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BUS 272 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Group Dynamics, Organizational Culture, Rigour

Business Administration
Course Code
BUS 272
Study Guide

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Chapter 1
Define Organizations Behaviour:
Field of study that looks at the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on
behaviour within organizations for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward
improving an organization’s effectiveness.
Applied to topics such as jobs, work, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity,
human performance, and management.
Examines the core topics of: motivation, leader behaviour and power, interpersonal
communication, group structure and processes, attitude development and perception,
change processes, conflict and negotiation.
It is relevant beyond the workplace.
Disciplines OB is built on (Building Blocks):
1. Psychology: it seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes change the behaviour of
humans and other animals. Early industrial and organizational psychologists studied the
problems of fatigue, boredom, and other working conditions that could impede efficient
work performance.
2. Social Psychology: Blends concepts from both psychology and sociology to focus on
people’s influence on one another. Major study area is behavioural change- how to
implement it and how to reduce barriers to its acceptance. Contributed to measuring,
understanding, and changing attitudes; identifying communication patterns; and
building trust. Made important contributions to study of communication, intergroup
behaviour, power, and conflict.
3. Sociology: studies people in relation to their social environment or culture. Contributed
to study of group behaviour in organizations (formal and complex organizations). They
have studied organizational culture and change, formal organizational theory and
structure, organizational technology, communication, power, and conflict.
4. Anthropology: study of societies to learn about human beings and their activities. They
work on cultures, and environments has helped us understand difference in
fundamental values, attitudes, and behaviour between people in different countries and
within different organizations.
Psychology’s contributions have been primarily at the individual, or micro, level of
analysis, while the other three disciplines have contributed to our understanding of
macro concepts, such as group processes and organization.
The Rigour (thoroughness) of OB:
OB provides a systematic approach to the study of behaviour in organizations.
Behaviour is not random, it stems from and is directed toward some end that the
individual believes, rightly or wrongly, is in his or her best interest.
OB in the street: Predicting consumer behaviour is not that different from predicting
employee behaviour.

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Behaviour is generally predictable, and the systematic study of behaviour is a means to
making reasonably accurate predictions.
Systematic Study: looking at relationships, attempting to attribute causes and
effects, and drawing conclusions based on scientific evidence; that is, on data
gathered under controlled conditions and measured and interpreted in a reasonably
rigorous manner.
Can improve predictive ability by supplementing intuition with a more systematic
We can identify certain fundamental consistencies underlying the behaviour of all
individuals and modify them to reflect individual differences.
Research methods of OB:
Evidence based management (EBM): basing managerial decisions on the best
available scientific evidence.
EBM argues that managers should become more scientific in how they think about
management problems.
1. Field Studies: Data collected on site. Investigating generally involves observation of
individuals and groups.
2. Surveys: Data collected through questions. Surveys usually conducted by phone, email,
interview, or online.
3. Laboratory studies: Data collected in laboratory settings. Sometimes difficult to
generalize the findings to everyday settings.
4. Case Studies: Data collected through an in-debt investigation of an individual or a group
over time. Methods used include direct observation, interviews, and document
5. Meta-analyses: Data collected by combining and analyzing the findings of multiple
studies. Method permits stronger conclusions about hypothesis.
Systematic Study and EBM add to intuition (gut feeling)
Without a systematic approach, it’s hard to know the truth.
OB Has Few Absolutes:
Humans are complex; because they are not all like, our ability to make simple, accurate,
and sweeping generalizations is limited.
Two people often act very differently in the same situation, and the same person’s
behaviour changes in different situations.
OB Takes a Contingency Approach:
OB must consider behaviour within the context in which it occurs; a strategy known as a
contingency approach (OB’s answers depend upon situation).
People are complex and complicated, and so too must be the theories developed to
explain their actions.

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Chapter 2
It is the process by which individuals organize and interpret their impressions to give
meaning to their environment.
People’s behaviour is based in their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself.
Factors that influence perception:
The Perceiver: Your interpretation of what you see is heavily influenced by your
personal characteristics (attitude, motives, interests, experience, expectation). People’s
perception about others reveals a lot about themselves.
The Target: Its characteristics affect what we perceive. Novelty, motion, sounds, size,
background, proximity, similarity are what shape a target. The relationship of a target to
its background influences perception.
The Situation: Context matters. The time at which we see an object or event can
influence attention, as can location, light, heat, or any number of situational factors.
Perceptional Errors:
We develop techniques to make tasks that take a long time more manageable. These
techniques are valuable- they allow us to make accurate perceptions rapidly and provide
valid data for making predictions, are not foolproof. Errors that distort (inaccurate) the
perception process are attribution theory, selective perception, halo effect, contrast
effects, projection, and stereotyping.
Attribution Theory:
Tries to explain the ways we judge people differently, depending on the meaning we
attribute to a given behaviour. Suggest that when we observe what seems like a typical
behaviour by an individual, we try to make sense of it.
Internally caused behaviours are those an observer believes to be under the personal
behaviour control of another individual.
Externally caused behaviours are what we imagine the situation forced the individual to
Three rules about behaviour; distinctiveness, consensus, consistency
1. Distinctiveness: whether an individual act similarly across a variety of
situations. We want to know if this behaviour is unusual. If it is then it’s
external, if not then internal.
2. Consensus: If everyone who is faced with the similar situation responds in a
same way. If consensus is high (external attribution), if low (internal
3. Consistency: Does the behaviour occur every day. More consistency equals
Perception at Work:
Judgement have important consequences for the organization.
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