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Chapter 1

BUS 272 - Chapter 1.docx

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Simon Fraser University
Business Administration
BUS 272
Graeme Coetzer

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 organizations o Study individual, team and org-level characteristics that influence behaviour within work settings  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 experience 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 health  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 conditions o Internal subsystems effectiveness  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 capital)  Human capital – knowledge, skills, abilities that employees carry w/ them  Structural capital – knowledge captured and retained in an org’s systems and structures  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 o Link performance and skill dev to various forms of financial and nonfinancial rewards valued by employees  Stakeholder Perspective o Stakeholders – individuals, orgs and other entities who affect, or are affected by, the org’s objectives and actions o Companies must take into account how their actions affect others, which requires them to understand, manage, and satisfy the interests of their stakeholders --> personalizes open sys
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