Organizational behavior refers to the behavior of individuals, teams and management that forms organizational culture. It is important to note that organizational behavior highly determines efficiency and output of an organization. On the same note, due to division of labor that has become the order of the day; many people have chosen to specialize in certain areas only in order to advance their productivity. This has led to the need of people to work together so that each can perform the task he or she is well qualified in so as to enhance productivity and quality. In the words of Draft (2009), as group working becomes more important, so are other issues that affect organizations for example, diversity. It should be noted that diversity in workforce goes beyond just race, gender and ethnicity to include differences in experience, variations in educational background and discrepancies in perceptions. According to Freeman (2010), diversity is a result of differences in religious backgrounds, racial differences and difference in cultural orientation among other factors. Consequently it is important for an organization to come up with a uniform behavior that can be used to define the organization.
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Scott (2003) says that organizational behavior is a wide discipline that touches almost all social sciences and studies the relationship between organizational efficiency and interrelationships among people. Employees form the core of any firm and therefore their contribution is the start of the company’s success or failure. Having the same views, and being ready to promote the firm’s goals first before personal interests will go along way in improving overall performance. Freeman (2010) asserts that organizational behavior influences employees as a group more than it affects them as individuals. In this regard, as away of motivating employees, their state of affairs needs to be given first priority in the firm before any other issue as they are the most important input. This is best explained by the theory of hierarchy where the basic needs are satisfied before the secondary or tertiary ones (Draft, 2011). People have to interact in an organization and the outcome is unpredictable. Consequently, organization behavior tries to understand and explain why some people behave the way they do in different circumstances within an organizational setting (Sosik & Jung, 2002). Moreover, organizational behavior focuses on regulating the way people conduct themselves within the organization. It is important to note that given the difference in family backgrounds, employees can never have similar behaviors. Additionally, organizational behavior addresses employees’ treatment in an organization.
Arguably, the most important role of positive organizational behavior is to avoid conflicts and eliminate or reduce the effects of conflicts on performance. Thompson (2008) defines conflicts as disagreements over various issues affecting the group which can vary from personal behavior and interaction, to professional and process accomplishment. Conflicts can be divided into three broad groups that are seemingly distinct from each other and each of which can be addressed separately. These are task conflict, process conflict and relationship conflict. It has been noted that conflict affect certain issues that directly influence the outcomes of the group and that it does not in itself directly affect the group. Such issues as the amount of trust that group members have both on the group as a whole and on individual group members highly determine the productivity of the group (West, 2012). West argues that the bond that puts together individual members in the group is of importance as it determines the likelihood that the members can enjoy working together hence, influencing group outcomes (West, 2012, p. 76). Organizational behavior influences how conflict is perceived and received. Moreover, it determines how group members think the conflict will affect them individually thus playing a great role in determining the effects conflict will have to the organization (Brody, 2005).
As griffin (2011) argues, organizational behavior is as a result of several integrated factors including motivational factors. In this regard, motivation theories play a vital role in enhancing organizational behavior. A study carried out by Jex and Britt explains how expected outcomes are influential in motivating people to choose certain behaviors (Jex & Britt, 2011, p. 174). The process by which people make choices about motivational factors to take into consideration is very crucial according to the expectancy theory. Scott (2003) suggests that an organization applying expectancy theory should liaise with the employees to select rewards so that they will be in line with the expectations of employees. On the same note, the rewards should be awarded as soon as positive behavior is exhibited (Hirschey, 2008). This, according to the theory, will influence the cognitive process of decision making. The theory asserts that behavioral process of human beings is as a result of cognitive choice making that is influenced by expectations. If people believe that meeting certain expected performance or behavior is rewarded, then they will aim at these behaviors. In this regard, employers seeking to make certain behaviors part of their organizational behavior should first learn employees’ expectations. There after, they should try to relate rewards directly to desired behaviors and ensure that the rewards meet the expectations of employees (Draft (2009). The rewards can be in form of increase in wages, promotions or any other form that is agreed upon. The theory further argues that a reward system that is tied more closely to specific performances is more effective in influencing people’s behaviors (Sosik & Jung, 2002).
It is important to state here that expectancy theory is not limited to specific relationships between employers and employees. As Robbins and Judge found out from their study, expectancy theory cuts across all aspects of employee-employer interactions (Robbins & Judge, 2011). People will always match their input to the expected returns for their specific assignments. Consequently, if employees expect that given their current roles and status hard work can lead to promotion, then they will increase their output. However, if employees reach a state where they do not expect any increase in favors from the employer, for example when they do not expect promotions, they will be less willing to increase their efforts. Maddox (2008) states that for employers to maintain a particular behavior in employees, they should be able to continuously enhance their expectations. Employees will be motivated when they expect more from the employer.
Expectance theory is crucial for managers since they will have to find ways to motivate their employees. The theory explains why desired outcomes have to be linked with specific performance levels. Murray, Poole and Jones (2006) insist on the importance of continuously assessing the motivation level of employees and thus ensuring that the rewarding system still works. They argue that this will ensure that employees do not get fed up with the rewards they get and thus reduce their motivation.
Employers need to implement the expectancy theory right from the point of recruitment. Much as employers will want to bring into their workforce new employees, existing employees should be given first priority. Thompson (2008) argues that one way of keeping employees’ expectations alive is by giving them a chance of getting promoted. However, the promotions should be tied to some kind of behaviors and specific level of performance. In addition, the employers need to carry out the whole process of promotions in a free and fair manner that gives equal chance to each employee. Kwok and Solomon assert that given the expectations of being promoted, employees will tend to adhere to the prescribed behavior and thus promote organizational culture. Freeman (2010) argues that expectancy theory is not only important in streamlining organizational behavior, but also in increasing employee retention. He states that this can be done by associating promotions with the tendency of staying with the company. On the same note, entrepreneurs can use the expectancy theory in promotion to encourage employees to advance their skills through livelong learning. According to Adams (2007), entrepreneurs need to ensure that assignments given to any employee are relevant to the employee’s development. This is because when employees do not value their assignments they are bound to loose interest even in the rewards that are issued. As a result, employees will not be ready to help the business to prosper.
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It is important to differentiate the internal motivation that every employee has that makes them to wake up in order to attend their daily duties from induced motivation. Draft (2011) points out that internal motivation may make employees to ensure that they complete their duties everyday, but will not be sufficient to make them increase the quality of their work. As a result, entrepreneurs need to ensure that motivation resulting from expectations is well above personal motivation of employees (Draft, 2011). Employees may personally be motivated to complete any work on their desk before they go home because they do not want to have uncompleted work when they report the following day. However, expectancy theory explains how employers can make the employees to produce high quality work each day (Maddox, 1993). In their study, Schneider and Barsoux found that differentiating acts that all employees are individually motivated to do is crucial to ensure that only those behaviors that can be influenced by expectations are rewarded (Schneider & Barsoux, 2003). All employees are expected to report to work early and complete their assignments. Therefore, rewarding this will not be doing any good to the firm. However, rewarding high quality assignments will increase expectations of employees thus making them to increase the quality of their output. According to Scott (2003), it will be prudent also if the rewards are not so frequent because their impact will be overshadowed as employee get used to them thus limiting their impacts.
Entrepreneurs are however advised not to demand too much from employees because expectations that are out of reach will not have any positive outcome (Brody, 2005). While employees are motivated by expectations to increase their performance, this depends on education background, possession of the required expertise, availability of necessary resources and support from either fellow employees or employers (Maddox, 1993). Therefore, assignments should be given in accordance with people’s capabilities to improve performance and the impact of rewarding system. According to Adler and Allison (2008), it would be important to liaise with employees so as to ensure that the rewards that are issued are in line with individual goals that people have. Employees will be very unwilling to work when the expected rewards are not enticing or satisfying their personal needs. Consequently, for the rewards to enhance people’s expectations, they should be appealing to employees (West, 2012). Though critics have questioned the simple believe that a reward will make people increase their output, the theory is highly effective in aligning people’s behavior with organizational expectations.
Kwok and Solomon (2006) assert that entrepreneurs also need motivation to be able to engage in the risky ventures that they must undertake. They state that entrepreneurs will be willing to take certain risks if they expect that results from those ventures will be positive. Studying the behavior of entrepreneurs, Robbins and Judge found that entrepreneurs who knew that they possessed specific skills and attributes that were necessary for prosperity were always ready to go a step further in their endeavors (Robbins & Judge, 2011). This was because the entrepreneurs had high expectations of positive results. Entrepreneurs need to have some motivating factors before they decide to invest in any area. These factors include income, asset accumulation and development of the organization to greater heights (Hirschey, 2008)
According to the expectation theory, intentions of entrepreneurs play a very crucial role in determining behavior. In this regard, expectations of entrepreneurs coupled with certain variables are very influential in entrepreneurship. Studies show that it is the desired results from a business that make people to increase their efforts towards starting businesses (Kwok and Solomon, 2006 and Sosik and Jung, 2002). It should be noted that many people start businesses with the expectation of attaining financial stability as well as achieving autonomy. Sosik and Jung (2002) argue that the stronger these expectations are, the more efforts an entrepreneur will put into the business. Additionally, it is important to note that previous business experience play a vital role in shaping entrepreneurs’ expectations about certain ventures. Therefore, people who have been previously involved in various business activities will be more willing to take business risks because they have specific expectations unlike people who want to start a business for the first time.
Other people are also crucial in shaping entrepreneur expectations. According to Griffin (2011), human beings have a tendency of listening and actually adhering to what other people say about various issues. When people talk of how various ventures give good returns, entrepreneurs will want to invest in the same ventures because they will be expecting higher returns on their capital. In case the first venture fails to pay to expectations, entrepreneurs get frustrated. These entrepreneurs will be less prepared to take risk in the same venture in future. While studying why entrepreneurs may choose to invest in a given venture, Freeman found high expectations were attached to high risk ventures, and this made entrepreneurs more willing to take the risk (Freeman, 2010).
Hirschey (2008) emphasizes that entrepreneurs consciously make decisions about how to go on with their issues. It is important to note that expectancy theory stresses on the value that people attach to a given outcome as being paramount in determining the effect expectations will have on behavior. In this regard, entrepreneurs will tend to invest in ventures that are expected to produce highly valued outcomes. However, Maddox (1993) claims that this depends on the strength of expectations that attaining the given performance will directly lead to the desired outcome. For example, entrepreneurs must have faith that decisions and strategies used are able to give them the expected results.
It is important also to note that entrepreneurs’ behavior is modified by the business environment in which they are operating. Murray, Poole and Jones (2006) found that competitive environment sends the signal that laxity is detrimental and ingenuity is critical. Consequently, entrepreneurs will be compelled to increase their efforts. For an entrepreneur, the outcomes of his or her endeavors are the rewards he or she receives. In this regard, rewards and performance are so closely and directly related for entrepreneurs (Adams, 2007).
Draft (2011) states that entrepreneurs usually have diverse expectations. Some go into business to ensure their financial stability and personal advancement. Additionally, others want to go down the books of history as the people who were able to establish strong businesses. There are those who want to increase their income and be able to advance the living standards of their families. On the same note, some people venture into business because they feel that entrepreneurship is the only place where their skills can be able to receive commensurate returns. Whatever the expectations or rather motivational factors, the end result is still the same. People want to see their expectations met and their efforts bearing fruits. In this regard, expectancy theory is very crucial in influencing the behavior of entrepreneurship.
However, expectancy theory has some weaknesses which limit its application. To begin with, expectancy theory assumes that people are very observant and they will correlate rewards and performance. According to Jex and Britt (2008), this assumption does not hold because not everybody will be influenced by rewards. If a reward or outcome does not satisfy personal needs, then it will not influence anything. It is also important to note that while the theory assumes that performance is pegged on rewards, this is not the case in real life scenarios. There are many other factors that affect performance and some of them are stronger than rewards (Adler & Allison, 2008).
Classical perspective of organizational behavior is centered on bureaucracy theory and the scientific management theory. According to the scientific management theory, efficiency can only be attained by controlling production as a science. In this regard, the theory suggests that one need to know what people should do in an organization and how the same can be achieved cheaply. The bureaucracy theory argues that management of society requires implementation of rule and laws. Additionally, the rules should be stable but those that can be learned by people. Moreover, it proposes a top-down management style where higher managers issue orders to their subordinates. On the same note, the theory proposes that educational levels should be the pillars to determine how management assignments are allocated (Maddox, 1993). Anything short of that will lead to inefficient management according to the bureaucratic theory. This theory has been credited with accountability, responsibility and consistence. However, classical perspective has been criticized on several grounds. Firstly, classical perspective overlooks the issue of human needs which should be satisfied to enhance efficiency. On the same note, human error and differences in the way various duties are accomplished is ignored, thus assuming that people should be treated the same.
Due to the shortcomings of the classical perspective, the neoclassical perspective evolved. The neoclassical perspective is based on the studies of Hawthorne. According to the studies, efficiency is enhanced when interactions between employees are satisfying. On the same note, efficiency depends on whether management understands the way employees interrelate and behave in a group (Hirschey, 2008). The theory argues that understanding of human behavior through studying behavioral sciences is crucial for managers who aim at enhancing productivity. Satisfaction of employee needs is among factors that motivate them according to Hawthorne study. However, critics argue that the study concentrates too much on social issues and forgets organizational needs. Nevertheless, both the classical and the neoclassical perspectives help in building the ideas around organizational behavior.
Many organizations have recently opted to invest internationally due to the contracting domestic markets. As a result, these firms are faced by the dilemma of different international cultures. Therefore, in planning for their organizational behavior, it is important to take into consideration the cultural differences (Adams, 2007). It is important to note that failure to accommodate the cultural difference in organization behavior can be catastrophic. Culture determines how people conduct themselves and these includes the attitudes that people will have towards work and how they will manage time. On top of that, culture also influences national issues such as the socio-economical factors, political aspects as well as international relations (Kwok and Solomon, 2006). It is also important to note that since culture involves internalization of norms, it ends up influencing the social life of people thus determining the materialistic and individualistic aspects of life as well as the willingness of people to change. This highly influences the probability that people will adapt to certain behaviors which are beneficial to the organization (Adler and Allison, 2008). In this regard, it will be crucial for an organization to let its international branches free to accommodate the cultural differences of their host countries when coming up with organizational behavior.
It is important to note that organizational behavior is not entirely an internal affair. External factors also play an important role in development of organizational behavior. As explained by the resource dependency theory, organizations depend on resources which are held by other organizations (Murray, Poole & Jones, 2006). Therefore, other organizations have influence on how a given organization operates. Similarly, the institutional theory explains that with time, the norms, routines and structures that form organizational behavior become redundant. Consequently, it is necessary to continuously evaluate organizational behavior to ensure that it is productive.
Organizational behavior forms the pillar on which the firm bases its activities. It literally tells the public and other stakeholders what to expect from the company. It is important, however, to note that employees play an important role in determining the success of an organization as they are the ambassadors of the firm (Schnelder & Barsoux, 2003). They are also the people who determine how customers perceive the firm, hence carrying the image of the firm. Group working is inevitable and therefore group conflicts will always be an issue that should be addressed diligently for the sake of performance. Organizational behavior is a vital ingredient in determining whether the organization will achieve its goals or not. Therefore, any organization should strive to have a positive organizational behavior not only to avoid conflicts, but to also enhance harmony among its stakeholders.
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