Organizational Behavior Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 31 October 2016

Organizational Behavior

Question 1

What is attribution theory? What are three determinants of attribution? What are its implications for explaining organizational behaviour?

Attribution theory

A theory that explains how individuals pinpoint the causes of their own behaviour and that of others. People will believe others actions to be caused by internal or external factors based on three types of information: Distinctiveness, Consensus and Consistency. The attributions may not always accurate. For example, an executive with Capital Cities Communications/ABC who had a very positive relationship with his boss was not held responsible for profit problems in his district. The boss blame problem on the econonmy. Supervisors and employees who share perceptions and attitudes tends to evaluate each other highly. Supervisors and employees who do not share perceptions and attitudes are more likely to blame each other for performance problems. Kelleys proposed that individuals make attributions based on information given.

Three determinants of attribution


Information regarding the extent to which other people behave in the same manner as the person being judged. For example, If lots of people find Amina attractive, consensus is high. If only Ali finds Amina attractive, consensus is low. High consensus is attributed to the stimulus (in the above example, to Amina), while low consensus is attributed to the person (in this case the person is Ali).


Information regarding the extent to which other people behave in the same manner as the person being contexts. There is a low distinctiveness if an individual behaves similarly in all situations, and there exists a high distinctiveness when the person only shows the behaviour in particular situations. If the distinctiveness is high, one will attribute this behaviour more to the circumstance instead of person. For examples, Alfi is complimenting Muzammil’s work, if Alfi almost never compliments other people’s work, he shows high distinctiveness. But if he also compliments everybody’s work, this is low distinctiveness, and one will attribute the behaviour to the person.


Information regarding the extent to which other people behave in the same manner as the person being judged acts the same way at other times. Example: If Ariff is generous all the time, she shows high consistency. If Ariff is rarely generous or is generous only at specific times, perhaps around the holidays, she shows low consistency. High consistency is attributed to the person (Ariff is a generous person), while low consistency is attributed to the circumstance (the holidays make people generous). Essentials of Organizational Behaviour 10th edition. Stephen P. Robbins, Tim Judge . Publisher: Prentice Hall 2010 What are its implications for explaining organizational behaviour? The process by which persons interpret and pinpoint causes for their own personal and other’s behaviour is the theory of attribution.

In this motivational theory, a person always finds a way to explain things, he make inferences on why things or events occur. After explaining the events a person then predicts future events through his inferences. He wants to understand the reasons or causes behind behaviour of people and why events happen. It was first proposed by Fritz Heider in 1958 and further developed by Harold Kelly and Bernard Weiner. he attribution theory explains how individuals pinpoint the causes of their own behavior and that of other people. There are two sources of “power” that human beings believe are responsible for the outcome of their own actions.

One source is internal; we normally relate success and elements under our control as an internal attribution. The second source is external: we normally relate failure and elements out of our control as an external attribution. Success in the workplace can simultaneously alternate between internal and external. You might have been prepared and researched for a project and believed your success was internal. On the other hand, you may believe you were lucky to have done such a great job on a project, attributing your success to external forces.

Question 2

What Fiedler`s contigengy model? Has it been supported in research?

Fiedler`s Contingency Theory

Fiedler`s Contingency Theory of leadership proposes that the fit between the leader`s need structure and the favorableness of the leader`s situation determines the teams effectiveness in work accomplishment. This theory assumes that leaders are either task oriented or relationship oriented, depending on how the leaders obtain their primary and gratification. Task oriented leaders are primarily gratified by accomplishing task and work done. Relationship oriented leaders are primarily gratified by developing good, comfortable interpersonal relationships. The effectiveness of both types of leaders depends on the favorableness of their situation. The theory classifies the favorableness of their situation.

The Least Preferred Coworker

Fiedler`s classifies leaders using the LPC Scale. The LPC Scale is a projective technique through which a leader is asked to think about the person with whom he or she can work least well. The leader is asked to describe this coworker using sixteen eight-point bipolar adjective sets. Friendly : : : : : : : : Unfriendly

Leaders who describe their LPC in positive terms are classified as high LPC, or relationship oriented, leaders, Those who describe their LPC in negative terms are classified as low LPC or task oriented leaders Situational Favorableness

There are three dimensions of leaders situation: task-structure, position power, and lead-member relation. Task-structure refer as the degree of clarity or ambiguity in the work activities, assigned to the group. Power position refers to the authority associated with the leaders formal position in the organization. The quality of member-leader relations is measured by the Group Atmosphere Scale, composed of nine eight-point bipolar adjective sets Friendly : : : : : : : : : Unfriendly

Accepting : : : : : : : : : Rejecting

A favorable leadership situation is one with a structured task for the work group, strong position power for leader and good leader-member relations. By contrast, an unfavorable leadership situation is one unstructured task, weak position power for leader and moderately poor leader-member relations. Between these two extremes, the leadership situation has varying degrees of moderate favorableness for the leader.

Issues on Fiedler`s theory supported

Fiedler`s contigency theory has been a controversial element in contigency theory. It has been critiqued conceptually and methodologically because it is a projective technique with low measurement reliability. However, it is supported in research since Fiedler`s theory makes an important contribution in drawing our attention to leaders situation. (J.T Mahon, “The Contigency Theory: Logic And Method Revisited”, Personnel Psychology 25 (1972) pg 697-710)

Question 3
Define group. What are the different types of groups?
Definition of group

A group is a two or more individual who interact regularly with each other to accomplish a common purpose or goal. According to Marvin Shaw, “a group comprises, of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person’. The key parts of this definition are the concepts of interaction and influence, which also limit the size of the group. It is difficult for members to interact sufficiently in a large group.

Groups or work teams are the primary tools used by managers. Managers need groups to co-ordinate individual behavior in order to reach the organizational goals. Groups can make a manager’s job easier because by forming a group, he need not explain the task to each and every individual. A manager can easily co¬ordinate with the work of an individual by giving the group a task and allow them to co-ordinate with each other. But for a group to work effectively, the interactions between its members should be productive. Therefore, managers must pay attention to the needs of individuals.

Types of Groups

In an organization, there are three types of groups, which are as follows:

•Functional or formal groups

Functional groups are the groups formed by the organization to accomplish different organizational purposes. According to A L Stencombe, “a formal group is said to be any social arrangement in which the activities of some persons are planned by others to achieve a common purpose”. These groups are permanent in nature. They have to follow rules, regulations and policy of the organization. A formal organizational group includes departments such as the personnel department, the advertising department, the quality control department and the public relations department.

•Task group

Tasks groups are the groups formed by an organization to accomplish a narrow range of purposes within a specified time. These groups are temporary in nature. They also develop a solution to a problem or complete its purpose. Informal committees, task forces and work teams are included in task groups. The organization after specifying a group membership, assigns a narrow set of purposes such as developing a new product, evaluating a proposed grievance procedure, etc.

•Informal group

Informal groups are the groups formed for the purposes other than the organizational goals. Informal groups form when individuals are drawn together by friendship, by mutual interests or both. These groups are spontaneous. According to Keith David, “the network of persons and social relations which is not established or required forms an informal organization”. These are the groups formed by the employees themselves at the workplace while working together. The organization does not take any active interest in their formation. Informal groups are very effective and powerful. These groups work as an informal communication network forming a part of the grapevine to the organizations.

They are also like a powerful force, which an organization cannot avoid. Some managers consider them to be harmful to the interest of an organization. They suspect their integrity and consider as a virtual threat. Some managers do not consider them as threat and seek the help of group members in getting the organizational task accomplished. Informal groups are of following types: oInterest group: Interest groups are the groups formed to attain a common purpose.

Employees coming together for payment of bonus, increase in salary, medical benefit and other facilities are the examples of interest groups oMembership group: Membership groups are the groups of individuals’ belonging to the same profession and knowing each other. For example, teachers of the same faculty in a university. oFriendship group: Friendship groups are the groups of individuals belonging to same age group, having similar views, tastes and opinions. These groups can also be formed outside the plant or office and can be in the form of clubs and associations. oReference group: Reference groups are the group where individuals shape their ideas, beliefs, values etc.

They want support from the group.

Question 4
What are the four types of teams?
Types of teams

Teams can be classified according to their objective. The four most common forms of teams you are likely to find in an organization are problem-solving teams, self-managed teams, cross-functional teams, and virtual teams.

Problem solving teams

They are typically composed of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency, and the work environment.

Self managed teams

They are generally composed of 10 to 15 people who take on the responsibilities of their former supervisors. Typically, these responsibilities include:

a) Collective control over the pace of work,
b) Determination of work assignments,
c) Organization of breaks
d) Collective choice of inspection procedures used.

Cross-functional teams

Cross-functional teams are made of employees at about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task. Cross-functional teams are an effective means of allowing people from diverse areas within an organization to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, and coordinate complex projects. Cross- functional teams bring people with different functional specialties to better invent design, or deliver a product or service. The general goals of using cross-functional team include some combination of innovation, speed and quality that come from early coordination among the various specialties

D) Virtual teams

Virtual teams use computers technology to tie tighter physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. They allow people to collaborate online, whether they are only a room apart or separated by continents. The three primary factors that differentiate virtual teams from face-to- face teams are:

a) The absence of Para verbal and nonverbal cues.
b) Limited social context.
c) The ability to overcome time and space constraints.

Question 5
How can organizations create team players?

The responsibility to turn organizations into team players is held by a leader. The leader is responsible to imply these strategies: The first step that needs to apply is through selection of a member team, a leader needs to have a selection for the team members. This is because some people already possess the interpersonal skills to be effective team players. When hiring team members, in addition to the technical skills required a duty, commitment should be taken to ensure that candidates can fulfil their team roles as well as technical requirements. Many job candidates don’t have team skills. This is especially true for those socialized around individual contributions. When faced with such candidates, managers basically have three options. The candidates can undergo training to adapt them into team players.

If this isn’t possible or doesn’t work, the other two options are to transfer the individual to another unit within the organization that suitable with his/her skills, without teams (if this possibility exists); or don’t hire the candidate. In established organizations that decide to redesign jobs around teams, it should be expected that some employees will resist being team players and may be un-trainable. Unfortunately, such people typically become casualties of the team approach. Next, the training should be applied in the organization. On a more optimistic note, a large proportion of people raised on the importance of individual accomplishments can be trained to become team players. Training specialists conduct exercises that allow employees to experience the satisfaction that teamwork can provide.

They typically offer workshops to help employees improve their problem-solving, communication, negotiation, conflict management, and coaching skills. Employees also learn the five-stage group development model. And lastly, try to use rewards as a motivation to every members of organization. The reward system needs to be reworked to encourage cooperative efforts rather than competitive ones. Promotions, pay raises, commissions and other forms of recognition should be given to individuals for how effective they are as a collaborative team member. This doesn’t mean individual contributions are ignored; rather, they are balanced with selfless contributions to the team. Examples of behaviour’s that should be rewarded include training new colleagues, sharing information with teammates, helping to resolve team conflicts, and mastering new skills that the team needs but in which it is deficient.

Question 6

What are the steps of conflict process?
The conflict process
The conflict process can be seen as comprising five stages: potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behaviour, and outcomes.

Stage I: Potential opposition or incompatibility

The first step in the conflict process is the presence of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise. They need not lead directly to conflict, but one of these conditions is necessary if conflict is to surface. For simplicity’s sake, these conditions which also may be looked at as causes or sources of conflict) have been condensed into three general categories: communication, structure, and personal variables.


The communication source represents the opposing forces that arise from semantic difficulties, misunderstandings, and noise in the communication channels. A review of the research suggests that differing word connotations, jargon, insufficient exchange of information, and noise in the communication channel are all barriers to communication and potential antecedent conditions to conflict. Evidence demonstrates that semantic difficulties arise as a result of differences in training, selective perception, and inadequate information about others.

Research has further demonstrated a surprising finding: The potential for conflict increases when either too little or too much communication takes place. Apparently, an increase in communication is functional up to a point, whereupon it is possible to over communicate, with a resultant increase in the potential for conflict. Too much information, as well as too little, can lay the foundation for conflict. Furthermore, the channel chosen for communicating can have an influence on stimulating opposition. The filtering process that occurs as information is passed between members and the divergence of communications from formal or previously established channels offer potential opportunities for conflict to arise.


The term structure is used, in this context, to include variables such as size, degree of specialization in the tasks assigned to group members, jurisdictional clarity, member goal compatibility, leadership styles, reward systems, and the degree of dependence among groups. Research indicates that size and specialization act as forces to stimulate conflict. The larger the group and the more specialized its activities, the greater the likelihood of conflict. Tenure and conflict appear inversely related; meaning the potential for conflict tends to be greatest when group members are younger and when turnover is high. A close style of leadership tight and continuous observation with general control of others’ behaviours increases conflict potential, but the evidence is not particularly strong.

Too much reliance on participation may also stimulate conflict. Research tends to confirm that participation and conflict are highly correlated, apparently because participation encourages the promotion of differences. Reward systems, too, are found to create conflict when one member’s gain is at another’s expense and if a group is dependent on another group (in contrast to the two being mutually independent) or if interdependence allows one group to gain at another’s expense, opposing forces are stimulated.

Personal Variables

As practical experience has taught us, some people are conflict oriented and others are conflict aversive. Evidence indicates that certain personality types for example, individuals who are highly authoritarian and dogmatic lead to potential conflict. Emotions can also cause conflict. For example, an employee who shows up to work irate from her hectic morning commute may carry that anger to her 9:00 A.M. meeting. The problem? Her anger can annoy her colleagues, which may lead to a tension-filled meeting. In addition to personality traits, differing values can explain conflict. Value differences are the best explanation of diverse issues such as prejudice and disagreements over one’s contribution to the group, as well as the rewards one deserves.

Say that John dislikes African-Americans and Dana believes John’s position indicates his ignorance. Say that an employee thinks he is worth $55,000 a year but his boss believes him to be worth $50,000. These are all value differences, which are important sources for creating the potential for conflict. It is also important to note that culture can be a source of differing values. For example, research indicates that individuals in Japan and in the United States view conflict differently. Compared to Japanese negotiators, Americans are more likely to see offers from their counterparts as unfair and to reject such offers.

Stage II: Cognition and Personalization

If the conditions cited in stage I negatively affect something that one party cares about, then the potential for opposition or incompatibility becomes actualized in the second stage. As our definition of conflict notes, perception is required. One or more of the parties must be aware of the existence of the antecedent conditions. However, because a conflict is perceived does not make it personalized. In other words, “A may be aware that B and A are in serious disagreement . . . but it may not make A tense or anxious, and it may have no effect whatsoever on A’s affection toward B.” It is at the felt level, when individuals become emotionally involved, that parties experience anxiety, tension, frustration, or hostility.

Stage III: Intentions

Intentions intervene among people’s perceptions and emotions and overt behaviours. These intentions are decisions to act in a given way. Intentions are separated out as a distinct stage because you have to infer the other’s intent to know how to respond to that other’s behaviour. A lot of conflicts are escalated merely by one party attributing the wrong intentions to the other party. In addition, there is typically a great deal of slippage between intentions and behaviour, so behaviour does not always accurately reflect a person’s intentions.

Stage IV: Behaviour

When most people think of conflict situations, they tend to focus on stage IV because this is where conflicts become visible. The behaviour stage includes the statements, actions, and reactions made by the conflicting parties. These conflict behaviours are usually overt attempts to implement each party’s intentions, but they have a stimulus quality that is separate from intentions. As a result of miscalculations or unskilled enactments, overt behaviours sometimes deviate from original intentions. It helps to think of stage IV as a dynamic process of interaction. For example, you make a demand on me; I respond by arguing; you threaten me; I threaten you back; and so on. All conflicts exist somewhere along this continuum.

At the lower part of the continuum, we have conflicts characterized by subtle, indirect, and highly controlled forms of tension, such as a student questioning in class a point the instructor has just made. Conflict intensities escalate as they move upward along the continuum until they become highly destructive. Strikes, riots, and wars clearly fall in this upper range. For the most part, conflicts that reach the upper ranges of the continuum are almost always dysfunctional. Functional conflicts are typically confined to the lower range of the continuum.

Stage V: Outcomes

The action reaction interplay among the conflicting parties results in consequences. These outcomes may be functional in that the conflict results in an improvement in the group’s performance, or it may be dysfunctional in that it hinders group performance.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 31 October 2016

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