Question on organisational behaviour and individual behaviour


An organisation is comprised of many individuals, all exhibiting different characteristics and different level of skill and ability. Individuals behave differently to different stimuli because of a multitude of factors. Factors like Individual's age, sex, education, intelligence, personality, experience, values and family and cultural background influence human behaviour. The process of Human Behaviour is thus a 'stimulus-response' process. It takes place through the interface between the factors mentioned above and is subject to the environment in which they interact. Individual behaviour is not just a self induced occurrence but is necessarily affected by a larger system and the society in which an individual functions.

If both Individual and environmental variables are considered there can be

Differences in behaviour in an individual over time

(Intra-individual differences)

Differences in behaviour among individuals given the same set of stimuli (Inter-individual differences)

Individual Differences affecting Human Behaviour:


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Personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that represent a person. It includes personal traits such as Dominance, Aggressiveness, and Persistence which play an important role in influencing the other members in an organisation. A person with an appealing personality will be more successful in influencing the other employees in the organisation, whereas a person with a not so appealing personality will not be able to do so.


Ability refers to the genuine skill, talent, dexterity, potentials and capabilities that a person holds and which are required to manage the organisation effectively. An individual should have the required ability to permit and facilitate achievement or accomplishment of the set goals of the organisation. He should be able to foresight the problems and be ready with appropriate solutions on hand. Only when an individual has the required skill set, can he influence the performance of the other employees.


Perception is the perspective from which an individual looks at situation. It is the way in which that individual construes the situations. This is again an important factor that influences the work efficiency of the other employees in the organisation. The way an individual construes a situation and reacts to it, affects the attitude of the entire workforce of the organisation.


The most important factor that is vital and crucial from the standpoint of the success of an organisation is Motivation. Motivation refers to all forces operating within a person that keeps him or her interested and attracted in certain kinds of behaviour rather than others. All other factors present in any proportion would amount to nothing if the person is not motivated to perform well.

Maslow has explained Motivation in his Need Hierarchy Theory wherein he has explained that there is a particular hierarchy of needs for an individual which needs to be taken care of thus resulting in a high level of Motivation.

Herzberg makes up two groups of factors namely the 'motivators' and 'hygiene factors' in which he has put down some elements which contribute greatly in improving motivation which affects the organisation on a whole.

Apart from the Individual Differences, there are other factors relating to an organisation itself which influence the Human Behaviour. These are termed as Environmental Factors. Some of them are explained which affect the human behaviour.

Environmental Factors influencing Human Behaviour

Adequate Salary:

Individual performance in an organisation is directly related to an equitable pay. This is the first and foremost factor that influences the work efficiency of an individual. If the wages are not paid on time and in appropriate amount, the employee will alienated with his job, thus bringing down his work competency.

Workers in a factory often go on strikes or reduce their efficiency of their work because they feel that the remuneration is not satisfactory in comparison to the amount of work they do.

Working Conditions:

Proper and sound working conditions play an equally important role in influencing the state of mind of an individual. Suitable working conditions include proper shift hours, proper ventilations, suitable work space, recreational facilities etc.

People working in BPOs and other jobs that have round the clock working hours need to be provided with good infrastructure and first-class working conditions so as to get the best productivity out of them. In case these conditions are lacking, the employees will not work to their capabilities, thus hampering the organisation.

Job Security:

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Employees always seek to have a good and stable employment. They would not like to be the victims of whimsical personnel policies of employers. Layoffs and retrenchments are opposed on all counts by the employees these days.

New employees in the organisation generally care about two things, good pay and job security. So the organisation needs to take this into consideration so that the employees feel motivated to work.

Efficient Administration:

The management of the various resources not only physical but also Human Resources is important to have a better workplace in the organisation. The needs, want and requirements need to be looked upon to keep the employees motivated and to improve their efficiency. The degree of trust or lack of trust among various members and groups in the organisation affects the human behaviour and in turn, the overall climate

Competency of Supervision:

The dominant style of the managers and supervisors may be task-oriented or relations-oriented. The individual behaviour in an organisation will be considerate and supportive if the managers are relation-oriented while dealing with their problems. The needs and aspirations of the workers should be given due importance. This will produce team spirit in the organisation.


To explain how the individual behaviour and environmental factors influence Human Behaviour let us take a case of

Ques2 A manufacturing company making automotive parts finds that workers working on the assembly line have poor attendance, leave for home early and are generally unproductive. They are fully unionized and resist any attempts by management to discipline them. If you are the HR Manager of such a company, what would you do? Discuss with reference to theories of motivation, leadership, participative management and quality circles.


Problem -

The manufacturing company which manufactures automotive parts starts off its working hours at 09:30 hrs in the morning and shuts down work at 18:30 hrs in the evening. It expects its workers to be on time because even a slight delay in starting the work would hamper the daily target for producing specified number of units. But the company has been experiencing huge problems because the workers in the assembly line seem to be reporting late to work every day. Moreover they also leave early in the evening thus piling up the problems for the company. The assembly line consists of 250 workers split into five groups of 50 workers each. Every group is headed over by five supervisors who also a part of the Workers' Union.

Initially the management decided to ignore the late coming of the workers but the problem seemed to grow big until it was discovered that the workers had a list of problems that needed to be attended to before the whole assembly process could get back on track. So the management decided to leave to the HR department and as I was the HR manager had to look into the whole matter and come up with a solution at the earliest.

HR Department: -

I decided to have a meeting with the five supervisors of the assembly line. I asked the supervisors to name down all the problems that the workers felt had been hampering the productivity of the assembly line. Some of the problems listed down were:

Pay rise and increase Job security.

Not enough prospects of 'Performance-Reward'

Neglect of Workers' Participation in management / having a say in decision making

Lack of proper motivation

Lack of Opportunities for Promotions

Nature of work too rigid

Lack of proper working conditions

After the meeting I called upon my HR staff and laid down the problems in front of my HR team. The HR team was asked to examine the problems and give their comments on the possible solutions to these problems. After hearing to some of the solutions presented by my HR team, I came up with the following solutions.

The Way Out:

I decided to visit the assembly line before coming up with appropriate solutions. On my visit to the assembly line I observed that the workers did not show any interest whatsoever in their work.

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I then carefully went through the report submitted by my HR team in order to weigh my options. Finally I submitted a report termed 'Directions for the Way Out' wherein I put down the recommendation to bring to a close to the persistent problems.

It was necessary to understand that workers in the assembly line were working at a level that did not receive too many appraisals and recognition. This did not help in augmenting the motivational level of the workers. So it was important to change this pattern up to a certain extent if not on a whole. I implemented some changes on the lines of Herzberg's Motivation- Hygiene Model.

I realised the importance to develop inter-personal relations with the peers as also with the subordinates. So I decided to have a feedback from each and every employee about their immediate supervisor. The areas for improvement on the part of the supervisors were communicated to the respective supervisors.

Salary which was an important matter of concern that needed to be addressed was looked into and the manager in consultation with my HR team decided to have an increment in pay for the employees who were in line for a well deserved pay hike. This was done on the lines of a structured salary increment system that was formulated and put in practice. This system stated that an employee who had worked in the organisation for the last ten years would be given a pay rise of 30% and there after the employee would be given a pay increment of 10% every three years till his salary reaches the pay scale of Rs 25,000/-.

There was also a 'Performance to Reward' format designed by the HR team and introduced on the approval of the company Chairman. According to this format, if an assembly line worker attains an exceeded target of 500 units over and above his allotted target, he would be awarded with an incentive package. A consistent achievement of the exceeded target shall result in the possibility of a promotion chance depending upon the job vacancy.

To address the problem of rigidity in the nature of work resulting in a low level of motivation, the HR team requested the administration department to reshuffle the shift timings and the structure of work profile in the assembly line. I put forward some of the recommendations made by his HR team which mainly focused on reducing the stiffness and stringency in work. It also asked the administration to have a refurnishing of the assembly unit with main focus being on improving the working conditions at the assembly line such as proper ventilation, lighting facilities, recreation facilities, and canteen service.

Finally the most important problem of lack of motivation was enlightened. I thought that the Performance to Reward policy along with the Salary Increment System would significantly contribute to increasing the level of motivation of the employees. In addition to this I introduced the concept Quality Circles for the assembly line workers where the workers would be asked to participate and have their say in the management decisions. The Quality Circles would be a small group of selected workers who would meet up regularly, identify and analyse the hitches and design suitable problems for them.

I hoped that these implementations would resolve the problems come up in the organisation and also that it would help in avoiding any such crisis arising in the future. The top management was also satisfied with the solutions put forth and looking forward to get the work back on track and in an efficient manner.