Understanding and Managing Individual Behavior – how to focus and goals of organizational behavio


Focus of Organizational Behavior

Based predominantly on contributions from psychologists, this area includes such topics as attitudes, personality, perception, learning, and motivation. Second, OB is concerned with group behavior, which includes norms, roles, team building, leadership, and conict. Our knowledge about groups comes basically from the work of sociologists and social psychologists. Finally, OB also looks at organizational aspects including structure, culture, and human resource policies and practices. We’ve addressed group and organizational aspects in previous chapters. In this chapter, we’ll look at individual behavior.

Goals of Organizational Behavior

The goals of OB are to explain, predict, and influence behavior. Managers need to be able to explain why employees engage in some behaviors rather than others, predict how employees will respond to various actions and decisions, and influence how employees behave.

The cognitive component refers to the beliefs, opinions, knowledge, or information held by a person. The aective component is the emotional or feeling part of an attitude. The behavioral component refers to an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something.

Job satisfaction refers to a person’s general attitude toward his or her job. Job involvement is the degree to which an employee identifes with his or her job, actively participates in it, and considers his or her job performance to be important to his or her self-worth. Organizational commitment is the degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in that organization. Employee engagement is when employees are connected to, satisfied with, and enthusiastic about their jobs.

Job satisfaction positively inuences productivity, lowers absenteeism levels, lowers turnover rates, promotes positive customer satisfaction, moderately promotes OCB, and helps minimize counterproductive workplace behavior. Individuals try to reconcile attitude and behavior inconsistencies by altering their attitudes, altering their behavior, or rationalizing the inconsistency. Many organizations regularly survey their employees about their attitudes.

The MBTI measures four dimensions: social interaction, preference for gathering data, preference for decision making, and style of making decisions. The Big Five Model consists of five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. The five personality traits that help explain individual behavior in organizations are locus of control, Machiavellianism, self-esteem, self-monitoring, and risk-taking. Other personality traits include Type A/Type B personalities, proactive personality, and resilience. How people respond emotionally and how they deal with their emotions is a function of personality. A person who is emotionally intelligent has the ability to notice and to manage emotional cues and information.

perception and factors that influence it

Perception is how we give meaning to our environment by organizing and interpreting sensory impressions. Because people behave according to their perceptions, managers need to understand it. Attribution theory depends on three factors. Distinctiveness is whether an individual displays dierent behaviors in dierent situations (that is, is the behavior unusual).

Consensus is whether others facing a similar situation respond in the same way. Consistency is when a person engages in behaviors regularly and consistently. Whether these three factors are high or low helps managers determine whether employee behavior is attributed to external or internal causes.

The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to underestimate the inuence of external factors and overestimate the inuence of internal factors. The self-serving bias is the tendency to attribute our own successes to internal factors and to put the blame for personal failure on external factors. Three shortcuts used in judging others are assumed similarity, stereotyping, and the halo effect

learning theories and their relevance in shaping behavior

Operant conditioning argues that behavior is a function of its consequences. Managers can use it to explain, predict, and inuence behavior. Social learning theory says that individuals learn by observing what happens to other people and by directly experiencing something.Managers can shape behavior by using positive reinforcement (reinforcing a desired behavior by giving something pleasant), negative reinforcement (reinforcing a desired response by withdrawing something unpleasant), punishment (eliminating undesirable behavior by applying penalties), or extinction (not reinforcing a behavior to eliminate it).

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