and informal organizations; and the influence of the social environment. These items combine to create a culture in which the personal attitudes of employees and situational factors can produce motivation and goal achievement.

            Four models of organizational behavior are the autocratic, custodial, supportive, and collegial. The supportive and collegial models are more consistent with contemporary employee needs and, therefore, will predictably obtain more effect results in many situations. Managers need to examine the model they are using, determine whether it is the most appropriate one, and remain flexible in their use of alternative and emerging models.

            The idea of organizational behavior models will be extended in Chapter 3, as we discuss social systems, roles, and status. Specifically, we will look at the creation and impact of organizational cultures which help employees sense which  organizational behavior model is in use.

Social Systems and Organizational Culture

            When people join a work group, they become part of that organization's social system. It is the medium by which they relate to the world of work. The variables in an organizational system operate in a working balance called social equilibrium. Individuals make a psychological contract that defines their personal relationship with the system. When they contribute to the organization's success, we call their behavior functional.

            The broad environment that people live in is their social culture, and a major change in it can lead to cultural shock. People need to accept and appreciate the value that cultural differences can contribute to the success of an organization. Other important cultural factors include the work ethic and corporate attitudes toward social responsibility.

            Role is the patten of action expected of a person in activities involving others. Related ideas are role perceptions mentors, role conflict, and role ambiguity. Status is the social rank of a person in a group, and it leads to status systems and possibly status anxiety. Status symbols are sought as if they were magical herbs, because they often provide external evidence of status for their possessors.

            Organizational cultures reflect the assumptions and values that guide a  firm. They are intangible but powerful influences on employee behavior. Participants learn about their organization's culture through the process of socialization and influence it through individualization.

International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior

            The world of business has been transformed into a global economy. Many U.S. businesses have become multinational, extending their operations into other countries. Similarly, corporations in other countries have begun extensive operations in the United States and elsewhere. Managers of these firms encounter a wide variety of social, political, and economic environments as well as unique individual differences. Among many other factors, the difficulty in understanding local views of productivity can be a major barrier to improvement. However, when expatriate managers are effective, they help create a training multiplier effect, providing skills which become multiplied many times in the host country.

            Employees entering another nation may have difficulty adapting to  it because of their parochialism, ethnocentrism, or differences in cultural distance among nations. Cultural shock is a potential barrier to success, but it can be prevented or minimized through careful selection, trainings and counseling. Returning employees also need attention so that their reentry will be smooth and productive.

            Expatriate managers must recognize that their organizational behavior practices cannot be transferred directly from one country to another, especially if the host country is less developed. Models for understanding and managing people need to be adapted to the particular social culture. The best results occur when neither the home country's nor the host nation's traditional practices are used. Theory Z an example of organizational approaches that integrate the most workable ideas from both sets of existing practices. Transcultural managers&-those who can adapt successfully to a number of other cultures and still achieve their goals of improved productivity&-will be increasingly needed.

Managing Communications

            Organizations need effective communication in downward, upward, lateral directions. It is the transfer of information and understanding from one person to another person. The two&-way communication process consists of these eight steps: develop an idea, encode, transmit, receive, decode, accept, use, and provide feedback.

            To overcome personal, physical, and semantic barriers, managers must pay close attention to communication symbols, such as words, pictures, and nonverbal actions. This requires study and use of semantics&-the science of meaning&-to encourageunderstanding.

            Managers play a key role in downward and upward communication, sometimes even delaying or filtering the flow of information. Many tools are available for their use, such as providing performance feedback and social support or establishing open&-door policies and holding employee meetings. Listening, however, remains one of the most powerful tools. Networks have become popular ways for employees to find out what is going on around them, while the rapid acceptance of computers has madepossible electronic mail systems and telecommuting for some employees.

Motivational Basics

            When people join an organization, they bring with them certain drives and needs that affect their on&-the&-job performance. Sometimes these are immediately apparent, but often they not only are difficult to determine and satisfy but also vary greatly from one person to another. It is useful, though, to understand how needs create tensions which stimulate effort to perform, and this brings the satisfaction of rewards.

            Four different approaches to understanding internal drives and needs  within employees were examined. Each model makes a contribution to our understanding of motivation, and all the models share some similarities. In general, they encourage managers not only to consider lower&-order, maintenance, and extrinsic factors but to use higher&-order, motivational, and intrinsic factors as well.

      Behavior modification focuses on the external environment by stating that a  number of employee behaviors can be affected by manipulating their consequences. Various alternatives for doing this include positive and negative reinforcement, punishment and extinction. Reinforcement can be applied according to either continuous or partial schedules.

            A blending of internal and external approaches is obtained through considerations of social learning theory. Managers are encouraged to use cues&-such as goals that are accepted challenging, and specific&-to stimulate desired employee behavior. In this way goal setting combined with the reinforcement of performance feedback, provides a balanced approach to motivation.

Motivational Applications

            Three additional approaches to motivation presented in this chapter are the expectancy, equity, and attribution models. The expectancy model states that motivation is a product of how much one wants something and the probabilities that effort will lead to task accomplishments and reward. The formula is valence x expectancy x instrumentality = motivation. Valence is the strength of a person's preference for an outcome. Expectancy is the strength of belief that one's effort will be successful in accomplishing a task. Instrumentality is the strength of belief that successful performance will be followed by a reward.

            The other motivational models specifically relate to the employee's intellectual processes. The equity model has a double comparison in it&-a match between an employee's perceived inputs and outcomes, coupled with a comparison to some referent persons' rewards for their input Level. The attribution process examines the way people interpret behavior and assign cause to it. Attributions differ, depending on who is making the judgement and whether the behavior was successful or not. Four general attributions are made. Ability and effort are personal factors, while two situational explanations involve the difficulty of the task and luck.

            Cognitive models that focus on internal states and mental processes dominate thinking about motivational, but behavior modification, discussed in Chapter 5, also is useful. Most attention has been given to micromotivation, but in order to build a complete motivational environment, increased emphasis must be given to marcomotivation.

Appraising and Rewarding Performance

            Economic rewards provide social as well as economic value. They play a key role within several motivational models, blending with expectancy, equity,  behavior modification, and need&-based approaches. Employees perform a rough cost&-reward comparison and work somewhat near but below the break&-even point.

            Performance appraisal provides a systematic basis for assessment of employee contributions and distribution of economic rewards. Modern appraisal philosophy focuses on performance. objectives, and goal setting. Nevertheless, the appraisal interview can be difficult for both manager and employee.

            Incentive systems provide different amounts of pay in relation to some measure of performance. They tend to increase employee expectations that rewards will follow performance, although the delay may range from a week to a year. Incentives often stimulate greater productivity, but also tend to produce some offsetting negative consequences. Wage incentives reward greater output by individuals or groups, while profit sharing emphasizes mutual interest with the employer to built a successful organization. Gain sharing emphasizes improvement in various indices of organizational performance, while skill&-based pay rewards employees for acquiring greater levels or types of skills.

            Since employees have different needs to be served, many types of pay are required for a complete economic reward system. In some organizations, flexible benefit programs allow employees to select individual combinations of economic rewards.

Employee Attitudes

            Employee attitudes are important to monitor, understand, and manage. They develop is the consequences of the feelings of equity or inequity in the reward system (as discussed in Chapter 8), as well as from supervisory treatment (which will be addressed in Chapter 10). Managers are particularly concerned with three types of attitudes job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

            Job dissatisfaction may lead to increased absenteeism, turnover, and other undesirable behaviors, and so employers want to develop satisfaction among their employees. The vast majority of workers in the United States report that they are satisfied with their jobs, although they may be dissatisfied with specific aspects of them. Older employees and higher occupational levels especially tend to have higher satisfaction.

            Higher job involvement leads to dedicated, productive workers. High performance and equitable rewards encourage high satisfaction through a performance&-satisfaction&-effort loop. Higher job satisfaction usually is associated with lower turnover, and fewer absences. Committed employees are also more likely to embrace company values and beliefs (its culture).

            We can obtain useful attitudinal information by using questionnaires and interviews, as well as by examining existing human resource data. Information is communicated to managers through survey feedback that uses summary data, makes relevant companions, and supports the conclusions with actual employee comments. Follow&-up is accomplished by committees to assure employees that appropriate action is taken after a survey. Ultimately information on employee attitudes is useful only if it  influences managers to improve their performance.


            Leadership is the process of  influencing and supporting others to work enthusiastically toward achieving objectives. It is determined partially by traits, which provide the potential for leadership, and also by one's role behavior. Leaders' roles combine technical, human, and conceptual skills, which leaders apply in different degrees at various organizational levels. Their behavior as followers is also important to the organization.

            Leaders apply different leadership styles, ranging from free&-rein to autocratic. Although a positive, participative, considerate leader tends to be more effective in many situations, the contingency approaches suggest that a variety of styles can be successful. Leaders must first analyze the situation and discover key factors in the task, employees, or organization that suggest which style might be best for that combination. Leaders should also recognize the possibility that they are not always directly needed because of available substitutes or enhancers. Also, it may be desirable to develop employees into self&-leaders through the exercise of superleadership behaviors.

Empowerment and Participation

            Many employees want to become more empowered. If allowed to play a meaningful role in the organization, their feelings of self&-esteem will increase and they will contribute their abilities and efforts to help the or organization succeed.

            Participation is an important vehicle for empowering employees. Participation is the mental and emotional involvement of persons in group situations that encourages them to contribute to group goals and share responsibility for them. For employees it is the psychological result of supportive management.

            Participation is a sharing process that may increase the power of both employees and the manager, because power is an expandable resource. When the prerequisites of participation are met, it can provide a variety of benefits for both employees and employers. Some employees desire more participation than others, and so it is most effective when it reasonably matches their needs. Where there is underparticipation or overparticipation, both satisfaction and performance may decline.

            A number of participative programs can be effective, and they vary in the degree to which they meet the criteria for full involvement. All have their benefits as well as their limitations. A program that is desirable for some employees is not necessarily good for all of them. Labor unions typically support management's effort to allow more participation, but they have been somewhat reserved about becoming officially involved in these efforts until recently.

Managing Change

            Change is everywhere and its pace is increasing. The work environment is filled with change that, while positive in intent, upsets the social system and requires employees to adjust. When they do, employees respond with their emotions as well as rational reasoning. Resistance to change can focus on the change itself or on the way it was introduced. Further, it can be logical, psychological, or sociological.

            Change has costs as well as benefits, and both must be considered to determine net effects. Employees tend to resist change because of its costs, including its psychic costs. Management reduces resistance by influencing the supporting  and restraining forces for change. Managers are encouraged to apply a systematic change procedure spanning  unfreezing, change, and refreezing activities. Since there is an organizational learning curve for change, time is required for the potential benefits of change to occur.

            Transformational leadership can be instrumental in bringing about effective changes. Leaders need to create and share a vision to inspire followers through their charisma, and to encourage them to become double&-loop learners so that future changes will be even more successful. A wide range of activities to support change can also be used, such as participation, shared rewards, and adequate communications.

Organization Development

            Organization development is the systematic application of behavioral science knowledge at various levels to bring about planned change. It emphasizes the whole organization as an operating system. The OD process covers such steps as diagnosis, data collection, feedback and confrontation, action planning, team building, intergroup development, and follow&-up. OD consultants make a variety of assumptions that guide their behavior, and rely on a range of skills such as process consultation and feedback

            Organization development makes heavy use of experiential learning methods, such as role playing, simulation, and behavior modeling. Three major intervention approaches include encounter groups, team building, and survey feedback.

            Although OD has limitations, it is an excellent practice for introducing change,improvements, and self&-renewal in organizations. It differs sharply from traditional training methods by its focus on the entire system and its advocacy of humanistic values. OD programs typically use a change agent to assist with action research and feedback, and apply a variety of experiential learning methods within a contingency framework.

Structure, Technology, and People

            Classical organizational  structure is established by functional and scalar division of works and it is communicated to participants by means of delegation. Organization brings immense technical advantages, but there often are human costs. An example is specialization. Essentially, classical structure is strong in task support but weak in  psychological support. Highly structured organizations are known as bureaucracies.

            Organizational structure tends to exist in a contingency relationship with other variables, but certain general tendencies are evident. Generally, mechanistic organization is more appropriate for stable, mass&-production environments in which employees desire security. Organic organization is more appropriate in dynamic environments with unit or continuous production and flexible employees. Matrix organization is a useful way to adapt to dynamic environments especially when large technical projects are involved.

            Technology is a powerful economic and social tool that can bring substantial benefits to society. Its effects are variable, but it tends to require higher worker skills, more white&-collar work, and more multiprofessional employees. The result is a knowledge society. Labor unions generally accept technology as beneficial to society as a whole, but they want security provisions and retraining programs to protect individuals dislocated by it.

            The flow of work especially affects people in organizations. It determines who initiates action on whom, influences the degree to which employees can work together as a team, affects communication patterns, creates possibilities of red tape, and may cause alienation. The conclusion is that the relationships of workers in a system can be just as important as the relationships of the work in that system.

Quality of Work Life and Socialtechnical Systems

            Quality of work life (QWL) refers to the favorableness or unfavorableness of the job environment for people. Since people and the environment are constantly changing increased attention must be given to improving the QWL. This is never an easy task, since QWL exists in the minds and perceptions of employees.

            Jobs vary in their breadth and depth. Job enrichment applies to any efforts to humanize jobs by the addition of more motivators. Core dimensions of jobs that especially provide enrichment are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. In spite of its objective desirability, job enrichment's cues must be perceived by employees and valued by them to have substantial impact. Consequently, enrichment is more applicable in some situations than others.

            Enriched work systems move beyond the individual level to that of natural work modules and natural work teams and total organizational systems. The sociotechnical systems approach seeks to provide complete employment enrichment through a balanced emphasis on both human and technical factors. Major experiments with these systems have been made by many firms, such as Volvo, General Motors/Toyota, and Digital Equipment. There are costs as well as benefits, but results generally are favorable.

Issues Between Organizations and Individuals

            Some areas of potential individual&-organization conflict are conformity, legitimacy of organizational influence, rights of privacy, and. discipline. The main concern is to ensure that the employee's activities and choices are not unduly controlled by the organization to the detriment of the employee. In order to protect both the organization and the worker, companies usually develop policies to guide their decisions about privacy, alcohol and drug&-abuse programs, genetic testing, sexual harassment, and other activities.

            Both preventive and corrective discipline are important to ensure appropriate behavior. Preventive discipline encourages employees to maintain discipline among themselves. Corrective discipline is applied when employees materially fail to meet standards. Due process and the hot&-stove rule are useful guidelines. Most firms use progressive discipline, and some use a counseling approach that is consistent with the supportive organizational behavior model.

            The social transaction of employment is a two&-way street with mutual responsibilities between the individual and the organization. The employee should be a good organizational citizen, exercise ethical leadership, or resort to whistle&-blowing if necessary. Benefits will accrue to individuals, the organization, and society when this social exchange is fulfilled.

Interpersonal Behavior

            Interpersonal and intergroup conflicts often arise when there is disagreement regarding goals or the methods of attaining them. These conflicts can be either constructive or destructive for the persons involved. Several methods exist for resolving conflict (avoiding, smoothing, forcing, and confronting), and they vary in their potential effectiveness. A key issue revolves around intended outcomes for oneself and others: Does an individual want to win or to lose, and what is desired for the other party? Assertive behavior is a useful response in many situations where a person's legitimate needs have been disregarded.

            Transactional analysis is the study of social transactions between people. One useful approach is the classification of Parent, Adult, and Child ego states. An Adult&-to&-Adult complementary transaction is especially desirable at work. Crossed transactions tend to cut off communication and produce conflicts. Stroking is sought in social transactions, because it contributes to the satisfaction of recognition needs and reinforces an "I'm OK&-You're OK" life position.

            Power is needed to run an organization. The five bases of power are personal legitimate, expert, reward, and coercive. Each of these has a different impact on employees, ranging from resistance to commitment. Organizational politics is the use of various behaviors that enhance or protect a person's self&-interest. In general, political behaviors in organizations are common, necessary to success, and increasingly important at higher levels. However, overemphasizing politics can also backfire.

Group Dynamics

            Group dynamics is the process by which people interact face to face in small groups. Groups have properties different from those of their members, just as molecules are different from the atoms composing them. Meetings are a widely used form of group activity, and they can create quality decisions that are supported by the participants.

            Four alternative structures used in group problem solving are brainstorming, nominal groups, the Delphi technique, and dialectic inquiry. Weaknesses of groups include the time and cost involved in reaching a decision, the leveling effect, polarization, escalating commitment, and divided responsibility. Future developments may occur in the areas of contingency models and group decision support systems.

            Teams are cooperative groups that maintain regular contact and engage in coordinated action. They strive to achieve a high degree of teamwork, which is aided by a supportive environment, proper skills, superordinate goals, and team rewards. Newly formed teams often move through a series of developmental stages. They are also expected to confront and resolve a number of potential problems before attaining long&-term success. Team building, discussed in Chapter 13 on Organization Development, can help create fully functioning teams.

Informal Organizations

            Informal social systems exist in all organizations. They arise naturally from the interaction of people. Informal organizations have major benefits, but they also lead to problems that management cannot easily ignore. Informal organizations are characterized by a status system that produces informal leaders. Informal norms also emerge, which are powerful influences on member behavior.

            Informal communication, called the grapevine, develops in the form of a cluster chain. Its accuracy in normal situations tends to be above 75 percent, but sometimes key details are inaccurate and rarely is the whole story communicated. The grapevine is fast and influential. Employees tend to depend on it for information, even though they often view it as a negative factor.

            Rumor is grapevine information communicated without secure standards of evidence. It occurs when there is ambiguity and interest in information, and it appears in both positive and negative forms. Managers can have some influence on the grapevine, and their basic objective is to integrate interests of the formal and informal systems so that they can work together better.

Stress and Counseling

            Counseling occasionally is necessary for employees because of job and personal problems that subject them to excessive stress. The conditions that cause stress are called stressors and include work overload, time pressures, role ambiguity, financial problems, and family problems. Stress affects both physical and mental health and results in burnout when it occurs chronically. The stress&-performance model indicates that excessive stress reduces job performance, but a moderate amount mat help

employees respond to job challenges. Type A people tend to show more stress than type B people.

            Counseling is discussion of a problem that usually has emotional content with an employee in order to help the employee cope with it better. Its goal is better mental health, and it is performed by both managers and professional counselors. Major counseling functions are advice, reassurance, communication release of emotional tension, clarified thinking, and reorientation. The most appropriate type of counseling for nonprofessionals is participative counseling. Counseling programs deal with both job and personal problems, and there is extensive cooperation with community counseling agencies.

Organizational Behavior in Perspective



            Although organizational behavior does have limitations, these limitations should not blind us to the tremendous potential that O. B. can contribute to the advancement of civilization. It has provided and will provide much improvement in the human environment. By building a better climate for people, organizational behavior will release their creative potential to help solve major social problems. In this way organizational behavior may contribute to social improvements that stretch far beyond the confines of any one organization. A better climate may help some person a major breakthrough in solar energy, health, or education.

            Improved organizational behavior is not easy to apply. But the opportunities are there. It should produce a higher quality of life in which there is improved harmony within each person, among people, and among the organizations of the future.