Stephen P. Robbins states in the “Organizational Behavior 9/e” textbook that Organizational Behavior is a field of study, because many people in the organizational field spend time examining the behavior of people (p.1) . I learned in my prior Organizational Behavior class in undergraduate school, that Organizational Behavior is a “fractional field” of study because of the various disciplines that it encompasses. There are disciplines such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and Economics, along with applied fields of study such as Industrial Psychology, Political Science, Labor Relations, Human Resource Management, and Organizational Development. For this reason, it is an “Applied Science.” Organizations themselves are ever changing, as are the people in them. The organizations adapt to change better than the people do. People are resistant to change, and are comfortable with what they know from past behaviors. Robbins states that, “three major aspects of behavior” are focused on when examining the behavior of people in work settings. The three aspects are “individuals, groups, and structures (p.1).” When examining individuals, there are three topics that are researched.
These are how personality, attitudes, and motivation affect work (p.1). There is a lot of attention being paid to the behavior of employees of groups, because of the evolution of team formation over the last few years. Robbins states that people “work under a certain structure (p. 1).” This is where socialization and the organizational culture affect employees. Socialization is where an employee joins an organization, and forms expectations about what the organization will do for them, plus what they will do for the organization. The organizational culture is developed over time, and is a “pattern of shared values and beliefs.” There should be a fit between culture, people, tasks, strategy, and structure. This is why the research on Organizational Behavior is more of a “systematic study” than just relying on “intuition” alone (p. 1). It is believed that Organizational Behavior and Organizational Culture are tied together, and when the two are combined, the outcomes may affect performance. The best example that I have of Organizational Behavior, Culture, and Socialization being tied together in a work setting is when I worked for the Nutrition and Food Service (N&FS) Department a several years ago.
The employees in the medical center kitchen were bonded together by time in job. Most of the staff had been working together for years. They were not receptive to new employees, and I always loved to work. There were two or three “clicks” or groups. I was lucky and ended up with the “good employees” that liked to work. There was one group that were WG-3s and they thought that they were high enough in the organization that they did not have to do anything. I would do all of my work, and two other ladies, Carol, and Geraldine, would all get together and clean stock rooms and walk-in coolers. I had been told to slow down, because I was making the older people look bad to the supervisor. I told them that they were making themselves look bad. When I got a full-time job above some of the part-timers that had been there for years, I was “black-balled.”
I had to tell my husband (married at the time) that they may call and tell him that I was having an affair (their favorite thing to do), and that he just had to ignore them. The old VA culture was one that employees could stand around and do nothing, while a few employees did everything. After a few employees of that service got fired, they learned that it was a “right to work” agreement and most have started to pick up the pace in recent years. Since I have been out of that job, I see the employees at break, and realize how much all have in common. I am in a wild position at this time. I have just learned that I was qualified for a job as a Supervisor in N&FS and am going to be scheduled for an interview. Since I know their past behaviors, I bet some of them are really hoping that I do not get the job, and the ones that told me to slow down, I bet they are really hoping that I do not get the job.
Notes from prior Organizational Behavior lecture class from East Tennessee State University, 2000.
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