Organizational Processes: Theory and Behavior

The Major Implications of Organizational Theory and Behavior to Organizations

The concept of organizational behavior is comprised of various aspects which explain human interaction and behavior. In organizational context, organizational behavior majorly constitutes organizational culture and structure. Organizational culture refers to shared beliefs, values, norms, and practices which characterize an organization (Martin, 2005).

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Organizational structure refers to how an organization is structured, and how power and authority to make decisions are distributed along the structure of the organization (Parker, 2000). Organizational culture is closely related to organizational structure in that the manner in which decisions are made by the top management influences the relationship between the top management and the employees, which in turn determines the culture of the organization.

The study of organizations is made possible by the use of organizational theories or approaches. These theories are mainly used to explain organizations in terms of structure and culture (Martin, 2005). There are many theories which explain organizations’ structure and culture. The theories can be categorized into the classical organizational theories; the neoclassical approach to organizations and modern organizational theories.

Pay, Careers, and Changing Employment Relations in Tough Economic Times

In order for organizations to overcome the storm of the tough economic times, they need to use various strategies which ensure that they remain competitive. The tough economic times are characterized by shrinking revenues and increasing rates of inflation. As a result, organizations must make sure that they utilize their resources in an efficient and effective manner. One of the strategies to do so is job enrichment. Job enrichment refers to the process of giving employees an opportunity to put into practice their various abilities and potentials (Mind tools, 2015). It is underlined by the fact that employees have different abilities and potentials. Job enrichment is attained through having a variety of challenging tasks, giving feedback to employees through effective communication, encouragement of employees and development of meaningful tasks in form of work units (Phillips & Morris Gully, 2012). The concept of job enrichment was developed by the renowned American psychologist Herzberg in 1950s. The concept was to replace job enlargement which had dominated the field of organizational behavior for a long time (Phillips & Morris Gully, 2012). Some aspects of job enrichment are discussed below.

Aspects of Job Enrichment

Effective communication

Communication is the transfer of information from one person or source to another (Perkins, 2010). In organizational context, effective communication involves using the correct language in communication between employees and their seniors. The language used should be neutral and inoffensive to anybody. Managers should also avoid discrimination of employees based on their position in the organization, age, gender, level of education, race and religion.

Group work

Organizations encourage employees to work in groups instead of working independently. This enables them to benefit from the synergy found in groups. Working in groups gives employees an opportunity to exercise their creativity, innovativeness, skills and talents (Glisson, Dulmus & Sowers, 2012). It also enables the group members to learn from the strengths of each other as well as from the diverse experiences of the group members. When employees work in groups, they learn how to welcome positive criticism. Working in groups also enables the employees to generate new ideas which are implemented by the organization. This increases their motivation because they feel that the organization values their input.

Employee motivation

Every day we wake up and engage in various activities aimed at achieving different goals. The achievement is made possible by motivation which is defined as the force which energizes, sustains and directs behavior of human beings to specific goals. These forces are known as motives or drives underlying human behavior. Motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic (Müller, 2011). Intrinsic motivation comes from the employees and is characterized by the need to achieve good results, the passion in work, the ambition to acquire new knowledge and the need to be successful at the workplace (Thomas, 2010). Extrinsic motivation arises from things which are external to employees and include things like appreciation, rewards, increased salary, promotions and congratulatory messages. It may be based on performance of individual employees, group efforts or collective success of the organization as a whole. Motivation of employees makes them acquire positive values, beliefs, norms and attitudes toward their organization (Thomas, 2010). Positive values include things like hard work, faithfulness, commitment, respect and appreciation. An example of a positive belief is being optimistic in everything which employees undertake.

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Employee training

This involves the training of employees on a continuous basis. The employees may be trained on various aspects of their job and other processes of the organization. Training of employees enables them to improve their performance and efficiency, which impacts positively on the productivity of the organization (Hoffmann, 2007). Employee training also ensures that an organization makes maximum use of its human resources because well trained employees are capable of multitasking.

Theories Related to Job Enrichment

There are various theories which are related to job enrichment. Some of them include are discussed below.

Herzberg’s two factor theory

The concept of job enrichment is founded on Herzberg’s two factor theory. In the theory, Herzberg argues that employees are motivated by the presence of motivation factors and are demotivated by the absence of hygiene factors (Hoffmann, 2007). Motivation factors are those things which are directly linked to the work done by employees. The factors provide answers to questions such as whether the work offers the employees an opportunity to achieve, to be responsible and to be recognized. The hygiene factors on the other hand are those which may make employees to be dissatisfied with their work and include things like poor salary, lack of fringe benefits and poor working environment. According to him therefore, organizations must ensure that they improve on the two factors in order to increase employees’ levels of satisfaction with their job and decrease dissatisfaction.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

In an attempt to explain human behavior, Maslow came up with what he referred to as the hierarchy of needs. According to him, human needs are arranged in a hierarchical manner. Organizations employ employees from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, gender, level of education, religion, social status, and professional experience (Maslow, 2012). These employees are also employed to serve at various capacities and are assigned various tasks depending on their qualifications. This implies that all employees have different needs at any given time. They also have different motivational needs. For instance, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an organization has different needs from a junior employee such as a secretary or receptionist, yet all of them work for the benefit of the same organization.

Expectancy theory

This theory was founded by Victor Vroom in 1964. In the theory, Vroom argues that there is need for organizations to link rewards to performance. He also points out the need of organizations to ensure that those who get rewarded actually deserve to be rewarded (Green & Heywood, 2008). As such, there is need for organizations to verify whether employees need rewards and if so, to ensure that only employees who deserve rewards actually get them.

Job enrichment relates to expectancy theory in that employees are remunerated based on their performance (Green & Heywood, 2008). It involves giving incentives to employees based on their performance. This aims at maximizing the potential of hard working employees while adequately motivating them as well as saving on the incentives initially given to low performing employees. The idea is to enable hard working employees to earn as much as they could, which is believed to reduce employee turnover. Organizations may also introduce promotion based on individual’s performance and employees’ abilities.

The theory enables employees to increase their wages and complete their work in an efficient and effective manner. Due to high levels of employee motivation, organizations are able to improve on quality because employees dedicate all their efforts in the tasks allocated to them (Artz, 2008).

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Managing Stress and Work-Life Balance

Causes of organizational stress

One of the main causes of organizational stress is organizational change. Employees fear organizational change because it disrupts the status quo and sometimes drives them away from their comfort zones. It can also lead to relocation or losing of a job (Maslow, 2012). The other main cause of stress is the management style of an organization. If the managers perceive the junior employees as subordinates, the employees have stress. The other cause is how tasks are designed. Some organizations may design some tasks in a manner that they overwork the employees thus leading to stress. Lastly there is work-life balance. If employees are not given enough time to enjoy their free time, this can lead to stress. Stress also comes when the employers require employees to work without significant breaks in form of vacations, work leaves or time offs. Work-related stress is usually managed using the work-life balance approach, which is discussed below.

Work-life balance

The concept of work-life balance originated in the UK in 1970s, later on, other countries adopted it such as the United States. The driving interest of the topic of flexibility or work-life balance is the need to liberalize the labour market (Flexibility.co.uk, 2014). In 2003, the UK government introduced the right to work in a flexible manner especially for care givers and employees with children aged six years and below. In 2009, the right was extended to include parents with children of up to sixteen years. However, the right was enjoyed by those employees who had been in employment for at least 26 weeks.

Flexibility in the United Kingdom is a topic of major interest both to the employers and employees. As mentioned in the introduction, the concept has been institutionalized since 2003 when the government through legislation gave employees with children aged six years and below the right to work flexibly (Flexibility.co.uk, 2014).

According to a survey conducted by third work-life balance employer, majority (92%) of UK employers said they were willing to grand their employees an opportunity to work flexibly. However, about 27% of the interviewed employees said they had to approach their employers to request to work in a flexible manner despite the legislation requiring all employees with children aged up to sixteen years the right to work flexibly (Flexibility.co.uk, 2014). This is an indication that the employers largely accepted the idea only because of the legislation.

The survey further revealed that females were more likely to request to work flexibly than their male counterparts. Majority (68%) of those who made such requests had been in the employment for at least six months while 21 % who made such requests had been in the employment for less than six months. The survey revealed lack of awareness about the legislations giving employees the right to work flexibly. This is due to the high number of employees (19%) who applied to work flexibly without them qualifying for the same (Flexibility.co.uk, 2014). In order to increase the levels of awareness, the Britain government has established programs and plans to encourage employers to adopt more family friendly work arrangements so as to allow as many employees as possible get access to flexible working. An example of such programs is the Building Britain recovery of 2009.

Recently in the UK, there have been calls for employers to ensure that their employees are at liberty to choose what time to work and at which location. This has been necessitated by the dynamism of the workforce, where you find people having more than one skill or competency and are able to do more than one job at any given time. This has been seen as a complete departure or the need to depart from the classical scientific management theory by Frederick Winslow Taylor (Flexibility.co.uk, 2014).

References

Artz, B. (2008). The role of firm size and performance pay in determining employee job satisfaction brief: firm size, performance pay, and job satisfaction: Labor. Review of Labor Economics & Industrial Relations, 22(2), 315-343.

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Flexibility.co.uk: Case studies of smart and flexible working. (2014). Web.

Glisson, C., Dulmus, C.N., & Sowers, K.M.(2012). Social work practice with groups, communities, and organizations : evidence-based assessments and interventions. Norderstedt : Verlag.

Green, C., & Heywood, J. S. (2008). Does performance pay increase job satisfaction?. Economica, 75 (300), 710-728.

Hoffmann, S. (2007). Classical motivation theories – similarities and differences between them. München: Verlag.

Martin, J. (2005). Organizational behavior and management. Andover SP: Cengage Learning.

Maslow, A.H. (2012). A theory of human motivation. New York: Start Publishing.

Mind tools: Job enrichment: increasing job satisfaction. (2015). Web.

Müller, C. (2011).Employee motivation an incentives at Apple : do incentives really help to motivate employees?. Norderstedt: Verlag.

Parker, M. (2000). Organizational culture and identity: unity and division at work. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Perkins, P.S. (2010).The art and science of communication : tools for effective communication in the workplace. Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons.

Phillips, J., & Morris Gully, S. (2012). Organizational behavior: tools for success. Mason, OH : South-Western Cengage Learning.

Thomas, K. W. (2010). Intrinsic motivation at work : what really drives employee engagement. San Francisco : Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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