COURSE PLANNER. 1 Monday 28 th August Topic 1. 8 th & 9 th September. 2 Monday 4 th September Topic 2. 3 Monday 11 th September Topic 2

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1 COURSE PLANNER Week Week Starting Topics to be covered Due dates for Assignments Block Release Dates 1 Monday 28 th August Topic 1 2 Monday 4 th September Topic 2 8 th & 9 th September 3 Monday 11 th September Topic 2 4 Monday 18 th September Topic 3 5 Monday 25 th September Topic 4 6 Monday 2 nd October Topic 5 7 Monday 9 th October Topic 6 8 Monday 16 th October Topic 7 9 Monday 23 rd October Topic 8 10 Monday 30 th October Assignment Week 3 rd and 4 th 11 Monday 6 th November Topic 9 Assignment Mon. 6 th Nov. 12 Monday 13 th November Topic 10 November 13 Monday 20 th November Topic Monday 27 th November Revision Week 15 Monday 4 th December Revision 16 Monday 11 th December Revision Week 17 Monday 18 th December Revision Week 18 Monday 25 th December Revision Week 24 th & 25 th November 19 Monday 1 st January Revision Week 20 Monday 8 th January Revision Week Examinations

2 TOPIC 1: INTRODUCTION TO ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR Recommended Reading: Chapter 1 in textbook What is Organisational Behaviour? The objective of this topic is to: Provide you with an overview of the field of organisational behaviour and illustrate its value for contemporary organisations. On completion of studying this topic you should be able to: Define Organisational Behaviour Describe how a knowledge of Organisational Behaviour can benefit managers and others working in organisations Identify the current challenges and opportunities for organisations to use Organisational Behaviour concepts Explain the value of studying Organisational Behaviour systematically Explain the contingency approach to the study of Organisational Behaviour Understand the three levels of analysis in Organisational Behaviour Glossary of Terms: Organisational behaviour Total quality management Empowerment Systematic study Contingency variables Model Dependent variables Independent variables Productivity 2

3 Introduction The field of organisational behaviour is very broad, encompassing the study of individual behaviour, group behaviour, as well as organisational structure and culture. Initially this breadth, as illustrated in Exhibits 1-3 and 1-6 in Chapter 1, can seem daunting. But essentially the study of organisational behaviour is about the management of people in organisations. In order to understand how people can be managed most effectively and fairly, we must explore factors that exist at three levels in any organisation: 1) Individual level: What drives individual behaviour? 2) Group level: What dynamics occur within groups? 3) Organisation System level: How do the structure and culture of the organisation shape both individuals and groups? The first chapter in the textbook gives an overview of Organisational Behaviour from both a research and a practical perspective. In essence, Organisational Behaviour is a field of study and a body of knowledge that organisations can draw from to improve their performance and the quality of life of their members. The Management of Contemporary Organisations The chapter begins by looking at the challenging role of the manager within organisations. In your reading, briefly review the range of roles that managers must play (pp 4-9). Pp explore the current and future challenges facing organisations behaviour. For example, the internationalisation of business, competitive pressures for improved quality, and the increasing pace of change are just a few of the present challenges which are changing the rules of the game in management. While some have a North American twist, you need to give thought to how these apply in an Irish context, and what particular challenges apply to Ireland. 3

4 Assessment Exercise Identify additional challenges and opportunities that are present in the Irish context. Insights from Organisational Behaviour offer help in meeting these demands and enabling organisations to be more productive and offer a better quality of work life for their employees. Systematic Research and Common Sense Our common sense and years of experience in dealing with people throughout our lives gives each of us practical know-how in people management. Indeed, throughout your study for this course, there will be times when your own intuitive ideas will be very effective in explaining and predicting people s behaviour. Some might argue that common sense is all you need. Unfortunately, common sense is not all that common. But more importantly, many of our taken-for-granted notions simply are not true! When we act on the basis of faulty assumptions, we may escalate a conflict, damage the morale of our team, lose out in a negotiation, or badly affect the productivity of our staff. Hence, this is the reason that the chapter opens with the quote: It s not what we don t know that gives us trouble, it s what we know that ain t so W. Rogers. When reading this chapter, try to understand the author s arguments for why insights into behaviour in organisations can best be gained through systematic research. The most useful thing you can do to ensure that you gain as much as possible from this course is to have an open mind. Savour the times when you discover theories that are consistent with your own thinking; but equally, relish the opportunities to understand the rationale behind theories that differ from your perspective. You may find in the end that you disagree with many points in the theories offered. Each theory does have its limitations. But each also has something to offer. We will take time in class to debate the theories and I look forward to hearing your ideas. 4

5 It All Depends Organisational Behaviour seeks to answer many fundamental questions about behaviour and performance in organisations. Are charismatic leaders good for organisations? Does money motivate high performance? Will empowerment improve productivity? The answer to questions such as these is rarely yes or no ; more likely, it all depends. Let s take the example of empowerment (which will be discussed in depth later under the topic of Leadership). It may seem frustrating to know that empowerment works well in some situations with some people, but can be disastrous in other situations. Yet, the good news is that we know many of the factors which determine whether empowerment will or will not work in a given situation. To illustrate, for successful empowerment, one important factor is that the employees involved have a high need for challenge in their work. This is an example of a contingency variable -- that is, a factor which affects the relationship between one variable and another. Need for challenge is a contingency variable because it affects the relationship between empowerment and organisational performance. Without need for challenge, empowerment has little chance of improving performance, and in fact may damage morale. When employees have a high need for challenge they may become more motivated and capable through empowerment. Thus, understanding contingency factors is critical to becoming a good behavioural scientist. So we can see that even though answers are rarely simple, if we explore contingency factors, human behaviour can become more predictable. A Model of Organisational Behaviour 5

6 Before you move on to the specific topics within Organisational Behaviour, it is useful to get an overview of the scope of the field. The textbook presents a large and somewhat complex model of Organisational Behaviour (Exhibit 1-8 p33). What is important to understand here is the following: 1. What are the three levels of analysis that are studied in Organisational Behaviour, and what are the types of topics covered at each level? Topics 2 (individual behaviour) and 3 (motivation) in this course focus on the individual level. Topics 5 through 9 (group behaviour, teams, conflict & negotiation, communication, leadership, power & politics) deal with the group level. Topics 4 (reward systems & job design) and 10 (organisation structure and culture) are organisation system level issues. Topic 11 (organisational change) spans all three levels. In other words, any type of effective change must involve specific changes in individuals, groups, and the overall management system. 2. Ultimately, what outcomes (dependent variables) is Organisational Behaviour concerned with? This is a critical question and involves values. What should Organisational Behaviour be concerned with? Productivity? Absenteeism & turnover? Employee satisfaction? We recognise each of these as important and thus focus our research on trying to explain what determines these outcomes. For example, how can communication systems be designed to improve productivity? How does task-oriented leadership affect employee satisfaction? 6

7 A more difficult and philosophical question is, Which of these outcomes is most important? The answer depends on who you are. Management may have one view. Employees and their union representatives may have another. Society may have still another. At one extreme, a knowledge of behaviour in organisations could conceivably be used by management to exploit workers. At another extreme, management might use Organisational Behaviour to ensure that employees are satisfied with their work and experience a good quality of life, purely for humanistic reasons. Alternatively, management might aim to improve the satisfaction of its workforce for instrumental reasons to achieve higher performance. Organisational Behaviour as a social science cannot control how knowledge is used. It aims simply to understand relationships. Still, our choice of outcome variables does have an impact on how the knowledge is used. The five anchor model is another way of thinking about the way organisational behaviour researchers think about organisations and how they should be studied. The five anchors are five beliefs that underpin the study of Organisational Behaviour. The multidisciplinary anchor Organisational Behaviour is anchored around the idea that it should draw on knowledge from other disciplines rather than just its own isolated research base. The scientific method anchor This relates to the way we study organisations. For the most part Organisational Behaviour researchers test their hypotheses about organisations by collecting information according to the scientific method. This is a set of principles and procedures that help researchers to systematically understand previously unexplained events and conditions. 7

8 The contingency anchor As noted above, this anchor states that a particular action may have different consequences in different situations. The multiple levels of analysis anchor Organisational events are usually studies from three common levels of analysis: individual, team and organisational. The open systems anchor Organisational Behaviour researchers view organisations as interdependent parts that work together to continually monitor and transact with the external environment i.e. organisations are not independent of things beyond their boundaries, but continuously interact with external factors such as raw material suppliers, technological developments, and economic systems. Discussion Questions These questions are designed to stimulate your thinking on some of the more complex, interesting issues that have been covered in the chapter. I suggest that you think about these questions and discuss those that interest you most with your class members. The best way to gain a fuller understanding of Organisational Behaviour issues is to discuss your understanding of the concepts and their application with other interested people, either students or professional managers. 1. A friend suggests that organisational behaviour courses are only useful to people who will enter management careers. Discuss the accuracy of your friend s statement. 2. Look through the list of chapters in this textbook and discuss how computer technology could influence each organisational behaviour topic. 3. Employees in the water distribution unit of a major city were put into teams and encouraged to find ways to improve efficiency. The teams boldly 8

9 crossed departmental boundaries and areas of management discretion in search of problems. Employees working in other parts of the city began to complain about these intrusions. Moreover, when some team ideas were implemented, the city managers discovered that a dollar saved in the water distribution unity may have cost the organisation two dollars in higher costs elsewhere. Use the open systems concept to explain what happened here. 4. Organisational theories should follow the contingency approach. Comment on the accuracy of this statement. Sample Examination Questions 1. Behaviour generally is predictable. Do you agree or disagree? Explain. 2. Identify two key challenges facing organisations today. Explain how Organisational Behaviour concepts can help organisations to manage these challenges effectively. 9

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