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Chapter 1

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Queen's University
COMM 151
Christopher Miners

1 CHAPTER 1 WHAT ARE ORGANIZATIONS?  Social inventions for accomplishing common goals through group effort Social Inventions  Essential characteristic: has coordinated people, not things  The people present the opportunities and challenges  OB is about understanding people and managing them to work effectively Goal Accomplishment  People are put into organizations for a reason  OB is concerned with how organizations can survive and adapt to change  Behaviours needed for survival and adaptation; people need to be: o Motivated to join and remain in the organization o Carry out their basic work reliably, in terms of productivity, quality and service o Be willing to learn and upgrade their knowledge and skills o Be flexible and innovative Group Effort  Organizations are based on a group effort\they depend in interactions and coordination  Most of the intellectual and physical work is done by groups  There can be permanent work teams or short term project teams  Informal grouping – when friendships develop and there are informal groups for work o The quality of this informal contact in terms of communication and morale can have a strong impact on goal achievement  OB is concerned with how to get people to practise effective teamwork ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR  Refers to the attitudes and behaviours of individuals and groups in organizations  Studies these attributes and behaviours and provides insight about effectively managing and changing them  How organizations can be structured more effectively  Interested in attitudes – hoe satisfied people are with their job, how committed they feel about goals, how supportive they are of promoting woman and minors into management roles  Behaviours: conflict, cooperation’s, innovation, resignation, ethical lapses WHY STUDY OB?  Interesting: It is about people and human nature  Important: need to know the behaviour of the company and people to succeed  Makes a difference: you need more than just technology and money to succeed o What differentiates organizations is their workforce/human capital – need to know how to manage employees o Sustained competitive advantage and organizational effectiveness are increasingly related to the management of human capital GOALS OF OB  Predicting organizational behaviour o Through systematic study 2  Explain organizational behaviour o Explain why events occur in an organization o Prediction does NOT mean the same thing as explanation  Accurate predictions lead to explanation o Explains why some people are more or less determined, satisfied, motivated and prone to resign than others  Particular behaviour can have multiple causes o Turnover problem – you need to find out why it is happening before you can fix it  Managing organizational behaviour o Management – the art of getting things accomplished in organizations o Mangers acquire, allocate and use physical and human resources to accomplish goals o If you can predict and explain behaviour then you should act on it and learn to manage it Early Prescriptions Concerning Management 1. The classical view and bureaucracy  Most people were experiences managers or consultants who too k the time to write down their thoughts on organizing  Occurred in the early 1990s  Classical viewpoint – high specialization of labour, intensive coordination, and centralized decision making o Got experience in military setting, mining operations, and factories o Each department was to tend to its own affair, with centralized decision making from upper management that provided the coordination o To maintain control, the mangers had fairly few workers  Scientific Management – using research to determine optimum degree of specialization and standardization of work tasks o Supported the development of written instructions that clearly defined work procedures o Encouraged supervisors to standardize workers’ movements and breaks for max efficiency  Bureaucracy This was an “ideal type” or theoretical model that would standardize behaviour in organizations and provide workers with security and a sense of purpose Everyone would have a fair chance of being promoted o Strict chain of command – report to single superior o Selection and promotion – based on impersonal technical skills o Detailed rules, regulations, and procedures – job gets done regardless of who worker is o Strict specialization – match duties with technical competence o Centralized power – top of organization 2. Human Relations Movement and Critique of Bureaucracy  Hawthorne studies – study showing how psychological and social processes affect productivity and work adjustment o Resistance to management through strong informal group mechanisms  Human relations movement – management styles that were more participative and oriented toward employee needs It addressed certain problems: o Strict specialization – this is incompatible with human needs for growth and achievement, can lead to employee alienation from organization and clients 3 o Strong Centralization and Reliance on Formal Authority – doesn’t take advantage organization fail to learn from mistakes. Resistance to change occur o Strict, impersonal rules – “at least eight claims a day, eight claims become norm” o Strong specialization – employees lose sight of overall goal. Forms, procedures, and getting signature become ‘goal’  “red tape mentality” that we sometimes see in bureaucracies CONTEMPORARY MANAGEMENT – the contingency approach  How was the tension the classical and human relations approach solved? o First, you need to recognize the merits of both approaches: o Classical: pointed out the critical role of control and coordination in getting organizations to achieve their goals o Humans relations: pointed out the dangers of certain forms of control and coordination – they addressed the need for flexibility and adaptability o Contemporary aka contingency approach: there is no best way to manage – you need to fit the management to the situation at hand  Ex: payroll has to be done more like a bureaucracy – every week on time  But: research has to have more creativity and not so much o When you say “it depends”, these dependencies are called contingencies MANAGERIAL ROLES:  Henry Mintzberg conducted an in depth study of the behaviour of several managers o This study earned him a PhD  They highlight the complexity of the roles managers play  Interpersonal roles – LFL o Leadership role – managers select, mentor, reward, and discipline employees o Figurehead role – managers are symbols of organization rather than active decision makers  EX: making a speech to a trade group, entertaining clients, signing legal docs o Liaison role – maintaining horizontal contacts inside and outside the organization  EX: discussing a project with a colleague in another department OR talking to someone who from another country that you wa
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