Questions on organizational behaviour

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Q. (a) How do individual differences and environmental factors influence human behaviour in an organization? Justify your answer with examples. (30)

(b) 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.

Behaviour in an organisation

Behaviour is an action or a reaction caused by a known or unknown stimulus and could be latent or visible.


Behaviour can be initiated by an individual or could be a reaction for other's behaviour.

No behaviour exists without a reason. So specialists try to find out the rationale behind it and then find corrective actions.

The cause of the behaviour may be obvious or observable or may be unknown or invisible.

Most behaviour may be visible or observable. Example: coming late, being absent without notice and having interpersonal problem with colleagues.

Reference: Saiyadain S Mirza, Organisational Behaviour ( 8th Edition)


Managerial work is essentially a social activity and, as such, the duties and responsibilities of managers can be understood within the context of a specific organisational setting. Most managers work within the network of social relationships that may or may not be governed by formal rules and regulations. Thus they need to develop an understanding of personality differences to help them understand, predict, and even influence the behaviour of other persons. For example: an employee rarely speaks in meetings, does not have any friends, and seems to feel comfortable when left alone. One can analyse this observation and conclude that this person cannot be put in a team assignment but would rather give a task that require one person.


Individual personality : It is the most important factor that affects the behaviour within the organisation. Personality is a characteristic way of responding to people, situations, and things that are more or less consistent. Traits such as aggressiveness, persistence and dominance etc. are reflected through a person's behaviour. The personality determines type of activity a person is best suited to and the chances that the person will be able to perform the task effectively.

Perception: the interpretation of a situation differs from person to person. Thus perception is a certain viewpoint of a particular person for a particular situation. The messages of organisation are send through job description, policies, procedures etc. A key note is that an individual's behaviour is influenced not by the organisation's actual expectation of him, but by how these are perceived by the person.

Ability: it refers to actual skills and capabilities required for effective performance. For example: Airlines need to ensure that its employees possess necessary abilities to engage in the behaviour so required.

Motivation: motivation refers to all the internal forces that engages a person in a certain behaviour. Even if all the factors are present for a particular job, they would amount to nothing unless the person is motivated to perform well.

Motivation can be internal- ability, intelligence, skill etc. or external- incentives, training etc.

Organisational factors: Systems such as the structure of the organisation and hierarchy strongly influence and constrain both what individuals do and how they do. Resources such as advice and direction from leaders, physical support etc. also influence the behaviour.

Socio-Cultural factors: relationship with friends, family, workers, superiors, subordinates etc. lead to different behaviour with different people. Also the cultural background i.e. values, beliefs and attitudes of others also affects the functioning of our work.

Reference: Singh. B.P. & Chhabra T.N., Organisation Theory and Behaviour


The degree of influence of the relevant factors on business operations in the past with a view to forecasting the possible impact of the same and other new factors on business activities during the strategic plan period is of utmost importance. Environment is an open system. Though external environment has more proportionate effect on the behaviour of business, the internal environment affect the working of the organisation in a big way. The internal environment has basically three levels:

Chart 1: Environment of the system

Outputs to the environment

Inputs from the environment

Information from the Boundaries


Levels of Organisational Boundaries

Reference: Gupta. C.B., Business Organisation and Management( 2007 Edition)

An organization's internal environment is composed of current employees, management, and especially corporate culture, which defines employee behaviour. These are the factors within the system which affects the human behaviour

Organizational mission statements:

The mission statement lays down the mission, vision, goals and policies of the organisation. It explains the overall purpose which provides information and inspiration to the members of the provides focus and helps in team management and achievement of goals.

Company policies

Company policies are guidelines that govern how certain organizational situations are addressed. The policies of the company lays down the structure and rules that the employees have to follow and thus make business decisions.

Organizational cultures

The organizational culture defines the personality of the organisation. One has to understand its culture and then perform within the boundaries. Four main components make up an organization's culture:

Values are the basic beliefs that define employees' successes in an organization.

A hero is a person who relate to the image or values of the organization and serves as a role model to other employees.

Rites and rituals, are routines or ceremonies that the company uses to recognize high-performing employees. The honour helps

The final component, the social network, is the informal means of communication within an organization. This network, sometimes referred to as the company grapevine, carries the stories of both heroes and those who have failed. It is through this network that employees really learn about the organization's culture and values.

Organizational climates

As per the climatic conditions, the workers are bound to behave in the similar manner. For eg: if the climate is of tension due to march closing, then the employees will also be in a stressed mood and vice versa. Thus managers ensure that there is a climate of trust, belongingness and group behaviour.


Resources are the machinery, equipment, suppliers, finances and people that complement workers in their quests to accomplish the organization's mission statement. The availability of resources and the way that managers value the human and nonhuman resources impact the organization's environment.

Managerial philosophies

Philosophy of management is the belief of the manager about work and people which manager controls. McGregor emphasized that a manager's philosophy creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Theory X treats workers as childish and thus give them constant supervision and direction whereas theory Y treats them as smart and adults who can be self directed. Thus, philosophy leads to changes in human behaviour.

Managerial leadership styles

If the leadership style is autocratic, then the manager has full power and he does not delegate his authority and believes in centralisation, here the workers will only be directed to do the things. In case of democratic style, the employees have full authority to participate in decision making and processes.


As the human behaviour is ever changing, the organisation climate should be encouraging, the peer group should have harmonious relationships, equal pay for equal work, no partiality in rewards and recognition and management philosophies should be in the interest of the workers. Thus all these factors affect the human behaviour in a cetain way.

Individual differences lead to conflicts,differences in opinions, performance discrepancies and other various changes in behaviour.,articleId-8860.html

PART 2…………………………………………..


ABC Co. is a company manufacturing automotive parts. In the domestic market, they supply components to vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 Suppliers, to state transport undertakings, defence establishments, railways and even to the replacement markets. A variety of components are exported as well. Its assembly line consists of factory workers and equipment's that produce the automotive part as it moves consecutively from station to station on the line until completed. The assembly line consists of a total of 600 workers working @ 12 hours per day without any leave in the month. There is a pay cut according to the no. of leaves taken. The monthly wages of the workers is Rs. 6000. The company is following piece wage rate system. So according to the number of pieces produced, the workers were given some extra amount if they exceed the targets set for the day. On an average, the targets keeps on changing everyday as gradually the productivity of workers increases leading to economies of scale.

However, since 6 months the workers have become restless and are having poor attendance, leave for home early and are generally unproductive. As they are unionised, they resist any attempts by management to discipline them. Even after asking for their grievances in person, no satisfactory answer came in return. The union is stubborn upon its actions and does not want any deviations in their way of working


The workers have developed their own concept of fair day's work and do not increase their output. As economic rewards are consistently given in the company, what mainly is required is the work motivation and human relations approach so that the workers feel involved and at the same time enjoy the work they are doing.

Theories of work motivation:

The performance of an individual is a function of his ability and willingness or desire to use his ability in achieving certain goals. This willingness or desire to act, to behave, to run, or even to keep quiet is what may very simplistically be called motivation. Lack of motivation may gets manifested into a variety of behavioural differences. As a manager, the situation analysed can be depicted by a simple model of work motivation:

Chart 2: Work motivation process

Goal-directed activity

Strength of Motive




Value of incentive/


Goal activity


Thus as a manager, I would

Help workers to increase their level of awareness and expand their consciousness of the multiplicity of needs.

Provide multiple targets in work situation so that they can choose the goals which they consider as more concrete , within reach, and precise than goals which are abstract, imprecise and intact.

Provide more reward systems in the form of extra pay for good work so that motive to work hard will also be very high.

Provide opportunities of satisfaction of new needs because a need once satisfied no longer acts as a motivator(as defined by Maslow's need hierarchy theory)

In this situation, monetary rewards would not work always because the workers are having poor attendance despite of having the fear of the pay cut. There is a need to pay heed to the human factor, social needs and motivational factors. Thus here Theory Y( as defined by McGregor) would apply in the best of possibilities:

According to theory Y, following assumptions are made:

Work is as natural as play

People can be self-directed

People can and do show creativity in solving organisational problems.

Thus participation in decision making , challenge and responsibility would maximize motivation. Workers would feel a sense of recognition. Thus, I would provide targets and goals to employees, leave them to choose the best path to achieve the goals, and motivate them by providing a sense of achievement and growth.

Another theory which includes human motivation factors is Herzberg Two Factor Model:

It proposes that the primary determinants of employee satisfaction are six factors which are intrinsic to the work that employees do- Recognition, Achievement, Responsibility, Advancement, Personal Growth, and Work itself. These factors are called motivators as they encourage employees to obtain satisfaction of these needs through job performance.

Promotional opportunities

Opportunities for personal growth




Motivation Factors

Motivation Factors are those JOBCONDITIONS that SATISFY employees when PRESENT but their ABSENCE does not dissatisfy them in strong way


Quality of supervision


Company policies

Physical working conditions


Job security

Hygiene Factors


Hygiene Factors are those JOBCONDITIONS that DISSATISFY employees when ABSENT but their PRESENCE does not motivate them in a strong way

As far as leadership is concerned, various studies have given applications to be followed while dealing with the workers. In this situation, a participative leadership style can be followed as given by Hersey and Blanchard called the situational leadership theory. The relation between the leader behaviour and maturity level of workers give rise to the leadership styles namely S1 , S2, S3 and S4 .

In this situation participative will apply C:\Users\SHIVI\Pictures\Hershey.bmp C:\Users\SHIVI\Pictures\Hershey.bmp

Source: Google images

For making the workers participate in the decision making process, the strategy can be to induce Job Enlargement. Job enlargement involves horizontal expansion of the scope of the job by adding tasks that require similar skill levels. As a result no. and variety of tasks is increased and job becomes more diverse and satisfying.

Another way to motivate workers and make them participate in decision making is through Participative Management where a group of representative workers is chosen to participate. There must be an atmosphere of trust and employee participation must be based on informed choice

A technique best fit to union management relationships is Quality circles. It consists of a small group of 8-10 workers who meet regularly to identify, analyse and solve problems related to product quality, production etc. As workers are more aware of the production process than management, they are in a better position to give suggestions for improving efficiency and quality



Working conditions play an important role in assembly lines manufacturing. Thus hygiene factors play a pivotal role- temperature, well equipped machines, training, security etc. is necessary part to be considered.

Lack of absenteeism can only be achieved by job enlargement leading to creative approach through good variety in work. Low job satisfaction is inclined to bring absenteeism. Hence there is an inverse relationship between satisfaction and absenteeism(Kumari and Singh, 1998)

Early departure from work may be due to boredom, laziness, dizziness and apathetic attitude towards work. This can be reduced by giving coffee breaks for 15 minutes, giving time for recreational purposes

Unproductivity is present as most of the work is done while standing, this job can be exhausting, so workers should be rotated for variance in their work.

As a manager, one should pay fair wages, decentralisation of power, matching workers to jobs that fit their interests and just a few of the ways to increase job satisfaction.

References & Bibliography


Saiyadain S Mirza, Organisational Behaviour ( 8th Edition)

Singh. B.P. & Chhabra T.N., Organisation Theory and Behaviour

Gupta. C.B., Business Organisation and Management( 2007 Edition)

Stephen. P. Robbins et al., Timoth. A. Judge, Seema Sanghi(2010 Edition)

Rac Andre Pearson, Organisational Behaviour- An Introduction to Your Life in Organisation(2009 Edition)