Organizational Behavior
eBook - ePub

Organizational Behavior

Securing Competitive Advantage

John A. Wagner III, John R Hollenbeck

  1. 464 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
  4. Disponible sur iOS et Android
eBook - ePub

Organizational Behavior

Securing Competitive Advantage

John A. Wagner III, John R Hollenbeck

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À propos de ce livre

The management of organizational behavior is a critically important source of competitive advantage in today's organizations. Managers must be able to capitalize on employees' individual differences as jobs are designed, teams are formed, work is structured, and change is facilitated. This textbook, now in its third edition, provides its readers with the knowledge required to succeed as managers under these circumstances.

In this book, John Wagner and John Hollenbeck make the key connection between theory and practice to help students excel as managers charged with the task of securing competitive advantage. They present students with a variety of helpful learning tools, including:

‱ Coverage of the full spectrum of organizational behavior topics

‱ Managerial models that are based in many instances on hundreds of research studies and decades of management practice – not the latest fad

‱ Completely new introductory mini-cases and updated examples throughout the text to help students contextualize organizational behavior theory and understand its application in today's business world

This ideal book for upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students of organizational behavior is written to motivate exceptional student performance and contribute to their lasting managerial success. Online resources, including PowerPoint slides and test banks, round out this essential resource for instructors and students of organizational behavior.

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Part I

Chapter 1
Organizational Behavior

Jane Sun, chief executive officer (CEO), oversees, Asia’s largest online travel agency. Formerly known as, operates a transaction platform consisting of mobile apps, internet websites, and regional customer service units that enables the company to offer one-stop travel services to anywhere in the world. Included are reservation services for more than 1.4 million hotels and 1.2 million vacation rental properties and ticket services for air, bus, and train routes in over 200 countries. Under Sun’s leadership, the company has posted growth of up to 18 percent per year, growing to $4.7 billion in revenue in 2018.1
Imagine that you are the regional manager of’s North American division and that CEO Sun has asked you to develop a program to increase the productivity of employees in your sales and service operations. Initial assessments indicate that your employees have the skills and abilities required to perform their jobs, suggesting that instances of lower-than-acceptable productivity are due to problematic employee motivation. To help you develop an effective motivational program, you call in four highly recommended management consultants.
After analyzing your company’s situation, the first consultant states that many of today’s jobs are so simple, monotonous, and uninteresting that they dampen employee motivation and fulfillment. As a result, employees become so bored and resentful that productivity falls off. This consultant recommends that you redesign your firm’s jobs in order to make them more complex, stimulating, and fulfilling. Employees challenged by these new jobs will feel motivated to improve performance, leading to higher workforce productivity and reduced production costs.
The second consultant performs her own assessment of your company. As she reviews her findings, she agrees that monotonous work can reduce employee motivation. She says, however, that the absence of clear, challenging goals is an even greater threat to motivation and productivity at your firm. Challenging goals provide performance targets that draw attention to the work to be done and focus employee effort on achieving success. The second consultant advises you to solve your company’s productivity problem by implementing a program of formal goal setting.
The third consultant conducts an investigation and concedes that both job design and goal setting can improve employee motivation. She suggests, however, that you consider establishing a contingent payment program. Contingent payment means paying employees according to their performance instead of giving them fixed salaries or hourly wages. For instance, salespeople may be paid commissions on their sales, production employees may be paid piece-rate wages according to their productivity, and executives may be paid bonuses based on their firm’s profitability. The consultant points out that contingent payment programs change the way wages are distributed but not necessarily the amount of wages paid to the workforce as a whole.
Finally, the fourth consultant examines your situation as well as the three approaches proposed by the others. He agrees that any of these approaches might work but describes another technique that is often used to deal with motivational problems – permitting employees to participate in decision-making. He suggests that such participation gives employees a sense of belonging or ownership that energizes productivity. To support his recommendation, he recites an impressive list of companies – among them General Motors, IBM, and General Electric – that have established well-known employee participation programs.
Later, alone in your office, you consider the four consultants’ reports and conclude that you should probably build all four alternatives into your program – in case one or more of the consultants are wrong. Unfortunately, you also realize that can only afford the time and resources needed to implement one of the recommendations. What should you do? Which alternative should you choose?
According to research combining the results of nearly a hundred studies that have compared the effectiveness of these alternatives, if you choose the first option, job redesign, productivity would probably rise by 9 percent.2 The possibility of an increase of this size would likely lead to implementation of your program, and that implementation would contribute to additional company growth as well as CEO Sun’s lasting gratitude. If you choose the second alternative, goal setting, productivity would probably increase by 16 percent.3 This outcome would strengthen your company considerably, and it might even put you in the running for a promotion. If you choose the third alternative, contingent payment, productivity could be expected to increase by approximately 30 percent.4 A gain of this magnitude would certainly power company growth and could even lead to a place for you in the company’s executive suites.
But what about the fourth alternative, employee participation in decision-making? How might this approach affect productivity, where low performance is attributable to poor motivation? Knowing that managers are choosing participatory programs on a regular basis to solve motivation problems, you might think that this alternative should work at least as well as the other three. Surprisingly, however, participation usually has no meaningful effect on productivity problems caused by poor motivation. It can certainly have other positive effects, for example, increasing commitment to participatory decisions or facilitating the distribution of information among participants. Despite the fourth consultant’s suggestion, however, employee participation is likely to improve motivation and performance only when combined with one or more of the other three alternatives.5 If you choose participation, your program would likely fail to motivate as expected, and you might find yourself looking for a new job.
How realistic is this story? In fact, the predicament it portrays is an everyday problem as suggested by experts throughout the world who have pointed out many instances of low organizational productivity, often identifying “people problems” as an important factor in causing these situations.6 Solving such problems is critical to company survival and growth in today’s competitive environment. Knowing which solutions to choose and how to implement them will differentiate organizations that succeed and thrive from those that fail. Such knowledge is thus a clear source of competitive advantage and success.
More generally, competitive success depends on the ability to produce some product or service that is perceived as valuable by some group of purchasers and to do so in a way that no one else can duplicate.7 At first glance, there appear to be many ways to accomplish this feat. Most experts agree, however, that an organization’s employees are its foremost source of competitive advantage. If your company employs the best people and is able to retain them, it enjoys a competitive edge not easily duplicated by other firms. If your company also has the “know-how” to properly manage its employees, it has an advantage that can be sustained and even strengthened over time.8
The know-how needed to solve motivational productivity problems, like those focused upon in our opening example, can be found in the field of organizational behavior. Without this knowledge, managers have no solid basis for accepting any one consultant’s advice or for choosing one particular way to solve people problems instead of another. With it, managers have the guidance needed to avoid costly or even catastrophic mistakes and instead make effective choices that secure competitive success. The management of people through the application of knowledge from the field of organizational behavior is a primary means through which competitive advantage can be created and sustained.

Defining Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is a field of study that endeavors to understand, explain, predict, and change human behavior as it occurs in the organizational context. Underlying this definition are three important considerations:
  1. Organizational behavior focuses on observable behaviors, such as talking in a meeting, running production equipment, or writing a report. It also deals with the internal states, such as thinking, perceiving, and deciding, that accompany visible actions.
  2. Organizational behavior involves the analysis of how people behave both as individuals and as members of groups and organizations.
  3. Organizational behavior also assesses the “behavior” of groups and organizations per se. Neither groups nor organizations “behave” in the same sense that people do. Nevertheless, some events occur in organizations that cannot be explained in terms of individual behavior. These events must be examined in terms of group or organizational processes.
Research in organizational behavior traces its roots to the late 1940s, when researchers in psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and other social sciences joined together in an effort to develop a comprehensive body of organizational knowledge. As it has developed, the field of organizational behavior has grown into three relatively distinct subfields, delineated in Table 1.1: micro organizational behavior, meso organizational behavior, and macro organizational behavior.9
Table 1.1 Subfields of Organizational Behavior
Subfield Focus Origins

Micro organizational behavior Individuals Experimental, clinical, and organizational psychology
Meso organizational behavior Groups Communication, social psychology, and interactionist sociology, plus the origins of the other two subfields
Macro organizational behavior Organizations Sociology, pol...

Table des matiĂšres

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication Page
  6. Contents
  7. Part I Introduction
  8. Part II Micro Organizational Behavior
  9. Part III Meso Organizational Behavior
  10. Part IV Macro Organizational Behavior
  11. Part V Conclusion
  12. Author Index
  13. Subject Index