Glossary of Terms

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Published on 18 Apr 2011
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Accommodating. A conflict management style in which one cooperates with the other party, while not asserting
one’s own interests.
Active listening. A technique for improving the accuracy of information reception by paying close attention to the
sender.
Actor–observer effect. The propensity for actors and observers to view the causes of the actor’s behaviour
differently.
Additive tasks. Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group
members.
Advanced information technology. The generation, aggregation, storage, modification, and speedy transmission of
information made possible by the advent of computers and related devices.
Affective commitment. Commitment based on identification and involvement with an organization.
Anchoring effect. The inadequate adjustment of subsequent estimates from an initial estimate that serves as an
anchor.
Attitude. A fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to some specific object, situation, person, or
category of people.
Attribution. The process by which causes or motives are assigned to explain people’s behaviour.
Autonomy. The freedom to schedule one’s own work activities and decide work procedures.
Avoiding. A conflict management style characterized by low assertiveness of one’s own interests and low
cooperation with the other party.
Behavioural plasticity theory. People with low self-esteem tend to be more susceptible to external and social
influences than those who have high self-esteem.
Body language. Nonverbal communication by means of a sender’s bodily motions, facial expressions, or physical
location.
Boundary roles. Positions in which organizational members are required to interact with members of other
organizations or with the public.
Boundaryless organization. An organization that removes vertical, horizontal, and external barriers so that
employees, managers, customers, and suppliers can work together, share ideas, and identify the best ideas for the
organization.
Bounded rationality. A decision strategy that relies on limited information and that reflects time constraints and
political considerations.
Brainstorming. An attempt to increase the number of creative solution alternatives to problems by focusing on idea
generation rather than evaluation.
Bullying. Repeated negative behaviour directed toward one or more individuals of lower power or status that creates
a hostile work environment.
Bureaucracy. Max Weber’s ideal type of organization that included a strict chain of command, detailed rules, high
specialization, centralized power, and selection and promotion based on technical competence.
Burnout. Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment among those who work
with people.
Career development. An ongoing process in which individuals progress through a series of stages that consist of a
unique set of issues, themes, and tasks.
Central tendency. The tendency to assign most ratees to middle-range job performance categories.
Central traits. Personal characteristics of a target person that are of particular interest to a perceiver.
Centralization. The extent to which decision-making power is localized in a particular part of an organization.
Chain of command. Lines of authority and formal reporting relationships.
Change agents. Experts in the application of behavioural science knowledge to organizational diagnosis and change.
Change. The implementation of a program or plan to move the organization or its members to a more satisfactory
state.
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Charisma. The ability to command strong loyalty and devotion from followers and thus have the potential for strong
influence among them.
Classical viewpoint. An early prescription on management that advocated high specialization of labour, intensive
coordination, and centralized decision making.
Coercive power. Power derived from the use of punishment and threat.
Cognitive biases. Tendencies to acquire and process information in an error-prone way.
Collaborating. A conflict management style that maximizes both assertiveness and cooperation.
Communication. The process by which information is exchanged between a sender and a receiver.
Competing. A conflict management style that maximizes assertiveness and minimizes cooperation.
Complexity. The extent to which an organization divides labour vertically, horizontally, and geographically.
Compliance. Conformity to a social norm prompted by the desire to acquire rewards or avoid punishment.
Compressed workweek. An alternative work schedule in which employees work fewer than the normal five days a
week but still put in a normal number of hours per week.
Compromise. A conflict management style that combines intermediate levels of assertiveness and cooperation.
Computer-mediated communication (CMC). Communication that relies on computer technology to facilitate
information exchange.
Confirmation bias. The tendency to seek out information that conforms to one’s own definition of or solution to a
problem.
Conflict stimulation. A strategy of increasing conflict to motivate change.
Congruence. A condition in which a person’s words, thoughts, feelings, and actions all contain the same message.
Conjunctive tasks. Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group member.
Consensus cues. Attribution cues that reflect how a person’s behaviour compares with that of others.
Conservative shift. The tendency for groups to make less risky decisions than the average risk initially advocated by
their individual members.
Consideration. The extent to which a leader is approachable and shows personal concern and respect for employees.
Consistency cues. Attribution cues that reflect how consistently a person engages in some behaviour over time.
Contingency approach. An approach to management that recognizes that there is no one best way to manage, and
that an appropriate management style depends on the demands of the situation.
Contingency Theory. Fred Fiedler’s theory that states that the association between leadership orientation and group
effectiveness is contingent on how favourable the situation is for exerting influence.
Continuance commitment. Commitment based on the costs that would be incurred in leaving an organization.
Contrast effects. Previously interviewed job applicants affect an interviewer’s perception of a current applicant,
leading to an exaggeration of differences between applicants.
Control group. A group of research subjects who have not been exposed to the experimental treatment.
Convergent validity. When there is a strong relationship between different measures of the same variable.
Coordination. A process of facilitating timing, communication, and feedback among work tasks.
Core self-evaluations. A broad personality concept that consists of more specific traits that reflect the evaluations
people hold about themselves and their self-worth.
Correlational research. Research that attempts to measure variables precisely and examine relationships among
these variables without introducing change into the research setting.
Creativity. The production of novel but potentially useful ideas.
Cross-functional teams. Work groups that bring people with different functional specialties together to better invent,
design, or deliver a product or service.
Cultural context. The cultural information that surrounds a communication episode.
Customer departmentation. Relatively self-contained units deliver an organization’s products or services to specific
customer groups.
Decision making. The process of developing a commitment to some course of action.
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Defence mechanisms. Psychological attempts to reduce the anxiety associated with stress.
Delphitechnique. A method of pooling a large number of expert judgments by using a series of increasingly refined
questionnaires.
Dependent variable. The variable that is expected to vary as a result of changes to the independent variable.
Devil’s advocate. A person appointed to identify and challenge the weaknesses of a proposed plan or strategy.
Diagnosis. The systematic collection of information relevant to impending organizational change.
Differentiation. The tendency for managers in separate units, functions, or departments to differ in terms of goals,
time spans, and interpersonal styles.
Diffusion of responsibility. The ability of group members to share the burden of the negative consequences of a poor
decision.
Diffusion. The process by which innovations move through an organization.
Direct observation. Observational research in which the researcher observes organizational behaviour without taking
part in the studied activity.
Discrepancy theory. A theory that job satisfaction stems from the discrepancy between the job outcomes wanted and
the outcomes that are perceived to be obtained.
Discriminant validity. When there is a weak relationship between measures of different variables.
Disjunctive tasks. Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member.
Dispositional attributions. Explanations for behaviour based on an actor’s personality or intellect.
Distinctiveness cues. Attribution cues that reflect the extent to which a person engages in some behaviour across a
variety of situations.
Distributive fairness. Fairness that occurs when people receive what they think they deserve from their jobs.
Distributive negotiation. Win-lose negotiation in which a fixed amount of assets is divided between parties.
Downsizing. The intentional reduction in workforce size with the goal of improving organizational efficiency or
effectiveness.
Downward communication. Information that flows from the top of the organization toward the bottom.
Effect dependence. Reliance on others due to their capacity to provide rewards and punishment.
Effective communication. The right people receive the right information in a timely manner.
Electronic brainstorming. The use of computer-mediated technology to improve traditional brainstorming practices.
Emotional contagion. Tendency for moods and emotions to spread between people or throughout a group.
Emotional intelligence. The ability to understand and manage one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions.
Emotional regulation. Requirement for people to conform to certaindisplay rules in their job behaviour in spite of
their true mood or emotions.
Emotions. Intense, often short-lived feelings caused by a particular event.
Employee recognition programs. Formal organizational programs that publicly recognize and reward employees for
specific behaviours.
Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Incentive plans that allow employees to own a set amount of a
company’s shares and provide employees with a stake in the company’s future earnings and success.
Employee survey. An anonymous questionnaire that enables employees to state their candid opinions and attitudes
about an organization and its practices.
Empowerment. Giving people the authority, opportunity, and motivation to take initiative and solve organizational
problems.
Engagement. The extent to which an individual immerses his or her true self into his or her work roles. When people
are engaged, they employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.
Environmental uncertainty. A condition that exists when the external environment is vague, difficult to diagnose,
and unpredictable.
Equity theory. A process theory that states that motivation stems from a comparison of the inputs one invests in a
job and the outcomes one receives in comparison with the inputs and outcomes of another person or group.
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Document Summary

A conflict management style in which one cooperates with the other party, while not asserting one"s own interests. A technique for improving the accuracy of information reception by paying close attention to the sender. The propensity for actors and observers to view the causes of the actor"s behaviour differently. Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group members. The generation, aggregation, storage, modification, and speedy transmission of information made possible by the advent of computers and related devices. Commitment based on identification and involvement with an organization. The inadequate adjustment of subsequent estimates from an initial estimate that serves as an anchor. A fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to some specific object, situation, person, or category of people. The process by which causes or motives are assigned to explain people"s behaviour. The freedom to schedule one"s own work activities and decide work procedures.

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