Business organizations essay

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2023
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Business organizations rely on many resources such as; human resources, technology as well as raw materials to achieve organizational goals and get things done. Motivation is the process of empowering an individual to continue acting in a certain positive behavior. Motivated employees demonstrate the willingness to work for the organization through innovativeness, self-drive as well as a willing desire to perform their tasks in accordance to the organization’s objectives.

Besides the employee awards management, this question of how to encourage employees to share their knowledge is highly relevant to most organizations, since knowledge is the key source of competitive advantage. Its value is often represented by the use of expensive knowledge management systems. Eventually, organisational behaviour was conceptualised to study about workers productivity which includes discussions on the theories of Hierarchical, Reinforcement, and Participative Organisation and human resource managers need to understand some theories related to organizational behaviour in order to effectively solve problems and improve their performance and promote good relationships in which employees can learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

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1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Technological, competitive, social, economic, and political changes obscure the final destinations of organizations. Business environments are too chaotic and organisational change too complex to establish fixed plans, firm objectives, and concrete set of developmental changes. Despite the unpredictable, uncertain, and highly turbulent business conditions, organisations struggle to learn and improve their processes, functions and human resources as they attempt to achieve competitive advantage. This is needed to ensure that they their inherent capacity to adapt to unforeseen situations and manage unexpected changes more efficiently. Organizational development highlights two important approaches in human resources management – organizational learning and organizational behavior, which serve as the basis for doing business today. To associate these two concepts, the role of human resources involvement in organizational

Development will be analyzed and evaluated based on Singe’s (1990a, p. 3) view that an effective learning organization involves continuous accumulation of knowledge and skills to create desirable outcomes as a result of collaborative tasks.

Business organizations rely on many resources such as; human resources, technology as well as raw materials to achieve organizational goals and get things done. However, of all resources an organization has access to it is the human resources that are important as well as very difficult to manage. This is a clear indication that human resources constitute of a central and very important component of organization. Human resources are complex and they are equally complicated to manage considering the fact that some organizations could have up to thousands of employees. This is an indication that management of such employees requires expertise as well as deep knowledge of principles of human resource management. Despite the size of an organization it is the human resources that keep the organization moving. Hence the role of motivation in getting employees to perform.

2. Body

2.1 Discuss the objectives of knowledge management and its relationship to employee rewards management

Employee rewards play a very important role in the motivation of employees in any given organization. Motivation is the process of empowering an individual to continue acting in a certain positive behavior. Motivation in an organization is aimed at encouraging workers to take initiative in the execution of their duties, to align their goals to that of the organization, to function in teams as well as to achieve royalty to the organization. Motivated employees demonstrate the willingness to work for the organization through innovativeness, self-drive as well as a willing desire to perform their tasks in accordance to the organization’s objectives.

Maslow’s theory maintains that employees behavior is influenced by wants and desires which unless satisfied and fulfilled, they continue to determine and influence how an employee behaves. In an organization employees have expectations for the reasons they work. Some work solely for money, others work because they love that kind of job, while others come to work simply because they consider the workplace as a social place where they get an opportunity to meet friends. This is a clear indication that it is important for human resource managers to understand the dynamics of employee motivation so as not to mistakably overuse any one given kind of reward.

Organizations have different ways of rewarding their human resources. The most notable rewards used by most organizations are pay hikes as well as salary increments. Although this is one of the most common forms of rewards it has been found to be largely ineffective in improving employee performance. This can be attributed to the fact that in the past human resource managers failed to appreciate the fact that different people work for different reasons and not everyone is motivated to work purposely for money. As a result, some organizations have shifted from pay-based rewards to other forms of rewards such as promotions, increased responsibilities for example training and career growth opportunities.

Another common form of rewards organizations are using is performance based pay, which links output to income. Under performance based pay employees are paid per the amount of units they produce and as a result management uses the system to encourage employees to work more since working more translates to earning more. However, it should be noted that this kind of reward works better for wage payments under schemes such as casual labor schemes. It is easy can be seen that employee motivation is a dynamic concept and it is simply not true that the same solution works in all situations in as far as human motivation is concerned. It is clear from the discussion above that different people have different reasons as to why they work and therefore using the same kind of reward every time such as pay increase may fail. The solution lies in the combination of more than one type of rewards to motivate staff so as to take care of the different needs amongst employees.

2.2 Evaluate various HRM strategies that could be adopted to encourage employees to share their knowledge

Most organizations view knowledge acquired 'on the job' as belonging to the organization rather than the individual – and certainly something that should be shared. But many employees don't see it that way. When it comes to job knowledge, few know more about it than the person doing the job. Employees accumulate a wealth of information and along the way, often develop efficiencies that make them more productive.  But there are several of problems of knowledge sharing in organizations.

Organizations typically manage their knowledge either through a personalization strategy, i.e. knowledge flows through direct person-to-person contacts, or through a codification strategy, where knowledge is stored in databases and can be accessed by anyone in the company - typically through IT based search systems. According to Hansen et al. (1999), firms typically emphasize either the personalization or the codification strategy. However, regardless of which knowledge management system is implemented, individuals will typically hoard the knowledge they possess (Husted ; Michailova, 2002). A lack of trust in fellow employees is one example of an obstacle to knowledge sharing (Szulanski, 1995), particularly when knowledge diffusion on the same hierarchical level is perceived to bring about a personal value loss and destroy future career opportunities (Empson, 2001).

Another example is the “Not Invented Here” syndrome, for which Katz ; Allen (1982) provided an early description of how tenure became a hindrance for knowledge sharing, since it led to a belief in the individual’s superiority and rejection of knowledge from the outside. Therefore, the use of incentive systems is needed to motivate and encourage employees to share knowledge. An employee can be either extrinsically motivated, i.e. to obtain goals that are apart from the work itself, or intrinsically motivated, i.e. to gain personal satisfaction from doing the job (Amabile, 1997). Increased salaries, bonuses and promotions are included in the former, while organizations apply more “soft” instruments like acknowledgements and personal development to the latter.

Researchers like Osterloh and Frey (2000) and Mudambi et al. (2004) indicate the importance of intrinsic motivation mechanisms to support knowledge creation and sharing in an organization.  "Knowledge sharing is often one of the most troubling issues facing employers and they keep trying to develop effective ways to encourage employees to share what they have learned on their jobs. It remains a difficult goal," Dr David Zweig said who is an assistant professor of organization behavior at the University of Toronto. Finally, knowledge sharing problems, along with the effect and use of incentives, might differ among organizational and national cultures. Hofstede (1980) and Kogut ; Singh (1988) emphasize these national differences, and Martin (1992) has found the same effects for organizations. Hence, certain use of incentive might relate to specific cultures. To deal with the issue of what should and should not be disclosed (and to whom), most workplaces have developed informal rules quite separate from formal policies, for handling information.

There are three reasons why employees engage in knowledge hiding. One is interpersonal and that includes circumstances when people feel that an injustice has been done to them, they are distrustful of management or feel they are reciprocating for someone else's behaviour toward them. Closely related are employees who are unsure of themselves and keep information to themselves. They are afraid of negative job evaluations and figure they are better off not sharing anything. A third reason is the organizational climate. If there is a culture of not sharing and being secretive, then employees tend to adopt that culture.

Also, hanging on to their job knowledge gives them a sense of power and importance because they have specific information that no one else has. Sometimes not all employees refuse to share information. They are more than willing to provide job knowledge to people they trust and who treat them fairly. Companies often turn to technology, encouraging employees to build databases of knowledge, but if workers are not willing to cooperate, these efforts are not very productive.  In other words knowledge sharing requires more personal interaction than person-to-computer links. If organizations want to promote knowledge sharing, and it is in their best interests to do so, they need to enhance the workplace climate and make knowledge sharing and collaboration a norm in the workplace.  If organizations emphasize positive relationships and trust among employees, then knowledge sharing will become part of the culture, and that makes everyone better.

2.3 Discuss how employee learning and development strategies could be implemented

The idea of the learning organization has been around quite some time. It derives from Argyris' work in organizational learning (Argyrols and Schon, 1978) and is indebted to Revans' (1983) studies of action learning. It has roots in organisation and organisational theory. Its conceptual foundations are firmly based on systems theory (Senge, 1990a) and its practical application to managing a business has evolved out of strategic planning and strategic management (Fiol and Lyles, 1985; Hosley, et al., 1994), which have recognized that organizational learning is the underlying source of strategic change (DeGeus, 1988; Jashapara, 1993). Much of the quality improvement movement of recent years, with its emphasis on continuous improvement, represented the first widespread, inchoate application of learning organisation concepts (Senge, 1990b; Stata, 1989). The notion of the learning organization is a broad concept that helps human resources managers and employees learn a set of values about performance efficiency (Kieschel, 1990, p. 133). Every learning organization needs to understand the strategic internal drivers in building a learning capability (Stata, 1989). Human resources management practices of an effective learning organization should focus on the following core strategic building blocks which are discussed in detail:

Teamwork and Cooperation. Without doubt, a key strategic building block for a learning organization is an emphasis on teamwork. By working in teams, employees bring their collective skills and knowledge to bear on problems and to develop innovative ideas for the organization. To be effective, teams should be formed with employees from a variety of functional areas. A cross-functional teamwork environment breaks down the stovepipe syndrome, especially if employees are rotated among different teams as part of a deliberate career development program and human resource management policy (McGill et al., 1993).

Clarity and Support for Mission and Vision. A learning organization is one where employees are empowered to act based on the relevant knowledge and skills they have acquired and information about the priorities of the organization. According to Senge (1990b), information about the mission of an organization is critical to empowering employees and developing innovative organizations. Without this, people will not extend themselves to take responsibilities or apply their creative energies. Having a clear mission that is supported by employees is, therefore, a critical strategic building block of a learning organization. If this is widely shared and understood by employees they will feel more capable of taking initiatives.

Sharing Leadership and Involvement. In a highly competitive environment, employees are encouraged to take calculated risks, to deal with uncertainty, and to innovate. Managers are seen as coaches, not controllers; level or rank is not as important as the ability of the individual to contribute to the organization’s performance. Leaders need the skills to facilitate change, provide useful feedback, help identify problems and opportunities, involve employees in decision-making, and they should also learn from constructive criticisms from other members (Senge, 1990b).

Ability to Transfer Knowledge across Organizational Boundaries. Skill and knowledge acquisition are obviously useless unless they can be transferred to the immediate job by the employee. It is even better if this knowledge can also be transferred to other parts of the organization to solve problems and energize creative new ideas. Learning organizations not only encourage these practices but also have mechanisms or systems that allow them to happen. Part of this knowledge transfer involves learning successful practices from other organizations and competitors as well (McGill, Slocum, and Lei, 1993). Such benchmarking activities guarantee that they are always learning to improve their management processes, and their products or services. These strategic building blocks require employees and managers to have specific skills that match some of the behavioral skill sets required in a learning organization like effective leadership in which superiors provide feedbacks and support to all members.

In order to manage organizations’ processes in coping with challenges and achieving goals, it is important to understand certain information on people’s behavior including the way they function (Miner, 2002, p. 4). Organizational behavior is basically about the process of creating knowledge about human resources that would contribute to the success of organizations. Studies on organizational behavior started at Illinois around 1924, known as the “Hawthorne Studies” designed by the Western Electric industrial engineers. It was first used as a scientific management experiment to examine the illumination levels of workers’ productivity. However, the findings concluded that the illumination intensity does not affect the productivity of workers. Eventually, organizational behavior was conceptualized to study about workers’ productivity (Miner, 2002, p. 29). This concept includes discussions on the theories of Hierarchical, Reinforcement, and Participative Organization.

Hierarchical Theory. Motivation is one of the factors that compose a learning organization. People within the organization must be motivated to learn and to accomplish certain goals. The first of its kind in the motivation theory was by a psychologist Abraham Maslow. He argues on what is called hierarchical theory that human needs which are biological and instinctive (Maslow, 1969, pp. 724-735). His theory includes two components namely the desire to know and the desire to organize. Consequently, individual’s needs are hierarchical, meaning individuals will be determined to go further as their level of needs rise. Thus, this basically represents aspects of motivational intelligence. Managers have used this motivational theory basically to guide their decisions in improving employee performance (Miner, 2002, p. 1343).

Reinforcement Theory. Clay Hamner (1974, p. 87) formulated the theory of reinforcement with the basic concept of learning. He argues that learning plays a very important role in performance since performance is the practice and outcome of what was learned. Reinforcement basically contributes to either strengthening or weakening behaviors of individuals within the group and changes in behaviors are the result of reinforced practice and experience.  In creating a learning organization, reinforcement theory is relevant to craft individuals into continues learning activity through continuous increase in the quality of performance.

Likert’s Participative Organization Theory. Rensis Likert’s (1961, p. 103) theory emphasizes individuals’ role of experiences of support within the organization, and their interaction and relationships that build and maintain one’s personal worth and importance.  Thus, effective leaders must create a perception of supportiveness wherein the enthusiasm will be contagious to pursue high-performance goal. Like the path-goal theory, participative organization theory emphasizes the support of individuals within the organisation. Thus, support is manifested through cooperation and cooperation through performance. Basically, a learning organisation continuously transforms itself (Watkins and Marsick, 1993), which means that individuals within the groups are continuously participating in the goals and ideals of the organisation. Leaders commonly initiate change and improvement in performance through incorporating enthusiasm within the organisation and through considering the experiences of individuals to their interactions and relationships with each other.

3. Conclusion and Recommendations

At first, employee motivation is a dynamic concept and it is simply not true that the same solution works in all situations in as far as human motivation is concerned. It is clear from the discussion above that different people have different reasons as to why they work and therefore using the same kind of reward every time such as pay increase may fail. The solution lies in the combination of more than one type of rewards to motivate staff so as to take care of the different needs amongst employees.

 And then, this report also answers the question of what motivates employees to share knowledge with their colleagues and whether does “more money in the pocket” stimulate employees or is a long-term focus on professional and personal development preferable?  However, organizations are missing out on a huge opportunity when their use of incentives does not take organizational and national cultures, or personal motivational factors into account. As demonstrated in this paper, individual knowledge sharing depends on the incentives offered, national backgrounds, type of organization, such as public versus private, and the knowledge management strategy implemented. Finally, human resource managers need to understand these theories related to organizational behaviour in order to effectively solve problems and/or improve their performance because they do not only provide a good working environment but they also promote good relationships in which employees can learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

These strategic above building blocks and the supporting foundations are the key factors in this new organisational archetype called a learning organisation. These building blocks and supporting foundations need to be present or to be implemented to have a learning capability. They allow human resources managers to take practical actions, initiatives, and interventions needed to build a learning organisation and to achieve organizational goals. However, if this idea of a learning organisation is to take hold in organisations and gain credence and support by practicing managers, it must also have an impact on organisational performance. In addition, organisational behaviour is relevant in creating learning organisations because it provides systems of knowing individuals’ behaviour that can be significant in creating and maintaining the flow of learning within the organisation. Learning organisations are transforming organisation towards growth and is determined through the organisation’s performance. Human resources are the key factor in learning organisations that is why organisational behaviour proves to be relevant in creating such promising organisations.


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