Part I: Prologue C H A P T E R 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior After studying this chapter, you should be able to: 1. Define organizational behavior (OB). 2. Explain the value of the systematic study of OB. 3. Identify the contributions made to OB by major behavioral science disciplines. 4. Describe how OB concepts can help make organizations more productive. 5. List the major challenges and opportunities for managers to use OB concepts. 6. Identify the three levels of analysis in OB. I f you ask managers to describe their most frequent or troublesome problems, the answers you get tend to exhibit a common theme.
The managers most often describe people problems. They talk about their bosses’ poor communication skills, employees’ lack of motivation, conflicts between team members, overcoming employee resistance to a company reorganization, and similar concerns. It may surprise you to learn, therefore, that it’s only recently that courses in people skills have become an important part of business school programs. Although practicing managers have long understood the importance of interpersonal skills to managerial effectiveness, business schools have been slower to get the message.
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Until the late 1980s, business school curricula emphasized the technical aspects of management, specifically focusing on economics, accounting, finance, and quantitative techniques. Course work in human behavior and people skills received minimal attention relative to the technical aspects of management. Over the past two decades, however, 1 2 Part I Prologue business faculty have come to realize the importance that an understanding of human behavior plays in determining a manager’s effectiveness, and required courses on people skills have been added to many curricula.
As the director of leadership at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management recently put it, “M. B. A. students may get by on their technical and quantitative skills the first couple of years out of school. But soon, leadership and communication skills come to the fore in distinguishing the managers whose careers really take off. “1 To get and keep high-performing employees, organizations recognize the importance of developing managers’ interpersonal skills. Regardless of labor market conditions, outstanding employees are always in short supply.
Companies with reputations as good places to work—such as Starbucks, Adobe Systems, Cisco, Whole Foods, American Express, Amgen, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and Marriott—have a big advantage. A national study of the U. S. workforce found that wages and fringe benefits are not the main reasons people like their jobs or stay with an employer. Far more important is the quality of the employee’s job and the supportiveness of the work environment. 2 So having managers with good interpersonal skills is likely to make the workplace more pleasant, which, in turn, makes it easier to hire and keep qualified people.
In addition, creating a pleasant workplace appears to make good economic sense. For instance, companies with reputations as good places to work (such as the companies that are included among the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”) can generate superior financial performance. 3 Technical skills are necessary, but they are not enough to succeed in management. In today’s increasingly competitive and demanding workplace, managers can’t succeed on their technical skills alone. They also have to have good people skills.
This book has been written to help both managers and potential managers develop those people skills. THE FIELD OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR The study of people at work is generally referred to as the study of organizational behavior. Let’s begin, then, by defining the term organizational behavior and briefly reviewing its origins. Organizational behavior (often abbreviated as OB) studies the influence that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations. The chief goal of OB is to apply that knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness.
And because OB is concerned specifically with employment-related situations, it emphasizes behavior related to jobs, work, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity, human performance, and management. OB focuses on the three determinants of behavior in organizations: individuals, groups, and structure. While scholars increasingly agree on what topics constitute the subject area of OB, they continue to debate the relative importance of each. In this book, we focus on the following core topics: ¦ ¦ ¦ Motivation Leader behavior and power Interpersonal communication Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ 3 Group structure and processes Learning Attitude development and perception Change processes Conflict Work design4 COMPLEMENTING INTUITION WITH SYSTEMATIC STUDY Each of us is a student of behavior. Since our earliest years, we’ve watched the actions of others and have attempted to interpret what we see. Whether or not you’ve explicitly thought about it before, you’ve been reading people almost all your life. You watch what others do, trying to understand why they engage in their behavior and perhaps attempting to predict what they might do under different sets of conditions.
Unfortunately, a casual or commonsense approach to reading others often leads to erroneous predictions. To improve your predictive ability, you can supplement your intuitive opinions with a more systematic approach, as informed by the study of OB. Using the systematic approach in this book, we will uncover important facts and relationships that will enable you to make more accurate —Behavior is not random. predictions of behavior. Underlying this systematic approach is the Rather, certain fundamental belief that behavior is not random. Rather, certain fundamental consis- consistencies underlie the tencies underlie the ehavior of all individuals, and these fundamental behavior of all individuals. consistencies can be identified and then modified to reflect individual differences. Without these fundamental consistencies, we would have great difficulty predicting behavior. For example, when you get into your car, you make some definite and, usually, highly accurate predictions about how other people will behave. In North America, you would predict that other drivers will stop at stop signs and red lights, drive on the right side of the road, and pass on your left. Can you imagine what would happen if driving behaviors were unpredictable?
Obviously, the rules of driving make predictions about driving behavior fairly easy. What may be less obvious are the rules (written and unwritten) that exist in almost every setting. For instance, do you turn around and face the doors when you get into an elevator? Almost everyone does. But did you ever read that you’re supposed to do this? Probably not! We would argue that it’s possible to predict behavior (undoubtedly, not always with 100 percent accuracy) in supermarkets, classrooms, doctors’ offices, elevators, and in most structured situations.
Just as we make predictions about automobile drivers (for which there are definite rules), we can make predictions about the behavior of people in elevators (for which there are few written rules). In short, behavior is generally predictable, and the systematic study of behavior is a means to making reasonably accurate predictions. By systematic study, we mean the following: ¦ ¦ Examining relationships. Attempting to attribute causes and effects. 4 Part I Prologue ¦ Basing our conclusions on scientific evidence—that is, on data gathered under controlled conditions and measured and interpreted in a reasonably rigorous manner.
Systematic study augments intuition, those “gut feelings” about “what makes others tick. ” Of course, a systematic approach does not disprove things you have come to believe in an unsystematic way. Some of the conclusions we make in this text, based on reasonably substantive research findings, will only support what you already considered true, but some research evidence may run counter to what you thought was common sense. We hope that you can enhance your intuitive views of behavior and improve your accuracy in explaining and predicting behavior by practicing systematic analysis.
CONTRIBUTING DISCIPLINES TO THE OB FIELD OB is an applied behavioral science built on contributions from a number of behavioral disciplines, including psychology and social psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Psychology’s contributions have informed analysis mainly at the individual (micro level), while the other disciplines have contributed to our understanding of group processes and organizations (macro levels), as illustrated in Exhibit 1-1. Psychology Psychology is the science that seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes change the behavior of humans and other animals.
Psychologists concern themselves with studying and attempting to understand individual behavior. Those who have contributed and continue to add to the knowledge of OB are learning theorists, personality theorists, counseling psychologists, and, most important, industrial and organizational psychologists. Early industrial/organizational psychologists concerned themselves with the problems of fatigue, boredom, and other factors relevant to working conditions that could impede efficient work performance.
More recently, psychologists’ contributions have expanded to include learning, perception, personality, emotions, training, leadership effectiveness, needs and motivational forces, job satisfaction, decision-making processes, performance appraisals, attitude measurement, employee-selection techniques, work design, and job stress. Social Psychology Social psychology blends concepts from both psychology and sociology, though it is generally considered a branch of psychology. It focuses on people’s influences on one another.
One major area receiving considerable investigation from social psychologists has been change—how to implement it and how to reduce barriers to its acceptance. In addition, we find social psychologists making significant contributions in the areas of measuring, understanding, and changing attitudes; communication patterns; and building trust. Social psychologists also have made important contributions to our study of group behavior, power, and conflict. Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior EXHIBIT 1-1 Behavioral science Toward an OB Discipline Contribution Learning Motivation Personality Emotions Perception Training Leadership effectiveness Job satisfaction Individual decision making Performance appraisal Attitude measurement Employee selection Work design Work stress Behavioral change Attitude change Communication Group processes Group decision making Communication Power Conflict Intergroup behavior Group Study of Organizational Behavior Unit of analysis Output Psychology Individual Social psychology
Sociology Formal organization theory Organizational technology Organizational change Organizational culture Comparative values Comparative attitudes Cross-cultural analysis Anthropology Organizational culture Organizational environment Power Organization system Sociology While psychology focuses on the individual, sociology is the study of people in relation to their social environment or culture. Sociologists have contributed to OB through their study of group behavior in organizations, particularly formal and complex organizations.
Perhaps most importantly, sociologists have contributed to research on organizational culture, formal organization theory and structure, organizational technology, communications, power, and conflict. 6 Part I Prologue Anthropology Anthropology is the study of societies for the purpose of learning about human beings and their activities. Anthropologists’ work on cultures and environments has helped us understand differences in fundamental values, attitudes, and behavior among people in different countries and within different organizations.
Much of our current understanding of organizational culture, organizational environments, and differences among national cultures comes from the work of anthropologists or those using their methods. FEW ABSOLUTES IN OB Few, if any, simple and universal principles explain OB. The physical sciences— chemistry, astronomy, physics—have laws that are consistent and apply in a wide range of situations. They allow scientists to generalize about the pull of gravity or to be confident about sending astronauts into space to repair satellites.
But as a noted behavioral researcher aptly concluded, “God gave all the easy problems to the physicists. ” Human beings are complex and diverse, limiting our ability to make simple, accurate, and sweeping generalizations. Two people often act very differently in the same situation, and one person’s behavior changes in different situations, say at church on Sunday and at a party that night. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we can’t offer reasonably accurate explanations of human behavior or make valid predictions.
However, it does mean that OB concepts must reflect situational, or contingency, conditions. We can say that x leads to y, but only under conditions specified in z—the contingency variables. The science of OB was developed by taking general concepts and applying them to a particular situation, person, or group. For example, OB scholars avoid stating that everyone likes complex and challenging work (the general concept) because not everyone wants a challenging job and some people prefer the simple over the complex.
In other words, a job that is appealing to one person may not appeal to another, so the attraction of the job is contingent on the person who holds it. As you proceed through this book, you’ll encounter a wealth of research-based theories about how people behave in organizations. But don’t expect to find a lot of straightforward cause-and-effect relationships. There aren’t many! OB theories mirror the subject matter they address. People are complex and complicated, and so too must be the theories developed to explain their actions. CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR OB
Understanding OB has never been more important for managers. Consider some of the dramatic changes now taking place in organizations: ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ Workers represent a large range of cultures, races, and ethnic groups. The “war on terror” has brought to the forefront the challenges of working with and managing people during uncertain times. The typical employee is older. More women are in the workplace. Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior ¦ ¦ 7 Global competition requires employees to become more flexible and to learn to cope with rapid change.
Corporate downsizing and the heavy use of temporary workers are severing the bonds of loyalty that historically tied many employees to their employers. In short, today’s challenges offer managers many opportunities to use OB concepts. Let’s review some of the more critical issues confronting managers for which OB offers solutions—or at least some meaningful insights toward solutions. Responding to Globalization Organizations are no longer constrained by national borders. A British firm owns Burger King, and McDonald’s sells hamburgers in Moscow. ExxonMobil, a so-called U.
S. company, receives almost 75 percent of its revenues from sales outside the United States. New employees at Finland-based phone maker Nokia are increasingly being recruited from India, China, and other developing countries—with non-Finns now outnumbering Finns at Nokia’s renowned research center in Helsinki. And all major automobile manufacturers now build cars outside their home country’s borders— Honda in Ohio, Ford in Brazil, Volkswagen in Mexico, and both Mercedes and BMW in South Africa. As the world becomes a global village, the manager’s job is changing.
Increased Foreign Assignments If you’re a manager, you are increasingly likely to find yourself in a foreign assignment—transferred to your employer’s operating division or subsidiary in another country. Once there, you’ll have to manage a workforce that is likely to be very different in needs, aspirations, and attitudes from those you were used to back home. Working with People from Different Cultures Even in your own country, you’re going to find yourself working with bosses, peers, and other employees who were born and raised in different cultures.
What motivates you may not motivate them. To work effectively with people from different cultures, you will have to understand how their culture, geography, and religion have shaped them and how to adapt your management style to their differences. Coping with Anticapitalism Backlash Capitalism’s focus on efficiency, growth, and profits may be generally accepted in the United States, Australia, and Hong Kong, but these capitalistic values aren’t nearly as popular in —Management practices places such as France, the Middle East, and the Scandinavian countries. ust be modified to reflect Managers at such global companies as McDonald’s, Disney, and Coca- the values of the different Cola have come to realize that economic values are not universally countries in which an transferable. Management practices must be modified to reflect the val- organization operates. ues of the different countries in which an organization operates. Overseeing Movement of Jobs to Countries with Low-Cost Labor It’s increasingly difficult for managers in advanced nations, where minimum wages are typically $6 or more an hour, to compete against firms relying on orkers from China and other developing nations where labor is available for $. 30 an hour. The exportation of 8 Part I Prologue jobs, however, often comes with strong criticism from labor groups, politicians, local community leaders, and others who see such practices as undermining the job markets in developed countries. Managers must deal with the difficult task of balancing the interests of their organizations with their responsibilities to the communities in which they operate. Managing People During the War on Terror Surveys suggest that fear of terrorism is the number-one reason business travelers have cut back on their trips.
But travel isn’t the only concern. Increasingly, organizations must find ways to deal with employee fears about security precautions (in most cities, you can’t get into an office building without passing through several layers of airport-like security) and assignments abroad (How would you feel about an assignment in a country with substantial sentiments against people from your country? ). 5 An understanding of such OB topics as emotions, motivation, communication, and leadership can help managers to deal more effectively with their employees’ fears about terrorism.
Managing Workforce Diversity One of the most important and broad-based challenges currently facing organizations is adapting to people who are different. The term we use for describing this challenge is workforce diversity. While globalization focuses on differences among people from different countries, workforce diversity addresses differences among people within given countries. Workforce diversity means that organizations are becoming a more heterogeneous mix of people in terms of gender, age, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
A diverse workforce, for instance, includes women, people of color, the physically disabled, senior citizens, and gays and lesbians (see Exhibit 1-2). Managing this diversity has become a global concern. It’s an issue not just in the United States but also in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and Europe. For instance, managers in Canada and Australia are finding it necessary to adjust to large influxes of Asian workers. The “new” South Africa is increasingly characterized by blacks’ holding important technical and managerial jobs. Women in Japan, long confined to low-paying temporary jobs, are moving into managerial positions.
And the European Union cooperative trade arrangement, which opened up borders throughout much of Western Europe, has increased workforce diversity in organizations that operate in countries such as Germany, Portugal, Italy, and France. Workforce diversity has important implications for management practice. Managers have to shift their philosophy from treating everyone alike to recognizing differences and responding to those differences in ways that ensure employee retention and greater productivity while, at the same time, not discriminating.
This shift includes, for instance, providing diversity training and revamping benefits programs to accommodate the different needs of different employees. Diversity, if positively managed, can increase creativity and innovation in organizations and improve decision making by providing different perspectives on problems. 6 When diversity is not managed properly, the potential for higher turnover, more difficult communication, and more interpersonal conflicts increases. Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior EXHIBIT 1-2 Gender Nearly half of the U. S. orkforce is now made up of women, and women are a growing percentage of the workforce in most countries throughout the world. Organizations need to ensure that hiring and employment policies create equal access and opportunities to individuals, regardless of gender. 9 Major Workforce Diversity Categories Race The percentage of Hispanics, blacks, and Asians in the U. S. workforce continues to increase. Organizations need to ensure that policies provide equal access and opportunities, regardless of race. National Origin A growing percentage of U. S. workers are immigrants or come from homes where English is not the primary language spoken.
Because employers in the United States have the right to demand that English be spoken at the workplace during job-related activities, communication problems can occur when employees’ English-language skills are weak. Age The U. S. workforce is aging, and recent polls indicate that an increasing percentage of employees expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Organizations cannot discriminate on the basis of age and need to make accommodations to the needs of older workers. Disability Organizations need to ensure that jobs and workplaces are accessible to the mentally, physically, and health challenged.
Domestic Partners An increasing number of gay and lesbian employees, as well as employees with live-in partners of the opposite sex, are demanding the same rights and benefits for their partners that organizations have provided for traditional married couples. Non-Christian Organizations need to be sensitive to the customs, rituals, and holidays, as well as the appearance and attire, of individuals of non-Christian faiths such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, and they need to ensure that these individuals suffer no adverse impact as a result of their appearance or practices.
Improving Quality and Productivity Today’s managers understand that the success of any effort made to improve quality and productivity must include their employees. These employees not only will be a major force in carrying out changes but increasingly will actively participate in planning those changes. OB offers important insights into helping managers work through these changes. Improving Customer Service Today, the majority of employees in developed countries work in service jobs. For instance, 80 percent of the U. S. labor force is employed in service industries.
In the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan the percentages are 69, 68, and 65, respectively. Examples of these service jobs include technical support representatives, fast-food counter workers, sales clerks, waiters or waitresses, nurses, automobile repair technicians, consultants, credit representatives, financial planners, and flight attendants. The common characteristic of these jobs is that they require substantial interaction with an organization’s customers. Many an organization has failed because its employees failed 10 Part I Prologue —Management needs to create a customerresponsive culture. ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ to please the customer. Thus, management must create a customer-responsive culture. OB can provide considerable guidance in helping managers create such cultures—cultures in which employees exhibit these qualities: Friendly and courteous Accessible Knowledgeable Prompt in responding to customer needs Willing to do what’s necessary to please the customer7 Improving People Skills We opened this chapter by demonstrating how important people skills are to managerial effectiveness. We said that “this book has been written to help both managers and potential managers develop those people skills. As you proceed through the chapters, you’ll find relevant concepts and theories that can help you explain and predict the behavior of people at work. In addition, you’ll gain insights into specific people skills that you can use on the job. Specifically, you’ll learn ways to design motivating jobs, techniques for improving your listening skills, and ideas about how to create more effective teams. Stimulating Innovation and Change Whatever happened to Montgomery Ward, Woolworth, Smith Corona, Eastern Airlines, Enron, Bethlehem Steel, and WorldCom?
All these giants went bust. Why have other giants, such as Sears, Boeing, and Lucent Technologies, implemented huge cost-cutting programs and eliminated thousands of jobs? To avoid going broke. Today’s successful organizations must foster innovation and master the art of change or they’ll become candidates for extinction. Victory will go to the organizations that maintain their flexibility, continually improve their quality, and beat their competition to the marketplace with a constant stream of innovative products and services.
Domino’s single-handedly brought on the demise of thousands of small pizza parlors whose managers thought they could continue doing what they had been doing for years. Amazon. com is putting a lot of independent bookstores out of business as it proves you can successfully sell books from an Internet Web site. Dell has become the world’s largest seller of computers by continually reinventing itself and outsmarting its competition. An organization’s employees can be the impetus for innovation and change or they can be a major stumbling block.
The challenge for managers is to stimulate their employees’ creativity and tolerance for change. The field of OB provides a wealth of ideas and techniques to aid in realizing these goals. Coping with Temporariness With change comes temporariness. Globalization, expanded capacity, and advances in technology have combined in recent years to make it imperative that organizations be fast and flexible if they are to survive. The result is that most managers and employees today work in a climate best characterized as temporary. Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior Evidence of temporariness is everywhere in organizations.
Jobs are continually being redesigned; tasks are increasingly being done by flexible teams rather than individuals; companies are relying more on temporary workers; jobs are being subcontracted out to other firms; and pensions are being redesigned to move with people as they change jobs. Workers must continually update their knowledge and skills to perform new job requirements. For example, production employees at companies such as Caterpillar, Ford, and Alcoa now need to know how to operate computerized production equipment. That was not part of their job descriptions 20 years ago.
Work groups are also increasingly in a state of flux. In the past, each employee was assigned to a specific work group, and that assignment was relatively permanent. Employees enjoyed a considerable amount of security in working with the same people day in and day out. That predictability has been replaced by temporary work groups, teams that include members from different departments and whose members change all the time, and the increased use of employee rotation to fill constantly changing work assignments. In addition, organizations themselves are in a state of flux.
They continually reorganize their various divisions, sell off poorly performing businesses, downsize operations, subcontract noncritical services and operations to other organizations, and replace permanent employees with temporary workers. Today’s managers and employees must learn to cope with temporariness. They must learn to live with flexibility, spontaneity, and unpre- —Today’s managers and dictability. The study of OB can provide important insights into helping employees must learn to you better understand a work world of continual change, how to over- cope with temporariness. ome resistance to change, and how best to create an organizational culture that thrives on change. 11 Helping Employees Balance Work–Life Conflicts In the 1960s and 1970s, employees typically showed up at the workplace Monday through Friday and did their job in eight- or nine-hour chunks of time. The workplace and hours were clearly specified. That’s no longer true for a large segment of today’s workforce. Employees are increasingly complaining that the line between work and nonwork time has become blurred, creating personal conflicts and stress. At the same time, however, today’s workplace presents opportunities for workers to create and structure their work roles. The field of OB offers a number of suggestions to guide managers in designing workplaces and jobs that can help employees deal with work–life conflicts. Improving Ethical Behavior In an organizational world characterized by cutbacks, expectations of increasing worker productivity, and tough competition in the marketplace, it’s not altogether surprising that many employees feel pressured to cut corners, break rules, and engage in other forms of questionable practices.
Members of organizations increasingly find themselves facing ethical dilemmas, situations in which they are required to define right and wrong conduct. For example, should they “blow the whistle” if they uncover illegal activities taking place in their company? Should they follow orders with which they don’t personally agree? 12 Part I Prologue Do they give an inflated performance evaluation to an employee they like, knowing that such an evaluation could save that employee’s job? Do they allow themselves to play politics in the organization if it will help their career advancement?
What constitutes good ethical behavior has never been clearly defined, and, in recent years, the line differentiating right from wrong has become even more blurred. Employees see people all around them engaging in unethical practices: elected officials are indicted for padding their expense accounts or taking bribes; corporate executives inflate their companies’ profits so they can cash in lucrative stock options; and university administrators “look the other way” when winning coaches encourage scholarship athletes to stay eligible by taking easy courses in place of those needed for graduation.
When caught, these people may give excuses such as “Everyone does it” or “You have to seize every advantage nowadays. ” Is it any wonder that employees are expressing decreased confidence and trust in management and that they’re increasingly uncertain about what constitutes appropriate ethical behavior in their organizations? 9 Today’s manager needs to create an ethically healthy climate for his or her employees, in which employees can work productively and confront a minimal degree of ambiguity regarding what constitutes right and wrong behaviors.
In upcoming chapters, we’ll discuss the kinds of actions managers can take to create an ethically healthy climate and to help employees sort through ethically ambiguous situations. THE PLAN OF THIS BOOK How is this book going to help you better explain, predict, and control behavior? Our approach uses a building-block process. As illustrated in Exhibit 1-3, OB is characterized by three levels of analysis. As we move from the individual level to the organization system level, we increase in an additive fashion our understanding of behavior in organizations.
Chapter 2 through 7 deal with the individual in the organization. We begin by looking at such foundations of individual behavior as demographic characteristics, attitudes, personality, and values. Then we consider the role of motivation and perception and decision making in individual behavior. We conclude this section with a discussion of moods and emotions. EXHIBIT 1-3 Levels of OB Analysis Organization system level Group level Individual level Chapter 1 Introduction to Organizational Behavior The behavior of people in groups is something more than the sum total of each individual acting in his or her own way.
People’s behavior in groups is different from their behavior when they are alone. Chapter 8 through 13 address group behavior. We introduce basic group concepts, discuss ways to make teams more effective, consider communication issues and group decision making, and then investigate the important topics of leadership, power, politics, conflict, and negotiation. OB reaches its highest level of sophistication when we add the formal organization system to our knowledge of individual and group behavior.
Just as groups are more than the sum of their individual members, organizations are not necessarily merely the summation of the behavior of a number of groups. In Chapter 14 through 16, we discuss how an organization’s structure affects behavior, how each organization has its own culture that acts to shape the behavior of its members, and the various organizational change and development techniques that managers can use to affect behavior for the organization’s benefit. 13 IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGERS
Managers need to develop their interpersonal or people skills if they are going to be effective in their jobs. OB is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness. We all hold generalizations about the behavior of people. Some of our generalizations may provide valid insights into human behavior, but many are erroneous. OB uses systematic study to improve predictions of behavior that would be made from intuition alone.
You can achieve your potential as a manager by enhancing your intuitive views of behavior with systematic analysis, in the belief that such analysis will improve your accuracy in explaining and predicting behavior. OB offers both challenges and opportunities for managers: ¦ ¦ ¦ It offers specific insights to improve a manager’s people skills. It recognizes differences and helps managers to see the value of workforce diversity and practices that may need to be changed when managing in different countries.
It can improve quality and employee productivity by showing managers how to empower their people, design and implement change programs, improve customer service, and help employees balance work–life conflicts. It provides suggestions for helping managers meet chronic labor shortages. It can help managers to cope in a world of temporariness and to learn ways to stimulate innovation. It can offer managers guidance in creating an ethically healthy work climate. ¦ ¦ ¦