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MHR 405 Study Guide - Final Guide: Complex Adaptive System, Total Quality Management, Organizational Conflict

Human Resources
Course Code
MHR 405
Louis Pike
Study Guide

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Organizational Behavior: a field of study that seeks to understand, explain,
predict, and change human behavior, both individual and collective in the
organizational context
Organizational behaviour is studied at three different levels, the individual level,
the group level and the organization wide level. Today, inter-organizational levels
are also being explored
Roots of Organizational Behaviour
The roots of organizational behaviour emerged as a distinct field in the mid-
1940’s and is a discipline that has grown out of contributions from numerous
earlier fields of study
The fields include;
1. Psychology: influences; work teams, work motivation, training and
development, power and leadership, human resource planning, and workshop
2. Sociology: influences; group and intergroup dynamics, roles, norms, and
standards of behaviour, ethics, etc
3. Engineering: influences; design of work, efficiency, performance standards,
productivity, goal setting, and scientific management
4. Anthropology: influences; organizational culture, patterns of behaviour
5. Administrative Science: influences; design, implementation, and management
of various administrative and organizational systems
Organizational Behavior and Management
Organization: groups of people who work independently toward some common
Managers: people in the organizations who perform jobs that involve the direct
supervision of other people
o Planning: involves defining goals that flow from the business strategy,
setting performance objectives and creating action plans
o Organizing: includes dividing up the tasks and establishing work roles or
departments in order to carry out the plans
o Leading: involves communicating, motivating and managing conflict
o Controlling: monitoring financial and human performance
Mintzberg discovered that managers are required to perform interpersonal,
informational, and decisional functions that encompassed tasks related to the
management of people as well as those related to the management of information,
material and financial resources

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Organizational behaviour is an applied behaviour science which means it is based
on research that improves ones ability to understand, predict and influence others
1. Improved Managerial Effectiveness and Bottom Line
Effective management of OB connects to various aspects of a company’s
bottom line such as sustaining high performance over changing market
conditions, improving individual and group productivity, and increasing
organizational adaptability
Management of OB has become increasingly important partly because
traditional sources of competitive advantage such as market share, proprietary
technology, access to capital have become less powerful
2. More Efficient Influence
Mastering the field of OB is essential for managers in order to influence
others. It is important for non-managers as well to influence their bosses
3. A Career in Human Resources
The first step towards learning about the field of OB
External Task Environment
The company’s external environment includes those sectors with which the
organization interacts directly and that have a direct impact on the organizations
ability to achieve goals
Boundary-spanning role: jobs that link and coordinate an organization with key
elements in the task environment
Organizational Inputs
All the human, informational, material and financial resources taken from the
external task environment and used by the organization
The GHOST Model for the Internal Organization
G (goals): the action strategies that leaders create and follow to accomplish the
organizations purpose and vision
H (human resources): employees and managers in the organization, including the
nature of their relationships, their values, and the impact of the reward system on
their behavior
OS (organizational structure): is defined as the manner in which an organizations
work is designed, as well as how departments, divisions, and the overall
organization are designed. A key aspect of effective OB is ensuring that these
complement each other rather than conflict

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T (technology): is the wide range of tolls, knowledge, IT, work processes and
techniques used to transform the inputs into outputs
Organizational Outputs
The products and services, as well as the more intangible outputs such as
reputation, image and ideas
Feedback Processes
Any information that people or organizations receive about their behaviour or
performance, its effect on others, or comparison to a standard or expectation
Formal organization: the official, legitimate and most visible part of the system
Informal organization: the unofficial and less visible part of the system. This
includes the unofficial and less visible elements such as beliefs, assumptions,
values and unspoken norms that emerge in the organizational culture
Organizational culture: a pattern of basic assumptions that are considered valid
and that are taught to new members as the way to perceive, think and feel in the
New Organizational Paradigms
These paradigms tend to stress and elaborate on the internal organizations
dynamic capacity for self-organization, learning, and complex adaptation
These are important for managers as they draw attention to the “softer” aspects of
organizational life such as relationships, trust, and interconnections that while less
visible and easy to control directly, can be highly influential
Chaos Theory and OB
Say that organizations are not made up of different parts that can be controlled,
but rather, they are made up of fields that influence our interactions, directions
and decisions. These fields are both visible and invisible
Imposed organizational structures should not be permanent. Rather, they need to
come and go so that a structure emerges that actually supports the relationships
that are most necessary
Organizations as Complex Adaptive Systems
It is the informal organization that emerges and guides people’s actions as they
self organize and form patterns of behavior. A complex adaptive system can be
defined as; complex means that organizations are composed of multiple and
diverse pieces in differing relationships. Adaptive means that the organization is
constantly learning new and effective means to fit with its environment in ways
that enable a healthy, harmonious existence
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