Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals,
groups, and structure have on behavior within an organization, then applies that knowledge to
make organizations work more effectively (Robbins, 2003). In recent times, we notice the
following changes in the organizational set up:
Demise of traditional hierarchical structure.
Emergence of workforce with different expectations forms organizations.
Advancement of information technology.
Increasing importance on empowerment and teamwork.
Concern for work-life balance.
In order to be effective organizations need to develop their interpersonal or people skills
According to Robbins( 2003), Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study that investigates
the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within an organization, then
applies that knowledge to make organizations work more effectively. Specifically, OB focuses
on how to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase employee
citizenship and job satisfaction. An organization is more than a formal arrangement of functions,
more than an organization chart, more than a vision statement, more than a set of accounts. An
organization consists of people and so it is also a social system. The field of organizational
behavior (OB) draws primarily from the behavioral science disciplines of psychology, social
psychology, and cultural anthropology. The areas on which OB focuses are individuals who will
often be working within groups, which themselves work within organizations, as well as all the
interrelationships between them. Some of the specific themes embraced by OB are personality
theory, attitudes and values, motivation and learning, interpersonal behavior, group dynamics,
leadership and teamwork, organizational structure and design, decision-making, power, conflict,
and negotiation. Some OB thinkers go further and suggest that the behavior within the
organization has to be viewed partly in the wider context of the outside world’s effect on the
organization and its human resources, missions, objectives, and strategies.
Landmark publications on organizational behavior
» 1911: Frederick Taylor: Principles of Scientific Management
» 1916: Henri Fayol: General and Industrial Management
» 1924: MaxWeber: The Theory of Social and Economic Organization
» 1933: Elton Mayo: Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization
» 1938: Chester Barnard: The Functions of the Executive
» 1954: Abraham Maslow: Motivation and Personality
» 1956: William Whyte: The Organization Man
» 1959: Frederick Herzberg: The Motivation to Work
» 1960: Douglas McGregor: The Human Side of Enterprise
» 1964: Robert Blake and Jane Mouton: The Managerial Grid
» 1973: Henry Mintzberg: The Nature of Managerial Work
» 1978: Chris Argyris and Donald Schon: Organizational Learning
» 1979: Reg Revans: Action Learning
» 1981: Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos: The Art of Japanese Management
» 1982: Tom Peters and Bob Waterman: In Search of Excellence
» 1984: Meredith Belbin: Management Teams
» 1985: Edgar Schein: Organizational Culture and Leadership
» 1986: Gareth Morgan: Images of Organization
» 1989: Charles Handy: The Age of Unreason
» 1990: Peter Senge: The Fifth Discipline
» 1990: Richard Pascale: Managing on the Edge
» 1993: James Champy and Mike Hammer: Re-engineering the Corporation
1995: Karl Weick: Sensemaking in Organizations
» 1997: Arie de Geus: The Living Company
» 1997: Thomas Stewart: Intellectual Capital
» 2000: Richard Pascale: Surfing the Edge of Chaos
»2001: Daniel Pink: Free Agent Nation
Contributing Disciplines To The OB Field
Organizational behavior is an applied behavioral science that is built upon contributions from a
number of behavioral disciplines. The main areas are psychology, sociology, social psychology,
anthropology, and political science.
Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals,
groups, and structure have on behavior within an organization, then applies that knowledge to
make organizations work more effectively. Specifically, OB focuses on how to improve
productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase employee citizenship and job
satisfaction. An organization is more than a formal arrangement of functions, more than an
organization chart, more than a vision statement, more than a set of accounts. An organization
consists of people and so it is also a social system. The field of organizational behavior (OB)
draws primarily from the behavioral science disciplines of psychology, social psychology, and
cultural anthropology. The areas on which OB focuses are individuals who will often be working
within groups, which themselves work within organizations, as well as all the interrelationships
between them. Some of the specific themes embraced by OB are personality theory, attitudes and
values, motivation and learning, interpersonal behavior, group dynamics, leadership and
teamwork, organizational structure and design, decision-making, power, conflict, and
negotiation. OB is an interdisciplinary field, it has distinctly humanistic outlook, it is
performance oriented, it considers external environment as critical, it uses scientific method and
it has an applications orientation. Wood (1997) provides a useful model for exploring behavioral
events. He suggests that different levels of analysis can be applied when examining the
significance of an organizational issue. He proposes eight, namely: Individual, Team, Inter-
group, Organizational, Inter-organizational, Societal, International, and Global. A large number
of people have contributed to the growth of OB as a discipline. Some of the most important
works have been done by Adam Smith, Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Max Weber, Mary parker
Follet, Abraham Maslow, B. F. Skinner, to name a few. Organizational behavior is an applied
behavioral science that is built upon contributions from a number of behavioral disciplines. The
main areas are psychology, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political science.
Value, Ethics And Job Satisfaction
Values represent basic convictions that “a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is
personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of
existence” (Rokeach, 1973). When the values are ranked in terms of their intensity, i.e., when the
value are prioritized in terms of their intensity, it is called value system. Types of values include,
ethical/moral values, doctrinal/ideological (political, religious) values, social values, and
Values have both content and intensity attributes.
The content attribute signifies that a mode of conduct or end-state of existence is
The intensity attribute specifies how important it is.
Ranking an individual’s values in terms of their intensity equals that person’s value
Values build the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation of an individual,
since, value has a great impact on perceptions. Values shape relationships, behaviors, and
choices. The more positive our values, more positive are people’s actions. A significant portion
of the values an individual holds is established in the early years—from parents, teachers,
friends, and others.
Know about different Types of Values
Types of Values
Rokeach, in his Value Survey (Rokeach Value Survey- RVS), proposed two sets of values. They
are :Terminal values and Instrumental values. Each set contains 18 individual value items.
Terminal values refer to desirable end-states of existence, the goals that a person would like to
achieve during his/her lifetime. Instrumental values refer to preferable modes of behavior, or
means of achieving the terminal values. This survey proposed that people in the same
occupations or categories tend to hold similar values. The terminal values and instrumental
values proposed by RVS are listed below:
1. Equality (brotherhood and equal opportunity for all)
2. A comfortable life (a prosperous life)
3. An Exciting Life (a stimulating, active life)
4. Family Security (taking care of loved ones)
5. Freedom (independence and free choice)
6. Health (physical and mental well-being)
7. Inner Harmony (freedom from inner conflict)
8. Mature Love (sexual and spiritual intimacy)
9. National Security (protection from attack)
10. Pleasure (an enjoyable, leisurely life)
11. Salvation (saved; eternal life)
12. Self-Respect (self-esteem)
13. A Sense of Accomplishment (a lasting contribution)
14. Social Recognition (respect and admiration)
15. True Friendship (close companionship)
16. Wisdom (a mature understanding of life)
17. A World at Peace (a world free of war and conflict)
18. A World of Beauty (beauty of nature and the arts)
1. Ambitious (hardworking and aspiring)
2. Broad-minded (open-minded)
3. Capable (competent; effective)
4. Clean (neat and tidy)
5. Courageous (standing up for your beliefs)
6. Forgiving (willing to pardon others)
7. Helpful (working for the welfare of others)
8. Honest (sincere and truthful)
9. Imaginative (daring and creative)
10. Independent (self-reliant; self-sufficient)
11. Intellectual (intelligent and reflective)
12. Logical (consistent; rational)
13. Loving (affectionate and tender)
14. Loyal (faithful to friends or the group)
15. Obedient (dutiful; respectful)
16. Polite (courteous and well-mannered)
17. Responsible (dependable and reliable)
18. Self-controlled (restrained; self-disciplined)
Contemporary Work Cohort
Robbins (2003) has proposed Contemporary Work Cohort, in which the unique value of different
cohorts is that the U.S. workforce has been segmented by the era they entered the workforce.
Individuals’ values differ, but tend to reflect the societal values of the period in which they grew
up. The cohorts and the respective values have been listed below:
1. Veterans—Workers who entered the workforce from the early 1940s through the early
1960s. They exhibited the following value orientations:
They were influenced by the Great Depression and World War II
1. Believed in hard work
2. Tended to be loyal to their employer
3. Terminal values: Comfortable life and family security
2. Boomers—Employees who entered the workforce during the 1960s through the mid-1980s
belonged to this category. Their value orientations were:
1. Influenced heavily by John F. Kennedy, the civil rights and feminist movements, the
Beatles, the Vietnam War, and baby-boom competition
2. Distrusted authority, but gave a high emphasis on achievement and material success
3. Organizations who employed them were vehicles for their careers
4. Terminal values: sense of accomplishment and social recognition
3. Xers—began to enter the workforce from the mid-1980s. They cherished the following
1. Shaped by globalization, two-career parents, MTV, AIDS, and computers
2. Value flexibility, life options, and achievement of job satisfaction
3. Family and relationships were important and enjoyed team-oriented work
4. Money was important, but would trade off for increased leisure time
5. Less willing to make personal sacrifices for employers than previous generations
Terminal values: true friendship, happiness, and pleasure
4. Nexters—most recent entrants into the workforce.
1. Grew up in prosperous times, have high expectation, believe in themselves, and confident
in their ability to succeed
2. Never-ending search for ideal job; see nothing wrong with job-hopping
3. Seek financial success
4. Enjoy team work, but are highly self-reliant
5. Terminal values: freedom and comfortable life
Attitudes are evaluative statements that are either favorable or unfavorable concerning objects,
people, or events. Attitudes are not the same as values, but the two are interrelated. There are
three components of an attitude:
Cognition – It is the mental process involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension,
including thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem solving.
Affect – is the emotional or feeling segment of an attitude.
Behavior - The behavioral component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain
way toward someone or something.
Types of Attitudes
Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: job satisfaction, job
involvement, and organizational commitment.
1. It is defined as an individual’s general attitude toward his/her job. A high level of job
satisfaction equals positive attitudes toward the job and vice-a-versa.
1. It is the measure of the degree to which a person identifies psychologically with his/her
job and considers his/her perceived performance level important to self-worth.
o It is defined as a state in which an employee identifies with a particular
organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the
organization. Research evidence has shown a negative relationship between
organizational commitment and both absenteeism as well as turnover. An
individual’s level of organizational commitment is a better indicator of turnover
than the far more frequently used job satisfaction predictor, because, it is a more
global and enduring response to the organization as a whole than is job
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Festinger (1957), while linking attitudes with behavior, argued that, any form of inconsistency is
uncomfortable and individuals will attempt to reduce the dissonance. The desire to reduce
dissonance would be determined by the importance of the elements creating the dissonance, the
degree of influence the individual believes he/she has over the elements and the rewards that
may be involved in dissonance
Importance: If the elements creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to
correct this imbalance will be low.
Influence: If the dissonance is perceived as an uncontrollable result, they are less likely to be
receptive to attitude change. Though dissonance exists, it is possible to rationalize and justify it.
Rewards: The inherent tension in high dissonance tends to be reduced with high rewards.
However, it is not possible for any individual to completely avoid dissonance. Due to moderating
factors, individuals will not necessarily move to reduce dissonance—or consistency.
Contemporary research has shown that attitudes can significantly predict future behavior and has
confirmed Festinger’s original view that relationship can be enhanced by taking moderating
variables into account( Robbins, 2003). The most powerful moderators are:
4. Social pressures
5. Direct experience
Importance: refers to fundamental values, self-interest, or identification with individuals
or groups that a person values.
Specificity: The more specific the attitude and the more specific the behavior, the
stronger the link between the two.
Accessibility: Attitudes that are easily remembered are more likely to predict behavior
than attitudes that are not accessible in memory.
Social pressures: Discrepancies between attitudes and behavior are more likely to occur
where social pressures to behave in certain ways hold exceptional power.
Direct experience: The attitude-behavior relationship is likely to be much stronger if an attitude
refers to an individual’s direct personal experience.
Self-perception theory (Bem, 1967) proposes that attitudes are used to make sense out of an
action that has already occurred rather than devices that precede and guide action. In contrast to
the cognitive dissonance theory, attitudes are just casual verbal statements and they tend to create
plausible answers for what has already occurred.
While the traditional attitude-behavior relationship is generally positive, the behavior-attitude
relationship is stronger especially when attitudes are unclear and ambiguous or little thought has
been given to it earlier.
Measuring Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is the sense of fulfillment and pride felt by people who enjoy their work and do it
well. For an organization, satisfied work force ensures commitment to high quality performance
and increased productivity Job satisfaction helps organizations to reduce complaints and
grievances, absenteeism, turnover, and termination. Job satisfaction is also linked to a more
healthy work force and has been found to be a good indicator of longevity. And although only
little correlation has been found between job satisfaction and productivity, it has also been found
that satisfying or delighting employees is a prerequisite to satisfying or delighting customers,
thus protecting the “bottom line (Brown, 1996).
Creating Job Satisfaction
Probably the most important point to bear in mind when considering job satisfaction is that there
are many factors that affect job satisfaction and that what makes workers happy with their jobs
varies from one worker to another and from day to day. Organizations aspiring to create a work
environment that enhances job satisfaction need to incorporate the following:
1. Flexible work arrangements
2. Task variety and significance
3. Job security
4. A supportive work environment
5. Competitive salary
6. Career opportunities
It is a deliberate upgrading of responsibility, scope, and challenge in the work itself. Job
enrichment usually includes increased responsibility, recognition, and opportunities for growth,
learning, and achievement. Large companies that have used job-enrichment programs to increase
employee motivation and job satisfaction include, AT&T, IBM, and General Motors (Daft,
Workers’ role in job satisfaction
A worker should also take some responsibility for his or her job satisfaction. Everett (1995)
proposed the following questions which employees ask themselves in regard to job satisfaction at
1. When have I come closest to expressing my full potential in a work situation?
2. What did it look like?
3. What aspects of the workplace were most supportive?
4. What aspects of the work itself were most satisfying?
5. What did I learn from that experience that could be applied to the present situation?
The following suggestions can help a worker find personal job satisfaction:
1. Seek opportunities to demonstrate skills and talents.
2. Develop communication skills.
3. Acquire job related skills and try to implement them.
4. Demonstrate creativity and initiative.
5. Improve team building and leadership skill.
6. Learn to de-stress.
The ways of expressing job dissatisfaction
There are a number of ways in which employees can express dissatisfaction (Robbins, 2003).
1. Exit: Behavior directed toward leaving the organization, actions like looking for a new
position as well as resigning.
2. Voice: Actively and constructively attempting to improve conditions, including
suggesting improvements, discussing problems with superiors, and some forms of union
3. Loyalty: Passively, but optimistically waiting for conditions to improve, including
standing up for the organization in the face of external criticism/ crisis, and reposing trust
in the organization and its management to take the right decisions and set things in order.
4. Neglect: Passively allowing conditions to worsen, including chronic absenteeism or
lateness, reduced effort, and increased error rate
The term ‘personality’ has been derived from the Latin term ‘persona’ which means to ’speak
through’. The Latin word denotes the masks worn by actors in ancient Greece and Rome.
Therefore, a very common meaning of the term personality is the role which the person (actor)
displays in the public domain at large. Personality is a dynamic concept describing the growth
and development of a person’s whole psychological system-it looks at some aggregate whole
that is greater than the sum of the parts. Allport (1937) defined personality as “the dynamic
organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique
adjustments to his environment”.
The factors affecting personality development are illustrated below:
1. Heredity – The relationship of heredity with personality is a well-accepted fact. Traits
like physique, eye color, hair color, height, temperament, energy level, intelligence,
reflexes, etc. are generally referred to describe the influence of heredity in developing
personality. The heredity approach argues that the ultimate explanation of an individual’s
personality is the molecular structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes. Robbins
(2003) has argued that the three different streams of research lend some credibility to the
argument that heredity plays an important part in determining an individual’s personality.
The first looks at the genetic underpinnings of human behavior and temperament among
young children. The second addresses the study of twins who were separated at birth and
the third examines the consistency in job satisfaction over time and across situations.
2. Environment – Environment comprises of culture, family, social and situational factors.
The environmental factors influence personality of an individual since they provide the
basis of certain experiences which determine the individual’s view about life, both
positive and negative.
3. Culture – Culture establishes norms, attitudes and values that are passed on from
generation to generation and create consistencies over time. Every culture expects and
trains its members to behave in the ways that are acceptable to the group. People from
different cultural groups have different attitudes towards independence, aggression,
competition, cooperation, artistic talent, etc. However, on the basis of culture, an
individual’s personality cannot be always assessed, since individuals within the same
culture (but from different family and sub-cultural background) have been seen to differ
in their behavior.
4. Family - One of the most important determinants of the personality of a person is the
immediate family. Families influence the behavior of a person especially in the early
stages of life. The nature of such influence will depend upon the socio-economic level of
the family, family size, race, religion, parent’s educational level and geographic location.
5. Situation – Situational factors also play a crucial role in determining the personality of a
person. Every individual goes through different type of experiences and events in his/her
life. Some of the events and experiences, which an individual goes through in his/her life,
can serve as important determinants of his/her personality. A trauma suffered by a person
in the childhood can sometime change the structure of his/her own personality.
Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor Model
Early research on personality traits resulted in isolating large numbers of traits, which
made it impossible to predict behavior. Cattell’s (1973) is one of the most important
personality trait theory, where the number of traits have been reduced. Cattell referred to
these 16 factors as primary factors.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The MBTI classifies human beings into four opposite pairs (dichotomies), base on their
psychological opposites. These four opposite pairs result into 16 possible combinations.
The big five model
Many researchers argue that five basic dimensions underlie all other personality
dimensions (e.g; McCrae and Costa, 1990; Digman, 1997). The five basic dimensions
1. Extraversion. Comfort level with relationships. Extraverts tend to be gregarious,
assertive, and sociable. Introverts tend to be reserved, timid, and quiet.
2. Agreeableness. Individual’s propensity to defer to others. High agreeableness people—
cooperative, warm, and trusting. Low agreeableness people—cold, disagreeable, and
3. Conscientiousness. A measure of reliability. A high conscientious person is responsible,
organized, dependable, and persistent. Those who score low on this dimension are easily
distracted, disorganized, and unreliable.
4. Emotional stability. A person’s ability to withstand stress. People with positive
emotional stability tend to be calm, self-confident, and secure. Those with high negative
scores tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed, and insecure.
5. Openness to experience. The range of interests and fascination with novelty. Extremely
open people are creative, curious, and artistically sensitive. Those at the other end of the
openness category are conventional and find comfort in the familiar.
Locus of control
A person’s perception of the source of his/her fate is termed locus of control. Locus of control
was formulated within the framework of Rotter’s (1954) social learning theory of personality.
Rotter (1975) pointed out that internality and externality represent two ends of a continuum, not
an either/or typology. Internals tend to attribute outcomes of events to their own control.
Externals attribute outcomes of events to external circumstances. For example, college students
with a strong internal locus of control may believe that their grades were achieved through their
own abilities and efforts, whereas, those with a strong external locus of control may believe that
their grades are the result of good or bad luck, or to a professor who designs bad tests or grades
capriciously; hence, they are less likely to expect that their own efforts will result in success and
are therefore less likely to work hard for high grades.
Individuals who rate high in externality are less satisfied with their jobs, have higher absenteeism
rates, are more alienated from the work setting, and are less involved on their jobs than are
internals. Internals, facing the same situation, attribute organizational outcomes to their own
actions. Internals believe that health is substantially under their own control through proper
habits; their incidences of sickness and, hence, of absenteeism, are lower.
Internals generally perform better on their jobs, but one needs to consider differences in jobs.
Internals search more actively for information before making a decision, are more motivated to
achieve, and make a greater attempt to control their environment, and hence, internals do well on
sophisticated tasks. Internals are more suited to jobs that require initiative and independence of
action and want autonomy and independence in their jobs. Externals are more compliant and
willing to follow directions and be led, and do well on jobs that are well structured and routine
and in which success depends heavily on complying with the direction of others.
Type A and Type B personality
Type A personality is a set of characteristics that includes, being impatient, excessively time-
conscious, insecure about one’s status, highly competitive, hostile and aggressive, and incapable
of relaxation (Friedman & Rosenman 1974). They are always moving, walking, and eating
rapidly, are impatient with the rate at which most events take place, are doing do two or more
things at once and cannot cope with leisure time. They are obsessed with numbers, measuring
their success in terms of how many or how much of everything they acquire. Type ‘A’s operate
under moderate to high levels of stress. They expose themselves to continuous time pressure, are
fast workers, give preference to quantity over quality, work long hours, and are also rarely
Type B personality is rarely hurried by the desire to obtain an increasing number of things or
participate in events demanding an ever-decreasing amount of time (Friedman & Rosenman,
1974). Type Bs never suffer from a sense of time urgency with its accompanying impatience and
feel no need to display or discuss either their achievements or accomplishments unless otherwise
demanded by the situation. They can relax without guilt.
In general, the term ‘emotion’ is used to designate “a state of consciousness having to do with
the arousal of feelings (Webster’s New World Dictionary).” It is “distinguished from other
mental states, from cognition, volition, and awareness of physical sensation.” Feeling refers to
“any of the subjective reactions, pleasant or unpleasant” that one may experience in a situation.
Theories of Emotion:
There are many theories of emotion:
I. James-Lange Theory (1890) [cited in Taylor, 1999]: Subjective emotional responses are the
result of physiological changes within human bodies. The brain perceives an event and, in turn,
sends messages down its neural circuitry to other areas of the brain. This action ultimately
produces motor, autonomic and endocrine responses. These responses elicit an emotional
response, which in turn, is perceived by the brain. Therefore, it is a cyclical process. This theory
argues that physiological behaviors precede the emotion.
II. Cannon-Bard theory (1927) [cited in Taylor, 1999]: Emotion-provoking events induce the
subjective emotional experiences and physiological arousal simultaneously. Through
experiences, individuals begin to acquire certain expectations for every given situation. These
expectations provide a filter and every situation is processed through this filter. During this
process, brain produces the emotion and corresponding physiological behaviors at the same time.
III. Schachter-Singer theory (1962): Both feedback from peripheral responses and a cognitive
appraisal of what caused those responses produce emotions. How one interprets the peripheral
response will determine the emotion he / she feels. Individuals label the emotional response
depending on what we think is causing the response. For example, when someone interprets a
stimulus as dangerous, it leads to physiological arousal. Then, this physiological arousal is
interpreted to a particular emotion. It can be fear, surprise, excitement, and astonishment
depending on how the arousal is labeled.
Parrot (2001) has categorized emotions as another classification (Figure no. 1.4):
Figure no. 1.4:
Parrot’s classification of emotions
Source: Parrott, W. (2001), Emotions in Social Psychology, Psychology Press, Philadelphia
Culture and emotion
There are two Views of Culture and Emotion:
Universality - Emotions are part of human nature and in all cultures universally the same set of
basic emotions. Based on his cross-cultural research, Ekman (1999) has found six emotions
which are universally recognized and applicable. They are:
Cultural specificity – Human beings are like a tabula rasa (clean tablet) on which society writes
its script. In other words, culture and traditions, normative patterns and value-orientations are
responsible for not only our personality development, but also appropriate social and emotional
development. This makes us functional entities in society. Each culture has a unique set of
emotions and emotional responses; the emotions shown in a particular culture reflects the norms,
values, practices, and language of that culture .
Alexithymia – emotional disorder
Some people have difficulty in expressing their emotions and understanding the emotions of
others. Psychologists call this alexithymia. People who suffer from alexithymia rarely cry and
are often seen by others as bland and cold. Their own feelings make them uncomfortable, and
they are not able to discriminate among their different emotions. People, suffering from
alexithymia, may be effective performers in jobs where little or no emotional labor. Alexithymic
symptoms may be seen in people who experience:
1. Post-traumatic stress disorder
2. Certain brain injuries
3. Eating disorders (i.e., bulimia, anorexia, or binge-eating disorder)
4. Substance use dependence
6. Other mental health conditions
Relationship of gender with emotion
A number of research findings supports the view that women are more emotional than men (e.g.,
Broverman, Vogel, Broverman, Clarkson, & Rosenkrantz, 1972; Widiger & Settle, 1987).
Women are assumed to experience more frequent and intense emotions, whereas men are
assumed to be emotionally inexpressive and to have less intense emotional experiences.
However, researchers have argued that the stereotype of men as unemotional is more accurate for
adult targets than for child targets because males learn to control their emotions as they get older
(Fabes and Martin, 1991). Likewise, women and men may experience happiness in a similar
way, but women have been taught that they can strongly express the emotion of happiness,
whereas men have been taught to control it. The impact of socialization practices accumulate
over time, and, thus, these stereotypes are likely to apply more strongly to adult populations
(Geer and Shields, 1996).
Individuals behave in a given manner based not on the way their external environment actually,
is but, rather, on what they see or believe it to be. A supervisor may try to help his subordinates
to achieve their target by advising and suggesting solutions. An employee may believe the
supervisor is controlling and interfering. As a result of that, the employee may continuously try
to avoid the boss. The same boss may be perceived as a ‘father figure’ to another employee for
his helping attitude. As a result of that, the specific employee may acknowledge the supervisor
and seeks his guidance. These two employee’s perception about the supervisor that becomes the
basis for their different behavior. Perception can be defined as a process by which individuals
organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.
Since people’s behavior is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself.
Individuals differ in their perceptions with regard to people and inanimate objects. An individual
makes inferences about the actions of people not the same way as they do for inanimate objects.
Non-living objects are subject to the laws of nature. People have beliefs, motives, or intentions.
Therefore, an individual’s perception and judgment of another person’s actions are influenced by
Factors Influencing Perception
Three factors shape perception of an individual:
Perceiver – Refers to the most prevalent personal characteristics affecting perception of the
perceiver, which are attitudes, motives, interests, past experiences, and expectations.
Target -. Characteristics of the target can also affect what is being perceived. This includes,
attractiveness, gregariousness, and an individual’s tendency to group similar things together.
Situation – The context in which objects or events are seen by individuals also influence their
attention. This includes time, heat, light, or other situational factors.
Shortcuts In Judging Others
Individuals have a tendency to use a number of shortcuts when they judge others. An
understanding of these shortcuts can be helpful toward recognizing when they can result in
Any characteristic that makes a person, object, or event stand out will increase the probability
that it will be perceived. It is impossible for an individual to internalize and assimilate everything
that is seen .Only certain stimuli can be taken in selectively. Selectivity works as a shortcut in
judging other people by allowing us to “speed-read” others, but, not without the risk of drawing
an inaccurate picture. The tendency to see what we want to see can make us draw unwarranted
conclusions from an ambiguous situation.
The halo effect (Murphy & Anhalt, 1992) occurs when we draw a general impression on the
basis of a single characteristic. For example, while appraising the lecturer, students may give
prominence to a single trait, such as, enthusiasm and allow their entire evaluation to be tainted by
how they judge the instructor on that one trait which stood out prominently in their estimation of
that person. Research suggests that it is likely to be most extreme when the traits to be perceived
are ambiguous in behavioral terms, when the traits have moral overtones, and when the perceiver
is judging traits with which he or she has had limited experience.
Individuals do not evaluate a person in isolation. Their reaction to one person is influenced by
other persons they have encountered recently. For example, an interview situation in which one
sees a pool of job applicants can distort perception. Distortions in any given candidate’s
evaluation can occur as a result of his or her place in the interview schedule.
This tendency to attribute one’s own characteristics to other people—which is called
projection—can distort perceptions made about others. When managers engage in projection,
they compromise their ability to respond to individual differences. They tend to see people as
more homogeneous than they really are.
Stereotyping—judging someone on the basis of our perception of the group to which he or she
belongs. Generalization is not without advantages (Hilton & Hippel, 1996). It is a means of
simplifying a complex world, and it permits us to maintain consistency. The problem, of course,
is when we inaccurately stereotype. In organizations, we frequently hear comments that represent
stereotypes based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, and even weight. From a perceptual standpoint,
if people expect to see these stereotypes, that is what they will perceive, whether or not they are
Specific Applications In Organizations
Evidence indicates that interviewers make perceptual judgments that are often inaccurate and
they rarely agree while perceiving the candidates. Different interviewers see different things in
the same candidate and, thus, reach different conclusions about the applicant. Furthermore,
interviewers generally draw early impressions and most interviewers rarely change their
decisions after the first four or five minutes of the interview. Therefore, judgments of the same
candidate can vary widely in an interview situatiion.
It is seen that individuals seek to validate their perceptions of reality, even when those
perceptions are not appropriate. Self-fulfilling prophecy
is a very good example of this.
It is the tendency for someone’s expectations about another to cause that person to behave in a
manner consistent with those expectations (Wilkins, 1976). Self fulfilling prophecy can be of
Pygmalion Effect: A positive instance of the self-fulfilling prophecy, in which people holding
high expectations of another tend to improve that individual’s performance.
Golem Effect: A negative instance of the self-fulfilling prophecy, in which people holding low
expectations of another tend to lower that individual’s performance.
A study was conducted on 105 soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces who were taking a fifteen-
week combat command course. Soldiers were randomly divided and identified as having high
potential, normal potential, and potential not known. Instructors were seemed to get better results
from the high potential group because they expected it, confirming the effect of a self-fulfilling
An employee’s performance appraisal is very much dependent on the perceptual process.
Although the appraisal can be objective, many jobs are evaluated in subjective terms. Subjective
measures are, by definition, judgmental. To the degree that managers use subjective measures in
appraising employees, what the evaluator perceives to be good or bad employee characteristics
or behaviors will significantly influence the outcome of the appraisal.
An individual’s future in an organization is usually not dependent on performance alone. An
assessment of an individual’s effort is a subjective judgment susceptible to perceptual distortions
Link Between Perception And Individual Decision Making
Decision-making occurs as a reaction to a problem. Problem is defined as a discrepancy between
some current state of affairs and some desired state, needing attention for alternative courses of
action. The awareness that a problem exists and that a decision needs to be made is a perceptual
issue. Every decision requires interpretation and evaluation of information. The perceptions of
the decision maker will address these two issues.
Data are typically received from multiple sources.
Which data are relevant to the decision and which are not
Alternatives will be developed, and the strengths and weaknesses of each will need to be
For example, senior managers determine their organization’s goals, what products or services to
offer, how best to finance operations, or where to locate a new manufacturing plant. Middle- and
lower-level managers determine production schedules, select new employees, and decide how
pay raises are to be allocated. Non-managerial employees also make decisions, including,
whether or not to come to work on any given day, how much effort to put forward once at work,
and whether or not to comply with a request made by the boss.
The Decision-Making Process
The optimizing decision maker is rational. He or she makes consistent, value-maximizing
choices within specified constraints. This also includes the resource crunch and other limitations
The rational decision making model
This model proposes six steps, which are as follows:
Step 1: Defining the problem
A problem is a discrepancy between an existing and a desired state of affairs.
Many poor decisions can be traced to the decision-maker overlooking a problem or
defining the wrong problem.
Step 2: Identify the decision criteria important to solving the problem.
The decision maker determines what is relevant in making the decision. Any factors not
identified in this step are considered irrelevant to the decision maker.
This brings in the decision maker’s interests, values, and similar personal preferences.
Step 3: Weight the previously identified criteria in order to give them the correct priority in the
Step 4: Generate possible alternatives that could succeed in resolving the problem.
Step 5: Rating each alternative on each criterion.
Critically analyze and evaluate each alternative.
The strengths and weaknesses of each alternative become evident as they are compared
with the criteria and weights established in the second and third steps.
Step 6: The final step is to compute the optimal decision:
Evaluating each alternative against the weighted criteria and selecting the alternative with
the highest total score.
The above-mentioned model works with following assumptions (March, 1994):
Problem clarity. The decision maker is assumed to have complete information regarding
the decision situation.
Known options. It is assumed the decision maker is aware of all the possible
consequences of each alternative.
Clear preferences. Criteria and alternatives can be ranked and weighted to reflect their
Constant preferences. Specific decision criteria are constant and the weights assigned to
them are stable over time.
No time or cost constraints. The rational decision maker can obtain full information about
criteria and alternatives because it is assumed that there are no time or cost constraints.
Maximum payoff. The rational decision maker will choose the alternative that yields the
highest perceived value.
Two of the most important ways of decision-making in organizations are :
Intuitive decision making
When faced with a complex problem, most people respond by reducing the problem to a level at
which it can be readily understood, due to limited information-processing capability. As a result,
people seek solutions that are satisfactory and sufficient. This is called bounded rationality
(Simon, 1947). Individuals operate within the confines of bounded rationality. They construct
simplified models that extract the essential features.
How does bounded rationality work? Once a problem is identified, the search for criteria and
alternatives begins. The decision maker will identify a limited list made up of the more
conspicuous choices, which are easy to find, tend to be highly visible, and they will represent
familiar criteria and previously tried-and-true solutions. Once this limited set of alternatives is
identified, the decision-maker will begin reviewing it. The decision-maker will begin with
alternatives that differ only in a relatively small degree from the choice currently in effect. The
first alternative that meets the “good enough” criterion ends the search. The order in which
alternatives are considered is critical in determining which alternative is selected. Assuming that
a problem has more than one potential solution, the satisficing choice will be the first acceptable
one the decision-maker encounters. Alternatives that depart the least from the status quo are the
most likely to be selected.
Intuitive decision making
It is an unconscious process created out of distilled experience. It operates in complement with
rational analysis. On one hand, some researchers consider it a form of extrasensory power or
sixth sense, and on the other hand, some believe it is a personality trait that a limited number of
people are born with.
Eight conditions when people are most likely to use intuitive decision making are:
when a high level of uncertainty exists
when there is little precedent to draw on
when variables are less scientifically predictable
when “facts” are limited
when facts do not clearly point the way to go
when analytical data are of little use
when there are several plausible alternative solutions to choose from, with good
arguments for each
when time is limited, and there is pressure to come up with the right decision
Decision making process
A. Problem Identification
Problems that are visible tend to have a higher probability of being selected than ones that are
important. Visible problems are more likely to catch a decision-maker’s attention. If a decision-
maker faces a conflict between selecting a problem that is important to the organization and one
that is important to the decision-maker, self-interest tends to win out. The decision-maker’s self
interest also plays a part. While selecting a decision to solve a problem, decision maker puts
more importance to his/her self-interest over the organizational interest.
B. Alternative Development
Since decision-makers seek a satisficing solution, there is a minimal use of creativity in the
search for alternatives. Efforts tend to be confined to the neighborhood of the current alternative.
Evidence indicates that decision-making is incremental rather than comprehensive. Decision-
makers make successive limited comparisons. The picture that emerges is one of a decision-
maker who takes small steps toward his or her objective.
C. Making Choices
In order to avoid information overload, decisionakers rely on heuristics or judgmental shortcuts
in decision making. There are two common categories of heuristics—availability and
representativeness. Each creates biases in judgment.
The availability heuristic – It is “the tendency for people to base their judgments on information
that is readily available to them.” Events that evoke emotions, that are particularly vivid, or that
have occurred more recently tend to be more available in our memory. Fore example, many more
people suffer from fear of flying than fear of driving in a car.
Representative heuristic – To assess the likelihood of an occurrence by trying to match it with a
preexisting category, managers frequently predict the performance of a new product by relating it
to a previous product’s success.
D. Escalation of commitment
It is an increased commitment to a previous decision in spite of negative information. It has been
well documented that individuals escalate commitment to a failing course of action when they
view themselves as responsible for the failure.
E. Individual Differences: Decision-Making Styles
People differ along two dimensions. The first is their way of thinking. Some people are logical
and rational. They process information serially. Some people are intuitive and creative. They
perceive things as a whole. The other dimension is a person’s tolerance for ambiguity. Some
people have a high need to minimize ambiguity. Others are able to process many thoughts at the
same time. These four decision making styles can be represented in the following way:
Low tolerance for ambiguity and seek rationality
Efficient and logical
Decisions are made with minimal information and with few alternatives assessed.
Make decisions fast and focus on the short-run.
Greater tolerance for ambiguity
Desire for more information and consideration of more alternatives
Best characterized as careful decision makers with the ability to adapt to or cope with
Tend to be very broad in their outlook and consider many alternatives
Their focus is long range, and they are very good at finding creative solutions to
Characterizes decision makers who work well with others
Concerned with the achievement of peers and subordinates and are receptive to
suggestions from others, relying heavily on meetings for communicating
Tries to avoid conflict and seeks acceptance
F. Organizational Constraints
Following are the organizational constraints that affect decision-makers.
Performance evaluation – Managers are strongly influenced in their decision making by the
criteria by which they are evaluated. Their performance in decision making will reflect
Reward systems – The organization’s reward system influences decision makers by suggesting to
them what choices are preferable in terms of personal payoff.
Programmed routines – All, but the smallest of organizations create rules, policies, procedures,
and other formalized regulations in order to standardize the behavior of their members.
Time constraints – Decisions must be made quickly in order to stay ahead of the competition and
keep customers satisfied. Almost all important decisions come with explicit deadlines.
Historical Precedents – Decisions have a context. Individual decisions are more accurately
characterized as points in a stream of decisions. Decisions made in the past are ghosts which
continually haunt current choices. It is common knowledge that the largest determining factor of
the size of any given year’s budget is last year’s budget.
Cultural Differences – The cultural background of the decision maker can have significant
Ethics in Decision Making
Ethical considerations should be an important criterion in organizational decision making. There
are three Ethical Decision Criteria:
Utilitarian criterion—decisions are made solely on the basis of their outcomes or
consequences. The goal of utilitarianism is to provide the greatest good for the greatest
number. This view tends to dominate business decision making.
Focus on rights—calls on individuals to make decisions consistent with fundamental
liberties and privileges as set forth in documents such as the Bill of Rights.
o An emphasis on rights means respecting and protecting the basic rights of
individuals, such as the right to privacy, to free speech, and to due process.
3. Focus on justice—requires individuals to impose and enforce rules fairly and impartially.
There is an equitable distribution of benefits and costs.
Many people incorrectly view motivation as a personal trait—that is, some have it and others do
not. Motivation is the result of the interaction of the individual and the situation. Motivation is
“the processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort
toward attaining a goal” (Robbins, 2003). Intensity is concerned with how hard a person tries.
This is the element most of us focus on when we talk about motivation. Direction is the
orientation that benefits the organization. And Persistence is a measure of how long a person can
maintain his/her effort. Motivated individuals stay with a task long enough to achieve their goal.
Early Theories Of Motivation
In the 1950s three specific theories were formulated and are the best known: Hierarchy of Needs
theory, Theories X and Y, and the Two-Factor theory.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory
According to this theory, proposed by Maslow (1943), human beings have wants and desires
which influence their behaviour; only unsatisfied needs can influence behavior, satisfied needs
cannot. The needs are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex. The
person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally
satisfied. The further they progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and
psychological health a person will show. The five needs are:
Physiological: Includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs
Safety: Includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm
Social: Includes affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship
Esteem: Includes internal esteem factors, such as, self-respect, autonomy, and
achievement; and external esteem factors, such as, status, recognition, and attention
Self-actualization: The drive to become what one is capable of becoming; includes
growth, achieving one’s potential, and self-fulfillment
Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower orders. Physiological and safety needs are
described as lower-order. Social, esteem, and self-actualization are classified as higher-order
needs. Higher-order needs are satisfied internally, whereas, Lower-order needs are
predominantly satisfied, externally.
Theory X and Theory Y
Douglas McGregor argued that a manager’s view of the nature of human beings is based on a
certain grouping of assumptions and he or she tends to mould his or her behavior toward
employees according to these assumptions.
Theory X –
In this theory management assumes employees are inherently lazy and will avoid work, if they
can. Workers need to be closely supervised and a comprehensive system of controls and a
hierarchical structure is needed to supervise the workers closely. It is also assumed that workers
generally place security above all other factors and will display little ambition.
Theory Y –
In this theory management assumes employees may be ambitious, self-motivated, anxious to
accept greater responsibility, and exercise self-control, self-direction, autonomy and
empowerment. It is believed that employees enjoy their mental and physical work duties. It is
also believed that, if given the chance employees have the desire to be creative and forward
thinking in the workplace. There is a chance for greater productivity by giving employees the
freedom to perform to the best of their abilities without being bogged down by rules.
From the above, it is clear that Theory X assumes that lower-order needs dominate individuals.
Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals.
Herzberg’s Two Factor theory
Herzberg (1959) constructed a two-dimensional paradigm of factors affecting people’s attitudes
about work. These two factors are motivators and hygiene factors and this theory is also called
Motivators are intrinsic factors, such as, advancement, recognition, responsibility, and
achievement. Presence of these factors ensure job satisfaction. Extrinsic factors, such as,
company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations, working conditions, and salary are hygiene
factors. The absence of hygiene factors can create job dissatisfaction, but their presence does not
motivate or create satisfaction.
In summary, motivators describe a person’s relationship with what she or he does, many related
to the tasks being performed. Hygiene factors on the other hand, have to do with a person’s
relationship to the context or environment in which she or he performs the job. The satisfiers
relate to what a person does while the dissatisfiers relate to the situation in which the person
does what he or she does.
Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying.
Job satisfaction factors are separate and distinct from job dissatisfaction factors. When hygiene
factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; neither will they be satisfied. To motivate
people, emphasize factors intrinsically rewarding that are associated with the work itself or to
outcomes directly derived from it.
Contemporary Theories Of Motivation
The following theories are considered contemporary , since they represent the current state of the
art in explaining employee motivation
McClelland’s Theory of Needs
Cognitive Evaluation Theory
Motivating Employees In Organizations
A number of motivation theories have been discussed above. Based on these theories, the
following suggestions summarize the essence about motivating employees in organizations.
Recognize individual differences – Employees have different needs. Therefore, managers need
to understand what is important to each employee. This will allow to individualize goals, level of
involvement, and rewards to align with individual needs.
Use goals and feedback – Employees should have tangible and specific goals. Feedback should
also be provided regularly to inform the employees about their performance in pursuit of those
Include employees in decision-making – Employees should be included in making decisions
that affect them, for example, choosing their own benefits packages and solving productivity and
Link rewards to performance – Rewards should be contingent on performance and employees
must perceive a clear linkage.
Maintain equity – Rewards should be perceived by employees as equating with the inputs they
bring to the job, i.e; experience, skills, abilities, effort, and other obvious inputs should explain
differences in performance and, hence, pay, job assignments, and other obvious rewards.
Some of the most important motivational tools have been discussed below.
Management by Objective (MBO)
Management by objectives emphasizes participatively set goals that are tangible, verifiable, and
measurable. Four ingredients common to MBO programs are: goal specificity, participative
decision-making, an explicit time period, and performance feedback (Robbins, 2003).
The objectives in MBO should be concise statements of expected accomplishments.
Participative decision making:
1. The manager and employee jointly choose the goals and agree on how they will be
An explicit time period:
Each objective has a specific time period in which it is to be completed.
Continuous feedback on progress toward goals is provided so that workers can monitor
and correct their own actions.
MBO and Goal-Setting Theory is closely linked. Goal-setting theory proposes that tangible goals
result in a higher level of individual performance than do easy goals. Feedback on one’s
performance leads to higher performance. MBO also directly advocates specific goals and
feedback, implies that goals must be perceived as feasible and is most effective when the goals
are difficult enough to require stretching.
Employee Recognition Programs
Employee recognition programs consist of personal attention, expressing interest, approval, and
appreciation for a job well done. They can take numerous forms. Employee Recognition
Programs has close link with Reinforcement Theory. Both the concept advocate that rewarding a
behavior with recognition would lead to its repetition. Recognition can take many forms, such as,
personally congratulating an employee, sending a handwritten note or an e-mail message or
declaring the employee as a valuable contributor to the organizational objective.
Employee involvement includes, participative management, workplace democracy,
empowerment, and employee ownership. Employees’ involvement in the decision making would
positively affect them and by increasing their autonomy and control over their work lives,
employees will become more motivated, more committed to the organization, more productive,
and more satisfied with their jobs.
Some forms of employee involvement have been discussed here: participative management,
representative participation, quality circles, and employee stock ownership plans.
The logic behind participative management is:
a. Managers often do not know everything their employees do.
b. Better decisions
c. Increased commitment to decisions
d. Intrinsically rewarding employees makes their jobs more interesting and meaningful
The two most common forms of participative management are:
a. Works councils – They are groups of nominated or elected employees who must be
consulted when management makes decisions. .
b. Board representatives – they are employees who sit on a company’s board of directors and
represent the interests of the firm’s employees.
Quality circles (QC):
QC consists of a work group of eight to ten employees and supervisors who have a shared area of
responsibility. Key components of QC are (Robbins, 2003):
They meet regularly on company time to discuss their quality problems, investigate causes of the
problems, recommend solutions, and take corrective actions
A group may be defined as a collection of two or more people who work with one another
regularly to achieve common goals. In a group, members are mutually dependent on one another
to achieve common goals, and they interact with one another regularly to pursue those goals.
Effective groups help organizations accomplish important tasks. In particular, they offer the
potential for synergy—the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. When
synergy occurs, groups accomplish more than the total of their members’ individual capabilities.
Classification Of Groups
Groups can be of two types:
Formal groups come into existence for serving a specific organizational purpose. Individuals’
behaviors in this type of group are aimed at achieving organizational goals. The organization
creates such a group to perform a specific task, which typically involves the use of resources to
create a product such as a report, decision, service, or commodity (Likert, 1961). Though all
members contribute to achieve group goals a leader does exist in this type of group to oversee
and direct group members.
Formal groups may be permanent or temporary in nature. They may be full fledged departments
divisions or specific work teams created for particular projects of fairly long duration. .
Permanent work groups are officially created to perform a specific function on a regular basis.
They continue to exist until a decision is made to change or reconfigure the organization for
Temporary work groups are task groups are specifically created to solve a problem or perform a
defined task. They may be dismantled after the assigned task has been accomplished. Examples
are the temporary committees and task forces that exist in an organization. Indeed, in today’s
organizations the use of cross-functional teams or task forces for special problem-solving efforts
has goner up significantly.
An informal group is neither formally structured nor organizationally determined. Group of
employees snacking together can be an example of such groups. Informal groups may be sub-
categorized as : Command, task, interest, or friendship groups.
1. Command groups are dictated by the formal organization. The organization hierarchy
determines a command group. It comprises of direct reports to a given manager.
2. Task groups—represent those working together to complete a job task. A task group’s
boundaries are not limited to its immediate hierarchical superior. It can cross command
relationships where the same member may be reporting to two or more authorities at the
same time. All command groups are also task groups, but the reverse may not be true.
3. An interest group consists of people
who affiliate to attain a specific objective with which each is concerned.
Models Of Group Development
The most important models of group development have been cited below.
a. The Five-Stage Model
In this stage the members are entering the group. The main concern is to facilitate the entry of
the group members. The individuals entering are concerned with issues such as what the group
can offer them, their needed contribution the similarity in terms of their personal needs, goals
and group goals, the acceptable normative and behavioral standards expected for group
membership and recognition for doing the work as a group member.
This is a turbulent phase where individuals try to basically form coalitions and cliques to achieve
a desired status within the group. Members also go through the process of identifying to their
expected role requirements in relation to group requirements. In the process, membership
expectations tend to get clarified, and attention shifts toward hurdles coming in the way of
attaining group goals. Individuals begin to understand and appreciate each other’s interpersonal
styles, and efforts are made to find ways to accomplish group goals while also satisfying
From the norming stage
of group development, the group really begins to come together as a coordinated unit. At this
point, close relationships develop and the group shows cohesiveness. Group members will strive
to maintain positive balance at this stage.
The group now becomes capable of dealing with complex tasks and handling internal
disagreements in novel ways. The structure is stable, and members are motivated by group goals
and are generally satisfied. The structure is fully functional and accepted at this stage. Group
energy makes a transition from member’s focus on getting to know and understand each other to
performing. For permanent work groups, performing is the last stage in their development.
A well-integrated group is able to disband, if required, when its work is accomplished, though in
itself it may be a painful process for group members, emotionally. The adjourning stage of group
development is especially important for the many temporary groups that are rampant in today’s
workplaces. Members of these groups must be able to convene quickly, do their jobs on a tight
schedule, and then adjourn—often to reconvene later, whenever required.
Groups do not always proceed clearly from one stage to the next. Sometimes several stages go
on simultaneously, as when groups are storming and performing. Groups may at times regress to
earlier stages. Another problem is that it ignores organizational context. For instance, a study of a
cockpit crew in an airliner found that, within ten minutes, three strangers assigned to fly together
for the first time had become a high-performing group. The rigid organizational context provides
the rules, task definitions, information, and resources required for the group to perform,
b. Punctuated equilibrium model
Temporary groups with deadlines do not seem to follow the model explained above. Their
pattern is called the punctuated-equilibrium model.
Phase I—The first meeting sets the group’s direction. This stage is the first inertia phase. A
structure of behavioral patterns and assumptions emerges.
Transition – Then a transition takes place when the group has used up almost half its allotted
time. The group’s direction becomes fixed and is unlikely to be reexamined throughout the first
half of the group’s life. The group tends to stand still or become locked into a fixed course of
action. The group is incapable of acting on new insights in Phase 1. The midpoint seems to set an
alarm clock going increasing members’ awareness that their time is limited and that they need to
move on fast. A transition triggers off major changes. This ends Phase 1 and is characterized by
a concentrated burst of changes, replacement old patterns, and adoption of new perspectives. The
transition sets a revised direction for Phase 2.
Phase 2 – It is a new equilibrium and is also a period of inertia. In this phase, the group executes
plans created during the transition period. The group’s last meeting is characterized by a flurry of
activities. The punctuated-equilibrium model characterizes groups as demonstrating long periods
of inertia interspersed with brief and rapid changes triggered mainly by their members’
awareness of time and targets .
All group members are actors, where each is playing a role. While some of these roles may be
compatible others create conflicts. Different groups impose different role requirements on
For playing one’s role effectively in a group, one’s view of how one is supposed to act in a given
situation must be clear leading to clear role perception. By watching and imitating senior
members of a group the new comers learn how to take on their roles effectively and also learn
how to play them well.
Tuning oneself and behaving in a socially desirable manner is a part of fulfilling role
expectations in a given situation in the context of achieving group goals and organizational
When a group member is faced with the challenge of playing multiple roles, role conflict may
occur due to inability of the individual to balance all the roles effectively, thereby reducing role
effectiveness, hampering the group and organizational goal attainment process.
All groups have norms—”acceptable standards of behavior that are shared by the group’s
members.” Norms serve as a guideline for members detailing what they ought and ought
not to do under certain circumstances. Though a work group’s norms are unique, yet
there are still some common classes of norms. They are:
Performance norms which comprise the following (Robbins 2003):
a. Explicit cues on how hard they should work, how to get the job done, their
level of output, appropriate levels of tardiness, etc.
b. These norms are extremely powerful in affecting an individual employee’s
Appearance norms include things like appropriate dress, loyalty to the work group or
organization, when to look busy, and when it is acceptable to goof off.
Social arrangement norms come from informal work groups and primarily regulate social
interactions within the group.
Allocation of resources norms can originate in the group or in the organization.
occurs whenever disagreements exist in a social situation over issues (work related or personal).
Conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively
affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about (Thomas,
1992). Conflict can be either constructive or destructive. Constructive conflict prevents
stagnation, stimulates creativity, allows tensions to be released. However, excessive levels of
conflict can hinder the effectiveness of a group or an organization, lessens satisfaction of group
members, increases absence and turnover rates, and, lowers productivity.
The most important views about conflict are as follows:
The Traditional View: This approach assumes that all conflict is dysfunctional and hinders
performance. Conflict is seen as a dysfunctional outcome resulting from poor communication, a
lack of openness and trust between people, and the failure of managers to be responsive to their
The Human Relations View: This view believes that conflict is a natural occurrence in all groups
and organizations. Since it was natural and inevitable it should be accepted. It cannot be
eliminated and may even contribute to group performance.
The Inter-actionist View: This approach encourages conflict on the grounds that a harmonious,
peaceful, tranquil, and cooperative group is prone to becoming static and non-responsive to
needs for change and innovation. Group leaders should maintain enough conflict to keep the
group viable, self-critical, and creative.
Functional vs. Dysfunctional Conflict
Functional, constructive forms of conflict support the goals of the group and improve its
performance. Conflicts that hinder group performance are dysfunctional or destructive forms of
conflict. Task conflict relates to the content and goals of the work. Low-to-moderate levels of
task conflict are functional and consistently demonstrate a positive effect on group performance
because it stimulates discussion, improving group performance. Relationship conflict focuses on
interpersonal relationships. These conflicts are almost always dysfunctional and the friction and
interpersonal hostilities inherent in relationship conflicts increase personality clashes and
decrease mutual understanding.
Levels Of Conflict
At workplace, people may encounter conflict at the intrapersonal level (conflict within the
individual), the interpersonal level (individual to- individual conflict), the inter-group level, or
the inter-organizational level.
Intrapersonal conflict – Some conflicts that affect behavior in organizations involve the
individual alone. It can be of three types (Schermerhorn et al, 2002):
Approach–approach conflict occurs when a person must choose between two positive and
equally attractive alternatives. An example is having to choose between a valued promotion in
the organization or a desirable new job with another firm.
Avoidance–avoidance conflict occurs when a person must choose between two negative and
equally unattractive alternatives. An example is being asked either to accept a job transfer to
another town in an undesirable location or to have one’s employment with an organization
Approach–avoidance conflict occurs when a person must decide to do something that has both
positive and negative consequences. An example is being offered a higher paying job whose
responsibilities entail unwanted demands on one’s personal time.
Interpersonal conflict occurs between two or more individuals who are in opposition to one
another. It may be substantive or emotional or both.
Inter-group conflict occurs among members of different teams or groups.
Inter-organizational conflict occurs
the competition and rivalry that characterizes firms operating in the same markets.
Conflict Management Approaches
There are two types of conflict management approaches:
Direct conflict management approaches
There are five approaches to direct conflict management. They are based on the relative
emphasis on cooperativeness and assertiveness in the relationship between the conflicting
parties. They are as follows:
Avoidance – it is an extreme form of inattention; everyone simply pretends that the conflict does
not really exist and hopes that it will go away.
Accommodation involves playing down differences among the conflicting parties and
highlighting similarities and areas of agreement. This peaceful coexistence ignores the real
essence of a given conflict and often creates frustration and resentment.
Compromise - it
occurs when each party gives up something of value to the other. As a result of no one getting its
full desires, the antecedent conditions for future conflicts are established.
Competition – here
a victory is achieved through force, superior skill, or domination by one party. It may also occur
as a result of authoritative command, whereby a formal authority simply dictates a solution and
specifies what is gained and what is lost by whom. This is a case of win- lose situation and as a
result, future conflicts over the same issues are likely to occur.
Collaboration – it involves a recognition by all conflicting parties that something is wrong and
needs attention. It stresses gathering and evaluating information in solving disputes and making
Indirect conflict management approaches
Indirect conflict management approaches include reduced interdependence, appeals to common
goals, hierarchical referral, and alterations in the use of mythology and scripts (Schermerhorn et
Reduced Interdependence When work-flow conflicts exist, managers can adjust the level of
interdependency among units or individuals (Walton & Dutton, 1969). To reduce the conflict,
contact between conflicting parties may be reduced. The conflicting units can then be separated
from one another, and each can be provided separate access to resources. Buffering is another
technique to build an inventory, or buffer, between the two groups so that any output slowdown
or excess is absorbed by the inventory and does not directly pressure the target group.
Appeals to Common Goals An appeal to common goals can focus on the mutual interdependence
of the conflicting parties to achieve the common goal of an organization.
Hierarchical Referral – Here conflicts are reported to the senior levels to reconcile and solve.
Organizational change may be defined as the adoption of a new idea or a behavior by an
organization (Daft 1995). It is a way of altering an existing organization to increase
organizational effectiveness for achieving its objectives. Successful organizational change must
continually focus on making organizations responsive to major developments like changing
customer preferences, regulatory norms, economic shocks and technological innovations. Only
those organizations that are able to undertake suitable change programs, can sustain and survive
in a changing and demanding economic order in their bid to remain ahead of others in the race.
Know about the Forces of changes
Forces Of Changes
Forces for change are of two types:
Change in the top management- Change in the top management and consequent change in the
ideas to run the organization also leads to change in the system, structure and processes.
Change in size of the organization- Change in the organization’s size leads to change in the
internal structure and complexity of the operations in the organization.
Performance gaps- When a gap between set target and actual results (in terms of market share,
employee productivity and profit) is identified, organizations face the forces to change and
reduce the gap.
Employee needs and values- With changing needs and values of the employees, organizations
change their policies. For example, attractive financial incentives, challenging assignments,
vertical growth opportunities and autonomy at work may be provided in an organization to
attract and retain its effective employees.
Technology – Technological changes are responsible for changing the nature of the job
performed at all levels in an organization.
Business scenario- Due to rapid changes in the business scenario with increasing competition
and global economy, the needs and demands are also changing among the customers, suppliers
and other stakeholders. Organizations are, therefore, forced to change their operational methods
to meet the demands of the stakeholders.
Environmental factors – Environmental factors such as economic, political and demographic
factors play a vital role in devising organizational policies and strategy. For example,
organizations may have to change their employment policies in accordance with the government
policy, demand of the non-government organizations and changing economic conditions of a
Resistance To Change
Resistance to change may be of two types:
Change leads to insecurity among the employees because of its unknown consequences.
Employees do not know for certain whether the change will bring in better prospects. For
example, because of technological change people may feel threatened due to the fear of
obsolescence of skills, less wages and losing the job. Change sometimes leads to new dimensions
of work relationships. Due to organizational redesign, the employees may have to work with
other set of people than their existing co-workers with whom they have direct relationship, and it
is generally not welcome by most of the employees.
Change may bring some potential threat to the organizational power to some people. Therefore,
people try to resist change. The structural inertia in the bureaucratic organizations also hinders
change. Furthermore, resource constraints play a vital role in resistance to change.
Responses To Change
The responses to change depend upon the employees’ perception about the change. Different
individuals differ in their attitudes and hence, the perceptions towards change. Therefore, one
important task of the management of an organization is to understand and create a positive
attitude among employees regarding change.
Reactions to Change
Three major reactions to change are:
Anger- After employees have passed over the shock of the new situation, most people who view
the change as having a negative impact on their personal situation, many times, they will begin to
blame the management or talk ill about management. This agitation and anger, if not addressed,
may lead to some people actually trying to sabotage the change process by taking stances
varying between active non-cooperation and passive resistance.
Denial- Many people, depending on their basic values and beliefs, move from anger to
acceptance. However, there are a significant number of people who go through a denial phase. A
person going through this phase will make up excuses why he or she should not be held
accountable for anything that goes wrong with the organization as a result of the change. Such
attempts to disassociate from the new situation often cause the person to alienate oneself from
Acceptance- Once the person has accepted the change as real and that it is going to happen, he or
she begins to rationalize his or her role in the new situation. It is important to understand that not
only can an individual accept the situation and begin to work towards the new vision, but one can
also accept the situation as having a negative impact and choose to leave the organization. Either
way, the individual accepts the fact that the new environment exists.
Overcoming Resistance to Change
Some approaches can be taken to reduce the resistance to change. Some of them are listed
below (Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn 2000):
Education and communication -Open communication and proper education help employees to
understand the significance of change and its requirement. For that, proper initiative should be
taken to provide the information regarding the type, timing, implication, purpose and reason for
Employee participation and involvement- People generally get more committed towards the
change, if they are directly involved in the change process. This way, they have the opportunity
to clarify their doubts and understand the perspective and requirement of change for the
organization. The management also gets the chance to identify the potential problems that may
occur in the workplace and the chance to prevent it.
Facilitation and support- Change agent can offer a range of supportive measures to reduce
resistance. Empathetic and considerate listening can reduce employees’ fear and anxiety towards
change. Counselling sessions to reduce stress, trauma, etc., can be an effective measure.
Negotiation and agreement- Organizations which have a fair chance to face potential resistance
from the union representatives, can defuse the resistance by involving them directly in the
change process. They should be properly briefed about the need and value of change. However,
this can be a costly proposition when there is more than one dominant union in the organization,
as all the contending parties would fight for power and recognition.
Strategies For Change Management
According to Bennis, Benne and Chin (1969), four basic strategies can be adopted to manage
People are rational and will follow their self-interest once a change is revealed to them. Change
is based on the communication of information and the proffering of incentives.
People are social beings and adhere to cultural norms and values. Change is based on redefining
and reinterpreting existing norms and values, and developing people’s commitments to new
People are basically compliant and will generally do what they are told or can be made to do.
Change is based on the exercise of authority and the imposition of sanctions. According to
Nicklos (2004), there can be a fourth strategy in adapting to changes, i.e. environmental-
People oppose loss and disruption, but they adapt readily to new circumstances. Change is based
on building a new organization and gradually transferring people from the old one to the new
Toolkit for Managing Change
According to Nicklos (2004), some of the factors to select an effective change strategy and some
tips to manage change are described as follows.
Generally, there is no single change strategy. One can adopt a general or what is called a ‘grand
strategy’ but for any given initiative some mix of strategies serves best. Which of the preceding
strategies to use in your mix of strategies is a decision affected by a number of factors. Some of
the more important ones are:
Degree of resistance – Strong resistance argues for a coupling of power-coercive and
environmental-adaptive strategies. Weak resistance or concurrence argues for a combination of
empirical-rational and normative-re-educative strategies.
Target population -Large populations argue for a mix of all four strategies.
The stakes – High stakes also argue for a mix of all four strategies because when the stakes are
high, nothing can be left to chance.
The time frame- Short time frames argue for a power-coercive strategy. Longer time frames
argue for a mix of empirical-rational, normative-re-educative and environmental-adaptive
Expertise- Having adequate expertise at making change argues for some mix of the strategies
outlined above. Not having the expertise argues for reliance on the power-coercive strategy.
Dependency – This is a classic double-edged sword. If the organization is dependent on its
people, management’s ability to command or demand is limited. Conversely, if people are
dependent upon the organization, their ability to oppose or resist is limited. (Mutual dependency
almost always signals a requirement for some level of negotiation).