The issues pertaining to the study of organizational behavior may be quite a challenge to many people, but at the same time they are interesting. The reason why organization behavior has been given extreme emphasis is because individuals cannot act in the same way or manner and there must be set standards or expectations within an organization (Florida, 2009).
The following paper describes the key concepts and theoretical models for organizational behavior. It explains organizational behavior in various contexts as learned from readings, cases, personal or professional experiences. The paper starts with a description of organizational behavior and its key elements/ models. It also critically analyzes the issues of diversity, individual differences, attitude, values, emotions, perceptions, attributions, and fairness, motivating behavior and communication.
Concept of organizational behavior and its theoretical models
Organizational behavior can be defined as a field of study that examines and analyzes the effects of a person, a group of people and structures on behavior within a given organization, with an aim of utilizing the acquired knowledge in the improvements of the overall organizational goals (Hill, 2009). Organizational behavior is an integration of various fields of study that are concerned with behavioral sciences such as sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology and political studies. It usually involves the application of the acquired knowledge to various organizational structures, technological systems and social structures. In organizational behavior, there are contingency variables known as situational factors that are used to moderate all relationships between other variables while enhancing their correlation (Florida, 2009).
There are several models of organizational behavior that form the framework upon which most organizations operate (Hill, 2009). The first model is known as autocratic model whose basis is usually power with an authoritative kind of managerial orientation, whereby the subsistence need of the employee is met. In this model, the employees and all subordinates must show dependence on their boss through obedience, a practice that leads to reduced performance. The other model is called custodial model, whose basis is usually upon the economic resources and a deepened managerial orientation of financial resources. In custodial model, the employee has a security and benefits orientation and all employees have a dependence on that particular organization. This model results in passive cooperation performance although the security need for the employees is always met. The next model of organizational behavior is the supportive model whereby the leaders and managers have an orientation towards support, while the employees become oriented towards increased participation in the workplace. This model awakens employees’ drive by ensuring that all employees are offered recognition and their status is enhanced (Florida, 2009). The last model is the collegial model of organizational behavior which emphasizes on teamwork and partnership, resulting in moderate enthusiasm in the employees’ performance. This model ensures that the workers are self-disciplined and they become capable of ensuring responsible behavior.
Workplace Diversity and its Impacts on the workforce
Diversity refers to the variety of people working within an organization, a practice that encompasses differences in gender, age, ethnic groups, race, tenures, education, personality and background. According to Hill, (2007), organizations and human resource departments must understand the issues concerned with diversity in the organizational behavior field. This is because diversity involves people’s perceptions about themselves and their colleagues, and these perceptions usually have an impact on employees’ interaction at the workplace. Workplace diversity consists of many advantages since it tends to manage change, adaptability and interpersonal communication in an organization. According to Florida, (2009), organizations that employ people from diverse backgrounds and personalities tend to create increased adaptability, broader service range, and variety of viewpoints and enhanced execution of duties. For example, in the Thomas Green’s experiences as he worked in Division of Displays, one can find that there was diversity in terms of age and gender. Frank Davis was a 45 year- old marketing director, Thomas Green was a 28 year old senior marketing specialist and Shannon McDonald was a 42 year old Division vice president. Due to the diversity in education, perceptions and experiences, there was an enhanced talent pool from these employees in that organization. However, there are various challenges of diversity in the work place that must be considered by the management when setting up policies and assigning jobs. These challenges are also portrayed in the Division of Displays whereby Thomas Green had a hard time keeping in pace with his boss Frank Davis due to the difference in their ages and experiences. Frank Davis had reservations about giving Thomas the position of a senior supervisor since he was too young and had little experience at the workplace. However, Shannon McDonald felt that Thomas had the passion that was needed to handle that position since he was young and hard working. In this case, there was a conflict of decision- making strategies for both Shannon and Frank.
Aspects of Individual Differences within an organization
Individual differences encompass the various psychological traits, characteristics and tendencies that portray each individual at the work place as a distinct and unique being (Hill, 2009). This aspect of organizational behavior conveys a sense of internal causality within an individual, and it also brings out consistency in each and every employee. Managers and leaders in an organization should understand the role that individual differences play in handling of various tasks within an organization. The role played by individual differences is an elemental role whereby employees are able to react differently during the various work situations that they encounter. In some cases, individual differences may have a detrimental effect on behavior whenever they are connected with situational states that may bring about stress (Florida, 2009). Individual differences may be categorized into cognitive ability, cognitive styles (personal fear of invalidity, personal need for structure, and need for cognition), neuroticism and sociability (extraversion, agreeableness). For example, in the case for Thomas Green, there were clear individual differences between Thomas, Frank and Shannon. Individual differences that are concerned with the three individuals seemed to differ such that Shannon was quite agreeable and warm, Frank Davis was quite assertive and dominating while Thomas was tolerant and sociable. In other organizations, one may find that there are varying individual-traits such as neuroticism (calmness, confidence, and sensitivity), openness to experience (curiosity, illogical, insightful) and conscientiousness (dependability, predictability, persistence forgetfulness, commitment). Therefore, it is crucial for the managers and bosses to understand that individuals have various differences that must be understood in order to achieve the qualities of a good leader/ individual (Hill, 2009).
How Employees Behavior is affected by Attitudes, Values and Emotions
Employees’ and bosses’ attitudes are vital elements of an organization. Attitude usually has a direct impact on workers’ behavior, and this is the reason why all managers must work hard to alter any counterproductive workers’ attitude (Florida, 2009). People acquire their attitude through learning based on the particular environment that they live in and their experiences over the years. Work attitude is usually denoted by job satisfaction which consists of positive emotions whenever an employee’s work is appraised. Job satisfaction can be measured through job descriptive index and organizational citizenship behavior that is usually seen when an employee’s work goes beyond the basic call of duty (Hill, 2009). The other element that denotes work attitude is organizational commitment that usually reflects the strength of an employee’s connection to his or her workplace. Managers can persuade their employees to change their attitude as seen in the issue of Thomas Green. He was persuaded several times to change his negative attitude towards his boss Frank Davis.
Work values refer to the beliefs that are held close by an organization and its employees. Values usually denote a particular way of conduct, and they are much more complicated to alter as compared to attitudes. Values always go together with ethics, and therefore, managers must understand the concepts of values in the work place (Hill, 2009). There are different types of values such as instrumental values and terminal values. These values are usually concerned with acceptable and appropriate behavior that is concerned with ways of reaching certain goals (Florida, 2009). Workplace values encompass more than just the basic personal values that include honesty, fairness and achievement. In the case of Thomas Green, he had a work-value related to achievement, such that he wanted to work hard enough in order to go up the corporate ladder appropriately. This value was too strong such that he managed to move from an account executive in the Travel and Hospital Division to the division’s senior market specialist for the whole of Eastern region of North America. His attitude, emotions and values had a detrimental effect on his behavior towards his work and boss. He wanted to achieve his dreams and he started shutting out his boss, Frank Davis, such that they started to fall out of communication. He stopped picking calls and he started bad mouthing his boss and publicly criticizing his strategies that he termed as unrealistic.
How Perception, Attribution and Fairness can be used to achieve organizational goals
For an organization to attain and maintain the profile of an outstanding entity, it must show creativity in choosing work over its tools, rewarding excellence with challenges and reducing hassles across the departments (Florida, 2009). The workforce must be full of creative thinkers who values motivation, communication, attributions, perceptions, emotions and fairness when doing their jobs. Perception ensures that workers of an organization perceive their objectives and goals the same way. People who come from diverse backgrounds do not perceive the work place settings the same way due to their different perspectives. In big organizations, it is vital for the managers to ensure that they give an opportunity to several decision makers when making important organizational policies so that various perceptions can be considered before initiating the final implementations (Florida, 2009). In the case for Lumen and Absorb Teams at Crutchfield Chemical Engineering, one can find that different people had different perceptions about their huge tasks of innovations and creativities. Paul Burke had expected equal results from both Lumen and Absorb groups due to the perception that they were equally capable of carrying out the tasks. However, their perception was wrong since the results showed a large difference among the two teams. Ina work place, there can be several issues that can arise pertaining to employees’ attitude to their work. For example, there can be fundamental attribution errors that may result in underestimating the effects of certain external factors while overestimating the effect of internal factors when judging employees’ behavior. Also, fairness may be overlooked by managers by not considering their own failures. Fairness must be given to all workers in an organization like in the case for Absorb and Lumen, whereby the groups were allocated equal numbers, and the same strategies were used to re size the groups.
Communication and motivation as tools for enhancing workers performance
Managers should use motivation as a tool for encouraging or developing workers’ performance within an organization. However, sometimes managers are unable to motivate their employees due to the fact that motivation can only be controlled by an individual since it is an internal state. Florida, 2009, asserts that only way managers can offer motivation is by offering all employees conducive environment that can effectively inspire each worker to perform better. An inspiring environment may include satisfaction of employees’ psychological needs, setting of clear goals for workers, rewards and reinforcement, and open communication. As discovered in the Absorb and Lumen cases, the level of motivation is directly proportion to the overall performance. The members of Lumen had high levels of motivation; the employees therefore gave their best in the development of a multilayer sheet of crystal such that they emerged as the best team. However, Absorb showed low levels of motivation such that they became the last in performance. After a thorough analysis, one can find that the lack of motivation for Absorb could have resulted from an increasing amount of work that had been causing by the downsizing of the team. The stress involved could have been too much for the few team members to handle, resulting in a demoralized team.
The paper above has described the key concepts and theoretical models for organizational behavior. It has also explained organizational behavior in various contexts as learned from readings, cases, personal or professional experiences. The paper started with a description of organizational behavior and its key elements/ models. It critically analyzed the issues of diversity, individual differences, attitude, values, emotions, perceptions, attributions, and fairness, motivating behavior and communicating. The concepts of organizational behavior must be understood by all managers and leaders so that they can find the most appropriate strategies to use during the different scenarios that they encounter a bosses. These concepts and organizational models can be utilized effectively and efficiently in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives, and enhance the growth of employees in their fields.
Florida, R. & Goodnight, J. (2005). Managing for Creativity. Harvard Business Review, 85(1), 125-130.
Hill, L. A. (2007). Becoming the BOSS. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 85(1), 48-56.