Organization behavior - American businessOrganization behavior (OB) is the study of the actions of individuals and groups within organizations. Important considerations are the individual employee and how he or she relates to others, both as individuals and groups within the organization. From this standpoint, most analyses are performed on the individual or group level. Each employee’s personality, values, and attitudes influences their behavior in group processes involving the performance of work, making decisions, and designing jobs. OB, however, should also be considered from the viewpoint of the entire organization, especially given the need for diversity and BUSINESS ETHICS as well as the impact of the global environment on the business. Motivation, leadership, the implementation of teams to perform work, communications, GOAL SETTING, and PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS are important components of OB. Motivation is the process of getting employees to focus on achieving the organization’s goals. There are two broad types of motivation: content and process. Content motivation looks at what specific things motivate employees. One theory advanced by Abraham Maslow postulated that an individual’s needs and wants ranged from a low of basic physiological needs (i.e., the things necessary for survival) to a high of self-actualization (i.e., becoming everything one is capable of becoming). Instead of addressing specific things that motivate people, PROCESS THEORIES look at how people are motivated. Psychologist Victor Vroom proposed a motivation process in which the employee made a decision regarding whether or not to work hard. If the employee wanted to get ahead, he/she would work harder. The increased effort would result in greater output, which in turn would result in the company offering the employee a variety of rewards. The employee accepted the reward that had the greatest value to him/her. LEADERSHIP is the process of guiding people to perform the organization’s work. Leaders use motivation as one of the techniques to inspire followers. Leadership roles are not confined to managers or executives; anyone in the organization can be a leader. While there are many different approaches to leadership, recent research finds that leaders can effectively challenge the way work is done because they have a long-term vision of where the organization needs to be for the business to be successful and grow, and thus they inspire and develop others to achieve the transformation. Throughout the process of accomplishing a goal, the leader sets the example to follow and the standard to achieve. Today many organizations are changing the decisionmaking process. Traditionally if there was a problem, the employee asked his/her superior or manager and then was given the appropriate directions. This process forced decision making up into higher organizational levels so that many day-to-day decisions were being made by individuals who were somewhat removed from the operations. The new approach in decision making is to reverse the process so that decisions are made at the lowest appropriate level, empowering employees who are closest to the problem to do what is best to solve it and assure good customer service. Frequently these decisions are not made by a single person but by a team of people. Self-directed teams are groups of individuals who come together to achieve common goals. They are knowledgeable in the unit’s work, share information, and help each other succeed. Members of a self-directed team work together to achieve organizational goals. In addition to helping each other, self-directed teams may also set their own goals and assess the performance of the group and the individual team members.
See also MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS; MOTIVATION THEORY.