W4dq:managing individuals and their behaviour for organizational effectiveness

Managing Individuals and Their Behavior for Organizational Effectiveness Although most people believe that understanding the human behavior is an intuitive phenomenon, many believes such as “ a happy worker is a productive worker” may either be true or entirely untrue in any set of specific conditions. According to Robins (2012), Organizational behavior “ is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organizations effectiveness”.
The main focus of organizational behavior is to improve the productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve job satisfaction and hence organizational effectiveness. It presents both opportunities and challenges to the manager in the organization while enhancing prospects of improving their managerial skills. Organizational behavior acknowledges and recognizes the workforce and work place diversity and identifies necessary changes to existing practices for better management. Through the practical implementation of the organizational behavior, managers can improve the quality and productivity of the employees by empowering employees, facilitating them in balancing the conflicts in work and life priorities and implementing change projects. Further, organizational behavior is a tool that allows managers to create an ethical and conducive work environment.
Proxemics is the study of use of territorial or personal space by the individuals (Nelson and Quick 2010). For a manager, it is essential to consider the design of work place and maintain the environment that facilitate the routine working of the organization because perception of personal space varies across cultures and people become uncomfortable when they operate in personal spaces than those they are familiar with. Personal space tends to be larger in regions with cold climate than the regions with warm weather. McShane and Glinow (2007) highlight that physical space of the employee plays significant role in effectiveness of communication. One arrangement is individual offices that allow greater personal space in comparison to open space arrangements where all employees including management work in the same office space. According to McShane and Glinow (2007), “ open office design tends to increase employee stress due to loss of personal space and privacy”.
According to Alpert (2013), culture is the set of “ values, norms, and traditions that affect the way a member of a group typically perceives, thinks, interacts, behaves, and makes judgments”. The culture has major influence on perception of day to day routine activities and by large impacts their functions. The recognition and awareness of own culture, other cultural practices, tolerant attitude towards culturally diverse practices and skills to handle this diversity helps employees to interact effectively among different cultures. According to Walton (1994), the most cultural diversity exists in the workplace, more training may be required in developing cultural competency. They highlight that the cultural problems can range from miscommunication to actual conflicts that threaten the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
Some cultures are individualistic when people tend to go alone like in United States while other are community oriented called collective cultures which value cooperation where members feel pride in being associated to a specific group like in Japan. According to Samovar, Porter, Mcdaniel and Roy (2012), in collective cultures, which make majority of the world cultures, greater emphasis on view, needs and goals of the group is made rather than the individual objectives. In workplace, team building may become complex because teams are generally composed of people that belong to different cultures. Effective team building in a cross cultural context is critical for benefiting from advantages of workplace cultural diversity. According to Scheuplein (2009), in culturally diverse teams, the strength of individual team members can be combined to create effective teams. If the cultural diversity in the group is not managed well, then potential for decreased group cohesion, conflicts, lack of trust and miscommunication among team members increases. These poorly managed interactions would have negative impact on the organizational effectiveness and productivity. Iles and Hayers (1997) stress that it is essential to have “ time spent establishing and developing working culture that requires regular feedback and communication and attention to what is acceptable and unacceptable for both individuals and group”.
Each post in any organization is assigned a particular authority over his subordinates to get the assigned responsibility and tasks accomplished. It is essential for the manager to maintain the behavior and adopt such leadership style that enables the lower staff to respect his authority. There may be certain individuals who believe in not respecting the authority of their managers which makes overall management of the team a difficult subject because if not handled properly, it may influence and corrupt the behavior of other individuals in the organization. In such scenario, private meetings and regular follow-ups with the individuals may prove effective tools in managing the behavior. One aspect of creating effective teams is empowering the employees to make decision and act on their own which is opposite to the bureaucratic style of management having a layer of authorities which have the power to influence the behavior of lower people (Keen 2003). Delegation of authority to lower staff largely depends on their ability in identification of problems taking appropriate actions.
According to Boundless (2013), “ Nonverbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people”. Mietusch (2012) highlights that communication problems can arise among the members of virtual teams due to lack of nonverbal communication. This situation may cause generalizations and assumptions among the team members about the ineffectiveness of a particular culture, which in turn can render the organization as not effective.
Culture also differ in their perspective of time. Such differences may include work and family life balance, and “ work place mix between work and social behavior” (Alpert 2013). Cultural differences may include perception of working overtime and the understanding of a how to deal with deadlines. The cultural diversity resulting in different perceptions of time can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication at workplace with regard to meeting schedules and deadlines. Alpert (2013) argue that perception of time emphasizes that significance of cultural diversity in building and managing effective teams.
Daft (2008) defines workforce diversity as a workforce made of people having different qualities or belonging to different cultures and age groups. For example, White (2011) highlight four types of generations in the United States workforce like traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X and generation Y or Millennials each having its own set of characteristics. Since there are differences among us in approaching a particular job, researchers have turned rethinking the influence of generation gap at the workplace. Wong, Gardiner, Land and Coulon (2008) suggested that “ Even when differences have been observed, these have related more to age than generation”.
Alpert, R. 2013. Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace. [online] Available at: http://www. diversityresources. com/cultural-diversity-workplace. htm [Accessed: 24 Oct 2013].
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Wong, M., Gardiner, E., Lang, W. and Coulon, L. 2008. Generational Differences in Personality and Motivation. Do They Exist and What Are the Implications For the Workplace?. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23 (8).