Organizational Behavior and the Sociology of Work

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Organisational behaviour and the Sociology of Work
Dr. David Spicer

Organizational Behaviour is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. In OB people-organization relationships are interpreted and from studying the different topics of OB, better relationships can be built by achieving human objectives, organisational objectives and social objectives. (

Three of the many topics that fall under Organisational Behaviour are Motivation, Communication and Leadership which in this essay will be explained and analysed individually as well as in specific organisational examples to form a better understanding of their importance in organisations and the role they play in organisational behaviour.

Motivation involves the forces within a person that effect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behaviour (Work and Organizational Behaviour, John Bratton, 2010). Motivation plays an incredibly important role in the workplace as organisations are constantly trying to increase the efficiency of the way in which they are run whether their aims are to increase profits or employee satisfaction. Through their employees and what motivates them organisations can do this by using different motivation theories developed by different motivational theorists.

Two types of motivation that theorists have identified are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivators being factors that internally motivate individuals to perform tasks out of personal desire and Extrinsic motivators that involve motivating a person by something they have no control over such as increasing their pay or giving them a promotion.

This ties in to Content theories of motivation that all state individuals in an organization all have a set of basic needs and so need these fulfilled to be motivated. A very well known content theory being Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that as humans we all have five levels of needs and as we satisfy these needs we are motivated and so continue to satisfy needs on higher levels.

However to be able to apply such a theory in the workplace workers location on the hierarchy of needs would have to be indentified by their managers. Challenges in implementing a motivation theory such as Maslow’s include people responding to attempts to motivate them differently and trying to figure out what motivates each employee. In order to properly motivate employees, managers must know them and this is rarely the case due to organisations sizes especially with Trans National Corporations (TNCs).

This would also cost the organisation time and money and so depending on their financial position, trying to better get to know the employees of the organisation may be quite the challenge. In the current financial situation, this may be a time where this is a challenge for many organisations.

Theory X and Y is another content theory of motivation. Deveolped by Douglas McGregor, Theory X and Y are both attitudes managers in organisations have in regards to employees of that organisation and their motivation towards work in the workplace. Theory X managers believe employees are unmotivated to work, lack the drive to do and don’t take any enjoyment out of work. Google is a company where managers have the opposite belief. The belief that employees are motivated to work and take as much enjoyment out of work as they do their social life.

For this reason Theory Y managers at Google allow the employees to have very easy and relaxed rules in regards to working time and projects to work on and 20% of work time can be devoted to their own projects which motivates them to work hard. Allowing their employees to do things they enjoy and take so much satisfaction out of their job causes motivation levels to be very and high and so efficiency to be at a high level also.

Individuals in the workplace aren’t all...
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