PRODUCTIVE ORGANIZATION BEHAVIOR
Practical Knowledge and Applications for the Real World
Affective employee commitment: People may stay committed to working for an organization
because of a positive affect (motive) such as job satisfaction,* or a negative affect (feeling or
behavior) such as fear of unemployment or loss of insurance benefits. Employees working mainly for
negative reasons may be hard to motivate, because they work for personal security rather than to
advance the organization’s agenda.
Positive AEC benefits:
1. Job success and career progress
2. Corporate success and respect
3. Strong psychological contract between org and its members
Attitude consonance (attribution): Managers tend to evaluate employees more favorably when
they share common professional goals and work attitudes, and when the supervisor thinks the
employee has a strong potential for professional development.
1. Psych profile of a typical ATTCON manager:
A. Achievement-driven (hence the importance of shared goals)
B. Limited tolerance for psych diversity (hence favoring co-workers who think like you)
C. Closed to innovation ideas or protocols (thus not taking advantage of the full-range of co-
worker professional capabilities and contributions)
2. Positive “vibes” between a manager and subordinate might consciously or unconsciously lead
to favoritism, especially when the manager deals with employees most of the time one-on-one
rather than in groups.
3. It could also give rise to self-fulfilling prophecies,* because the supervisor spends more time
with and gives more favorable attention to like-minded subordinates
4. The three best ways to avoid ATTCON are to: recruit a psychologically diverse workforce; train
managers in counterintuitive thinking;* and nurture teamwork.
Attribution theory: Attribution refers to what you (subjectively or objectively) designate as the cause
of your own behaviors or those of others.
1. How accurately we perceive reality, especially about ourselves, is of central importance to
career success and professional development. To the extent we are confused about what
accounts for our professional assets and liabilities, the less we can maximize our professional
2. Example: Department manager Jason may attribute the success of his department to worker
competency and commitment to excellence; or to his own “fantastic” leadership ability. Rather
than attributing the loss of a major customer to his own bungling of a project, Jason may blame
the customer for being “unreasonable”; or to the assertion that “I can’t trust my mediocre
subordinates to maintain high standards, so I did the project all by myself but got into a time
crunch that delayed the customer’s promised completion date.”
3. Poor causal perception (understanding outcomes and cause-effect) compromises our capacity
to work productively with others, as well as to rapidly learn from professional experience.
4. Attribution profile is correlated to self-esteem and locus of control.*
Authentic communication: Being transparent and “real” about our thoughts, feelings, and values in
communicating with others: “mean what you say and say what you mean.”
1. We avoid playing psychological games with others: gossip, hidden agendas, “fake face,”
passive aggression (manipulating others by acting like you’re on their side when you’re not).
2. Authentic communication is the foundation of trust and cooperation between co-workers and
the glue that holds teamwork together.
3. Organizations regularly abuse authentic communication with image-polishing public relations;
withholding important information about competitive aspects of the organization from
employees; negotiating contracts; secrecy of employee compensation, etc.
4. Worker-based “false face” communication is prompted by the attempt to cover professional
weaknesses; to spin organizational events; and to manipulate the mindset or expectations of
5. False-face organizational communication is most commonly found via public relations and
advertising; sales; working with ones boss; right-answer” meetings; and performance reviews.
∆ “Games people play” dominate much of organization behavior as people engage in myriad forms
of self-serving behavior.
Behavioral aspects of how an organization is structured: Organization structure (chain of
command; job descriptions; regulations and policies, etc.) acts as a blanket of formal control over
workplace behavior. Employees have little influence over how an organization is structured and
simply must adapt to it. The organization controls the information members receive; their pay and
benefits; hiring, firing, and promotions; performance standards; and most of the org culture.
Organization cultures differ primarily by how much:
1. Employees have to deal with “bureaucracy”: paperwork; formal rules and regulations; by-the-
book management; slow decision-making and change. Bureaucracy influences employees to
pay more attention to how things are done than to why they are done.
2. Information is shared with employees at all levels and departments of the organization. The
more information organizations provide to employees, the more they are empowered to
succeed professionally; withholding information is a form of organizational control.
3. Organization politics saps the time and productivity of employees and undermines employee
security and morale.
Behavioral impacts of changing 21st century work: In the digital 21st century century, technology
(how work is performed) plays a major role in shaping human behavior in organizations. How we work
now affects organization behavior as what we much as what we work on. The interplay of 21st century
culture and technology revolves around five major “universes”:
1. Digital communication: Flex-space work and virtual teams = greater freedom and community
2. Flex-speed work: Flexible work (hours, teams, locations, etc.) + increasing employee diversity
(cultural, ethnic, hours worked, physical location, etc.) + rapidly-evolving new technologies +
rapid exploitation of global opportunities = individualization of the global workplace; upsurge in
teamwork (greater work interdependency); work stress from project interdependencies and
3. Globalized operations: Operating in different nations, cultures, languages, legal systems,
time zones, religions, and managerial systems = increasing tolerance of human and cultural
diversity; greater professional traveling; increased workplace diversity and impermanence
4. Individualism vs. community: World cultures are becoming more individualistic because of
the rapid spread of capitalism and unisex Western culture, but corporations are becoming
more communal, due to virtual teamwork; the interdependencies of project work; and the
ascendency of digital communication = emergence of a universal business culture
5. Integration of professional and personal lives: Unisex culture (same social role for men and
women) → the workplace as community
Behavioral reinforcement (conditioning): How our behavior is shaped over time by its
consequences. Behavioral reinforcement is most effective when it is consistent; based on natural
(free of direct human intervention) outcomes; negative in the short-run and positive over the long-run.
1. Work colleagues play a major role in shaping our professional behavior, as they respond to our
behavior in positive and negative ways: praise and criticism; rewards and reprimands;
cooperation and competition, etc.
2. Our behavior is also “naturally” reinforced (conditioned) by its outcomes: whether or not we get
what we want; how much we like or dislike behavior outcomes; “practice makes perfect,” etc.
Our “approach-avoidance” behaviors become increasingly “programmed” (habitual and
predictable) when reinforced in consistently positive (“approach” behaviors) ways or
consistently negative (“avoidance” behaviors) ways. Inconsistent reinforcement of behavior
(sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes neutral) results in ineffective behavioral
3. Formal (consciously designed) ways organizations condition employee behavior include rules,
regulations, and policies; job descriptions; performance evaluation; goal-setting; and the “chain
of command” (how power is divided up throughout the organization).
4. Informal conditioning of employee behavior comes from workplace norms (such as how hard to
work vs. “goof-off”); worker morale; and how work is coordinated.
∆ To a large extent, our behavior is shaped by factors outside our conscious control.
The PRICE approach to reinforcement of productive professional behaviors:
Pinpoint desired goal-attaining professional behaviors as clearly as possible
Record outcomes of key decisions, productive techniques, and performance steps
Involve employees in all four PRICE productive behaviors
Coach/mentor one another during the productive process
Evaluate the cause and effect relationship between professional behaviors and their outcomes
All five PRICE steps reinforce/condition employee behavior and attitudes. Recording productivity
results and coaching have the highest reinforcement potential because of their potent impact on
Behavior-shaping in organizations: in order to maximize the contributions of employees, mission-
driven organizations seek to control and influence workplace behavior via four major managerial
1. Structure: Organization chart (flow of formal authority throughout the organization); job
descriptions; policies, procedures, and rules, etc. Structure is designed to show how things
are supposed to (officially) work in an organization, as modified by the informal social structure
of employee behaviors (relationships, attitudes, personalities, etc.).
2. Tasks: Assignments and projects; deadlines; coordination; personal vs. group productivity. Job
descriptions and the organization chart (chain of command) are the main formal
(organizationally-designed) influence over how employees do their jobs. Teamwork is the
primary informal (employee-determined) influence over task performance.
3. Technology: Physical and digital tools; intellectual property (copyrights, patents, etc.);
invention and innovation. Technology shapes how much our work is physical vs. mental, as
well as the efficiency and overall output level of our work.
4. People: Organization culture; individualism vs. community; conflict; personal and professional
competencies and dysfunctions. The informal interactions of people are the heart of an
organization’s culture, shaping worker attitudes, commitment and loyalty to their organization,
as well as their overall productivity.
One minute management: A best-selling book’s simple technique for shaping professional
behavior in productive directions. When you see one of your subordinates engage in a significant
positive or negative productive behavior that you want them to continue of discontinue: (step 1) As
soon as possible after they engage in the behavior, tell them privately that you want to comment
on their behavior; (step 2) Briefly describe the specific behavior you want to shape; (step 3) Say
how that behavior made you feel; (step 4) Pause and smile; (step 5) Affirm your positive regard for
them as a person and their continuing value to the organization. This short encounter can be
completed in less in a minute. To further reinforce this particular employee’s behavior, repeat the
one-minute reward or reprimand as key teaching/learning circumstances present themselves.
OMM puts the manager in the driver’s seat to positively reinforce the productive potential of co-
workers. It is an opportunity to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right technique to
effectively shape human performance. OMM works best when positive reinforcement is
emphasized more than negative; when done in private; and via the “KISS” method: “Keep It
Burnout: Emotional exhaustion from prolonged stress (“over-stretched rubber band”) + feelings of
isolation or alienation (depersonalization) + underestimating personal accomplishments or success.
1. Burnout often involves prolonged self-reinforcement of productivity behaviors, such as
frequent and excessive detail (mind-numbing) work; or obsessive goal-driven creative work;
or pushing yourself daily to meet (perhaps arbitrary) deadlines; or taking work home night
and night; or multi-tasking at your desk (fast and furious keyboarding; calculating and
recording; texting; grabbing the phone; frequent work interruptions, etc.)
2. Common signs of professional stress: procrastination; sleepiness; acid reflux or other
temporary psychosomatic disorders; irritability; lapses in concentration; careless mistakes;
depression; “free-floating” anxiety
Career strategy psychological components: Defining and managing a career tailored to your
personal and professional characteristics; attracting mentors to stimulate and guide your professional
development; networking inside and outside your organization to build career opportunities and
contacts; dual maintenance of your career and family
Common career strategy behaviors that carry a psychological “kick”:
1. Job-hopping to zero-in on “better-fit” jobs and organization cultures
2. Managing trade-offs between your professional responsibilities (how the organization uses you
for its agenda) and your personal wants and needs (how you use the organization for your own
3. Finding the right mix of friends vs. co-workers on the job
4. Find the work niche that best fits your professional skills and temperament
∆ Career success = workplace empowerment + professional development + teamwork
Change psychology: Understanding how the volatile social-psychological behavioral factors of
organizational change affect employee behavior and productivity.
1. The most common workplace change fears: Will this change disrupt my comfort zone? Will it
threaten my job security? Is this change really going to work? Will it disrupt my relationships
and social life at work? Will it increase my workload? Will this be stressful?
2. Keep in mind:
A. Asking people to make a compromise is fine, unless a principle important to them is at
B. Don’t mistake non-resistance for change acceptance.
C. Focus on needs more than wants in selling change.
D. Never assume the need for change is apparent to organization members.
E. Participation in the change process often leads to acceptance.
F. The timing of when a change is introduced is just as important as acceptance of the
3. Whether or not employees perceive that specific organization changes will impact them in a
positive, negative, or neutral way depends on three primary factors:
A. How committed they are to their own professional goals/agenda vs. the mission of their
organization (changes can either help or hurt this agenda)
B. How interpersonal relationships (work partnering and friendship networks) are affected
by the change
C. How much the change reshapes their job duties and challenges
3. For managers, change is most challenging when it is mandated by the organization and takes
4. Significant organization changes should not be pursued until employees are “on board.”
Otherwise, the change implementation effort may be compromised. The grassroots level of
any organization makes or breaks change.
∆ Employees go blind when their organization denies them information to succeed.
Change strategies: Success on both an organizational or personal level = f(managed change).
Change can be harnessed by an organization or its members to being about new levels and
prototypes of productivity: functional behaviors; innovation; competitive strategies; and creative
modes of thinking.
1. Employee participation change strategy :
A. Information percolation: educating people about the change and selling them on its
B. Dialogue: “Who would benefit from…?” “What do you think would happen if…?” “What are
we assuming when we say…?”
C. Personal volitional commitment to the change: “Maybe, if…”; “Not now, but later”; “Tell me
more”; “No, but….”
D. Implementation by collaboration and participation
E. Celebrating the change as benefits emerge
This inclusive approach to change requires authentic communication* from leaders who have
open ears and minds. If the contemplated change is not optional, the five-step participative
process should be by-passed (to avoid creating a false “smoke-screen”).
2. Ice cube model:
A. Unfreeze the organizational status quo by altering reward systems in support of the newly
changed paradigms and priorities. Example: Compensate anyone in the organization who
provides sales reps with a new buyer.
B. Remold the organization culture via nurturing new attitudes, new behaviors, new
outcomes rewards, and new reinforcements. Example: Have key technical people
accompany sales reps to better diagnose customer needs and wants.
C. Refreeze the remolded organization via maintaining the new culture. Example: Form new
client-based service teams combining marketing and technical professionals.
This “melting-the-ice” model won’t work when a corporation is acquired in a merger, because
most employees in the acquired company won’t be capable of delivering behaviors rewarded
by the parent company (stage 2 of the ice cube model). Many of them will be “redundant”
(their jobs already performed by employees in the parent company) and laid off. Those who
retain their jobs will likely require lengthy reorientation and retraining to be capable of
delivering rewarded performance.
3. Internal change agents: Effective leaders are natural change agents. They tend to be young
(25-40 years old); flexible in their work habits; people-oriented; full of high expectations;
energizing to others; and comfortable dealing with uncertainty.
These internal change agents (leaders) will be challenged to create renewed jobs roles and
contributions for “old guard” (traditional) employees, while the “advance guard” change agents
gradually implement the “new improved” organizational changes. If the old guard-new guard
change process is not managed well, the organization can end up with two opposing
categories of employees: “vanguard” of the future vs. “yesterday’s answer.”
4. Structural change strategy: Change the organization by creating new work structures:
teams; mentoring/coaching; job redesign (enrichment and enlargement)
This strategy is reserved primarily for quick-change scenarios, such as corporate mergers,
downsizing, outsourcing employees, or technology retrofits (automated work, redesigned
information systems, self-directed teams etc.).
5. Sunset clause: Promise workers that if they will give change a try, they can vote on whether
or not to stick with it at a designated time in the future. This strategy works best with self-
directed teams that don’t interfere with the work of other departments in the organization.
Cognitive bias: Thinking impediments to information-based decision-making and problem-solving. .
Decision-making is the ultimate test of a manager, because decisions touch off a chain event of
organization actions and reactions. Managers who fall victim to one or more of the above
dysfunctional biases run the risk of losing their professional “rationality,” becoming decision-making
“black boxes”: hard to predict, understand, track, or support. Cognitive bias fuels a wide range of
organizational conflicts touched off by non-congruent perceptions of reality; disinformation and
brainwashing; and miscommunication.
The most common forms of cognitive bias:
A. Anchoring bias: Information received early in the analysis process is given more importance
than it deserves
B. Confirmation bias: Decision-makers seek out information that supports their biases and
ignore or reject information to the contrary (“stacking the deck”).
C. Ease of recall bias: Exclusive reliance on information that decision-makers already have fresh
and conveniently in their memories and bypassing additional relevant information
D. Sunk-cost bias: Decision-makers are reluctant to abandon past decisions and actions they
invested time and other resources in, so they stubbornly stick with these even in the face of
E. Threat-rigidity bias: When faced with immediate threats or problems, decision-makers
autocratically decide to put past decisions/actions into immediate play (to stem the perceived
“crisis” at hand).
Cognitive complexity: The depth and breadth of your social perception:* “reading” the behavior of
1. The capacity to innately/instinctively understand human behavior is the ultimate managerial
and leadership skill. Cognitive complexity (CC), with its capacity for understanding behavior in
non-simplistic ways, greatly enhances your behavioral perceptiveness.
2. Cognitively complex people don’t have to resort to stereotyping* or astrology to understand
what makes their co-workers tick. “CCs” have a way of discerning motives, self-confidence,
and emotional temperament. As a general rule, women are more behaviorally perceptive than
∆ Superficial cognitive complexity, due to conformity, habit, and comfort zones, traps many
people in a simplistic black and white world of no perceptual breadth or depth.
Cognitive dissonance: Mental dissonance caused by an attitude or belief that conflicts with your job
responsibilities or creates a role conflict for you.
1. Example: As a human resource professional, you take pride in helping employee on both a
professional and personal basis. But your company recently cut employee insurance benefits
40% and raised co-pays 25%.
2. Attitude dissonance relates closely to personal idealism (dedication to doing the “right” thing),
which is sometimes challenged by the competitive workplace realties of profit-making, cost-
cutting, employee conflict, political behavior, etc.
3. The ABC’s of resolving cognitive dissonance:
Ask others for their perception of disputed issues or realities
Big picture point of view > personal
Decide jointly rather than in isolation
Engage in win-win compromise
Community of meaning: People throughout an organization who work primarily for “psychological
income”: job enjoyment; relationships with peers; service to clients; and the four I AMs:* I am
productive, appreciated, needed, and unique. They are heavily motivated by making a difference to
others inside and outside their organizations. Other informal organizational communities that
contribute workplace meaning include:
1. Community of development: The ongoing, evolving professional development process of
learning through doing (experiencing different job activities, responsibilities, and professional
2. Virtual community: Geographically-disbursed organization members integrated by digital
communication (cell phone, email, texting, teleconferencing, etc.) and connected to the
physical organization by common goals, projects, and clients
3. These organizational communities are enhanced by shared ideals (client service, participative
management, interdependence, etc.) of employees; teamwork; ethical operations; professional
excellence and success; and super-ordinate (“bigger-than-any-of-us”) goals.
4. The informal community of wealth consists of (high-status, high-power) organization members
who derive meaning primarily from personal wealth accumulation (salary, bonuses, and stock
∆ More people seek meaning in work than wealth.
Conflict management styles: Management approaches for neutralizing workplace conflicts or
harnessing their potential for productive organizational change
1. Two key variables are involved in managing conflict:
A. Degree of competing (assertively pushing others to make a change)
B. Degree of cooperation (cooperating with others on making conflict-reducing behavioral
2. Based on high-medium-low combinations of these two key variables, five styles for managing
A. Accommodating: (low assertiveness, high cooperativeness) Use this style when you
believe you can’t win the conflict-related argument, or when the conflict issue is “small
potatoes” to you. Example: A company’s sales reps want $100 advance travel cash to
handle miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses (even though current policy specifies that
all reimbursements must be post-travel).
B. Avoiding: (low assertiveness, low cooperativeness) Use when emotions are running
high and you want to buy time for them to settle down, or when a lot more time is
needed to study and research the issue before it can be resolved. Example: Frustrated
working mothers in a large computer software firm want to use daycare services of their
own choosing (rather than just the two care centers specified by company policy.
C. Collaborating: (high assertiveness, high cooperativeness) Use when the conflicting
parties must work together to come up with an acceptable solution to the conflict.
Example: The software firm in the previous example doesn’t want to deal with the
widely-differing monthly rates of the city’s many daycare facilities, so it schedules a
series of brainstorming sessions between the working mothers and the HR office to
come up with a workable proposal for all involved.
D. Competing: (high assertiveness, low cooperativeness) Use when the conflict is serious
enough that it must be resolved immediately, or when an unpopular course of action is
necessary to reduce the conflict. Example: Payroll has switched paydays from weekly to
monthly, but hourly workers complain that this messes up their cash flow and want the
old weekly pay period reinstituted.
E. Compromising: (medium assertiveness, medium cooperativeness) Use when those
involved in the contact hold the same amount of power. Example: Hospital supervisors
are deadlocked on whether to shift to a four-day workweek, so they decide to let
workers vote on it.
3. To be properly resolved, conflict must be properly defined. Good (cognitively complex)
managers are situational mangers with a wide-array of success options at their disposal.
Conflict reduction strategies: Since workplace conflict is inevitable, a wide variety of conflict-
reduction strategies are available to progressive organizations for opportunistically turning conflict into
1. Changing organization structure: Creating additional linkages between people or units to
promote better communication and interpersonal cooperation via committees, task forces, or
ombudsman (a neutral outsider serving as a conflict-reduction agent)
2. Character assassination: Attacking the image or credibility of someone you oppose in a conflict
3. Due process: Using existing due process systems (appeal systems, sexual harassment
policies, an ombudsman, etc.) to resolve conflicts. Oftentimes, such systems are inadequate to
the task because they may be bureaucratic (slow-moving and legalistic), time-consuming, or
4. Expanding resources: Sometimes giving people what they need or want is a cost-justified way
to resolve conflict. If conflict hovers over certain departments or projects that are legitimately
under-budgeted, expanding their funding might pay both immediate and long-term benefits to
the entire organization.
5. Passiveness (non-action): Hoping the conflict will either dissipate in due course or somehow
solve itself without intervention
6. Personnel changes: It may be in the organization’s best interests to terminate employees
frequently embroiled in conflicts that damage productivity, morale, or teamwork.
7. Superordinate goals: Many times, organizational conflicts are resolved or avoided because
employees (especially on close-knit teams) are genuinely committed to organizational goals or
ideals that “rise above” self-interest.
8. Fact-feeling dialectic: Like a matador using his cape to repeatedly pass and tire out the bull,
alternate the change discussion back and forth between the rational (informational) aspects of
the change and how people feel about it (emotional aspects of the change).
9. Exercising good judgment in complex behavioral situations is more art than science, requiring:
A. 360 degrees feedback*
B. A good sense of mission and priorities
C. Cognitive complexity*
D. The capacity to insightfully and creatively shape workable solutions to human problems
Core self-evaluation = locus of control + self-efficacy + self-monitoring + positive-negative affect
1. Locus of control: How much you feel you control outcomes in your life vs. how much you feel
your life is controlled by external circumstances beyond your control
2. Self efficacy: How competent and capable you perceive yourself to be. Compared to low self-
efficacy professionals, those high in self efficacy are more likely to tackle tough jobs; are less
anxious when facing adversity; and can tolerate adversity for longer periods of time.
3. Self-monitoring: How much you allow yourself to be influenced by others in specific social
4. Positive-negative effect: Your tendency to focus on the positive vs. negative characteristics of
people, organizations, and social situations
The impact of core self-evaluation on job satisfaction: People with internal locus of control (ILOCs)
tend to like their work more than people with external locus of control (ELOCs). ILOCs also tend to be
motivated by promotions for a longer period of time than ELOCs. As the foundation of your
professional self-esteem and sense of competence, core self-evaluation determines your capacity
and potential for professional success and leadership.
Counterintuitive creative thinking (CCT): Going against the grain of conventional conformity (how
“traditional” organizations operate) can provide progressive organizations with a competitive edge.
CCT is a powerful tool for organization (as well as employee) invention, innovation, and success.
1. Non-progressive organizations (“giant frozen blocks of ice”) travel along
conventional/traditional, politically acceptable, non-controversial pathways. Changing
“traditional” organizations by trying to unfreeze the whole block of ice obviously isn’t feasible,
so small “ice cubes” must be melted one at a time via small, but progressive, changes in
thinking. The result is counterintuitive creative thinking that looks at established organizational
reality through the different perceptual prisms of individual contributors inside and outside the
organization. Counterintuitive creative thinking is or greatest value to employees close to
2. Examples of counterintuitive creative thinking
A. Asking team members to disagree on issues before they agree (non-status quo thinking)
B. Occasionally including non-team members (customers, suppliers, employees in other parts
of the organization) to participate in your team meetings (360 degrees feedback*)
C. Asking clients and other external stakeholders to submit goals for your organization or
team to achieve (evaluating your mission)
D. Brainstorming on what would happen if the team were to lose a member, a key customer,
or a supplier (contingency planning)
E. Asking internal and external stakeholders to review your organization’s annual report,
mission statement, or goals (perceptual prisms refract relevant alternate realities.)
3. How CCT expands your professional capabilities
A. Generating additional action alternatives to consider
B. Attaining a competitive edge over status quo thinkers
C. Seeing organization realities in fresh, more insightful, ways
∆ Ultimately there are just two mainstream success strategies: conformity vs. creative
DADA/CROP psychological change process: This dual acronym change model demonstrates
that a CROP of positive outcomes materialize for those willing to work their way through the four
psychological phases of change.
1. Denial of the pending change → Conflict over accepting the change
2. Anger over the reality of the change → Reality orientation of the change sinks in
3. Depression over “wrestling” with the change → Opportunity to benefit from the change
4. Acceptance of change benefits → Patience in waiting for change to work
Decision-making: Decisions by organization members sculpt the organization’s success and
survival. Decision-making is laden with complex psychological components that organization
members are seldom conscious of. The innumerable daily decisions made organization members
write the epitaph of every organization.
1. Bounded rationality: Making decisions rationally involves a logical, step-by-step analysis of
multiple action alternatives. Because decision makers must narrow down the number of
options they consider to a realistic few, decision-making rationality is bounded by time
constraints; the amount of information available; the preferences of those mostly directly
affected by the decision; and often the biases of those making the decisions. Decision-making
can be an emotional and political process as much as it is “rational.” Many managers over-
simplify decisions by relying on (often irrational) “rules of thumb,” “guesstimates,” or “We’ve
always done it this way.”
2. Cognitive style decision-making: The mental and psychological processes that (often
subconsciously) affect decision-makers: risk-taking propensity; intuition; personal wants and
needs; emotions, etc.
3. Escalation of commitment: Stubbornly sticking with a decision even in the face of its failure.
“Face-saving” is often behind this irrational professional behavior, particularly when the
decision was rendered by a group.
4. Group decision-making: Engaging multiple minds in the decision process has its good points
and bad points. The two most obvious advantages are tapping into the valuable professional
experience of the decision-makers and brainstorming (one idea triggers many more). The
disadvantages include possible “group think” (mindset conformity) or polarization (absence of a
workable middle ground); personality domination; and wasting time with group inefficiencies
(lengthy meetings, politics, misunderstandings, etc.) For example, the decision to build a new
football stadium by a school or community certainly calls for group decision-making because
of its complexity: numerous groups involved; high-dollar financing; high risk; long-range
impacts; opportunity-generating potential.
5. 360 degrees feedback*: Receiving feedback about action alternatives from a circle of
“constituents” inside and outside the organization: employees, customers, suppliers, etc.
6. The above components suggest five potential “minefields” of decision-making:
A. Unbalanced rationality: Rational decision-making can be unbalanced between the extremes
of too little information (premature decision-making) or too much (decision paralysis).
B. Psychological blindspots of decision-makers: Unawareness of personal biases; conformity
tendencies; focus on ends (mission and goals) vs. means (how-to’s); personal
management style, etc.
C. Unwillingness to learn from experience via trial runs; participative management; 360
degrees feedback*, etc.
D. Unbalanced input to decisions ranging from solo decision-making to group voting
E. Unbalanced influence of internal vs. external value employees in important decisions:
technical bias vs. political bias
7. How aware are decision-makers of their own idiosyncratic decision-making styles? This
includes both objective and subjective factors: use of hunches (“gut feelings”); analytical
tendencies; openness to council from others; risk-taking temperament; tendency for pre-
mature decisions vs. procrastination; second-guessing tendency; and reactive vs. proactive
Defense mechanisms: How insecure organization members protect themselves from workplace
psychological bumps and bruises
1. Compensation: Seeking to deal with negative problems in one part of your life through pursuing
positive outcomes in a different area of your life; ducking problems you have in your marriage by
working long overtime hours at the office; working on low priority job duties you are highly
competent in instead of tackling higher-priority projects you’re not so good at.
2. Conversion: Psychosomatic reactions to work-related problems: headaches, ulcers, hives, panic
attacks, depression, emotionalism, etc.
3. Displacement: Taking out your anger against an innocent co-worker on an innocent person
4. Fantasy: Escaping negative aspects of reality through daydreaming on the job, net surfing,
5. Fixation: People fixate on the ebb and flow of conflict events more than on resolving the conflict.
6. Flight: Seeking to escape responsibility for dealing with job-based conflicts or problems by
ignoring them; skipping meetings; or denying that the conflict actually exists
7. Identification: Identifying with the success of a colleague and copying their professional behavior
8. Negativism: Persistently responding negatively or pessimistically to problems, events, or options
9. Rationalization: Attempting to justify questionable (unethical, exploitative, or selfish) personal
behaviors by providing a seemingly rational reason for their occurrence
10. Withdrawal: Ignoring negative aspects of the workplace as a show of displeasure, rejection, or
“giving up” on how the system operates
Tactics for removing the defensive shell from insecure employees:
1. Holding insecure employees responsible only for their “process” (task implementation)
contributions, but not for overall project success
2. Putting a “face” (identity) on organizational clients, so they seem familiar and friendly to
3. Injecting greater teamwork into projects, so it’s easier for participants to share their
competencies and accountability
Defensive communication: Defensive communication results when the sender or receiver (or both)
are close-minded (open only to their own point of view), manipulative, or psychologically cutting.
1. Telltale signs of defensiveness include:
A. Use of negative labeling words: stupid, idiot, retread, air head, etc.
B. Disinformation: half-truths; misleading facts or statistics; unfair bias; outdated information,
C. Passive aggression (“fake face”): Passively hiding your opposition to someone’s idea or
proposal to make them overconfident; then aggressively undermining the proposal to
others. Or telling others what they want to hear as a way of disguising your true intentions
not to support them.
2. In sharp contrast to defensive communication, authentic communication,* creates a reality-
oriented (vs. “fake face”) work culture when:
A. Leader/managers act as authentic role model open-honest communicators.
B. Co-workers are comfortable keeping one another in touch with both positive and negative
C. Co-workers have experientially learned how to deal with negative issues and feelings in
Delphi process: A powerful, yet simple, interactive technique for harnessing 360 degree feedback *
for effective decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic planning.
1. “Delphi” gradually emerges by circulating (preferably digitally) evolving versions of a
questionnaire among team members. Step 1 of Delphi develops a questionnaire that solicits a
variety of objective and subjective input from team members.
2. Step 2 sends the questionnaire (preferably via email) to all team members, as well as to
important constituents of the team (clients, suppliers, departments served within the team’s
3. In step 3, team members respond to questionnaire items and email these back to everyone.
This round-robin process is repeated until team members feel their virtual conversation has
yielded sufficient feedback to empower the team to reach consensus on the issues and act
4. By making half of the decisional process individualized and the other half group, Delphi
balances the delicate intellectual/emotional continuum of sound decision-making. This
significantly lessens the potential for groupthink,* non-authentic communication,* and for the
role of defensive mechanisms.* Delphi also sets the table for informed group decisions backed
by the “round-robin” summaries of Delphi questions.
Developmental leadership: A seven-step process of promoting organization development via
employee professional development:
1. “Set the table” for employee success via job rotation/cross training, relationship-building, and
2. Connect employees and teams via physical and digital meetings
3. Proact where success is already happening: key projects, key clients, productive behaviors
4. Generate interpersonal/team “electricity” via 360 feedback*
5. Interaction with team clients, and use of virtual communication technology
6. Build professional rapport via project bonding
Build the community of meaning* via project teams and focus on the “4 I AMs” (I am productive,
appreciated, needed, and unique).*
Professional development happens naturally in a team-led environment that incubates:
1. Informal mentoring
2. Job enlargement and rotation (see entry for work design psychology) which stimulate
3. Learning from working interdependently with others
Digital communication, behavioral impacts: Exploding digital communication technology has
revolutionized how people communicate and interact in the 21 st century workplace. So many novel
behavioral issues are involved in digital communication, researchers are just beginning to understand
them from a managerial perspective.
1. Asynchronous communication: Delayed digital communication, such as email, blogs, bulletin
boards, chat groups, newsgroups, etc. Behavioral impact: On-the-job entertainment
2. Continuous partial attention: The reality of multi-tasking work styles means that team
communicators often receive only the partial, fleeting attention of virtual team members.
Behavioral impact: Superficial communication; attention deficit disorder symptoms stemming
from frequent multi-tasking
3. Cyber-personality: The extent to which you can build rapport with virtual team members and
clients through developing an online persona that is both engaging and dynamic. People with
good cyber-personalities excel at personalizing impersonal media. Behavioral impact: Self
4. In-world: Team members communicating and collaborating via intranet, file sharing, discussion
boards, etc. Behavioral impact: Virtual team meetings; talk > results
5. Netiquette: Maintaining professional behavior in virtual, digital communication to eliminate
emotional roller coaster rides. Behavioral impact: Promotes professional self-discipline
6. Rich technology: Factors that enrich and personalize virtual technology: images, sound effects,
podcasts, avatars, etc. Behavioral impact: Enhanced emotional impact of presentations
7. Telecommuting: Working offsite at home, airports, conferences, etc. Behavioral impact:
Stronger psychological connection to the workplace; production-opportunities for non-
8. Telepresence: The technology-generated visual and psychological perception that your group
is physically present with virtual participants. This is a rich technology for global team use.
Behavioral impact: A more participative workplace; enhanced impact of team meetings; less
travel and jet lag
9. Texting slang and coding Behavioral impact: Personalization of impersonal technology
10. Virtual communication: Digitalized communication between people not in the same physical
location. Behavioral impact: Team-building and solidarity; enhanced workplace community
11. Virtual meeting team facilitator roles:
A. Cyber-leader and participants
B. Scribe (to summarize the circulating digital conversations)
C. Gatekeeper (of the agenda, netiquette, and intellectual property security)
D. Computer files and graphics operator
E. Keyboardist (for sending emails during the meeting; texting)
F. Desktop operator (coordinator of software in play)
G. Email manager
H. Participant “spotter”: keeping track of names, organizing who makes what comments when,
I. Coordinator of transmission: pausing and muting
J. Coordinators of non-transmitted communication, such as asked chats. Behavioral impact:
Improved communication attention span and focus; greater volitional internalization of
group mission and ideals
12. Digital communication challenges:
A. Continuous partial attention: Giving communicators only part of your focus and attention due
to your own digital multi-tasking
B. Cyber-personality: Adopting an engaging online personality that may or may not reflect your
C. Depersonalization: Behaving erratically and non-authentically in digital communication as
though you were not your real self.
D. Netiquette: following informal rules of professional digital communications etiquette, such as
responding to messages in a timely manner; maintaining confidentialities when requested;
clearly identifying your identity, etc.
Discounting principle: Simplistically assuming that most behavior is caused by social conformity
(external locus of control) rather than by complex internal psychological factors. This perceptual trait,
strongly correlated with low cognitive complexity, characterizes individuals who over-simplify human
behavior and its management. People with an external locus of control* may lack insight into
fundamental leadership and management competences, such as motivating workers, group
dynamics, professional development, and psychology in general. Discounting is most frequently a
function of low emotional intelligence*; cognitive bias;* or social (mis)perception.*
Dysfunctional professional behaviors: Counter-productive on-the-job behaviors that stymie
progress and frustrate emotions: procrastination; bottlenecking decisions with hesitance or facilitation;
conflict avoidance; status-quo security blanket; perfectionism; “majoring in the minors”; control freaks;
telling others what they want to hear; stuck-in-a-rut professional development; bull in a china shop;
black hole relational skills; blindspots about self or others, etc.
Helping co-workers overcome significant dysfunctional behaviors is a four-phase learning process:
1. Awareness of the dysfunctional behavior via positive feedback from trusted co-workers
2. Willingness to improve
3. Behavioral coaching from a supportive and insightful co-worker
4. Reinforcement of future behaviors away from the dysfunctional toward functional behaviors
Emotional intelligence: “A self-perceived ability to identify, assess and control the emotions of
oneself, of others, and of groups.” “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate
thought, understand emotions, and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.”
1. Emotionally intelligent people:
A. Understand their own feelings, beliefs, and those of others
B. Exercise control over their own emotions, especially when interacting with others
C. Continuously strive to improve their professional performance and abilities
D. Are empathetic in considering the feelings of others
E. Know how to interact productively with others without exploiting them
F. Read how organizations function
G. Build positive alliances
H. Follow and lead well
I. Have more ideals than goals
J. Mentor successfully
2. To some extent, emotional intelligence is innate, but is can also be “caught” (items C, E, G, H,
J) and “taught” (observed and mentored; items B, C, F, G, H, J).
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important and useful behavioral skills/aptitudes for its potent
capacity to neutralize conflict; build teamwork; and pave the way for excellent followership and
Expectancy model of motivation: Human motivation is subjective, often based more on what
people expect (a feeling) to happen in the workplace than what does happen. This theory of
motivation focuses on how managers and leaders can shape employee expectations to enhance their
expectations of performance success and job satisfaction.
1. People become motivated if they expect that:
A. Performance desired by the organization will get them something they personally want
(more money, power, accomplishments, recognition, job security, etc.).
B. They are capable of performing what their organization wants and will reward and fully
expect to receive the desired reward.
For the employee to deliver more, the organization must promise more, and what is promised must fit
the employee’s psychological needs. In organizations lacking a community of meaning,* some
employees may have to settle for second or third level motivators (or shop around for more
meaningful work in another organization). In organizations with a small community of wealth, *
money-motivated employees may have to look elsewhere for a high-motivation job.
Feminine vs. masculine management style: Organizational success in the 21st century depends
more than ever on accommodating both (unisex) gender management styles. Team and project work
environments are ideal for this.
Continua of feminine-masculine management styles used by both genders:
1. Competitive vs. Cooperative
2. Directive vs. Relational
3. Independence vs. Interdependence
4. Goals vs. Ideals
5. Stockholders vs. Stakeholders
6. Individual vs. Community
7. Proactive vs. Reactive
8. Controlling vs. Relational
9. Action vs. Verbal
First impression error: Over-reacting to limited information about someone and stereotyping them.
This dysfunctional psychological characteristic correlates with low cognitive complexity,* the
discounting principle,* and cognitive bias.*
A. Over-emphasizing the educational background or grades of a job candidate
B. Job interviews conducted by only one member of an organization
C. “Blue collar workers are unsophisticated and lack people skills.”
D. Hiring someone just from their resume
E. Assessing job candidates on the basis of their hand shake or facial expressions
2. Three useful behaviors for overcoming first-impressions of others:
A. Compare your impressions with those of trusted co-workers
B. Interact with them more frequently to let reality sift though
C. Objectively critique your past first-impression blunders
Follower maturity model of leadership: Organization members develop greater professional
maturity as they internalize (“own”) the organization’s mission, goals, and culture + gain the
professional competence needed to advance the organization’s interests. Mature professionals “make
things happen” in and for their organization. Four leadership styles, analogous to the
preferred/normative leadership model* are appropriate for the following four ascending levels of
1. The telling leadership style (employees are too professionally immature to complete most
tasks without supervision): Tell employees what to do and how to do it (guide them step-by-
step to task success). Immature employees tend to bond superficially with their organizations
and work mainly for self (money). They require close supervision and explicit job directions.
2. The selling style (employees are competent but haven’t internalized the organization’s
mission): Explain/sell the work approach approach employees. Those a step up in maturity will
respond to worthwhile reasons to “put out” for the organization.
3. The participating style (employees are mature enough to help one another but not to work
alone): Work with employees one-on-one and as a group to design and implement their goal-
attaining work approach. Most employees mature enough to pursue the mission of their
organization will also desire to participate in shaping their own professional contributions.
4. The delegating style: (employees are true professionals): Turn the whole goal-attainment
process over to employees. The most professionally mature employees will be self-directed in
pursuing organizational interests.
Followership typology: Followers make leaders. In the absence of cooperative, goal-driven
employees, leaders can’t get in gear. Followers are less apt to exploit other than leaders are. Most
organization members aren’t followers or leaders—just non-committal. Organizations require
exceptional followers to complement exceptional leaders.
1. Categories of followers, both functional and dysfunction, within organizations.
A. Alienated: Independent thinkers who are emotionally distant due to non-internalization of the
organization’s culture and mission
B. Sheep: Easily “brainwashed” into accepting the organization’s agenda, but passive about
acting on that agenda
C. Effective: Self-actuated members, needing minimal leadership, who proact on the
organization’s mission and goals
D. “Yes” people: Buy into what the organization tells them and are ready to follow orders (but not
∆ No followers, no leaders.
Formal vs. informal organization: The dual structures and cultures of every organization that are
simultaneously complementary and conflicting. The formal organization is the planned organization
(departments, plans, budgets, policies, etc.). Spontaneous employee behavior (coordinating work on-
the-fly; initiating and maintaining personal and professional relationships, etc.) coalesce into the
informal organization. The formal organization = the bricks; the informal = the mortar that holds things
together. The informal organizations breathes life into the formal organization.
1. Advantages of the formal organization: Buttresses organizational stability and certainty
Disadvantages: Restrains the contributions organization members are authorized to make;
engenders an impersonal work environment.
2. Advantages of the informal organization: Creates social community within the formal
organization’s impersonal shell; empowers free and creative human behavior.
Disadvantages: Incubates dysfunctional organization behaviors, such as politics, gossip,
∆ Most organizations succeed in spite of themselves, because most organization behavior is
unmanaged and unharnessed.
Four I AMs: The most powerful and easy-to-deliver workplace motivators: I am productive,
appreciated, needed, and unique. These lie at the core of the organization’s community of meaning.*
Functional vs. dysfunctional organizations: In functional (client-serving) organizations, a working
community thrives around serving the interests of constituents. In dysfunctional (non-client serving)
organizations, members seek to serve self and/or exploit clients for economic or career gain.
1. Functional organization behaviors: cooperation; leadership; followership; services to
organization constituents; accountability systems; internalization of organization mission;
teamwork; meritocracy (performance-based) reward system
2. Dysfunctional organization behaviors: org politics; bureaucracy (excessive/aggressive formal
organization); unfulfilling work; exploitation of internal or external org constituents
Goal motivation: Many organizations consciously set goals to induce workers to contribute more to
the organization’s success. Use formal goals to stimulate worker productivity requires managers and
leaders who are behaviorally savvy.
1. Goals motivate employees best when:
A. Employees participate in setting them (job ownership)
B. The goals are challenging but realistically achievable
C. They are operationalized (clear, specific, measurable, and given reasonable deadlines)
D. They receive periodic feedback on goal progress
E. The goals are embedded in organization ideals (community-building values and professional
F. They enable employees and teams to set their own complementary goals
2. Goals are de-motivating when they:
A. Aren’t directly tied to the best interests of organization constituents
B. Are thrust on employees without their participation or awareness (autocratic management)
C. Accomplish nothing except making money
D. Aren’t awarded
∆ Professional motivation is ore internal (in-born achievement drive) than external (social or
Group conflict reduction: Resolving group conflict restores communication which can reshape
people’s sense of reality (vs. the unreality of most conflicts); provide an essential outlet for negative
emotions; and give people a sense of empowerment over their impass.
This five-step model employs 360 degrees feedback* to make groups aware of how perceptual
blindspots or disinformation may have incubated a current conflict, and then uses additional feedback
to neutralize the blindspots.
1. Hold one or more meetings with the feuding groups to openly examine their perspectives about
conflict issues and patterns of interaction.
2. Each group discusses how it sees itself and the rival group.
3. The groups separate to discuss evident perceptual/reality gaps between them.
4. The groups reconvene to compare feedback from step 3.
5. False perceptions are disclosed and modified (mutual “reality-orientation”).
Group decision-making: The more decisions impact others inside and outside the organization, the
more they should be included in the decision-making process. Multilateral decision-making >
unilateral. Because so many psychological dynamics are in play when groups make decisions, this
approach to decision-making should be used only when the advantages clearly outweigh the potential
1. Advantages: access to more information and greater analysis of this information; superior
judgment and insight; promotes greater acceptance of decisions made; promotes professional
2. Disadvantages: Takes more time; is vulnerable to dysfunctional psychological processes
(especially groupthink; see entry); can be dominated and dictated by one or two members;
may retard individual decision-making skills and readiness
3. Teams usually make better decisions than work groups* because, in contrast to most groups,
teams have internalized the organization’s mission and values and are familiar with and
dedicated to the organization’s constituents (customers, suppliers, local community, etc.).
4. Managers often prefer autocratic/unilateral decision-making because of its administrative
simplicity. However, just because a decision is simple to make (autocratically), doesn’t mean
it’s simple to implement (relationally).People who participate in making important decisions that
affect them tend to cooperate in implementing them.
Groupthink (MISC source): Dysfunctional, potentially cultic, decision-making common to highly
cohesive groups in which reaching amicable agreement becomes more important than making a
sound decision. Desperation to back a common cause or ideal pushes hardcore group loyalists into
accepting a dysfunctional decision to keep them united.
People are vulnerable to groupthink when they:
1. Perceive themselves and their cause as invulnerable = over-optimism and over-estimating
their collective wisdom
2. Rationalize = discount warnings and discredit negative information
3. View their mission and actions as moral, even it causes them to ignore socially-accepted
ethical and legal issues
4. Stereotype = paint a negative picture of all who oppose their mission or actions
5. Engage in self-censorship = members who see flaws in the group’s thinking keep quiet out of
(blind) loyalty to the group
6. Use peer pressure to discourage behaviors or ideas that threaten group consensus
7. Create a false sense of unanimity once potentially dissenting members clam up
8. Act as “mindguards” to protect the group from receiving any information or feedback contrary
to what the group is thinking and supporting.
1. Public relations employees can create a false or misleading persona for organizations via one-
sided information; emotional advertising and graphics; testimonials, etc. Political campaigns
are notorious for deceptive image-making and blatant political propaganda. Such psychological
manipulation can affect the organization’s own members as much, or more, than outsiders.
2. The sexual abuse scandal in Penn State’s football program reflected a number of groupthink
dysfunctions: isolationism, rationalization, mind guards, feelings of invincibility (keeping the
abusive behaviors hidden forever).
3. Four ways to control groupthink: sprinkle some organization constituents into your group; pick
someone outside your group to lead important group sessions; appoint someone in meetings
to be the “devil’s advocate”; let outsiders critique a video or minutes of your meetings.
∆ Organizations control us more than we control them = your manufactured professional
Hot vs. cool conflict: Hot conflict is emotional and embedded in clashing personalities or leadership
styles. Cool conflict is rational or philosophical, revolving around issues, information exchange, and
1. Hot conflict examples:
A. The top sales rep of a manufacturer refuses to share client information with his
colleagues for fear of giving away future sales prospects.
B. Jenna got angry at her boss for rejecting her request to attend an out-of-state training
program (which two of her colleagues had attended the previous year).
2. Cool conflict examples:
A. The Human Resources director requested her company to switch its annual fund drive on
behalf of the local United Way campaign to the community’s largest food bank. She
received a number of complaints inside the company from people who were long-time
United Way supporters.
B. A large university was split right down the middle on whether to give more emphasis to
undergraduate or graduate education in the future.
3. The main hot conflict challenges to overcome: volatile emotion; unresolved past conflicts; face-
4. The main cool conflict challenges: talk doesn’t always neutralize emotions; people hold their
principles (ideologies) dear.
Influence: Informal (non-organizational) means to change people’s behavior. The following ten
sources or techniques of influence are rated (low-to-high 1-3) according to their level of: Difficulty;
Effectiveness; Fairness; Participativeness
1. Authority: The right to officially influence certain members of the organization via supervising
their work efforts; enforcing rules and regulations; performing formal performance reviews, etc.
2. Appeal: The right to question authority (via established organizational processes such as filing
complaints or grievances; requesting arbitration or mediation; or using ombudsman
(organization members authorized to review and represent appeals on behalf of employees)
3. Coalition formation: Building a formal or informal network of supporters via pledges of favors or
future support (D3E2F1P1)
4. Coercion: Making threats or demands that may or may not be sanctioned by the organization
5. Consultation: Seeking the knowledge or opinions of (probably powerful) others, perhaps to co-
opt their support (D1E2F2P2)
6. Emotionalism: Appealing to the values and ideals of others to influence them (D2E2F1P1)
7. Ingratiation: Seeking to influence others by appealing to their egos: flattery and telling them
what they want to hear; agreeing with them; honors and awards; invitations to elitist events,
8. Persuasion: Using facts, emotional appeals, peer pressure, and brainwashing (advertising,
public relations, imaging) to influence or exploit others for their money or support (D3E2F1P1)
9. Transactional exchange: “Mutual back-scratching” (“quid pro quo”) relationships where people
exchange favors, make deals, or cooperate on certain outcomes (D2E2F2P2)
10. Zone of indifference: Using forms of power that people tolerate: orders, advertising, work
assignments, pay levels, rules and regulations, work conditions, etc. (D1E1F3P1)
Independence vs. interdependency: Interdependent goals (we need each other in order to
succeed) build and benefit organizations and work groups more than independent (both of us can
succeed on our own without cooperating) goals do. The more people have to rely on one another to
succeed, the more they have to cooperate; commit to the same goals and standards; and
communicate in a functional manner. “Me” turns into “we.”
1. Most organizations favor independent goals that employees can achieve on their own,
because they are simple to set, manage, and achieve. However, these working-alone goals
aren’t “supercharged” with the positive peer pressure produced by interdependent teamwork.
Working interdependently brings out the best in others, because they have to cooperate,
communicate, and coordinate in order to succeed.
2. Working alone independently vs. working interdependently with others is a matter of lip service
commitment vs. volitional commitment; pursuit of a personal agenda vs. the organization’s
agenda; accountability vs. comfort zone.
∆ Workplace interdependency produces more because it demands more.
Job satisfaction: Positive aspects of your job (meaningful work, good pay, productive relationships,
etc.) that make it tolerable and “comfortable.” However, it is important to recognize that “happy”
workers are not necessarily highly productive, motivated, or competent--any more than “contented
cows” are. Highly dissatisfied workers are definitely bad news for organizations, but “all smiles” isn’t
an ideal to strive for either. Mutual job satisfaction among people who work together promotes
teamwork, positive change, and professional development. Some dissatisfied workers spawn
negative attitudes, griping, absenteeism, and disruptive behavior leading to job turnover.
Max job sat stems from three crucial factors: work that has meaning to both self and others; doing
what is enjoyable; positive work relationships with co-workers.
∆ Workers with high job satisfaction are not necessarily professionally successful or
motivated--they’re just not full of complaints. Comfort zones are the core of job satisfaction.
Job stressors: Most workplace stress can be traced to one or more of five organization factors
capable of being productively managed by behaviorally-savvy organization members:
1. Technology change and training (“techno-stress”)
2. Organization and job instability: layoffs, corporate mergers, rapid technological change, etc.
3. Irregular work routines( projects, travel, teamwork, etc.) and inflexible work hours.
4. Interpersonal stress: working with multidisciplinary professionals; culturally diverse colleagues;
forms of harassment (sexual, religious, political, lifestyle)
5. Role conflicts: working mothers; using a feminine managerial style in a masculine work culture;
unethical colleagues; sharing duties with team members
The competitive nature of most organizations plus the daily work challenges faced by most
professionals produce all the stress they can handle. Piling on the above stressors can quickly and
invisibly short-circuit an organization’s culture. “The primary cause of job stress is realizing that you
have little control over what goes on in the workplace.”
∆ Job stress germinates from a poor fit between your personal-professional “package” vs. your
organization’s culture and productivity expectations.
Leadership: Psychologically influencing others so they voluntarily want to follow you; influencing
others to work on behalf of a cause, ideal, or organization. In a nutshell, leadership = how hard you
have to work to get others to work hard. Contrary to common misconceptions, true leadership is not:
personal charisma; mastering certain “success techniques”; or “being the best” in your field. Above
all, leadership is not forcing others to do what you want. Leaders are neither born nor made; they are
enabled. Followers enable the leader, just as the organization selects/shapes the followers and the
culture they work in. Leaders thus can’t stay very far in front of their organizations.
1. “Leaders investigate reality, producing visions, concepts, and plans to magnetically pull
2. “A good manager does things right; leaders do the right things: a goal, a direction, a challenge,
a dream, a path, a reach.”
3. “Most losing organizations are over-managed and under-led. Their managers accomplish the
wrong things beautifully and efficiently. They climb the wrong wall.”
4. “Managing is about efficiency; leading is about effectiveness. Managing is about how; leading
is about what and why. Management is about systems, controls, policies, and structure;
leadership is about trust and people.” Management is about copying and the status quo;
leadership is creative, adaptive, and agile.”
5. “Leadership looks at the horizon, not just the bottom line.”
6. “Leaders based their vision, their appeal, and their integrity on reality.”
7. “A leader is someone who has the capacity to create a compelling vision that takes people to a
new place, and to translate that vision into action. Leaders draw people toward them by
enrolling them in a vision of the future. What leaders do is inspire people, empower them.”
∆ The follower makes the leader and the leader the follower.
Leadership styles: Effective leaders move in and out of the styles below as situations warrant but
tend to rely on the one they find most comfortable (even if it’s not the most effective). The manager’s
#1 challenge is to avoid “comfort zone” leadership, making their preferred style into a habitual “go-to”
default. Successful leaders think and plan more than they charm and role play.
Situational leadership styles:
1. Achievement-oriented (setting challenging goals and creating a productive work environment):
requires a high-powered organization culture
2. Directive (communicating specific performance expectations along with standards, rules, and
deadlines): the easiest leadership style because it requires few relational skills and is backed
by the “big gorilla” organization.
3. Participative (sharing information, decision-making, and technology with colleagues): demands
leaders with strong relational skills and a professional development orientation.
4. Supportive (showing concern for colleagues on both a professional and personal basis): but
concern for others doesn’t always get the job done.
5. Upward-influencing (helping your boss help you and your work group to succeed): In most
organizations, there are few opportunities to interact enough with superiors to from a
performance partnership with them.
6. Sacrificing (putting the needs of followers and constituents ahead of self): does the
organizations have any ideals worth sacrificing for?
∆ Effective leading requires multiple leadership styles used in a situationally-appropriate way. Good
leaders are flexible.
Locus of control: The extent to which you feel you control your own life (internal locus of control, or
ILOC) via successful work habits; good attitudes; interpersonal competencies; positive self-esteem;
professional achievements, etc. People with an external locus of control (ELOC) perceive that their
lives are heavily influenced by factors beyond their control or influence: governments, organizations,
laws, religion, background experiences, fate, etc. High internal locus is associated with achievement
and can be strengthened in the workplace via professional development; participative management;
and self-directed teams.
Locus of control contrasts:
1. “I’m smart enough to get a college degree.” vs. “I just don’t come from a college-educated
2. “I can take off ten pounds if I diet for a few weeks.” vs. “Two of my friends quit their diets
because they weren’t losing any weight; and besides I can’t help it if I like rich foods.”
3. “I have enough experience to qualify for a promotion.” vs. “There’s no use applying for a
promotion, because everyone knows it’s rigged by politics.”
Machiavellianism: the willingness to do whatever is necessary to get your own way; the attitude that
it’s better to be feared than liked. Machiavellians are manipulative, exploitative, and emotionally
detached from the needs and point of view of others. “The high Mach personality is cynical about
human nature and shrewd about interpersonal behavior. It is the personality style that uses other
people as tools of personal gain.” Machiavellian behavior can be very damaging to organizations via
its exploitative politics and non-authentic interactions.
1. Hidden agendas
2. Secret coalition building: placing supporters in key positions of power
3. Divide and conquer: pitting key leaders and groups against one another, often ignited by lies
4. Telling partial truths, but only enough to win over loyalists
5. Get others to work for you, but always take the credit for their accomplishments.
6. Set up “fall guys” to take the blame for the Mach leader.
7. “Tell a lie long enough and people will eventually believe it.”
8. Learn how to make people dependent on you.
9. Use propaganda that appeals to patriotism, racism, elitism, etc.
10. Do not commit to anyone; master others by being independent.
Management by walking around (MBWA) The proactive practice of being around the people you
formally manage in order to “set the table” for their success; intervene into workplace challenges in a
timely manner; and stay reality-oriented. “Catch them in the act of doing something right.”
1. Managers should use MBWA with discretion to avoid “micromanaging” (controlling things to
the last detail).
2. MBWA helps managers shape employee behaviors in a timely manner. The sooner positive
and negative workplace behaviors are reinforced after they occur, the stronger the cause and
effect conditioning. (See entries for behavioral reinforcement; and behavior shaping in
organizations, one minute management).
A. The manager of a retail department sees Kyle handle a customer complaint in a courteous
manner and praises Kyle as soon as the customer leaves.
B. Melanie, who works during her lunch hour to answer the phone for an ill co-worker, is
thanked by her boss for her teamwork orientation.
C. Jason’s boss texts him congratulations for passing his professional accreditation exam
even before scores were officially released by the HR department.
MBWA “no-no’s” include avoiding the “gotcha” game (trying to catch others in the process of making
a mistake or breaking a rule); micromanaging; “schmoosing”; attention-deficit behavior; and
“attaboys” (praising superficial behavior as an excuse to give someone an unearned, ingenuine pat
on the back).
∆ Management is sweaty because it’s all about complex people, not simple techniques.
Managers vs. leaders:* Managers (who coordinate mostly routine work) are more numerous in
organizations, but leaders (who inspire employee contributions) are potentially more valuable.
Leaders have a larger psychological impact than managers.
1. Managers implement the professional visions of leaders.
2. Managers facilitate the productive activities of organizations through coordinating the efficiency
and effective use of human, physical, and intangible assets (creativity, networking, teamwork,
etc.). Leaders shape and sell the organization’s mission; inspire, guide and develop
organization members; and create opportunities for greater organizational success.
3. Managers “push” and “pull” work activities in productive directions, while leaders shape worker
attitudes and fire their enthusiasm.
4. Leaders grasp what needs to be done, while managers get it done.
Mentoring/coaching: A professional development relationship between an experienced pro and one
1. Mentoring is more encouragement than cheerleading and based more on professional wisdom
than on information.
2. Mentors are most successful when they take the initiative to select their own “mentees”; devote
quality time to the process; and when they themselves experienced quality mentoring in the
3. The best mentoring goes on when neither the mentor nor mentee is consciously aware of it.
Morale: The overall “gestalt” of how employees feel about their organization, jobs, co-worker
relationships, pay and benefits, professional development, and quality of work life
1. Morale is easily depressed by negative organization events or set-backs, such as layoffs;
perceived unfair treatment of employees; pay cuts or freezes; “hard-nose” supervision; foreign
job outsourcing, etc. Because morale is a subjective feeling subject to unforeseen ups and
downs, high morale doesn’t necessarily produce high productivity.
2. Due to its emotional nature, morale is easier to damage than to repair. It’s “manufactured” in
the organization’s community of meaning.*
3. The foundation of morale is trust between an organization and its members (see entry for
Motivation blueprint: (1) Opportunities for organizational or employee success + (2) Rewards
directly tied to performance + (3) Appropriate redesigning of jobs to empower the productivity
necessary to receive rewards + (4) Timely performance feedback (especially self-generated); (5)
Clear-cut expectations and goals
Motivation = planting, nourishing, and harvesting the seeds of employee productivity and job
Motivation = FEEDPRO
Motivating relationships: Work interdependency is the super-highway of motivation, because
people have to work together to empower and synergize their mutual success. Competitive
organizations are designed to meet the needs of their clients more than their employees, so
motivation springs from professional relationships more than managerial “techniques.”
1. Co-workers motivate us when they respond to our contributions in ways that make us feel “I
am productive”; “I am appreciated”; I am needed “; and “I am unique” (the “4 I AMs”).
2.Teams* are the “greenhouse” of motivation, enabling people to sustain a community of
meaning,* which motivates employees to be part of something bigger than themselves that
stimulates professional development and contributions.
Motivator vs. satisfaction factors motivation model: This model emphasizes the difference
between what motivates workers and what generates job satisfaction. Motivators affect work
productivity and excellence, while satisfiers affect how people feel about their work. Satisfiers are
easier to deliver than motivators and don’t require a fertile organization culture or capable people-
developers. Satisfiers can drug workers into overlooking true organizational motivators.
1. Workers can be satisfied, but not motivated, by good working conditions (cleanliness,
ergonomic furniture, positive supervisors, rest breaks, etc.). Such “niceties” reduce complaints
and improve morale, but they don’t ignite people to worker harder, longer, or more creatively.
2. Renovating the employee lounge (a nicety) won’t motivate workers to arrive at the office
earlier; stay later; or go the extra mile for customers. Gung-ho sales reps won’t slack off on
cold-calling customers merely because coffee and cokes in the coffee lounge are no longer
3. True motivation comes from job achievement, recognition, stimulating work, and promotions
Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator: The Myers-Briggs personality diagnostic instrument
yields sixteen trait-based psychological profiles (“brain-mapping”) of people’s social and professional
1. The psychological profiles are based on the following eight personality dualities:
A. Extraversion (E)-introversion (I): How much you are energized by interacting with others vs.
spending time alone
B. Sensing (S)-intuition (I): Sensors use the human senses (seeing, hearing, touching,
experiencing) to interpret reality, while intuiters “play” with reality via imagination, scenario-
formation, and hunches.
C. Thinking (T)-feeling (F): Thinkers focus on objective, step-by-step problem solving and
impersonal managerial processes. Feelers are more subjective, comfortable with emotion,
and directed by personal ideals.
D. Judging (J) vs. perceiving (P): Those with the judging trait press for closure of information,
problem-solving, and decision-making. Perceivers are more flexible, experimental, and
open to input from others.
2. It’s easy for HR departments to purchase and administer copies of the Myers-Briggs to
employees and classify their psychological profiles. This empowers managers to more fully
synergize workplace collaborations based on complementary vs. contrasting employee
3. Teamwork thrives on diverse professional skills and personal temperaments, because
interdependent professional relationships are the elixir of productivity. Myers-Briggs empowers
managers to mix and match employee psych profiles for maximum professional synergy.
Needs hierarchy: A motivational approach based on identifying and meeting the unfulfilled needs of
employees. This model is based on the old adage, “different strokes for different folks.”
1. Human needs are arrayed in an evolving hierarchy of “valance” (potency) from physical needs,
to security, social, job enjoyment, and spiritual needs.
2. The prime motivators for “lower level” physical and security needs include money, job stability,
and insurance benefits. Once these needs have been satisfied, motivational appeals must shift
to meeting the “higher” level professional needs of employees via job enrichment, teamwork,
performance recognition, and incentive bonuses.
This model of motivation has two significant weaknesses:
1. The different level of needs tend to run together, making them hard to define and accurately
2. Organizations can’t realistically set up a “vending machine” of employee rewards that caters to
their vast array of personal and professional needs--too many psychological profiles and too
few formal rewards systems are in play.
∆ Most organizations don’t try to meet your needs; they pay you to meet their needs.
Normative organizational commitment: The basis on which employees stay committed to the
organization they work for. Employees often stay committed to an organization for normative
(positive) reasons, such as duty or responsibility. Normative commitment can be so strong that
organization members are willing to sacrifice (sub-optimize) on behalf of the organization’s continuing
success. The members of non-profit organizations (hospitals, churches, charities, military, etc.) are
more likely to have normative commitment than corporations, which are less idealistic and more
Social Darwinist (survival of the fittest). Duty and sacrifice are powerful motivators for idealistic
employees, especially when they work in a service-oriented organization culture. Profit-driven
organizations mix normative ideals (such as serving stockholders and customers) with such self-
serving motives as career success, wealth accumulation, and acquisition of social power and status.
Nonverbal communication: Body language (facial expressions, posture, restlessness, etc.);
personal space (how psychologically comfortable you are working in close proximity to others); and
propensity to display emotion.
1. Human behavior is often “tricky” to interpret due to psychological (motives and dysfunctions)
and cultural (normative behavior) factors. But body language is less complex than verbal
behavior (with its arsenal of manipulative disguises) and therefore easier to interpret. Because
most people are only marginally aware of their body language, they often “speak volumes”
without realizing it.
A. Anglo-Saxons typically express anger or stress by raising their voices; Latins usually
reserve loud talk for celebrating or enthusiasm.
B. Anglo-Saxons and Asians are psychologically uncomfortable interacting with others in
close quarters (sitting, standing, or talking just a few inches away). Most Africans and
Middle Easterners are comfortable with close physical proximity.
C. Many Asians tend to smile while experiencing stress or suck air through their teeth.
3. Proxemics: “how people use and perceive the physical space around them.”
4. Kinesics: “posture, gesture, stance, and movement.”
5. Haptics: “the study of touching: handshakes, hugging, kissing, pats on the arm or back, etc.”
6. Para-language: ”the study of nonverbal cus of voice: tone, pitch, accent, volume, nasality,
Organization citizenship behavior (OCB): Voluntarily “giving back” to your organization by going
beyond expectations and duties
1. Satisfied employees, more than the dissatisfied, are likely to engage in OCB, and OCB rises
as employees internalize (commit to) the organization’s mission.
2. OCB can be contagious between employees and in different parts of the organization.
3. Progressive organizations create opportunities for employees to be good citizens by
sponsoring community projects.
4. Examples of OCB opportunities inside organizations:
A. Volunteering for unpopular, but important, assignments
B. Coming to work early or staying late to help “set the table” for co-workers
C. Set up and clean up the workplace.
D. Emailing your notes from a training session or meeting to colleagues who couldn’t attend
5. Some corporations use a PR-approach to OCB as just another profit-oriented behavior.
6. The biggest potential engine of OCB is the organization’s community of meaning.*
Organization culture: The factors that determine what it’s like to work in an organization: the mix
and diversity of organization members and their formal (professional) and informal (social) behavior;
organization values, traditions, and leadership; degree of competitiveness vs. cooperation of
organization members; presence of ideals in organizational life; the impact of leaders on employees;
employee career aspirations; professional behaviors that are rewarded most; the role of technology in
1. Organization culture components:
A. Core values: What an organization values most: money vs. service; treatment of employers,
customers and competitors; following vs. leading; integrity vs. pragmatism, etc.
B. Ideals: Behaviors that place others before self or organization: honesty, cooperation; service;
fair play, etc.
C. Official vs. operative goals: Official goals stated publicly by organizations (quality products and
services; outstanding customer service; high financial performance; community service, etc.)
vs. the goals actually pursued by the organization (maximum profit; domination of competitors
and markets; employee pay and power; competitive stratagems, etc.)
D. Rituals: Habitual organizational behaviors: informal socializing patterns of employees; how
important decisions are typically made; formal performance evaluations; hiring and firing
E. Social Darwinism: “Survival of the fittest” in an organization or society. Social Darwinist
organizations push performance hard; reward top performers and punish subpar contributors;
expect one-on-one competition between employees; use hard-nose supervisory practices;
strive to put competitors out of business; believe that “the end justifies the means” (breaking
the rules is OK as long as you achieve success).
F. Stories: Inspirational accounts within an organization of its significant successes, triumphs,
achievements, and colorful personalities
G. Symbols: Images and ideas that an organization uses to advance its goals and agenda:
advertising slogans; public relations positive spin; logos; product packaging, etc.
H. Traditions: Organization celebrations, ceremonies, and customs that validate the
organization’s continuing existence and significance to its members: rivalries with competitors;
long-tenured community service commitments; fielding a industrial league baseball team; the
annual Christmas party; birthday observances; annual retreats, etc
2. People seeking to work in a community of meaning*should seek membership in organizations
steeped in idealistic service traditions. Professionals geared primarily toward financial success should
gravitate to Social Darwinist (survival of the fittest, highly competitive) org cultures. Security-oriented
(steady eight-to-five routine) workers should search out an org culture big on rituals (employee rallies;
birthday celebrations; “dress-down Fridays,” etc.) and stories about revered org traditions or
3. Change in the culture of an organization most often comes from external circumstances beyond
the organization’s control: technology breakthroughs; industry deregulation; labor off-shoring;
corporate mergers, etc. The organization’s reactive responses to these external “shocks” often
whiplashes its culture into reactive change (such as cost-cutting and employee lay-offs), which “rips-
up” the existing psychological contract.
4. Quick and easy ways to “read” the culture of an organization: pay differentials; the work hours of
its employees; frequency of meetings; time spent away from the office with org constituents; turnover
statistics; percentage of internal value employees vs. external value (see entry for professional
∆ The culture of our organization is the genesis of most of our job satisfaction; professional
development and opportunities; and work meaning.
Organization-human interface: The degree of fit between the needs of an organization and the
needs of its members and constituents.
1. Organizations hire people to advance the organization’s interests, not to guarantee them a
secure, enjoyable, well paid job.
2. Most people pursue their own personal interests ahead of organizational needs. Merging these
two interests is the purpose of organizational management and leadership.
“Fast-track” career success comes from doing what the organization reveres/awards most (such as
revenue/profit generation for corporations) = the community of wealth (see entry for community of
Professionals wanting to contribute to an organization’s community of meaning * must successfully
A. Their professional “package” (skills, experience, competencies, etc.) with
B. Their personality (temperament, behavioral patterns, interests, attitudes, etc.) with
C. The organization’s culture*
3. The career ideal = maximizing your personal ambitions with your professional responsibilities
∆ Your career success hinges on the organizations you evolve into and out of over time. The
professional experience provided by your organization is your fastest career builder. You meet
your future on the job today.
Organization structure-induced conflicts: Organization structure (see entry for formal vs. informal
organization) is partially planned (formal) and partially spontaneous (informal). The nexus between
controlled and spontaneous continually incubates five categories of conflict-ridden behavior:
1. Interdependence: Many jobs are structured via “chains” of interlinked workers who contribute a
single phase of an overall product, service, or process: computer programming; book keeping;
building construction; transportation logistics. Other jobs, such as marketing projects and lab
research, involve teamwork interdependency (NASA launches, marketing campaigns, quality
control programs) or information interdependency (airlines reservations and call centers).
Human interdependency has a number of potently positive byproducts (sense of professional
identity and uniqueness; personal recognition for contributions made to others; mentoring by
others, etc.), but also the potential for conflict: rivalries within and between teams;
misunderstandings and miscommunications with colleagues; disputes regarding who gets
credit for team accomplishments; gossip; differing opinions, goals, and preferences.
2. Job specialization: Increasing employee performance efficiency by reducing the number of job
tasks performed. Assembly lines represent maximum job specialization. Reducing the scope
of someone’s work can be psychologically damaging: increased job boredom; losing
awareness of the overall job flow process and contributions of others; retarded professional
development; lack of teamwork and participative job management, etc.
3. Power network rivalries: Conflicts sometimes spring from the clash of departments, product
lines, projects, or marketing campaigns as they compete for limited resources, employees,
technology, and political priority.
4. Role conflict: Team members often experience role conflict in evaluating their perceived
contributions or time commitment to competing projects. Working single parents have to make
trade-offs between employer and children. Executives have to wrestle with their allegiances to
multiple product lines, departments, and clients.
5. Unbalanced workflow resources: Interdependent work does not always divide up workloads
logically or equitably, or guarantee smooth relationships and clear communication. Certain
members of an interdependent project team work harder than others or render more valuable
contributions to the end product. Not everyone gets paid the same for the contributions they
Organization structure psychological impacts: Distribution of decision-making authority
throughout the vertical organization (“chain of command”)
1. Authority flow: Who the organization authorizes to approve decisions and implement formal
organizational polices and operating procedures. This flow of formal organization-backed
power affects such psychological factors as leadership style; performance evaluation and
rewards; conflict resolution; job descriptions; hours worked; job stress; career development,
2. Centralization: Org structure in which only a few people have the power to make important
decisions and run things
3. Complexity: The more an organization is designed on paper (job descriptions, policies, rules,
etc.), the more behaviorally complex it is (as employees continually search for “unofficial” ways
to get work done efficiently and effectively).
4. Differentiation (formalization) and integration: Structuring an organization’s tasks into individual
jobs and providing for their efficient coordination: job descriptions; management duties; rules,
regulations, procedures, and policies. The more differentiated an organization is (such as
NASA or the Pentagon), the more employees are constrained in job effectiveness and
5. Horizontal differentiation: The different task-performing units (“departments”) of an organization
6. Spatial differentiation: The geographic distribution of organization members in subsidiary office
buildings, cities, and nations. Spatially-differentiated organizations face uphill communication
and work coordination challenges.
7. Specialization: Division of jobs into worker or team tasks.
8. Standardization: Jobs designed to minimize the number and complexity of tasks performed
(such as assembly lines or call centers).
9. Vertical differentiation: The various authority “levels” in an organization’s power “hierarchy”
Participation deficits: Occur when worker participation is bypassed in significant organizational
events, such as policy changes; hiring and firing; selection of managers; and goal-setting
1. Such external locus of control* events may aggravate employee insecurities, feelings of
alienation, and job pessimism.
2. Sophisticated professionals (say, trial lawyers or consultants) want and expect to self-manage,
especially in decision-making and mapping out success strategies. They demand job control,
not mere participation.
3. The primary value of the office “grapevine” is to alert the “rank and file” to participation deficits.
Employees in both an organization’s community of wealth and meaning* want maximum participation
in determining their professional identities.
∆ Participation is the gateway to career fulfillment.
Path-goal leadership model: This model charges challenges an organization to nurture a fertile
working environment in which managers can lead motivated employees down a path of productivity to
the attainment of goals.
1. Assuming that leaders exist to achieve goals, this leadership model focuses on the optimal
way for leaders to “clear the path” of employees to goal success. The leadership style that best
clears the path depends on how much workers want to attain the goal and how professionally
competent they are.
2. When workers are not highly goal-oriented or competent (a non-optimal setting for progress),
the leader should use a directive (micro-managing) style that keeps workers on the “straight
3. A supportive (encouraging, helpful, training-oriented) leadership style is situationally
appropriate when the leader has a positive regard for workers, even though they may not be
strongly goal-oriented or competent for the work at hand.
4. When workers are goal-driven, but under-equipped for the work at hand, a participative
(feedback-intensive) leadership style holds the highest success potential.
5. When workers are goal-committed and fit for the task (the optimal leadership situation), the
leader should use an achievement-focused style which “ratchets-up” goals to a higher
standard and empowers workers for maximum participation in running the show.
Thus, the best way for leaders to clear the path for employee performance success is situational in
nature—ultimately depending on the psychological relationship between the organization and its
members + the psychological relationship between leaders and followers though the organization.
Perceptual screens: The “gestalt” (complete package) of internal psychological factors and external
culture and organizational factors (culture, biases, personalities, experiences, personal wants and
needs) that shape how people perceive reality
1. To a great extent, how closely people stay in touch with reality (personal + professional)
depends on how many (reality-filtering) perceptual screens they erect.
2. The reality zone of most corporate executives is shaped by perceptual screens relating to
money, profits, cash flow, budgets, and competitiveness (market share, product branding,
stock price, and industry dominance). Thus, employees who heavily impact the “bottom line”
get paid (sometimes exponentially) more than technical employees (accountants, computer
programmers, financial analysts, etc.), who actually cost the company money (see entry for
professional orientation mindsets).
3. Awareness of screens, both personal and interpersonal, is more subconscious than conscious.
4. The best way to induce co-workers to drop their screens is for you to drop your screens first.
∆ Professional success hinges on transforming subjective unreality into objective reality, which
hinges on feedback from others.
Personality-career fit: How well does your personality type fit/mesh with the professional demands
of your career or job? How can you achieve a better fit? How productively can you take advantage of
your personality characteristics to achieve professional success?
Classic personality types:
1. Artistic: Creative, imaginative, subjective
2. Conventional: conforming, obedient, stable, predictable
3. Enterprising: entrepreneurial, innovative, proactive, change-focused, networking
4. Investigative: independent, scientific, experimental, analytical
5. Realistic: pragmatic, reality-oriented, amoral
6. Social: relational, friendly, generous, cooperative
Political skills: Getting and using power within organizations
1. Interpersonal influence: Getting things done through relationships and networking. This
requires a thorough understanding of an organization’s culture and evolving activities.
2. Managing up: Staying in touch with the needs and challenges of your boss and others in the
hierarchy to anticipate their needs and maximize your daily usefulness to them.
3. Power displays: Exhibiting your political potency through influencing organizational events:
bailing organization members out of political trouble and keeping them out of harm’s way;
helping others to advance their careers; access to privileged information or meetings;
influencing meeting agendas; mentoring up-and-coming organizational leaders; doing favors
for powerful, high status people; receiving special privileges, such as going over-budget,
traveling to important venues, receiving personal assistants, etc.
4. Powerlessness: Sources and symbols that point toward someone’s lack of power:
A. Micromanaging others, indicating their lack of competence or motivation under your
B. Poor delegation skills, signaling your weakness in influencing subordinates
C. Resisting change, reflecting your lack of confidence or adaptability
D. Enforcing rules inflexibly, demonstrating your lack of informal, interpersonal influence
5. Sharing power: Empowering employees for greater job ownership; providing job variety
and novel professional challenges that promote professional development
6. Sincerity: The capacity to convince others that your motives and behaviors are authentic and
7. Social astuteness: Perceptively reading the behavior of individuals and groups and
successfully integrating yourself within these social networks
8. Political skills can produce both positive and negative outcomes, depending on whether they
serve others or self. Power can be used to build organizations and sustain their needs, but
also to damage or destroy them. Power can bolster or undermine employee security and
professional freedom. It creates opportunities for some while withholding it from others.
Power: The formal and informal means deployed by leaders and managers to influence and control
the behavior of organization members.
1. Formal power: The (official organizational) means to change people’s behavior
A. Expertise: Possessing the professional skills to complete complex, valued tasks
B. Legitimate: Formal, official backing by an organization or institution to get things done in
designated administrative zones, venues, or projects
C. Referent: Using your relationship or standing with powerful people to influence others.
This is a shaky form of power due to its emotional and temporary nature.
D. Resource: Your capacity to influence others based on having access to or control over
assets (money, supplies, jobs, natural resources, information, etc.) they continually need.
E. Reward: Being the gatekeeper for assets needed or wanted by others: pay raises,
promotions, commendations, prizes, privileges, status, enjoyable work, physical comforts,
2. Informal power: The psychological capacity to influence organizations and their members
A. Leadership and managerial skill
B. Networking with “can-do” people throughout an organization
C. Use of personal charisma to secure the backing of others
D. Negotiating decisions and deals
3. Managers thrive on legitimate power because it’s backed by their organization to help the
manager succeed. The more managers have to depend on informal sources of power
(charisma, persuasiveness, politics, etc.) to get things done, the harder they have to work and
the more risks they have to take. With leadership, it’s just the opposite: the more you depend
on formal organization-backed power to “force” workers to comply, the less of a leader you are.
∆ Tradition organizations use formal power to get most routine things done, but empowerment
works more effectively for challenging work.
Preferred (normative) leadership model: Leaders accomplish most when they tailor their style to fit
how committed and competent followers are.
This model offers five styles of situational leadership oriented around the “dual Cs.”
1. When followers lack commitment and competence, use a directive (unilateral) leadership:
make a decision for followers and then sell it to get their commitment and micromanage/train
them. Example: Most college students lack sufficient career awareness to confidently choose
which courses to take, so colleges set up degree plans.
2. When some followers lack goal commitment, but a few of them are competent for the task at
hand, consult them one-on-one and then use a directive leadership style. Example: When
human resource employees are revising employee benefits, they often solicit feedback from
insightful employees to “test the waters.”
3. When followers are marginally committed to a goal and not professionally competent to attain
it, consult with them as a group and then micro-manage them through attaining the goal.
Example: A supervisor holds a department meeting to generate employee feedback on their
need for new software. Once these needs have been clarified, a training session is held to
walk them though the process of implementing the software.
4. When followers are somewhat (but not optimally) committed and competent, assume the style
of a facilitator/consultant who helps them help themselves professionally. Example: The same
supervisor in #3 above makes herself available on a one-on-one basis to help team members
trouble-shoot their own individual questions and problems with the software.
5. When optimal goal-attainment conditions exist (strong follower goal commitment and
competence), use the “laissez faire” (“leave alone”) style of leadership = giving them the green
light to achieve the goal as they see fit. Example: The head basketball coach asks his
assistants to explain a new NCAA regulation to players one-on-one.
Productivity vs. people leadership model: This overly-simplistic model features four management
styles based on the manager’s concern for productivity vs. concern for people (employees).
1. Dictator: Focused 100% on maximum productivity, leaving employee concerns out of the
2. Country club manager: Committed to keeping employees as happy as possible regardless of
3. Balanced manager: Moderate concern for both productivity and employee needs
4. Abdicator: Ignores both people and productivity (instead focusing on enforcing workplace
rules and regulations)
In reality, managers aren’t limited to one style of getting things done. They have a repertoire of all four
styles in them, switching from one style to another as workplace circumstances warrant.
Professional development: Shaping and expanding the professional capabilities and contributions
of organization members through providing new job challenges and responsibilities; increasing work
interdependencies to enhance teamwork; and helping organization members discover latent
professional skills in themselves and co-workers. ProDev is an empowering philosophy of informal
participative management teamwork > formal workplace control via job descriptions, regulations, and
centralized chain of command.
Professional development comes from interacting with co-workers in a variety of assignments
1. Interpersonal self-discovery
2. Experimenting professionally
3. Pushing people to discover and use unrecognized professional strengths
4. Pulling people by matching your professional gifts with theirs
5. Setting off interpersonal and interdependent work chain-reactions
6. Employees are ultimately in charge of their own self-development, but organizations play a
“turn-key” role in enabling it to happen:
A. Nurturing a culture of professional excellence and challenge
B. Providing specific opportunities for specific motivated employees to progress
professionally: job training initiatives; job enlargement and enrichment (see entry for work
∆ Professional development requires constant self-motivation (proactive on-the-job learning)
and resisting professional comfort zones. It’s more “caught than taught.”
Professional orientation mindsets: Categorizing organization members by the clients they serve
inside or outside their organization.
1. External value employees (EVEs): Employees who work primarily to generate profit for their
organization and to “bring home the bacon” (new customers, financing, intellectual property,
joint venture deals, etc.).
2. Internal-value employees (IVEs): Those who work in “cost centers” (human resources,
accounting, financial analysis, operations management, computer services, etc.) rather than
“profit centers” (sales and marketing). Most IVEs are technicians who don’t directly impact the
mission or competitive status of their organization. “IVE-itis” occurs when IVEs get so carried
away with technical perfection that they adversely affect EVEs in their efforts to maximize
profits (paperwork, tight budgeting, picky rules, etc.) IVE-dominated orgs are apt to become
bureaucracies, where the means (internal operations) overwhelm the ends (organization
3. The IVE-EVE tango:
A. EVEs can help IVEs better relate to the organization’s all-important profit-generating
clients; develop a teamwork mentality; mentor IVEs in making their technical reports more
useful to EVEs; and participate in EVE strategy sessions to increase the IVE’s big picture
view of the organization’s mission.
B. IVEs can help EVEs to improve their interpersonal and relational skills; better empower
IVEs with information and decision-making participation; and collaborate with IVEs on the
technical aspects of projects.
Projection: “Ascribing your personal attributes thoughts and emotions to other people or external
forces; blaming self-failures on others.”
1. Examples: a man blames his lust for a woman on her “brazen nature”; a racist blames his
ethnic hate on the “hatred” others have toward him; an atheist blames his or her hatred of
religious people on their “fanaticism.”
2. Reverse projection can also occur: assuming that others share your own values, perceptions,
and ideologies; labeling those with values contrary to your own as social deviants. Projectors
tend to want everyone to be just like them and are thus easy prey to the “good-ole-boy”
syndrome: conforming to the lifestyle, values, and perceptions of a homogeneous group of
people who think and act alike.
3. Projecting is a common source of organizational discrimination; favoritism; and hot conflict.*
Psychological contract: The unwritten informal understanding between an organization and its
members regarding the boundaries and expectations of acceptable reciprocal behaviors: intensity of
work; compensation and rewards; acceptable professional conduct; job security; equity and fairness;
ethical conduct; use vs. abuse of power; respect for human diversity, etc. “Mutual beliefs,
perceptions, and informal obligations between employer and employee.”
An organization’s existing psychological contract is held together by its culture (see entry for
organization culture). As the culture changes, so does the psychological contract.
New wrinkles in 21st century PsychCons: “greater femininity of the workplace; better educated, less
deferential to authority workplace; greater flexibility of schedules and work techniques; use of temp
workers; outsourcing and off-shoring; automation; prerequisite computer skills.”
Organizations most frequently violated their psychological contract with employees in the areas of job
security: layoffs; outsourcing and off-shoring; early retirement, and mergers. Employees are at fault
when they fail to internalize the organization’s mission and when they engage in job-hopping.
∆ Respect for psychological contracts between employer and employee is at an all-time low.
“RAP” needs-motivation model (Relationships, Achievement, Power)
According to this model, people are motivated by three primary needs:
1. Relationships: The need for friendships, socializing, interaction, networking, and belonging
2. Achievement: The need to be productive; achieve goals; get things done. Achievers are best
motivated with realistic, achievable goals; regular positive and negative feedback about
performance and productivity; and low expectations for “wasting time” with “busy work,” routine
meetings, or low priority assignments.
3. Power: The need to influence people, events, outcomes, opinions, decisions, etc. Power
people need strong interpersonal skills to make things happen, because influencing people
requires a likable personality, negotiating skill, and persuasiveness.
Reflective listening: 360 communication* in which participants are both message senders and
1. The receiver of a message becomes a secondary sender by “beaming” it back to the initial
sender for verification of its factual, emotional, and psychological content (thus making a
receiver out of the sender). Reflective listeners must also interpret messages from a subjective
point of view, considering the sender’s psychological state, feelings, body language, eye
2. Without reflective feedback from the message receiver, the sender can’t tell if communication
occurred. In turn, the original sender’s reflective feedback to the original receiver of a
communication completes the communication loop. The myriad psychological components
(subjectivity, bias, cognitive complexity, etc.) of communication demands a two-way role for all
3. When sending a message, communicators are responsible for clarity; tailoring the message for
the receiver’s psychological mindset; and for interpreting the receiver’s feedback with an open
mind. When receiving messages, communicators interpret the sender’s psychological mindset
(mood, agenda, etc.) and proactively reflect the message back to the sender for cross-
Selective perception: Ignoring information or feedback that conflicts with your preconceived
perception or preference about someone or something; seeing only what you want to see about
1. You might overlook the faults of someone you respect or exaggerate the ineptitude of a
2. The core causes of subjective selectivity include bias, stereotyping*, jealousy, and self-fulfilling
3. Four high potential remedies for coping with selective perception: 360 feedback*; Delphi
technique*; participative decision-making; awareness of an employee’s Myers-Briggs profile.*
∆ Subjective reality = seeing only what we like and ignoring the rest. Many people live around
reality but not in it.
Self-enhancement: Seeking to manipulate how people perceive you via self-promotion, flattery,
name-dropping, and physical appearance.
1. Research shows that self-promotion techniques, when used in moderation, generally produce
positive career results.
2. Attempting self-enhancement carries two risks, and is thus a two-edged sword:
A. You can never be sure how your co-workers perceive you.
B. You can only guess at the actual effects of self-enhancement efforts.
4. Over-enhancing yourself carries definite success risks: opening the door for exploiting others;
use of non-authentic communication; alienating others who then “freeze” you out.
∆ Organizations rely on advertising and public relations for self-enhancement; professionals
rely on their resume and referent power (important people they know).
Self-fulfilling prophecy: When others consistently behave towards you in ways that fit their positive
or negative perception of you (the “prophecy”), your behavior may be gradually conditioned to
conform to their perception or expectations (fulfillment of the “prophecy”). For example, you are
promoted because of your strong work ethic, so you work harder than ever on your new job, earning
you another promotion. Workplace self-fulfilling prophecies can be positive (builders of professional
self-esteem): realistic (plausible for a co-worker to achieve); or negative (development of
unproductive, dysfunctional workplace behaviors).
1. SFPs reflect the power of behavioral reinforcement, as our behaviors most consistently
reinforced by the organization germinate to fruition. In addition, SFPs reflect our vulnerability to
being liked and accepted; our inate desire to please others; and external locus of control *
2. Consistently delivering the 4 I AMs* (I am productive, appreciated, needed, and unique) to
deserving co-workers will likely enhance their professional self esteem, and thus their
contributions to the organization = a SFP
3. To a certain extent, you can build positive professional relationships with co-workers who may
have negative interactions with others = a SFP for you, even if not for others.
Situational (contingency) model of leadership: In this model, a leader’s effectiveness depends on
an optimum mix of three situational factors:
A. How clearly employees understand the work at hand
B. How much organizational authority the leader holds
C. The strength of the relationship between leader and workers (as measured by a “least-
preferred co-worker” questionnaire filled out by the leader)
1. The more favorable the above three factors are (workers are technically competent to manage
their own work; the leader has sufficient authority to do things his/her way; and the leader has
a positive relationship with his/her least-preferred coworker), the more the leader should rely
on employees to manage their own work.
2. As situational factors become less optimal (inadequate worker competence; inadequate leader
authority; unfavorable relationship between the leader and least-preferred coworker), the more
the leader should take charge and direct the work of subordinates.
3. “ARC” (Authority, Relationships, Competence) is an easy way to remember when to use what
A. Negative ARC factors → micro-managing leadership style
B. Positive ARC factors → delegate style
4. Organizations and leaderships should share the credit for model employees. The
organization deserves credit for its recruiting successes; empowerment of employees; and
delivery of effective motivational factors. Leaders should receive credit for their interpersonal
prowess; successful role modeling; and for delivering value to the organization’s
Social facilitation: “The idea that social evaluation (presence of people) has a positive impact on
people.” Thus, some athletes perform best when cheered on by fans in the “big game”; some job
seekers interview at their best during a group interview.
1. This process is most potent when people are competently performing familiar work. In certain
stressful circumstances (say, giving a rehearsed speech before others rather than practicing it
alone in private), working around others can be counterproductive.
2. Social facilitation is the foundation of workplace community, where both organization and
workers are professionally committed to one another. It enables employees to contribute to
both their organization and co-workers simultaneously.
Achieving organizations emphasize the use of 360 degrees communication *; participative
management; mentoring;* job interdependency; and delivery of the four I AMs.*
Social learning: Our tendency to learn from and model the behavior of others we frequently interact
1. Our social learning is strongest when it leads to successful goal completion, self-esteem, or
relationship-building with colleagues.
2. Social learning also occurs as colleagues attempt to persuade us, or when they assess our
performance success. Punishment (criticism, ostracism, or rejection) by our peers shapes our
behavior more clearly and rapidly than rewarding behaviors (praise, encouragement,
3. Colleagues influence our social learning most when their feedback is regular, consistent, and
clear-cut. 360 degrees feedback* (generated from a wide variety of colleagues) also
effectively reinforces our social learning behavior.
4. Work experiences (especially delivering the four I AMs*) constitute the most potent form of
leadership, because it’s shaped and reinforced by our peers. Some of the main sources of
negative social learning (unproductive, dysfunctional workplace behaviors and attitudes)
include: groupthink*; conformity; clique behavior; and risky shift (taking risks as a member of a
group than you wouldn’t take on your own).
Social perception: How we subjectively interpret information about others
The better we can “read” the behavior, attitudes, and motives of coworkers, the more productively we
can interact with them and select synergistic work partners. This includes the external appearance of
others; how conventional and conforming they are; their interpersonal skills and driving motives.
The more our social perception is rooted in objective reality rather than subjectivism, the more we and
others can rely on our human resource judgment and managerial moves.
Stereotyping: People with low cognitive complexity* tend to over-simplify or distort information about
diverse people or ideas. To a great extent, stereotyping is learned behavior, conditioned by family
and friends in one’s formative years. People with a shaky self-concept and self-esteem are vulnerable
to stereotyping, as are those steeped in homogenous living and working environments.
1. Stereotyping is simplistic thinking that generates negative outcomes: conflict, de-motivation,
2. Common workplace stereotyping:
A. Women are too emotional to be managers.
B. New employees are overly aggressive.
C. Seniority is the only fair basis for promotions.
D. Accountants are boring.
E. Hard workers are the best workers.
Stress hardiness: Refers to people who cope well with stress, based on a combination of strong
self-reliance; broad experience; colleague respect and acceptance; and job control.
Stress hardiness is promoted by professional development; mentoring; participative management;
teamwork; job security; meritocracy (rewards based on outstanding performance); and authentic
Stress prevention strategy: Four strategic approaches for preventing or minimizing the workplace
stress experienced by organization members:
1. Increasing employee job control and flexibility (deadlines, new assignments, low priority
meetings, job training)
2. Avoiding co-dependent (“clinging”) relationships in the workplace, especially with authority
3. Recruiting employees who appear to have strong internal locus of control * and professional
4. A stable psychological contract* within an organization
5. We’re our own stress-creating enemy when we over-commit; multi-task; procrastinate; do it all
ourselves instead of delegate; and push people rather than pull them along.
∆ The more misaligned you are with your organization, the greater your stress level.
Teams: Self-motivated and managed organization members who share a common mission within a
self-made community of meaning
1. Development stages:
A. Forming--identifying team members and their niches: “fake face” superficial, non-
B. Storming--resolving emerging conflicts about team leadership, mission, norms, and
work linkages: domination behaviors; personality clashes; withdrawal; arguments
C. Norming--developing and maintaining acceptable team behaviors: win-win problem-
solving; authentic, transparent communication; declared/shared agendas;
D. Performing--achieving team goals and mission satisfactorily: work intensity; productive
peer pressure; grass-roots decision-making; diminishing politics
2. Dysfunctional behavior: Social loafing (lack of effort and productivity by some team members)
and loss of individuality (via lack of team niches and mutual responsibility/accountability) are
key dysfunctional team behaviors.
3. Effectiveness: Effective (mission-fulfilling) teams have clear-cut, well understood tasks; a
constructive approach to conflict; consensus decision-making on important issues; well-
developed listening skills; and a relaxed, informal team environment
4. Empowerment: Professional competency and development are the keys to team member
empowerment--the more team members are capable of doing, the more they can control their
individual contributions. Cooperation and helping behaviors enable team members to
empower each other. Functional team communication empowers team member self-
expression and reflective listening.
5. Maturity: Teams mature (achieve their professional potential) as their members internalize the
team’s mission and goals; conform and reform behavioral norms as needed; find optimal
productivity niches for members; develop highly functional leadership and followership
capabilities for all members; and subordinate member competitive rivalries to cooperation.
6. Norms: Team norms provide members with a range of acceptable team behaviors and
promote group cohesiveness (holding team culture and productivity together).
7. Psychology: Teams provide psychological intimacy for their members; positive peer pressure
to perform; and superordinate (bigger than individual member) goals
8. Self-directed teams: Teams with a high degree of self-control improve team member morale
and attitudes, but not necessarily team absenteeism or member turnover. Being self-directed
doesn’t guarantee peak team performance or profitability. Groupthink* fosters decision-making
conformity that results in loss of objectivity and reality within a group.
9. Success: Strive to build teams around colleagues who already have personal and professional
rapport. Build more work interdependency into team member roles and assignments. Balance
routine team member assignments with challenging, enjoyable work. Open the door for team
members to volunteer for tasks as opposed to direct assignment. Make sure more than one
team member regularly engages in “boundary-spanning (representing the team inside and
outside the organization). Continuously build the digital communications skills of team
members to enable virtual assignments.
Terminal vs. instrumental values: An organization’s goals and mission are its terminal (end) values
attained through means (instrumental) values. A bedrock principle or professional ethics is that the
“ends don’t justify the mean.” This occurs when terminal values (corporate profit, athletic victories,
Hollywood fame, etc.) are sought via compromising instrumental values: lying, manipulating, fraud,
etc. Good ends are never justified by dubious means, because means are ends in themselves.
1. In the 1990s Enron-era of corporate scandals, certified accounting firms engaged in creative
new forms of accounting fraud to make their auditing and management consulting divisions
2. Bernie Madoff used a ponzi scheme to (temporarily) net his investors record rates of return on
3. Numerous colleges have violated NCAA athletic rules to win, win, win.
∆ An organization’s terminal (profit-generating) values are best delivered by org members who work
with external clients (sales reps, executives, marketers). Most employees lack “CON-CON”
(constituent-contact) and hence pursue instrumental goals.
Theory X and Y management style: How your basic outlook about people in general can affect your
management style. “Theory X” managers typically think the worst of their subordinates, stereotyping*
them as untrustworthy, lazy, and virtually incompetent. “Theory Y” managers are more positive and
optimistic, expecting good work and hearty cooperation out of their subordinates. The most effective
approach for long-time Theory X negative managers is to move them into non-managerial work or to
supervising truly immature employees.
1. Managers who have positive (“Theory Y”) attitudes about human nature are more likely to
motivate employees and successfully spawn positive self-fulfilling prophecies*. Managers with
negative (“Theory X”) expectations for employees are likely to realize negative self-fulfilling
2. Theory Y managers tend to focus on employee strengths, potential, and learnability, while
Theory Xers are more negative, pessimistic, and critical.
360 degrees feedback: Soliciting feedback in an organized way from a wide variety of sources inside
and outside an organization, including employees, customers, stockholders, and even competitors.
Such varied feedback increases both the objectivity and insightfulness of information and is
motivational to those who participate.
Transactional analysis: A conceptual scheme for understanding how relationships are shaped by
three interactive “transactional states” we move in and out of throughout the day.
1. In the “adult” ego state, people act responsibly and constructively; communicate transparently
and through mutual acceptance (“I’m OK-You’re OK”). In the “parent” ego state, people strive
to dominate others; think traditionally; and follow the rules.
2. The “child” state (“I’m not OK-You’re not OK”) finds us acting selfishly, irresponsibly, or as “free
3. Relationships are most functional via adult-adult transactions with their emphasis on goal-
attaining, win-win outcomes. Adult-to-adult transactions are professional, because people
strive to work together in a rational way.
4. Parent-to-child relationships are immature, as the parent ego expects to dominate the child
5. Parent-to-parent transactions are often confrontational and tense due to domination head-
6. Child-to-child relationships promote non-productive behaviors, rebelliousness, and jealousies.
7. TA “scripts” refer to relationships between transactors who habitually repeat the same
functional or dysfunctional behaviors and outcomes, almost like actors who deliver the same
dialogue and actions every performance. Some of the most common scripts are:
A. Child: “I’m sorry”; “Let’s have a good time”; “You can’t make me.”
B. Parent: “Now I’ve got you”; “Did you hear me?” “My way or the highway!”
C. Adult: “I’m OK-You’re OK”; “Let’s work together”; “Let’s bury the hatchet.”
Transactional vs. transforming leadership styles: Transactional leaders engage in “mutual back-
scratching” (“quid pro quo”) relationships where people exchange favors, make deals, or cooperate
on certain outcomes. Transformational leaders influence followers to the degree that they internalize
the same organizational mission, goals, and ideals of their leader. Most managers use transactional
styles, while leaders are transformers.
Behaviors of transformational leaders:
1. Developing and selling a clear, appealing vision for followers
2. Communicating via convictions, personal action, and emotional appeals
3. Delegating meaningful work to colleagues, as well as responsibility and empowerment
4. Coaching, training, dialoging
5. Promoting teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation
6. Modifying organization structure to empower followers professionally
Type A personality: Hard-driving, time-fixated professionals who strive to dominate organizational
and interpersonal activities; maintain high efficiency and productivity; and out-perform colleagues. By
contrast, “type B” personalities “are generally patient, relaxed, easy-going and sometimes lacking in a
sense of urgency.” Type A’s tend to be “ambitious, aggressive, controlling, competitive, impatient,
preoccupied with status, time-conscious, and tightly-wound. They are frequently workaholics who
multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.” Type A people
are champion producers, but their stress, confrontational style, and frequent temper displays are hard
on those they work with.
Many psychologists have criticized the type A-B dichotomy as “overly simplistic and incapable of
assessing the degrees of difference in human personality.”
Unbalanced job structure: Jobs that include both routine and challenging tasks, such as computer
analysts, project managers, and bookkeepers.
1. Some of the duties in these jobs are repetitive, while others involve learning new skills and
applications. The employee controls some aspects of the job, but must often caters to others
and extend them control.
2. Certain job activities impact the organization in a major way, while others are “out of sight, out
3. Unbalanced jobs can be stressful and emotionally draining due to their unpredictable nature:
sometimes dull and slow-paced, other times fast-paced and exciting.
4. Scenarios of unbalanced job structure:
A. Sales reps must simultaneously cater to customers and manipulate their thinking and
B. Computer programmers must deliver technically complex, yet “user-friendly,” software
C. Managers have to vary their leadership style to fit workplace circumstances, switching
back and forth between micro-managing and delegation.
∆ Balancing your job’s productive activities requires a long-run big picture career outlook; focus
on group accomplishments more than individual productivity; a strong internal locus of control;*
and a “type B” personality (see entry for Type A personality).
Unisex organization culture: In 21st century unisex societies (primarily Western Anglo-Saxon
cultures), most women and men share the same social role: producing for organizations (in contrast
to the nurturing role of women in traditional cultures). Thus, organizations are expected to
accommodate work style gender differences.
1. Unisex organization culture reflects both masculine and feminine characteristics:
A. Competition vs. cooperation
B. Independence vs. interdependence
C. Autocratic decision-making vs. participative
D. Leading vs. following
E. Action vs. deliberation
F. Wealth-building vs. community-building
G. Thoughts vs. feelings
2. This duality ideally lends itself to teamwork and interactive projects, which synergize masculine
and feminine traits into a dynamic productive culture capable of maximizing the contributions of
Virtual team: A geographically-extended project team of culturally-diverse employees interacting via
sophisticated digital networking (see entry for digital communication) enabling:
1. Management of sophisticated management information systems
2. Delphi* decision-making
3. Flexwork, telecommuting, and travel
4. Tracking the availability of geographically-disbursed team members
∆ Virtual teams are the gateway to professional development and the community of meaning.*
Work design psychology: The essence of workplace psychology for the diverse humanity of 21 st
century organizations is to build jobs around the individualized talents, needs, and work styles of
individuals vs. generic job descriptions.
1. Flextime: Employees have latitude to schedule their own work hours and days in coordination
with those affected by their work.
2. Four-day weeks (“compacted time”): Working ten-hour days four days a week instead of eight
hours daily, five days weekly. This provides a number of lifestyle and psychological
advantages for workers, such as more block time off for personal use and physical and mental
recovery from the work grind.
3. Job autonomy: How much control workers have over key aspects of their jobs, including
decision-making, problem-solving, quality maintenance, scheduling, task design, etc.
4. Job enrichment: Motivating workers with more challenging, complex work assignments that
contribute to professional development. Jobs can be enriched via: teamwork; delegation
(authority to manage your job in certain areas); participation in decision-making; innovative
uses of technology, etc.
5. Job rotation and cross-training: Rotating off certain jobs and onto different jobs in a pre-
arranged way to develop professional skills; expand usefulness to the organization; fill in for
others as needed; relieve job boredom; and to develop more teamwork.
6. Job sharing: Two part-time people work the same full-time job either because they can’t secure
a full-time job or because they don’t want full-time employment
7. Performance feedback: Regular feedback received by workers indicating goals achieved;
standards met; contributions to colleagues and clients; and room for improvement
8. Task identity: How much a given job contributes to the finished piece of work (product, service,
9. Task significance: The impact of one job inside and outside the organization. Significant tasks
or jobs affect other job holders, teams, and projects within the organization, as well as clients
(customers, suppliers, stockholders, etc.) outside the organization.
10. Telecommuting: Doing your job partially or fully at home or somewhere outside the office
(working while visiting clients on the road; attending training seminars; recuperating from
11. Virtual offices: Using computer software and hardware to accommodate online meetings;
global project team coordination; and employee training.
12. Work enlargement: Increasing the quantity or job roles/responsibilities; task significance;
professional development training; and professional achievement.
Work group: Loosely-connected people who share a temporary goal. Groups are made up of
independent people vs. interdependent people on true teams. Group members are motivated
primarily by their personal agendas; team members are motivated by a common commitment.
1. Groups form the central core of the informal organization (see entry for formal vs. informal
organization), which shapes most spontaneous employee behaviors (morale, work attitudes,
2. Open groups (such as fast-growing social organizations) evolve continuously via “importing”
and “exporting” members, unlike closed groups (say, firemen or police), which experience
membership stability. Open groups are good for the organization because their incoming new
members generate new ideas and perspectives. Sometimes, however, open groups develop a
temporary, short-term mindset that neutralizes long-range planning efforts and retards member
bonding. The greater membership stability and dependability of closed groups promotes future
planning and vision.
Workplace deviance behavior (WDB): Disruptive or destructive behaviors (rule-breaking, horseplay,
stealing, vandalism, sabotage, physical violence, etc.) of employees against their peers or the
organization in general.
1. Examples of interpersonal workplace deviance: abusive managers yelling at subordinates;
malicious gossip; absenteeism/tardiness; silence (withholding important information from co-
workers or the organization); wasting work time surfing the Internet or on social websites.
2. The genesis of WDB often stems from perceived unfair treatment of self or coworkers, such as
termination; discrimination or “disrespect”; refused promotions or raises; layoffs; and
reprimands. A less frequent cause of WDB is perceived unethical organization activity, cover-
ups, or exploitation.
3. Other major causes of WDBs: over-centralized organizational power structure; org
politics;managerial incompetence; violations of the psychological contract.*