Example Essay on Organizational Behavior and Change

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Since we live in a dynamic environment, change is a major effect, and thus organizations should be able to adapt to change and maintain a balanced behavior of individuals within an organization. Change is any alteration in an organization's environment, people, structure, culture… When change takes place incrementally, step by step, due to external forces, this is called reactive change. In such cases reaction towards change is quick, so the organization must be able to adjust immediately. However, planned change is when people within the organization make a decision to change certain aspects in an organization, so in this case change is not a sudden action. Such change is planned and due to internal forces which enables ordered implementation, but it requires time.

Change is a consequence of several factors, some of which are controllable; others go beyond the capability of an organization. External forces are those caused by the outside world of the organization. On one hand there is the market which imposes a major competition element that forces an organization to change. On the other hand there are the rules and regulations that are set by the government. Consider the introduction of the minimum wage law which caused several organizations to change in the employment strategy. In addition to that, technology plays an important external source to change, so with the discovery of new technologies all over the world, organizations are subjected to change. The change in economy such as interest rate, forces some organizations to alter.

There are other factors that lead to change but those factors are internal from within the organization. One reason is when the manager applies a change in the organization strategy. If the organization moves to apply a motivate strategy, this will enhance the performance of employees. The choice of strategies is very important because it has a direct impact on the functioning of an organization. Another internal force of change is the human element including employees, managers, owners…for example when an organization decides to invest more in its employees and it seeks towards developing their skills and training them, this will lead to a change in both the quality and quantity of the output. Moreover, the attitude of people, within an organization, has an impact on how things are going on. If there is low innovation, employee dissatisfaction, and hard working conditions, then the organization will have to react and change. Technology and equipments used by the organization will also lead to a change, so by introducing modern equipments tasks will be performed in more efficient and effective manner.

Each organization deals with change in a different way, there are two metaphors that explain change and how organizations handle it. The first is "the calm waters" metaphor which sees the organization as a large ship in the calm sea and everyone on the ship knows there destination and they face a storm on there way. In this case the storm is the change in the organization. It is occasional and it causes a break in the status quo of the organization, yet it adapts to it and goes back to equilibrium. The second metaphor is "the white water rapid" which describes the organization like a little craft in a raging river and people on it don't know where they are heading. In this case change is something normal and continuous. After studying the two metaphors it is more likely to see that the "white water rapid' is more realistic because it is more similarity between the raging water and the dynamic environment.

Not everyone is capable to adjust to change; there are some that refuse to handle it due to several personal and organizational reasons. Uncertainty is one cause, so if an individual feels that he is not sure of the outcomes of change and there is replacement of what's known by something unknown this will lead to ambiguity and rejection of change. Another reason to resist change is the dread of personal loss, so it is when an individual fears to lose what they already have such as money, position, or reputation. Above all, some refuse change because they see it is not in the interest of the organization. In this case, those who reject change believe that change isn't a good step to be made or that it is not beneficial and don't fall for the good of the organization.

The bulk of the manager's role lies in reducing the change resistance using several means. A manager must communicate and inform employees about the change through one to one meetings or via emails, and there shouldn't be misleading information or use of "grape vine" which is to tell someone about change and this person in return will tell another person and so on. In addition, a manager should encourage employees to participate in the change process and once they become part of the change they will accept it. Counseling must be provided to those who refuse change to look at the reasons behind there opposition and work on solving it. It is important to use the negotiation method with big groups that refuse change and let them feel that it is a matter of give and take till a settlement is reached. Manipulation and cooptation is not a good way to convince the employees since there is distortion of the facts, and thus after change is implemented, employees will feel that they have been deceived and they will backfire on the manager and organization. Coercion as well, is not a negative means to deal with those who are against change because use of force and threat is not a solution.

The manager also plays the role of a catalyst in change, so he is the change agent, meaning that he is responsible for implementing and managing the change; nevertheless, in some cases there is need for outside consultants who assist the manager in this process. It is good to have such consultation because they provide the manager with useful feedback since they have the ability to see the whole picture and from a different perspective. However, one of the drawbacks using external consultation is that the person interfering doesn't have the information and all the necessary details about the organization and organization culture.

What do managers change? Managers have the power to change the structure of the organization and alter in its design so they can departmentalize, centralize…an organization structure is the formal framework where duties, tasks, and responsibilities are distributed to individuals and departments, and it requires developing a design before implementing the structure. Any change in the structure of the organization will lead to a change in the way that the employees behave within an organization, so structure determines behavior of employees. When an organization moves from a centralized body to a decentralized structure the employees will behave in more responsible manner since they play a role in making a decision.

The structure of the organization will play a role in motivating the employees and opens a space for innovation and creativity or the contrary. So if the organization is applying departmentalization, the employees are more likely to behave in a proper manner and become more productive and their performance will develop since they are grouped with similar people, so they won't feel with outside pressure. Employees will work in a cooperative way with their partners with high coordination. And once employees are given more authority, their behavior in the organization will tend to improve, because they feel that they are being noticed and appreciated. In addition to that, it is obvious that in an organic system [1] , employees will have a wider participation in the decision making process, rather than having a centralized decision. There will be mutual confidence and bigger sense of responsibility.

Managers can also change the tools used in an organization by introducing new technologies and modern equipments, which moves the organization to automation and replacement of human element by machinery. People within an organization are also under the scope of the manager's authority in change where he works on developing their skills and molding their behavior. In addition to that, a manager must be capable of predicting and understanding the behaviors of people within the organization using the psychological contract, which is a set of expectations that an individual holds towards an organization focusing on the contributions, what an individual provides to the organization (skills, time, effort, knowledge…), and the inducements, what the organization provides to the employee (salary, security, benefits, promotion…).

After the manager studies the behavior of the employees, he must set a procedure to shape it. Shaping behavior is the process of reinforcing the behavior of individuals within an organization step by step in order to reach a desirable one. Managers can run this process using several ways depending on the behavior of the employee. A positive reinforcement is when the response is followed by a pleasant thing; it could be monetary like a bonus, or nonmonetary like a vacation or a complement. A negative reinforcement is when the response is followed by withdrawal of something pleasant. The use of punishment is when the manager decides to penalize the employee due to an undesirable behavior, or he can simply use extinction where there is no use of any reinforcement.

The scope of the role of a manager includes the ability to understand the personality and emotions of the employees because it has a direct effect on the way they behave towards change. A good manager is the one who has emotional intelligence, which refers to the assortment of non-cognitive skills and capabilities that influence how a person can deal with environmental demands and pressures. So a manager must be able to understand his own emotions as well as others and control them in a proper way because an organization must not be open to outside emotions and pressures. Managers use one of the two most important studies concerning employees and their personality in order to interpret and analyze why employees act the way they do towards change.

One of which is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is based on four dimensions to come up with 16 personality types. It studies whether an employee is extroversive, his orientation is towards the external world of the environment, or introversive, his orientation is towards internal thoughts and ideas. Myer's research also sees if an employee uses his senses or intuition in work, if he uses his feelings and beliefs or his thinking and logic while dealing with things, and if he uses judging (planned orderly way) or perceiving to cope with the external world (spontaneous flexible manner).

Another similar research used by some managers is the Big Five Model of Personality, which is based on 5 factors that contain extroversion (being talkative, sociable, and open to outside world...), agreeableness (cooperative, trustworthy...), conscientiousness (persistence, awareness…), emotional stability (calm, secured..), and openness to experience (imaginative, creative, intellectual…). Those two personality researches are very important and each manager should be aware of them since they are directly related to how employees might behave towards change according to their personality type.

According to change, the organizational behavior is affected. Some might accept change others might reject it, some might develop in their work others might not be satisfy the managers. So what is organizational behavior [2] ? It is the overall actions and behavior done by people at work. "Organizational Behavior (OB) is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach. That is, it interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives." [3] Organizational behavior provides managers with an insight to monitor and understand the hidden aspects of individuals within an organization such as attitudes, perceptions, interpersonal and intergroup conflicts, and the way employees interact. On an individualistic basis, the manager focuses on individual actions and personalities. The examination of a single unit and the way it interacts in the organization; however, based on groups, the focus is on the norms, roles, team-building and intergroup conflicts. Organization behavior varies from one organization to another, and from one country to another, depending on certain legal framework (rules and regulations) and culture, so even if two organizations have the same structure, this doesn't mean that the organization behavior within them are similar.

Organizational behavior stresses on employees behavior starting with their productivity, the quantity and quality of the output of each individual, and to what extent is each unit in the organization efficient and effective. The absenteeism rate and when an employee doesn't attend work on purpose this means that he is dissatisfied in his work. The turnover rate, when an employee leaves an organization, it must be kept to a minimum. The belongingness of people in an organization is an essential element because this behavior is not mentioned in the job description. So if an employee has an organizational citizenship, he will work towards improving the overall welfare of the organization. Organizational behavior studies the job-related attitudes such as job dissatisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. Stress is another element included in the study of organizational behavior as an effect of change. Stress is an internal influence that a person feels when facing something uncertain or new or important. The factors that cause stress are called the stressors, so change is a stressor. Stress leads dysfunctional work and deterioration of individual performance.

Organizational behavior is composed of three main components each related to a specific area concerning employees. The cognitive component which is made up of beliefs, opinions, knowledge, and information held by an individual, is revealed through his actions within an organization and the way he deals with others; yet, this component is not is not visible, it is what the employee keeps inside him. The reflection of the cognitive component is the affective component. This component is the summation of feelings and emotions hat is interpreted through an individual's manners. The third component is the behavioral which refers to the intention of employees to act in a certain way towards someone or something. This component is the mirror to both cognitive and affective parts.

There are four major models or frameworks that organizations operate out of and they are known as the models of organization behavior. Autocratic - The basis of this model is power with a managerial orientation of authority. The employees in turn are oriented towards obedience and dependence on the boss. The employee need that is met is subsistence. The performance result is minimal. Custodial - The basis of this model is economic resources with a managerial orientation of money. The employees in turn are oriented towards security and benefits and dependence on the organization. The employee need that is met is security. The performance result is passive cooperation. Supportive - The basis of this model is leadership with a managerial orientation of support. The employees in turn are oriented towards job performance and participation. The employee need that is met is status and recognition. The performance result is awakened drives. Collegial - The basis of this model is partnership with a managerial orientation of teamwork. The employees in turn are oriented towards responsible behavior and self-discipline. The employee need that is met is self-actualization. The performance result is moderate enthusiasm. [4] 

Although there are four separate models, almost no organization operates exclusively in one. There will usually be a predominate one, with one or more areas over-lapping in the other models. The first model, autocratic, has its roots in the industrial revolution. The managers of this type of organization operate out of McGregor's Theory X. The next three models begin to build on McGregor's Theory Y. They have each evolved over a period of time and there is no one "best" model. The collegial model should not be thought as the last or best model, but the beginning of a new model or paradigm. [5] 

In this dynamic environment that we live in, we should have a learning organization which is an organization that is capable to adopt and change with any internal or external alternation. The organizational culture is the set of shared values and beliefs that determines the behavior of employees within an organization. A strong organizational culture can control organizational behavior. Managers should go beyond what's written in their job description, in order to be able to understand the behavior of the employees and modify it. The organization must be perceived as the medium where employees behave. As the organization influences the human behavior, the human behavior affects the organization as well. As a result of change, and if it was managed properly, the organization will be able to develop more rapidly and the quality of work will become better. As for the human element, the outcome of change once implemented will lead to equilibrium in the status quo of the organizational behavior and off course the employees will become more creative and innovated.