Chapter 1 - Introducing contemporary organizational behaviour
Chapter 2 - The social nature of work
Chapter 3 - Studying work and organizations
Chapter 4 - Personality and self-identity
Chapter 5 - Perception and emotions
Chapter 6 - Motivation
Chapter 7 - Learning
Chapter 8 - Class, gender, race and equality
Chapter 9 - Diversity and people management
Chapter 10 - Groups and teams
Chapter 11 - Communication
Chapter 12 - Leadership
Chapter 13 - Decision-making, ethics and social responsibility
Chapter 14 - Power, politics and conflict
Chapter 15 - Structure
Chapter 16 - Technology
Chapter 17 - Culture
To help you develop your understanding of the subject, we have developed an activity that requires you to maintain a learning journal or log. A learning journal is a simple and straightforward way to help you integrate content, process, personal thoughts and personal work experience of organizational behaviour. Learning logs operate from the stance that people learn from reflection and through writing.
We suggest you make an entry in your log after each completed week of class time. Properly understood and used, learning journals assist the learning process by becoming a vehicle for understanding the complex nature of human behaviour in the workplace. Visit the website http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/logs for information on the value of learning journals.
Learning journals are concise, objective, factual and impersonal in tone. The following questions could be used to guide you in making thoughtful entries in your learning journal about organizational behaviour:
- What did I learn in class this week?
- What did I find interesting?
- How well does the material connect with my work experience?
- How well does the organizational behaviour material connect with my other management courses?
- What questions do I have for the instructor about what I learned?
- Later in the book, we shall be asking you to use your completed learning journal to help evaluate your studies of organizational behaviour.
On an individual basis, or working in a small group, visit the following websites and write a brief report of the research and practical issues associated with (a) home-working, and (b) work–life balance: www.berr.gov.uk; www.tca.org.uk; www.theworkfoundation.com/difference/e4wlb.aspx.
- What is the source of societal and organizational conflict?
- What is the relationship between consciousness (the ‘self’ or ‘inside’) and society or social structure (the ‘outside’)?
topwww.microsoft.com/uk/graduates), Sainsbury’s (www.sainsburys.co.uk), British Airways (www.britishairways.com), and Santander (www.santander.com). What personality attributes are these organizations seeking when they recruit new employees?
Go to www.queendom.com/tests.html and www.psychometricadvantage.co.uk (search for psychometrics) and examine the psychometric tests. Some of these you may take yourself without applying for a job. How accurate, in your view, is your personality profile as revealed by any of the psychometric tests? Do your close friends agree with the assessment? Which kind of psychometric tests do you suppose would be more effective in revealing the more important aspects of your personality? Why? How much weight should organizations give to psychometric test results in employment selection? Explain your reasoning. Write a report detailing your findings.
Get a copy of the recruitment pages of a national newspaper or a professional publication, such as People Management or The Economist. From the advertisements, identify a selection of the recruiting organizations that differ from each other and provide details of their websites. Browse each of the sites, particularly looking at the pages aimed at potential job applicants. It would be ideal if you could do this with a colleague or friend so you can have a discussion about it.
Consider these questions:
- What are your perceptions of each organization as a potential employer?
- Are they your kind of place?
- Try to identify what perceptual cues from the advertisement and websites captured your attention, and the prior knowledge and expectations that led you to your conclusions. To what extent can you apply social categorization theory to explain your attraction or aversion to each organization?
Compaq Computers (www.compaq.com)
Airbus Industrie (www.airbus.com)
General Electric (www.ge.com)
Virgin Airlines (www.virgin.com).
When there, go to the ‘Company overview’ and the human resource management section of the site, and look at the language, assumptions and espoused values. Evaluate the organization’s dominant culture in the light of our discussion in this chapter. Write a report that draws out the common features.
Alternatively, go to the websites of a number of universities, and compare and contrast your own university with others in the UK or abroad. As a guide to your search, ask the following questions: What artefacts are displayed that expresses the institution’s culture? (Hint: do departments display the publications of the teaching faculty?) In the advertising material, does the institution emphasize teaching excellence, research or both? What are the President’s espoused values? What rituals and ceremonies dramatize the institution’s culture? What practices shape the university’s culture? (Hint: ask your lecturer what is the most important criterion for promotion – excellence in teaching or the number of articles/books published.) Do the visible artefacts and processes provide a guideline for behaviour at the university? If so, why?
Specifically, this assignment requires you to critically evaluate these assumptions. First, go to the following websites for more information on life-long learning: www.lifelonglearning.co.uk; www.lifelonglearning.co.uk/llp/index.htm. Second, choose two companies, enter their websites, and evaluate how each company provides for continuous work-related learning. What are the company’s objectives with regard to work-related learning? How does the company’s learning strategy relate, if at all, to its business strategy? Is there any evidence that work-related learning benefits both individual employees and the company? What role should work-related learning play in the workplace?
First, take some time to think of some of the issues faced by LGBT employees. Then go to the following website and see Raytheon’s perspective: www.raytheon.com/newsroom/feature/equal0606.
top http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/research-evaluation/wers-2004, and use its information to consider these questions:
- In UK workplaces, who is ‘strategic’ about employment relations?
- In recent years, have workplaces become more strategic in their people management? Try to explain the findings.
For this assignment, we would like you to gain more information on work teams by visiting www.workteams.org and www.berr.gov.uk. In addition, you are asked to explore examples of team working in European and North American companies by visiting the following websites: www.honda.com; www.sony.com; http://ptcpartners.com/Team/home.htm; www.berr.go.uk.
What main principles can be identified as ‘good’ job design when applied to work teams? Looking at the companies that have introduced teams, what behaviours or ‘norms’ are expected of employees? How does the team-based model impact on other aspects of management such as human resource management? Discuss your findings with other students on your course.
This web-based assignment requires you to investigate the extent of communication processes in workplaces in Britain. Visit the website for the Findings from the 2004 Workplace Survey – www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/research-evaluation/wers-2004 – and review the survey findings. What arrangements for direct communications with employees are most popular in (a) the private sector, and (b) the public sector? Based on your understanding of this chapter, what ‘downward’ communications arrangements do you believe are most effective? Explain your answer.
topwww.cmctraining.org (which includes self-assessment quizzes); www.ourcommunity.com.au/leadership (this Australian website including a selection of ‘Great Leadership Speeches’). Select a particular professional group, such as engineers. What leadership competencies do individuals need to display to be effective in the profession? Do ‘leadership competencies’ appear to have a gender bias? If so, why? Report your findings to your seminar group.
This web-based assignment requires you to investigate the extent of decentralized decision-making processes. We would like you visit the websites for the findings from the 2004 Workplace Survey: www.workteams.org; www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/research-evaluation/wers-2004/
What type of manager–employee decision-making processes are you likely to find in the workplace? What issues are discussed at these decentralized committees? What appears to be excluded from discussion? Do committees make ‘good’ decisions? Explain your answer.
After reviewing the material, do as we began to do in the last section of this chapter: test the assumptions of the conceptualizations of power in this issue against the broader social theories of power we outlined in the first half of the chapter.
This web-based assignment requires you to explore the web to find a site that displays an organizational chart, or that discusses a method of managing its structure. For example, enter the website of Dell Computers (www.dell.com), Canadian TV and media company Globalmedia (www.globalmedia.ca) or car manufacturer Saturn (www.saturn.com) for an example of a ‘flatter’ organizational structure.
Consider these questions:
- What kind of organizational structure does the company have (for example, in terms of decision making, is it centralized or decentralized)?
- In what ways is the organizational structure appropriate for the company?
Visit http://inventors.about.com/od/astartinventions/a/FamousInvention.htm, which does not present a definitive historical account of the origins of different technologies (in the broader sense), but is worth exploring to begin to gain a sense of how technology developed. Based on this, you can then build a deeper and more critical appreciation for how and why specific forms of technology emerged, and in turn, why they affect organizations in the way that they do.
Cosmetics retailer The Body Shop, at www.thebodyshop.com
US entertainment corporate giant Disney, at http://disney.go.com
Swedish homeware chain IKEA, at www.ikea-group.ikea.com
South American agricultural and food giant Bunge at www.bunge.com/about.html.
- What kind of organizational culture do these organizations have (for example, what are their espoused values)?
- What would critical theorists make of the cultures at these companies (or any others you have found)?