Organizational behavior can offer solutions to organizations that are experiencingeconomic pressures, globalization, workforce diversity, “temporariness”, and balancing work-life conflicts. It can also make more effective managers for any organization whether they are hurting or flourishing. Keywords: organizational behavior, organizational culture, workforce diversity, communication, effectiveness, efficiency, learning. Organizational Behavior Terminology and Concepts To be an effective manager one must possess “people skills”.
The term that is used to describe these “people skills” is organizational behavior. Organizational behavior is the study of the impact that the individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within an organization (Robins & Judge, 2010).
The knowledge gained is then applied to making the organization more effective. In organizational behavior, researchers ask questions regarding how and why individuals connect psychologically to their organizations, and the ways in which this influences their behavior at work (Hornung, 2010).
Understanding organizational behavior is very important especially during times of recession and change. The typical employee is getting older; more women and people of color are in the workplace; corporate downsizing and the heavy use of temporary workers are severing the bonds of loyalty that tied many employees to their employers; and global competition requires employees to become more flexible and cope with rapid change.
(Robins & Judge, 2010, p. 48-49) Organizational behavior concepts can offer solutions for managers confronted with critical issues that arise in the workplace.
Problems that call for managers to use organizational behavior concepts include, but are not limited to, economic pressures, globalization, workforce diversity, “temporariness”, and balancing work-life conflicts. When an economy is experiencing a recession or depression layoffs and job losses can be widespread. During times such as these, effective management is a top priority for organizations. When the United States went in to recession in 2008, many organizations were forced to lay off employees.
Since the 2008 recession, organizations that have prided itself on never having to lay off employees for several years have had to enforce layoffs (Robins & Judge, 2010). Understanding organizational behavior can help determine how effective a manager is. Skilled managers possess technical, human, and conceptual skills. In an organization with skilled managers there is usually lower turnover rates, more competent applicants, and better financial performance (Robins & Judge, 2010). Fisher Hawaii, a local office supply store has high turnover rates, less competent applicants, and poor financial performance.
According to organizational behavior this could be due to ineffective managers. Managers with interpersonal skills help organizations appeal to and keep high-performing employees. The managers at Fisher Hawaii lack interpersonal skills. They rarely motivate the employees; they do not discipline the employees consistently; and training for new employees is unorganized and unsupervised. These are important interpersonal roles that managers should perform. Responding to globalization can be difficult for managers. Different workforces have different needs, objectives, and attitudes than from the ones adopted at home.
William Greider (2010) wrote an article in The Nation about the end of globalization. “Beijing is accused of playing dirty, stealing jobs, production and wealth” (Greider, 2010, p. 20). So the United States imposes a penalty tariff on certain Chinese products. In return China imposes a penalty tariff on United States poultry. President Obama asks China to stop manipulating its currency to underprice Chinese exports. But China refuses. It seems free-trade globalization has hurt the United States economy. However, the Chinese have only done what the trading system has allowed or accepted from others (Greider, 2010).
One of the most significant challenges for organizations is workforce diversity (Robins & Judge, 2010). Workforce diversity is the similarities and differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. This includes women and men; racial and ethnic groups; physical and psychological abilities; and age and sexual preference. Increasing diversity within the United States has created a need to appreciate and value organizational behavioral concepts in order to work more effectively with people from iverse cultures (Strauss & Sawyerr, 2009). Understanding the sources of emotions and moods, such as personality, age, and gender, toward diversity can help organizations develop skills that are critical to successful relations with diverse others. Innovation and change, globalization, and economic pressures have forced workers to frequently bring up to date their abilities to perform. “Most managers and employees today work in a climate best characterized as “temporary” (Robins & Judge, 2010, p. 53). This makes it difficult to create an organizational culture in the workforce.
An organizational culture is created when members are able to distinguish their organization from other organizations (Robin & Judge, 2010). Several studies have found that work hours are related to greater work-family conflict and that workplace flexibility is linked with less work-family conflict (Hill, Erickson, Holmes, &Ferris, 2010). Employees have begun to acknowledge that work oversteps on their personal lives, and in response they want jobs that allow them flexible work schedules. Balancing work-life conflicts has become employees’ number one main concern when searching for employment (Robins & Judge, 2010).
Good communication skills are critical for professional organizational success. All organizations depend on some form of communication. Communication is the transfer and understanding of meaning. Utilizing communication can control member behavior, promote motivation, provide emotional expression, and provide information (Robins & Judge, 2010). There is more than one way to communicate with others. The main way of communicating is orally. Speeches, one-on-one, and group discussions are examples of oral communication.
Messages can be conveyed through written communication such as letters, e-mail, text, fax, and through any other written words or symbols. Body language is also a form of communication. Nonverbal communication sometimes speaks louder than words. Body movements, emphasis on words, facial expressions, and physical distance between people are examples of nonverbal communication (Robins & Judge, 2010). In order for an organization to be productive it requires both organizational effectiveness and efficiency (Robins & Judge, 2010). Fisher Hawaii is effective when it is able to sell office related products to customers and businesses.
It is efficient when it can sale their products at the lowest prices in town. Organizational behavior’s top priority is effectiveness and efficiency. Organizational effectiveness and efficiency can improve if the manager’s interpersonal skills improve. And organizational behavior can help managers improve their skills by seeing the value of workforce diversity and programs that may need to be changed (Robin & Judge, 2010). In order for organizations to continue to learn they must look for and anticipate change in the wider environment.
They must embrace views of possible futures; understand products and services from the customer’s point of view; and use, embrace, and create uncertainty for new patterns of development (Fabbi, 2009). For organizational learning to take place employees must be able to ask questions, challenge, and have the ability to suggest change. If there is an organizational culture it is easier for employees to feel that they can make a difference and learn. With organizational behavior organizations can create a healthy culture that encourages organizational learning.
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