ORGS 1000 Final: Individuals & Groups in Organizations

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Published on 30 Jul 2015
Chapter 1 - What is Organizational Behaviour?
- Why does the worst/best co-worker act that way; when understand this, can determine ways to
interact more effectively with both; as a manager, can formulate plans for how to improve attitudes and
behaviours (screening applicants, training, socializing with new members, manage evaluations, rewards
programs, handling conflicts); must understand why employees act the way they do in order to change
their attitudes and behaviours at work
Organizational Behaviour Defined
- Field of study devoted to understanding, explaining and ultimately improving the attitudes and
behaviours of individuals and groups in organizations; use this research to determine whether they can
help solve "real-world" challenges
- Human Resource Management: takes theories and principles studied in OB and explores the
applications of those principles in organizations; different from OB study because examines the best
ways to structure training programs to promote employee learning; OB study explores relationship
between learning and job performance instead
- Strategic Management: focuses on the product choices and industry characteristics that affect an
organization's profitability
The Role of Management Theory
- Over time, ideas about how to best organize, coordinate and manage human work activities change, so
OB changes
- Frederick Taylor: emphasized specialization, coordination, and efficiency; Taylor fathered scientific
management, optimize performance of any task, new methods encouraged using rewards
- Max Weber: emphasized specialization, coordination, and efficiency, with Taylor; Weber associated
with bureaucracy; looked at entire organizations instead of specific people; believed bureaucratic form
as technically superior method of organization, coordinating and controlling human work activities;
bureaucracy entails the division of labour with a high level of technical specialization, a strict chain of
command and authority (subordinates and middle managers, layers of authority), formal rules and
procedures to keep consistency, impartiality and impersonality, and decision making at the top of the
- Productivity problems thought to be the fault of design flaws, failure in the implementation of
specific processes, inappropriate working conditions; deficient structural characteristics blamed at
the organizational level
- Human Relations Movement
- Management scholars began to recognize that the psychological attributes of individual workers
and the social forces within work groups had important effects on behaviour; movement was
ironically created on a foundation of the classical-approach application; Hawthorne Studies
revealed limitations of classical approach when were trying to fix flaws, revealed the importance
of group values and norms, leadership, motivation, job satisfaction, organizational structure;
productivity problems viewed as the outcome of worker alienation from the organization, failure
of the workplace to satisfy important personal needs/goals, low organizational commitment or
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work-group norms discouraging high performance (very little casual emphasis on the
characteristics of formal organization)
- Contemporary Management Theory: recognizes dependency between classical approach and
human relations approach; contingency approach has the idea that there is no one-best, universal
set of principles, applies to OB
An Integrative Model of Organizational Behaviour
- Individual Outcomes: the two primary outcomes of interest to OB researchers, employees and
managers; job performance and organizational commitment; employees aim to perform their jobs well
& to remain members of a respectable firm (depends on several behaviours); managers wish to
maximize employees' job performance and ensure that they keep their position (depends on many
beliefs, attitudes and emotions)
- Individual Mechanisms: such things as job satisfaction, stress, motivation, trust, justice and ethics,
learning and decision making
- Individual, Group & Organizational Context: mechanisms listed above are influenced by several
important contexts, personal attributes that we each bring to our work: personality, cultural values,
ability; team characteristics and processes: norms, roles, interdependence, cooperation, conflict,
communication; the assumption of leadership roles, leadership styles and behaviours; model
acknowledges how individuals and groups function within an organizational context, each firm has an
organizational culture, structures centralized around a decision-making authority, or structures
decentralized, creating autonomy (and everything in between)
Does Organizational Behaviour Matter?
- Effective OB can help keep a product good over the long-term; with a bad product, effective
management of OB can help make a product better over the long-term
- OB Internationally: OB principles applied across multiple cultures
- Cross-Cultural Differences: research in cross-cultural organizational behaviour has illustrated
that national cultures affect many of the relationships in integrative model; little known about OB
that is universal or culture-free
- International Corporation: firms are international in scope; foreign and domestic operations; try
to keep practices consistent across locations to meet needs of the culture
- Expatriation: employees that live outside their native country are called expatriates; difficulty to
- Managing Diversity: groups composed of members of different cultural backgrounds; special
Building a Conceptual Argument
- Resource-Based View: model that argues that rare and inimitable resources help firms maintain
competitive advantage; describes what exactly makes resources valuable, makes them capable of
creating long-term profits for the firm; firms resources are financial (revenue, equity) and physical
(buildings, machines); resources related to organization behaviour are knowledge, decision-making,
ability and wisdom of the workforce, image, culture and goodwill
- Resource is more valuable when it is rare; when good workers are rare, effective OB
management necessary
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- Resource is more valuable when it is inimitable, cannot be easily copied; good people are
difficult to imitate
- History: collective pool of experience, wisdom and knowledge that benefits the
organization; history cannot be bought
- Numerous Small Decisions: people make many small decisions as part of daily work;
big decisions copied because visible to big competitors, observable by industry analysts;
difficult to mimic day-to-day decisions and trade-offs that employees make
- Socially Complex Resources: culture, teamwork, trust, and reputation; not always clear
how they came to develop, though it is clear which organizations do and do not possess
them; cannot be easily copied; spring from social dynamics within a given organization
at a given time
Research Evidence
- OB might affect an organization's profitability; good people are both rare and inimitable and create a
resource that is valuable for creating competitive advantage; research evidence supporting the
importance of OB for company performance
- Firm survival is essential; firms that value OB proven to have a 19% higher survival rate than firms that
do not
- Firms with very good OB practices tend to be higher performers in terms of revenue growth and asset
So What's So Hard?
- According to Jeffrey Pfeffer, some companies do not devote as much attention to OB because effective
management of OB requires a belief that several different practices are important, along with a long-
term commitment to improving those practices
- Rule of One-Eighth: at best, one-eighth of organizations will actually do what is required to build profits
by putting people first; one-half of organizations won't believe the connection between management of
people and profits earned; one-half of those that see the connection will try a single change to solve
their problems, not realizing that effective management of people requires a more comprehensive and
systematic approach; from those that do make such changes, only about one-half will persist with their
practices long enough to actually derive economic benefits
- High job performance depends not just on employee motivation but also on fostering high levels of
satisfaction, managing stress well, creating a trusting climate, and committing to employee learning;
often difficult to "fix" companies that struggle with OB issues, such often struggle in many areas and
How Do We "Know" What We Know About Organizational Behaviour
- Theory: collection of verbal and symbolic assertions that specify how and why variables are related, as
well as the conditions in which they should (not) be related; tells you a story and supplies the familiar
who, what, where, when and why elements found in any newspaper or magazine article; theories must
be tested to verify that their predictions are accurate
- Hypotheses: written predictions that specify relationships between variables; state, in black and white,
the expected relationship between two variables
- Correlation: statistical relationship between two variables (r); can be positive or negative and range
from 0 (no relationship) to +/-1 (perfect statistical relationship); use scatter plot; important to
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