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Organisational Behavior is the study of human behaviour in organizational settings, the interface between behaviour and the organization, and the organization itself. With a rapidly changing business environment it has become important for managers to know how to develop their information about the motivation, attitude, learning and behaviour of both individuals and as a group. The essay focuses on the four critical elements - What motivated me to study in Bangor University; challenges faced during learning; and participating in a group and how to deal with group work.
According to Robbins and Coulter motivation is a psychological process and it can be explained as the willingness of individuals to do something for satisfying a need. A need is a physiological or psychological deficiency, which makes the attainment of specific outcomes attractive. Unsatisfied needs lead to drives which generate a search for particular goals. If these goals are attained the need will be satisfied.
Goals are a powerful motivator. One of the greatest example of motivation can be Wilma Glodean Rudolph, an American athlete, was considered the fastest woman in 1960, an impressive feat considering the fact that she had spent her childhood in leg braces and special shoes; doctors had told her family that she will not be able to put her legs on ground and walk like a normal person.
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Porter & Lawler's (1968) Motivation model
Motivation theories concerning management have both historical and contemporary context. Different approaches resulted in different theories, such as scientific approach, Classical approach 1, 2, 3 and 4, Human relation approach and Contingency approach. Some of the early theories of Motivation include needs theory, Theories X and Y, the two-factor theory, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs while some of the contemporary theories of Motivation include the McClelland's theory of Needs, Cognitive Evaluation theory and Goal Setting theory.
There has been a significant rethink of motivation theories as it seems that these theories describe motivation and behaviour in social vacuum, as these theories were developed in the United States by Americans and for Americans. For example, security needs would be on top of hierarchy for countries like Japan, Greece and Mexico where uncertainty avoidance characteristics are strong. Southeast Asian countries three basic needs- sociability, security and status, are satisfied through interpersonal interaction whereas countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway have social needs on the top.
Integrating contemporary theories of motivation
The mystery of globalization is in its invisibleness, universality, and in its omnipresent socio-cultural sensitivity which makes it not only necessary but also exciting. In a world that is constantly changing it is imperative for a person to develop the capacity to nourish research and innovation which is increasingly dependent on an education system capable of producing high quality and expertise, particularly in the area Banking and Financial services. This has motivated me for pursuing a master's degree in the United Kingdom. A system which the University of Bangor provides with its innovative Business school and a curriculum which is equally responsive to the Industry demands.
A Masters in Business Administration is a not only foundational course which would widen my horizon as a person but would also suggest something about the motivation and drive I have towards my goal in life. Bangor University has an alumnus which holds senior position in both public and private institutions worldwide and this provides us with fellow students who become a career-long, invaluable networking asset. Since the university enjoys partnerships with Universities worldwide who send their students to Bangor they are able to bring their experience of industry to bear in classroom and assignment situation. Another added advantage of studying in Bangor University is that it has been consistently ranked in UK for its KTPs (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships) and it is essential to acquire "constructive" knowledge as well "destructive" knowledge. The various KTP schemes transfer expertise and share knowledge between the university and outside world and help us to learn to deconstruct and reconstruct knowledge. An opportunity to gain sufficient knowledge to understand the various facets of an organisation and formulate successful strategies is provided by the University School staff with its project and consultancy work of high level in business & industry like World Bank, European Commission, UK Treasury etc.
According to Bower and Hilgard, "the change in a subject's behavior or behaviour potential to a given situation brought about by the subject's repeated experiences in that situation, provided that the behavior change cannot be explained on the basis of subject's native and response tendencies, maturation or temporary states"
The one thing that is constant in this world is change and with a rapidly changing world, its high paced trend towards the Knowledge Society there is a demand for higher adaptivness to learner's skill, capabilities and backgrounds and the only instrument for preparing a student is an increasingly unknown future is current knowledge. Students like us, need to have more innovative, realistic and interactive learning approach because as faster the society changes, both technologically and culturally, the higher is the degree of uncertainty, the greater is the difference in the learning's of what is being imparted in the institutions and the people make use of those information as there would be a change in the dynamics of their working place and the ignorance of the future that lies ahead of us.
Learning is a progression which starts with the acquiring of facts, which are pieces of valid elementary knowledge and goes on through building complex and advanced forms of knowledge. To keep abreast with globalization, technologically mediated learning and multimedia delivery is equally important for a person to acquire intrinsic deep learning approach so that it helps them to deal with complex as well as contradictory information.
Individuals may adopt surface, deep, or achieving approaches to learning, depending on circumstances and individual needs (Biggs, 1987; Shale & Trigwell, 2004). They may adopt surface strategies to achieve deep learning outcomes. In addition to these three approaches, Zeegers (2001; 2002) identified four factors of motivation: surface/achieving, intrinsic/deep, success/achieving, and test anxiety/surface
The student approaches to learning (SAL) research has established that students who adopt a deep approach have better learning outcomes: more meaningful understanding of material, better long-term retention and better outcomes (Biggs, 1994; Marton, Hounsell & Entwistle, 1997; Prosser & Trigwell, 1999). Another finding of the SAL research is that students alter their approach, for example changing from a deep to a surface approach. This seems to depend upon students' expectations of what is required of them and their perceptions of the type of assessment (Marton et al, 1997; Prosser & Trigwell, 1999; Ramsden, 1992, 1997).
It is imperative for me to while studying this course is to get a good explanation and understand the basic concepts. During class, I prefer making additional notes when the lecturer gives explanations that I think are useful, and compare them with the textbook. This helps me to widen the range of possibilities of seeing the same thing. I feel it is equally important to attend almost all lectures as missing one could break your link of understanding. When working at home, I tend to contemplate about the particular topic with group of friends for wider perspective. The approach definitely is one of independently and determinedly searching for understanding and meaning, i.e. a deep approach.
Instead of individual studies, I would prefer working with a team. Learning from them makes me more aware of their way of seeing things, regardless of the fact that I am convinced or not. This not only enhances the research well but combining different views implies richer understanding a situation and is likely to offer more options for handling varying options.
There is a dialectical relationship between ways of seeing i.e. experiencing a situation and ways of acting i.e. handling of the situation. For example, I personally tend to work-out a lot of case studies as initially it helps me in grasping the problem, understanding the environment and also requires me to push my own limits and perspectives which build up my lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is searching for related things in apparently unrelated activities. There is a world of opportunities to solve a particular problem and you have to develop the ability to take decision for formulating a strategy.
It is critical for me to develop my entrepreneurial attitude and leadership skills and for this I believe, it is essential to learn, unlearn and relearn as learning is a continuous cycle. Future should not be considered as a derivative of past as it would constrict the boundaries of any new initiative we take and for this it is important we understand how to unlearn as well. Learning how to unlearn is a challenge in itself. It helps us in moving away from traditional mindsets, away from command and control and towards collaboration and connectedness. We unlearn by the process of discarding previously held ideas of ideas of perception and conception while relearn some key lessons and shifting from passive to active learning.
Theorists are not of one mind when it comes to defining the word "Group", even a superficial survey of textbooks reveal a wide diversity of the meaning of the word "group"( Cartwright and Zander 1969). According to Donelson R. Forsyth, a group is two or more individuals who are connected by and within social relationship. For some theorist, it is the experience of common fate which is a critical factor (e.g. Lewin, 1948; Campbell, 1958; Rabbie and Horwitz, 1988). According to Turner,a group exists when two or more individuals perceive themselves to be members of the same category.( Turner, 1982, pg 15.) He proposes a more subjective definition, of the group in terms of people's self-categorization.
Groups are being designed for all kinds of settings today where most of the groups not structured personal growth-ups groups but are short-term groups for specific client population. People grow up in groups, sometimes as family, work in groups, whether it is to learn, play or make decisions. Group is a place where people can feel that they belong and where they can achieve a sense of meaning. A group's size, norms, role perception, duration and cohesiveness influences its nature in many ways. In general groups follow the five stage group development model whereas temporary groups with deadlines seem to follow the punctuated-equilibrium model. Larger groups are more effective at fact-finding activities whereas smaller groups are more effective at action-taking tasks whereas cohesiveness plays a pivotal role in influencing a group's productivity.
Groups form through a combination of personal, situational and interpersonal processes. Goals define a group's purpose and are often divdied into objectives that are linked to performance criteria where each member's achievement has implication for his or her fellow member's achievements. As Lewin (1948) argues that common fate is the weakest form of interdependence and while formulating a group as it is important that there is some interdependence in the goals of group members so that there is a positive motivation.
Group work generate more complete information and promote greater knowledge and understanding, helps in formation of new ideas, attitudes and perception. My group for this semester is composed of individuals from different cultures and diverse backgrounds which should make the alternatives generated more extensive and analysis more critical. All our group members are able to communicate their ideas freely and openly. In terms of both accuracy and creativity, groups tend to be far more effective as well efficient
In spite of all its return, group work suffers from major drawbacks such as ambiguous responsibility because in a group responsibility of any single member is watered down and this promotes social loafing. Decision making also becomes a time consuming process as they take more time in reaching a conclusion Group work also suffers from conformity pressures and dominance by one or a few members as a result the group's overall effectiveness will suffer. According to Solmon Asch's study 75% of the subjects conformed atleast once.
As defined by Janis, "A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action".
An example of the danger of not speaking up can be Challenger explosion in 1986 where the investigations have revealed that a number of engineers had been worried for months about the potential for a malfunction of an O-ring seal during launches in cold weather and these people were stifled up from speaking by NASA internal process. An official enquiry concluded that the direct cause of the Challenger explosion was the malfunction of the O-ring seal just 73 seconds after launch on a cold January day
The challenge in managing a multicultural group involves effectively and creatively dealing with a variety of challenges that emerge as people with different cultural backgrounds interact with each other to accomplish a particular task. Conflicts are inevitable in groups. It can be defined as a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect something that the first party care about.
Conflicts can either be constructive or destructive to the performance of a group. It is even healthy to have some conflicts as without a conflict the group might be suffering from unhealthy agreement or having a dominant leader who suppresses all debate and conflict. Sometimes everyone tries to ignore conflict and this is known as defensive avoidance. It is desirable to recognize sources of conflict. Some of the sources of conflict which I feel would arise during my group work and the way I would like to address would be:
Ambiguous Goals: Conflicts arise in a group due different interpretation and assessment of goals and procedures. It is important while working towards a project that the group translates its purpose into specific, measurable and realistic performance goals. Specific goals facilitate clear communication and in turn avoid another conflict. A common goal would not only provide a direction but also momentum and commitment to its fellow members.
Social Loafing: A situation in which people exert less effort (and usually perform at a lower level) when working in groups than when working alone. Individuals hide inside a group and engage in social loafing as their contribution won't be identified singularly. Social loafing tends to be lower if the task is interesting or if the groups objective is important. I have been appointed as the group leader and in order to avoid social loafing I would clearly demark teams members individual activities and joint responsibilities. I have even tried to choose members who are already inherently motivated to perform their share of work which will help the group in not letting themselves down.
Relationship Conflicts: Conflicts based on interpersonal incompatibilities, tension, and animosity towards each other result in members change focus increasing power, aiming threats instead of working towards a task. Differing values create value conflict as every individual has different criteria for evaluating different ideas and behaviour. According to Deutsch (1969), relationship conflicts decrease goodwill and mutual understanding, which hinders the completion of organizational tasks. A relationship conflict not only makes members less receptive to ideas of other group members but a lot of time and energy is also wasted while trying to resolve these irrelevant conflicts. Conflicts can arise due to personality differences or poor social relationship among its members. In order eliminate relationship conflict I would try to foster positive attitude towards members of my group, encourage personal friendship between us. I would even strive to work towards eliminating specific negative interaction and have a amiable atmosphere.
Cultural Conflicts: My group is multicultural, and culture can be a source of differing values. Because of differing assumptions about how to think and act, the potential of cultural conflict is both immediate and huge. Some countries are high context cultures whereas some countries are low context cultures. In order to avoid cultural conflicts I would be prepared to be more accommodating towards the different ways of life, ideology and religion. I would try to assume differences until similarity are proven and try and practice empathy. Conflict can also be avoided by use of collaboration in order to find an integrative solution where different perspectives from people can be merged and to work through feeling s that has interfered with a relationship. An increase in communication up to a point also can prove beneficial in removing the conflict.