MOS 2181 chapter 1.pdf

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Western University
Management and Organizational Studies
Management and Organizational Studies 2181A/B
Victoria Digby

MOS 2181 Chapter 1 I. What Are Organizations? A. Social Inventions Organizations are social inventions for accomplishing common goals through group effort. Their essential characteristic is the coordinated presence of people, not necessarily things. Of primary interest is understanding people and managing them to work effectively. B. Goal Accomplishment Individuals are assembled into organizations for a reason. In the private sector, some organizations have goals like selling cars, delivering news, or winning hockey games. In the nonprofit and public sectors, organizations may have goals such as saving souls, promoting the arts, helping the needy, or educating people. Virtually all organizations have survival as a goal. C. Group Effort To achieve their goals, organizations are staffed with people who operate together in a coordinated fashion. At times, individuals can accomplish much. But by combining greater resources and wealth with effective teamwork, organizations have become the dominant producing agents in the world. The field of organizational behaviour is concerned with how to get people to practice effective teamwork. II. What Is Organizational Behaviour? Organizational behaviour refers to the attitudes and behaviours of individuals and groups in organizations. The field of organizational behaviour involves the systematic study of these attitudes and behaviours, and should be of interest to all students of management. III. Why Study Organizational Behaviour? There are at least three reasons why organizational behaviour is worth studying. A. Organizational Behaviour is Interesting Organizational behaviour is interesting because it is about people and human nature. You should be interested in this field because you will find that the behaviour of people in an organizational setting is fascinating. B. Organizational Behaviour is Important Aside from being interesting, organizational behaviour is also important since most of us are members of organizations. As well, what happens in organizations often has a profound impact on people. Knowledge of organizational behaviour will help to make us more effective in a variety of roles such as managers, employees, or consumers. C. Organizational Behaviour Makes a Difference Organizational behaviour is also worth studying because it not only has to do with the attitudes and behaviour of people in organizations, but it also has implications for an organization’s competitiveness and success. Many of the best companies to work for in Canada use management practices that have their basis in organizational behaviour. In addition, an increasing number of studies have confirmed the existence of linkages between organizational behaviour and corporate performance and success. The main factor that differentiates organizations is the workforce, and the most successful organizations are those that effectively manage their employees. IV. How Much Do You Know about Organizational Behaviour? People are amazingly good at giving sensible reasons as to why a statement is true or false. The ease with which people can generate such contradictory responses suggests that “common sense” develops through unsystematic and incomplete experiences with organizational behaviour. However, because common sense and opinions about organizational behaviour affect management practice, practice should be based on informed opinion and systematic study. V. Goals of Organizational Behaviour The field of organizational behaviour has a number of commonly agreed upon goals. Chief among these are effectively predicting, explaining, and managing behaviour that occurs in organizations. A. Predicting Organizational Behaviour Predicting the behaviour of others is an essential requirement for everyday life, both inside and outside of organizations. The very regularity of behaviour in organizations permits the prediction of its future occurrence. Through systematic study, the field of organizational behaviour provides a scientific foundation that helps improve predictions of organizational events. B. Explaining Organizational Behaviour Another goal of organizational behaviour is explanation of events in organizations – why do they occur? Organizational behaviour is especially interested in determining why people are more or less motivated, satisfied, or prone to resign. The ability to understand behaviour is a necessary prerequisite for effectively managing it. C. Managing Organizational Behaviour Management is defined as the art of getting things accomplished in organizations through others. If behaviour can be predicted and explained, it can often be managed. If prediction and explanation constitute analysis, then management constitutes action. VI. Early Prescriptions Concerning Management There are two basic phases in the pursuit of the “correct” way to manage an organization to achieve its goal. Experts often call these phases the classical view and the human relations view. A. The Classical View and Bureaucracy During the early 1900s, a number of experienced managers and consultants including Henri Fayol, James D. Mooney, and Lyndall Urwick were the first writers to set down their thoughts on organizing. This classical viewpoint is an early prescription on management that advocated high specialization of labour, intensive coordination, and centralized decision making. Frederick Taylor's approach, called Scientific Management, was focused more on shop floor activities than the administrative prescriptions of the classical view. Scientific Management was a system for using research to determine the optimum degree of specialization and standardization of work tasks. Max Weber, a German academic, described bureaucracy as an ideal type of organization that included a strict chain of command, detailed rules, high specialization, centralized power, and selection and promotion based on technical competence. B. The Human Relations Movement and a Critique of Bureaucracy The Hawthorne studies involved research conducted at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric in the 1920s and 1930s that illustrated how psychological and social processes affect productivity and work adjustment. After World War II, researchers and theorists such as Chris Argyris, Alvin Gouldner, and Rensis Likert took up the theme of the Hawthorne studies. This human relations movement was a critique of classical management and bureaucracy that advocated management styles that were more participative and oriented toward employee needs. VII. Contemporary Management — The Contingency Approach Contemporary scholars and managers recognize the merits of both the classical approach and the human relations movement. This contingency approach to management recognizes that there is no one best way to manage, and that an appropriate management style depends on the demands of the situation. VIII. What Do Managers Do? Several research studies have explored what managers do and provide a context for appreciating the usefulness of understanding organizational behaviour. A. Managerial Roles Henry Mintzberg conducted an in-depth study of the behaviour of managers and found a rather complex set of roles played by managers. The relative importance of these roles will vary with management
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