n organization consists of individuals with different tasks attempting to accomplish a common purpose. (For a business, this purpose is the creation and delivery of goods or services for its customers.) Organizational behavior is the study of how individuals and groups perform together within an organization. It focuses on the best way to manage individuals, groups, organizations, and processes. Organizational behavior is an extensive topic and includes management, theories and practices of motivation, and the fundamentals of organizational structure and design. From the smallest nonprofit to the largest multinational conglomerate, firms and organizations all have to deal with the concept of organizational behavior. Knowledge about organizational behavior can provide managers with a better understanding of how their firm or organization attempts to accomplish its goals. This knowledge may also lead to ways in which a firm or organization can make its processes more effective and efficient, thus allowing the firm or organization to successfully adapt to changing circumstances. This chapter will help you better understand the theories and structures of organizational behavior. The chapter begins by discussing some of the basic characteristics of managers and management. It then
describes some of the popular theories and practical applications related to motivation and helps answer the question “What motivates employees and why does it motivate them?” The chapter then examines some of the fundamentals of organizational structure and describes ways in which organizational structures differ from one another. Finally it discusses a few methods by which organizations can control processes and outcomes.
As discussed in the next chapter, “Leadership and Team Building,” management used to be focused on direction and control. Now it is more involved with support and facilitation and the evolving notion of the manager as “coach.” In conjunction with this role as a supportive facilitator, managers are now focusing on efficiently and effectively utilizing the intellectual capital of an organization. Intellectual capital consists of the knowledge, expertise, and dedication of an organization’s workforce. The management of intellectual capital is necessary in order to get the most out of an organization’s material resources and achieve organizational goals. In practice, managers accomplish organizational goals through the process of defining goals, organizing structures, motivating employees, and monitoring performance and outcomes. In performing these processes a manager often takes on several different roles. These roles were described by Henry Mintzberg and include interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles. Interpersonal roles are ways in which a manager works and communicates with others. Informational roles are ways in which a manager acquires, processes, and shares information. Decisional roles are how a manager uses information to make decisions, which involves identifying opportunities and problems and acting on them appropriately, allocating resources, handling conflicts, and negotiating. In order to fill these roles effectively managers use skills that allow them to translate knowledge into action. Robert Katz describes three different sets of skills that managers use, including technical, human, and conceptual skills. Technical skills are used to perform a specialized task. They are learned both from experience and from
PEOPLE, MANAGEMENT, AND POLICY
education, and they can involve using a specific type of technology or process. Human skills are used when working with others and include, among other things, basic communications skills, persuasive ability, and conflict resolution. Conceptual skills are used in analyzing and solving complex interrelated problems. They...
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