Organizational Behavior and Opportunity
L E A R N I N G
O U T C O M E S
4 Describe the formal and informal elements of an
organization. 5 Understand the diversity of organizations in the economy. 6 Evaluate the opportunities that change creates for organizational behavior.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following: 1 Define organizational behavior. 2 Identify four action steps for responding positively in times of change. 3 Identify the important system components of an organization.
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Organizations have been described as clockworks, but they often seem like snake pits.
LEARNING OUTCOME 1
Human Behavior in Organizations
Human behavior in organizations is complex and often difficult to understand. Organizations have been described as clockworks in which human behavior is logical and rational, but they often seem like snake pits to those who work in them.1 The clockwork metaphor reflects an orderly, idealized view of organizational behavior devoid of conflict or dilemma because all the working parts (the people) mesh smoothly. The snake pit metaphor conveys the daily conflict, distress, and struggle in organizations. Each metaphor reflects reality from a different perspective—the organization’s versus the individual’s point of view. These metaphors reflect the complexity of human behavior, the dark side of which is seen in cases of air rage and workplace violence. On the positive side, the Gallup Organization’s Marcus Buckingham suggests that people’s psychological makeup is at the heart of the emotional economy.2 This chapter introduces organizational behavior. The first section provides an overview of human behavior in organizations, its interdisciplinary origins, and behavior in times of change. The second section presents an organizational context within which behavior occurs and briefly introduces the six focus companies used selectively in the book. The third section highlights the opportunities that exist in times of change and challenge for people at work.3 The fourth section addresses the ways people learn about organizational behavior and explains how the text’s pedagogical features relate to the various learnopportunities ing styles. The final section Favorable times or chances for presents the plan for the progress and advancement. book. change Organizational behavThe transformation or modification ior is individual behavior and of an organization and/or its group dynamics in organizastakeholders. tions. The study of organizational behavior is primarily challenge concerned with the psychoThe call to competition, contest, social, interpersonal, and or battle. behavioral dynamics in orgaorganizational behavior nizations. However, organiThe study of individual behavior and zational variables that affect group dynamics in organizations. human behavior at work are 3
7 Demonstrate the value of objective knowledge and
skill development in the study of organizational behavior.
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also relevant to the study of organizational behavior. These organizational variables include jobs, the design of work, communication, performance appraisal, organizational design, and organizational structure.
perspectives with his claim that behavior is a function the person and the environment.4
Organizational behavior is a blended discipline that has grown out of contributions from numerous earlier fields of study. The sciences of psychology, sociology, engineering, anthropology, management, and medicine have each contributed to our understanding of human behavior in organizations. These interdisciplinary influences have evolved into the independent discipline of organizational behavior. Psychology, the science of human behavior, developed during the closing decades of the nineteenth century....
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