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Chapter 1

BUS 272 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Surefire, Corporate Social Responsibility, Telecommuting

Business Administration
Course Code
BUS 272
Graeme Coetzer

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Chapter 1 Introduction to the Field of Organizational Behaviour
The Field of Organizational Behaviour
Organizational Behaviour (OB) the study of what people think, feel and do in and around
o Study individual, team and org-level characteristics that influence behaviour within work
Organizations groups of people who work interdependently towards some purpose
o Employees have structured patterns of interaction tasks should be completed in a
coordinated, organized way
Why study OB?
o OB makes a difference in career success OB theories help you make sense of your
workplace, question/rebuild personal mental models built through observation and
o Everyone needs to work w/ others to get things done; OB provides knowledge/tools to
work w/ and through others
o OB is for everyone “everyone is a manager” i.e. we are increasingly expected to
manage ourselves in the workplace
o OB and the bottom line not just important for individuals, but also for org’s financial
Numerous studies conclude that companies that incorporate OB
theories/practices have better financial performance
Perspectives of organizational effectiveness
Organizational effectiveness = the “ultimate dependent variable” in OB a broad concept
represented by several perspectives, including the org’s fit with the external environment,
internal subsystems config for high performance, emphasis on org learning, and ability to satisfy
the needs of key stakeholders
Used to be defined as the extent to which the org achieved its stated goals however, no
longer accepted b/c some goals are easy to achieve while others are harder to achieve, goal
attainment might threaten org’s long-term survival
Open Systems Perspective
o A perspective that organizations take their sustenance from the enviro, and in turn,
affect that enviro through their output
o One of the earliest and deeply entrenched ways of thinking about organization
o Orgs depend on external enviro for resources (e.g. raw materials, employees, info),
while inside the org are various subsystems (e.g. processes, task activities, and social
dynamics) that, w/ aid of technology, transform inputs into outputs, which can have
positive or negative effects on the external enviro
o Org receives feedback from the external enviro regarding value of outputs and
availability of future inputs
o Successful orgs monitor enviros and are able to maintain a close “fit” w/ changing
o Internal subsystems effectiveness
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OSP also considers how well org operates internally i.e. how well company
transforms inputs into outputs
Organizational efficiency (productivity) measures the amount of outputs
relative to inputs in the org’s transformational process
More efficient means less inputs per unit of output but efficiency
doesn’t necessarily equal effectiveness; orgs need to be adaptive and
innovative in their transformation processes as well as efficient
Org subsystems vary in how much they depend on each other, but the reality is
usually not ideal lots of coordination challenges that amplify as orgs grow
Organizational Learning Perspective
o A perspective that org effectiveness depends on the org’s capacity to acquire, share, use
and store valuable knowledge
o Knowledge = the driver of competitive advantage knowledge management
o Flow of knowledge
Knowledge acquisition info is brought into org from external enviro
Knowledge sharing distribution of knowledge throughout org
Knowledge use application of knowledge to org processes in ways that
improve org’s effectiveness
o Intellectual capital
Company’s stock of knowledge (human capital, structural capital, relationship
Human capital knowledge, skills, abilities that employees carry w/ them
Structural capital knowledge captured and retained in an org’s systems and
Relationship capital value derived from an org’s relationships w/ customers,
suppliers, and others who provide added mutual value for org
o Org Memory and Unlearning
Corporate leaders are keepers of organizational memory storage and
preservation of intellectual capital includes anything that provides
meaningful info about how org should operate
Strategies keeping good employees; systematically transfer knowledge to
other employees; transfer knowledge to structural capital
OLP not just about what effective orgs learn, also about what now-
inappropriate patterns of behaviour and routines they unlearn that no longer
add value to org’s effectiveness
High Performance Word Practices (HPWP) Perspective
o A perspective that effective orgs incorporate several workplace practices that leverage
the potential of human capital
o Human capital is an important source of competitive advantage for orgs valuable,
rare, difficult to imitate, nonsubstitutable
o E.g. employee involvement, job autonomy high performance work teams
o Employee competence orgs are more effective when they invest in employee skills
and knowledge dev, when they carefully select job applicants w/ strong skills and
performance potential
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