Management Essays - Work Attitudes

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Work Attitudes

Motivation and Decision Making

What motivates workers to work? To help understand what motivates workers to work is to focus on attitudes, values, personality, ethics, and any cultural differences that may impact work performance. In this paper I will address how each of the above concepts are influenced by organizational behavior (OB). I will use at least two scholarly, peer-reviewed journals to demonstrate how each concept is influence in OB.


Attitudes are evaluated statements on how one feels about things or people. Attitudes affect behaviors. Managers would need to pay close attention to the attitudes of their workers. For instance, if a worker has a positive attitude while at work, the worker will perform better on the job. On the other hand, if a worker constantly experience having a negative attitude while at work, this may lead to absenteeism or a possible resignation from the organization.

There are numerous theories of attitudes that can be linked to behaviors in the workplace. For instance, the cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, trans. 1957) refers to “any incompatibility we might perceive between two or more attitudes or between our attitudes or behavior” (Robins & Judge, 2007, p. 76). In simple terms, cognitive dissonance theory can be use to avoid information or participate in a behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs and attitudes. For example, suppose you like your job and you have been in that position for over five years. Then a new director is hired and implemented changes that you did not agree should had occurred. Your attitude about your job may become negative if you disagree with the changes.

In the workplace, it is important to recognize attitudes of employees because attitudes are a component of behavioral. In OB, researchers believe that attitudes have three main components: cognitive, affective, and behavior. Furthermore, managers can focus on job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment to determine employees’ attitudes (Robbins & Judges, 2007).

Values and Personality

According to Robbins & Judges (2007), values do not have a direct impact on behavior. However, values have a very strong effect on the way a person feels about something, how a person conducts, and how a person perceives. Michaelson (2005) researched on the Work Motivation Theory, which suggests that values motivate individuals to work for a company. This theory seeks to align values with organization performance and satisfaction.

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Most theorists in OB agree that values are standards for choosing goals and those values are developed through personality. In linking values and personality, Holland (1997) presented a theory known as the personality-job fit theory of what is considered to be the best expressive way in matching job requirements with personality. The theory presents six personality types (refer to Exhibit 1), which can be used to successfully match an individual personality to a job. The theory argues that work satisfaction is very high and that turnover is low due to the compatibility of personality and job performance.

Walsh & Eggerth (2005) believed that the Five-Factor Model of Personality is the most highly accept theory in composing personality to job performance. The reason the model is highly acceptable is that the model has a stronger predictability in measuring job satisfaction. Furthermore, other theorists look at the relationship between personality and job performance by conducted a meta-analysis. Included in the analysis were 163 independent samples and 334 correlations (p. 279). The results of the study revealed that four out of five types showed a significant correlation between personality and job satisfaction. Walsh & Eggerth (2005) suggest that their analysis influences OB because the variables can be used to evaluate specific personality in the workplace.

Ethics and Cultural Differences

How does ethics and cultural differences link with organizational behavior? First of all, an ethical behavior requires integrity in the workplace. In practical application, however, ethical behaviors more than less requires balancing between conflicts and opposing interest in situations where one’s judgment comes into play. Within organizations, they must do their best to maximize all ethical behavior and minimize any unethical behavior.

In the field of business ethics, specialists have devised a checklist called, “The Ethical Checklist” designed by L. L. Nash (Rossouw, 1994 p. 15). The Ethical checklist is an instrument used to guide and structure the process in decision-making. The problem with the Ethical Checklist is that it does not address any problems raised by moral dilemmas. Take for example, two people from different cultures or perhaps from the same culture may come up with conflicting decisions when they are using the same checklist. So, even though this checklist may be a viable tool to use, it cannot compete with moral disputes that may rise in the organization.

According to Collins (2006), all people are ethically challenged. In a researched conducted by Bella DePaulo (1999) of the University of Virginia and colleagues, based on their study, people either do not tell the truth or they tell a partial truth once or twice a day as well as in about 20% of conversations that last longer than 10 minutes. It has also been reported in other studies, that every year about 10 million people are not honest to the IRS, 70% of doctors are not reporting truthful information to Medicare or to insurance companies, and 25% of middle-managers admit to having written a fraudulent internal report (p. 19).

Collins (2006) created a wheel to show an ethical culture within the business environment. The wheel is called the Five Moral Levees (see Figure 2). In the wheel, the five moral levees are needed for improving ethical behaviors, while protecting the organization from unethical behaviors. Despite the statistics illustrated above, managers should take precaution in creating and maintaining ethical standards for their employees to uphold.


The focus of this paper dealt with attitudes, values, personality, ethics and cultural difference and how they impact organizational behavior. Researches have shown that people like to be consistent and they seek to make their attitudes and behavior consistent with one another. If they are inconsistent, people may change their attitude or behavior to make them match. The link between attitudes and behavior is called cognitive dissonance, a theory proposed by Leon Festinger (1957). The theory explains the uncomfortable or uneasiness feelings one may experience when his or her actions contradicts their beliefs.

Although values do not have a direct impact on behavior, values do have a very strong effect on the way a person feels about something, how people conduct themselves, and how a person perceives things. A couple of strategies for improving work performance were presented. For instance, the work motivation theory examined how values motivate individuals to work for a company by aligning values with organization performance and satisfaction. Also, managers can use the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS), a value measuring instrument use in understanding what values are by linking both the terminal and the instrumental values.

Another theory that was presented is this paper was the personality-job fit theory. This theory argues that one’s personality can match up to a job that possibly may lead to a higher job satisfaction. In comparison to the Five-Factor Model of Personality, a tool used to study personality, it is currently showed to be the most widely used tool. Ethics and culture play an important role in OB because both variables emphasize the importance of organizational commitment of employees in the workplace.