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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, such as human behavior, change, leadership, teams, etc. Since these many of these topics are discussed in other sections of this leadership guide.
Organizational behavior is a misnomer. It is not 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 organizational behavior 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. The field also includes the analysis of organizational factors that may have an influence upon individual and group behavior. 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.
Organizational behavior is a relatively new, interdisciplinary field of study. Although it draws most heavily from the psychological and sociological sciences, it also looks to other scientific fields of study for insights. One of the main reasons for this interdisciplinary approach is because the field of organizational behavior involves multiple levels of analysis, which are necessary to understand behavior within organizations because people do not act in isolation. That is, workers influence their environment and are also influenced by their environment.
How people are behaving often defines the management style. For example, If people don’t show initiative a directive management style would work to increase performance as people were assigned tasks and held accountable. Otherwise people would just coast.
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.
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.
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.
Other fields of study that are of interest to organizational behavior are ergonomics, statistics, and psychometrics.
A number of important trends in the study of organizational behavior are the focus of research efforts. First, a variety of research studies have examined topics at the group level of analysis rather than exclusively at the individual level of analysis. For example, while empowerment has largely been investigated as an individual-level motivation construct, researchers have begun to study team empowerment as a means of understanding differences in group performance. Similar research has focused on elevating the level of analysis for personality characteristics and cooperative behavior from the individual level to the group level.
Another research trend is an increasing focus on personality as a factor in individual- and group-level performance. This stems from the movement toward more organic organization designs, increased supervisory span of control, and more autonomous work designs. All of these factors serve to increase the role that personality plays as a determinant of outcomes such as stress, cooperative or deviant behavior, and performance.
Personality traits that are related to flexibility, stress hardiness, and personal initiative are also the subject of research. Examples of these personality traits include a tendency toward individualism or collectivism, self-monitoring, openness to experience, and a proactive personality. Forms of behavior that are constructive and change-oriented in nature are also studied. These forms of behavior are proactive in nature and act to improve situations for the individual, group, or organization. Examples of these behaviors include issue selling, taking initiative, constructive change-oriented communication, innovation, and proactive socialization.
Other topics of interest in the field of organizational behavior include the extent to which theories of behavior are culturally bound, unethical decision-making, self-management and self-leadership, and work/family conflict.
Factors which influence behaviour in work organisations:-
1. Demographic Factors:-
The demographic factors are socio economic background, education, nationality, race, age, sex, etc. Organisations prefer persons that belong to good socio-economic background, well educated, young etc as they are believed to be performing better than the others. The young and dynamic professionals that have good academic background and effective communication skills are always in great demand. The study of demographic factors is significant as it helps managers to pick the suitable candidate for a particular job.
2 . Abilities and Skills:-
The physical capacity of an individual to do something can be termed as ability. Skill can be defined as the ability to act in a way that allows a person to perform well. The individual behaviour and performance is highly influenced by ability and skills. A person can perform well in the organisation if his abilities and skills are matched with the job requirement. The managers plays vital role in matching the abilities and skills of the employees with the particular job requirement.
3. Perception:- The cognitive process meant for interpreting the environmental stimuli in a meaningful way is referred to as perception. Every individual on the basis of his/he reference can organize and interpret environmental stimuli. There are many factors that influence the perception of an individual. The study of perception plays important role for the managers. It is important for mangers to create the favorable work environment so that employees perceive them in most favorable way. The employees are likely to perform better if they are going to perceive it in a positive way.
4. Attitude:- According to psychologists, attitude can be defined as a tendency to respond favourably or unfavourably to certain objects, persons or situations. The factors such as family, society, culture, peers and organisational factors influence the formation of attitude. The managers in an organisation need to study the variables related to job as to create the work environment in a favorable way that employees are tempted to form a positive attitude towards their respective jobs. The employees can perform better in the organisation if they form a positive attitude.
5. Personality:- Personality can be defined as the study of the characteristics and distinctive traits of an individual, the inter-relations between them and the way in which a person responds and adjusts to other people and situations. The several factors that influence the personality of an individual are heredity, family, society, culture and situation. It implies to the fact that individuals differ in their manner while responding to the organizational environment. Personality can be regarded as the most complex aspect of human beings that influences their behaviour in big way. It can be concluded that the study of personality traits offers an opportunity to understand the individuals. It helps them properly in directing their effort andmotivating them for the accomplishment of the organisational goal. It refers to the fact that different environmental factors may generate different responses. The study of these responses is very important for the organisation. Every organisation demands a particular type of behaviour from their employees and such behaviours can be discovered through observation, learning, exposure, training, etc.
The formation of the contract:-
During the recruitment process, the employer and interviewee will discuss what they each can offer in the prospective relationship. If agreement is reached, most employers will impose a standard form contract, leaving the detail of the employee’s duties to be clarified “on the job”. But some of the initial statements, no matter how informal and imprecise, may later be remembered as promises and give rise toexpectations. Whether they are incorporated into the parallel psychological contract will depend on whether both parties believe that they should be treated as part of the relationship. The better organized employers are careful to document offers to reduce the risk of raising false expectations followed by disappointment.
In the Common Law jurisdictions, the law implies duties requiring the employees to be loyal and trustworthy. These are imprecise in their definition and uncertain in much of their operation. But, in psychological terms, issues as to whether promises and expectations have been kept and met, and whether the resulting arrangements are fair, are fundamental to the trust between the employee and the employer. The first year of employment is critical as actual performance by the employee can be measured against claims and promises made during the interview, and the management has begun to establish a track record in its relationship with the employee at supervisor and manager level. Feldhiem (1999) reflects these two strands by dividing the psychological contract into:
transactional:this is the economic or monetary base with clear expectations that the organization will fairly compensate the performance delivered and punish inadequate or inappropriate acts; and
relational: this is a socio-emotional base that underlies expectations of shared ideals and values, and respect and support in the interpersonal relationships.
The employment relationship develops:-
The reality of employment rights and duties emerges through the interpersonal relationships formed in the workplace. How employers, supervisors and managers behave on a day-to-day basis is not determined by the legal contract. Employees slowly negotiate what they must do to satisfy their side of the bargain, and what they can expect in return. This negotiation is sometimes explicit, e.g. in appraisal or performance review sessions, but it more often takes the form of behavioral action and reaction through which the parties explore and draw the boundaries of mutual expectation. Hence, the psychological contract determines what the parties will, or will not do and how it will be done. When the parties’ expectations match each other, performance is likely to be good and satisfaction levels will be high. So long as the values and loyalty persist, trust and commitment will be maintained. The map followed by the parties is the development of an individualized career path that makes only reasonable demands on the employee, with adequate support from managers and co-workers, for a level of remuneration that is demonstrably fair for a person of that age, educational background, and experience. Motivation and commitment will be enhanced if transfers and promotions follow the agreed path in a timely fashion.
If managed effectively, the relationship will foster mutual trust between the parties, matching the objectives and commitments of the organization to those of their employees. But a negative psychological contract can result in employees becoming disenchanted, demotivated and resentful of authoritarianism within the organization. This will result in an increasingly inefficient workforce whose objectives no longer correspond to the organization they work for. The main cause of disappointment tends to be that middle managers are protective of their status and security in the eyes of their superiors, and this can introduce conflicts of interest when they are required to fulfill their obligations to their subordinates.
Breach of the psychological contract:-
Psychological contract breach may occur if employees perceive that their firm, or its agents, have failed to deliver on what they perceive was promised, or vice versa. Employees or employers who perceive a breach are likely to respond negatively. Responses may occur in the form of reduced loyalty, commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviours. Perceptions that once psychological contract has been breached may arise shortly after the employee joins the company or even after years of satisfactory service. The impact may be localized and contained, but if morale is more generally affected, the performance of the organization may be diminished. Further, if the activities of the organization are perceived as being unjust or immoral, e.g. aggressive downsizing or outsourcing causing significant unemployment, its public reputation and brand image may also be damaged.
Manager-subordinate mismatch may also cause a breach of the psychological co
I recently interviewed a candidate for a senior level sales management position. During the interview he indicated that he would wait until a salesperson consistently failed to perform and then he would step in to identify the problem. I didn’t agree with that philosophy, but I remained quiet and allowed him to continue. He said he felt that the salesperson should have followed the “sales process” and if he didn’t then he would probably fail. He was right, but the problem was that the sales management team never communicated their expectations, never installed a defined sales process, didn’t provide sufficient training and didn’t coach the team over a period of time. As a result, he placed unspoken expectations on his salespeople and set them up for failure.
He didn’t get the job.
This practice is common among many sales management executives. Some believe that expectations are exclusive to a sales quota. You either hit the goal or you don’t. Some think that it’s making 50 calls per day. They’re missing the point. As a sales manager, take the time to ask yourself, what does it take for a salesperson to be successful? That’s the reason for sales management. If salespeople could truly do their job alone (I know some do), then sales managers would be out of a job, and every company would employ independent reps and hope for the best. (By the way, independent reps are a great option in certain industries.)
I believe that there are several factors that contribute to sales success in any organization. One of the most overlooked is “defined expectations”. What exactly do you want from your salespeople? If you can’t define expectations, how will your salespeople ever achieve or exceed your expectations? If a salesperson does not know what it means to be successful in a sales role at your company, then how can they achieve what you want?
Here is an exercise to help you define expectations for a salesperson. I warn you – it looks simple, but it can be quite difficult.
Fill in the blank to the following statement: What it means to be a successful salesperson at our company is______________________________.
The first response of many sales managers is to scribble in a dollar amount or to write the words “make quota”. If that is the case, then you’re missing some important things. First, what if the salesperson meets quota, but treats the other members of your organization with contempt? I’ve seen too many salespeople who could sell, but mistreated their co-workers and had to be let go. I’ve seen others who were allowed to stay too long because everyone liked them (including the CEO or owner) in spite of their poor sales.
When going through this exercise, take your time and write down your thoughts about what you really want in a salesperson. Build a “profile” and identify the types of activities you believe they must do in order to meet your expectations..
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