Understanding organizational behavior is essential for managers and employees because it makes them understand the different work attitudes and the way knowledge can be used to improve organizational performance. An organization consists of two or more people with different tasks that attempt to achieve a common goal or a set of goals. For example, in a business set up, the main goal is to develop and deliver the goods and services with the aim of making a profit. Organizational behavior is the study of how individuals, groups and structures impact the behavior within an organization with an aim of improving organizational effectiveness. Management of organizational behavior mainly focuses on the effective ways to manage individuals, groups, organizations and its basic processes. The current paper examines the different theories, concepts, and structures of organizational behaviors in an attempt to explain some of the practical incidents of organizational behaviors in workplaces, based on a few case studies.
There are three distinct levels of analysis in organizational behavior. According to management scientists, understanding behaviors of an individual, a group and organization at all levels of hierarchy is necessary to determine organizational behaviors. For example, in The Team That Wasnt case study, understanding individual behaviors of Eric Holt, Jack Derry, Randy Louderbaek, Ray Lapierre, Maureen turner, and Carl Simmons are important to understand the organizational behavior of Fire Art, Inc. The individual behavior analysis helps in determining how an individuals personality affects the overall behavior of an organization. Also, in the case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders, an individual behavior of Alex Sanders, Hansen Leong, Betsy Garrison, Sam Glass, among many other employees within the organization, can enable us to understand the organizational behavior of Landon Care Products Company (Collins & Greiner 2).
Individual behavior analysis is concerned with an individual personality, values and attitudes and the role of the individuals factors in determining organizational behavior. Studies show that organizational behavior is largely dependent upon an individuals perception and thinking. According to the research studies, there are top five main personalities that can easily be observed in an individual, namely: communication skills, interpersonal skills, honesty, strong work ethics and motivation skills. In The Team That Wasnt case study, different personalities can be seen. Eric Holt is seen as having strong work ethics, as he could calmly handle the differences among team members without having to take sides. He is also a hard worker, as he spends most of his time trying to get his new team to get into meeting. Eric Holt also has good communication skills and is a strong leader. The traits have enabled him to work as the team leader and the chair of a meeting. Randy is, however, a thinker, as most thinkers do not believe in team work. He is also a hard worker and a leader. This can be seen from his personal history, as he raised his own college fees and started his own company. His skeptical and pessimistic personality can also be seen, as he tries to sabotage every positive step that the group is trying to make.
Similarly, individual behavioral analysis from case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders reveal the personality of Alex Sanders and the ways it contributes to overall organizational behavior. Alex Sander has motivational skills, as he always appreciates the work that is well done by taking his team for dinner (Collins & Greiner 9). He is honest, as brought out by the way he assess others, a team leader, as indicated in his own self-evaluation and also a thinker who is creative and fast learner.
Group level analysis is essential in understanding how a team members personality affects the group and, eventually, the whole organization. Experts indicate that in this level, interpersonal skill of a team member is important. Team level analysis shows how each team members personality and attitude affects the overall team. For example, in The Team That Wasnt case study, the impact of each of the six top managers personality on the group is clearly seen. Randy Louderback is not a team player and his negativism occasionally turned down the teams spirit. His constant negative attitude eventually made him a team renegade. He intentionally makes it hard for the team to progress. Maureens motivational skills have impacted her department positively, as she managed her team with utmost respect that eventually caused her team members to earn recognition in the organization. Maureen turners good interpersonal skills can also be seen to help the unity of Eric Strategic team, as though she disagreed with Ray in some matters, while she praised her comments in other matters.
In the case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders, Alexs personality has greatly contributed to the team behavior. Alexs motivational skills have improved the teams output, as he occasionally motivated his team to work late and for good performance. Even though Alexs commitment has helped his team to stay focused and complete the projects, it has a flipside of making the team members work beyond their pace and this creates the tension, anxiety and too much pressure for his team members.
Finally, organizational level analysis helps to determine how the organizations culture and practices affect individuals and groups in an organization. Research shows that most workers will conform to the organizational culture behaviorally. For example, in the case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders, Alex Sanders behavior is affected by the culture of 360 performance appraisal at Landon Care products. Similarly, in The Team That Wasnt case study, Maureen Turners behavior is influenced by the culture of the organization that seems to never recognize the hard work. She manages to change the things around in her department to make her team members feel that their hard work is being recognized.
Different theories that can help in understanding the various organizational behaviors have been formulated to by management experts with a view to offer the effective ways to achieve better results. Abraham Maslows hierarchy of needs theory states that once an individual has achieved his need in one level, he then seeks to achieve his needs in higher level of hierarchy. Maslows has gone ahead to give the following five categories of hierarchy of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization. This can explain the urge by individual employees to achieve their physiological needs first. These needs are the first ones in the category and deal with the basic needs. For example, Randy in The Team That Wasnt case study had to look for a job in order to be able to meet his basic needs after he went bankrupt. In the other case study, A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders, Alexs behavior is not influenced by the desire to get promotions. He is only satisfied with a job that is well done.
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In the case of Alex Sanders, two needs are predominant in his work life at Landon Care products, namely esteem needs and self-actualization. According Maslows theory, esteem needs involves the need for respect, and individual sense of competence. Alex Sanders high level of need of self-competence has helped him to successfully launch the two products in one year. Even though he entered the company without knowing anything about packaging, or sales promotion, he was able to make the critical decisions in these areas and he eventually succeeded in launching a successful product. In addition, Alex Sanders self-actualization had to reach its full potential, as it was seen in his attempt to do almost everything by himself when others seem sluggish. In his 360 degrees evaluation, many comments show his high level of commitment and aggressiveness (Collins & Greiner 9). This impacts the group positively and, in some way, negatively, as some cannot keep up with his pace.
Similarly, Randys social needs and esteem needs are evident in his work life, as it is observed in The Team That Wasnt case study. Randys esteem needs affect his interpersonal relationships with the team members. His desire to lead and prove his self-worth is the major reason of sabotaging the group agenda and progress. His personal desire not to share his achievement with team mate shows that he desires recognition, respect and self-competency.
McGregors theory X and theory Y focus on managerial behavior and the ways their perception on employees affects their behaviors. In case of Theory X, managers belief is that employees generally dislike the work and will try to avoid it by all means possible. Thus, managers believe in close supervision, rewarding good performance, punishing for poor results and applying pressure on employees, in order to achieve organizational goals. However, in the case of theory Y, managers believe that employees do not dislike work, but are rather committed to achieving the organizational goals. Their understanding is that employees have hidden potential and will, without close supervision, achieve organizational goals. In this case, managers believe that employees themselves are self-motivated and, therefore, they give more responsibility to employees and rely on the employees abilities to accomplish their tasks.
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The case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders reveals Alex Sander as a theory X manager. Alex is seen to expect others to commit themselves fully to their work and any one short of his standard is considered as non-dedicated and not committed in achieving the organizations goals. Alex is a type of a person who will push an employee to put in extra hours in order to meet the deadlines. Alex considers his style of leadership as an effective management tool which has enabled his department to launch the two products in the market within just a span of one year. As a type X manager, Alex rewards good performance by taking his team out for dinners, movies and etc. However, in case of poor performance, he becomes angry with his team and pushes everyone around.
In the case study of The Team That Wasnt, the C.E.O of FireArt Jack Derry is a type of theory Y manager. Jack Derry believes in the abilities of his employees, especially Erick Holt and Randy (Wetlaufer 25). According to his style of leadership, he has the full confidence in his smart and intelligent employees. He instruct Eric Holt on what he needs done without clear explanations, believing that combination of Eric and Randy is enough in figuring out the organizational needs and goals. Expert analysis shows that this is seen as a contributing factor in the failure of Erics team. Maureen Turner also comes out as a type theory Y manager. She believes in her team of designers and does not excessively control her team. Similarly, Eric Holt is also of type theory Y who believes in self-motivation of his team. As he tries to manage his team working on the organizations strategic plan, he expects each team member to perform their tasks without close supervision.
In my workplace, my manager is a type theory X, who believes that workers must be pushed in order to achieve the positive results. Performance appraisal, employees evaluation system and employee time management system are among the measures that are put in place in order to give tight control on employees performance. This has influenced the behaviors of employees negatively, as many complain of the lack of trust and too much pressure in the work place. However, my line manager is of type theory Y who believes that when his team members are not closely supervised, they will perform better. Many research studies have confirmed that employees do not open their full potential when closely supervised. That is, they are motivated when given certain level of control for their own work and working environments.
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Expectancy theory by Victor Vroom is of the notion that the quality of employees efforts is affected by the possible outcomes of their efforts. This is also reflected in my place of work, where one of my immediate supervisors holds that employees are motivated only when they think the outcome of their effort will be rewarded positively. It is also the case with Randy in The Team That Wasnt, who believes that being a non-team player became uncooperative among the top six managers, since he viewed that the outcome of the team would give credit to all the team members. Just like Randy, the supervisor always proclaims that groups are useless and consensus means mediocrity. This becomes the cause of contention with Randys fellow managers. Maureen Turner accuses Randy that you just want all the credit for the success, and you dont want to share it with anyone (Wetlaufer 25).
Another theory was formulated by Adams Stacy and is called Equity theory. Equity theory states that an individuals motivation is affected by the perceived fair compensation of an individual, as compared to his coworkers compensation. I have also observed this in my workplace, where another supervisor believes that an individuals morale will be affected if there is any inequity in compensation. Equally, in the case study of A Day in the Life of Alex Sanders, Alex is a manager that believes in equity theory. Alex believes that his reward should be in commensurate with his performance. In the other case study of The Team That Wasnt, Randy does not like team work, as he is afraid of the inequality in compensation. In team performance, credit goes to all of the team members and this does not reflect the true efforts of each individual. This becomes the reason for Randys negativism. He believes that an individual should be rewarded for his own effort and not teams effort. This concept greatly influences the group behavior. I also observed the same pattern in my workplace, when one of the senior members in our department opposed team work, citing the inequality in input. He suggested that each team members performance should be measured, rather than measuring the performance of the team as an indivisible unit.
On the one hand, the study of organizational behavior gives us the better understanding on how individuals, groups and structure impact on the behavior within an organization with an aim of improving organizations effectiveness. On the other hand, individual level behavior analysis helps us understand how an individuals personality influences the group behavior. Group level analysis helps us to understand how personalities, attitude and values of team members influence the group behavior and the organizational behavior and finally. Finally, the organization level analysis shows how the organizational culture and structure influence behaviors of employees at different levels of hierarchy. Evidently, several theories can be used to explain organizational behavior. In this case, we used theory X and theory Y and expectancy theory among others. Generally, it is important for top leaders of any organization to be able to make informed decision, based on his understanding of employees when it comes to how the management of organization behavior should work.