Valassis Communications: A Case Study in Motivating for Performance

Topics: Organization, Non-profit organization, Human behavior Pages: 16 (5088 words) Published: October 13, 2014

Chapter Scan

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the environment of organizations for these changing times. It begins by providing an overview of behavior in organizations and the interdisciplinary origins of that behavior. Next, it describes the organizational context and presents the six focus organizations (Brinker International, Enron, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Patagonia, and the American Heart Association). Third, it points out the critical role of change and challenge, followed by a discussion of how people learn about organizational behavior. The chapter finishes by relating the various features of the book to learning styles and outlining the plan for the book.


After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

1.Define organizational behavior.
2.Identify six interdisciplinary contributions to the study of organizational behavior. 3.Identify the important system components of an organization. 4.Describe the formal and informal elements of an organization. 5.Understand the diversity of organizations in the economy, as exemplified by the six focus organizations. 6.Recognize the challenge of change for organizational behavior. 7.Demonstrate the value of objective knowledge and skill development in the study of organizational behavior.


Chapter 1 introduces the following key terms:

organizational behavior
formal organization
informal organization
Hawthorne studies
total quality management (TQM)
objective knowledge
skill development


I.THINKING AHEAD: Changing Administrations, Business, the Environment, and


Chapter one emphasizes the complexity of human behavior and group dynamics in organizations, and notes the impact of organizational variables. It describes human behavior as orderly and logical from the perspective of the organization, but stressful and confusing from the individual’s perspective. A special orientation of this text deals with approaches to learning and application of the skills necessary to become successful organizational members.

A.Understanding Human Behavior

Most of the theories and models of human behavior are categorized as either internal perspectives or external perspectives. Internal perspectives view behavior in terms of thoughts, feelings, past experiences, and needs of the individual. External perspectives explain behavior in terms of external events, consequences of behavior, and environmental forces. Example: "Mary is an excellent employee because she has a high need for achievement." (internal perspective), or in contrast, "Mary is an excellent employee because she is paid extremely well for her work." (external perspective).

B.Interdisciplinary Influences

Because of the complexity of organizations, several fields and disciplines of study have influenced the field of organizational behavior. Significant influences come from psychology, sociology, engineering, anthropology, management, and medicine. Definitions of the disciplines and contributions to organizational behavior are:

Psychology - the science of human behavior - Contributions in motivation, teamwork, power, leadership, training and development, and human resource planning. Sociology- the science of society - Contributions in group dynamics, roles, norms, and standards of behavior. Engineering - applied science of energy and matter - Contributions in understanding work design, human productivity and efficiency. Anthropology - science of human learned behavior – Contributions in understanding patterns of behavior, organizational culture and organization performance. Management – originally administrative science –...
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