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Introduction to Human Behavior in Organization
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The organizational system consists of social, technical and economic elements which coordinate human and material resources to achieve various organizational objectives. Some of the objectives of an organization may be: • To maximize profits • To produce goods and services of good quality • To compete with other players in the industry • To ensure welfare of its employees • To make efficient use of resources and achieve growth Human behavior in organizations is as complex as the social system itself. People differ from each other in their needs and values, which can be understood better with the help of behavioral science.
Behavioral science considers the influence of various elements (social, economic and technical systems) of the complex external environment on people's behavior. It improves people's understanding of interpersonal skills and so also their ability to work together as a team to achieve organizational goals effectively. Organizational Behavior Defined Organizational behavior is the system of culture, leadership, communication and group dynamics that determines an organization’s actions. According to Keith Davis, “it is the study and application of knowledge about how people act within an organization. Key Forces Affecting Organizational Behavior Elements of Organizational Behavior How people behave in an organization under a given situation is the concern of organizational behavior. People join an organization to achieve certain objectives. The efforts of the people are co-ordinate by the structure of authority-responsibility relationships. People use some technology to produce goods and services to achieve their goals. We can call people, structure and technology as the internal organizational elements. These elements interact with the external environment and are influenced by it.
The study of organizational behavior, thus, involves four key elements; people, structure, technology and the environment in which the organization operates. 1) People: People make up the internal social system of the organization. That system consists of individuals and groups, and large groups as well as small ones. There are unofficial, informal groups and more official, formal ones. Groups are dynamic. We must remember that organizations exist to serve people, rather than people existing to serve organization. The human organization of today is not the same as it was yesterday, or the day before.
In particular, the workforce has become richly diverse, which means that employees bring a wide array of educational backgrounds, talents, and perspectives to their jobs. Managers need to be tuned into these diverse patterns and trends, and to be prepared to adapt to them. 2) Structure: Structure defines the roles and relationships of people in an organization. Different people in the organization are given different roles and they have certain relationships with others. Organization structure leads to division of work so that people can perform their duties to accomplish the organization goals.
Under the structure, different duties are to be performed by different people. Some may be managers others may be supervisors, clerks, peons or workers. All are related to each other to accomplish the goals in a co-coordinated manner. The structure relates to authority-responsibility relationships. 3) Technology: Technology provides the resources with which people work and affects the tasks that they perform. They cannot accomplish much with their hands, so they build building, design machines, create work processes, and assemble resources.
The technology used has a significant influence on working relationships. The great benefit of technology is that it allows people to do more and better work, but it also restricts people in various ways. It has costs as well as benefits. 4) Environment: All organizations operate within an internal and external environment. A single organization does not exist alone. It is part of a large system that contains many other elements such as government the family, and other organizations. Numerous changes in the environment create demands on organizations.
Individual organizations, such as a factory or a school, cannot escape being influenced by this external environment. It influences the attitudes of people, affects working conditions, and provides competition for resources and power. It must be considered in the study of human behavior in organizations. Organizational Behavior and Administration The constituents of an organization are in one way or another affected by the nature of the behavioral quality of life therein and is, therefore, concerned with improving organizational behavior.
Managers and supervisors are burdened with the responsibility of harnessing organizational behavior to improve people-organization relationships while the executives must attempt to create an atmosphere in the organization that will motivate employees to work effectively in harmony and in coordination with their co-workers. People find their work pleasurable whenever there’s cooperation, teamwork and understanding among themselves. The effective and successful application of human behavior paves the way for the realization of human, organizational and social objectives. Historical Development of Organizational Behavior
Though human relationships have existed since time immemorial, the branch of knowledge dealing with them is relatively recent. Prior to the industrial revolution, people worked in small groups and had simple work relationships. They were, however, subjected to unhealthy working conditions and scarcity of resources, so they hardly had any job satisfaction. During the early stages of the industrial revolution, the conditions of workers showed no signs of improvement. But as increased industrial activity led to greater supply of goods, wages, working conditions, and level of job satisfaction gradually improved. ROBERT OWEN
Robert Owen was a Welsh entrepreneur who bought his first factory in 1789, at the age of 18. He is important in the history of OB because he was one of the first industrialists to recognize how that growing factory system was demeaning to workers. Repulsed by the harsh practices he saw in factories such as the employment of young children (many under the age of 10 with 13- hour workdays, and miserable working conditions. Owen became a reformer. He chided factory owners for treating their equipment better than their employees He criticized them for buying the best machines but then employing the cheapest labor to run them.
Owen argued that money spent on improving labor was one of the best investments that business executives could make . He claimed that showing concern for employees both was profitable for management and would relieve human misery. For his time, Owen was an idealist. What he proposed was a utopian workplace that would reduce the sufferings of the working class. He was more than a hundred years ahead of his time when he argued, in 1852, for regulated hours of work for all, child labor laws, public education, company-furnished meals at work, and business involvement in community projects.
The history which has become a past now shows how each management wizard contributed towards welfare of employees, their working conditions and hence eventually increasing the productivity. ANDREW URE Ure provided academic training at Anderson's College in Glasgow for managers in the early factory system. He published a text in 1835 that dealt mainly with the technical problems of manufacturing in the textile industry, but also dealt with problems of managing. Obviously pro-management, Ure advocated an "automatic plan" to provide harmony and to keep any individual worker from stopping production.
He was a defender of the factory system and believed workers must recognize the benefits of mechanization and not resist its introduction. FREDERICK TAYLOR Probably the most famous management pioneer of all is Frederick W. Taylor (1856–1915), the father of scientific management. Taylor rose from common laborer to chief engineer in six years, and completed a home study course to earn a degree in mechanical engineering in 1883. In trying to overcome soldiering by the workers, Taylor began a scientific study of what workers ought to be able to produce. This study led to the beginnings of scientific management.
Taylor used time studies to break tasks down into elementary movements, and designed complementary piece-rate incentive systems. Taylor believed management's responsibility was in knowing what you want workers to do and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way. He developed many new concepts such as functional authority. In other words, Taylor proposed that all authority was based on knowledge, not position. He wrote Shop Management in 1903, became the president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1906, and was a widely traveled lecturer, lecturing at Harvard from 1909 to 1914.
In 1911, Taylor published Principles of Scientific Management in 1911. Its contents would become widely accepted by managers worldwide. The book described the theory of scientific management. Scientific management was defined as methods aimed at determining the one best way for a job to be done. During this same period organized labor waged an all-out war on Taylorism resulting in a congressional investigation. In February of 1912, however, the committee reported finding no evidence to support abuses of workers or any need for remedial legislation. Taylor did not neglect the human side of work, as often suggested.
He simply emphasized the individual worker not the group. Taylor called for a revolution that would fuse the interests of labor and management into a mutually rewarding whole. ELTON MAYO AND THE HAWTHORNE STUDIES Elton Mayo (1880–1949) joined the Harvard faculty in 1926 as associate professor of industrial research, and two years later was asked to work with Western Electric, as part of the Harvard research group, to continue the Hawthorne studies. Mayo was intrigued by the initial results of the early illumination studies that showed output had increased upon changes in illumination—either brighter or darker—but no one knew why.
Mayo believed the increased output came from a change in mental attitude in the group as the workers developed into a social unit. Other experiments included the piecework experiment, the interviewing program, and the bank wiring room experiments. From these experiments the Mayoists concluded that employees have social needs as well as physical needs, and managers need a mix of managerial skills that include human relations skills. Organizational behavior is also heavily influenced by sociology in its study of group behavior, organization structure, diversity, and culture.
In addition, the insights of cultural anthropologists contribute to an understanding of organizational culture (the values and customs of a firm). In recent years, several companies have hired anthropologists to help them cultivate the right organizational culture. Organizational behavior also gains insights from political science toward understanding the distribution of power in organizations. Contribution of other Social Sciences Psychology Psychology is the study of individual behavior within the organization. Psychological theories have helped us explain and predict individual behavior. Relationship with Organizational Behavior
If one wants to improve the behavior of an individual we have to look into the psychological needs of an individual. So the knowledge of psychology can really help in improving and modifying the behavior of individual. If the psychological needs are fulfilled, it gives satisfaction to people and also give peace of mind, which can improve the ability of an organization. Many of the theories dealing with personality, attitude, learning, motivation, and stress have been applied in Organizational Behavior to understand work-related phenomena such as job satisfaction, commitment, absenteeism, turnover, and worker well-being.
Elements of Psychology’s contribution to Organizational Behavior include: Learning This are of contribution became a significant element to Organizational Behavior studies when scientists attempted to identify how people would learn new skills within the workplace and how different learning styles would have to address for employees. Motivation In order to optimize the performance of members within any organization it is necessary to understand the individual characteristics of such members and by attempting to fulfill their individual’s needs creates a pattern in which to bring out the best in their efforts.
Personality Psychology’s research in personality contributes to Organizational Behavior ability to assess individual attitudes and tie them to an organization or workgroup. This can certainly be a key to identifying elements related to motivation and other interpersonal dynamics. Attitude Measurement Psychology’s statistical work has provided much input related to Organizational Behavior as it relates to member’s attitudes. How an organization is to manage, reward, and create policy should include the mindsets of its members and align to organizational objectives.
Work Stress How a person reacts to his/her environment and perception of that environment is deeply affected by the perspective they hold and how they think. Stress being a potential positive negative aspect of organizations certainly has a role in the study of OB. Job Satisfaction Certain key metrics relating to an organization’s effectiveness include job satisfaction of its members. How an organization provides an environment and opportunity to bring out the best in its employees is certainly its ability to explore the psychology of this work force.
Sociology Sociology is defined “as the study of people in relation to their social environment or culture” (Robbins, Judge, 2007). The impact that sociology has on Organizational Behavior is significant as organizations at their nature are formations that hold both a social environment and culture. Sociologists, studying the structure and function of small groups within a society have contributed greatly to a more complete understanding of behavior within organizations.
Taking their cue from Sociologists, scholars in the field of Organizational Behavior have studied the effects of the structure and function of work organization on the behavior of groups, as well as the individuals within those groups. Elements of Sociology’s Contribution to Organizational Behavior include: Communication The means and manner in which an organization’s member’s exchange information and the effectives of such exchange is highly necessary for the effective organization. Sociology’s contribution towards this dynamic of organizations is valuable in order to optimize the process and improve its accuracy.
Power As shared with Anthropology, the study of power, its presence, and influence within the organization has within it a substantial role within the organization. In order to best analyze and assess an organization, the role of power and authority and its influences is necessary. Conflict As a natural by-product of any organization, conflict and its study are necessary in order to identify and map the process of improvement within an organization as well as predict potential calamity. The study of conflict and its origins will be necessary to identify the sources and solutions within the organization.
Intergroup Behavior With teaming being a critical next step for many organizations, the role of intergroup behavior will have increased necessity. The ability to study the dynamics of a group and their exchanges can better help the Organizational Behavior practitioner in facilitate the formation of groups within the organization for organization benefit. Political Science Help to understand how difference in preferences and interest lead to conflict and power struggle between groups within organization. It is also involves the study of individual and group behavior within a particular political environment.
It has made significant contribution in the areas of structuring of conflict allocation of power, politics within the organization and the overall administrative process. Political science has contributed immensely in developing a general theory of human behavior at work. Various disciplines tend to study very specific and narrow aspects of human behavior, resulting in fragmentation of knowledge. Behavioral science must attempt to integrate the concepts and principles from all the disciplines to make a comprehensive study of human behavior.
Anthropology Anthropology involves the study of mankind, especially of its origin, development, customs and beliefs. The work of anthropologists has provided insights into the basic differences in values, attitudes and behavior of people from different countries and in different organizations. It helps to understand how culture and belief system develop. Culture is the conventionalized behavior of society which influences a person’s behavior it changes slowly, giving stability and security to society.
The culture of every individual has its effects on on-the-job performance. To understand an employee’s behavior, an understanding of the culture in which he lives must have to be established. People’s exposure and contacts in churches, schools, homes, stones, as well as to the other activities they do cause them to develop a set of basic values, which are so engrained in them that they become very difficult to change
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