13.1 FOCUS AND GOALS OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
The material in this chapter draws heavily on the field of study know as organizational behavior. Although it’s concerned with the subject of behavior—that is, the actions of people—organizational behavior is the study of the actions of people at work. What we see when we look at an organization is its visible aspects: strategies, goals, policies and procedures, structure, technology, formal authority relationships, and chain of command. But under the surface are other elements that managers need to understand—elements that also influence how employees behave at work. Organizational behavior provides managers with considerable insights into these important, but hidden, aspects of the organization. Hidden aspects are attitudes, perceptions, group norms, informal interactions, and interpersonal and intergroup conflicts.
FOCUS OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
Organizational behavior focuses on three major areas: Individual behavior, based predominantly on contributions from psychologists, this area includes such topics as attitudes, personality, perception, learning, and motivation. Group behavior, includes norms, roles, team building, leadership, and conflict. Organizational aspects, includes structure, culture, and human resource policies and practices.
GOALS OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
The goals of Organizational Behavior are to explain, predict, and influence behavior. Managers need to be able explain why employees engage in some behaviors rather than others, predict how employees will respond to various actions and decisions, and influence how employees behave.
What employee behaviors are specifically concerned with explaining, predicting, and influencing? Six important ones have been identified:
1. Employee productivity is a performance measure of both efficiency and effectiveness.
2. Absenteeism is the failure to show up for work.
3. Turnover is the voluntary or involuntary permanent withdrawal from an organization.
4. Organizational citizenship behavior is discretionary behavior that is not part of an employee’s formal job requirements but that promotes the effective functioning of the organization.
5. Job satisfaction refers to an employee’s general attitude toward his or her job.
6. Workplace misbehavior is any intentional employee behavior that is potentially damaging to the organization or to individuals within the organization.
13.2 ATTITUDES AND JOB PERFORMANCE
Attitudes are evaluative statements—favorable or unfavorable—concerning objects, people, or events. An attitude is made up of three components: cognition, affect, and behavior.
According to our earlier definition, job satisfaction refers to a person’s general attitude toward his or her job. When people speak of employee attitudes, they are usually referring to job satisfaction.
How Satisfied Are Employees?
Satisfaction and Productivity
Satisfaction and Absenteeism
Satisfaction and Turnover
Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction
Job satisfaction and OCB
Job Satisfaction and Workplace Misbehavior
JOB INVOLVEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
Job involvement is the degree to which an employee identifies with his or her job, actively participates in it, and considers his or her job performance to be important to his or her self-worth. Organizational commitment is the degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in that organization. Employee engagement means that employees are connected to, satisfied with, and enthusiastic about their job.
Job satisfaction positively influences productivity, reduces absenteeism levels, reduces turnover rates, promotes positive customer satisfaction, moderately promotes organizational citizenship behavior, and helps minimize workplace misbehavior.
Research has generally concluded that people seek consistency among their attitudes and between their attitudes and behavior. This means that individuals try to reconcile attitude and behavior inconsistencies by altering their attitudes, altering their behavior, or rationalizing the inconsistency.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE THEORY
Cognitive dissonance theory sought to explain the relationship between attitudes and behavior. Cognitive dissonance is any incompatibility or inconsistency between attitudes or between behavior and attitudes. The theory argued that inconsistency is uncomfortable and that individuals will try to reduce the discomfort and, thus, the dissonance.
Attitude surveys present employees with a set of statements or questions asking how they feel about their job, work groups, supervisors, or the organization. Ideally, the items are designed to obtain the specific information that manager desire.
IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGERS
Managers should be interested in their employees’ attitudes because they influence behavior. If managers want to keep resignations and absences down they’ll want to do things that generate positive job attitudes. Finally, managers should know that employees will try to reduce dissonance.
An individual’s personality is a unique combination of emotional, thought, and behavioral patterns that affect how a person reacts to situations and interacts with others. Personality is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits. We’re interested in looking at personality because, just like attitudes, it also affects how and why people behave the way they do.
Over the years, researchers have attempted to identify the traits that best describe personality. The two most well-known approaches are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five model.
One popular approach to classifying personality traits is the MBTI. This personality assessment consists of more than 100 questions that ask people how they usually act or feel in different situations. More than 3.5 million people take the MBTI each year. The way you respond to these questions puts you at one end or another of four dimensions:
1. Social interaction: extrovert or introvert (E or I)
2. Preference for gathering data: sensing or intuitive (S or N)
3. Preference for decision making: feeling or thinking (F or T)
4. Style of making decisions: perceptive or judgmental (P or J)
The Big Five model consists of five personality traits:
4. Emotional stability
5. Openness to experience
Five other personality traits that help explain individual behavior in organizations are: Locus of control, Machiavellianism, Self-esteem, Self-monitoring, and Risk taking.
One area of emotions research with interesting insights into personality is emotional intelligence (EI), which is the ability to notice and to manage emotional cues and information. It’s composed of five dimensions:
5. Social skills
IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGERS
More than 62 percent of companies are using personality tests when recruiting and hiring. And that’s where the major value in understanding personality differences probably lies. Managers are likely to have higher-performing and more satisfied employees if consideration is given to matching personalities with jobs. Finally, being a successful manager and accomplishing goals means working well with others both inside and outside the organization.
Perception is a process by which we give meaning to our environment by organizing and interpreting sensory impressions. Managers need to understand perception because people behave according to their perceptions.
Attribution theory was developed to explain how we judge people differently, depending on what meaning we attribute to a given behavior. Attribution theory depends on three factors. Distinctiveness is whether an individual displays different behaviors in different situations. Consensus is whether others facing a similar situation respond in the same way. Consistency is a person engaging in behaviors regularly and consistently. These three factors help managers determine whether employee behavior is attributed to external or internal causes.
The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal factors. The self-serving bias is the tendency to attribute our own successes to internal factors and to put the blame for personal failure on external factors.
Three shortcuts used in judging others are assumed similarity, stereotyping, and the halo effect.
IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGERS
Managers need to recognize that employees react to perceptions, not to reality. So whether a manager’s appraisal of an employee’s performance is actually objective and unbiased or whether the organization’s wage levels are among the highest in the community is less relevant than what employees perceive them to be.
Operant conditioning argues that behavior is a function of its consequences. People learn to behave to get something they want or to avoid something they don’t want. Operant behavior is voluntary or learned behavior, not reflexive or unlearned behavior. Managers can use it to explain, predict, and influence behavior.
Social learning theory says that individuals learn by observing what happens to other people and by directly experiencing something. The influence of others is central to the social learning viewpoint. The amount of influence that these models have on an individual is determined by four processes:
1. Attentional processes
2. Retention processes
3. Motor reproduction processes
4. Reinforcement processes
Managers can shape behavior by using:
1. Positive reinforcement (reinforcing a desired behavior by giving something pleasant)
2. Negative reinforcement (reinforcing a desired response by withdrawing something unpleasant)
3. Punishment (eliminating undesirable behavior by applying penalties),
4. Extinction (not reinforcing a behavior to eliminate it).