Organizational behavior is a field concerned with study of the relationship between the organization and the individuals in the workforce. In particular it entails studying how the organization influences the behavior of its workers and how as a result those individuals are able to influence the organization. It is a wide topic that involves various disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, sociology and so on. In studying the organizational behavior it helps to note that in the traditional closed systems various factors that are important in the modern working environment were left unconsidered. However the open system has appreciated the environmental factors such as attitudes and human sentiments which remain vital in studying the human behavior.
In health care sector the behavior of individuals or groups is similar to any other organization even though there could be a little variation which can be attributed to the unique challenges that are offered by different environmental conditions. As such the management issues that are experienced in other organizations are also replicated in the health sector. The organizational behavior is important to the management in the modern heath care environment. Challenges from the organizations which range from the accomplishments and professionalism continue to be felt in the organizational behavior. For instance, the heath care providers have highly skilled professionals who are supposed to adhere to a code of reliable systems to ensure delivery of health services. Apparently the heath professionals such as physicians work autonomously and as such the management must find the right balance to enhance the productivity of the workforce while giving the physicians their autonomy. In the current financial conditions the health workers are expected to deliver on quality health services amid stiff competition and more coordination in delivering such complex services. In addition, the labor challenges are present in modern health care organizations placing more strain on the few heath care professionals available. Indeed, with escalating costs of delivering heath care services and reducing reimbursements it has been become imperative for the managers to be equipped with skills on the organizational behavior for the better coordination and productivity of the available workforce. With the increased demand for outpatient services and aging population the provision of the health care services requires better management of the workforce against the backdrop of the above challenges. But this calls for the managers to have skills on the organizational behaviour.
Another scenario in which the management team in the health sector should be equipped with the right skills n addressing issues concerning the employees is outlined. Understanding organizational behavior would prove important in an instance where there is high rate of absenteeism. However, instead of the managers evaluating the underlying problem they end up sacking the physicians. The managers could be inhospitable with the workers avoiding their presence leading to an unhealthy relationship which translate to absenteeism. This is another instance in the modern working environment that a manager requires such skills in enhancing the productivity of the worker and reduces this rate of absenteeism.
2. Employees and organizational behaviour
Organizational behaviour in organizations is used to improve productivity, enhancing the workers job satisfaction, increasing employee retention, reducing turnover and enhancing commitment from the employees. But why is learning organizational behavior also important for employees? Most organizations nowadays are increasingly using groups in carrying out some of the tasks. Working in a group requires cohesion and understanding the attitude and developing interpersonal relationships with the rest of the members. As part of the group it then becomes important for each individual to be equipped with the organizational behavior skills to ensure smooth relation with the rest of the group members.
Organizational behaviour enhances empowerment, job satisfaction and ethical behavior from employees. An employee is part of the organization and is every worker is important in the achievement of the goals of organizations in sectors such as healthcare. Being equipped with organizational behaviour skills ensures a healthy relationship with the management. This is due to the exposure already acquired on the challenges the management team faces in attaining effectiveness and productivity in the organization.
It also goes without saying that learning on organizational behavior leads to self improvement on areas such as perception, personality and attitude. This becomes important in other areas rather than the work environment. It is also worth mentioning that an employee could be absorbed to be a member of the management team in future and it thus it becomes preferable to have the skills on managing the workforce before hand. As a matter of fact this also helps as the individual is able to understand the challenges facing the employee and the management owing to the exposure on both levels.
Perception can be defined as the process by which the individuals in a workplace are able to select, organize, interpret, retrieve and respond to certain information. Indeed it could be argued that how an individual perceives or thinks about a situation determines the organizational behavior. In the perceptual process the information is subject to distortion and in which case this leads to an individual acting on incomplete or incorrect information. Information is obtained via the senses of hearing, feeling, sight, taste and smelling.
In studying human perception several theories have been put forward and they all concede that individuals respond to a situation in regard to how they perceive it. Perception as studied by Bandura (1977) is able to be affected by expectation. In a health sector scenario a worker is motivated to handle a responsibility with the expectations that after completion of the task there will be a valued outcome. The individual perception is incorporated and the manager’s expectation is tailored on the organization goals.
Besides the expectancy theory there also exists the attribution theory which seeks to reaffirm that inferences are made to explain on the observations made. However, perception where wrong attributes to an observed behavior are made can occur. This is referred to as fundamental attribute error which leads to wrong judgment (Jack, 2004). For instance in a health care scenario a manager may cause a fundamental attribute error by presuming that a physician who comes to work late is lazy where as there is an underlying explanation.
Factors influencing perceptual process
Characteristic of the perceiver and setting
This entails influence which is attributed to the perceivers past experiences, motive, personality, values and the attitude (Leary, 1964). It is common knowledge that individuals are selective perceivers on basis of interests, experiences and even attitudes. The individuals develop heuristics in processing of information where the complex process of perception is simplified based on past experiences. The degree of perception or judgment according to Das and Teng (1999) could be biased with the perception being based on use of limited information due to a belief or an assumption already held. As such this limits on the options available due to the selection of already predetermined outcomes. In addition, the biasness of the perceiver towards a situation could lead to the undermining the seriousness and the possibilities available. This also constricts on the outcomes available to due to the simplification of the problem. On the other hand, the overestimation of the capability of a perceiver could also lead to deficient information processing and flawed perception. Finally the degree on the possibility of occurrence could also blind the perceiver in making the right solution or limiting the outcomes possible.
Characteristic of the setting and perceived
This pertain the various physical, social and organizational contexts (Lenten, 1969). The process of perception is influenced by the perceived by characteristics such as contrast, intensity, figure ground separation, size, motion and repetition (Denzel, 1991). Indeed, the perceived could be judged by the individuals from contrasting with other situations and objects having similar characteristics. As such, the perception arrived at is likely to be evaluated from the outcome of this similarity.
Stages of the perceptual process
By selective screening an individual obtains information via controlled processing or screening the perceiver’s consciousness (Billy, 1991). However Jane (1992) argues that before the selection of information there is perceptual grouping where individual stimuli are classified into recognizable categories having similar patterns. Grouping is done on the basis of continuity, proximity, similarity or closure
This entails use of schemas which are cognitive frameworks that respond to a stimulus according to the experience obtained over time. Schemas could be self, person, script or person in self schemas (William, 1973). Under schema the reality between the attributes based on expectations is studied. The person schema deals with the individual’s traits and actions. On the other hand the script schema dictates how various events are meant to follow each other. Finally there is also the schema based on various roles which are related to their requisite expectations and appropriate behavior. The sharing of schemas in health care organizations becomes important with the strategies decided upon by the managers being consistent with the individual schemas. It could be observed that with the sharing of the schemas the organizations behaviours can appropriately be defined.
Interpretation and retrieval
It is worth noting that the ways in which individuals interpret information vary. Through selective perception individuals are able to interpret information which they consider being of interest, of their background, from previous experiences or even based on their attitudes. On the other hand retrieval involves obtaining information which is stored in the memory.
The Perception Process
Stereo typing and perception
Stereotype is one type of perceptual distortions other distortions being halo effects, selective perception and projection. Prototype is used when organizing information overload in social identity. If ineffective in concealing the individual differences it becomes stereotyping. The human memory has schemas and which provide with expectations on different events, objects, people and situations. In general this process of information processes is what we call perception. Perception is not a distortion but a process. On the other hand, the stereotyping is relying on generalized and simplified conceptions which could be harmful on extension to an individual. For instance in describing a bird u really on the prototype of a bird one knows. It could be described it flies in general has wings and so forth. However such a prototype becomes a stereotype when it is extended to a chicken because it doesn’t fly.
A group in an organization comprising of two or ore people working together to fulfill the goals of an organization by performing specific tasks. As such groups are instrumental in the organization as they help in execution of important tasks. But are groups more effective than individual decision making? Groups in an organization bring synergy due to cohesiveness. Under such an arrangement the work preformed is more than the accomplishment that would have been achieved individually. As such the role of synergy in a group is important in helping the organizations meet their long term and short term goals.
Groups are considered to be more beneficial than the individuals as the contribution is encouraged by sharing of information. Besides problem solving being consultative groups are able to exploit the production practices such as division of labour which enhances more effectiveness. Where innovation is required in an organization group’s contribution is preferred due to its better performance. However, it is worth noting that the group performance in an organization is also subject to social loafing which is reduces on the effectiveness. The reduced performance as a result of social loafing is attributed to the lack of recognition of the individual contribution (Miguel, 2003). In addition, imbalance in the contribution of the members could also lead to some individuals having more workload and discouraging them in the group participation. However, the problem of social loafing can be avoided with the members being assigned clear roles to maximize on the individual potential and interest. Accountability which is prevalent in an individual work relationship should be encouraged by having a rewarding scheme where individual output is recognized.
The individual performance in the group could be affected through social facilitation. This is another setback of the group work over the individual work relationship in an organization. Social facilitation could be either negative or positive. It could be defined as the tendency of an individual behavior to being influenced by the rest of the work force. As such in a group performance individuals who are not well versed with their responsibilities may be hindered with their productivity. Conversely the task performance of the individuals well versed with their responsibilities is positively affected.
Types of groups
The formal groups in an organization may be temporary or permanent. The temporary work group may be referred to as a group which is created to solve a certain problem or carry out a specific task on a short term basis. On the other hand permanent task group besides having long term tenure are vertically integrated in the structure of the organization. It is worth noting that virtual groups in an organization perform on their task assigned through a networked system and do not have physical meeting. Virtual groups carryout their tasks in a groupware unlike in face-to-face group. The groups in an organizational can have another variation where they could be also be informal. Informal work groups are pivotal in an organization by supplementing the tasks of the formal work groups. The groups are also social in nature and they enrich on their individual members.
The development of groups goes through stages in ensuring their effective performance. Initially the first stage involves the coming together of the members. The forming stage is important for familiarization of the members and in-depth understanding of the task assigned to the group. In addition, at this stage formulation of the rules in guiding the group and code of ethics is drafted. The next stage is the storming stage where the level of emotion and tension among the members is usually high (Helen, 2006). At this stage members are busy integrating with each other, understanding interpersonal styles and being accustomed to their new working arrangement. After the storming stage come the norming stage where the group starts holding together for amore coordinated performance (Jade, 2006). The most important stage is the performing development and this is when the real task is done. The working relationship is cemented at this stage with the teething problems having been addressed. The adjourning stage marks the end of well functioning group. Michael (2003) argues out that a group which had been well integrated and was functioning well should be able to disband effortlessly having completed the assigned task.
As earlier seen in the forming stage of the work group the formal code of conduct and the required behaviors are formulated on the onset. However, during the tenure of the group there are emergent behaviors which are displayed by the members in addition to the required behaviors. The relationships in the group could be classified into three facets. The first facet entails the specific work mandated to be performed by the group. The interpersonal communication is also important. The final facet in the relationship entails the sentiments which form the attitudes and the feelings held among the members. The negative aspects of the inter-group dynamic can sap the synergy of the group leading to unhealthy relationship. As a matter of fact members of the group may find that they are spending too much time in resolving internal conflicts instead of concentrating on the task at hand.
Decision making in a group is made through lack of response, authority rule, minority rile, majority rule, consensus and unanimity (Michael, 2003). Unlike where there is the individual relationship between an employee and an organization, in a group work relationship there are myriad of benefits associated with these methods of decision making. The decision making in a group being consultative is able to utilize the expertise of the members making the problem-solving easier. The decision arrived at democratically becomes acceptable to all members and this reinforces the individual commitment from the individual members. The system however has some disadvantages. For instance, unlike in a situation where an individual is likely to make a faster decision group-decision-making process is time consuming. The ‘group think’ is another disadvantage of the group work in an organization where the members in a group loose their evaluation capabilities leading to poor decisions being made (Steven, 2004). More over, in a group work setting the decision making process of the group may be dominated by a clique making it ineffective.
In forestalling the setbacks associated with the formal groups the decision making process is improved through several techniques. Richard (2007) lists these techniques to be brainstorming, Delphi method, computer mediated process and nominal group technique. In brainstorming criticism is not acceptable and the members are allowed to quickly generate ideas, alternatives and permits free wheeling. On the other hand, nominal group technique entails developing a nominal question where every body participates without criticism from the rest of the members. The Delphi method is usually used where the members in a group are not able to meet physically. The process is detailed and involves sending questions electronically to the members with the coordinator then receiving the responses and developing a questionnaire (Edward, 1990). After receiving the various responses a summary of the responses is prepared by the coordinator who then sends it back to the members together with the questionnaire which has been developed. This process arrives at a decision which has to be agreed upon by all the members. Finally there is the computer aided method where brainstorming is done through virtual means. The above arrangements help in bringing the effectiveness in a group’s decision making process while encouraging the participation from all the members.
As already noted earlier group think is one setback of working in a group. Where as working together could lead to cohesive decision making groupthink also leads to poor decision-making. Janis (1983) defines groupthink as the tendency of the members of a group to loose focus of their judgment and mental efficiency in carrying out of the task given due to in-group pressures. This is one characteristic of group work that is not in an individual relationship with an organization. On the other hand, when members are working in a group there is pressure for uniformity and unanimity. As such with the big responsibility being bestowed on the members there is that tendency of feeling invincible and morally right. In particular the member participation may be hindered with the group working in a stereotypical way. The complacency and insulation from outside influence ultimately leads to poor decision making. Groupthink is also contributed by lack of proper formulation of a plan to be followed by the group in fulfilling its task. As such decisions are made erratically due to lack of a clear protocol. In essence, it could be argued that groupthink is brought along by cohesiveness, the isolation of the group, leader intimidation and lack of proper plan in decision making (Neck, 1994). Even though groupthink contributes to poor performance of a group in an organization these drawbacks can be avoided. One major way of avoiding group think is by ‘options memo technique’. By options memo technique the work assigned to the group is clearly outlined (Raymond, 1999). On the other hand, isolation which may cause groupthink can be prevented by introducing new members into the group to offer expert advice, recommendation and evaluation of the work done.
The cohesiveness of the group has been found to be one cause of groupthink. In forestalling its negative effects the competing ideas in decision making among the members could lead to the destruction of this cohesion. As such the rebuilding of the cohesion becomes necessary after a certain period of time. This could be achieved by integrating several methods in decision making such as brainstorming and voting processes. As such participation of the dissatisfied members is enhanced through such brainstorming sessions. This engages the participation of all members of the group in the decision making process. Morehead (1998) calls this decompression and it is necessary in addressing the conflict of ideas and reestablishing the bonds between the members.
In conclusion it is obvious that individual decision making becomes ineffective where important decision making is required and where contribution and consultation is necessary. Individual decision making is bound to be influenced by selective perception with decisions being made on the basis of self interest (Scribd, 2008). In addition, the limited knowledge by one individual becomes a huge setback where the decision requires a solution from a wealth of ideas. Even though the groups are faced by challenges such as groupthink and other issues these problems can be addressed making the decision making in a group to be more preferred as compared to individual decision making. The benefits that are offered by the group decision making far outweigh the disadvantages as the involvement of the members also helps in imparting them with the skills on organizational behavior and more productivity for the company.
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