Sunday, July 18, 2004

Paper - Human Behavior

Human Behavior In Organization

The past days I was able to browse some books pertaining to Human Behavior in Organization. The books of Robbins, Greenberg and Filipino authors Martirez and Fule will be the subject of my synthesis. Included in this report are the following topics: definition of organizational behavior, foundations of individual behavior, perception and individual decision making, personality and emotions and basic motivation concepts.

The books of Greenberg and Robbins have more or less similar as far as content is concern. Greenberg defined Organizational Behavior as the field that seeks knowledge of behavior in organizational setting by systematically studying individual, groups and organizational processes, while Robbins defined it as field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behavior in an organization, then applies that knowledge to make organization work more effectively. Robbins further note, that organizational behavior focuses on how to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase employee citizenship and job satisfaction. Both authors have mentioned in their books organizational behavior seeks to develop a base of knowledge about behavior in organization by using an empirical, research-based approach. It uses systematic study to improve predictions of behavior that would be made from intuition alone, because people are different, there is a need to look at organizational behavior in a contingency framework that is by using variables to moderate cause-effect relationship.

The two authors mentioned that the field of organizational behavior assumes that organizations can be made more productive while also improving the quality of people’s work life, that there is no one best approaches to studying behavior in organizations and finally that organization’s are dynamic and ever changing. It can help improve quality and employee productivity by showing managers how to empower their people as well as how to design and implement change programs. It can offer specific insights to improve a manager’s people skills and offers managers guidance in creating an ethically healthy work climate.

The authors look’s at three individual variables in the study of individual behavior, biographical characteristics, ability and learning. The say biographical characteristics are readily available to managers and they are actually contained in an employee’s personnel file. Ability directly influences an employee’s level of performance and satisfaction through the ability job-fit. Learning concepts provide us with any insights that would allow us to explain and predict behavior. That managers should expect that employees will look to them as models, thus managers who are constantly late or help themselves to company office supplies for personal use should expect employees to read the message they are sending and model their behavior accordingly.

Perception is the process through which people actually select, organize and interpret some information around them as it pertains to other people. Individuals behave in a given manner based not on the way their external environment actually is but, rather, on what they see or believe it to be. It is actually the employee’s perception of a situation that becomes the basis for his or her behavior. The employee who perceives his/her supervisor as hurdle reducers who helps him/her to do a better job and the employee who sees the same supervisor as a “big brother”. Closely monitoring every motion, to ensure that I keep working will differ in their behavioral responses to their supervisor. It suggests that what individuals perceive from their work situation will influence their productivity more than will the situation itself. Biased judgment about others sometimes occur during the process of performance appraisal. People tends to judge as superior those individuals whose performance matches their expectations and they view people positively when their good performance is attributed to internal sources and when their poor performance is attributed to external sources. Usually people would generally be interested in getting others to perceive them favorably, and their efforts in this regard are referred to as impression management.

The book of Robbins discusses Personality and Emotions. Robbins states the review of personality offers general guidelines that can lead to effective job performance, that it can improve hiring, transfer, and promotion decisions. This is because personality characteristics create parameters for people’s behavior which actually gives a framework for predicting behavior. It was mentioned also that personality assessment should be used in conjunction with other information such as skills, abilities and experiences. However, knowledge of an individual’s personality can aid in reducing mismatches, which in turn can lead to reduced turnover and higher job satisfaction. Greenberg defines personality as the unique and relatively stable pattern of behavior, thoughts and emotions shown by individual. With the abilities and various situational factors, personality therefore determines behavior in an organization. Emotions according to robbins are natural part of an individual’s makeup and that managers who understands the role of emotion will significantly improve their ability to explain and predict individual behavior. So the question now is, do emotions affect job performance, the answer is yes. Emotions affect behavior in various ways. They can hinder performance especially negative emotions and that is why organizations, for the most part, try to exact emotions out of workplace. People who are upset tend to neither listen to nor understand the performance feedback they receive. But emotions can also enhance performance level. Emotions can increase arousal levels, thus acting as moderators to higher performance. People also are more likely to help others when they are in good moods than when they are in bad moods. On the other hand, Greenberg definition of emotions is overt reactions that express people’s feelings about a specific event and moods are more general. One way people manage their emotions is by keeping their negative feelings to themselves. People in organizations also manage their emotions by displaying compassion for others when needed.

On the topic about motivation, the Filipino author’s discusses the meaning of motivation and influence of culture, concepts of needs satisfaction, which is a natural starting point in understanding human motivation.

Motivation energizes behavior and gives a direction. A motivated person will work harder and persevere longer than an unmotivated one. It is the strength of the drive toward an action.

Socio-cultural values play an important role in motivation and behavior. Among Filipinos, four concepts have been found to be useful in explaining behavior patterns: Amor-propio or self esteem, this is a deep sense of dignity, a desire to be treated as human being rather than as a thing. Filipinos are very sensitive to words or actions of others which might be construed as violating his amor-propio. Hiya or embarrassment, this refers to a feeling of inferiority, shyness and alienation which is a painful experience; Utang na loob, this is a sense of gratitude for favors or help received form others. Because one has utang na loob, one would exert effort to be able to repay sometime in the future; Pakikisama or Getting Along Together, this is desire for smooth interpersonal relation. Filipinos would place a high value in developing or maintaining good feelings with others.

Greenberg in his book, defined motivation a set of processes that arouse, direct an maintain behavior toward a goal. It is not equivalent to job performance but is one of several determinants for job performance. In his book, he identifies Maslow’s hierarchy theory postulates that people have five basic needs, activated in specific order from the most basic, lowest level need to the highest level need. The lower order needs are prepotent in the sense that they highly determine behavior until they are satisfied. Once satisfied they cease to act as motivators. That is when the higher order need are activated and they in turn organize behavior until they too are gratified. The five human needs according to Maslow as arranged in ascending order are as follows: Physiological needs, this are basic needs for survival such as food, water, shelter, air etc; Safety and Security needs, this are free from physical an psychological harm; Love an social needs, this are need for love, affection and need to belong; Esteem and status, this are desire for self respect, desire for achievement; Self Actualization, this are desire to realize one’s potential, to become everything one is capable. On the other hand, Alderfer E-R-G model made a similar point when he proposed a need hierarchy with only three levels; Existence, this includes Maslow’s physiological and security needs; Relatedness, which refers to social and belongingness needs; and Growth, the desire for self esteem and self actualization.