Factors that influence individual and group dynamics
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
Organizational Behavior has become a challenging hot topic among many groups who are interested to study the individual and group behavior of people working as teams in organizations. The term organizational behavior may have many definitions. According to Debra (2008), Organizational Behavior is the study of individuals and their behavior within the context of the organization in a workplace setting. She describe it is an interdisciplinary field that includes sociology, psychology, communication and management. There are also views that it is not only the study of how organizations behave, but rather the study of individual behavior in an organizational setting. This includes the study of how individuals behave alone, as well as how individuals behave in groups.
The purpose of this essay is to gain a greater understanding of those factors that influence individual and group dynamics in an organizational setting so that individuals and the groups and organizations to which they belong may become more efficient and effective. It also includes the analysis of organizational factors that may have an influence upon individual and group behavior. However the literature review help the author of this essay to realize that much of organizational behavior research is ultimately aimed at providing human resource management professionals with the information and tools they need to select, train, and retain employees in a fashion that yields maximum benefit for the individual employee as well as for the organization. Going beyond that this essay will discuss Leadership and change management aspects of organizational behavior.
Author V.G.Kondalkar describes “Organizational behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and organizational structure have on behavior within the organization, for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organizational effectiveness”. There for organization behaviors can be discussed in different levels including Individual, group and organization structure.
Studying these distinct different levels, may helps to understand the organizational behavior at a broader way so that it could see the different aspects at each level which the managers can use to facilitate their day-to-day job.
Individual level of analysis
At the individual level of analysis, organizational behavior involves the study of learning, perception, creativity, motivation, personality, turnover, task performance, cooperative behavior, deviant behavior, ethics, and cognition. At this level of analysis, organizational behavior draws heavily upon psychology, engineering, and medicine.
Taking Google as an example to this, Google recruit individuals with best academic and analytical capabilities. By this they expect a knowledge organization. The individuals coming from this kind of back ground will naturally bring in a studious learning culture. There will not be an explicit necessity to motivate them towards learning. Their business is that they invent technologies specially related to internet. Business gets the competitive edge over its competitors by their innovations. To align this strategy they also recruit above kind of people. They always encourage an entrepreneur culture where they expect a flatter structure and less power distance between individuals. So that they expect ideas coming from bottom to up to generate always creative ideas.
Individuals can be motivated by different means. Motivation towards expected behavior is where organization can most benefit. Herzberg came up with two factor theory where he define both implicit and explicit factors for motivation. Providing examples to the effectively of indirect motivating factors, organizations like Google offer 20% of their employees work time to involve in a project which each individual like. Given more facilities to child care, good food, health and entertainment Google wants to provide as many as intrinsic motivators. This was very successful as they fulfill the individual needs to a greater extent so that employees can involve their work with their Saul morality. It was one Einstein said people who work if it is just to avoid punishment or to gain the rewarding of good work as like in most religious teachings; they will address the morality of individuals. It is just the fear that makes that work done.
There for this essay argue if organization’s can really address the morality of individuals like what Google successfully did, they can have the most effective and pleasant work force. It was also highlighted in order to have a moral organization it should recruit people who are capable and self disciplined. On the other hand it will definitely need the support from organization Leadership and culture.
However individuals form groups. In other words group behavior is influenced by individual behavior. But obviously group behavior has more power and has more strength. There for to have the best fitting group behavior for the organization it must have the right individuals. This individual behavior paves this essay to the way towards how an organization can best benefit the group behaviors.
Group level of analysis
At the group level of analysis, organizational behavior involves the study of group dynamics, intra- and intergroup conflict and cohesion, leadership, power, norms, interpersonal communication, networks, and roles. At this level of analysis, organizational behavior draws upon the sociological and socio-psychological sciences.
When there are groups it is naturally the first thing come to mind is leadership. Organization’s can have many different groups. Sometimes they can be formal and obvious many times they are informal. These groups plays a vital role in an organization as these groups can be treated as energy cells, which concentrate some pockets of power. These pockets are very important to determine the success of organization. On the other hand this is where organizational politics and leadership comes in. As far as organizations are concerned most critical decisions are coming from director board. For example these decisions can be approved only by majority. To make decisions effective and comes in to play they have to get the support of subordinates. As the research to Prof Robert Reich, he finds that many times the subordinates do not support to the logical accuracy of decisions, but they support to the personal traits or any other leadership traits. There most the time subordinates address issues with gut feelings. This is why group behavior is so important. If organization’s can form groups which doesn’t obey only to the gut feeling but put some effort to overcome mental resistances and come to some rational decisions; such kind of organizations do better in business. Richard trading, one local company once employed only board members from two families. At the board they always had this power struggle. But ultimately the board was introduced with professionals and the group started performs than never before. Because their group directors didn’t stop to their gut feeling. This provides how group behaviors can be best effective to organizations. If an organization really focus on these group behaviors they can turn them in to their benefits. Most the time informal group behaviors seen bringing negativities to the organizations. But effectively used these behaviors can be used for organizations advantages.
Human resources if managed well hold the key to the success of the organization. According to (Cranny, Smith Stone, 1992 ) human resources output is higher when the employee ‘s function as a team than it is the case when employees do not work as teams . A synergetic effect is what results when organizations embrace team spirit. However creating functional and efficient teams ‘ calls for expertise, tolerance and a lot of motivation on the part of the organization. Teams enable employees to exploit their potential and therefore increase job performance. A team consists of members with diverse experience, skills and qualification. These diverse work group and synergy effects have contributed effectively to the organizations like Microsoft to gain competitive advantage by means of creativity and different thinking. It is accepted around the world that diverse work forces are helping to facilitate new idea generation and creativity. As understood the benefits of group behaviors to the organization enhanced through essence of diversification, companies like Microsoft earned best advantages. Microsoft in their web site acknowledges that they encourage synergy effects to the organization in the ways and means of diversity.
Communication is also another area that organizations can vastly advantage of. Group and team theory of communication have also been studied to determine the best ways to form groups . The choice of communication model is driven by the target recipient . It is important for organizations to understand the dynamics of each form of communication which will enable them to send messages effectively .Communication being an integral part of human existence is the medium through which understanding is gained. In an organization , communication is important since it is the means by which people are able to work together to achieve common goals .Schermerhorn , Hunt , and Osborn (2005 ) defines a team as a formal group of people working together with an aim of achieving common goals . Teams are important in that, they improve performance in an organization , they enhance communication and they make an organization more competitive in that they draw from a wide range of talent . This paper looks at conflict resolution process in teams with an aim of analyzing how conflicts affect teams.
Provided above this section of the essay argue that today organizations can best advantage if they effectively manage the effects of organization politics, synergy, diversity and communication at organization’s group behaviors.
Organization level of analysis
At the organization level of analysis, organizational behavior involves the study of topics such as organizational culture, organizational structure, cultural diversity, inter-organizational cooperation and conflict, change, technology, and external environmental forces. At this level of analysis, organizational behavior draws upon anthropology and political science. But the evolution of political nature was described during the group level analysis. Diversity and Cultural level things will be discussed in the latter part. However this section mostly focuses in to the structural impact to the organization behavior.
Structure in simple is the degree of complexity, formalization and centralization in the organization.
Complexity is the degree of vertical, horizontal and spatial differentiation in an organization
Formalization is the degree to which jobs within the organization are standardized.
Centralization is the degree to which decision making in concentrated at a single point in the organization
Provided above elements of structure it is obvious the structure may interact to people in terms of span of control and power distribution. As discussed before power is coming from others, or subordinates. The reason to power can be different. It can be informal like referent, expert, charismatic, or it can be formal – Coming from position. Any way the correct planning of power may help organization to achieve their desired results.
Elements of Organizational Behavior
The organization’s base rests on management’s philosophy, values, vision and goals. This in turn drives the organizational culture which is composed of the formal organization, informal organization, and the social environment. The culture determines the type of leadership, communication, and group dynamics within the organization. The workers perceive this as the quality of work life which directs their degree of motivation. The final outcome are performance, individual satisfaction, and personal growth and development. All these elements combine to build the model or framework that the organization operates from.
A social system is a complex set of human relationships interacting in many ways. Within an organization, the social system includes all the people in it and their relationships to each other and to the outside world. The behavior of one member can have an impact, either directly or indirectly, on the behavior of others. Also, the social system does not have boundaries… it exchanges goods, ideas, culture, etc. with the environment around it.
Culture is the conventional behavior of a society that encompasses beliefs, customs, knowledge, and practices. It influences human behavior, even though it seldom enters into their conscious thought. People depend on culture as it gives them stability, security, understanding, and the ability to respond to a given situation. This is why people fear change. They fear the system will become unstable, their security will be lost, they will not understand the new process, and they will not know how to respond to the new situations.
Individualization is when employees successfully exert influence on the social system by challenging the culture. But when challenging culture it must be careful because normally culture is seen as an iceberg to most management specialists. This nature of culture is very illusive and organization must best understand the culture if they are to do best in business. Cultural dimensions will be different from country to country and also from region to region, may be from organization to organization. This best explains why the same model may be success in one culture but not will be success in another culture.
Models of Organizational Behavior
There are four major models or frameworks that organizations operate out of, Autocratic, Custodial, Supportive, and Collegial:
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.
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 mostly out of McGregor’s Theory X. These kind managers does believe that employees are not good, cannot work their own and should be kept under tight controls etc. The next three models begin to build on McGregor’s Theory Y who believe employees are capable, and they must be provided with good environment to work as a result they will work and produce good result. However each models has evolved over a period of time and there is no one best model. In addition, the collegial model should not be thought as the last or best model, but the beginning of a new model or paradigm.
In its simplest form, discontinuity in the work place is change, (Knoster, Villa, 2000). According to Lord Buddha there is no certainty – everything is subjected change. This will not only explain the uncontrollable and unexpected but eternal law of change, but also its describe change is unavoidable. There for organization also cant deny this truth. When the attitudes, expectation, trends and styles, change with people factor, the other PESTEL variables can also be change as a result. As a result facing change itself is become a big challenge for many organizations. However the researches evident that 70% of change processes are unsuccessful. Thus change is inevitable for organizations.
Almost all people are nervous about change. Many will resist it – consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes those fears are well founded – the change really will have a negative impact for them. In many cases, however, the target population for the change will come to realize that the change was for the better.
The pace of change is ever increasing – particularly with the advent of the Internet and the rapid deployment of new technologies, new ways of doing business and new ways of conducting one’s life. Organizational Change Management seeks to understand the sentiments of the target population and work with them to promote efficient delivery of the change and enthusiastic support for its results.
There are two related aspects of organizational change that are often confused. In Organizational Change Management we are concerned with winning the hearts and minds of the participants and the target population to bring about changed behavior and culture. The key skills required are founded in business psychology and require “people” people.
Provided the significance of peoples factor, as discussed throughout this essay it is ultimately people’s behavior which may affect the organization’s behavior at the most severest context. There for it is only the effective leadership which can address these diversities of people behaviors may brings the most success to the organization. Following will discuss how leadership is best effective at today’s organizational behaviours.
Leadership and Organizational Behavior
One can also argue that Organizational Behavior 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. As you can see from the definition above, organizational behavior encompasses a wide range of topics, but ultimately it’s the leadership which can make determine the successful integration of all these variable to produce more optimum results.
To begin with, the concept of organizational leadership, as described here, is not entirely new. For almost a century, various observers have glimpsed the self-organizing characteristics of groups, and their natural tendency, more or less of their own accord, to design and direct their own affairs. More than that, there have also been suggestions in the literature that leadership and authority are to be viewed as distinctly separate phenomena.
In an intelligently managed organization, that leadership isn’t a randomly operating process; it’s “a propulsive force given motion by purpose, and by a joint effort to accomplish it.” That is its natural tendency, its bias. But it is management’s role to ensure that this organizational leadership has a substantive and meaningful core around which to form itself and to give it traction for advancing the organization toward its stated ends.
Using these as a basis, organizational leadership can provide the functions of leadership to an organizationally beneficial degree that cannot be matched by individual charismatic leaders alone. It is also far more reliably focused on the organization’s ability to accomplish its own purposes and ensure its own sustainability (rather than resulting in the perversion of those to the interests of senior executive “leaders”).
This essay critically analyses the effects of organization behavior in today’s context by different aspects. It very clearly proves people are the key factor of the determination of organization behavior. Individual behavior will influence the group behavior. Formations of groups may crates pockets of power. Power can be formal or even informal. But the powerful personalities can influence more effectively the organization. Leadership is best effective where if organization gather many power groups around the personality which can thrive the business to the most effective direction. However organizations are always to change. People create resistive forces most the time to the change. Leadership is successfully useful to reduce the resistive forces to the organization change objectives.
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