Organizational Behavior and Management Studies

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Organizational behavior is a field of study, which looks at the impact that individuals and groups have on the behaviors within organizations with the aim of applying such knowledge in improving the organization’s effectiveness. It means that organizational behavior can be subdivided into many functions; these functions are determined by individual, group, or organization structure. Organizations are run through individuals. For one to be able to predict an individual’s behaviors he must know his likes and dislikes, thus the study of individuals’ behaviors (Elsevier, 2005)

Organizational behavior is concerned with the study of the behavior of people at work. Organizational behavior involves the understanding of how people work in an organization, how they relate with one another, and how they coordinate with each other in the organization. It involves trying to understand how they work, predict their work patterns, and controlling them.

In an organization, there are several factors that affect people at work. It is very important therefore to try and understand the theories that affect and this involves the understanding of the theoretical foundations of organizational behavior in relation to human resource management. All those aspects that affect people at work should be clearly managed to have good performance and productivity at work.

Organizational behavior is thus built upon several fundamental concepts like psychology, philosophy, sociology, and other very important social sciences disciplines. This means that behavioral sciences have had a major impact on organizational behavior.

Organizational behavior can be traced back to the three primary approaches and these are:

  1. Classical
  2. Human relations
  3. Systems perspectives.

The classical approach involved the ideas of Taylor, Fayol, Mooney e.t.c. These people had the idea of formal structures, technical requirements, management principles, and planning work. They assumed that there were two types of behaviors; rational and logical behaviors. They majorly emphasized the principle of coordination need for a hierarchy of command at the workplace and delegation of duties. They also emphasized the idea of the need for specialization and the separation of different types of duties from each other. Other contributors to the classical approach were Charles Taylor who emphasizes scientific management. He believed that to increase production, it was important to improve management through restructuring work.

Taylor believed in good working methods such that people could be given procedures to follow at the workplace to do their jobs. He also believed that jobs should be divided into tasks through scientific methods. However, he is criticized to have emphasized more on financial rewards rather than work improvement. He also looked at people like machines.

The human relations school began with research of Elton Mayo and his associates and this type of study involves three experiments based on the Hawthorne studies

  1. The interviewing program
  2. Bank wiring observation room
  3. Relay assembly experiment

Hawthorne Studies

This experiment resulted from studies that had been done earlier based on scientific management tradition at a company known as Hawthorne plant and this was done by a western electric company with the national research council. The research involved the establishment of whether the environment would increase productivity or reduce it. The study was to determine the relationship between intensity illumination and efficiency of workers.

And the results showed that an increase in illumination showed an increase in output could decline. However, the output increased. This is because in real working situations there are several factors that affect the way people work not the only illumination. This is further explained by the fact that as the experimenters reduced, illumination output increased still instead of decreasing. From this, the company carried three researchers to do three more controlled experiments to show the relationship between human behavior and the environment. This took five years.

The relay assembly test room experiment

Six girls making telephone assemblies were put on water and serious observation was done on them to know the relationship at work and the working conditions. The experimenters replaced their supervisor with a person who had no formal authority over the girls hence they were given freedom.

They told the girls the purpose of the experiment and sought their suggestions as time went by.

They also introduced a series of factors to determine their effect on output i.e. working conditions, rest, and the environment, and surprisingly despite this, production still increased, and still, more astonishing production continued to increase even when they were told to go back to the original working conditions that had long working days and no rest. In my opinion, productivity, in this case, is not to be because of physical factors but because of personal, physical, and physiological factors according to the experimenter, they concluded that productivity was a result of modification of the worker’s motivation, and different patterns of supervision.

Bank wiring observation room

Then there was the bank wiring observation room where 14 male operators were understudy and then there was an observer among them who quietly made a record of all the relevant issues concerning the study and after six months the experimenters realized that informal workgroups were created by the workers and these led to conflicts with the work norms and productivity output set by the management. This is because informal groups have a great influence on formal groups and are very persuasive. They are hence a very important factor to consider in the study of the behavior of people at work.

Because the people were paid as a group i.e. They were paid equal bonus as a result of group performance, the combined output increased but each worker restricted personal or individual performance. The researchers also realized that group work determined the output of individual workers and this means that production is due to social and not psychological factors and each group had ways of protecting the group from people from other groups and those who wanted to intrude to the group.

From the two experiments

From the two experiments, we can learn that most people take work as a social, as well as technical system and they, seem to be informal groups. And the best study in my case is the bank wiring observation room because secret observation on workers will give out the true picture of an individual at work and hence one can know the real factors that affect his output. Social systems in organizations determine the norms, which may differ greatly from those norms that are formally set by the organization.

Most individual workers are not motivated by financial incentives like money but are also eager to be motivated by social and psychological factors, for example in the relay assemblies experiment the girls increased output because of merely being a change of environment and good incentives and motivations such as breaks and rests. This made them increase output because they were psychologically motivated.

Human behavior is also affected by feelings sentiments and attitudes. Hence, financial incentives are not the only incentives that can increase productivity, so increased workers satisfaction leads to increased output and hence more results at work.

Human beings have also leadership patterns that are based upon normal structures and positions and just like in the assembly test room, human beings should be given leadership based on democratic rather than autocratic leadership style and if workers are satisfied, it leads to increased performance at the workplace. Workers should also be given a chance to participate in decision-making at the workplace on matters affecting them and this improves morale and hence more productivity. Management hence should not only have technical skills but social and human relations skills as well.

These experiments were done by Elton Mayo and his colleagues at Harvard F.T Rothelisberger and T.W Whitehead to help the establishment of a more controlled way to know behaviors of individuals at work and factors that affect them at work leading to low productivity. Good experiments in this field should attempt to establish a good group sample that can be generalized to be used as representative of a larger population so that results of the sample can be generalized to show their relationship with a larger group.

Special experiment conditions should also be met and this is the point I differ with the relay assembly test room experiment because the women were not under good study because there were none of the women who were not placed under special experimental conditions. And even if this was to be made clear still the experiment was not to have strong persuasion because a group of six people was too small to bring statistically liable outcomes.

Factors Affecting Organization Behaviors

Among the factors that affect behavior in the organization, including

The principles of management as listed by Fayol, if this is an organization

They include are as follows:-

  1. Division of work. This principle is the same as Adam Smith’s “division of labor”. Specialization increases output by making employees more efficient.
  2. Authority. Managers must be able to give orders. Authority gives them this right. Along with authority, however, goes responsibility. Whenever authority is exercised, responsibility arises.
  3. Discipline. Employees must obey and respect the rules that govern the organization. Good discipline is the result of effective leadership, a clear understanding between management and workers regarding the organization’s rules, and the judicious use of penalties for infractions of the rules.
  4. Unity of Command. Every employee should receive orders from only one superior.
  5. Unity of Direction. One manager using one plan should direct each group of organizational activities that have the same objectives.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interests. The interests of any one employee or group of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole.
  7. Remuneration. Workers must be paid a fair wage for their services.
  8. Centralization. Centralization refers to the degree to which subordinates are involved in decision-making. Whether decision-making is centralized (to management) or decentralized (to subordinates) is a question of proper proportion. The problem is to find the optimum degree of centralization for each situation.
  9. Scalar chain. The line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks represents the scalar chain. Communications should follow this chain. However, if following the chain creates delays, cross-communications can be allowed if agreed to by all parties, and superiors are kept informed.
  10. Order. People and materials should be in the right place at the right time.
  11. Equity. Managers should be kind and fair to their subordinates
  12. Stability of Tenure of personnel. High employee turnover is inefficient. Management should provide orderly personnel planning and ensure that replacements are available to fill vacancies.
  13. Initiative. Employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort.
  14. Esprit de corps. Promoting team spirit will build harmony and unity within the organization. (Winslow, 1998).

Organization culture

Culture as was defined as “An historical transmitted patterns of meaning embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men and women communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life”

Although organization culture has been defined at the society level it impacts the behavior of an individual which in turn affects the performance of companies.

Organizational culture defines how things are done within the organization. It is a source of stability or a barrier to change depending on the organization’s strength. The organization’s culture has many characteristics among them innovation and risk-taking people orientation, outcome orientation, aggressiveness stability, and team orientation. Organizational culture deals with ways in which employees perceive the organization characteristics like leadership, delegation, communication channels, and management of change.

Organization culture

An organization structure defines how job tasks are formally divided grouped and coordinated. There are six key elements that managers need to address when they design their organizational structure. These are work specialization, departmentalization, and formalization.


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