This was my first lesson on Organizational Behaviour.I was introduced to the concept of organizational behavior and the underlying significance of behavior in organizational performance. What took my attention from the beginning of this lecture was a couple of simple questions the tutors asked which left me pondering on the answers. The questions were: what is the meaning of knowledge, experience and learning? I knew what they meant but couldn't come up with a true definition. I resolved to get to the root of this question to better understand their meanings.
Furthermore, I learnt that In understanding Organizational Behavior, It is Imperative to know what an organization is. An organization can be defined as a co-ordinate social unit, comprising of a group of people, which functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals. Therefore Organizational Behavior is the study of predicting how employees will behave. It is also the study of individual and group and group dynamics in an organizational setting as well the nature of organizations themselves.
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I was particularly interested to learn the importance of studying Organizational Behavior because understanding organizational behavior can improve organizational performance and effectiveness. It is important to understand individual's behavior towards their jobs, colleagues and superiors.
At the end of the lecture, specific tasks were given out amongst members of the class. The task was on familiarizing ourselves with one of the approaches on Organizational Behavior. The bureaucratic approach to management was allocated to my group. Our task was to identify the key ideas of this approach, how relevant are these ideas to present-day management of organizations and the advantages and limitations of this approach.
WEEK TWO 8th OCTOBER 2010
APPROACHES TO MANAGEMENT
This week was the continuation of last week's session. I missed this session because I was ill and I couldn't really write much but I got to know of what transpired in this session from my writing buddy. The presentation was held by each group. The entrepreneurs group started their presentation with a video on the first undersea restaurant in the world. The other groups followed suite with presentations on advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches to management.
My Groups presentation was on the bureaucratic system of management. This theory of management focuses on dividing organizations into hierarchies where an person is total control
After the presentation. I totally understood the different approaches to managing present day organizations and how these theories could be applied.
I was particularly interested in the benefits and limitations of the bureaucratic management approach.
WEEK THREE 15th OCTOBER 2010
PERCEPTION AND COMUNICATION
This week's session looked at perception and communication in Organizational Behaviour. This topic got me reflecting on what perception and communication actually means. According to linsday&Norman (1997), "perception is the process by which Organisms interpret and organize sensation to produce a meaningful experience of the world" This means when a person is confronted with a siyuation, he or she interprets it into some thing meaningful to them based on previous experiences. This definition got me pondering on what perceptions individuals in organizations have about each other and how this perception influences or affect their behavior.
To me, perception is very important because it enables us to perceive the world around us and most importantly how we perceive other people and events in that world. My perception of another person determines how I would relate with that person. That perception could be a stereotype or prejudice.
The internal factors that could affect perception were discussed in class. These factors could be learning, personality, and motivation. In addition, I also got to understand that our present feelings about something or someone could cause perceptions to vary between individuals. In living our lives and interacting with each other, our perceptions are influenced by culture, personality habit, information we receive, etc.
Communication on the other hand is also pertinent in organizational behavior because it affects organizational performance. There must be effective communication between employees and employers for organizatopns to succeed. To achieve a better understanding, I did a research on communications and find out that communication is based upon certain principles namely conciseness,clarity,completeness, clarity,courtesy, correctness and concreteness and its components include context which includes a theme that a message must have, The sender who acts as the encoder, the message, the medium which is the channel from where the message is bypassed,the receiver, and the feedback.
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WEEK 4. 22 OCTOBER 2010
DIVERSITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN ORGANIZATIONS
. This topic seeks to explain what workplace diversity entails, its underlying importance and the demographic differences among individuals.
This week's session discussed Diversity and Individual differences and the contributing factors in increasing diversity in organizations. It is important to appreciate workplace diversity and cultural differences in understanding Organizational behavior
The lecturer said that diversity is gradually increasing in organizations today and it is imperative to adopt ways of dealing with it.
Another point made by the lecturer was that Workplace diversity focuses on similarities and differences that people belong to an organization. This made me understand that diversity is about learning from others who are not the same with us, about dignity and respect for all, and about creating workplace environments that encourage learning from others and capture the advantage of diverse perspectives. Refer to www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/research/subjectguides/workplacediversity.html
In view of globalization in the world today, a gradual connection between societies and a huge increase in migrations and ethnic diversity is emerging. Organizations going international or global encounter more diversity in their work force.
According to my research, with Increasing diversity and cultural differences comes the possibility of stereotyping and prejudice because of a certain perception of individuals towards others.This perceptions could be age, race, disability, religion, belief, sexual orientation, marital status, personality etc.
However, with diversity comes discrimination and racism or Ageism. In some countries employees are discriminated because of their skin colour, religion, sexual orientation etc. One main example from my country Nigeria is that married women or pregnant women are not permitted from working in banks.
This brings me back to stereotypes and prejudice According to Allport (1954), Sterotypes enables people to manage information more effectively but they could serve as a self fulfilling prophecy and reduce or boost employee performance while prejudice on the other hand is usually usually attitude towards a group as a whole or members of that group driven by emotions.
In todays world, we still encounter prejudice in organizations. Sexism in Organizations where women earn less than men with t he same job experience still exist.
However, it is important to manage diversity in an organization because it helps in building customer relationships, increases competititive awareness, encourages new markets and increases organizational reputation.
Some companies are well knowned for their diverse workforce, For example, In Unilever 30% of rec are from different ethnic minorities.
After this session, I now understand that organizations with effective diversity programs take a holistic approach to diversity by exploring new ways to increaseprofits and removing barriers to success.
\futhermore, Understanding individual characteristics in an organization is very pertinent because it enables us to understand how individual differences could affect our behaviour at work.
WEEK FIVE 28th OCTOBER 2010
LECTURE: WORK GROUPS
This weeks session focused on Group work. I believe it is very important to study groups because they play important roles in our lives. Everybody belongs to one kind of group or the other be it a social group, cultural group, community group or academic group. During the lecture, the tutor said "you cannot live in isolation" and this got me thinking. I agreed with this statement because each and every one of us belong to a group one way or the other because all through our lives we have been part of an age group, sex group, cultural group etc.
Furthermore, looking at it from an organizational perspective, success of an organization is underpinned by groups. During the course of the lecture, I also got to understand that people or individuals join groups for common interests or needs, cultural similarities and sense of belonging.
Differences between a group and team were mentioned in the lecture. This led to a debate on whether they are both the same or are different. To some members of the class, they are the same, while to others they differ from each other. In my opinion, I carefully sought to know what a team really means and vice versa. A team is a small group of people with skills or abilities, who are committed to achieving a common goal. It is much easier to form a group than a team. A good example that struck my mind was if you had a lecture hall filled with students of different backgrounds and so on, they could be easily grouped into age, sex, nationality, religion e.t.c. A team on the other hand may be difficult to form because members of a team are selected for their special skills or abilities not their commonality.
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The family was also discussed in this session. I asked myself if a family is a group or a team. A family exists because of the different tasks we do and everyone belongs to a family so therefore a family is a team.
Being a member of a group has affected me in many ways. For example, being a member of my class has enabled me interact with more people from different backgrounds and cultures. It has also given me the opportunity to learn new ideas and knowledge of other peoples culture.
Finally, at the end of the lecture, team role questionnaires were given to members of the class. The objectives of these questionnaires were to introduce team roles theory and identify them. This questionnaire was a widely used method for understanding the roles within a group or team developed by Meridith beblin.
I got a total score of 12 which eventually turned out to be a team worker. According to Beblin's theory, A team worker is mild, perceptive, diplomatic. Their weaknesses are that they can be easily influenced and indecisive.
This made me understand different roles and contributions and weaknesses encountered in organizations and how these roles affect their behavior
WEEK SEVEN: 12th November 2010
LEADAERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND MOTIVATION AT WORK
This session focused on leadership and management. According to Fred luthans (2008) p408, Effective leadership cannot fully exist without the full cooperation of his employees. Therefore, Every leader must have a follower. But are leaders mangers? I am of the opinion that not all leaders are managers likewise managers been leaders. This is because leaders and managers do have some similarities but they possess different characteristics or functions.
Bennis (1980) p.7 identified some characteristics of leaders versus managers in the 21st century.
According to him, managers are administrators, who involved in planning, control and organizing, while leaders inspire his followers, develops people, is innovative and focuses on people. Good examples of exemplary leaders that I know are Barrack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Martin luther king Jr. These leaders lead by example, they inspire their followers and focus on them.
This brings me to the fundamental importance of leadership. Are leaders born or made? What does leadership mean? Who is a good leader? These questions got me into a reflective mode. I pondered over this questions and came up with some answers. To me leaders are made and not born, because the job of leading others is a learning process. This question of leadership has remained elusive because there has not been a conclusive evidence whether leaders are born or made. I believe not everyone was born a leader rather people develop leadership qualities from their mentors or role models. However, there are some inborn qualities inherent in people that incline them to become leaders. These qualities like assertiveness, boldness, outspokenness, charisma etc. enable some individuals harness their leadership potential. An extrovert person has a good chance of becoming a successful salesman and an introvert person has little or chance of becoming a salesman. In other words, having an outgoing personality or trait which is inherent in you inclines you to become a leader.
A leader is a motivator, a self confident individual and a charismatic individual.I define leadership as the act or process of leading other people. Leadership is all about motivating,inspiring, fusing, innovating.But leaders must possess the management skills to guide their followers in the right direction.
In my research, David Piccione suggest To be an effective leader there are three main leadership styles that leaders could adopt. They are the Authoritarian style, the participative style and the delegative style.
Please refer to http://davidpiccione.com/blog/what-is-leadership/
These leadership styles must be used in certain situations.A good leader must have authority, participate and delegate responsibiies and functions.
However, not all leaders lead by example and have those qualities that a perfect leader possess.
The bad leaders use the authoritarian or bureaucratic style of leadership which consists of having total control and power over over their subjects.. An example of bad leaders are Adolf Hitler of Germany, Sanni Abacha of Nigeria and Indi Amin of Gambia. This leaders executed their citizens who stood up to them or questioned or challenged their powers.
MOTIVATION AT WORK
The main theoretical argument of this session was what motivates employees in an organization. Their motives aand their drives. According to Shermerhorn,hunt&Osborne (2008) p 111, "Motivation refers to the individual forces that account for direction,level,and persistence of a persons effort expended at work". This made me reflect on what really motivates me and what drives me?. A prize draw in form of a reward could motivate me to work better and . The lecturer made one main points that got my attention. The point was "By understanding motivation, you will be in charge of your mood" I reflective over statement and concluded that My mood is essentially my life.Â If I am always in a positive mood I have a good chance of living a good life. And if my mood is negative or bad, then it would require motivation to make me happy. So by understanding what motivates you, you are in contol of your emotions or mood
Wacthing herzbergs video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o87s-2YtG4Y on motivation theory on people and organizations in class enlightened me totally. He argued that they are two set of needs. 1) The hygiene needs which deals with mans relationship with his environment. This focuses on how you treat people at work. These factors prevent people from Job dissatisfaction and keep people from being unhappy. He argued that this factors don't really motivates people but keeps them happy.
2) The motivators which allows people to achieve what they want to do. To enable know if their advancing in growth or whether their doing is significant. This are the variables that motivate people because people who want to do something want to do it.
Another issue raised by Herzberg was if money motivates people. Yes Money motivates people to work. If was working so hard in an organization and my pay cant sustain me, I would be motivated to perform better.
The other point made was KITA- which means Kick in the arse. According to him, this approach is the simplest way to make you do anything It could be positive or negative.
Thinking over this, I agree with Herzberg because employess that want to do a good job because they want to do a good job are motivated and Do employees who want to do a good job because they want more money or reward?- that's movement.
EVALUATIVE SUMMARY AND ACTION PLAN
In general, I have learnt a lot about organizational behavior and why it is vital and essential to study it.Studying OB has enable me understand how to deal with others
In todays world, Mangers are gradually paying attention to how their employees behave in certain situations rather how they respond. Studying employee behavior is an important tool for managing employees
The behavior of indiviouls in an Organization tells us about their attitude to work and what perceptions they have towards others.. I learnt that studying behavior enables mangers to adopt strategies to motivate and develop their employees so that the organization can succeed. I realized that organizational behavior is essential because organizations must adapt to changing business cultures in this 21st centuary.
My significant learning experience was that motivation is a key factor in making employees in an organization perform more effectively and efficiently. A company where i once worked in gave salary advances every 6months and gave all its employees a months vacation plus other added benefits. This motivates employees which leads to job satisfaction. Studying maotivation extensively made me realize that the success of any organization solely depends on how motivated its workforce is. Motivation is critical in the success or faluire of an organization.This is why Organizations must strive to utilize effective motivation strategies to remain competitive.
Studyiing this course has enabled me achieve my learning objectives.
Firstly, I realized that certain factors could influence employee bahaviour at work. This could be individual differences, the environment, personality and perception. This factors influence how individuals in the workplace behave. I was particularly interested to know that personality tests could be used to understand the behavior of individuals. I used to think an extrovert stands a better chance of becoming good marketer than an introvert. But it is not always the case because I am a litte introvert by nature but regardless of that I have been a successful in marketing oil products because I believe it how you approach your potential customers and what you say to them that matters not how outspoken or outgoing you are.
Secondly,, I have got to understand that managers face challenges in managing their employees and these challenges are largely related to a widely diverse workplace because diverse workers have different interpersonal styles and attitudes. After my research on this I discovered that these challenges transcend three levels. These challenges are in individual level which consists of job satisfaction, the group level which comprises of workplace diversity and the organizational level which includes productivity and completion..
Finally,I achieved a great understanding in management theories and approaches, I enjoyed this topic and got a grasp of the advantages and disadvantages of the different theories and what the implications of adopting each one of them are. What caught my interest in this topic was the Human relations approach. I actively engaged in self analysis of this approach because it emphasis on greater productivity of employees through leadership, Motivation and good human relations.
My aim in life is to become a successful business man. I am currently a undergoing a Masters degree in International business which I believe will expose me to cultural differences that exist when doing business internationally. I hope to achieve this aim by studying extensively on all my program courses as well as actively engaging in dialogue and debates on the main issues raised in my lectures.
However, Constraints I may face in is the high volume of research to be carried out in performing a marketing research of businesses in countries.
The task of writing this reflective diary was boring initially but after some time I started enjoying it.I now find the task of writing a reflective diary fascinating and intrstesting.
This reflective writing will enable me appreciate workplace diversity and individual differences and how personality, attitudes and perception can affect or influence employees bahaviour.in an organization.
To conclude this diary, the only difficulty I faced was trying to limit my diary to three thousand words which proved difficult because I had so many things to write.