Organisational Behaviour

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Organisational Behaviour|
Investigating People and Leadership Within the Workplace
22/11/11|

The term organisational behaviour (OB) is linguistic shorthand for the activities and interactions of people in organisations. Jack Wood (1995) notes that Fritz Roethlisberger first used the term ‘organisational behaviour’ in the late 1950s, because it suggested a broader range than human relations.

“Organisational behaviour is the study of the structure, functioning and performance of organisations, and the behaviour of group and individuals within them.” Pugh (1971: 9)

This definition covers a broad range of macro-organisational and micro-individual concerns. The Financial Times Mastering Management Series offers a more detailed definition:

“Organisational behaviour is one of the most complex and perhaps least understood academic elements of modern general management, but since it concerns the behaviour of people within organisations it is also one of the most central … its concern with individual and group patterns of behaviour makes it an essential element in dealing with the complex behavioural issues thrown up in the modern business world.” Financial Times Mastering Management Series (1997)

The study of organisations involves a range of subjects: extending from psychology, social psychology, sociology, economics and political science. It also draws in a lesser extent from history, geography and anthropology.

OB is important to companies because organisations can no longer rely on trends to predict future patterns, as organisations are no longer homogeneous workplaces. It’s fundamental to motivate and utilise the talent of staff and by studying the OB, it’s possible to gain a better understanding of the best way to do this. Understanding OB is a key aspect for increased opportunity and achievement in the business world. This knowledge is now considered as an asset to many organisations and is equally, if not more important, than equipment and materials. Especially when discussing a hospitality organisation, service is priority and if staff have the correct knowledge, it can lead to a greater experience for the customer. Learning is the procedure for gaining knowledge. Relating learning to the studied organisation, it’s viable to see that the organisation has a behaviourist approach to learning. However, we cannot learn without feedback: something that the organisation lacks.

As there is little or no evidence of good or bad behaviour being reinforced, the workforces are left to their own devices. When the workforce or a particular employee is doing something wrong, the manager will be annoyed with them but not actually address the issue with them. The workforce or employee will sense the aura of emotions around them and change their behaviour accordingly. This is defined in theory in Bandura’s social learning theory (1977, 1986) regarding socialisation. The employees are learning through the influence to conform to behaviours seen as desirable in an organisational environment.

Buchanan and Preston (1992: 69) quote a supervisor in an engineering plant saying:

“People only come to work for money. You’re not telling me that if you just left them they wouldn’t go and have a chat or sit down and read the newspaper. If you’re telling me that wouldn’t happen, then one of us is kidding and it isn’t me.”

This quote near enough describes the managements’ views of working at this organisation, so employees are deemed as just money-motivated. Maslow’s (1943, 1954, 1971) theory of motivation refers to nine innate needs or motives. According to the management, the employees are at just level one and two if they are money-motivated. However, looking at equity theory and the employee’s reaction to it shows that money is not just the main motivator for this workforce. There is proof to show that employees get angry about certain situations not relating to pay but other aspects of their...
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