ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR MIDTERM
Define organizations and describe their basic characteristics:
Organizations are social inventions for accomplishing common goals
through group effort.
Social inventions: characterized by the coordinated presence of people
The field of organizational behaviour is about understanding people
and managing them to work effectively.
Goal accomplishment in OB terms is concerned with how organizations
survive and adapt to change. Therefore, people must
o Be motivated to join and remain
o Carry out basic work reliably
o Continuously learn & upgrade skills & knowledge
o Be flexible and innovative
Group Effort: The interaction and coordination among people to
accomplish organizational goals.
The field of Organizational Behaviour (OB) is concerned with how to get
people to practice effective teamwork.
Explain the concept of organizational behavior and describe the goals of the
Organizational Behaviour: The attitudes and behaviours of
individuals and groups in organizations.
We will explore
o The role of organizational culture on the effectiveness of
o How employees in organizations learn
o How organizations motivate employees
o How managers communicate with employees
Why study OB?
o It’s interesting
o It’s important
o It makes a difference
The workforce (human capital) can create a sustainable
competitive advantage for organizations
Goals of Organizational Behaviour (OB): to provide a systemic
understanding of behavioural science that assists us in
o Predicting OB
o Explaining OB and why events occur
o Managing OB by taking appropriate action
Define management and describe what manages do to accomplish goals:
Management is the art of getting things accomplished in organizations
1 What managers (should) do: Manage OB by taking action using an
Contrast the classical viewpoint of management with that which the human
relations movement advocated:
Classical Viewpoint: advocated high specialization of labour, intensive
coordination, and centralized decision making.
Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management system used research to
determine the optimal degree of specialization and standardization of work
Max Weber advocated Bureaucracy
o A strict chain of command
o Selection & promotion based on technical competence
o Detailed rules, regulations and procedures
o High specialization
o Centralized power
Expected results: standardized behaviour and worker security.
The Human Relations Movement advocated more participatory
management styles oriented towards employees needs.
The Hawthorne Studies (1920’s & 1930’s) illustrated how psychological
and social processes affect productivity and work adjustment.
Human Relations Movement especially critiqued
o Strict specialization – incompatible with human need for growth and
o Strong centralization – reliance on formal authority loses creativity
and knowledge of lower-level employees
o Strict, impersonal rules – leads to minimum performance standards
o Strong specialization – causes employees to lose sight of overall
Both Classical and Human Relations viewpoints have merit
o How much control and coordination is optimal?
o What are the external and internal environments of the particular
Describe the contemporary contingency approach to management:
An organization has many contingencies (dependencies) to deal with.
Contingency approach to management recognizes that there is no one
best way to manage. An appropriate management style depends on the
demands of the situation.
Explain what managers do – their roles, activities, agendas for action, and
Henry Mintzberg’s study of what managers do divides their roles into 3
o Interpersonal roles
2 Interpersonal roles are expected behaviours that have to do
with establishing and maintaining interpersonal relations
In the figurehead role, managers serve as symbols of their
organization rather than active decision makers
In the leadership role, managers select, mentor, reward, and
In the liaison role, managers maintain horizontal contacts
inside and outside the organization
o Informational roles
These roles are concerned with the various ways managers
receive and transmit information
In the monitor role, managers scan the internal and external
environments of the firm to follow current performance and
to keep themselves informed of new ideas and trends
In the disseminator role, managers send information on both
facts and preferences to others
The spokesperson role concerns mainly sending messages
into the organization’s external environment
o Decisional roles
In the entrepreneur role, managers turn problems and
opportunities into plans for improved changes
In the disturbance handler role, managers deal with
problems stemming from employee conflicts and address
threats to resources and turf
In their resource allocation role, managers decide how to
deploy time, money, personnel, and other critical resources
In the negotiator role, managers conduct major negotiations
with other organizations or individuals
The importance of each role varies with management level.
Managerial Activities: Human Resource Mgmt, Networking, Routine
Communication, Traditional Management
Routine communication this includes the formal sending and receiving
of information (as in meetings) and the handling of paperwork
3 Traditional management planning, decision making, and controlling are
the primary types of traditional management
Networking this consists of interacting with people outside of the
organization and informal socializing and politicking with insiders
Human resource management this includes motivating and reinforcing,
disciplining and punishing, managing conflict, staffing, and training and
According to John Kotter, Managerial Agendas of successful managers include:
o Agenda setting – what they want to accomplish
o Networking – who will help them accomplish this
o Agenda Implementation – how they will accomplish their
agendas, especially through the use of their networks.
Managerial minds (thought processes), per Simon and Isenberg’s
studies, are intuitive in:
o Sensing a problem exists
o Performing well-learned mental tasks rapidly
o Synthesizing isolated pieces of information & data
o Double-checking formal or mechanical analysis
Describe the societal and global trends that are shaping contemporary
International managers find
o Technical requirements are the same across all cultures
o Behavioural requirements differ across cultures
Values, beliefs, expectations and interpersonal relations vary
Contemporary Management Concerns currently deals with 4 main issues:
1) Diversity – both locally and globally managers must understand the
needs of culturally diverse stakeholders: employees, customers,
2) Employee – Organizational Relationships – employees are affected
by downsizing, restructuring, outsourcing, reengineering.
a. Decreased trust
b. Reduced morale and shifting loyalty
c. Job dissatisfaction
d. Illness, stress, absenteeism
3) Focus on Quality, Speed, and Flexibility
o Intense competition & globalization
o Changing customer needs/expectations
o Changing economic conditions
o Changing environmental conditions
This requires a high degree of employee involvement,
commitment, and teamwork
4) Talent Management
4 An organization’s processes for attracting, developing, retaining, and
utilizing people with the required skills to meet current and future
Two important talent management challenges:
o Recruitment of high-quality people across multiple territories,
o Improving the appeal of the company culture and work
What do successful companies do?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR): An organization taking
responsibility for the impact of its decisions and actions on its
5 CHAPTER 2:
Define personality and discuss its general role in influencing OB:
Personality: the relatively stable set of psychological characteristics that
influences the way an individual interacts with his or her environment.
Personality is determined by
o Genetic predisposition
o One’s long-term learning history
Each of us has a unique personality.
Does a person’s behaviour influence the situation?
Or does the situation influence the way a person behaves?
This “person-situation debate” led to 3 approaches to OB
Describe the dispositional, situational & interactionist approaches to OB:
The dispositional approach
o Focuses on individual disposition and personality that influences
our attitude and behaviour
o People are predisposed to act in certain ways
The situational approach
o Focuses on characteristics of organizational settings (e.g., rewards,
punishments) that influence feelings, attitudes and behaviours
o Studies show situational factors, such as task characteristics,
determine job satisfaction
The interactionist approach
o Combines both Dispositional and Situational approaches
o In a weak (loosely defined) situation, disposition has the strongest
o In a strong (clearly defined) situation, disposition has less of an
Implications for OB
o There is no one best personality
o Organizations must appreciate employee diversity
o Fit is important: putting the right person in the right job at the right
Discuss the Five-Factor Model of Personality (FFM).
6 The “Big Five” personality dimensions relate to:
o Job performance & other work behavior
o Job and life satisfaction
o Job search and career success
o Interest and preferences
and tend to apply cross culturally
Discuss consequences of locus of control, self-monitoring, & self-esteem:
Locus of control: A set of beliefs about whether one’s behaviour is
controlled mainly by internal or external forces.
o Internals feel they are in control of their own destiny.
o Externals feel they are controlled by fate, luck, etc.
o Internals tend to be higher achievers
Self-monitoring is the extent to which people observe and regulate how
they appear and behave in social settings & relationships.
7 o Low self-monitors are not too concerned with fitting in or hiding
o High self-monitors tend to be adaptable i.e. ―act the part‖.
Self-esteem: the degree to which a person has a positive self-evaluation.
The difference between high and low self-esteem relates to the plasticity
of their thoughts, attitudes and behaviours
Behavioural plasticity theory: People with low self-esteem tend to be
more susceptible to external & social influences than those who have high
Discuss positive & negative affectivity:
Positive affectivity: the propensity to view the world, including oneself &
other people, in a positive light.
Negative affectivity: the propensity to view the world, including oneself &
other people, in a negative light.
PA & NA are emotional dispositions.
Discuss proactive personality:
Proactive Personality : A tendency to take personal initiative across a
range of activities and situations and to effect positive change in one’s
Positively correlated to performance, tolerance for stress, effectiveness,
participation in organizational initiatives, and career success
Discuss general self-efficacy:
General self-efficacy (GSE) refers to an individual’s belief in his or her
ability to perform successfully in a variety of challenging situations.
GSE is a motivational trait rather than an affective trait.
Discuss core self-evaluations:
Core self-evaluations: a broad personality concept consisting of four
specific traits that reflect the evaluations people hold about themselves
and their self-worth. These are:
o General self-efficacy
o Locus of control
and relate to overall satisfaction and performance.
Define learning and describe what is learned in organizations:
Learning: a relatively permanent change in behaviour potential that
occurs due to practice or experience.
Learning stems from an environment that gives feedback concerning the
consequences of behaviour.
What is learned in organizations?
o Practical skills: job specific
8 o Intrapersonal skills: problem solving, critical thinking, risk taking
o Interpersonal skills: communicating, teamwork, conflict resolution
o Cultural awareness: organizational norms, priorities and goals
Explain operant learning theory and differentiate between positive & negative
Operant learning: the subject learns to operate on the environment to
achieve certain consequences.
o Behaviour results in consequences
o Consequences reinforce behaviour
o We learn the connection between behaviour & consequences
Reinforcement: the process by which stimuli strengthen behaviours.
Positive reinforcement: the application or addition of a stimulus (positive
reinforcer) that increases or maintains the probability of some behaviour.
Negative reinforcement: the removal of a stimulus that, in turn,
increases or maintains the probability of some behaviour.
o Occurs when a response prevents some event or stimulus from
o The removed or prevented stimulus is a negative reinforcer.
Organizational Errors Involving Reinforcement:
o Confusing rewards not directly related to behaviour with
o Neglecting diversity in preferences for reinforcers
Neglecting important sources of reinforcement, e.g.:
o Performance feedback: quantitative or qualitative information on
past performance for the purpose of changing or maintaining
performance in specific ways.
o Social recognition: Informal acknowledgement, attention, praise,
approval, or genuine appreciation for work well done from one
individual or group to another.
Explain when to use immediate versus delayed reinforcement and when to
use continuous versus partial reinforcement:
o Achieves fast acquisition of some response
o If reinforcement stops, behaviour will likely stop
o Achieves persistent behaviour
o Behaviour will likely continue with intermittent reinforcement
9 Distinguish between extinction and punishment and explain how to use
Strategies to reduce the probability of undesirable behaviour:
Extinction: the gradual dissipation of behaviour following the termination
Punishment: the application of an aversive stimulus following some
behaviour designed to decrease the probability of that behaviour.
Problems with punishment:
o Only indicates what is not appropriate
o Does not indicate what is appropriate
o Can provoke strong emotional reaction from the punished individual
o Tends to be a temporary fix
Using punishment effectively:
o Make sure chosen punishment is truly aversive
o Punish immediately
o Do not reward unwanted behaviour before or after punishment
o Do not inadvertently punish desirable behaviour
Explain social cognitive theory and discuss observational learning, self-
efficacy & self-regulation:
Social Cognitive Theory states that people have the cognitive ability to
regulate & control their own thoughts, feelings, motivations and actions
o Personal and environmental factors work together to influence
o Behaviour also influences personal and environmental factors
10 Complements Operant Learning Theory
Social Cognitive Theory is best explained through a system of triadic
1) Observational Learning
a. Observational learning is the process of observing and imitating
the behavior of others.
a. Self-efficacy refers to the beliefs people have about their ability
to successfully perform a specific task.
a. According to social cognitive theory, employees can use
learning principle to manage their own behavior making external
control less necessary.
Observational learning: The process of observing and imitating the
behaviour of others
Self-efficacy: Beliefs people have about their ability to successfully
perform a specific task
Self-regulation: the use of leaning principles to regulate one’s own
behaviour. This includes:
o Collecting self-observation data
o Observing models
o Setting goals
o Reinforcing oneself
Describe various organizational learning practices:
Organizational Behaviour Modification
Systematic use of learning principles to influence Organizational
11 o Identify the behaviour to be changed
o Identify the desirable behaviour
o Use reinforcement, feedback & rewards to promote & support
Employee Recognition Programs: formal programs that publicly
recognize & reward employees for specific behaviour.
Effective programs specify
o How a person will be recognized
o The type of behaviour being encouraged
o The manner of public acknowledgement
o A token or icon of the event for the recipient
Training: Planned organizational activities that are designed to facilitate
knowledge and skill acquisition to change behaviour and improve
One of the most widely used & effective methods is Behaviour Modelling
Behaviour Modelling Training (BMT)
o Clearly defines skills/behaviours to be learned
o Provides models that effectively use/show off these skills
o Provides opportunities to practise skills
o Provides feedback & social reinforcement
o Takes steps to maximize transfer of these new skills to the job
Career Development: an ongoing process in which individuals progress
through a series of stages that consist of a unique set of issues, themes
o Involves career planning and career management
Career Planning involves assessing one’s interests, skills & abilities and
developing career goals and plans.
Career Management involves taking the necessary steps to achieve
career goals e.g., looking for special assignments that assist in career
12 CHAPTER 3:
Define perception and discuss some of the general factors that influence
Perception: the process of interpreting the messages of our senses to
provide order and meaning to the environment.
Perceptual defense: the tendency for the perceptual system to defend
the perceiver against unpleasant emotions.
Three Components of Perception: Perceiver, (context of) situation & target
Explain social identity theory and Bruner’s model of the perceptional process:
Social identity theory (who am I?):
Perceptions people form of themselves and others based on
1) Social identity – relational (e.g. farmer, Canadian) and comparative
(e.g. professor and students) social affiliations or categories
2) Personal identity – unique personal characteristics (e.g., interests,
Bruner’s model of the perceptual process
o A perceiver that encounters an unfamiliar target is open to cues
that help define and categorize
o Once familiar cues are encountered, the perceiver looks for cues to
support and confirm categorization of target and tends to ignore
cues that violate initial perception
13 Characteristics of the Perceptual Process:
o Selectivity – does not consider all cues
o Constancy – perceiving the target in the same way over time &
o Consistency – selecting, ignoring & distorting cues so they fit
together to form a homogenous image of the target
Describe the main biases in person perception:
Primacy effect: the tendency for a perceiver to rely on early cues or first
o First impressions often have lasting effects.
Recency effect: the tendency for a perceiver to rely on recent cues or last
Reliance on central traits: personal characteristics of a target person that
are of particular interest to a perceiver (e.g., physical appearance,
Implicit personality theories: personal theories that people have about
which personality characteristics go together (e.g., expecting hard workers
to be honest)
Projection: the tendency for perceivers to attribute their own thoughts &
feelings to others
Stereotyping: the tendency to generalize about people in a certain social
category and ignore variations among them (e.g., race, gender, age)
Most stereotypes are inaccurate but
o Are reinforced by selective perception
o Help us process information about others quickly & efficiently
Describe how people form attributions about the causes of behavior:
14 Attribution: the process by which we assign causes or motives to explain
Dispositional attributions explains behaviour based on an actor’s
personality or intellect
Situational attributions explains behaviour based on an actor’s external
situation or environment
Other attribution cues people use are:
o Consistency cues: how consistently a person engages in some
behaviour over time
o Consensus cues: how a person’s behaviour compares with others
o Distinctiveness cues: the extent to which a person engages in
some behaviour across a variety of situations
Discuss various biases in attribution:
Fundamental attribution error is the tendency to overemphasize
dispositional explanations for behaviour at the expense of situational
Actor-observer effect is the propensity for actors and observers to view
the causes of the actor’s behaviour differently.
Self-serving bias is the tendency to take credit for successful outcomes
and to deny responsibility for failures.
Discuss the concepts of workforce diversity and valuing diversity:
Workforce diversity: differences among recruits and employees in
characteristics such as gender, race, age, religion, cultural background,
physical ability, or sexual orientation.
Why is this an issue in organizations today?
The Changing Workplace
o The labour pool is becoming more diverse
o Organizations need to reflect customer diversity
o Globalization, mergers, strategic alliances require interaction with
diverse national & corporate cultures
Valuing diversity (vs. tolerating it):
Diversity and its proper management can yield strategic and competitive
o Improved problem solving and creativity
o Improved recruiting and marketing
o Improved competitiveness in global markets
Organizations are adopting diversity as part of their corporate strategy.
Competitive advantages to valuing and managing a diverse workforce:
o Resource acquisition
o Problem solving
o System flexibility
15 Discuss how racial, ethnic, gender, and age stereotypes affect organizational
behavior and what organizations can do to manage diversity:
Stereotype Threat: members of a social group feel they might be judged
or treated according to a stereotype and that their behaviour or
performance will confirm the stereotype.
Organizational barriers to valuing diversity:
1) Racial and Ethnic stereotyping
o Tends to be pervasive, persistent
o Is frequently negative and contradictory
o Often affects career tracking
2) Gender stereotyping
o Successful managers are perceived as possessing predominantly
masculine traits and characteristics.
3. 3) Age stereotyping
o Generational stereotyping and the perception that older workers
o Less capacity for performance
o Less potential for development
Managing Workforce Diversity:
o Select enough minorities to get them past token status
o Encourage diversity in teams
o Ensure decision makers have accurate information about individual
employees and their performance
o Train people to be aware of stereotypes
Success factors for Diversity Programs:
o Build senior management commitment and accountability
o Conduct a thorough needs assessment
o Develop a well-defined strategy tied to business results
o Emphasize team building and group process training
o Establish metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of diversity initiatives
Define trust perceptions and perceived organizational support and describe
organizational support theory:
Trust: a psychological state in which one has a willingness to be
vulnerable and to take risks with respect to the actions of another party.
Trust toward management is based on our perception of their ability,
benevolence and integrity.
Perceptions of trust in management is related to:
o Job satisfaction
o Organizational commitment
o Job performance
o Organizational citizenship
o Lower turnover and absenteeism
16 Perceived organizational support (POS): employees’ general belief that
their organization values their contribution and cares about their well-
Organizational support theory states that employees who have a strong
perception of organizational support feel an obligation to care about the
organization’s welfare and to help the organization achieve it’s objectives.
Discuss person perception and perceptual biases in human resources:
Person Perceptions in human resources (HR) are affected by
The employment interview
o Contrast effects: previously interviewed job applicants affect an
interviewer’s perception of a current applicant, leading to an
exaggeration of differences between applicants.
o More structure, especially standardization & consistency, improves
Applicant’s perception of recruitment and selection
o Signalling theory (cues about the job and company)
o Perception of fairness
Work samples & interviews are viewed more favourably than
The performance appraisal
o Objective appraisals use performance measures
Easier for lower-level employees
o Subjective appraisals are susceptible to perceptual biases
Primacy, recency, stereotypes & other biases
Subjective appraisals are also susceptible to
o Leniency: tendency to give good ratings
o Harshness: tendency to give poor ratings
17 o Central tendency: tendency to give middle-range ratings, no
o Halo effect: using one trait or characteristic that the rater thinks is
important to influence all ratings
o Similar-to-me effect: good ratings for people with background or
attitude similar to rater
Techniques for reducing perceptual errors and biases
o Use Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scales that give specific
behavioural examples of good, average and poor performance.
18 CHAPTER 4:
Define values and discuss the implications of cross-cultural variation in values
for organizational behavior:
Values: a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others
o Person-organization fit is important
Generational differences result from age & different socialization
experiences growing up
Four generations in today’s workplace:
Cultural difference in values
o Work centrality (the importance of work in your life)
Hofstede (and later studies) analyzed 5 basic dimensions of
work-related values that differ across cultures
1) Power distance: the extent to which an unequal distribution of power
is accepted by society members
2) Uncertainty avoidance: the extent to which people are uncomfortable
with uncertain and ambiguous situations
3) Masculinity/femininity: Masculine cultures clearly differentiate gender
roles and stress economic performance. Feminine cultures stress
equality and quality of life.
4) Individualism/collectivism: Individualistic societies stress
independence, individual initiative, and privacy. Collective cultures
favour interdependence and loyalty to family or clan.
5) Long-term/short-term orientation: Long-term tends to stress
persistence, perseverance, thrift, & status differences.
19 Cross-cultural implications:
o Importing/exporting OB theories
The basic organizational questions are the same
The answers vary across nations
Appreciating Global Customers
o Different values are reflected in different needs, tastes & ways of
Developing global employees
o Companies need to select, train & develop employees to better
appreciate difference in, and implications of, cultural values in OB
Define attitudes and explain how people develop and change attitudes:
Attitude: a fairly stable evaluative tendency to respond consistently to
some specific object, situation, person or category of people
o A function of what we think and feel
Belief + Value AttitudeBehaviour
Organizations may try to change or modify employee attitudes using forms
of persuasion because attitude reflects on
o Job satisfaction
o Organizational commitment
Explain the concept of job satisfaction and discuss some of its key contributors,
including discrepancy, fairness, disposition, mood, and emotion, in promising job
Job satisfaction: a collection of attitudes that workers have about their
o Includes facet satisfaction (i.e., individual components, such as
work, compensation, relationship with boss)
o Overall satisfaction (i.e., the average of facet satisfaction)
20 What determines job satisfaction?
1) Discrepancy theory: job (dis)satisfaction stems from the
discrepancy between job outcomes wanted and the outcomes
perceived to be obtained
a. Perception is dictated by worker’s value system
2) Fairness: Distributive fairness/justice: occurs when people
receive what they think they deserve from their jobs
a. Equity theory is a comparison tool that people use to
determine distributive fairness
Perceived equity exists when:
My Outcomes Other’s Outcomes
My Inputs Other’s Inputs
o Inputs may be workers’ training, education, hard work
o Outcomes may be organizational pay, career opportunities
o Equity theory looks at individual contribution
Procedural Fairness/Justice occurs when the process used to determine
work outcomes is seen as reasonable. It should:
o Follow consistent procedures over time and across people
o Use accurate information & appear unbiased
o Allow two-way communication during the allocation process
o Welcome appeals
Interactional Fairness/Justice occurs when people feel they have
received respectful and informative communication about an outcome
Interactional Unfairness leads to dissatisfaction with boss
Procedural Unfairness leads to dissatisfaction with system
3) Disposition: the contribution of an employee’s personality to
their job satisfaction. Some people are predisposed to be more
or less happy.
a. Refer also to Chapter 2 – ―Big Five‖ personality traits.
4) Mood and Emotion
Emotions: intense, and often short-lived, feelings
caused by a particular event.
21 Moods: less intense, longer-lived, and more diffuse
Affective events theory reminds us that jobs consist of
a series of events & happenings that have the potential to
influence moods & emotions
Emotional contagion: tendency for moods & emotions
to spread between people or throughout a group
Emotional regulation: requirement for people to
conform to certain ―display rules‖ in their job behavior in
spite of their true mood or emotions.
o Also called ―emotional labour‖ e.g., a frequent
need to suppress negative emotions may